I have thought for awhile about how I should begin this birth story.. Do I start from the beginning, in 1999 when Sam & I met in 6th grade, becoming inseparable almost instantaneously? Do I start when Sam & I were introduced to Kyle— who wasn’t too fond of our giggly 16 year old selves? Or do I skip all of those memorable years that helped develop us into the people we are today with the unbreakable friendship that we have & just start at present time? I could probably write a novel on these two and the memories we have shared leading up to this day— the best day.

41 weeks pregnant Sam and Kyle were admitted into the hospital to stay the night on December 19th with plans to be induced the following morning. They placed Cytotec on her cervix at 7pm & she started having contractions around 12:15am on the 20th. The contractions were too consistent to do another dose of Cytotec so they waited it out to see if her body would naturally progress. Pitocin was started at 5am & I arrived around 9:30. I was shocked at how well she was managing the pain, even joking that she didn’t look like she was in labor. We walked the halls and chatted some. I snuck next door for a little bit to do a fresh 48 session for the babe whose birth I photographed the day before. Despite having contractions every few minutes, Sam was only dilated to 1cm when they checked her so I decided to head home & have Kyle keep me updated.

Around noon, the doctor came in and broke Sam’s water, this is when her contractions went from manageable to painful. When I returned to the hospital, Sam was on the yoga ball, breathing through contractions. This baby was so cozy, clearly not feeling any urgency to come earthside and Sam was still only dilated to 1.5cm. At 3pm they decided to start an epidural to see if it would help get things moving. Sam slept a little, getting her rest and around 6:30 she said she could feel a little discomfort and in the next 20 minutes she went from having pain that was manageable to being extremely uncomfortable. The nurse came in and to our surprise she was fully dilated!

At 6:50pm, she started pushing. The next two hours were full of emotion, cheering, pure exhaustion & tears. I never knew someone could dig so deep and find the strength that she did to push that baby out. At 8:48pm, with the hardest, most intense push, Sam delivered her baby & Kyle announced “It’s a Boy!” Immediately following this was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Watching my best friends become parents to this little boy. Hearing Sam’s voice, pure exhaustion combined with pure joy as she exclaimed “Jack! Jack! He’s so cute!” Watching Jack nuzzle into his mom’s face, like he couldn’t get close enough. Watching Kyle with tears of joy.

In our 20 years of friendship, I have seen Sam at her highest and at her lowest, I’ve seen her in times of strength & weakness, we have shared more memories than I can begin to count.. But nothing compares to seeing her and the strength she had the day she became a mom. I’ve never seen her more beautiful or more strong and I’ve never been more proud of her. I already love watching these two in their new role as parents and can’t wait to watch Jack grow!

Jack Leroy Sherwood’s Birth & Fresh 48