From maternity pictures and birth announcements, to those adorable newborn baby shoots, photographing the journey to parenthood has become an important part of any baby book.
Now a new trend that brings the photographer right into the delivery room is gaining popularity. Plenty of parents-to-be are hiring birth photographers.
Savannah and Eric Rheude did just that for the birth of their second child, Ella June, at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton.
“The nurses said, ‘who do you want in here?’ I said my photographer, and they were excited about it,” said Rheude. “They did everything so wonderfully, and they were really great at making me feel comfortable.”
“We encourage and ask expecting moms what their wishes are,” said Mary Pulido, RN, Charge Nurse of the OSF Saint Anthony’s Women’s Pavilion. “To ensure a good patient experience, the staff continually communicates with each other so we are all aware.”
Little Ella June was born November 7 via a planned cesarean section. For Rheude, having mementos from Ella June’s first seconds of life, including a glimpse of what was happening in the waiting room, is something she says is precious to her and her husband.
“I just didn’t get as many moments captured with our first child as I wanted, and I wanted to capture my five year old’s face when she met her little sister for the first time. It was absolutely wonderful to go back and be able to see that,“ Rheude said.
Birth photography documents the labor and delivery journey from start to finish, using a professional photographer. Trish Bryant of Willow Creek Photography took the photos for the Rheudes. She says it’s a unique perspective that parents usually don’t get to see.
“It’s natural. It’s people with their true emotions and expressions; it’s capturing feeling,” said Bryant. “You capture as many moments as possible and let the birth process happen.”
Birth photography photos are typically candid, as opposed to posed newborn or family photo sessions.
“Looking through for the first time, I teared up,” said Rheude. “I am so grateful we could have these moments captured – moments that most new parents never get to see. Now I can look back any time I want.”
“Photographs are important,” added Pulido. “You can never recover those missed photos and missed moments.”
And with the camera wielding responsibilities off of dad’s shoulders, it meant a better birth partner for mom.
“Usually people take photos with their phones – and a bunch of different people are taking them. Some get lost in the shuffle. Having a photographer you are ensured you have every memory from A to Z. You can count on one person, and she did her job so well,” said Rheude.
Before hiring a birth photographer, you should check with your hospital’s labor and delivery policies. At OSF Saint Anthony’s, birth photographers are welcome in the delivery room, as long as it remains safe for mom and baby.
“We strive to make each new family’s experience positive by anticipating their needs and following through with their wishes and plans. It’s exciting to have moms share their experiences with others and then return to OSF Saint Anthony’s for their future bundles of joy,” said Pulido.
Timing is also important. Bryant suggests expecting parents first make contact with a birth photographer in the second trimester of the pregnancy.
“I get the due date and then stay in contact with the mother,” said Bryant. “I would then get a call when it’s ‘go time’ and would come to the hospital as soon as I can.”
For more information about OSF Saint Anthony’s Women’s Pavilion or to schedule a tour, please call (618) 465-4528. To learn more about birth photography and photographer Trish Bryant, contact Willow Creek Photography at firstname.lastname@example.org.