First of all, I’m going to apologize in advance for the birth photos not being in chronological order. BlogStomp was acting really weird and messed then up I think…and with 4 kids, I don’t have time to sit here and comb through them just for a blog post. LOL!
Lindsey and I have been friends for several years now. I still remember the year I taught workshops here in my home- some of my very first ones- and she volunteered to drive 2 HOURS from Columbus for the one, to come assist me for the day- spotter, behind the scenes photographer, and a million other things. I knew her a little bit from Facebook, but at the time that was really it.
We hit it off instantly, and have literally been great friends ever since. That was 3 years ago. We’ve since photographed each other’s families- me capturing hers at Wrigley Field last year while I was in Chicago teaching a workshop- our trips just happened to fall at the same time!- and her capturing the birth of my 4th and last child, Brooklyn. We’ve even taught a 3-day newborn workshop together!
I have known many great birth photographers, but Lindsey is one I feel shoots not only from the heart- but truly from down in her gut. Her instinct for moments and details to capture, her perspective and compositions, are just breathtaking. While photography touches my life, I have never sat here and genuinely cried while viewing images that belonged to someone else’s family- until I discovered Lindsey’s birth photography. Suddenly I found myself crying over people I had never met- moments where a man became a father for the first- or fifth time- and that look of love, happiness, and peace on his face. Images of mothers with tears in their eyes and they met their baby in person for the first time. Details of tiny footprints, button noses, hospital bands- things that brought me back to my own experiences with birth. One of my favorite details that Lindsey captures, is that of the placenta- it is literally one of THE coolest things I’ve ever seen. The lifeline, of that precious baby. They are just SO freaking cool.
When I became pregnant with Brooklyn, I knew Lindsey would be my choice. I wanted those memories for myself. I had hired a birth photographer with my third child as well- Jessica Vaughn. While crazy talented, she also lived around 4 hours away. My birth with Ava was induced so we could plan- but a spontaneous birth wouldn’t have worked out- literally too! I was only in labor about 6 hours this time from the first contraction at home until delivery- a big difference from my first child at 13 hours! It really does go quicker with each one. LOL. Not only that, but I simply wanted my friend there, and to experience her amazing talent too.
A few days before my due date I caved and called on Thursday to schedule an induction for Saturday morning- the day OF my due date given by the doctors (although my personal due date was 4 days later but we don’t need to go into that, lol).
We never told anyone except for grandparents because they would be watching the other kids- and of course my birth and newborn photographers. I didn’t want to be induced again. My past experience wasn’t bad. It was actually easy- but with it being my last child especially, I just wanted to have the experience of going into labor on my own, like I did with the first 2. I found it excitingUnfortunately I was in severe pain all day every day from loose hips and sciatic nerve issues- but on top of that, we were in spring break week. With 3 other children at home (ages 2, 4 and 6) I worried about care while we went to the hospital. It would be challenging enough for someone to handle them all for 2 days while we were at the hospital- but if Brooklyn didn’t come until the following week when Maddy went back to school- then what? She got up at 6:30am to get on the bus at 7 and someone had to get her back off the bus around 11:30am. They wouldn’t be able to stay at a grandparent’s house in this case and someone would have to stay at our house instead. She would have homework, projects, any number of things going on- again, something someone else would have to take care of. Then there was the fact that our third child’s birthdate was only a few days away- April 7th. The longer my pregnancy drug out, the more I worried that Brooklyn would end up sharing a birthday with Ava. Naturally with it being my 4th child, I expected to go into labor by 38 weeks, haha! Especially with the amount of stress I had been under.
Long story short (I know…right. I talk too much, haha!) scheduling the induction was a blessing because the kids were already at their grandparents’ house the night before I was supposed to go in. Our alarm had set for 5am to bet at the hospital by 6am. Instead, I ended up with insomnia and never slept at all- I stayed up catching up on multiple episodes of Glee on Hulu down on the couch, while my husband slept.
At 4am, I felt like I may have leaked something, or even peed myself a little- but when I got up and went to the bathroom, it stopped. I didn’t expect water breaking to be a geyser- but I did expect a steady leak and that just didn’t happen. (Come to find out when I was at the hospital and they were going to break my water, it had already broken at home! I just didn’t realize it.)
So I went back to the couch, and started to get progressively more and more uncomfortable. I started thinking “is this it?” and after timing what I thought were contractions for an hour- my suspicions went from “maybe” to “DEFINITELY.” They start out pretty mild, so I wasn’t sure in the beginning if it was something, or just Braxton Hicks- but after about a half hour of it I had no doubts, LOL.
I let them go on for an hour total before going ahead and waking my husband up at our alarm time of 5am. When I told him I had been in labor for an hour already, he about flew out of bed. The poor guy was so paranoid that with it being my 4th, that I would go so fast I’d have the baby in the truck. Haha!!The scheduled induction (although obviously not needed now since I went into labor on my own!) was a blessing because not only were the kids already taken care of and Ryan & I could just pick up and leave without calling someone at 5am to take the kids- but Lindsey was already up and ready to head to the hospital too because of my original induction time
Thankfully birthing in the truck wasn’t the case because less than 6 hours later from that first contraction and breaking of my water- Brooklyn Reese was born at 9:54am. I have to admit it was the most painful labor in terms of contractions and getting my epidural- I never remembered even feeling my epidural before- and the contractions were of course bad, but never THIS bad. 4th child thing maybe? I know that I could hardly breathe through them, and was in tears at the hospital wondering why in the world I wanted to go into labor on my own again? LOL. At least with Ava’s induction I was already given the epidural before the bad contractions ever started!
I don’t know if it was a last baby thing- or a hormones thing in general- but as soon as she was out I broke down into SOBS. You would think that after so many kids, it just becomes routine- but I personally have felt that with each one, I become more emotional. I was absolutely elated. She was in a hurry to come out and meet us- and she couldn’t have been more perfect.
To think that 20 weeks prior, finding out she was our 4th girl in that ultrasound room- that I was actually even slightly disappointed- was unfathomable now. I couldn’t imagine her being anything else but a perfect, beautiful little girl. She is growing so fast, and is already 3 months old as I write this blog- full of AWESOME, funny personality, and beautiful smiles. We went through an excruciatingly hard time in the beginning weeks with colic and reflux- but once it was FINALLY worked out, she’s been a completely different baby and makes everyone that meets her smile and just laugh at her silly personality.
Thank you so much Lindsey, for capturing this emotionally full day for us. I love you!