Sabre AnaRose Roesner.
Born April 10, 2019 at 5:33pm.
Mom, Dad and Baby are all healthy & happy.
I woke up around 7:00 am and turned on my espresso machine, yawned and sat down in the porch to look at my phone. I always sleep with it downstairs and away from my bed, knowing that I may miss important messages, but hopefully everything can wait until the morning.
“Hi Chelsea, this is Cassia’s doula, she is in active labour now” 6:39am
I stall. Slightly panic in my head for a moment, picturing my day of Yoga classes and massage clients I had booked, then I google top 10 tips for birth photographers, read it in a hurry while I chug my coffee and start packing my camera gear into my bag.
For myself as a photographer, this was the most amazing and intense experience I had been witness to, and as a lover of candid images, it does not get more real than this. One of the things I try to do in general when working is summon my Ninja skills (learned from a childhood of watching Ninja turtles and the Three Ninjas) when photographing events, weddings etc. But this was something entirely different, there is no adjusting of the light, there is no moving furniture around and setting things up to look “nice”. There is no interfering and saying “oh ya, do that again!”.
There is just witnessing, quietly. Allowing everything to unfold the way it is going to, and holding space while the qualified practitioners move around the room knowing exactly what to do.
Oh, and keep photographing, even when things are starting to get intense. Which I will admit is something I did struggle with at one point, it is a challenge to stay behind the camera when so much is happening.
I cannot write on what this birth was like for Cassia, or Travis, or the doula’s and midwives, or the maternity nurses. I can only comment on what I witnessed, and I am by no means experienced in this world nor am I going to try and write about the technical details of what went on that day. My story is in the images, and the birth story itself, well that can come from Cassia & Travis.
When I asked Cassia if she was comfortable with me sharing these images, or even making a blog with them, this was her response.
“I am absolutely in favour of sharing this experience-always in the background of this whole journey has been the intention to bring a positive birth story into the world and bear witness so that other soon to be parents can hear and see good things about this transformational experience without fears attached.”
Wow. Thank you lady.
So I really want to give a shout out to Cassia Parent for allowing me to photograph this monumental day in her life, for being, what is now in my eyes a role model for the day when/if I give birth myself in what ever form that may take, because watching her go through this was extremely inspiring. I feel like she really did drop into some meditative state of female empowerment, where she was in tune with her body, what she needed to do, and what her baby needed from her. It was magic to watch.
Everybody involved in this process moved fluidly and with such love.
From Travis being by her side at every moment, filling the birth pool, sliding food in front of Cassia at every opportunity, gently being guided by the Doulas to squeeze her hips just the right way, or hold her hands when the contractions were coming.
The midwife Sivan Bar-Sever from East Kootenay Midwives, and the Doula’s Sarah Eedy & Gemma Remple all created an atmosphere that to me felt like a band of women who knew just what to do, when to do it and how to do it with a beautiful sort of strength, resembling to me and my great imagination a scene from the book The Red Tent. It was a birth party if ever there was one, and I was so so honoured to be in the space and witnessing all of it.
What was a home birth for much of the day, evolved into a drive to the hospital and Sabre being born there, what was meant to be would be. And that transition was seamless, with everyone accepting what was going on and moving as needed.
Something I will always remember was when Sivan said to Cassia in the very last moments of intensity when Sabre was so close “your body was made to do this”, and she did.
On a more personal note, and something that I really pondered sharing, is the healing that being at this birth has done for me. I had a miscarriage over two years ago, and it is not something I have talked about very publicly (online at least) but it is something that affected me much more deeply than I would have ever thought it too. I did not “bounce back” and try again as soon as I could, if anything I wondered if having kids was something that I actually wanted, or if trying again was worth it. I moved in the exact opposite direction, and slowly, I have been coming back to the idea. Being there on this day, seeing what a truly unique and human experience it is to give birth, or to grow a baby, was healing in a huge way for me. So, thank you.
Oh also, the cat, Sage. I loved how Sage moved throughout the day and placed herself strategically in the room, where she could keep an eye on things and stay out of the way, it felt like we were on the same page.
She was a Ninja too.
Thank you for having me there and allowing me to be a part of this amazing, day, truly one of the most humbling and beautiful experiences for me.