Big sister meets baby brother
“Probably my favourite shot from last night’s water birth. Big sister meets baby brother,” photographer Marijke Thoen Geboortefotografie posted alongside this incredible shot of a baby being born to a very captive toddler audience. We can see why it was her favourite.
The birth takes place in a clear-sided pool, allowing those in the birthing room to fully witness the magic of a little human making their way into the world.
“The picture was taken in a Belgian hospital in Ostend,” Marijke told parenting website Babble. “The family hired me to document their birth story. I am a professional birth photographer and I also photographed the birth of the child that is now a toddler in this picture.”
Probably my favourite shot from last nights water birth 😍.. Big sister meets baby brother.. Ik deel er alvast nog eentje… Schitterend toch, alsof hij tegen zn grote zus zegt "oef wat was me dat zeg.." 🙂
Marijke’s powerful and unforgettable image shows the baby suspended between his mother and the outside world, still safely submerged and held by gentle hands. The baby’s big sister quietly and calmly gazes into his face for the first time, seconds before this little guy takes his first breaths.
When some admirers asked if the little girl was worried her brother was in distress or drowning, Marijke explained that this little girl was very up-t0-speed with what happens when a baby is born. She knew her little brother had an oxygen supply via the umbilical cord and would begin to breathe safely in his own time, once surfaced.
Babies aren’t prompted to breathe underwater due to a whole bunch of clever newborn reflexes;
- Hormones from the placenta cause the baby’s breathing movements to slow or cease during labour
- Babies have an inbuilt response to birth, which prompts them to swallow rather than breathe.
- There are also fluids in a newborn baby’s lungs that make it really, really hard to breathe water in
- And newborns also have a dive reflex when born, which causes their throat to close when liquid hits it, preventing them from inhaling and encouraging swallowing. The dive reflex lasts up to 6 months.
So all was well with this baby, in short!
Unique view of birth
Marijke’s image was so powerful, in fact, that Facebook removed it for a short period of time. Twice.
Okay, granted they thought it had violated their rules about publishing nudity on the popular platform, but they eventually redeemed themselves – after a couple of false starts – by reinstating the image, much to Marijke’s delight.
“OMG they put it back up, Facebook put my original post back,” she posted.
Indeed they did and it’s speedily going viral as people share their appreciation of this unique view of birth. We’ve got to say we understand their enthusiasm and are so glad that the family in question – and Marijke – shared this jaw dropping photo.
Welcome to the world, little one!