When To Contact Your Birth Photographer
Dallas/Fort Worth Birth Photographer and Videographer
This is quite literally the most common question asked when you’re pregnant and nearing your estimated due date! Since the answer is not black or white, it is one that requires thorough explanation. When do you call? How do you know if it’s important enough to wake us up? What if it’s just more braxton hicks? …and I get it! I’m one of those people too, I can’t force myself to text/call anyone over the weekend or passed 8pm unless it’s an emergency. Many of us don’t want to disturb others in their sleep at 3am when it’s just a false alarm… but then what if it isn’t?
If you’ve hired me, or another local birth photographer to document your birth, keep reading!
1. Frequent early updates
The main goal is usually making sure your birth photographer arrives while you are still in labor, and not after the baby is born! In order for that to happen, an early heads up with consistent communication is required. Just like other birth photographers, doulas, and midwives, I live on-call 24/7 and rarely get a moment in between where I’m off-call. The best way to live the on-call life is to simply continue living my life normally. It’s impossible for any of us to sit and wait for your text/call saying you’re in labor and it’s time to come, and I don’t think you’d want us to do that either! Because of this, the more information you provide the better!
Now this doesn’t mean I completely cancel all my plans when you’ve reached out to me, it just means I proceed with caution. I will still go to all my appointments and scheduled meetings, but I will do so with my equipment with me and prepared to have to leave in the middle of it.
Because majority of birth workers have children themselves, behind your birth team is another team waiting and on-call. I have a 3 year old daughter who requires childcare before I leave to your birth. If I receive multiple early updates before I have to actually jump in my car and go, I can better prepare my own team at home and check with who’s available the next few days.
Precipitous births: There are some rare instances where a Mom might have her baby only 45 minutes after the first contract (Yes, it’s totally happened to another local birth photographer! Read the story here). So what do you do if you’re known to have precipitous births? Report other things, like how your prenatal appointment went, if you feel different today or you notice yourself nesting with a boost of energy, or that your midwife/doula is headed over to check on you. No matter what the change is, it can be just enough for us to make it!
2. Active Labor
My general rule for when it’s a good time for me to head to your birth is when you are in active labor. However, active labor looks different for everyone! Some women completely zone out into labor land while others are cracking jokes and laughing their baby out. So how do you determine if it’s the right time for me to come? It’s when you know for sure your contractions are not stopping. The biggest determining factor for me on when I enter your birth space is that myself or my camera do not become a distraction in any way. Your birth space is truly a sacred place, and if I ever feel like I’m interrupting the process I will remove myself. So, to make things easier I prefer to arrive when the chances of me interrupting your space are low. If you feel comfortable with me to be there super early, great! If you would prefer me to wait until you reeaally enter labor land, that’s good too!
3. Give me 2 hours
Most of the time with an early heads up, I get to births anywhere from 20-40 minutes (refer to #1). If I don’t have an early heads up, plan for it to take me 2 hours to get to your birth starting from the time you call me. Of course this all depends on where your birthing location is! If you’re right down the road then it won’t be nearly as long. However, if I haven’t received any updates or warnings from you and all I get is a phone call that says “please come now!”, expect it to take me 2 hours.
4. Your birth team
If you still aren’t sure of when to call me, add me to a group text with the rest of your birth team so I can help you make the decision. If you are having your doula come over to determine where you stand, ask them to contact me and let me in on the scoop of what’s going on. If you’re still in doubt, having me meet you at your birthing location or having me leave when the rest of the birth team does will always be a safe option!
7. Texting vs. Calling
Text message updates are always allowed! I’m also one of the rare few who usually wakes up to the sound of a text message, so if your message isn’t super urgent please wait until normal waking hours to text me. However, if you have some pretty important news – like your water breaking – sending a text at any time of the day or night is perfectly acceptable! While you can use texting as the main way of contact, if things are rocking and rolling and I’m not texting back, please call! I could have had a really long birth and am in a very deep sleep to where a text won’t wake me, so call if I don’t reply to your text and you need me!
6. Don’t sweat it!
Don’t ever feel like you are bothering me! Because you’re not! I absolutely love getting to know your family and don’t want to be a stranger to you – which is why I take every opportunity to meet with you in advance! My goal is not to be there for the shortest amount of time possible… My goal is to tell your full story from start to finish, whether it be 3 hours or 30 hours. If you are ever wondering if you should send me a text, the answer is always yes.
Fun fact: My most favorite amount of time to be at a birth hovers around 6-10 hours, and that’s only because there will be a variety in your images/video and you will get to relive your special story with more detail.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. We expect to be texted/called by you! We signed up for the on-call life, therefore we expect to be woken up. We leave our phones on for a reason! and guess what else?? We enjoy it! We love hearing our phones bing at the sound of a text with you saying you’re having labor signs! Being on your birth team gives us a sense of pride and joy, and we love supporting women in this incredible process to motherhood!