Photography by

Casey Louise

March 6, 2024

Photographing an Unmedicated Home Birth

Capturing an incredible Home Birth by Photography by Casey Louise

Capturing an unmedicated home birth was one of the greatest honors of my life. You
might be reading this because you’re planning a home birth for yourself, or you’re a
photographer preparing to capture this experience for someone else. Either way, I hope
you find this journey inspiring.

Mother holds newborn baby after home birth

I want to start by sharing my relationship with birth and what led me to capturing this incredible experience for someone else.

The first birth I ever witnessed was in a hospital setting with medication. I was 20 years old watching my mother give birth to my sister. I held my moms leg and watched my sister enter this world. Fast forward 10 years when it was my turn. I had always known I wanted an unmedicated home birth. Unfortunately at 38 weeks I was diagnosed with PROM (premature rupture of membranes) and was recommended/told to induce. I gave birth vaginally and unmedicated. We were both physically healthy however I was mentally and emotionally traumatized. I chose to have my birth photographed and that is one of the best birth decisions I was able to make. In my opinion, birth photography is the most valuable type of photography there is. The ability it has to help process your birth experience cannot be replaced. I looked at my birth images over and over again, daily for at least a year. 
While my art consists of raw and intimate motherhood moments, I have not advertised as a birth photographer. The truth is, she saw my work and felt connected to me. She reached out very early on in her pregnancy which gave me the ability to prepare emotionally, mentally and technically.

A couple of months before her due date we met in person and I visited her home to
familiarize myself with the space and her. Here are a handful of topics we discussed..
1.) When to contact me?
2.) How long it will take me to arrive.
3.) What to expect from a bounce flash?
4.) What happens if baby is born quickly before I arrive?
5.) What she wants to be wearing including her spouse and older children?

6.) How modest she wanted the images to be?
7.) If she would like me to document the unforeseen emergency if one should happen.

M did an incredible job keeping me up to date as things progressed throughout the week. I was very clear that I wanted to be informed about EVERYTHING. This was her third birth and her first unmedicated home birth. I had my husband and another friend on call, ready to take my daughter for any time I got the call. Friday night at 10pm before bed, I sent M a message letting her know my phone was on loud and to call me anytime during the night. She responded saying “Sweet dreams, no contractions yet”. At 4:45am I received a text saying contractions had started but her midwife said to call back when they are closer together. I started getting ready. Twenty five minutes later I decided to hop in my car and head her way. She let me know the midwife had shown up without prompting and contractions were closer. I arrived exactly 1 hour after receiving the first text and she was in the bathtub laboring beautifully. I tested my flash strength in a separate room once to make sure it wasn’t too overwhelming. She was in a tub that was enclosed on 3 out of 4 sides so thankfully I stood in the shower on a ledge to get a birds eye view. When I tell you she handled active labor and transitioning gracefully, I mean wow, I was in absolute awe of her. Her husbands support was incredible and I appreciated how hands off her midwife was. Under an hour and baby was here. Baby was over 10 lbs and no stitches were needed!

It felt like a dream. M’s birth was everything I wanted my birth experience to be. I am
beyond happy for this incredible woman and hope deeply I get to experience birth like
that first hand some day. Here are some of the incredible moments that stood out to me.
1.) How calm she was.
2.) How supportive her husband was, squeezing her feet, asking the midwife if there
were certain pressure points he could use.
3.) When M said she felt like pushing, the midwife did NOT check her. Over all the
hands off approach was incredible.
4.) When baby was crowning, the midwife pointed out the footprint at the top of M’s belly
from the baby kicking her way out!!
5.) Watching M listen to her body and adjust her hips naturally as baby descended
through her vaginal canal.
6.) Witnessing M reach down and feel her baby for the first time.
7.) Witnessing M and her baby make eye contact for the first time.
8.) Watching M get out of the bathtub to birth the placenta all while keeping baby
latched on breastfeeding.
9.) The joy of seeing her baby’s poop on her hand.
10.) Holding all three of her children in her arms.
11.) The placenta tour where the midwife explained the placenta is made from the
sperm and her older children touching the knot in the cord.
12.) The families faces when finding out baby was over 10 lbs!!!!
13.) All of the sisters and parents coming over to congratulate.

I really feel like photographing this birth for M was meant to be. If a pregnant person sees my images and feels called to
have me be at their birth as the photographer, I am open to that. Capturing someone’s birth is an honor I do not take lightly. I want to make sure you feel connected to me and I am truly the right fit for you. I am always open to questions so if you’ve made it to the end of this and want to reach out, I am happy to chat!

Casey Louise is a motherhood photographer capturing maternity, newborn and family photography in Seattle and surrounding cities; Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville, Bothell, Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Monroe and North Bend Washington.