Ashlee Wilkenson, a 29-year-old mother of five, recently gave birth to her fifth child at home in Colorado. She wanted to capture this special moment and hired Denver-based birth photographer Monet Nicole, who specializes in photographing the birth of children in various settings.
Ashlee had experienced four previous childbirths, with her first in a hospital and the following three at home. Her previous labors had varied in duration and intensity, with her fourth being the most painful from the start. Despite her experience, she went into her fifth labor expecting the unexpected, but with a clear idea of what she wanted, if possible: for her husband to catch the baby and for some peace and quiet immediately after the birth.
Ashlee had been feeling uncomfortable for weeks leading up to the birth, but she was anticipating a 41-week pregnancy based on her first and third pregnancies. However, at 39 weeks, she went to bed as usual, only to wake up 45 minutes later with intense contractions and the feeling that the baby was coming.
Fortunately, Ashlee had discussed with her midwife what to do if labor progressed quickly, since she had experienced rapid labor before. Her midwife, who lived 45 minutes away, arrived promptly, so they did not have to rush to the hospital. Ashlee’s contractions were close together, and despite everyone understanding how close she was to giving birth, she was mentally prepared for another 14 hours of labor like her previous one.
Ashlee got into the bathtub, and for a brief period, there was relative calm. However, the contractions returned with full force, and it was evident that these were not dilation contractions, but rather contractions for delivering the baby.
Ashlee got out of the tub, and within a contraction and a half, her husband caught their baby. She held him and looked at him for a while, feeling overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. She was amazed by how chill he was and how he had such a sweet demeanor from the very beginning.
It’s hard to describe in words just how amazing it was for Ashlee to have her baby in her arms after such a long and hard pregnancy. She soaked up all the snuggles and cried tears of joy and relief, thankful that they had made it through. Her other children slept through the whole thing, and when they woke up, they were excited to say hello to the new baby before going off to her sister’s house.
Now that Ashlee has given birth five times, she has learned to expect the unexpected and to be okay with it when things don’t go as planned. Her heart is full, and she feels proud of herself for how everything unfolded.
Looking back on the birth of her baby, Ashlee sees the hand of a faithful God written all over it. She feels grateful for the support of her midwife, husband, and birth photographer, who captured the beautiful and intimate moments of her birth experience.
Through Monet Nicole’s photographs, Ashlee’s birth story has been immortalized in a way that she can share with her children and loved ones for years to come. Her story is a testament to the power of childbirth, the resilience of mothers, and the beauty of life.