Theo's birth story will always be a memorable one for me. I am in awe of his mama's strength (and his daddy's too - you'll see why). His entrance into the world was a wild one - and not quite what anyone expected...

In his mama's words:

It all started when...

We were planning another child soon, but were surprised when we found out I was pregnant only three months into having my cycle back. My period was a day late (completely normal for me) and I was sure it was nothing and I was crazy, but a nagging in my brain kept telling me that I may as well take the pregnancy test I knew i had under our sink.

It was positive. Obviously positive.

I was in such disbelief that I sent a picture to my sister to confirm before waking up my husband John. We were both excited, but anxious. I had just stopped breastfeeding and we were planning a little break until getting pregnant in the summer. Not being one to be able to keep good news a secret, I told my friends and family over the next couple weeks and we announced at 12 weeks on social media.

Planning the arrival...

We knew right away we had goals for this labor. We made a plan for our ideal birth. I knew I wanted to try for an un-medicated birth at the birth center and I knew that I wanted to make it work to have pictures of what was sure to be the best day of our lives.

We did lots of practicing comfort techniques. I spent lots of time at the chiropractor to get the baby in the best possible position. And I had lots of anxiety about being able to have a spontaneous labor.

Labor day

The day I went into labor, I took an afternoon nap, figuring [naps] would soon be harder to do. I woke up uncomfortable and reasonably sure I was having contractions. Not wanting to get my hopes up that I was having a baby at only two days past his due date, I went about my day.

I went to my hair appointment with contractions 8 minutes apart and did some last minute grocery shopping. When I got home, a friend stopped by to drop off a gift. As she was there, I felt a familiar trickle. hint: it was not pee.

We held out using all our strategies until [contractions] were five minutes apart for an hour, and then headed out to meet our team at the birth center. Once there, we found out I was not quite as dilated as we’d hoped and I began walking the halls and trying to get things really going. Finally, I was admitted into my room and got right into that tub.

Things start picking up...

The most challenging part of labor for me was not knowing how much longer. I am a planner by nature, so I really like to know how long things will take. I really wanted a time frame of how long I had to stick it out before I would be done.

Encouragement from my birth team really kept me going; Especially the reminder that the time frame was out of my control, but I was close to meeting my son and that I had had more laboring behind me than ahead. 

The most wild part of labor was when I was pushing in the tub and the baby had shoulder dystocia, so I needed to get out of the tub right away (with a head sticking out of me!)

I wasn’t sure how I could possibly get out of the tub when... 

John hoisted me out like a fireman! 

And I then gave birth on the birth center floor.

I can’t even begin to describe the emotion behind the first time I held Theodore. I felt so incredibly powerful and strong. 

I had a huge surge of relief that I was done. I had done it and I now I could relax with my son. All I can remember saying is “I did it. I did it.” And “I get to be done”

It was a special moment for me looking around the room surrounded by these amazing people who were all there for me while we smiled and share that joy. That moment will live in my memory forever.

Upon seeing Theo for the first time, John was in awe of him and couldn’t believe we had him in our hands. He recalls then being anxious because Theo wasn’t staying oxygenated and had to have oxygen and go to the NICU, which meant he had to leave me at the birth center and go to the hospital with Theo.

I held Theo again before he was loaded into the ambulance to transfer to Saint Elizabeth's for oxygen. These were some of the scariest moments of my life, with John leaving me behind to be with the baby. 

The support of Leslie, Mandi, Katie, and the staff at the birth center was wonderful and I felt so loved and cared for. 

After discharging from the birth center, John brought me to the hospital where we were both able to hold Theo. Theo did amazing in the NICU and was off of oxygen before our arrival and only stayed for observation.

Looking back...

The biggest struggle [with this birth] was overcoming mental hurdles and self doubt. I have learned that I can’t control everything and I have to be willing to let go. Good things can happen when you trust yourself.

I have never felt more powerful and strong than I did with this birth. I had accomplished one of my greatest goals. It was so incredibly difficult, but I did it.

And I did it with the help of an amazing team of amazing people I am so blessed to have found. There were moments when I thought there was no way I could keep going, but I did. And I got to experience my dream birth and come out the other side as a total badass. I wouldn’t change a single thing.

The most special person who met Theo was his sister Penny. She was shear joy seeing her baby brother and we also got to get our homecoming captured. I will never forget those special moments. Penny was all over him and so proud to be a big sister.

in loving memory of theodore james hennagir

11.4.2022 - 5.30.2023

If you don't have a plan to capture your birth story yet, go download my FREE Birth Photography Shot List - with all of the most important moments to capture, along with some pro-tips for better, more creative images. Grab it here --> Birth Photography Shot List

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My goal is to help shift cultural perceptions about birth and parenthood through the power of unbiased support and visual storytelling. Our stories are powerful. The more we share our stories, the more we normalize birth and the struggles/triumphs of parenthood. Our stories shape who we are, and they have the power to show others that they're not alone. If this resonates with you, I encourage you to share this story with someone who it can inspire.