I was nervous about baby Ramzi’s arrival for like… eight months. His parents are basically the world’s best clients, but they live two hours away in Tulsa (I’m in Norman), which is basically my travel limit. Not only that, but during our consultation I found out that at least one of this baby’s siblings came after a half-hour labor. Half an hour, y’all! So yeah, I was pretty nervous.
So when mom texted me that she was feeling signs of early labor, saying I didn’t need to come up right away, I only wavered for a few moments. When I texted my backup photographer and discovered she was at another birth, that pretty much sealed the deal. I threw my birth bag in the car and headed that way.
By the time I arrived, labor was for sure on! But from the outside, it was hard to tell. Deena, Ramzi’s sweet mom, was walking around helping with things between contractions, hanging out with her kids, searching for the right sheets, putting together her birth necklace… even when things started to get serious, she would just get really quiet when a contraction got bad.
And this amazing home birth was a truly family event. It was so cool. While Deena was laboring in the kids’ playroom teepee, the kids were helping fill the birthing pool, and checking on mom once in a while, and eyeing the pool in hopes that they might get to swim too. Ramzi’s older brother and two older sisters were beside themselves with joy, waiting for the arrival of their little sibling.
Deena’s parents were also there helping out with the kids, and Sarah Tilford, Deena’s midwife, had her own 4-month-old nursing baby with her! So along with Elizabeth Norwood, the other midwife, and a nursing assistant who was helping out with Sarah’s little one, we had 12 people moving around! Every birth space is unique and so specific to each mom and I super love that. This one was so much fun and so full of love and family and joy. One of my favorite images is one of Deena laboring through a contraction on the birth ball, teepee in the background, holding a cookie that one of the kids brought her.
The whole house was busy and bustling the entire time. Deena’s husband Phillip somehow managed to run around with the kids and be at Deena’s side simultaneously.
As the evening progressed, things started to get serious. Deena stopped doing other things, and focused with quiet intensity on the task at hand. At about 8:30, we were all thinking that it would be another hour or so, when… surprise! This little fella basically shot out. Like, seriously… this little squish showed up FAST!
Mama moved to the futon for initial post-birth work, while everyone gathered around to meet the little one. I think Aiyah, the youngest girl, was a little disconcerted about the whole birth process, but aside from her initial surprise, all the kids were absolutely over the moon to meet their little brother.
The entire time that the midwives were doing vitals checks, Amirah, the 5-year-old, was holding his little hands and whispering, “Shhh, baby brother. You’re okay. You’re gonna be okay, baby brother.”
I found out later that the oldest, Humza, had been praying for a baby brother. You can see it all over his face, can’t you?
I am so blessed and privileged to have met this beautiful family and be invited into the momentous occasion that was precious little Ramzi’s birth.