Around 11am on Wednesday, January 27th, I got a text message from a friend, and my heart nearly leapt out of my chest. Just the previous night I had assigned a special ring for her and her husband's contacts in my phone. So when I heard it chime, adrenaline shot through my body. Of course this friend was Amanda, and she was texting to say that at 38 weeks and 2 days gestation she was having some mild cramps, but it could just be a false alarm. A few hours later I got word that this was, in fact, the real thing.
I met Cory and Amanda in May of 2015 when I interviewed with them for a summer nannying position. I was so excited to accept the job and look after their son, along with a couple other kids from other families, full time. The summer was full of laughter and tears, potty breaks and popsicles on the back porch, Curious George books and PAW Patrol episodes, and many challenges. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know their family.
One more thing happened over that summer - Amanda found out that she was expecting! When I first interviewed with her, I mentioned that I was a birth videographer. Later in the summer, I even showed her a birth I filmed in 2013, and I'm sure I chatted her ear off about how much I loved it. Thankfully, she kept this in mind through the Fall, and we reconnected in January to talk about the specifics.
Though I was paranoid I wouldn't be able to make it to the birth, the timing couldn't have worked out better. This is perfect! I thought Wednesday morning, nursing my adrenaline back to a normal level. All I could do was hope that she was really in labor, and that I'd be cooing over a newborn baby before the night was over.
I got home from work and made sure I had everything ready to go, just in case. I putzed around the house for awhile, feeling like this was really it, but I still didn't know for sure. Until Cory called around 2pm.
After a quick update, he said he would call again when they were ready for me to come over. I eagerly awaited the second call, and eventually got to their house around 3:45pm. Getting behind the camera put me in my "zone," and the anxiety melted away.
Amanda labored for a couple more hours before the doula, Ludia, arrived. Amanda wanted to labor at home until the very last minute, so when everyone generally agreed it was time, we headed off to the hospital around 8pm.
Amanda was admitted to triage, and Ludia and I had time to get better acquainted. She proved to be delightful company, and I really hope we get to work together again in the future. She has been attending births for thirty years, and works as a doula and childbirth educator. Her doula skills were amazing, and I was in awe. She was also the doula for Amanda's first son. It was clear that the feeling of love and respect was mutual between Ludia and Cory and Amanda.
Thankfully, I threw my journal in my camera bag before leaving my house, so I was able to write a little bit during her labor. This definitely helped me keep track of things as the clock ticked on. I had never been up for more than 24 hours, but that night I broke my record. I stayed awake until about 6am on Thursday morning, but I was up again before the sun rose to make sure I captured it on camera.
By early afternoon, there was talk of a Cesarean, which is what eventually came to pass. I couldn't capture those first glowing moments - the reveal of boy or girl (it was a surprise for everyone!), Cory cutting the umbilical cord, the overall buzz in the air - but we all knew that a Cesarean was for the best. Of course, Ludia and I had to wait in the lobby.
Hoorah! At 1:58pm on Thursday, January 28th, a bouncing baby boy was born. I spent some time with the second-time parents before Big Brother showed up to meet the newest addition to their family.
Once again, I am in absolute awe of mothers everywhere. I am so incredibly grateful to be able to capture miracles like these. This will forever be one of my most favorite projects, and I can't say thank you enough to Amanda and her family.
Congratulations to the Clouser family of four! Watch the highlight reel below: