Birth Photography | Liemè Graaff

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.”- Isaiah 43:1

Birth Photography is sometimes hard, most of the times the hours are extremely long. They take you away from your own family in order to capture the beginning of a new family. At times it could seem that the sacrifices you make, are just too great. Then you get to be a part of the birth of little Liemè Graaff……

When Lulindie originally contacted me for birth photography, I was a little sad that her due date was the 25th of December. You see, that is our annual family holiday time. I met Lulindie at the birth of her nephew Aaren in 2015 and was already booked for the birth of her twin nieces, in a few months time. In my heart I knew, there is no way that I could miss this one….

Lulindie and I started planning around this actually huge obstacle. Each of us hoping that the little one would make her appearance a little later than planned. Lulindie’s family were on holiday over the same time period than I was. Nevertheless we planned around this and agreed that I will fly in from wherever I am and there is the possibility that I might miss it all together.

As I was packing the last things for our camping holiday, I spoke to Lulindie on the 15th of December. Her midwife were happy and baby was perfect. She even thought that this little one might just wait for her Granny to get back from their holiday on the 30th. Relieved at the news we left the morning of the 16th, our wedding anniversary, at 02:00 in the morning. As was expected the roads were extremely busy, but we had a save journey. Now for setting up camp!

Those whom have camped with me before, know this no quick job. Although I LOOOOVE camping, I hate struggling. So, when we go camp, I pitch every fold UP table I can, closets, basins, you name it! As I was unpacking the last of the suitcases, kids fed and in bed, I got the message from Lulindie…. “Lyk my Liemè is haastig” Long story short, 20min later I got a flight and was on my way back to JHB.

This HBAC (Home Birth after C Section) was one of those life changing experiences, one that can never be explained to anybody.

Lulindie had to work really hard through this birth. There were some moments that you could really see her struggling, doubting and not knowing how this will end. But she never gave UP! There was something insides of her that urged her to go with it, to work with her body and not give up, everything was under control! Under His control! Oh and did I mention, she also had the amazing support of her husband Dirk, incredible midwife Elrika and fantastic doula Tertia. They helped her through this journey that she later described to me as being incredibly “stormy”.

In the early hours of the 17th Lulindie was fighting fatigue as her legs started cramping during contractions. As the last couple of leg cramps past, and the next contraction was building, Lullindie suddenly asked for her phone. She selected “Oceans” by Hillsong United. This was Lulindie, communicating the storm inside her, the fight she was fighting, the new beginning that was about to happen.

“….. lead me where my trust is without borders.Let me walk upon the waters. Wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander …..”

These lyrics were floating through the room and as Lulindie surrender this storm inside her to her Savoir, her daughter was born, and with her, new life, new beginnings, promises and the end of an era.

Liemè Graaff, you were called by your name!

xXx
Sam

 

 

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Vbac Birth Photography | Welcome Skylar

“It is said that women in labour leave their bodies… they travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, and return to this world together.” – Anonymous

First I think I have to explaining what a VBAC birth is. You will then understand the incredible strength this mom has shown throughout her delivery. VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Caesarean section. It’s the term used when you give birth vaginally, having had at least one baby born by caesarean section. There is risk involved here, however many women feel robbed after an unplanned C-section. Having a VBAC birth give them their power back.

This is the story of baby Skylar being collected in the stars and brought back to this world ….

Charlotte, Bruce and I met for coffee about 2 weeks before her due date. Now normally by this time (around 38 weeks) I am already on standby and we have done our “meet and greet”.

Once you meet Charlotte, your will understand that “normally” and Charlotte just don’t fit in the same sentence. I was taken by her strength, courage and determination. And knew that if anybody can deliver this rainbow baby* through VBAC it will be her.

This mom was in no rush to have her baby and she wanted her to “bake” as long as possible. There were also a couple of anniversaries her mom wanted her to miss, like her great grandmothers passing. Charlotte wanted her daughter to have her own special day.

Never the less by 42 weeks we all got a little impatient with this baby…. but she just needed a day or 2 more. At around 03:00 Wednesday morning things started to happened and by 06:00 Charlotte knew it was early labour and contacted her midwife. She was only 1cm dilated by the time they got to hospital at around 9 and decided that a few more hours of home labour sounded much better than an overdue hospital stay. They would return at around15:00 for a check up unless labour progress significantly.

Charlotte is a seamstress so she went about doing some work in between contractions. By 13:30 her water broke but she calmly first took a shower and then a lovely relaxing bath. Hubby timing the contractions. I met them at the hospital around 16:00 and we went to the birthing house around the corner from the hospital. She was dilated around 4cm and active labour would start anytime.

Just after 18:00, we were back at the hospital and contractions were intense enough that she knew her baby was on her way. Surrounded by her midwife, husband, mother and two sisters, she breathed, moaned, and visualized the clouds of Paris to get through particularly painful contractions. “We move in a pack” her mother said to me.

Bruce and the women in her life stood by her side, rubbing her back as she rocked, sat, and walked, trying to get the baby to move into position. Somewhere along the way she got in the bath for the 2nd time, working with each contraction. Riding each wave, bringing her baby closer.

Five hours later her midwife suggest more movement to help get this baby earth side. Charlotte was tiring as she spend some time in the birth chair. Bruce right behind her, her midwife right in front, coaching and soothing. You could see her reaching deep inside, reaching for strength that she did not feel and could not comprehend.

She was moved to a squatting position next to her bed, her sisters taking turns holding her hands, encouraging, comforting and motivating her to reach even deeper. She got terrible calve cramps that just showed how exhausted her body was.

After 4 hours of pushing, she was ready to give up. She wanted out… her body was tired, her mind forgot all the techniques and methods she wanted to apply. She could not stand the pain any longer. She wanted SOMEBODY to do something. But within minutes she realised that no one could do anything. It was up to her, and solely her, to push this baby out.

She closed her eyes and reached into the darkness, into reserves she did not know she had, in order to bring her daughter into the world. At 04:20 am Skylar was born Kiwi assisted. A successful by VBAC.

If you have missed their birth slideshow, click HERE for the link

xXx
Sam

 

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*a rainbow baby is a child who is born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant/child loss — the rainbow after the storm.