Emilia's Birth Story | Phoenix Birth Photographer

Emilia's birth was the first Cesarian birth I ever witnessed and photographed, and it was such an honor. Even though things didn't go as planned, Jen was still able to have a beautiful and powerful birth experience. This is her story. 


  • Emilia didn't quite come the way I had planned, but it was all beautiful in a completely different

    way. My family was there. Everything came together so fast and perfectly timed. Everyone

    made it and she came out happy and healthy and that's all that matters.

    I had wanted a beautiful home birth so badly. I fell in love with the photos and videos of these

    powerful mamas laboring naturally. Their strength and grace, I wanted to experience that, as

    terrifying as it was. My pregnancy was full of indecision about providers and location of my birth.

    It was filled with anxiety and excitement but I knew I wanted to have the benefits of a natural

    birth. I wanted that natural oxytocin to flood my system. I wanted to feel it in my soul that I had a

    baby. I wanted a good milk supply. I wanted daddy to catch his baby girl and for her to be put on

    my chest, cord still attached. I wanted to feel powerful and breathe my baby down. I wanted to

    do a good job, but I didn't get that chance.

    Our little girl picked her due date to start labor, but things weren't quite right. The contractions

    were too long and too close together, but I felt fine. My water finally broke the next morning at

    five am. I was thrilled because I didn't want to go overdue and need to be induced. I was so

    excited and felt ready to go into labor. I was prepared. I texted my midwife and excitement

    turned to worry. I was bleeding more than I should've been and I didn't know it wasn't normal.

    When she arrived and checked me, I was only 1cm dilated and baby flipped breech…. at 40

    weeks. My boyfriend had gone to work to get a few things done since we expected some time

    for early labor with my first birth. Next thing I knew, I was calling him telling him to meet me at

    the hospital. Jetta, my midwife, suspected a slight placental abruption. Shit. I thought if I was

    going to have a c-section it would be the easy way out. Boy, was I wrong.

    I poked my belly throughout that long car ride to St Joe’s, the place I was born over 31 years

    ago and the place where I began my nursing career. I wanted to feel my baby moving every

    second. I just wanted her to be ok.

    When Dr. Medchill performed the ultrasound, he confirmed her breech position and didn't

    visualize any active bleeding. However, considering that the abruption was a high probability

    and laboring would only cause more separation from the uterine wall, the best and safest option

    was a c-section. (He did offer to allow me to labor and deliver a breech baby, was extremely

    calm, supportive and put the decision in my hands.)

    I agreed to surgery. I cried and grieved the loss of a “perfect birth.” They wheeled me back after

    I looked down and said goodbye to my belly. My family had all been on their way and they gave

    me lots of hugs. I hugged my amazing midwife and my boyfriend and I went off to the OR. I am

    so thankful they allowed my photographer back, too. There is so much I never would've seen.

    The spinal block wasn't very painful. I wasn't afraid of surgery. I wasn't afraid of a c-section in

    general. A big part of me, and my boyfriend felt the same, was less afraid of a c-section than all

    the possibilities and unknowns with labor and birth. A c-section is controlled, calculated and

    seemed easy. 

    As the drugs kicked in, my legs started going numb. The rush came. The slight feeling of

    difficulty breathing. The loopy, high feeling. Some drowsiness. I watched in a tiny, crappy mirror

    above my head. Everyone in masks, I was otherwise blind to what was happening. They

    prepped my body and began to cut. I was in another reality. It all felt so strange. They cut and

    pulled and out came her butt, then came one leg and the other. She slipped out and froze. I

    froze. “Is she ok??” I asked. It seemed the world stopped and all were silent. Then… she

    moved. She cried and I sobbed. They held her above the drape and I sobbed some more. My

    boyfriend was thrilled and asked if he could go see her and leave my side for a moment. Of

    course. It seemed like an eternity before she came back to me. “Are they almost done?”

    She was brought over. I laughed with pure joy. I was in love. That moment she was placed on

    my chest was exactly what I had been hearing about. I lost it and tears flowed for love of my

    daughter. I could not believe how soft her skin was. I hugged and hugged. It was the most love I

    have ever felt in my life. C-section or not, birth is truly incredible.

    After that moment, I felt sicker and sicker. I asked them to take her and she went off to the next

    room with daddy. I tried to throw up but couldn't from the paralysis and ended up getting

    phenergan. I was so knocked out from that I could barely keep my eyes open. Dr. Medchill

    showed me my placenta where it had been separating from my uterine wall and had clotted. No

    doubt a continued labor would've led to an emergency. I am so fortunate I to have had an

    excellent midwife to keep us safe and make the right call to bring us in.

    The rest of the day was a blur as family came in and out. The love and support was more than I

    could ask for. I could barely hold and feed my baby but I did it. It wasn't what I wanted or

    planned, but we are safe. In the end, I am beyond thankful above all else for that and have

    beautiful memories of a very exciting birth in the hospital - the first day to a lifetime of love and


Anna Keith