Caden James

A write up for this sweet birth is coming soon but I couldn’t wait to get the picture sneak peek up for the family! Enojy 🙂

Caden James

4/30/2013 3:56am 7lbs 2oz

Joyful Baby Momma

You might be thinking the name of this post is a little  out of the ordinary compared to my usual birth sneak peek posts, and it is! For several reasons:

  1. I couldn’t use baby’s name in the title because this sweet girl is still being referred to as “new baby”.
  2. Her parent like unordinary names…hence why they’re being a little indecisive about her name 😉
  3. This was the birth of my friend and co-birth field worker/associate/referral/personal diaper supplier, Kristina who operates “JOYFUL BABY PLANNING

Title make more sense now? 🙂

I was so excited when she asked me to capture the moments right after the birth of her next “surprise baby”. The only scary part was her last labor for her 2nd child was very fast and we were all prepared for this one be even quicker. “I know I’m going to have this baby in the car,” she told me several times, and that prediction wasn’t far from true.

We arrived at the birth center at the same time (just 2 hours after she text me “I think I might be in labor”) and she hurried inside to be checked. 10cm! She had showed up complete and ready to push. It wasn’t too long of a wait before a screaming, pink baby made her debut. Her parents were so relieved to have her in their arms they didn’t even check for gender until about 3 minutes after birth!

It's a Girl

It’s a Girl

The great moments didn’t stop there! Since she arrived so quickly they had time to call their other two kiddos and tell them the good news….or bad news to big brother who was certain the new baby was going to be a boy.

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Listening for a reaction from big brother…something…anything

He was not happy with the result, but his reaction sure was amusing for all in birth room! After crying, "nooo" he hung up on his parents. I'm sure he'll come around.

He was not happy, but his reaction sure was amusing for all of us in birth room! After crying, “nooo” he hung up on his parents. I’m sure he’ll come around.

I am so blessed to have been able to witness the birth of this family’s newest addition, and look forward to learning what name this precious girl has been given.

“Itty Bitty” Annabella Arrives

One week ago today I was blessed to witness one of the most joyous and redeeming births…ever!

To make a long story short, Michele and Aaron had a very difficult birth with their first child so things were slightly nerve-wracking throughout their second pregnancy. Even though their son is healthy now, fears of shoulder dystocia, fetal distress, and emergency situations were in the back of everyone’s mind. Hope for a different experience and trust in her body helped get Michele through an unexpected labor and birth.

After much discussion and attempting to induce labor naturally, the decision was made that an induction was medically necessary and was scheduled for 3/21 at 6:00 am. Annabella did not want her momma to go through that apparently! On 3/20 Michele’s water broke but there were no signs of contractions, I think I speak for all of us when I say at this point in time none of us had any idea how things were going to go down. Labor built quickly and by 9:00pm I was being called to join them. Upon arrival I was told she had progressed to 7cm in just a few short hours. Before we knew it push time had arrived! After lots of prayers, hope, and team work Annabella arrived at 10:23!

Michele asked me to attend her birth so they could capture all the moments they were not able to have with Anna’s big brother. I loved that thru all of this the thing that stood out to Michele was the fact that she believes she had to have a rough first experience to truly  enjoy her second birth.

Welcome Grayson!

My first birth of 2013 is in the books! Baby Grayson was brought into this world by loving parents Adrienne and Ryan on January 16th. This 7 pound 3 ounce bundle of joy sure did take us all on a crazy (and fast) journey. Here are just a few of the images I was able to capture as this family’s doula and photographer.

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I’ll be honest, when I got the text at 6:30am requesting I head to the hospital I was a bit hesitant. Adrienne was only at a 2 and was not have very strong contractions. At this rate it was looking like a long day ahead. Then I realized if I waited any longer traffic would be horrible. So I jumped in the car and headed off…just in the nick of time.

I arrived around 7:30 to find Adrienne and Ryan laboring beautifully on the birth ball. The nurse was telling them they were cleared to walk for a while and in about 30 minutes she’d be back to start the pitocin since Adrienne had not made any progress since the night before when she was admitted for minor complications.

We headed out the door and before we could make it 5 feet *splash* amniotic fluid everywhere! The simple motion of walking ruptured her water and set things in motion.

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Back in the room things progressed quickly. I hardly had time to take any photos since her contractions picked up in intensity. Another exam revealed in less than 2 hours dilation had progressed from a 2 to a 9. With more control than most first time moms (or any laboring woman for that matter) have, Adrienne fought through 30 minutes of rough labor.

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Before long she was ready to push and Grayson made his arrival at 8:57.

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I can only hope the rest of my births for 2013 go as smoothly and beautifully as baby Graysons’.

Congratulations to the wonderful family! Thank you for letting me be a part of this special journey 🙂

Labor is a beautiful thing

Labor is defined in many ways

la·bor
(lbr)

n.

1. a. Physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; work. See Synonyms at work.

    b. Something produced by work.
2. A specific task.
3. A particular form of work or method of working: manual labor.
4. Work for wages.
5. a. Workers considered as a group.

    b. The trade union movement, especially its officials.
6. A political party representing workers’ interests, especially in Great Britain.
7. The process by which childbirth occurs, beginning with contractions of the uterus and ending with the expulsion of the infant and the placenta.
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 As a birth photographer and doula my job (labor) is to help a family through birth (labor). The two meanings go hand in hand for me. Unlike most people (especially women) I look forward to labor. I use words like exciting, perfect, and BEAUTIFUL to describe the hard work I see put forth by mothers. When you’re going through it, the task of bringing a baby into this world can seem daunting and impossible, but more and more moms are starting to see the beauty and once in a life time moments that occur through their labor. I love when clients allow me to photograph and preserve these memories.
The final push
No matter how a labor ends (natural, medicated, or cesarean) experiencing the power of your body and feeling you and your unborn child working together is an emotion that can never be duplicated. Whether for one contraction or one hundred, I would encourage every woman, who is able, to experience some degree of labor.
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For couples who tackle labor together, the process takes on a whole new dimension. Seeing not only a child but a family be born is a very intimate time a lot of people are not comfortable sharing with outsiders. However, couples now are starting to realize having photos taken of BOTH of them through the labor can be a testament to their grown child about how much love there was as he or she was welcomed into the world.
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Here are just a few more of my favorite moments I captured through 2012. Thank you to all the families who allowed me to be a part of your births and for those planning on having me attend their’s this year! I cannot wait to experience the miracle of life again and again for many years to come.
and of course you can’t have this many labor photos without a couple of baby photos 🙂

Welcome Maddie J

I am always honored when students from my birth class ask me to be a part of their labor and birth. No matter what the role, attending births is a passion of mine. For Karen and Adam my role was to document the birth of their first child, Madeline (aka Maddie J), through photos. What I ended up capturing was much different.

The following is shared with permission to give others a glimpse inside an amazing labor that has changed my life forever.

12/21/12 – Karen’s due date and surprisingly the day she actually went into labor. She texted me at about 8:30 that morning to let me know her contractions were getting more regular but still pretty far apart.

The day went on with no major updates. Finally I got the call at 9:30pm. They were headed to the hospital! The last thing Karen said before she hung up was, “I don’t think I can do this”. I was so excited to get to the hospital to watch her prove to herself that she could!

I arrived about 20 minutes after Karen and Adam. She was dilated to almost a 7 and contractions were less than 3 minutes apart. A text-book perfect labor!

I love watching first time dads try to figure out labor. Adam was so enthusiastic and so nervous at the same time, it was heartwarming to see. Everyone in the room could tell he was ready to be a dad. Once they were in a rhythm, I couldn’t help but smile. As their birthing instructor I would love to take credit for their amazing labor skills but there are some things that can’t be taught.  Like how whenever Karen’s breathing would start to speed up and she’d start to get tense, with one phrase, “breath from within”, Adam could relax her completely. It was truly beautiful.

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Time went on and Karen moved to the tub (side note: hospitals that offer birth tubs are amazing and I think all others should follow suit). Signs starting pointing towards transition, I got excited and starting reminding them about what they could expect…”the hardest shortest part, the hardest shortest part”. Everyone was braced and ready for contractions to pick up but instead they began to taper off.

I learned, even before my own labor, that you never put a time stamp on when you think things will happen, so the hardest question to answer from a laboring woman is, “How much longer?”. Being reassuring without making promises is tricky when it comes to birth. All you can do is tell mom that her baby will come when ready. Another thing I’ve learned this past year in this field is that there is a connection between mothers. I had been in her shoes, the feeling that labor is never going to end, the exhaustion hurting more than the contractions. Honestly one of the most surreal moments of my life so far was when Karen said, “I can’t do this much longer”…. I looked her straight in the eyes and for a moment the room was silent, “You already have done it. You’ve got this and your daughter will be here soon.”  Karen smiled, nodded her head, and had a new resurgence of energy. I have said things like this to other laboring moms but this was different. I was not the medical professional in the room, but I believed it with all my heart. Maddie was on her way and I knew her mom was going to have the perfect birth!

Karen moved to the bed to try to get some rest but contractions were picking back up. They were closer together and last longer. Finally the moment we’d all been waiting for, the urge to push! Without even being prompted to or being checked to see if dilation was complete Karen started pushing and Adam starting tearing up. He later described his emotions to me as incredible, that he couldn’t believe her body just knew to do that. He could not stop talking about how amazed he was by his wife strength both emotionally and physically.

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The room got excited and cheered Karen on. Then before we knew it nearly 2 hours had passed. Baby’s heart rate was dropping every time she engaged in the pelvis. Progress had stopped. The midwife checked Maddie’s position and found she was too high for a forceps delivery and thought an epidural would be a good option so they could try to reposition her and avoid a cesarean. Hospital protocol required everyone but dad to leave the room so it was out to the lobby for the waiting game.

Another hour went by and finally Adam came out.  They could not successfully reposition Maddie and had to take Karen back for an emergency cesarean.  Adam sat down looking so remorseful. This is not how you’re supposed to feel at your child’s birth. He hadn’t even gotten to see his daughter yet because of minor complications. They had told him everyone was fine and he could come to recovery in a few minutes. “This is the worst thing that could have happened,” he said. My heart was filled with guilt. I knew once he got to hold his sweet girl and see Karen again he would bounce back, but until then I felt like I had to do something. We talked things through and by the time the nurse came to take him back I think he had begun to process the fact that they tried EVERYTHING possible and their cesarean was 100% necessary.

After some bonding time Adam brought my camera out to me and told me their midwife had taken it into the operating room and was able to get a few shots of Maddie just minutes old and photos of the first time he got to meet his daughter!

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I left the hospital at 8:00 Saturday morning still not sure how to feel about everything. I didn’t want Karen to be angry at me. I didn’t want her to feel like I led her on when I told her she could do it. Then I got this text…

“Hey…Thanks again for all of your help. Karen’s spirits are high and we are perfectly fine with how everything turned out. We got to experience the miracle of a natural labor and it was AMAZING!! We would love to talk in front of your next Bradley class or even multiple classes and provide some useful information.”

Things don’t always go according to plan, but focusing on the positive aspects even in negative situations will take you a long way. I cannot thank Karen and Adam enough for letting me be a part of such an important day in their lives. Congratulations you two and welcome to the world Miss Maddie!

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Maddie’s First Christmas
A photo from her first day home!

 

 

 

Noah Anthony

Every birth is a miracle and I still find it hard to believe I get to witness them on a regular basis. However, once in a while one sticks out. Noah’s birth was especially special to me because I have known his mom Emily for over 8 years now. I was honored when she asked me to be her doula and photographer.

After the birth of her first son, Aiden, 3 years ago Emily knew there had to be a better way to bring a baby into this world. My favorite quote of hers when describing the experience is “because of the epidural I didn’t even feel like I gave birth. For all I know they had a baby in a box under my bed and handed him to me”. I was so sad when she told me at one of our meetings that she felt like she didn’t do enough to deserve Aiden. She was going to do everything in her power to have a natural and empowering experience this time around. With her husband Nick by her side every step of the way, Emily powered through an induced labor completely medication free. There are many parts of this story that are too personal to share, but I want everyone who reads this and sees these pictures to know how incredible this family is. Noah’s birth was so redeeming for them and I am so thankful they allowed me to be a part of their story.

Noah Anthony was welcomed into the world Thursday November 8th, 2012 at 1:17pm 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches long.