I got the call early one morning that my birth client was in labor and was 5 cm dilated at her last cervical check.
I made sure my husband was good to go with our kids before I threw my equipment in the car and headed to the birth center.
I arrived at about the same time as a few family members who were coming to welcome the new baby. Dad met us all at the door and said that mom was going to try to rest. She had been laboring all night and wanted to try to get some sleep before the big finale, and she didn't want anyone to come in to the birth center just yet.
The others debated going out to get breakfast or coffee or maybe stopping by a store. Someone looked over at me and said, "What about you? What are you going to do while she sleeps?"
I said, "Oh, I'm fully prepared for this. It happens to me all the time."
Have you ever wondered how I could possibly prepare to be with a birthing client when I have no idea how long I will need to be there or what I do if mom needs to rest or nap?
Well, I'm giving you a sneak peek behind the scenes and showing you what I pack in my birth bag!
This is a bag I pack in addition to my camera bag with all of my actual photography equipment.
I'm currently on call for a birth now, so I grabbed my birth bag and took a picture of the contents to share with you.
This little toddler sized pillow has saved my neck on quite a few occasions. I have napped in my car while a laboring mom is trying to rest. I have taken quick naps on waiting room couches when I have been at hospital births in the middle of the night. I usually leave it in my car unless I actually need it, but I always have it with me just in case.
2. Manual Breast Pump
My youngest is over a year old and does not take bottles, but he still nurses when I'm home with him. I keep a small manual pump with me just in case I'm at a birth for a long time and need to pump to relieve some discomfort.
3. Change of Clothes
There's no way to know where I will be when I get the call to go to a birth. I might be at the gym or at the pool with my kids. This birth bag goes in the car with me every time I leave my house when I'm on call, so I also keep clothes in case I need to change. This is my typical uniform that I wear for births: my favorite #birthphotographer tee, a comfy pair of leggings (or jeggings in this case), a sweater in case I get chilly (most often happens in hospital births), and my Bobs shoes with the memory foam insoles (so comfortable when I'm at a birth).
A big part of being a birth photographer is just waiting. I'm not going to be taking photos every second of birth and sometimes mom wants to rest and I'll go find a seat and keep myself busy. I crochet, so I often keep a project with me to work on during these times. I also have a Kindle with several books loaded. I normally prefer real books, but a Kindle comes in really handy for keeping multiple books with me at a birth.
5. Phone Accessories
Gotta keep that phone charged and I keep earbuds with me too. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or music while I'm waiting at a birth.
6. Hair Tie and Lip Balm
Pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes we women just need these things!
This is a really important one. When I'm at a birth for a long time, I have to eat to keep my energy up. I'll usually step out of the room for a second and shove a snack in my face and step right back in. Sometimes I have the opportunity to run out and grab food when I need it, but I always keep snacks on hand.
Tell me in the comments, what is your favorite book? I might need some new recommendations to download on my Kindle!