It was one of the most “intense” births Kayla Reeder has ever photographed.
The Florida-based photographer, who specializes in birth photos, shot an incredible set of pictures that show what can happen to a baby’s head during birth.
“I’ve seen ‘cone head’ babies before. It is very common. [This baby’s] head was the most intense I’ve seen, but it went down very quickly,” she tells Global News.
The birth story
Reeder was commissioned to shoot the birth of Nikki and Chris’ son, Graham, on Valentine’s Day earlier this year. Because Nikki had been in labour for 36 hours with her first child, she anticipated that Graham’s birth would be a long as well.
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When Reeder arrived at the hospital that February morning, Nikki was in a room and had already been administered an epidural.
“This sweet mama was listening to worship music as her beautiful mom whispered encouraging words to her,” she recalls.
Pushing took about an hour, and Graham was a bit sideways. “[Nikki] had to work a little harder, but no additional interventions were necessary.”
When Graham finally came out, Reeder says it was beautiful.
“The love and adoration and relief that he was finally here radiated through them. Graham was perfect in every way. Right down to his little cone head.”
Cone head births
According to My Health Alberta, you should not be alarmed if your newborn has a cone-shaped head.
“This is most common with babies who are born vaginally [rather than by caesarean section]. Bruising may also occur. A normal head shape will gradually return in a baby’s first few days to weeks,” the site notes.
Paediatrician Dr. David Geller of the Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, told BabyCenter the newborn’s head often looks cone-shaped because it had to be compressed to fit through a narrow birth canal.
“This is possible because the immature skull bones have not yet grown together. Sometimes the baby also has small areas of swelling over the bones of the head (also due to the birth process), which may take a few weeks to go down,” he said.
READ MORE: B.C. woman gives birth to 14-pound baby
My Health Alberta adds squinty-looking, bloodshot eyes are a common side effect, and are caused by swelling during labour. Downy hair on the forehead, cheeks, shoulders and on the back is also a possibility.
“This is especially common in babies who are born earlier than their due date. It will usually go away within a few weeks after birth.”
Also, don’t be alarmed if your baby has swollen breasts or genitals — this is caused by hormones passed on by the mother during birth.
Reeder says Graham’s head went back to a regular size within a few days. “It’s no cause for alarm or concern in this case, and his birth was in no way traumatic because of it.”
As for her, shooting babies like this can be quite emotional.
“It’s very emotional being a birth photographer,” she tells Global News. “You document these women, owning their bodies and bringing their children into the world. It’s an honour to witness such a love story unfold before your eyes. It’s an amazing job that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”