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Ink Birth

As this beautiful birth unfolds, I will share some thoughts. The story will wait, however, until mom writes her own story.

NOTE: The birth pictures are extremely graphic. Amazingly so.   

Danielle and Craig. Danielle depended on Craig throughout labor and the birth... they were so wonderful to witness. 

Danielle had a great deal of back pain and loved having pressure on each side of her spine. The baby was anterior when I did vaginal exams, so the pain was a mystery (probably a rotating/wiggling head).

I love this picture! Danielle is 5 feet even, so floated in a very small amount of water as well as was able to stretch out in the Aqua Doula. I "saw" this picture before taking it. She looks so beautiful - high! 

 Sipping soup. 

Craig "with" Danielle. During the times that Danielle wasn't (physically) touched, she was adoringly touched

We watched the baby's head eeking out slowly. I love this picture because her labia look like a vessel (which it is!) pouring life's liquid (which it is!).

As these photos unfold, watch how the labia "tightens" around the head. Mom did not have any perineal tears and the only touching that was done was by mom herself. During the birth, she said she was afraid of tearing, so Donna (my apprentice) encouraged her to touch when she needed to, that her body would guide her. Look! It did! 

 In labor-land... high, high, high!

(The photos are in chronological order... she moved around at the beginning of pushing, but eventually settled on hands and knees.) 



 Watch as you can "see" the head through the labia.


During a push.

 Inbetween pushes... note how the head recedes somewhat.





 See the bubble that popped? How cool is that?



 See how the labia is now wrapped around the baby's head? Our bodies are so great.


 The birth of the head.

After this photo, the baby tried to breathe and Donna was there to catch since dad didn't want to (in the moment). As a mentor, it is my responsibility to assist, not photograph, so the next photos come after the birth.

 She's still so high!

 The new mom and dad.

 Zoey Irene, 6 pounds 6 ounces... exactly what both of her parents weighed when they were born! 

 Using the cord bander - it puts a tiny rubber band on the umbilical stump. Much more comfortable than the standard plastic clamps.

 Welcome to the Earth, Zoey! 


Famous Tattoo Artist Craig Driscoll holding his beautiful 2 hour old daughter Zoey Irene. Mama Danielle was showering.

I'll be taking family photos tomorrow and will post those when completed.

I loved this birth! I look forward to sharing the details - after mom shares hers. 

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Reader Comments (51)

Thank you so much for sharing these pictures Barb they are absolutely amazing :D

November 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterloz

Wow, just beautiful!!

November 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinn

Absolutely amazing - outstanding photography of a lovely birth :)

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGab Sinokula

Those photos are beautiful! Looks like everything went just swimmingly.

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMottles


Congratulations to that new family. Our bodies are so amazing, aren't they?

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDora

Absolutely stunning photos! What an amazing birth of a beautiful wee girl!

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

I am so, so glad the pictures are moving you all as they did me.

It's an interesting experience, being a photographing midwife. I never feel pulled, but am very clear about my lines... though, as with this birth, wish I could have gotten the whole baby coming out. It's the way it goes sometimes, right?

The dad said there were times my taking pics was annoying (I use a flash), but mom said she never even noticed. On the heels of dad saying it was annoying, he also said he is thrilled there are pictures now... they have them... and that is priceless.

I don't think there are many photo essays that demonstrate any better than these the maneuvering the labia does to allow for the baby's head to be born. Looking at first like there is no way a head can come out without tearing and then witnessing the beauty of the body - Danielle's body (a representation of women's bodies!) - as her labia spreads and opens, embracing the baby's head, her body's perfection witnessed by us all.

I am so, so glad you all "see" what I saw in the photos. No words can thank Danielle for her lack of modesty in allowing me to share these pictures.

November 2, 2008 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I'm so blown away.
Please Thank the parents, I think anyone who see these photos is deeply appreciative of the parents allowing you to document the baby's emergence into the world.

I love the photo of moms tattoo on her fingers gently touching, how generational is that image.
I'm 52, none of us had tattoos on our finger when we gave birth.

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdew

Beautiful, just beautiful.

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCG

these are amazing and beautiful and inspiring and wow wow wow! makes me wish i'd had a bird's eye view of my own birth. thanks to you and the parents for sharing.

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpakou

Amazing. However, I don't consider it a birth high so much for me. This mom might. It's more like concentration an athlete might have to utilize/store/apply energy where and when needed. I usually think of contractions like hills I must climb, and I need to reach the peak and it will get easier once at the peak. In between, as I get closer to birth, I just relax in between which is not a high but a relief and a time to store energy for the next one. Of course, when I'm out of control (like I was a bit last birth) I might have a desperate fear look on my face. However, in at least 4 of six of the births, I had no fear only concentration and relaxing to get through it. I do somehow enjoy the process and initially have elation and nerves. Wonder if that momma would say it's a high?

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

WOW! Thank you thank you thank you for sharing these AMAZING photos!

November 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCorin

I love these birth photos! Fantastic job to you Barb for the photography, to the mom for allowing you to photograph her amazing birth, to the dad for being such a wonderful supportive part of the birth! Just amazing!

November 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteratyourcervix

Lovely. Another beautiful, inspiring, holy event. Bless them. What an absolutely gorgeous family. Pretty baby, too.

November 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

Echoing what everyone else has said, these photos are *amazing.* Thank you for sharing them with us and thanks to Danielle for allowing us to view the beauty of her daughter's birth!

These made my day :)

November 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Thank you!

November 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermegan

What amazing pictures and an inspiration as I'm 19 weeks pregnant! Thank you for posting and thanks to mom and dad for sharing. Just out of curiosity, how big was baby?

November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

She was 6lbs 6oz and 19 inches.
the exact same as my husband and I!
i would say that i was high, still coherent for sure, but the endorphin rush was really intense.
i will be posting a birth story on my blog in the next week or so.
thanks for the comment everyone, they make my day!

November 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJackieD

Thanks for sharing those. Amazing, amazing shots. Such a beautiful family!

November 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Your photos take my breath away, they are beautifully moving!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What a gift!

November 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Kilty

What a beautiful family. Life, love, earth, nature and art all tangled up.
This fall in the "proof some things are right with the world" category. Thank for the uplift.
Congratulations, health, and much joy to the new parents.

November 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCaliOak

WOW. I am captivated by the step-by-step pics of the crowning. Just breathtaking. It seems silly and redundant for me to say that it looks like her body was made for this....because of course it is! But no matter how many times I see a baby come out of a vagina, it still amazes me. Wow wow wow. Please thank the parents for allowing you to share these incredible photos with us.

I have no photos of my own labor, but I'm sure I looked exactly like this mom did. "In the zone." My mind wasn't even attached to my body...it was floating around in a corner watching while my body gave birth all on its own.

November 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Beautiful. Unhindered, uninterrupted, uninhibited. Perfection.

November 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAqua

This will be my first homebirth, thank you so much for allowing these photos to be taken, I have never seen anything more naterual or harmonious, hopefully my 2 eldest dd will think the same thing, as they will be attending the birth (if their not at school).

November 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGlutton4Punishment

WOW amazing photos - I can physically feel the intensity radiating from Danielle and Craig. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on the birth of Zoey Irene.

November 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSamby

so. very. beautiful.

now i really want to have another baby....

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentererika

Wow, those are amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing.

November 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermaria

Wow, that was amazing! Thank you for sharing. Welcome to the world Zoey!

November 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdean

Those photos were amazing! Thank you for sharing... they were beautiful.

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

beautiful pics Barb! So inspiring!

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

What happened to the pics? I really wanted a friend of mine who is considering birth options to see these, but it looks like the links got messed up?

Thanks for posting :)

January 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLara

That was the weirdest thing! I don't know what happened, but now have to go check the other posts and see what happened to those. Thank you for pointing it out! Good thing I have each birth's pics set aside in order!

January 13, 2009 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Simply breath taking pictures! Our bodies are designed so well and you have showed us just how well they work.
Congratulations to the family!

February 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoretta Anderson

Thank you for sharing these amazing photos! A real photographic testament to TRUST our bodies!

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjm

Well done to all 3 of you. I have 2 beautiful children and have never seen childbirth so close up or in such wonderful detail! It makes me feel proud to be a mum and at ease with the whole natural process. These are wonderful pictures that you both should feel proud of!

Thankyou. x

March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I just got referred to these wonderful birth photos by Kya Rose,an ld online friend in the natural birthing world. (and so is barb.) gloriously and exhilaratingly inspiring, yes...how strong you are Danielle! and now generous of you to share these most personal images to strengthen other women and their families...thank you thank you. hope you, your partner, and your beautiful child ar doing well.

April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudith

when i was watching all the images, i realy surprised and sweting out. very nice images

April 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchef harveer


I like the pic where Danielle laid on Craig chest. It's so moving.
Congratz to ur family.

May 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergun32

I am sitting here in awe, amazing and beautiful! I can not wait until my first births as a doula :-) - thank you and thanks to the family for sharing this moment :-)

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Absolutely lovely! Thanks! I'm going to link to it!!

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

I would like to thank you for publishing these photos, and a huge thanks to the mother for allowing her birth to be photographed and published.

I was planning a HBAC for April/May and I drew encouragement and inspiration from this post. I have it saved in my bloglines and I looked at it at least once a week for a few months leading up to the birth. After having a traumatic c/s I had trouble believing babies really do come out of vaginas. I couldn't visualise myself actually birthing a baby naturally and that really bothered me. I wanted, needed, to be able to see it happen in my mind. This blog post became almost a form of meditation for me to persuade my brain that my baby could come out of my vagina.

I had an amazing unhindered water homebirth. My baby was indeed born vaginally and it was the single greatest day of my life. My baby son is now 3 months old, and my first son witnessed his little brother's birth. Thank you for helping me to believe in my body. xx

July 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTanja

Tanja: What a beautiful, kind comment. I sent it directly to the mom in the photos so she would be sure to see it. I am SO happy for your HBAC! Thank you so much for taking a moment to let us know your experience. Congratulations!

July 27, 2009 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I know this was posted a long time ago but I just came across your website and I must say this is breathtaking! Mother of 3, last birth not being what anyone would imagine! Then to top it off my son spent 29 days in the NICU where the last 8 days was for "observarion" <<cough cough>> BS!!!! When you have insurace the docs will milk it for all they can! Congrats mama for being such an amazing woman and showing us how it's really done!!!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermiz angie

Giving birth to a child is a very tough one and very painful,Thanks for posting these rare pictures .

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbest online roulette

As usual, Barb, I'm blown away but what you've captured, here. Gorgeous, precious pictures. Fantastic. Thanks for brightening my morning!

August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah C

JUST amazing!! WOW!

June 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim Mosny, CPM

What a beautiful birth! Loved the pics! It's always so amazing to see a baby's come out- like a magic trick!

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChrista C

Incredibly gorgeous photos. And especially wonderful of them to be willing to share them.

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertara

This is so moving. I love actually seeing what our bodies can do. You really can't get the full picture when it's happening to you. I am considering a midwife and water birth for my 2nd and this just may have solidified it for me.

Thank you so much for sharing

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Very late commenting on this as I have just discovered your blog. Me and my husband are starting trying to conceive and these pictures are truly fascinating to look at, a great amount of thanks to the parents for allowing us to see these powerful photos.

At the risk of sounding like a dunce, the liquid in the first photo, is this the waters breaking? The same for the photo of baby's head being born. Also, is it unusual for a baby to look so clean when being born, I know the depiction is often one of the baby being covered in blood, vernix and such.

I do apologise for no doubt sounding rather stupid.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlisha

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