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The Birth of Maeve Grace | Birth Photography | Jefferson Hospital

This is the story of Bridget, an amazingly strong woman - a true Wonder Woman! Her birth story is definitely a story about power, determination and love, and it should be told out loud.

On our first phone call I noticed a special tone of excitement, not JUST because she is pregnant for the first time (as if that's not enough). But I sensed it was more than that, I recognized it as if it was me talking. Later on I learned that Bridget is a single mom and this baby will be her present to her 41 years birthday! The creation of a baby through IVF is a long and complicated process - it takes one to know. It makes you appreciate a little more the gift you are about to receive. That was what I heard in her voice.

We kept talking, Bridget had told me about her new couch and how it is much more comfortable than her own bed with her growing belly up front. She was nervous her water will break all over her brand new couch and soak it with amniotic fluids. How ironic that this is what almost happened!

Her water started leaking at 1:20am as she was laying on her new couch, she went to check and it turned to a big gush. Around 2:00am contractions began. Good thing she asked her mother to stay the night after watching the show Dirty Dancing with her father. Shortly after a good friend rushed Bridget and her mom to the hospital where they met Rio, her Doula. Bridget got to the hospital at 4 am and her contractions were 2 minutes apart, that's when I met her. Although she might say she was all over the place coping with the pain, truly she endured the pain calmly as can be, breathing every contraction out until the arrival of the long waited epidural. We all waited outside patiently while the doctor administers the epidural and when we came back we could breathe deeply watching Bridget smiling again.

Of course the hard work was yet to come! In the meanwhile, laughing and taking bets about the estimated time this little peanut will come earth side kept contractions coming, but NO ONE guessed that by 8:40am Bridget will be fully dilated!!! We were thrilled to hear the good news as the adrenaline rush kicked in.

The nurse said she has some time before she would start pushing, which gave her time to think about the important decisions she had to make soon to be mommy. Bridget asked for skin to skin as her baby came out, delayed cord clamping so her baby can get all of the goodies from the placenta and to deliver in a position of her choice. We practiced breathing and pushing the right way and FINALLY around 9:30am it was time to push!

Bridget got the hang of it pretty fast and with every push her baby came down a little more. But little Miss Maeve Grace wasn't in a hurry to come out, it was just too good inside! So Bridget talked to her and told her how mommy and grandma and all the family can't wait to meet her, it helped but only a little. Bridget pushed bravely for almost three and a half hours!!! Maeve was SO close but still in. By that time the doctor came and mentioned kindly that she is about to reach the 4 hours window, and if birth wouldn't happened naturally by then, they might have to consider other options.

We could see the disappointment on Bridget's face, but as I told you at the beginning, this story is about determination, you could see it in her eyes. Bridget zoned out and focused solely on pushing her baby down and out. Although she had the epidural numbing her legs she moved, switched positions and delivered a beautiful baby girl at 12:51pm without any intervention!

The doctor placed little Maeve Grace on mom's chest and this little one latched right away as the happy grandma cut the umbilical cord, and everyone was wiping tears of joy. I stayed a little longer for a few more photos of Maeve's foot prints being taken, seeing her weight- 6lbs 15oz and wittiness the magic as Maeve returned to mommy's chest and Bridget turned from Wonder Woman to Wonder Mom!

It was truly an honor being able to support and photograph this strong mama as she brought baby Maeve Grace earth side.

If you would like your birth story to be photographed, please contact me, I would love to be a part of your journey.

Shani Matok . Artist & Photographer . Philadelphia

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