Doula and Birth Photographer in San Diego

I got an message from an expectant momma looking for a birth photographer in San Diego. She was scheduled to give birth at Scripps La Jolla in September. My first thought was “wow, that’s kinda far“.My second thought was “it’s really not that far“. Two and half hours in heavy traffic and 2 hours with light to moderate. Definitely doable!

We set up a Facetime call with her and her husband. They were such wonderful people. We clicked right away. She asked about my doula services that I combine with birth photography. I explained how being a doulatog works. Turns out that was the service she and her husband wanted. Now, I am newly certified birth doula, but excited and passionate about this important service. If you are curious about what a birth doula does, I have a simple to read blog post explaining it here.

I met with them at their San Diego home as I would with all doula clients. We went over their birth desires and preferences. Some people call this a birth plan, but that tends to create unfulfilled wishes and disappointments. If you have a preference and desire, but keep an open mind if things go a different direction, then disappointment is lessened (generally speaking). We went over breathing techniques, talked about labor stages and what to expect. Practicing labor positions and how her partner was an integral part was also practiced. My job mostly was to teach him how to help her. We stayed together several hours talking about all types of things labor related and personal related.

Color birth image of a laboring mother and her husband by Southern California birth photographer, Leona Darnell

Finally getting to the hospital

The day had arrived to induce labor. Since the hospital was so full, the date kept getting moved back. Finally at 11pm on August 18th, they were instructed to come in. I met them there at 1am or so and have to hand it to this woman. She did everything under the sun to bring this baby earthside. Her partner was the best as he never left her side.

birth photo of a woman laboring with her partner by Birth and Beauty

The Pitocin Drip

They started pitocin soon after arriving at the hospital and slowly increased it over time. Many people think that induction means speeding up the process. While this can be true in some circumstances, more often it is a lengthy process. In this case it was very long.

birth photo of a woman squatting to open her pelvis by leona darnell

Complete Exhaustion

Around the 30 hour mark, this warrior mother had had enough. The pain was too much, the labor had stalled and she was exhausted. The baby wasn’t tolerating the pitocin increases, yet without the increase her body wasn’t making the contractions it needed to.

labor exhaustion birth photo by san diego photographer, leona darnell

A Cesarean Birth

At 8am she was taken back for a cesarean birth. She wanted it done. The exhaustion was overwhelming and she just wanted her baby girl.

baby being born via cesarean in san diego california
color birth photo of a dad meeting his newborn daughter at Scripps La Jolla
San Diego birth photographer leona darnell shows a picture of when daddy met his daughter


They had a wonderfully happy baby girl and I am so proud of them. I have visited a couple times postpartum and she is amazing. Her parents are amazing and I am so blessed (a way overused word!) to have been part of this. If you would like to see there highlight real, you can find it here.

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