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What is it about birth coverage that makes you love it?
For me, it's all about the impact it makes on the family afterward. I've received feedback that has left me in tears. Though wonderful, I don't mean the "oohs" and "ahhs" ... it's when a new mom tells me how weak she felt while laboring with her child, yet looking at her video and photos she realized the opposite - and felt like superwoman. She's able to get the chance to see what others saw. And it's not gross or painful to watch, but strong, awe-inspiring, and beautiful. She can remember all the best parts forever. I live for hearing that something I did helped her change her self-perception. Also... dads!! Dads sometimes just "go along with [birth coverage]" at first because his wife wants it, yet dads become my biggest supporters afterward. They usually talk about how grateful they are that they were part of the story instead of being the one holding the camera. That (and so much more) is what makes me want to keep doing what I do.
What is it like to have you in my birth space?
My first priority at a birth (even before 'getting the shots') is to sync my interaction & movement with the needs of a laboring mother. Usually this means quietly (but quickly) setting my things in a corner, getting the camera ready, and very slowly & calmly beginning to document (unless you're pushing... ;) ). Many times I'll walk into the room without being acknowledged, and that's perfectly acceptable to me. I want you to be able to focus on the work you have in front of you to bring baby into the world. Eliminating distractions and only interacting when necessary/requested allows the labor & delivery process to carry on efficiently and makes it possible for me to document a more authentic story. I also work to eliminate possibilities of being a distraction by bringing minimal (but powerful) equipment, rarely (if ever) using flash/lighting, keeping mechanical noises down, giving my clients space, and working hard to stay aware of my client's progress and level of awareness of my presence. We may chat between contractions, if desired. Other times, we may not even look at each other until you grin up at me with a baby in your arms, and ask me "Did you get it!!??"
What is your experience with capturing birth?
Although I have yet to have a baby myself, birth has been a prominent theme in my life. As a young girl, I looked forward to the day I would become a mom (and still do), and always wondered what it would be like. I even contemplated themes such as fertility and loss from a very young age. When I saw and captured my first birth in 2011, my world was turned upside down. I knew right away that observing mothers doing the awe-inspiring work of bringing a baby into the world (and being able to document it & show them the amazing thing they did) was my calling, and to this day, so very many births later, I still feel extremely honored when parents-to-be ask me to join them.
Since beginning to attend births, I have attended countless classes, meetings, and trainings that have added greatly to my understanding of births. I helped plan and carry out local birth conferences and in 2016 trained as a doula. All this was done to simply make me a better resource and support to clients as I documented their birth story.
How does your on-call period work?
I am available & excited to support you from day 1, throughout your entire pregnancy. As your due-date gets closer, so will the official on-call period. It is usually set as the 4 weeks surrounding your due date. During this time, I make myself available via phone 24/7 (yes, you can call me at 3am ;) ). In addition, I make several changes in my personal life. I stay in areas of strong cell phone service, stay within 2 hours of home & your delivery location. I keep my equipment & supplies packed (with memory cards & lots of batteries) and ready to go, my vehicle filled with gas, and make sure to get a good night’s rest every night. Last, I always drive my own vehicle (no carpooling), and keep my equipment & supplies with me if I’m not close to home. You’ll also have my husband’s phone number as a backup. Being on-call is a serious (and exciting) thing for me.
If baby does come outside the on-call period, I will still do everything possible to be present. I simply may not be able to arrive as quickly as I can while on-call. Birth is my priority, though, so you better believe I’ll do whatever I can. If for any reason I cannot head your way as soon as I’d like to, I will send a competent backup whose photo & video skills I trust.
How soon do I contact you and what do you do to avoid missing a birth?
We’ll keep in touch throughout your pregnancy – as much or as little as you’d like. I want to hear about any progress or early signs of labor (cervix dilation, baby descending, discharge/mucous plug updates, Braxton-hicks, water breaking, etc…). Once labor begins, I expect 2 main points of contact. The first happens in early labor (once contractions have settled into a steady pattern and are getting stronger & closer together). Once this is happening, we maintain constant communication via text. The second official point of contact I expect is the “come now call" once you’re in active labor and would like me to head your way.
Though I work hard to never miss a birth, I understand that the unpredictable nature of birth can cause some worry. We can address these situations (quick arrival of baby, weather, traffic, etc...) in more detail when we go through the paperwork to book your due date, but rest assured that, though unlikely, in the unforeseen event that I am not present for the actual delivery, I will either A) Have a competent, professional backup present, or B) Start documenting upon arrival, and stay extra time to capture more footage/images.
Is birth photography & video allowed in the hospital?
Yes! My experience has shown me that hospitals and care providers are becoming increasingly more welcoming to birth photographers & videographers. Since starting to document births in 2011, I have never been asked to leave the room during a vaginal birth, and have even been able to accompany parents into the operating room for a C-section on several occasions. This is not to say there will never be situations where I am asked to leave, but it is unlikely. I have immense respect for maternity care providers. Their job at a birth is more vital than mine. I encourage clients to have multiple discussions with their care-provider, ensuring they know that you have hired a professional to document the birth, and plan to have me there the entire time. From the moment I arrive, I work hard to quickly establish a comfortable relationship with staff & providers who attend you, to make sure they see me as a hired professional who respects their role, and works around them to fulfill my own. If at anytime your care provider were to ask me to leave the room, or (in case of a C-section) not allow me to accompany you into the O.R., you (as their client) are absolutely able to advocate for yourself, re-iterating your wishes to have me stay. In some cases that I haven’t been able to attend a C-section delivery, I have sent my backup camera with a nurse who took a few photos for me to add into the final film. If I am not present during any particular part of labor & delivery, I will still be able to tell a lovely story with the footage & images we do have.
I am concerned about privacy. How graphic are the pictures/video?
Every family’s comfort level is different. Your images & video will be tailored to your personal preferences. I am proud to say I have worked within some very specific modesty requests, and am happy to accommodate them for clients. I work hard to capture angles that tell the full story without showing the graphic nature of birth. After booking, you will fill-out a questionnaire that asks you about your preferences on two levels – 1) How much you want captured in general (even for private viewing), and 2) Any modesty preferences you have for the shared, portfolio video. You will then have another chance to express your desires upon receiving your video and images. I strive to create a short film that you feel comfortable (and excited) to share with others (friends, family, etc…). I also have personal limits to public portfolio. Even if a client were comfortable with showing them, clips/photos with nipples or groin area visible will not be included in any public portfolio with Kalimana Film Stories.
For those who would like 2 versions of their birth film (one longer, telling the full story, for private sharing, and a second shorter, family-friendly version, for public sharing), I suggest to choose the “full birth story” package that includes both the short & feature length films.
Do you primarily do home births or hospital births?
I enjoy capturing any birth story – and have had the pleasure of documenting births in hospitals, birth centers, or in clients homes. The beauty of a medication-free birth is that it is easier for me to "dissappear" as the laboring mother focuses on the task ahead of her. I love the variety of home birth. It's always different. There is movement, colors, etc and it makes capturing the whole scene exciting. On the other hand, the simplicity of the hospital room challenges me to focus on expressions, interactions & dialogue. If a mom chooses to have an epidural, you may find us chatting on video a bit more... about her pregnancy, the start of labor, or taking birth weight guesses from family in the room. Over the last year and a half I have had several opportunities to capture births at Baby & Company birth center in Nashville. That has been a treat. It's definitely a beautiful space to birth, and I've really loved the aesthetic of the photographs and videos of births there.
No matter where a couple chooses to welcome their little one, I support them wholly, and look forward to the day with excitement!
What is the editing process like for video?
The day after your baby’s birth, I start reviewing the video footage & images, and usually send a sneak peek your way. The process of reviewing and selecting the best images & video clips can take several days. Once selections are finalized, the video & photo editing process begins. Toward the end of the video editing process, after re-watching & reviewing, I take time to select the music. This is a step I consider carefully and usually re-watch the footage several times while listening to potential songs. Once the music is selected, it is added to the video project, and the entire film is once again watched, reviewed, and final edits are made. About 30 days from delivery, you’ll receive a private link to view your finalized birth film. You’ll have a few days to watch & enjoy it, before giving me a thumbs-up if it’s ready to share. If a tweak or two are needed, I’m happy to accommodate your requests. As mentioned in another section, my goal is to deliver you a film that you’re excited to share with others. If you’ve chosen the longer, feature-length film, it will be ready at this time as well.
What if I can’t pay the whole fee upfront?
If you know you want birth coverage with Kalimana, we'll work together to determine how to make it work! While many choose to pay the full amount upfront, others take care of the booking fee first, then later on complete payment for the package. The benefit to hiring KFS is that you are more than a number or a name on a client list. I'm happy to work with you - you can pay as you go or set up a regular payment plan. You’ll have access to your invoice electronically, and be able to view the balance & make payments at any time, with the balance due by 36 weeks. Some clients have participated in the “baby registry” program that gives friends & family the opportunity to gift part of your package. Their donations will go directly toward your invoice. The baby registry with KFS is a custom webpage with pictures, information about you & your family, a pregnancy tracker, and more. See an example: http://www.kalimana.com/baby-weber.
If you’re not yet pregnant, you may also be interested in a “Birth Savings Plan.” This is a program that allows you to start paying for your birth coverage ahead of time, with refund options. Simply ask about the program, and I’ll send the details your way!
How far away can you travel for birth?
All birth packages include travel up to 50 miles away from Murfreesboro, TN at no extra cost (extended for births at the Farm or Infinity Birth Center). I also capture births much further away, and would love to give you a custom quote! Having traveled out of state for births, I am here to tell you, it can be done! For non-local births, I aim to be present by your due date or to begin travel at signs of early labor. I am more than happy to travel to you to capture your baby’s birth – whether out of state, or even internationally. Click the link below to check availability & request a quote for an out-of-town birth.
Do you charge hourly or a flat rate?
The most popular packages include unlimited coverage during active labor & delivery. I do offer one option (Bare Bones Birth) with 10 hours of coverage and a small hourly fee after that. This package might be one to consider for C-section deliveries or for moms who have a history of delivering extremely quickly.
Do you have any references?
Upon request, I am more than happy to pass on the information of a few clients and care providers I have worked with (who have given me permission to do so).