The Birth of Mary Claire | South Jersey Water Birth | Hospital Birth

I first met Lydia as a fellow doula. We connected many levels and when she asked me to be HER doula and birth photographer, I was a mix of honored and NERVOUS. I am a newer

doula, she is an experienced doula. Would I be the support she needed? I trusted her intuition that I was the right fit for her. Our friendship has grown, and being present at her birth to support her and JD, and to document her story is still such an honor to me. Lydia's goal for a healing, redemptive birth was realized and it was brought forth with so much love, support, and faith. This was truly an incredible birth to witness. When Lydia's "guess date" came and went, I was, of course, on high alert. When I went to bed the evening of Saturday, December 7th, I fell asleep and began having a dream about JD (Lydia's husband) desperately texting me that she was in labor and I was missing the texts and calls.... Next thing I know, my Fitbit was vibrating and I answered my phone to Lydia's voice telling me her water broke! I spent the night tossing and turning trying to get some sleep while waiting for her to let me know she was ready for my support. After a few phone calls back and forth, I left my house during the 5 o'clock hour to support Lydia in her home. By the time I had gotten there, her contractions had fizzled out again, so she decided she wanted to go to Mass before this baby came. It was the feast day of the Immaculate Conception after all. JD and I were hesitant, to say the least, but off to church we went.

Of course, during Mass her contractions began coming more frequently and stronger again, but it was clear we were still navigating early labor. When we got back to her house we did some doula-y things to encourage things to regulate some and pick up. Once again Lydia's contractions picked up then fizzled out. She took a little nap, and we all knew that this nap would be a turning point.

Shortly after waking up, Lydia's contractions came on stronger and much more frequently. We decided it was time to move on over the her birth location so that she could settle in, check progress, and hopefully relax enough for active labor to progress well. Once we arrived around noon, we learned Lydia was 4 centimeters dilated.