WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Sao Paulo, Brazil
By Nacho Doce
It was a night like any other, until my phone rang at 1:30 am. I reached to answer it without turning on the light. A woman on the other end said, “My water broke.”
“Manu?” I asked. Manuela, or Manu, said that I should come over to her house right away. I hung up and walked over to my sofa and looked at the cameras and lenses, without knowing if I had even charged the battery.
The phone rang again and it was Andre, Manu’s husband. I answered it with a question. “Damn, did she already give birth?” Andre said no, but asked in how long I would be arriving so he could tell the doorman. I took a quick shower, grabbed my gear, drank coffee, and in half an hour I was on my way along empty streets.
I was about to witness, at least through my viewfinder, a child’s birth for the first time. Two days earlier I had visited Andre and Manu, and they told me they planned to have their two-year-old daughter Alice with them when their new son, Gael, was being born. I was shocked, but thought it a great experience for Alice. The girl would see her brother emerge into their lives, without just “appearing” like magic from the hospital. Alice would have the greatest experience that a child could have with her sibling.
As I carried all my gear, cameras, lenses, batteries, monopod, and ladder, I knew it looked like I was going to cover a soccer game. I laughed at myself, nervously over the new experience. I knew that I was taking with me just about every piece of gear I owned, simply because I had no idea what I would need to photograph a birth, and I had to make sure I didn’t fail.