I arrived at the home of Larissa and Jim just as the sun was starting to rise and was greeted by one of the midwives at the door. As I made my way up the stairs I could hear the sounds of a mama in transition. I soon found Larissa working through her contractions in bed while her husband Jim watched over and rubbed her back through each one, all while their little girl Viola slept sweetly and soundly next to her. The connection between Jim and Larissa throughout her labor was so strong, they were the perfect team. Larissa's midwife Lauren from Wholistic Women's Healthcare and her partner Melissa were also a wonderful support. Larissa worked hard through labor with such power and soon enough their baby was in her arms. By this time Larissa's Mom, Grandma, and sisters had joined and were eager to hear if baby was a boy or a girl. Everyone was elated when Jim announced they had a son, Alden. The love and support throughout this entire labor was palpable and I am so grateful I was able to not only document but also witness such a wonderful birth.
As a photographer there is nothing better than knowing you are documenting forever in time just how little and perfect a newborn is for their parents.
I met up with the lovely Saucerman family down in San Diego at Balboa Park for their maternity session. Balboa Park is the perfect backdrop; it has such great architecture, pretty gardens, and the air is filled with creative vibes. I loved the dress that mom, Larissa was wearing. The print was so fun and Larissa and her adorable bump looked amazing in it. The whole family looked amazing really, perfectly coordinated without overdoing it or all wearing the same two colors.
They decided to keep the gender of baby a surprise, which I think is such a wonderful way to add a little extra excitement to an already special time. Keep an eye out in the next few weeks to find out if that adorable bump was a girl or boy when I share some images from their incredible home birth.
To schedule your Balboa Park Maternity session, contact me today.
I come from a family of planners, we thrive off of knowing everything is planned out for a certain event. Even if that event is something as small as a trip to the store, it gets planned out. So it was only natural that when the big moments in our lives came, we planned the snot out of those as well. I can't tell you haw many hours have been spent on dreaming up and planning my sisters and my weddings, and everything the encompassed the birth of my daughter (showers, registries, the actual birth). So when my sister and her husband found out that after five very long painful years of struggling with infertility that they were finally going to have a child of their own, you better believe that the planning level was off the scales. Many things had already be planned as what else is there to do while you wait to get pregnant but do your research. So once those two positive lines showed up Jennifer and Travis already knew that their baby girl, who they named Paisley, would be born by a midwife in the comfort of a birthing tub in her home. She started her care with a midwife soon after and things were going well when I noticed a hesitation in her voice when talking about the upcoming birth. After much discussion and really listening to her intuition she decided to do the unthinkable in my family and abandon the plan she had made of using a midwife for her prenatal care. It would be the first in a long line of abandoned plans during her pregnancy but sometimes in life you have to go off of faith and intuition. She wound up in the incredible care of Dr. Steven B. Harter in Las Vegas, NV. She also hired her amazing doula Erica Delmore of Doula Services of Southern Nevada. With the support of these two amazing care providers Jennifer was able to have a birth that was nothing like she planned but amazing none the less.
On January 31st, 2016 Jennifer went into ER after having a bad case of food poisoning and needed some fluids as she hadn't been able to keep anything down all day. While there they noticed that Paisley's heart was having some decelerations that were not normal and since there was already a confirmed issue with her heart and Jennifer was already 39 weeks into the pregnancy the decision was made to induce her the following morning. Being in Temecula my mom and I packed our bags and headed to Las Vegas that night, just in case things started that night. I arrived at Centennial Hills hospital the next morning around 7:00 ready to document every beautiful moment of my nieces birth. The induction went smoothly and soon the contractions started to roll in.
Due to Paisley's heart decels Jennifer had to stay on the monitor and was not able to walk and around as she had planned. She was able to use a birth ball next to her bed to help her during contractions. Over the next few hours Jen, Travis and I would listen to Jim Gaffigan radio on Pandora and watch Cops while Jen worked through contractions. Erica arrived a little after noon and soon after things ramped up a bit.
Sometime around 6:00pm exhausted from both laboring for most of the day but also from being physically sick the entire day prior Jen decided to get checked for dilation. Our hope was the news would be the boost of encouragement she needed to push through. However she hadn't progressed since the previous check hours ago when they took out her Foley catheter. After a few long discussions and many tears Jen gave up on her biggest plan of a non-medicated birth. The images below are two of my favorite and they show a moment of complete surrender. Giving up a plan you have envisioned for years is never easy. But Jennifer knew she needed to let her body rest if she was going to birth Paisley vaginally.
By midnight she had been able to sleep and give her body time to rest. However she had progressed only a centimeter even though she was on a very decent amount of pitocin and her water had been broken for quite sometime. I will always remember going to to the hallway with Erica to discuss what we thought was the inevitable. We knew that after 12 hours of her water being broke the discussion was going to move towards a c-section. So we planned how we would support Jen when this happened and who would would be going in with the camera during surgery. However her amazing OB Dr Harter had another plan. As long as Paisley's heart was tolerating labor and Jen was progressing, even if it was very very slowly, he would allow her to continue to labor.
Sometime around 6:00am I woke up curled up in my chair and heard a beautiful and welcome sound, the low deep moan of a mother in hard labor. Finally after a full day of Pitocin, epidurals and working together, Paisley and Jennifer were just about ready for Paisley to come earthside.
After a few hours of pushing, days of abandoning plans to follow instincts and years of praying for a miracle at 12:49pm a perfect 7 pound 5 ounce miracle was placed in the loving arms of her Mamma. Welcome to the world Miss Paisley Anne.
Birth, just like life doesn't always go how you plan. But when you have an amazing birth team that supports you and your wishes, you can still have a birth that is beautiful and perfect for what you and your baby need.
Back in November I had the honor of photographing a very special maternity session at the beautiful Two Sisters Farms, located in Temecula, Ca. What made this session so special you ask. Well the beautiful Mommy to be just happened to be my amazing sister, which is pretty special in itself. But what made this extra special was my sister and brother in law struggled to get pregnant for 5 years. I watched for 5 long years as they went through the roller coaster that is infertility. So when we found out that their prayers had been answered and their dreams were coming true I knew we had to document the occasion with an amazing maternity session.
I knew we had to have an amazing location so immediately I started to research. Two sisters farms is an amazing wedding venue located in Wine Country. It had everything we were looking for, it was rustic, it had a barn, and best of all it is run by two sisters!
The farm truly is beautiful and the perfect backdrop for a wedding or a photo session. And look at those cool metal letters!
I am so happy with how their session turned out and so excited to be an Aunty to my awesome niece who was born in February. Congratulations again to my sister and brother in law, I am so happy for you and proud of the strength and courage you had on your journey to parenthood.