Supported. Loving. Beautiful. Those are the words I would use to describe the Grand Rapids home birth that I had the honor of attending as birth photographer.

This momma was determined to have a home birth. Her first two children were born in a birth center. Because of insurance nonsense, her third birth was in a hospital. For kiddo number four, she was determined to make her home birth dream happen.

And she did. She found Yolanda Visser of Birth Song, an experienced homebirth midwife in the Grand Rapids Area.

Momma was very happy because she wanted a July baby. Benji was due on July 28 but squeaked in on the very last day of July.

This labor was pretty fast! On July 30 at 10pm, Momma texted me that she was tired and was going to bed with no strong contractions. At 12:03 am, her husband called to let me know the midwife was on her way.

I knew this was her fourth baby and a fast labor was a very strong possibility so I left RIGHT away. I live about 1.5 hours away. I definitely did not exceed the posted speed limit 😉.

When I got there, I found the family gathered in her bedroom.

Mom is giving birth in the comfort of her bedroom while being supported by her husband, midwife and friend.
Often during birth, when you think you have no strength left in you, you’re already almost done. In this photo, the midwife and her friend are helping Mom put her hand on the baby’s head. This gives a mom the “push” she needed to draw on her inner strength to continue to bring this kiddo into the world.

Benji was already crowning! I got there JUST in time! Momma was in a position that would allow gravity to work with her instead of against her.

Momma had a great labor support team in the room. She had her oldest two children, her niece, her sister-in-law, her mother-in-law and 2 friends there all supporting her. They were in awe of the birthing process. (I spoke to Momma later and she said that she had read books to her kids about the birth process so they knew what to expect).

Benji’s head was out. Momma waited until the next contraction for the rest of his body to come out. Yolanda, the homebirth midwife, was fantastic at encouraging her and giving her direction to let the birth happen naturally and safely.

Momma and Midwife caught Benji. Then Momma pulled Benji up onto her chest.

This moment moved me. She gave birth like the badass warrior she is and she pulled her own baby up to meet him face to face.

Benji was born at 1:39 am. Just 6 minutes after I arrived.

Love at first sight.
Her oldest son was SOOO excited that his baby brother was here so he ran up to look at him closer!

After Baby spent some time on his mom’s chest and she delivered the placenta (also known as the third stage of labor), Yolanda did a newborn assessment, just like they would at the hospital.

Then Momma rested a few hours. I left and came back for a Fresh48 session which is a session that happens within the first 48 hours of the baby’s life.

I walked into the kitchen where her other kiddos were eating breakfast. Just hours ago, their baby brother was born, and now they were back to doing their normal day to day things.

Kiddo #3 was sleeping when Benji came, so he didn’t have a chance to meet his brother yet.

This family has a tradition of having a dirt cake with the zero candle on it and singing “Happy Birthday” to the baby that was just born. It’s just a cute idea! It makes perfect sense. Celebrate the BIRTH DAY with a cake!

Welcome to the world, Benji! Your family is excited to welcome you into their loving arms.



About the Author Kristen Schell

Kristen is a birth doula, photographer and childbirth educator. She wants to help families feel inspired by what birth can be. It can be beautiful, empowering, supported, and evidence based.

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