Back in the fall, I had a portrait session with this sweet family in downtown Charleston. At the time, this mom was just coming to the end of her first trimester and let me know they would be getting in touch with me after the holidays to schedule a newborn session.
I have been looking forward to the birth of this little guy for a couple of reasons-
First, I love fresh babies. Obviously.
But second, I was so excited to see this big sister again! She has personality for days, and she is still one of my favorite kids I have ever photographed.
One of the best parts about lifestyle newborn sessions is that the older siblings can be relaxed in their own environment. Newborn sessions take a while because we often need breaks for feedings or diaper changes. When I'm in the client's home, however, older children can take breaks whenever they need and play with their own toys in their own space. As you'll see, I even spent a little time taking some photos of just big sister while her new baby brother was being fed and changed.
Since I don't bring tons of props or big studio set-ups, it's really easy for me to travel to clients' homes for these sessions. Unfortunately, the day before was the day the Wando Bridge was shut down I-526. When I arrived at this family's home, Dad joked that this ended up being a pretty convenient time to be home with the baby. Staying home and snuggling your new baby instead of sitting in awful traffic? Definite win.
I just want to say a quick thank you to this family for trusting me, yet again, to photograph this sweet time in your family!
Now for the part you're all really here for anyway....
An adorable baby fix!
Find out more about lifestyle newborn sessions and the other services I offer here.
I adore this sweet family! I first met Erin when we were both teaching at the same elementary school. She was engaged to Billy at the time. It's amazing to think they are married and have TWO beautiful little girls now! I had the pleasure of photographing their second baby girl's newborn session.
When I arrived at their house, the newest addition was just settling to sleep. Big sister, Ireland, had just woken up from her nap and she very proudly introduced me to her new baby. While she got a snack and got dressed, I started setting up to photograph new baby Blake.
Side note: I make a lot of my own hats and headbands. I'm always happy to use any hats or special props a client wants to use, but I never want a client to feel like they have to purchase special items for their session. I have plenty of options, and I'm always looking for new patterns to add to my collection.
Blake slept like a champ throughout the entire first portion of the session. I changed her headpieces, her position, and her blanket multiple times and she barely stirred. She was a true sleeping beauty.
By this time, the big sister was dressed and ready to snuggle her new sister... well... almost ready.
Personally, I think her skirt looked pretty cute like that, but we straightened her outfit. Now that we could see the words on her shirt, I snuggled the sisters up on my favorite fuzzy blanket. I think it's pretty clear that Ireland is completely smitten with her new baby sister.
Toddlers always seem to be snacking and Ireland is no exception. Once she was done taking pictures, she was ready for a treat.
Next up were photos with mom and dad individually. I love all the faces newborns make, and Blake was full of them! It seems she was very interested in her daddy's story.
She saved the sweetest smile for mommy though...
I am over the moon for this family and can't wait to see these girls grow up together.
I got into birth photography because I love birth. The act of bringing a new life into this world, no matter how it happens, is always breathtaking for me. Capturing someone's birth story leaves me floating on a cloud for days. It is always an honor to be invited into one of the most sacred moments someone will ever experience.
There are some births, however, that are extra special. This is one of those times. This beautiful mama, Charity, is a friend from my very first teaching job almost 10 years ago. We attended each other's weddings and saw each other almost daily for two years. When I got married and moved, we kept in touch here and there through social media. My heart broke for her as she shared some of her journey through infertility and ultimately, IVF (in-vitro fertilization). I prayed for her and her husband many times, and I was thrilled (I may have squealed) when they announced their IVF cycle was successful. You can only imagine my excitement when they invited me to photograph the birth of this long awaited little girl.
I texted with Charity the night she checked into the hospital to prepare for induction. I had my mom on call to watch my kids when I needed to head to the hospital, and we waited. And waited some more. It seemed induction wasn't working right away. They stayed a second night in the hospital and early the following morning, the doctors were finally able to get things moving.
I sent my kids to grandma's house for the day and planned to run a couple of errands while I waited for "the call" letting me know it was time to head to the hospital. I had just walked through the doors of my very first stop when I got a call that things were moving pretty fast. I was a little nervous because I live and hour and a half (without traffic) to the hospital where she was delivering. Thankfully, I made it at the perfect time!
When I arrived shortly after 11 A.M., Charity had opted to get an epidural and was trying to get some rest before the main event. She had been checked recently and was dilated 9 centimeters.
I chatted with her husband, Mark, and caught up on life since we had last seen each other. Mark's mom was also there. She sat with Charity most of the time holding her hand and watching the monitor.
About an hour after I arrived, a nurse came in to perform a cervical check and declared it was time to push!
After about 45 minutes of pushing, the beautiful Arabella was welcomed earthside at 1:01 P.M. I was struggling to hold back my own tears, so I was just praying my photography skills were enough to work through blurred vision.
Being a birth photographer has its challenges: on call life, never knowing how long you'll be present at a birth, marketing in a culture that doesn't always view birth with the same reverence I feel... It's all hard, but being a witness and capturing the miraculous never ceases to overflow my cup with joy.
I met this sweet mom, Allison, through a mutual friend about a year ago. Our daughters are close to the same age and at the time, we lived in the same neighborhood. Shortly after I met her, she found out she was pregnant with her third baby.
I was originally supposed to do a Fresh 48 session with this family and hopefully be present when the big sister and brother came to meet the new baby. However, this little guy had some breathing issues at birth and landed himself in the NICU. As someone who has experienced this same stress and chaos myself, I offered to switch to a newborn session instead once they were able to go home. Luckily, his stay was short, and they were able to get home within a few days.
Baby Brayden was only 5 days old when I came for his newborn session. Not long after I walked in, Allison asked if I wanted to hold the baby while she helped big brother into his special t-shirt. Um... OF COURSE. I am ALWAYS willing to snuggle new babies and I not-so-discreetly gave the top of his head a little sniff. I love new baby smell. It's my favorite.
Once all the kids were ready, I set up my favorite fuzzy blanket and prepared to take pictures of all 3 kids together. There was only one problem...
Baby Brayden was NOT happy. Although he had been fed recently and had a clean diaper, he still wasn't happy.
I swaddled him and that helped for a little bit. Big sister was fantastic at following my directions for pictures and very patient. This clearly wasn't her first rodeo.
The new big brother, on the other hand, required a little more coaxing (i.e. bribing). He didn't want to give the baby a kiss, but I can see these brothers certainly have their own special bond.
I thought a change of position might help, so I got all of the kids settled together on the couch. I was able to get the elusive picture of the kids smiling together (no photoshop head swapping necessary)!
After I finished up with the big kids, they got to go on a special outing with their grandmother, and little Brayden got what he really wanted: TO EAT! Even if you meticulously plan and have baby fed before your newborn session, babies often don't cooperate anyway. The issue with newborns is that they often cluster feed, and you can't always plan when that's going to happen. Cluster feeding is extremely common in the first several weeks with a newborn. It's the baby's way of signaling mom's body to make more milk for an upcoming growth spurt, and newborns grow rapidly in the beginning.
The good news is that I am a very laid back photographer. If we need to stop to settle a fussy baby, I'm totally fine with that.
Once Allison nursed Brayden, he snuggled in to sleep. I wanted to make sure he was deep asleep before moving him, so I snapped a few pictures of him with mom while we waited.
Once we were sure he was settled, we snuggled him in a blanket and we put him in an adorable crocheted set that was a gift from a friend.
Before I left, I wanted to get a picture of Brayden snuggled on his mom's chest. However, as soon as he smelled his mom, there was only one thing he wanted...
In my glimpse into this family's life with three kids, I saw a little bit of chaos, plenty of laughs, and an abundance of LOVE. I was in awe of Allison's grace and patience with all of her kids, and I can't wait to see more of this family as they grow together.