As a birth photographer, each chance I get to document a home birth is special, but this family holds a special place in my heart. I’ve had the honor of capturing the births of two of Brooke’s three children. In each case, she had a very special family member there to help her through the experience.
I remember with the first, the birth of her son Boyd, she had a sweet corgi by the name of Ryder. Ryder was so loving and caring. He would come and check on his mom and make sure everything was okay. From letting her hug him through the contraction to watching her as she walked through the pain outside. He gave her the space she needed but the love she wanted. Ryder did not get to see the birth of Berkeley but his brother Ranger was there to step in.
From the moment I walked in the door, Ranger was so excited. You could tell he knew something was happening. He quickly came in to greet me, then headed right back to the bedroom to be with Brooke as she labored. He was very curious as to what was going on. He laid under the bed watching her rock back and forth. He was a calming presence when the power and intensity of her contractions started. Every once in a while he would jump on the bed to give her a reassuring kiss to let her know she could do this. It was a beautiful thing to watch – the bond between mom and baby and man’s best friend. This made me take notice. It’s not something you see every day. Every moment I saw him interacting with Brooke I tried to take as many pictures as possible. I knew this was special.
When we moved to the birthing tub, Brooke progressed so fast. There were moments of laughter and moments of pain watching her overcome each contraction. Ranger sat on the couch watching her, making sure everything was okay. While Brooke held her husband Steve and her amazing doula Jenny helped her ride through each contraction, Ranger would come and give her another reassuring kiss then back to the couch he went. He knew she was in good hands so he waited patiently for the new baby to arrive. This birth was not like Brooke’s last birth. This one seemed more intense and harder to overcome but she did it with the help of her amazing birth team and her little doggie doula, Ranger.
Once sweet Berkeley was here everyone was overjoyed. IT WAS A GIRL! No one could believe it. Through all the commotion, little Ranger jumped up and ran right over to meet his new (and only) little sister. He loved her. He watched every moment from her getting weighed to her first outfit changed. He was so proud to see her and the work Brooke did.
When I got home to look through all the photos I was in heaven looking at all the beautiful moments from this birth. I wanted to laugh and cry while looking through them. They were perfect. When I sent the preview to Brooke, she had no idea he never left her side. It was so nice that I could capture that for her and she now can look back and see things she otherwise might not have noticed.
When I posted her preview on Facebook, I was overjoyed by the reaction it got. There were no reports of nudity/sexual content, no disapproving comments, and no one leaving my page. Birth is raw and it is something people aren’t used to seeing. It is something that does not need to be hidden though. With Ranger’s story, I have had only positive feedback. People were seeing the beauty of birth and accepting it as nothing but heartwarming. I am so thankful I could share the beauty of life and the strength of this strong women through the eyes of Ranger.
The most beautiful part of this story is that his mom, Brooke, is a doula herself. She navigates and comforts so many beautiful moms like herself through the hardest journey of their lives. I am so glad she was given not one but two sweet corgis to help guide her through her journey. I can’t wait to see Ranger and Berkeley’s new relationship grow. I hope he helps and guides her through her new adventurous life just like he did with her mom.