I was very busy at work one day, scanning on-line news sites and whiling away the hours until home time when I came across an interesting article title: Birth Photography – gruesome or awesome?

Birth photography? What on earth is birth photography? You can have a photographer there? Who would want a photographer there? Do they take photos of . . . down there?!? Ewwww! Ewwww??


Turns out they also take photos of your legs.

I clicked on the link. Possibly not the most appropriate article to be reading at work, but I clicked. Of course I did, you can’t be pregnant and see an article like that and not click.

Holy wow. I was entranced. The images were beautiful. The emotions captured on the faces of these women, their partners, their families were raw, intense, mesmerizing.


The photographer taking these beautiful shots was Hamilton based Cassie Emmett. I visited her website and I spent the remaining hours at work being totally unproductive, enthralled by her work. I had never seen birth portrayed like this before. Where was the screaming? The fainting? The pints of blood? Some of these women looked . . . happy . . blissful. . . they were giving birth and they looked beautiful.

At home that evening I showed AJ what I had found. ‘I want to do it’ I said, ‘I want Cassie there for our birth’.


I’m not sure he was all that keen to begin with – the thought of having a complete stranger there for the birth of our child, when even our parents were not gong to be there was a bit . . . odd . . and taking photos?  Would it feel intrusive? Would she get in the way? Would it be distracting? But the more I thought about it, and the more of Cassies’ work I looked at, the surer I was that this was something we had to do.

Floating the idea to friends was interesting. The first question everyone asked was ‘does she take photos of . . . down there’. Hahaha – well she is a birth photographer guys, she’s not there to take photos of the wallpaper. Oooh on that topic, must remember book in a brazilian aye, can’t have it looking like a unkempt gorse patch.

Before we could make a decision, we thought it best it we meet this lady who was potentially going to be taking photos of my vagina. I’m a lady (stop laughing Kara) and I’m not displaying it to just anyone.

(If you are a bit uncomfortable with the thought if your vagina being on display, I’m telling you now, you quickly get over any vagina related shyness once you fall pregnant.  All of a sudden everyone is all up in there.  Your doctor, the radiographer, your midwives, the mailman. Okay maybe not the mailman but you get my point. And they don’t even buy you a drink first!).

So, we met Cassie, and she was lovely. She has a genuine warmth about her and you can tell she loves what she does. Talking to her and seeing the examples of her work she bought along, allayed any worries we had. AJ was on board, we were doing this.


For the next few months, I spent a lot of time during my 3km morning walk to work thinking about the birth and thinking about the photography. I wanted it to be perfect. I had this image in my head of going into labour on a beautiful spring day, labouring in the back yard, getting stunning shots under the pear tree. Heading to the Birth Centre, walking through the contractions down by the river. I even asked my midwife if, once we were at the Birth Centre, I was allowed to leave to go for a walk. She laughed at me. ‘Em, by the time you get to Waterford, going for a walk will be the last  thing on your mind’.

Oh how right she was.  I really had no clue what our birth would be like.


The beautiful scenery as I walked to work each morning.

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