The One Where I Almost Caught a Baby

November 19, 2021


You read that right... I almost caught someone's baby. And I am not a midwife. Let me tell you about it.


My first time meeting with Bri and Tanner was via a zoom call to just kinda get a feel for each other and see if we were a good fit. I was totally on-board with their birth preferences, hopes, and plans from the get-go and felt like we connected well, so when they reached out about a week later and told me that they wanted me to be their doula-photographer (doulatog), I was thrilled! Also a little nervous because although I'd been to 30ish births in my life, I'd never been a doula for any of them before.


We had to jump into our meetings quickly because by the time she hired me, she was about 37.5 weeks along. We scheduled our first meeting for Tuesday, October 19 where we talked in-depth about what kind of experience they were hoping to have and their past birth experiences. The "plan" was to birth without pain-medication and to labor at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital to receive both doses of antibiotics for Group B Strep. Of course, we would have to kind of play that by ear. We also talked a bit about delayed cord clamping, which isn't a huge part of this story, but is handy info to have for later.


After about a week and a half, on Thursday night (October 28), we had our second prenatal appointment where we talked about and practiced different positions and pain-coping mechanisms.By the time we finished, I felt confident that I had done my very best to prepare Bri and Tanner for labor. Always good to feel like you've got a game plan prepared.


8 hours later...


I got a text at 5:10AM from Bri. She said that she had been having steadily progressive surges since her mucous plug came out at 2:45. She hopped in the bath and began meditating and basically labored throughout the entire night on her own. Oh, AND comforted her coughing 1-year-old back to sleep. ALL WHILE IN LABOR.


40 minutes after that text, she sent me another text and I decided to give her a call. A surge began during our short conversation that definitely sounded like a progressive one. As soon as it passed, I said, "It sounds like you could use some support. I'm going to get ready and head over." Bri and Tanner reached out to Bri's mom, Julie and told her she'd better head over, too.


While I was heading over, Bri continued laboring and at one point looked at Tanner and said, "I don't know if I can do this Babe." He reassured her that she was strong and capable and that she could do it, and gave her a couple of good hip squeezes during contractions for good measure.


About an hour later, I pulled up in front of their house, and before heading in, I offered a prayer to Heavenly Father and asked him to inspire me to know what to do in order to best serve Bri and Tanner. I also prayed that my Great Great Grandma Sarah Indiaetta Young (who was a midwife) would come to help, too. If you haven't heard about her, you should definitely look her up because she's pretty awesome.


I finished my prayer and let myself into the house. Tanner led me to their master bedroom where Bri was laboring and announced "Bri! Your best friend is here." Not gonna lie, I loved that.


Bri looked labor-tired. Not totally exhausted, but definitely tired. She had been laboring all night, repeating a few different affirmations through her mind over and over again, and envisioning herself blossoming like a flower, allowing her baby to descend towards delivery. Something she had learned from her Hypnobirthing class with Rachelle at Happy Birthing Co and that I highly, HIGHLY recommend.


I asked Bri how she was feeling and she said she couldn't get comfortable between surges. She was leaning on her bed at that time and I suggested laying on her side. She did, and felt relief pretty immediately... but only for about 30 seconds before the contractions started up again.


It can't have been more than a few minutes before Bri yelled "I feel her head!" Bri's bottoms were still on, so I said, "let's take off your pants," and helped her shimmy them off. Tanner had handed their younger son off to Julie who had just arrived and was able to help me get Bri's pants off. Once they were off, we could see the amniotic sack presenting before the baby! I had never seen this before and ran to grab my camera.


It was pretty obvious at this point that Bri wasn't going to be getting into any cars, so Tanner called for an ambulance. We were on the phone with them when Bri told us that she needed to push and that it burned.

"I feel her head!" I looked down and sure enough, there was baby girl's head!

"Alright, Bri. You're going to catch your baby." Unfortunately, Bri wasn't in the best position for catching her baby, so I looked to Tanner and said, "Tanner, come over here, you need to catch your baby." Immediately, he was there and ready. My camera and I were ready, too.


Watching Tanner and Bri work together to deliver their perfect baby girl into this world is something I won't ever forget. Bri completely surrendered to her birth, allowing her body to work exactly as it was made to do. Tanner put his hands down and gently guided his little girl into the world and up onto her mother's chest at 7:08AM. Everything that had felt like it was going a million miles a minute suddenly stopped. Baby girl was not crying, but Tanner could see that she was breathing, and I saw her beautiful eyes blinking. She had the roundest head and prettiest, squishy little face and perfect little ears. We all marveled at the miracle that had just happened. It was a moment of complete calm. An impenetrable bubble, or rather aura that surrounded Tanner, Bri, and their new baby girl.

And then I affirmed Bri's favorite Affirmation: "Bri, you are a bada$$.


Julie had gotten some towels warm and placed them on mom and baby. The EMT's arrived shortly after that, facilitated Tanner cutting the umbilical cord (I said, "looks like you got that delayed cord clamping after all!"), and Tanner got to hold his baby girl for a second time before handing her back to Bri as they wheeled her to the ambulance outside. 


*for those who remember, Bri tested positive for GBS however, the amniotic sack did not burst until Bri delivered her shoulders, making the likelihood of colonization very low.



I followed Bri and Tanner to the hospital in their car so that they would have one to come home in after the hospital and was allowed to enter to continue my support for Bri and Tanner. They were doing wonderfully, advocating for themselves and making sure that their desires were heard and that the nurses were explaining everything they did and receiving consent before doing them. I was grateful for the extra opportunity to capture their beautiful baby's face.


When it was finally time to leave, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude that I had the opportunity to attend this birth, that baby girl arrived without complication, and that I had been able to remain calm throughout the entire birth. I truly believe that Midwife Sarah Indiaetta was there with me, helping me to stay calm. I'm sure I didn't do everything right, and there is still a lot for me to learn as a doula, but I know that I will never EVER forget this experience, and Bri will never fail to inspire me.



Congratulations Bri and Tanner!



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Susan is a doula, birth photographer, and videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities in the East Valley including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a birth documenter for your birth? Visit susanjoyaz.com and leave an inquiry!

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