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birth

New baby and a happy dad.


When San Francisco photographer Lisa Robinson was about to have her second child, she was both excited and nervous.

Sure, those are the feelings most moms-to-be experience before giving birth, but Lisa's nerves were tied to something different.

She and her husband already had a 9-year-old son but desperately wanted another baby. They spent years trying to get pregnant again, but after countless failed attempts and two miscarriages, they decided to stop trying.


Of course, that's when Lisa ended up becoming pregnant with her daughter, Anora. Since it was such a miraculous pregnancy, Lisa wanted to do something special to commemorate her daughter's birth.

So she turned to her craft — photography — as a way to both commemorate the special day, and keep herself calm and focused throughout the birthing process.

Normally, Lisa takes portraits and does wedding photography, so she knew the logistics of being her own birth photographer would be a somewhat precarious new adventure — to say the least.

pregnancy, hospital, giving birth, POV

She initially suggested the idea to her husband Alec as a joke.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"After some thought," she says, "I figured I would try it out and that it could capture some amazing memories for us and our daughter."

In the end, she says, Alec was supportive and thought it would be great if she could pull it off. Her doctors and nurses were all for Lisa taking pictures, too, especially because it really seemed to help her manage the pain and stress.

In the hospital, she realized it was a lot harder to hold her camera steady than she initially thought it would be.

tocodynamometer, labor, selfies

She had labor shakes but would periodically take pictures between contractions.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Eventually when it was time to push and I was able to take the photos as I was pushing, I focused on my daughter and my husband and not so much the camera," she says.

"I didn't know if I was in focus or capturing everything but it was amazing to do.”

The shots she ended up getting speak for themselves:

nurse, strangers, medical care,

Warm and encouraging smiles from the nurse.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

experiment, images, capture, document, record

Newborn Anora's first experience with breastfeeding.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Everybody was supportive and kind of surprised that I was able to capture things throughout. I even remember laughing along with them at one point as I was pushing," Lisa recalled.

In the end, Lisa was so glad she went through with her experiment. She got incredible pictures — and it actually did make her labor easier.

Would she recommend every mom-to-be document their birth in this way? Absolutely not. What works for one person may not work at all for another.

However, if you do have a hobby that relaxes you, figuring out how to incorporate it into one of the most stressful moments in your life is a pretty good way to keep yourself calm and focused.

Expecting and love the idea of documenting your own birthing process?

Take some advice from Lisa: "Don't put pressure on yourself to get 'the shot'" she says, "and enjoy the moment as much as you can.”

Lisa's mom took this last one.

grandma, hobby, birthing process

Mom and daughter earned the rest.

Photo via Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

This article originally appeared on 06.30.16

Photo by Visual Karsa on Unsplash

Three McDonald's workers help deliver customer's baby

Usually when someone walks into McDonald's they expect to walk out with something to eat, not a baby.

But for new mom Alandria Worthy, that's exactly what happened. Worthy was on her way to the hospital but needed to use the bathroom so she had her fiancé make a pit stop at McDonald's.

After a few minutes of Worthy being in the bathroom, workers heard the mom to be screaming which prompted Tunisia Woodward, the manager on duty to check things out. The her surprise, she was about to turn into a labor and delivery nurse.

Woodward explained in an interview with 11 Alive that she saw feet under the stall door before saying, “I opened, and she was on this toilet lying back, screaming. Then I knew to tell my crew, ‘We’re having a baby today.’” Woodward was right, the baby was coming and the three moms are duty were there to help.


If you're wondering where Worthy's fiancé was, he was waiting in the parking lot growing concerned. When he went to see what was taking so long, he walked in on a surprise and had to get right to work in order to catch his baby. Deandre Phillips told 11 Alive that Worthy was frantic so he was focused on getting her to breathe and to lay down on the floor so she could deliver the baby, which only took a few minutes and three pushes.

Talk about a fast delivery, though I'm sure they likely would've preferred a fast pizza delivery and not a baby so eager to see the world that making it to the hospital was out of the question. But what do I know, watch the new parents tell you all about their new "Little Nugget" themselves below.

Science

Zoo camera captures incredible moment mama chimp is reunited with her two-day-old baby

When Kucheza raised his little hand and Mahale realized he was there, everyone felt her joy.

Kucheza was born by emergency C-section and had to be separated from mama Mahale for two days.

Thanks to our close evolutionary proximity and Jane Goodall's years of field research, humans have an intense fascination with chimpanzees. They are clearly not us, yet they are clearly similar to us in many ways, and a viral video from Sedgwick County Zoo beautifully highlights that connection.

Mahale is a 28-year-old chimpanzee who recently gave birth to a baby at Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. According to KSAT News, her labor stalled, which necessitated an emergency C-section. As a result, Mahale and her baby were separated for two days while she started her recovery and her baby received oxygen.

Unlike humans, chimps don't have the language and cognitive abilities to understand what's happening in such a situation. It must have been a confusing experience for Mahale, who had already given birth to two babies prior, to find herself no longer pregnant but not having her baby with her.


So when the two were finally reunited, it was a moment to remember.

At first, Mahale doesn't appear to know her baby is there. Then he lifts up a tiny little hand and all her mama instincts kicked into high gear. Watch:

The sweet moment brought people to tears and quickly went viral. The way she scoops him right up? Every mama felt that.

The wee one was named Kucheza, which is Swahili for "play."

The keeper cam shows the two have been inseparable since then, cuddling, nursing and grooming as they enjoy their "babymoon" together.

"Mahale is THE MOST amazing mama," shared the zoo. "She hasn’t put baby down since she first picked him up yesterday morning and the two are IN LOVE.

The zoo has been posting regular updates on its Facebook page, with photos and videos of Kucheza and Mahale.

The reunion video has more than 30,000 comments from people who were moved by the mother's reaction to seeing her baby.

"Oh my goodness!! Sobbing!! The way she sees that little hand and rushes to hold her baby!! So beautiful!! Thank you for sharing," wrote one person.

"Aw man, I remember seeing my baby for the first time after waking up from an emergency c section," shared another. "I just started to cry and held him to my face. This is so sweet."

"Thanks so much to our dedicated keepers and staff for 48 hours of hard work to make this birth possible," wrote another. "We appreciate each of you so much. Also a heartfelt thank you to the Wichita doctors that attended to momma's surgery. We are blessed!"

The zoo has used the viral opportunity to share ways people can help the world's chimpanzee population.

"The whole world has fallen in love with Mahale and Kucheza, after catching a glimpse of their emotional reunion," the zoo shared on its Facebook page. "Chimpanzees in AZA-accredited institutions like Sedgwick County Zoo receive the highest level of care to meet their physical, emotional, and social needs - including the life-saving decision to deliver Kucheza via emergency C-section.

"All of the animals in our care serve as important ambassadors for their species. Mahale and Kucheza have reminded us all that chimpanzees are smart, charismatic, and amazing animals. And they need our help! Small actions - like recycling your old cell phones and using only sustainably-sourced (certified) palm oil and paper products - can help save chimpanzees like Mahale and Kucheza in the wild."

The Sedgwick County Zoo website shares ways people can make a difference in chimpanzee conservation here.

Jada Sayles/Twitter

Jada Sayles got both a newborn baby and her college degree.

You know what they say about the best laid plans? Well, it's true. And no one knows that better than Jada Sayles. On May 15, Sayles was all set to graduate from Dillard University, a historically Black university in New Orleans. Around 4:30 a.m., she realized that her plans were about to change in a big way. Instead of getting ready for her graduation, she was in labor and being admitted to the hospital.

"I thought I was gonna walk across the stage to get my degree, instead I got my baby," Sayles tweeted, along with a series of photos. "My sweet face decided to make his way on MY big day (now his). Shoutout to my university for still bringing my graduation and degree to me."


That's right, even though her sweet baby kept her from walking the stage at her graduation, all was not lost. Her college stepped up and made sure that she was still able to experience her graduation to the fullest.

"Jada went into labor on Friday evening. Texted me around 4:30 am Saturday saying she was being admitted, & the baby was born on her graduation day, May 14th. So we rolled up to the hospital so I could finish my tenure in the most special way," Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University tweeted.

"I did something today I have never done before in 18 years as a college president. I conferred a degree in a hospital…" Kimbrough stated in another tweet. It's clear that he is a very involved and caring administrator.

He shared a video of his bedside speech, captioning the tweet: "I even did the tassel part of commencement! This really was a very sweet moment. I’ll never forget it."

Jada Sayles swapped her hospital gown for her graduation gown (and cap!) and stood in her hospital room to be officially declared a graduate. On Twitter, she shared a snapshot of her decorated graduation cap, which included balanced scales (she graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice), the phrase "Black girl magic" and a square for her sweet baby boy.

"I was scheduled to get induced Saturday at 5 p.m.," Sayles told New Orleans news outlet WDSU. "So after graduation, I was planning on heading to the hospital." Obviously, the baby, a boy she named Easton, had other plans.

"It happened so fast. I didn't even realize I was missing graduation because it was just such a fast labor."

Clearly, Sayles will have a story to tell her son many times for years to come. The special bond between a mother and her child is only made stronger by something like sharing this momentous occasion for them both.