Birth Photographer Captures Nurse Doing Her Own Newborn Exam Right After Delivery


 Birth photographer Alexandria Mooney has taken photos at more than 100 births, but there was something about Chelsea Herpstreith’s recent delivery that was unique. Herpstreith, a nurse, had just delivered her son Julien in St. Louis, Missouri, but instead being overcome with exhaustion (ya’ know, like the rest of us), this supermom went straight into nurse mode and performed her own newborn exam — and Mooney was there to capture the magic moment on camera. 

Speaking with CafeMom, Mooney says that Herpstreith gave birth on August 25, “not long before midnight.”

But before it was showtime, Herpstreith shocked the birth photographer with her one-of-a-kind birth plan.

“When we were chatting prior to baby day, she told me she wanted to do her baby's newborn exam herself, I was like 'OMG THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING — also you're gonna be okay with standing at the baby warmer like an hour after giving birth?!” Mooney recalled in an Facebook post from August 28.

Don’t worry — the mom thought a way around the baby warmer too.

"There was no warmer needed for her little guy's exam ... it was all brought to her!” Mooney continued on Facebook. Although it wasn't just another day in the office.

“She did say while measuring his length, 'This all feels so weird to do without gloves on!!'” the photographer recalled.

For those that are unfamiliar with the process, a newborn assessment typically happens within an hour after a baby is born.

As Mooney explains to CafeMom, the baby’s weight and length is taken, the infant's reflexes, temperature, heart rate, and oxygen levels are checked, and the umbilical cord is trimmed — it’s “basically a little ‘physical’ right after birth!”


Usually new moms are “soooooo exhausted. Those early postpartum hours they want to be spending them feeding, snuggling and sleeping," she adds.

“It was just incredible that Chelsea not only wanted to do this but did it and did it so amazingly!” she continues.

Later, Mooney shared the images she took of the delivery on Facebook, where they quickly went viral.

The photos have since been shared more than 14,000 times and have received more than 18,000 likes — but Mooney never expected her story to connect to so many people. She tells us that she wanted to share the photos because she thought it was a “really cool story.”

“I just wanted to brag on how awesome this mom was and was so grateful she was letting me share her photos,” she says. “I had no idea it would blow up like it has."

She says the response to the photos has been “super positive” so far.

“The response has been so positive and so celebratory and so many other nurses and healthcare workers thinking this idea was awesome and wanting to do it themselves whenever they have a baby,” she continues.

“And I do think it has sparked some conversations as well because this shows that mom can be involved in baby's newborn exam and it doesn’t always necessarily have to take place away from mom in a warmer or elsewhere that it can be done right there at the bedside — which I think is really huge to see, especially in a hospital setting.”

After more than a year of so much heartache, Mooney says she believes people responded to an event that was overwhelmingly positive.

“We hear so much depressing and dark news around hospitals and COVID and what not," she explains, "and I think this was also a good uplifting hospital story that was positive for these times and didn’t have anything to do with COVID."

In the end, Mooney was happy to be in the room for something truly special. Or as she explained in her Facebook post, "it was truly a privilege to be invited into this birth space and get the honor of documenting mama checking out her brand new little boy."


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