The Birth of Kezia | Houston Birth Photographer + Birth Film
Houston Birth Film & Photos by Allison Redmon Photography + Films
Taking Birth Photos and making a Birth Film in Houston, TX was never in my plan for the 2019 but sometimes the best things happen during the unexpected. The photos and birth story you’ll read below are for my beautiful sister, Lindsey Leeper. She and her husband, Steven, were expecting their second child and I was beyond honored to be asked to make a Birth Film and take photos of the experience. Instead of giving my impressions of that incredible evening, however, I’ve decided to share Lindsey’s own words of the story of her birth.
One small technical note: Filming this birth was the priority for me over photographing it. Which means in any given moment, I filmed the moment first then if I had time, I grabbed a photo of it. I’ve included both the film and a few favorite photos below.
“The Birth Of Kezia Maine”
as told by Lindsey Leeper…
“I thought I was going to be pregnant forever. Literally. I was 3 cm dilated at my 38 week appointment, so surely the baby was going to come soon.
Flash forward to 41 weeks + 4 days.... still pregnant!
We tried all the things to progress labor. Nothing was working, and I wasn’t showing any overt signs of impending labor, aside from my usual Braxton Hicks. My OB-GYN, knowing full well my wishes for a natural labor & delivery, made me schedule an induction at 42 weeks, but I was hoping and praying that wouldn’t need to happen.
The night of the 28th, I was having some uncomfortable contractions in the middle of the night, and into the morning of the 29th. They were only coming every 45 minutes, however more painful than Braxton Hicks, so I went ahead and had a good friend take my son to school, and asked Steven to stay home that day “just in case”.
The contractions were still every 30-45 minutes for the better part of the morning. I took a nap after lunch, and they fizzled our to every 60-90 minutes. I thought to myself, “Ugh, not today I guess.”
I went about my afternoon, feeling guilty I made my friend carpool our son to school, and that I made my husband stay home from work that day. I ordered Thai food to be delivered for dinner, thinking maybe an extra spicy bowl of Pad Thai would kick things in to gear.
At 5:25pm, my husband and son were at the park, and I started feeling some moderate cramping that wouldn’t let up. I texted him, “I think you should come home.”
He soon arrived home, I retreated to my room, dimmed the lights, found a comfortable position on my birth ball, and turned on music to “Lauren Daigle.” I texted my mom to come over and be on toddler duty in case this was it.
I remember thinking to myself though, “this can’t be labor...why am I calling her to come now? I’ll feel bad if she comes all this way in 5:00 traffic for a false alarm.”
I then text my Doula, Tatiane, at 6:00pm just to let her know the changes I was feeling, that contractions were a lot more uncomfortable and harder to talk through. She arrived at my house at 7:30pm, and I am still in denial that this is actual labor, despite the pain.
She guides me through contractions, giving me optimal positions, counter pressure, and encouraging words to get though each one, one at a time. She quietly guides Steven through how he can best comfort and help me get through the pain. At one point, my son comes in my room and brings me a pillow, his sweet voice saying “Here you go, momma.”
I could tell my Doula wanted me to go to the hospital soon, but she let it be my decision , and said “let’s wait one hour, until 9:00, and see where we’re at then.”
I agreed and the hour seemed to pass pretty quickly. Contractions we’re picking up in intensity and duration.
“How am I going to get in the car?” I thought... “this is why people have babies at home!”
We managed to get loaded in the car, and it was the longest 4 minute drive in my life. After few choice expletives and even trying to convince my husband I should be the one driving, we made it one exit up the freeway to the hospital.
My doula told us to park the car in lieu of pulling up to the entrance, so that I could walk and continue to progress labor. In my head it made sense, but oh was I really wishing for curbside drop off and a wheelchair!
At 9:30pm, we finally arrived to check in. My eyes were closed the entire time, but a triage nurse held my hand and guided me to the triage room. I tried to ensure her I was, in fact, in labor and needed a room right away. She insisted on checking me to make sure I didn’t have to be sent home. Well I proved her wrong as I was already in transition, at 7cm dilated, and really not in the mood to lay flat on my back during her exam and a series of 20 questions.
We made it to my room, and then began an array of further questions and a slew of nurses trying to get blood samples and signatures, all while contracting every 1-2 minute, and not having it with the nurse asking me to stay still attempting to put in a saline-lock.
The next hour was the most intense - insane pain.
So. Much. Screaming.
I felt slightly embarrassed how loud I was yelling, but felt I didn’t have any other choice! My doula guides me through breathing, and my husband by my side letting me squeeze his hand as hard as I needed . There were no breaks in between contractions, and all I wanted was to get that baby out. I felt so much like I couldn’t go on any more, but I was the one who had to do the work.
I heard in the distance “9cm” and knew I was really close.
I opened my eyes for probably the first time in a few hours, and saw more nurses in front of me getting the room prepped for delivery, now knowing it must be time.
I started feeling an intense urge to push, followed by the words, “wait till your doctor gets here! He’s on his way!”
At that point I didn’t care who caught the baby, as long as it was someone. They increased the temperature in the room so it would be warm when baby came. My husband was in charge of putting ice chips in my mouth, but because of his nervous energy, he kept a missing and they would slide down my neck. I probably had some choice words at the time. Ha!
My wonderful OB, Dr. Cuong Nguyen, arrived quickly, and just 5 minutes of pushing later, at 10:55pm our baby girl was born. It was an indescribable pain, and when she was finally born, the most amazing feeling of relief. I think I yelled out “thank God that’s over!”. She was laid skin to skin on chest, the most surreal and wonderful feeling in the world.
‘Kezia’, named after her great-grandmother on my husbands side. ‘Maine’ is an extremely meaningful place to both of us, and we just loved the two names together!
We spent the next few hours, just the three of us, studying and learning our girl. She was so beautiful and we were still in shock that we had a daughter!
I was so thankful I was able to achieve a completely natural hospital birth, which wouldn’t have been possible if not for my incredible doula, husband , and my OB that was very much on board with all my wishes. I felt so overwhelmed and empowered after giving birth, and completely surprised myself that I actually pressed on through the intensity of it all. What a beautiful, raw, surreal experience.
We were so excited for our son Patrick to meet her. He came the next day, and was just the sweetest holding and kissing her. “