Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Your Photos Aren't Just For You... | Vancouver, WA Maternity, Newborn and Family Photographer

Let's face it, not every accept of getting photos taken is fun. It takes work, you not only have to get yourself ready but you have to get all of the members of your family ready too. You have to coordinate outfits and schedules and make sure all of your ducks are in a row. When life gets busy, it can be easy to just say we will get our photos done next month, next season or at the next milestone. It can be easy to put them off but chances are you will regret it, if not for you, for your children.

Studies show that kids who grow up with photos of themselves feel more grounded and loved. Your photos aren't just for you, they are an amazing gift to your children and all of the generations that come from them. How special will it be for your child to be able to look back at these photos when they are grown? They can feel connected to that moment in your life when you were still growing them inside of you. They will be able to feel the excitement and love you had for them even before you laid eyes on them. They can see a part of their own lives they can't remember, when they were so tiny and new. They can see themselves discovering new things in the world and celebrating big milestones. And even better than that, they can share these photos with their own children and build a stronger connection with them. Your photos are more than just snapshots of time, they are a legacy that allows you and your loved ones to reconnect and relive the special moments.

Your pregnancy is such a short time in your life compared to the lifetime you will spend with your child. Your baby will only be so small once and your children will grow up faster than you can ever imagine. Don't let these moments slip by, capture them now and have beautiful art that can be cherish for years to come by you and your children.

Enjoy photos from this sweet spring maternity session at Lewisville Park in Battle Ground,Washington. We had to reschedule this session twice due to rain but when we finally had it we totally lucked out with perfect spring weather and a beautiful golden sunset!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cario is 2! | Vancouver, WA Child Photographer

I just love this little guy so much!! I have been following his journey since he was born and earlier this past March I got to help celebrate his SECOND BIRTHDAY! I can't believe he is two years already. He is definitely a busy little guy but he is always very sweet, very happy and extremely curious. I love that his momma wanted to do another cake smash session for his second birthday. We stuck with the same basic theme as his first birthday cake smash to really emphasis the change a year in this little man's life has made. You can go check out his first birthday session HERE. I am so excited to continue to watch Cario and his awesome family grow

Monday, August 13, 2018

My Return From Maternity Leave | Vancouver, WA Baby Photographer

Getting to take time off of work to bond with my son has truly been amazing and I am so grateful to be in a position that I could do so. When it came to going back to work, I didn't want to dive right back in head first, I wanted to dip my toes in and test the waters. I started by taking just a few sessions in July to ease back in. This was my first newborn session after Parker was born and it is so special to me. I have always been passionate about newborn photography but now that I have been on the other side and experienced it as a client that passion has grown so much stronger. The photos from his newborn session are my most prized possessions, knowing that feeling first hand makes me so much more excited to see my clients experience it. Now having a baby of my own I cherish the bonds I create with newborns more than I even thought possible. Getting to spend this time with babies while they are still so fresh and new is so profound and such an honor. I didn't know it was possible but I love being a newborn photographer even more now than ever before.
This is sweet little Savannah, just 22 days old when she was in my studio. It was such a privilege to get to spend the afternoon with her and to provide her and her family with beautiful memories.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My Birth Story | Vancouver, WA Photographer

If you have followed my blog at all then you likely know that my pregnancy was far from easy. I was sick pretty much from day one, I suffered through months of unrelenting nausea followed only by unbearable heartburn. I struggled with kidney stones and took more trips to the ER than in my entire life before. There were worries that my little man wasn't going to develop properly and would have issues with his heart. And despite all of that, I actually had a pretty good birth experience. My birth plan was no epidural, to have as little intervention
as possible and to deliver on my hands and knees or squatting. Things definitely didn't go as planned but luckily I knew that things never go as expected so I rolled with the punches. There were some rocky moments but I walked away feeling like a (sore and tired) badass super star.

It all started at my 41 week check up. Little dude was quite sleepy in me, only after a vaginal exam did he start to stir around. My doctor was a little worried that my placenta was starting to give up and wanted to talk induction. Originally I had wanted to avoid induction but after a week of false labor starts I was pretty ready to get that baby out of me. My doula described labor as starting a lawn mower, sometimes you have to pull the start cord a few times before the engine kicks on but it was like there wasn't enough gas in the tank. I was 2cm dilated and 75% effaced. Parker was a little guy and so he just wasn't putting enough pressure on my cervix to really get me dilated. My doctors plan of action was to start me on misoprostol to help my cervix open up.

We got admitted to the hospital that day at around 2pm. We lucked out, the one room they had available for us was this big beautiful corner suite. There were two giant windows, an extra large day bed and so much space to move around. I am honestly a little bummed we didn't get to take advantage of it more.

After we settled in they gave me the miso at about 3:30. Because I was being induced I had to be on continuous monitoring, I had really hoped to not have to be hooked up to monitors but now I am so thankful I was. The miso brought on very intense contraction that just didn't feel right. It felt like a giant sword was going straight through me. On about the third contraction a flood of nurse poured into my room. My contractions were putting too much stress on Parker and causing his heart rate to dip far too low. After only a few more contractions my doctor decided that they needed to administer terbutaline to counteract the miso. Getting the shot of terb was such a weird feeling, it was similar to adrenaline and left me feeling very amped up.

After all of that my doctor decided that a pitocin drip was the way to go. We had to wait for the terb to wear off before the pitocin could be started which gave my husband and I a little more time to just enjoy each other.

Finally around 7pm they started my iv of pitocin. My husband and I spent a little time walking the halls of labor and delivery but were soon relegated back to our room because my monitor was acting up and kept cutting out. Once back in our room I decided to take a bath. Our suite had this beautiful jet tub, I was pretty bummed I couldn't use the jets because of my monitors but very happy I was able to at least soak in a relaxing bath. My doula sprinkled some lavender oil in my bath and we decided that she should go home and get some rest while she still could. My contractions were about 10 minutes apart and it seemed like we were going to have plenty of time. I soaked in the tub for a little while after she left and finally decided to get out and try to get to bed to get some sleep, it was just before 10 pm. I had just enough time to get dressed and settled into bed before active labor hit. It seriously felt like a jet engine taking off, I went from a nice comfort pace to full speed in just seconds.

Parker was OP, (occipito posterior position occurs when the baby enters the pelvis facing forward with his back towards his mothers back. The back of the baby's head is referred to as the 'occiput' and is in the back of the pelvis against the sacrum) which made for some really intense back labor pain. After only a few contractions I was begging for drugs, I kept thinking to myself I can't do 6 more hours of this. Why I had 6 hours stuck in my head, I don't know and if I had any idea how quickly things were going to happen I never would have asked for them at all. I was giving my husband the safe word that really meant I needed help and he wasn't really sure what to do. My amazing charge nurse stepped up and told him to get my doula on the phone. She had just laid her head down on her pillow when she got the call, she had been got maybe a half hour. She rushed right back over to the hospital. I definitely wasn't coping with the pain well. My hospital offer nitrous oxide as an alternative to the epidural. The nitro was always my backup plan but in that moment I was worried it wasn't going to be enough. My doula convinced me to at least try it first before giving in and I reluctantly agreed. I am so happy she was there, she was my voice of reason when I couldn't think straight. The nitro definitely didn't get rid of the pain but it allowed me to cope with it better. It helped me to concentrate on my breathing and made me high enough to just not care about the pain as much.

I was definitely a little loopy from the nitro so when my water broke at around 11pm I was convinced I pooped myself. Because I was 41 weeks, there was meconium in my water which only validated my belief that I had just pooped. I took the mask off away from my face and in a daze announced to the room "I think I just shit myself. Guys, I just shit myself." My husband laughed and explained to me that it was my water breaking. Another contraction hit and another geyser of hot liquid burst out of me. I again insisted that I had pooped and was again reassured by husband that it was just my water breaking to which I exclaimed that at the very least I peed myself while it was happening. My nurse helped me off my bed and into the bathroom so my husband could change my bed sheets. I was distracted I didn't even notice the smell but according to my husband it was far from pleasant but he's a trooper and he powered through to help me have a clean place to labor.

I got back to bed and at 11:20 my nurse check my cervix and I had hit 6cm. I believe that Parker broke my water while flipping over to posterior position (When a baby is head-down but facing your abdomen) because after that things got a little easier. My back was very sore so things were still pretty painful but definitely not as bad anymore.

Things were clearly getting more intense and so at 12:23 my nurse checked my cervix again and I was 8cm and 90% effaced. Things were definitely moving quickly. It was only a few minutes later I started feeling the bearing down starting and had the overwhelming urge to push. I had spent most of the time up to this point on my knees leaded against the inclined bed but my nurse had my flip on my back to check again cervix. She explained that I still had a little lip left and wasn't quite ready to push yet. After flipping on my back that time I was too tired to get back on my knees and thought to myself "screwed it, this is where I will remain for the duration of my labor."

I was having a really hard time not pushing so she told me to puff out my cheeks like a puffer fish during my next contraction. I was still sucking in the nitro like there was no tomorrow and so in total drunk girl fashion I tried to puff out my cheeks but failed miserably and kind of just sputtered my lips. She could see my struggle and had another nurse come into the room. That nurse came in and checked my cervix again and told me I was ready to start pushing. My doula luckily thought to look at the clock, it was exactly 1 am when I was given the go ahead. The very next contraction Parker was starting to crown. Only a couple more contractions and he was out to his shoulders. The next one the delivery nurse told me to give her a really big cough and like a crazy little party trick I coughed a baby right out of me. It all happened so fast the doctor barely made it there in time. I only spent 8 minutes pushing and Parker burst into the world at 1:08am.

His birth was such a relieving feeling. The best way I can think to describe it is like taking a massive poop, honestly for me, the two things are were pretty similar. Labor might have been pretty difficult but the pushing and delivery were almost enjoyable. There were so adrenaline coursing through me, once the bearing downing started I really didn't feel any pain. I had heard that the afterbirth was very painful but when I delivered my placenta a few minutes later I didn't make any real effort to push, it just kind of slid out. I had a small tear, my doctor tried hard to get the bleeding to stop so she avoid giving me a stitch. Her trying to stop my bleeding was more painful and uncomfortable then Parker's birth. After a few minutes she gave in and informed I would be receiving one stitch to which I replied "that's fine as long as it means you will stop messing with me soon." I really just wanted her to leave me alone so I could finally relax.

The next hour I spent hold and nursing my son for the first time. I really enjoyed the baby friendly approach at the hospital. The day of Parker's birth was the best day of my life. I am so proud of myself, my son and my husband. He was such an amazing support throughout the process, just like everything, it was better with him by my side.

Special thanks to Shonda of Gray Feather Photography for beautifully capturing this special moment in our lives and to Kathy of Hearts Work Doulas for being the extra support and much needed voice of reason!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Welcome To The World! | Vancouver, WA Newborn Photographer

I have been a little quiet lately but there is a very good reason for it, my sweet baby boy has finally made it earth side! Parker was born weighing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces and 19.5 inches long on May 21st at 1:08 am and is super healthy and happy. In my wildest dreams I could have never imagined how truly amazing it would feel to hold him in my arms for the first time. Motherhood is crazy but I wouldn't change a single things about it. I heard so many times during my pregnancy that having a baby was going to change my life completely but I had no idea how true that was, I have an entirely new perspective of the world and it is truly amazing. I love my baby boy so much and I am eternally grateful for the love he has brought my husband and me. Welcome to the world Parker, it is a better place now that you are here!!

Check back in next week to read all about my birth story!

"[Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary—it’s an act of infinite optimism.” —Gilda Radner