Updated: Feb 27, 2019
When I got the call from Mariana that it was time to join her, I was at a retreat in the woods with a big group of birth workers. Driving out to Surrey from North Vancouver with my doula partner, Lisley, it felt pretty special to be heading to be with this growing family with a big group of fired up doulas cheering us on. We were met by Jorge, Mariana's mother and a close friend of hers who had popped over to check on her and ended up staying for the entire labour, completely enthralled by the process. After working hard all day, the shower had become a space of relief and comfort. Mariana laboured in there, fully focused on her body, moving with the surges as they came, being tended to and supported by those she had invited into the birth space with her.
Something I really treasure in my job as a doula and birth photographer, is getting to watch other people experience birth and often for the first time. Like the friend who just popped by with some snacks to check in and wait with you until the doula arrives, but ends up staying. Rubbing your back, whispering words of encouragement, refreshing your water, just sitting and being a calm presence. I love getting to watch the wonder, awe and respect overflow from the other people in the room as they get swept up in the moment. We moved out of the shower, finding the positions instinctively that made sense and I watched people move in and out of the space, offering the support they could best give. And then Mariana and Jorge stayed close as the sun set, when she knew it was time to make our way to the hospital.
Little Olivia still had quite the journey to make as Mariana laboured through the night. The next morning we all got to delight in her arrival. What a joy, seeing this little person who you have known for so long, now face to face.