My dear friends, Jennifer and Jeff, welcomed Oriah Kendon into this world with as much drama and fanfare as you should expect from a princess. A 58 hour home birth-turned-hospital delivery and NICU stay challenged these two loving parents in the first months of Oriah’s life, and Oriah couldn’t have chosen better parents to give her all the love and support she needed.
Being able to capture these first days, with a few breaks to hold mom’s hand during seemingly endless contractions, was truly an honor and humbling experience. Witnessing Jenn’s strength through it all was and is a visual embodiment of a mother’s love… Unwavering, unending and always growing.
Below is the story of Oriah’s beginning.
Present at the home birth: two mothers, a doula, a midwife, a midwife’s nurse, mom, dad, a friend, and a photographer/friend.
Things got a little cramped when we moved to the hospital around the 24-hour mark.
Jenn’s mom, Mary, holds her daughter’s hand to help her through contractions.
Super Dad, Jeff, was so loving and supportive. Jenn couldn’t ask for a better partner.
Jenn labored in a hot tub in their West Des Moines home.
Due to potential complications, Jenn and Jeff chose to move to the hospital.
Jenn labored through the night, and finally got some rest.
Jenn said she’d know the first name when she saw her baby.
Oriah had excess fluid in her lungs and had to be treated by specialists in the nursery immediately.
She was soon transferred to the Blank Children’s Hospital NICU for additional tests. Their stay in the NICU was one month and concluded with a Gastrostomy Tube surgery to help Oriah eat.
Here is Dad comforting Oriah while they determined next steps.
Jenn’s first moment seeing her daughter, an emotional moment to say the least.
Oriah is now home and getting stronger every day. All tests have come back normal, and her ongoing battle is learning how to swallow and eat on her own.
“There is a secret in our culture, and it is not that birth is painful but that women are strong.” ~ Laura Stavoe Harm