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Everly’s Big Debut

I don’t know what it is lately but so many of my clients have had their patience tested as they’ve had to wait and wait and WAIT for their babies to be born! Amanda and Mike had hoped that Everly would make her debut in June. In fact, I worried that she might have me running straight from my last birth to her birth. None of us would have dared to predict that she’d make her parents wait until almost 42 weeks.

On Friday morning Amanda called to say that her attempts to help kick-start labor seemed not to be working at all. She was going to give it one more try, though. A few hours later I got a text that her contractions were 3 minutes apart and getting bad. Another Friday baby after all! We met at Nativiti an hour later at 1:30.

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{dad apply pressure to some acupressure points}

It was clear to me that things were serious as soon as I walked in the room. It was a railroad labor and Amanda was doing nothing short of an amazing job just hanging on for the ride and taking each contraction as it came. She was complete and ready to push by 3:30!

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{big brother hanging out just waiting to meet his baby sister}

Usually this is the point in labor when things start getting a little easier. Or at least they feel more productive for the Mom. She has something she can do instead of just enduring painful contractions and the end is in sight! I think we all expected Everly to slide into the world in just a few minutes, like her big brother. But she had other plans.

Positioned awkwardly, Everly just would not budge. Her parents knew she’d be a big baby but that wasn’t the issue – there was plenty of room for her to be born. She just wouldn’t budge. Amanda tried every trick in the book. She tried and she tried and she tried. There was a feeling of exhaustion and frustration in the room. Honestly it had not been too long but it felt like hours and hours had passed without much progress. Usually the opposite is the case: hours pass in what feels like minutes. This was new for me and I am sure it was new for Amanda and Mike whose first baby was born within a few pushes.

Then something happened. I don’t know what it was but the feeling in the room shifted palpably, all at once. I found myself fighting back tears – something that rarely happens to me at a birth and certainly never before the baby’s even born! Frustration turned to motivation and determination. Amanda, as if she suddenly knew instinctively exactly what she needed to do, got in the one perfect position that Everly needed in order to be born. And she was born a few minutes later at 5:14pm – happy, healthy and fat!

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{10lb 8oz and almost 23 inches long! That's a BIG baby!}

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{sharing Everly’s first cries with family – isn’t technology awesome?}

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{I just look big brother’s look of joy and love in this photo!}
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{finally Cooper gets a chance to hold his baby sister. If you couldn't tell how big she was before, you can tell here! She barely fits in his lap!}

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{meeting her adoring Grandparents}

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Daddy's girl ♥

Feet – you know I can’t help myself!

I like to talk about birth. But this birth has me speechless. I wish I could find the right words to convey the power and beauty I witnessed that day. All in all, Amanda and Mike were only at the birth center for less than 4 hours before Everly was born but it felt like a lifetime in the strangest way. Time slowed down, sometimes stood still. Amanda endured in a way that I would not believe a woman was capable of if I had not seen it with my own eyes. She pushed aside exhaustion and frustration and touched her instincts. And she was rewarded with the most precious gift. Mike championed his wife and believed in her and never wavered. He cheered her on and celebrated her with pride in his eyes when he met his baby daughter.

Congratulations on your miracle, Amanda and Mike, and welcome to the world sweet Everly!

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Photographing the Photographer: A very special birth

On July 5 I had the privilege of photographing my back-up birth photographer and dear friend, Rachael, as she gave birth to her third baby, sweet Abby.

Rachael had big plans for this birth and really wanted to avoid an epidural. She came armed with lots of previous experience, tons of knowledge, a doula and a doctor she adored. But baby Abby was comfy right where she was. As much as she wanted to avoid an induction, it became inevitable.

When I arrived in the early afternoon, Rachael was in good spirits. She was beautiful and full of smiles.I couldn’t believe it! Chad kept us all in stitches.

Even as they increased the Pitocin, she remained calm, cool and collected. I was so impressed. Wowed, really. So proud of her.

 

See this table of “stuff”? That’s what all Rachael and family brought to the hospital. It just cracked me up. You can tell how many children someone has had by the amount of luggage they bring to the hospital.

Rachael worked hard and labored away.

But never stopped smiling.

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Things started to get noticeably more intense around 5:00.

 

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But when she was checked at 5:30, she hadn’t made much progress. I know she was frustrated. I decided it was a good time to give her some space and let her rest. It seemed like it might be a long night.  Even though I wasn’t really hungry, I headed out to “dinner” in the parking lot with the promise that I’d be back in an hour.

But 45 minutes later I got a text from Chad saying that Rachael was at 7cm and ordering medication. I thought that seemed odd. Why was she already being checked not even an hour later? Hmm. I texted back to ask if she wanted more time to rest or should I head up? Not even a minute later I got four more texts basically saying “Run!”.

And I ran! Going from 6cm to 10cm in less than an hour is ROUGH! I got there right in time to photograph baby Abby entering the world just 10 minutes after receiving those texts. The epidural never happened, much to Rachael’s relief later!

Welcome to the world, baby Abby! Boy, you sure entered the world with a “ta da”!!

Is she not just the most gorgeous sweet thing?

 

Rachael’s biggest baby yet! 8lb 14oz, 20.5 inches.

Finally in Mama’s arms!

 

Sweet, sad little pout!

 

I’m pretty sure being stuck in bed at your own birth is a birth photographer’s idea of torture! It didn’t stop Rachael though!

Bath time!

Abby was so in love with her Daddy’s voice! She clearly recognized it and relaxed every time she heard it.

Doesn’t she look like a baby doll? She is so perfect.

 

Finally the big siblings arrived to meet their baby. It was such a precious moment. This is Big Brother’s “Her hands are freaking me out! Look! She’s actually breathing!” face! And that’s Big Sister’s “I want to hold my baby and take her home. Now.” face! They were both so amazed and proud to have a new baby sister.

And who can blame them? Just look at this girl!


Congrats Rachael, Chad and the whole family. I’m so proud of you, Rachael. You did it! It’s always such a special thing to photograph the birth of a photographer but it’s extra special when it’s someone who I also call a friend. I’m so proud of Rachael and Chad and so overjoyed to have been there to meet baby Abby.

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Houston Memorial Hermann Birth Photography

Get comfy and settle in – this is going to be a picture-heavy post!

I first met Katie at Crave cupcakes in Houston where she schooled me on all the amazing downtown cupcake shops. Katie is single-handedly responsible for this cupcake habit I’ve acquired:)The next time we saw each other, for Katie’s market street maternity session, Landon was just about fully cooked but still breech!

I was so happy and a little surprised when Katie texted just a few days later to announce that Landon had flipped. Yay! I know his Mommy was so relieved.

Mark called around 7am to prep me to arrive at Children’s Memorial Hermann in Houston by 9:30 for their Birth Day. I headed out, made my way through traffic and hit accident after accident. I texted Katie to tell her I was hitting traffic and the reply I got was “ok” which made me wonder what I was missing:)Sure enough, Katie had just been checked and she was at 6cm…things were happening fast and they didn’t want to freak me out. I’m pretty good at reading between the lines!

When I arrived, Katie’s epidural had just finally kicked in and she was resting comfortably. Katie’s Mom and Mark’s brothers arrived shortly and it was like a big ole party!

Did I mention that Katie was basically complete? Yeah, crazy. She rested as her super strong and efficient contractions overpowered her epidural. It was hard hard work.

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I wouldn’t wish Pitocin contracts on anyone but Katie handled it soooo well. She was amazing at listening to her body and reasonably and rationally weighing the alternatives and options and knowing when it was time to just power through to the end.

And that’s exactly what she did! It was time to push in no time.

{I love Mark’s face in this photo. He was so deeply connected to Katie for every single push}

{best socks ever}

Katie was an incredibly efficient pusher. She was ready to meet baby Landon who made his appearance at 2:15pm!

There were tears all around!

I’m pretty sure all bets were off the the weight. Landon looked huge but no one expected him to be almost 8lbs!

The paparazzi came and adored the new star….

Mark finally got to hold Landon. My heart skips a beat whenever I see a new baby look knowingly into his Father’s eyes for the first time. Sniff.

{you aren’t seeing double. That’s Mark’s twin brother behind him!}

Eventually a very patient new Grandma (or GiGi or Nana or MeeMaw) got her turn…

I adore this photo from the depths of my soul. This is what a new family looks like!!

I have been waiting a long time for a baby with a full head of hair:)Thanks Landon for spoiling me with your totally awesome mohawk!

Back with Mom at last. I love the look of knowing in his eye when he hears Katie’s voice.

Katie and Mark – you are such amazing parents already. Landon is perfect in every way and I’m so blessed to be part of your journey. I know the true journey is just starting for your little family and I know it will be wondrous!

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5 years old

I don’t often post here about my family but we passed a big milestone in our home. My babiest baby turned FIVE! She is so smart, so beautiful and has the most amazing spirit. It has been so bittersweet seeing her grow up so fast. I even cried picking out her birthday card. I love this girl to the moon and back!

She didn’t want a party, she didn’t ask for many gifts. All she wanted was to drive to the beach and watch the sunrise. So that’s exactly what we did.

Sunrise over the Gulf

There is something so special and quiet and magical about being completely alone on the beach at sunrise. Even though it was FREEZING, I think we all felt it through our partially-numb limbs:)

Things warmed up and I took a million photos throughout her day that I won’t bore you with. But after lunch back on Galveston, her Daddy bought her a flower and it just made her day. She was so happy that she agreed to pose for a few 5 year old portraits. I knew I only had a few minutes so I had to make ‘em count!

5th birthday - galveston

5th birthday - galveston

 

5th birthday - galveston

5th birthday - galveston

5th birthday - galveston

5th birthday - galveston

5th birthday - galveston

 

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