Lisa Robinson-Ward is a California-based photographer who specializes in weddings and portraits, but knows a great opportunity when it presents itself.
Robinson-Ward and her husband are parents of a 9-year-old son and had been trying for another child for years. They had all but given up after two miscarriages when they got a welcome surprise: Lisa was pregnant again.
Determined to photograph herself giving birth, Robinson-Ward felt it would keep her mind off of labor pain and help her stay calm and focused during the birth. The big unanswered question was “would she be able to hold and focus her camera during labor?”
After on and off contractions lasting a week, her water broke at 3 a.m. but the couple was ready with Lisa’s bag packed. Grabbing that – and her camera – they made the thankfully short drive to the hospital.
Between contractions, Lisa captured pictures of her surroundings: the IV, the monitors, the birthing room. Her pain was intense at this point, until she got an epidural. She says that “good pain management” helped the 14 hours of labor fly by.
Early on she had asked her doctor if it was alright for her to photograph herself giving birth. He agreed it was, but was still amazed to walk into the room and see her with the camera held up to her face.
Even when it became time to push, Robinson-Ward was snapping shots! She brought the camera to her face and clicked, not knowing for sure what images she was getting but knowing that the action was helping her focus on pushing the baby out.
Now when she looks at those photos, she says that she can remember exactly how she felt in each moment.
One special picture captures her husband’s face and his happy tears as he sees his new daughter for the first time. Another shows the baby as soon as she was delivered and immediate skin-to-skin contact when Lisa breastfeeds baby Anora for the first time.
Even grandma got into the act! Robinson-Ward handed off her camera to her own mom right after Anora was delivered, and grandma made the most of her opportunity to be the photographer.
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