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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You're not Daft Punk, but somehow you're still up all night.

If you have a newborn, you've likely already been here. If you're still expecting, you'll be here soon.

Yes this is my toddler. No he does not sleep.

Yes this is my toddler. No he does not sleep.

It's easy to walk your way through the check list that causes newborn strife during the day, but at 3 am, it's all about survival. You know this sweet being is fed and dry, but for some reason she just won't.stop.crying. The reasons you THINK she's crying, and the most common reason's why she is actually crying are quite different. I'm going to help you navigate through those murky midnight waters.

Why you think your baby is crying at 3am

  • She hates you.
  • This isn't your child, the hospital clearly switched her with a quiet baby who sleeps from 7pm-7am.
  • She's spoiled.
  • Everything is awful.
  • The house is one degree too cold. Or maybe one degree too hot. Who touched the thermostat again?!

Real reasons why your baby might be crying

  • She's over stimulated.
  • Her diaper is wet/dirty (yes, even though you haven't even finished changing the last dirty diaper - this does happen)
  • She's over tired.
  • She's hungry
  • She's going through a growth spurt.

What you can do about it

  • Cut down the stimulation. This helps ANY time of day at most ages. Are there lights on? Noises from outside? Are you stressed? Create a calm relaxing environment. If you're stressed, your baby can and will feed off of that energy. Try to relax, talk in a soothing voice, hum, sing, be silent. Whatever works for YOU. And if you can't relax, hand her over to a relaxed partner, or lay her in a safe place and walk away while you regroup for a few minutes.

  • The 5 S's. Harvey Karp is a genius when it comes to calming babies, and it works *almost* every time. 1- Swaddle 2- hold baby on her Side- tummy to tummy with you, on her Stomach, or over your shoulder; baby wearing is wonderful for this, as well as skin to skin. 3-Shush; your baby spent 10 months inside a sack of water, mimicking the sound can have a calming effect. If this works for your baby, a white noise machine will be worth its weight in gold. 4- Swing; again, mimicking the womb is comforting. Rock your baby, sway your baby, or even gently bounce your baby! 5- Sucking on a pacifier, or suckling at the breast are incredibly soothing for babies (and even toddlers)

  • Stick to a schedule. It may seem counter intuitive, but sleep begets sleep. If your little one is missing a nap time, and then staying up late it's possible she is OVER tired, and it's keeping her from settling down to sleep at night. Look at your schedule and see if something different happened today. Maybe her two hour nap was only 30 minutes. Or maybe she skipped a nap all together. Sticking to a schedule can help tremendously.

  • Feed her, again. Your baby was eating normally all week, and suddenly wants to eat non stop in the evenings! There's no WAY she's still hungry. Offer, she may surprise you. Baby's stomachs are incredibly small and growth spurts demand extra nutrition.

  • Recognize growth spurts. You can't change them, but having an idea about what's happening and can help you keep your sanity. I can not recommend The Wonder Weeks enough. It gives you a good map over your babies first year of growth and "mental leaps" when she's learning new things. SO MUCH changes within the first year, and it takes a lot out of her. Even if she's not showing a physical change at the moment (learning to roll over/crawl/etc) she could be going through a mental development such as recognizing patterns or the connection between words and actions. Growth spurts are very physically and mentally demanding. This can cause sleep interruptions, increased appetite, and just over all fussiness. The silver lining is, she's learning something new and will be moving on before you know it.

  • Ride it out. Sometimes babies just don't sleep. You can read every book out there and it's possible that your baby is like mine and just isn't interested in any of your shenanigans.


The days are long, but the years are short.

I guarantee, there will come a day where you'll barely remember the details of these long nights. It's hard to appreciate them while you're in the thick of it, and that's OKAY! Tomorrow is a new day, do what you need to keep yourself and your baby happy and healthy <3


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