Celebrating Timeless Moments: Capturing your special journey from the moment you were born underwater.

Here is the story of how Ashley and Jeff’s fifth child, Daphne Joy, came into the world. Some background information…Two years ago, I took pictures of their fourth child, Jack, when he was an infant. They moved out of state sometime after that. I was shocked and happy when Ashley reached out to me…As a temporary measure, she was moving her whole family over 1000 miles away from where they currently live so she could finish her pregnancy in Florida and have her dream birth with HER nurse. Wow! They were in Florida when the baby was born. Midwife Sam Crickmore of First Coast Midwifery Services in Jacksonville was thrilled to have the chance to deliver her fourth baby for the same family. This was a big moment in her career. It made me happy to be a part of this dream team! According to Ashley, Daphne’s mother, this is how she was born. Take it easy!

“Looking at my phone for a moment. I woke up at 6:30 AM because of a pain in my lower back. As a contraction hit, I slowly sat up, wondering if I was in the early stages of labor. I denied it for about 15 minutes. I even sent my doctor a Facebook message that said, “I think it’s baby day…” because I didn’t want to call her when I wasn’t really in labor. It was about 6:50 AM when my husband Jeff stopped acting like he was asleep and asked what was going on. We weren’t ready for this, I firmly believe! I left my bedroom and began pacing upstairs while I waited for my doctor and then my birth photographer to answer the phone. As someone who has had three of her four previous pregnancies with some help, everyone was shocked when I went into labor all by myself. So happy, worried, unprepared, and thankful.

With all my pacing, heavy breathing, and phone calls, I woke up our four kids. We went downstairs to have breakfast, which never happened. As each contraction got stronger, I grabbed my birthing ball and slowly made my way back upstairs to start laboring.

With great anticipation, Hudson, Caroline, Barbara June, and Jack dressed up and headed to their grandparents’ house to meet their new baby sister.

When Dallas and I got there, we saw four kids running down the road to grandma’s car. I quickly took my camera out of my bag to take a picture. They were fired up and excited for the fun day ahead!

Ashley was calmly going through her contractions upstairs in her beautiful master bedroom suite. The room was filled with hazy morning light.

“Contractions quickly progressed as I leaned on my exercise ball and focused on breathing,” she said. I didn’t have anything ready for the water birth I imagined because I was going to have a baby the next weekend. Because I had just bought the birth kit the day before, there was no hose, stack of towels, bowl for the placenta, or whatever else I might have needed. I knew I couldn’t have this birth without my nurse, Sam, who was very important to me.

She had been pregnant with all of her other kids for close to 41 weeks, so she was shocked to be in labor only two days past her due date! Ashley texted a friend who lived close to see if she had a hose they could use. Ashley had four vaginal births, but she had hoped this would be her first water birth.

Don’t worry—Sam is on his way to the rescue! She quickly got things from her car and started working to help Ashley’s dream come true.

“I traveled 1,000 miles to see the familiar, calm force who helped me have my fifth child. They set up a hose from the laundry room to my bedroom so I could have the birth I wanted.”

I stood in the water and held on to Jeff the whole time I waited for it to get cooler. If possible, I need that man to be close to me when the labor gets worse. I can always count on him to do what I ask, and he is the rock that holds me up and gets me through.

The pool water was still too hot, so my girlfriend took ice from the fridge downstairs and threw it in! Because the baby was coming soon, Sam knew we had to cool it down quickly.

Although I was holding Jeff’s hand for support, the waves of contractions kept coming over me.

In the quiet times, I got ready for when our little girl would come into the world.

I convinced myself that I could bring this priceless gift to the other side without worrying about the outcome.

I looked at Sam and asked, “Are you going to catc» her?!” as my daughter got closer. That one question was my last chance to be sure that everyone was where I needed them to be. Once she answered, which was probably an ambiguous one, I could focus on the last few hours of work.

As I held my husband close, my arms went around his neck.

I started to cry, and my nurse gave me a soft reassurance. I believed I had the ability to complete this task.

Once my daughter was ready, I let go of my body during the next big contraction and let the wave take me over.

Her head was out, and at 10:41 AM, our beautiful girl Daphne Joy was born with one last prick.

Sam put her in my arms, and I wanted to stay there right then, taking in everything that had just happened. I completed!

It was so corny that Daphne’s face was so soft.

Her lips were the right size and shape. The top of her head was full of hair. Our girl sat perfectly on my chest while Jeff got down on his knees behind us.

Over and over, I thanked God for hearing my prayers for a healthy baby and a beautiful, easy home birth.

Ashley had plenty of time to take it easy and bond with her child. After working hard, no one pushed her out of the pool, and she was glad to rest. When Jeff called, grandma brought the two older girls over to meet their younger sister.

The girls couldn’t hold back their poop! They were hung over the edge of the tub, showing off her tiny face and making her squeal with happiness.

Ashley’s birth team helped her get out of the water and into bed when she was ready. They carried Daphne to her side because the placenta hadn’t come out yet. As she lay down in bed, Sam helped her give birth and get warm under the covers.

Everyone had pancakes, eggs, and hash for breakfast, which was a great way to reward mom for all her hard work.

Later, Hudson and Jack, the baby’s big brothers, joined the group. They had the cutest reaction to seeing their mom holding the tiny baby.

Jeff came up from making breakfast and sat down in a rolling chair in the corner to talk with Sam while smiling. I really like this picture because it shows the moment he said out loud something like, “Wow…”I’m amazed that there are five of them!”

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