The 2nd of Februari 2019 is M.’s due date for her first baby, nickname Pluk. Apart from feeling a little off and uneasy, nothing much happens in weeks 38 en 39 of the pregnancy. On Thursday, January 31st, 2 days before the expected due date, I send M. a message, “Hi, I’m going for a dive this morning and am therefore unreachable between 11-12 AM. But if you feel anything is about to happen, I won’t go of course!” Within minutes I get a respons from M. ” Please go, it’s quite on this side.”

Open album

At 5:15 PM my phone rings. It’s M. She has some Braxton Hicks-contractions so it might just be starting…

At 7:15 PM she informs me that she and dad-tobe- C. are on their way to the Kraamkliniek (Birthing Clinic on CuraƧao). We agree that I will wait until I hear that she has 4-5 cm dilation, before I join them. At about 9 o’clock I get a message again, “M. has only 1 cm dilation, so we’ve been sent home.”

I relax and decide to go to bed. I don’t expect any calls untill sometime in the morning hours… I almost fall out of bed when at 1:07 AM my phone rings. M. has reached 9 centimeters dilation so I have to hurry! I don’t remember how but I showered quickly, got dressed, grabbed my camera bag and went on my way to the Kraamkliniek. At 1:24 AM I took my first shot. An absolute personal record from getting called in to actually be on the scene!

The contractions come and go and M. is breathing through them. M. has her mind set on delivering the baby in the bath so with the dilation being almost complete, she can go and settle in the bath.Her partner, C., joins her. Baby Pluk has some difficulty with the last few centimeters so the midwife decided to put M. on the bed one more time to do some ‘test pushes’. When the baby’s head is almost crowning, M. can go back in the water. After pushing for three minutes, baby Pluk is born. At exactly 2:35 AM he sees the world for the first time as he’s born with his eyes wide open! Daddy C. is assisting and he catches the little guy together with the midwife. Soon after mom M. can finally hold her brand new baby boy.

After a few minutes of catching her breath, M. is relocated to her bed again. She walks slowly from the bath room to the bed room with the baby in her arms and the umbilical cord still attached to the placenta. When she’s back in bed, it only takes a few minutes before the placenta comes out. The midwife said that M. had ‘very long membranes’. There are no complications. While mom and dad are completely overwhelmed by their newborn, slowly but surely they start to realize that they are now a family of three.

I stay around and take pictures of the weighing and checking moments and also the moment when C. has his skin-to-skin-moment with their precious bundle of joy.

Then, as the morning sun is slowly coming in through the windows, I say good bye to the new family. I wish them many more happy and loving moments together!