This article was updated on June 22, 11: 30 a.m. Photos are published here with the photographer's permission.
Having a birth photographer during childbirth has given all of us an unfiltered look at the beauty of a child being born. It has also captured moments that can take some of us aback, like this photo that Kayla Reeder from Florida captured.
Kayla was the birth photographer of Nikki and Chris's second baby who was born on Valentine's Day this year. In the photos of their newborn son, Graham, the photos showed his head to be elongated and pointed on one side, instead of a typical round-shaped head you see in the movies.
But there's really no cause for alarm, said Kayla who's also a mom of three and has captured more than 25 births over the last six years. "It’s not uncommon. I’ve seen several babies with 'cone heads' or more prominent molding due to being in the birth canal longer than others," Reeder told Smartparenting.com.phvia email.
Kayla wrote on her website that during the birth of her client's first child, a daughter, Nikki was in labor for 36 hours, so she waited until she was nine centimeters dilated before rushing to the hospital. With Graham, she had an epidural, but she did not need any other interventions. It took Nikki an hour of pushing before the baby was finally out.
It was also not a traumatic birth; Nikki had a calm and encouraging delivery. It's just that Graham's position was "a bit sideways" during his travel through his mom's birth canal. Hence, his head's shape immediately after birth looks "extra dramatic," Reeder explained.
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In an article on SmartParenting.com.ph, Dr. Tatad-To, a U.S.-trained specialist in pediatrics and medicine, echoed Reeder's words. "It is common for babies to have a 'cone head' at birth, particularly if born vaginally," he said. Children born breech (feet first) or via C-section don't get a cone head at birth.
At birth, the gaps between the plates of a newborn's skull are not yet permanently fused together. It's why they have a soft spot on top of their heads at birth. It’s also the reason why a newborn’s skull is soft and malleable, which allows it to be re-shaped during labor to so it can pass through the birth canal.
"It normally corrects on its own within a few days from birth," adds Dr. Tatad-To. Indeed, Graham's "cone head" subsided hours after birth "that you wouldn’t even have noticed unless you saw the images," Reeder shared. After a few days, Graham already has a head shape that we are used to seeing.
Reeder is elated that Graham's photos have gone viral. "It's also cool that people are seeing birth and hopefully learning something," she wrote on a Facebook post. Birth may not always be picture perfect, but it's a miracle to welcome a new life into this world. That in itself is worth documenting.