Raw Powerful Love | MN Birth Photography

I have a whole new respect for mothers after witnessing this particular birth of my dear friend, Amanda Otis. A grand total of 36 hours filled with so much emotion, intensity and grace.  Her and her partner Mario’s plan was to have a natural birth at the gorgeous Minnesota Birth Center in W. St. Paul.

After about 24 hours of contractions, several baths, stretching, walking steps, crying, laughing and pushing with every once of her being, it was time for her body to rest.  It was exhausting just being present and I can only imagine what she felt like having contractions every couple of minutes on top of no sleep.

Her strength, determination and endurance was nothing short of heroic.  Life is fierce, precious and wild.  Birth is its own kind of primal ceremony.  No words can do justice to describe the experience of just witnessing, yet alone opening the portal so life can come through.  I have no idea where all that strength came from but wow, just wow.  I can see why a mother’s love runs so incredibly deep.  And cheers to all the fathers who stand by the mothers side.  Mario was hands on offering support physically, mentally and emotionally.

This year I have been taking herbalism classes and discovered that ginger compresses were helpful in the case of back cramps during birth.  So before leaving I decocted some fresh ginger and stored it a small crockpot to use in case Mandi needed it.  And she used it alright saying that it was a lifesaver, along with the essential oils, nitrous oxide, a hand form-fitted stone, copal, feathers, massages and lots of encouragement.  Mario, their doula Paillen, Grandma and the amazing midwives and nurses were all very supportive through each phase.  Her mother and sister were even cleaning their house so they may come home to a stress free setting.

In the middle of the night we ended up going to United Hospital to get an epidural so Mandi could rest as her contractions were decreasing in frequency and intensity.  After a couples hours of rest and into the wee hours of the morning it was time to push.  Sweet baby Mariano took his first breath at 5:24am 9/14/15, weighing 7 lbs 10 oz.  Boy oh boy this lil man is loved and raw, powerful love is where he came from.