Oklahoma City Birth Photographer | Baby Jack's Long Awaited Birth Day

It was an honor to document and now share the birth of Chloe and Matthew's long awaited baby boy. It's hard to believe sometimes that clients trust me fully to join them in such important and intimate moments and document the way I witness it. The love that Chloe and Matthew share is palpable and watching their family grow was such an amazing experience. I'm forever grateful that I was able to be there for them to capture these memories. <3 

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No one expected our amazing son Jack.  I have a very rare genetic condition called a balanced translocation.  It basically means that I'm completely healthy, but any kids my husband and I conceive typically have mixed up chromosomes...Jack has four siblings waiting for us in heaven.  Even before we found out about the translocation we had always looked forward to adopting at some point, but we were crazy enough to try one more time...and thus baby Jack was conceived!  

A statistical near impossibility, little Jack kept us on our toes our entire pregnancy.  With almost weekly ultrasounds, numerous specialist visits, and very expensive blood tests, we were completely prepared to lose him...even after the tests came back "normal."  From 16 weeks onward I experienced quite a bit of bleeding completely unrelated to my translocation, some due to placenta previa and some due to a suspected placental abruption.  On Mother's Day, after a particularly surprising bleeding episode, I moved 2 1/2 hours away to a hotel in Oklahoma City to be closer to the hospital just in case.  We spent a week inpatient with the wonderful team at OU for monitoring.  No one could figure out why I kept bleeding and why Jack's little heart kept beating along, completely oblivious and happy as can be.  At 33 weeks I started contracting for hours and dilating 2cm, and went back to the hospital for another inpatient stay.  The doctors said it was a mystery but to prepare for a preterm birth.  I signed up for every NICU class I could find at OU.  We took our maternity pictures in the hospital in the observation unit, complete with fluorescent lighting and IVs in my arm.  We are actually grateful for that time...it reminds us continually of the amazing gift each day with baby Jack really was. 

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To our great surprise Jack made it full term and we induced at 39 weeks for obvious medical reasons.  The nurses were so accommodating to everything we wanted in our birth plan, and we felt so thankful to get to deliver our baby with such a great medical team.

When we got to the hospital I was 3cm dilated, and we spent the day hanging out on a Pitocin drip, reading Bible stories to our little guy, and ordering an endless supply of red Jello and orange juice from room service.  My husband was pretty much the best ever.  He has such a strong, calm presence that I honestly feel like I can do anything when he is around.  He continually rubbed my back, kept me laughing in between contractions, read me Scripture about peace, and coached me through every contraction and every irrational fear.  By 6:30 that night I was just 4cm dilated.  Around 10pm I was 4.5-5cm dilated, and around 11:25pm we reluctantly decided to break my water.  

Things started happening quickly.  Around 12:50am I told Matthew I was feeling a lot of pressure. Stephanie called the nurse, who checked me and said I was completely dilated.  She made a call and suddenly there were about 12 nurses and doctors in the room.  Matthew propped me up on a bunch of pillows and they brought me a squatting bar for leverage.  We were ready to push!  Around 1:05am I started pushing with the contractions, tuning in to the strong, steady sound of Matthew's voice counting to 10 each time.  After what seemed like a million contractions and lots and lots of pushing, Jack Matthew was finally born, happy and healthy.  The sound of his cries are still music to our ears, even weeks later at 2:30 in the morning.  He is here.  He is alive.  And we are in awe of the God who created him despite the odds.

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Oklahoma City Birth Photographer | Personal Blog | Welcoming Maisie

Pro Tip: Do not check into the hospital wearing your hippy homebirth shirt

Pro Tip: Do not check into the hospital wearing your hippy homebirth shirt

From the first dating ultrasound, I assumed our second baby would be born sometime after 41 weeks. Jude was born via induction exactly a week after his due date, so it only made sense that this baby wouldn't voluntarily come any sooner - and I wasn't interested in inducing again unless necessary. Our due date was estimated as "July 5-7" I went with the 4th for the sake of keeping things simple, and because it just sounds more fun than July 5th or 7th. However, I was still anticipating labor to start around July 14-16th.

July 1st I started doing a few "home remedies" to induce labor and help get baby into a good position - knowing darn well they don't work unless baby is ready to come, but for some reason it just felt like the thing to do. Friday night into Saturday afternoon I had mild contractions about 30 minutes apart, we spent Saturday morning finishing up on most of the pre-baby to do list that I had, and by the time we were home that afternoon contractions were coming about every 10 minutes, although some were 20 minutes apart. Totally normal, and not an indication that labor is looming nearby. For funsies, Trey and I did the miles circuit together while making dinner that night. There were no changes, and contractions actually slowed down. Which is fine, since baby still has two weeks to go before the date I'm expecting her.  For the last few weeks I had been experiencing infrequent sciatic pain, Sunday it happened just like any other, except instead of being sporadic and maybe 1-2x in a day, it was happening several times an hour, and going horizontally across my thighs instead of straight down one leg. Laying in bed that night, I had reoccurring pains that I finally started timing around 11pm. At 1130 Trey noticed what I was doing, and being his calm and collected self, tried dragging me to the hospital immediately.

We called Labor and Delivery to find out what they suggested I do since "contractions" (which I still wasn't convinced were even real) were about 5-6 minutes apart. The nurse on the phone suggested walking to see if they would stop (P.S. THAT'S NOT HOW THIS WORKS), I chose not to, because I was still team "this isn't labor"

By midnight, the "not contractions" were 2-3 minutes apart, and my mom had arrived to take Jude to her house for the night. I finished packing my hospital bag, had a snack, and we headed out. Checking into the hospital could not have been more awkward - when you walk in saying you're in labor, but not visibly having any pain, no one really wants to believe you, and I got plenty of strange stares. We stayed in L&D triage for four hours determining if I was in labor or not. I was admitted at 4:30am, and finally met the on call doctor who recommended breaking my water.

Compared to laboring with Pitocin, spontaneous labor was simply uncomfortable. After my water was broken, I immediately fell into transition, which is a nice way of describing the pits of hell. At this point I threw Hypnobabies out the window, and asked for an epidural. My photographer had to leave the room for this - but at last check my cervix was still pretty far from complete, so no one expected what would happen next...

*Photos courtesy of Tiffany Roberts Photography

Oklahoma City Birth Photographer | Lakeside Women's Center | Birth of Evelyn

I've known Dalton since junior high, but after meeting his wonderful wife Allison and after learning a little about their journey to conceive (thanks facebook!) I was giddy at the idea of documenting their daughter's birth for them. THEN! After learning that Allison is a photographer, and a fantastic writer, we basically became BFFs. I knew Allison would share the story of her daughter's birth better than I ever could, so it's no surprise that I was in tears half way through reading it. Grab some tissues, because there will be tears.


     When my husband and I first decided we wanted a family, it didn’t even cross my mind that we might have trouble conceiving. It soon became clear that it wasn’t going to be as simple as we hoped. But after four years of heartbreak that threatened to cause us to lose all hope, our miracle baby made her presence known with a little pink line.
From that point on, every decision we made revolved around my growing belly. We knew we wanted a natural birth, so we began researching different birthing classes to see which would be the best fit for us. We eventually settled on The Bradley Method after hearing positive stories from friends.
     For those who don’t know, The Bradley Method teaches women and their partners to birth naturally by educating them with an in-depth look at birth and giving them tools to create a calm, peaceful experience. The classes were incredible and taught my husband and I so much more than we ever would have learned on our own. He learned how to support and guide me, which is one thing we loved the most about this method - it allows for a much more intimate, supportive experience than most other methods.
By the last month of my pregnancy, we knew we were as ready as we could possibly be. We anxiously awaited the day when labor would begin, and it did in my 39th week. This is our birth story.


     On May 27th, I kissed my husband goodbye as he left for the gym, and decided to take a nap. I wasn’t even tired but something in me said, “Hey, you know what? You should really sleep for a while.” I woke up about an hour later to use the restroom and as I was sitting there, I felt what I can only describe as an elastic snap in my belly - it even caused it to ripple on the outside! At first I thought my little girl had simply nailed me with a kick, which she was known to do, but then the trickling began. I said, “Oh my God,” about ten times before getting myself together enough to grab a towel so I could get to my phone. I called my husband twice while standing in the bathtub, and thankfully he called back shortly after. “You should come home. My water broke,” I told him, surprisingly calmly. His excitement was obvious and he said he would be home in ten minutes.
Because I had tested positive for Group B Strep at my last prenatal appointment, I knew we would have to leave immediately for the hospital so I could be given IV antibiotics. I slipped on a pair of Depends (laugh all you want) and busied myself with grabbing last minute things for the hospital that couldn’t be packed ahead of time. I was shaking like a leaf as reality sank in with each passing minute. We were having a baby! Like, soon. When he got home, we hugged, cried and laughed, and loaded up the car.


     My contractions started on the way to the hospital, and they were anything but the mild contractions we were expecting in early labor. They were immediately impossible to talk through, coming every three minutes. By the time we were checked in and I was being examined, they were two minutes apart and I was about five centimeters dilated. The nurse offered to get me a peanut-shaped birthing ball to sit on, which I gratefully accepted.


     This whole part of my labor is a blur because it was happening so fast that all I could do was focus on making it through the next contraction. I straddled the birthing ball and rocked back and forth, vocalizing in pain as I did my best to remain relaxed and calm. “Remember what you learned in class,” I told myself. My husband was amazing. He timed each contraction, telling me when I hit the thirty-second mark so I would know they wouldn’t continue to grow in intensity. It gave me something to hold on to. You can do anything for thirty seconds, right? Even though they lasted much longer than that, the intensity dwindled enough for me to relax before the next wave would hit.


     About an hour after being admitted, I began to feel “pushy” and asked that my cervix be checked. I was seven to eight centimeters dilated, and by this point it was impossible for me to leave the bed. The contractions were causing a horribly painful gripping sensation in my back, which may have been caused by the pressure of her head as she made her way lower. I started to panic, feeling like I wanted to escape my own body. My doctor arrived and I was in the middle of a contraction that caused me to push involuntarily, so she checked me again to find I was almost fully dilated. Transition was almost complete, but I was wrought with fear and completely overwhelmed by the pain.


     It was at that moment I knew that if I couldn’t find a way to cope, I wouldn’t be present mentally for the birth of my baby. I uttered the words I promised myself I never would, and within less than a minute, the anesthesiologist showed up at my bedside, telling me he didn’t know if there would be time, but he would do his best. He told me he would give me a mild version of an epidural so I would still be able to move my legs and feel my contractions, but that I would be more comfortable.
The epidural was placed very quickly and smoothly, and all the while my nurse was pushing down on my shoulders to keep my back curved while I screamed through a contraction. She helped me lie down when it was over and several more waves hit before the medication began to take effect. Somehow the pain still gripped my left side with the same intensity, but at that point my doctor was telling me it was time to push. Thankfully, when I began pushing the medication dispersed properly and the pain was manageable.


     “She has so much hair!” my doctor exclaimed, asking me if I wanted a mirror so I could watch the birth. I’m so glad I said yes. I watched my baby crown while breathing through “the ring of fire,” blowing small breaths so I wouldn’t tear. She was on her side rather than anterior, which might account for the pain I felt in my back. Her head came out and then her shoulders, and I watched my little girl make her entrance into the world after a four hour labor and forty-five minutes of pushing.
When she was placed on my chest I was hit with a tidal wave of love and awe. She grabbed her daddy’s finger and wouldn’t let go, her tiny cries piercing the air with her first breath. I looked into the face of our daughter and wept with relief and joy. She was finally here, and suddenly, in that moment, nothing else in the world existed but our little family.
Birth is something that changes you. I don’t feel like I’m the same person I was a week ago, but I mean that in the best way. I feared that if I couldn’t stick to my plan, I would somehow feel less empowered by my birth experience. I’m happy to say I feel completely empowered, and while it didn’t go according to plan, I suppose that’s just my first lesson in motherhood - to adapt, compromise, and grow.

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Thank you so much, Stephanie, for capturing this day for us. We are eternally grateful to have these images to reflect on in the years to come. -Allison

Worth The Wait | Full Term Pregnancy And Why It's Important

Pregnancy is LONG

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The anticipation that kicks in once you've hit 36 weeks is REAL. A lot of pregnant women are pretty uncomfortable by this point, and just ready to have their baby in their arms. But (per ACOG guidelines) it's really and truly best for your baby to wait until 39+ weeks to deliver, barring medical necessity of course.

 

In 2013 the meaning of "Term Pregnancy" was redefined as the following:

  • Early Term:  Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks 6 days

  • Full Term:    Between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days

  • Late Term:   Between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days

  • Postterm:     Between 42 weeks 0 days and beyond

 

Research has shown that the last few weeks are incredibly important to baby's development

  • Important organs, like his brain, lungs and liver, get the time they need to develop.
  • He is less likely to have vision and hearing problems after birth.
  • He has time to gain more weight in the womb. Babies born at a healthy weight have an easier time staying warm than babies born too small.
  • He can suck and swallow and stay awake long enough to eat after he's born. Babies born early sometimes can't do these things.

 

And last but not least, your due date may not be correct!

Because every woman's cycle is different.
Because every conception isn't timed.
Because every baby is different.

Approximately 1 in 20, or 5%, of babies are born on their "Due Date"

Odds of …

  • being called to “Come on down!” on The Price is Right — 1 in 36
  • getting away with murder (assuming you aren't Steven Avery) — 1 in 2
  • living to the age of 100 — 1 in 3
  • going into labor AND delivering on your due date — 1 in 20

Yes, there is a chance.
But don't be discouraged if your due date comes and goes, and even if another week passes - not only is that okay, but it's normal!

For more information: March of Dimes articles related to Full Term gestation

http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/what-is-full-term.aspx
http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/why-at-least-39-weeks-is-best-for-your-baby.aspx