IMAGE Tammy Karin of Little Leapling Photography / Facebook
We think every birthing story is terrific. Over the years, we’ve written about pretty exceptional ones, like a mom giving birth inside a car, a mom taking her photos while giving birth, a 12-year-old who helped deliver her baby brother, and a mother unexpectedly giving birth in their home. All these show that no amount of birth planning can sometimes prepare you for the time your baby wants to come out.
It’s what JesHogan, 31, experienced when she delivered her sixth baby (and first boy!) in the hallway of a Kansas hospital in the United States last July 2017. What makes this birthing story unique is every moment of the childbirth was caught on cam, thanks to the couple’s birth photographer, TammyKarin, who recently shared the breathtaking photos on her Facebook page and her website Little Leapling Photography.
As expected, her Facebook post went viral with over 8,800 shares, 2,000 comments, and 11,000 reactions, as of this writing. Take a look here.
Jes gave the full details of her birthing story on Tammy’s website, saying that the nine months of this pregnancy went a little smoother compared to her five previous ones. She and her husband, Travis, never imagined her childbirth would happen the way it did.
Her contractions started on Tuesday, July 18, and strengthened until the early morning of the 19th, which prompted the couple to head to the hospital and prepare for the delivery. By then, Jes’s cervix dilated from 3 cm to 4 cm. But after “four hours of laboring in the tub, bouncing on the ball, and walking the halls,” nothing happened. The couple wanted an intervention-free birth, So they chose to leave the hospital when the contractions began to space out.
Jes spent three more days walking, going to the pool with her girls and completing small projects around the house. She wasn’t in a rush to go back to the hospital — it was her sixth pregnancy, after all, and she was confident that she would know when the time was right.
Then, on Sunday at around 2 a.m., Jes woke up to a “strange, long contraction.” She woke her husband and said, “I think this is it.”
As she rose from the bed, Jes’s water broke. Jes was thinking they wouldn’t be able to make it to the hospital, putting her in a panic mode. Her husband (God bless him), however, still managed to wake his mother up to look after the couple's five girls. In a few minutes, the couple was dressed and out the door.
She might have been in a panic, but Jes still had the presence of mind to call the hospital to inform them she was on her way. She also texted Tammy who replied that she would be at the hospital shortly.
When they drove up to the hospital, Jes began screaming that the baby was coming. Travis ran toward the emergency room to get help as Jes worried she was going to give birth in the driveway. Thankfully, Tammy spotted her and helped Travis to take Jes inside the hospital.
What unfolded was a scene straight out from the movies. Jes wrote, “Tammy yelled to the [hospital staff] that I was going to have the baby right there on the floor. I then started to take my pants off because I could feel my body pushing the baby’s head out. I reached down and could feel his head crowning with my hand. I looked at my husband and said, ‘Travis catch him!’”
At this point, Tammy’s photographer instinct kicked in, and she started snapping away. She was able to capture stunning photographs of the nurses rushing down the hall, Hogan’s husband supporting the baby’s head, and an ER nurse helping with the delivery.
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“It’s worth mentioning that fate must have a hand in this. The nurse that first reached us and helped guide baby the rest of the way out was an OB nurse at another hospital,” Jes shares. “She worked part-time at our local ER, and I couldn’t be more glad that she was there that morning!”
Jes gave birth to a baby boy whom they named Maxwell. After he came out into the world, Jes and Maxwell were transferred to the labor and delivery room, and the mother of six says they were able to receive excellent care from the staff.
Jes couldn't thank Tammy enough for taking unbelievable shots of her childbirth, but for Tammy, it was all part of her job description.
"This was an exciting and absolutely beautiful birth to capture," Tammy says in an interview with Babble. "The thing I love most about birth photography is that I get to capture dads when they are most in love. This birth was a perfect example of that!"
"Travis is my hero," Jes says. "I was completely in love with my husband who didn't miss a beat and kept his word that we would make it to the hospital. He kept me calm, he kept us safe, he always takes excellent care of us, and he is the most beautiful father and husband."
Jes says that she made her story public in the hopes that it will encourage other moms to document their birthing story instead of fearing the experience.
"I know my story is nothing special," she tells Babble. "Women do this every day and don't get any fanfare. I hope that it will inspire people to view birth as an empowering moment instead of something to be feared. I also hope that it will maybe encourage them to photo-document their birth because these are the moments that make you into the person you are as a mother. I will cherish these images for the rest of my life.”
On Tammy's website, Jes admits that it was her craziest birth by far, but it was also the most perfect. "It was not at all what I had planned, but it ended without any intervention, with a healthy baby, and amazing support people by our sides," she says.