A couple months ago, I was asked to document a beautiful surrogate birth in Kelowna, Canada. The two dads, who were from France, were staying here in Kelowna, patiently waiting for their sweet girl to be born since surrogate mama was 37 weeks pregnant. They contacted me at around 38 weeks and we quickly got to know one another and we all anxiously waited for labour to begin.
They were planning a home birth at the midwives birthing suite and what a stunning, love-filled birth it was. Laura contacted me early in the evening saying that she was feeling some cramping but wasn’t sure if they were going to stick around as we had had a couple practice rounds already A few hours later, the dads contacted me again, saying things really ramped up and they were all meeting at the midwives. So, I packed up my gear and got ready to go.
When I arrived, emotions were high and labour was very active. Our surrogate had her best friend present to assist her through each surge. Laura was so in control of every breath. She took her time to relax and ground herself. In the beginning, we all sat in the large bathroom while she laboured in the tub and we all drank tea together. There was a lot of laughter and the atmosphere was so calm and peaceful.
The dads stayed with her throughout the entire labour, mesmerized by her grace and strength. Throughout the entire surrogacy, they all became such close friends. They facetimed weekly, the dads visited during ultrasounds and when they arrived to Kelowna at the end of pregnancy, they hung out every day. Their plan was to always remain close so that their daughter would always know the story of how she came into this world. Watching this friendship blossom was such an inspiration… I felt so much joy witnessing and being a part of it all.
When Laura knew that she was transitioning, she got back into the tub to get a little pain relief, calm her body and birth baby in the water. Her breathing pattern began to shift and we could all tell she was starting to breathe her baby down, gently and quietly.
The dads sat by her side anxiously waiting… knowing they were about to hold their dream baby in their arms. One of the dads, Antoine, assisted with delivering baby and received her in his arms. We all looked on in amazement and baby was gently placed on Laura’s chest while they all sat there, holding hands in a big circle of support…Lionel then cut the cord and got to hold his beautiful baby girl, Adele, in his arms. After awhile, Laura got out of the tub and they all moved into the bedroom to rest.
Antoine brought baby Adele to the bed where Laura was resting to bond with baby and to nurse and they all laid together, stroking her face and supporting one another.
After some time, the dads took baby home and Laura went home to her family. In the days after she was born, they would meet up every day, while Laura would pump and store milk for them and they would visit. Their bonds are so strong and I am still in complete awe of the everlasting friendship they have created.
I support all families and am so proud to live in a world that accepts all types of love. This was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever captured… I will carry this with me forever. Laura selflessly gave these two extremely deserving men the greatest gift on the planet and I am forever grateful to have been able to witness and document this time for them.
All text and images by Erin Stoneman Photography. Erin is a proud member of IAPBP.