Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Seattle Birth Photographer “Honored” To Photograph Birth September 9, 2009

Dear NursingBirth,


I came across your blog and I thought you might be interested in seeing the images from the recent home birth I photographed.  I am a professional photographer,  mostly I do portraiture work with mothers and newborns but occasionally I photograph birth.  I love the change of pace and the adrenaline rush : )   I am also a natural birth advocate and gave birth to my son at with a midwife at a free standing birth center.  We are planning to have our next baby at home.  The popularity of birth photography has increased dramatically over the last year – I think signaling a shift in how we think about birth.


Here is a link to my blog post about the birth


There is a slideshow with all the photos set to music linked at the bottom of the page.  Just scroll down and click the link that says >>The Birth of Waldron Dain Peterson<<.  Take care and happy blogging!



Emily Weaver Brown




Dear Emily,


Your pictures are gorgeous!!!  Makes me want to move to Seattle and have a baby!!  Good luck with your home birth plans and have fun trying for #2!!!  Thank you for the link to your website as I know many of my readers love to read other women’s empowering birth stories and while a photo slideshow isn’t technically a birth story, a picture is worth a thousand words!!


While watching Waldron’s birthday slideshow I was so overcome with positive emotions like happiness, awe, empowerment, and especially a deep respect for our strength and abilities as women!  Some of my favorite pictures include:  (1) The one where the mother is bending over in the hallway, her husband is bracing her and her sister is rubbing her back.  I love how you can see the “family picture” in the background because you know that in just a short while they will have a new addition to the family!!,  (2)  The one where the mother is bending at her waist and then looks up with a smile.  She is either in transition or pushing but she still has a smile on her face, knowing what all of this hard work is for!!,  (3)  The “Moment” Shot where mom holds her baby for the first time and looks up at her husband with a face that says “I DID IT!” and “I LOVE YOU!”,  (4)  When “big sister” leans over the tub and is looking up like “Is that my brother!?!”,  and finally (5)  The whole family sitting on the bed together, happy and healthy!!


Keep up the good work!!


All My Best,






Excerpt from Birth Photography at


“The birth of a child is one of the most significant and beautiful events in life.  I am always honored when I am invited by families into these very intimate moments to document their memories.  The first moments of life are so precious…the first breath, the first cry, the first time your baby looks into your eyes.  I love documenting these moments for my clients and I know that they will treasure them forever.  The birth of a child is one of the biggest defining moments in your life and you will not regret having it photographed.  Printed images are stronger than memory can ever be and you will be so thankful that you have them to hold onto for your children, your grandchildren, and their children.”


In the blog section of her website, photographer Emily Weaver Brown’s writes about why she loves  photographing births, how she met her client Jessica, and why Jessica chose a home birth.  Check out her original post for more information about how Jessica’s labor went!


“I loved photographing this birth for many reasons. It’s so difficult to be just an observer, and though I strive to photograph the birth as though I wasn’t even in the room I still get pulled in. Before a birth I meet with my client’s to discuss their wishes and get to know them. (I don’t want to be a complete stranger showing up one of life’s most intimate and raw experiences.) This meeting and the subsequent emails usually leads to friendship and before long I know all about their previous birth stories and all of their hopes and dreams for the birth that I will photograph. So I can’t help but cheer on the moms while they work hard to birth their babies. With Jessica it was no different. Jessica is actually a former client of mine who is now also a professional photographer. I know that she really values photography as an art form and that having the birth of her second child documented in photographs was really important to her.  But even more than that, I knew that the birth of Jessica’s oldest child did not go as she had hoped. She ended up with a healthy baby girl but also a lot of interventions that she didn’t want and it made her feel like she had failed. I had no doubt in my mind that Jessica would be able to birth her second baby at home naturally as she had planed but I so wanted it to go perfectly for her so that she would have a sense of redemption over all that happened during the birth of her daughter.”


Please visit and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see two more birth photography slideshows, both of which are hospital births.  Just curious, did any of you feel differently when watching the home birth slideshow vs. the hospital birth slide shows??  Why?


16 Responses to “Seattle Birth Photographer “Honored” To Photograph Birth”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Oh wow what a gorgeous and powerful picture 🙂 makes me wish we lived in Seattle I’d love to have her do some photos for our family 🙂

  2. Kathy Says:

    Yeah, the hospital birth pictures had a lot of “equipment” (IV pole, EFM, etc.) and the backgrounds looked sterile and institutional. The home-birth pictures — in addition to the mother looking more elated than the other two mothers, who just looked relieved… as well as the immediate baby-holding while the other two babies were isolated in their little plastic boxes (I guess you could say they were “isoletted”) — the backgrounds had family pictures in them. In total, the hospital-birth pictures had a higher percentage of “other” shots — other people, equipment, clocks; while the home-birth pix were almost all the laboring mom with just her dad and the doula or midwife (or whoever the female support was — sister?) — more personal.

  3. Tamara Says:

    I am SO glad that you posted this! I have been thinking about going into childbirth education, specifically Hypnobirthing and combining it with my photography skills so that I am a combo instructor and birth photographer. This site is perfect for me to go and check out, as well as give me the “kick in the pants” to get started. Thank you!!

  4. Beautiful and awe-inspiring! Let’s show this at Childbirth prep classes!!

  5. Jill Says:

    I feel like a jerk saying this, but I don’t like looking at hospital birth photos. There is always so much crap in there: machines, IVs, tubes, buttons, lights, those ugly gowns and linens, that terrible mid-90s motel-room decor. Mom usually looks like she’s been hit by a Mack truck. The baby is lost in her arms amidst white plastic bracelets, heplocks, and tape, with goo in his eyes. Dad is usually hovering awkwardly over the bed, one arm reaching over in an attempt to squeeze into the shot. It makes birth look like something that happens to you, not something you DO.

    Homebirth is the opposite. I love the raw, pure power in homebirth photography. There are no trappings or distractions. Just mom in the pool, birthing her baby, sometimes with dad in the water too. The contrast is so stark that I’ve had people who had no interest in homebirth, take a look at the photos from my birth and feel inspired to look into it for their next baby. Same with birth videos on Youtube. When I was pregnant with Jacob, I told a coworker I was having a home waterbirth, so she watched a few of them online and then told me that she wanted to do that too….and this was a girl who had informed me not long before that she was not interested in ever having kids! Imagery like this is very very powerful.

    Hospital birth photos, IMO, are kinda scary, and there is nothing all that inspiring about them. I’m glad I had no photos taken during Jameson’s “birth” because they would be too painful for me to look at.

  6. emilywbrown Says:

    Thanks Everyone,
    I totally agree about the aesthetics of hospital .v home or birth center birth. From an artistic stand point hospitals are just plain ugly! I am working on a website just for birth photography and when I do that I will put up descriptions about the births. The first slide show in my birth photography set the mother chose the hospital and she chose induction because she was having some sort of issues with her kidneys, the second the mom had planed a birth center birth but she went into labor at 32 weeks gestation it was really sad because it was not what she wanted but in the end she made the best of the situation. If you are interested in using the images / slide shows for childbirth classes I am more than happy to provide them to you at cost (just need to cover my expenses of putting them on DVD or in print) Just email me.

  7. Renee Says:

    So beautiful! Last night you had me angry, tonight I’m tearing up! You’re putting us on an emotional rollercoaster!

  8. talkbirth Says:

    I love the “I DID IT” shots too! Brings back beautiful memories 🙂


  9. Bethany Says:

    The Homebirth pictures are truly inspiring! The posture and facial expressions of the hospital v. homebirth women are completely different. I agree with the above comment that it’s a matter of passive v. active. Homebirth pictures always make me tear up for some reason 🙂

  10. EG Says:

    Oh, these are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Emily Says:

    I love the homebirth slideshow – it makes me cry (good tears!) The hospital birth photos are awful to look at, though. They bring back terrible memories and honestly, even the best photographer can’t make a hospital beautiful! I understand that some mothers have to birth in a hospital, but it makes me sad just the same.

    Nursing Birth, please don’t take this comment as a personal attack on you – I think you are WONDERFUL! I just think that ideally, birth should happen at home. And if it can’t, then I just hope that every woman gets a nurse like you.

    • NursingBirth Says:

      Emily, I fully support home birth and hopefully will be planning one with my husband when we conceive 🙂 I don’t take offense just because I work in a hospital!! 🙂 I certainly feel like a fish out of water on a daily basis at work. It is a constant battle with attendings, residents, anethesiologists, and other nurses (sometimes even parents) to practice and support evidenced based nursing/medicine as well as advocate for normal birth! Have you checked out my post entitled My Philosophy: Birth, Breastfeeding, and Advocacy? If not and you have time some time, check it out! 🙂

  12. Erin Says:

    I didn’t have any pictures taken of me during labor, but that was because for me labor was something private, and not to be interrupted by some relative with a flash going off in my face or the face of my new baby. Emily’s pictures, however, are something else entirely. I wish I had something like that of my birth and first moments with my baby. While I can understand people’s feelings about the aesthetics and experience of hospital versus home birth, however, I would like to say that I had an (unintentional) hospital birth with just about every intervention under the sun. And while we were both relieved because the whole thing was kind of scary, I felt ecstasy when they put him in my arms (which they did immediately, pre-cord cut).

  13. Where’s the homebirth slideshow? I just posted one of the hospital slideshows on my Facebook page, and I’d like to post the much talked about homebirth slideshow from the discussion above. Have the links changed? Please advise. 🙂

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