The birth of Adeline is a belly-to-home birth story that captures so much more than the birth of their sweet girl. It captures this family’s love for each other and this mom’s determination and strength.
Kaitlyn found me when searching for a birth photographer here in Las Vegas. Her goals were to capture everything about this stage of their lives, from the anticipation of awaiting their little girl to their birth at our local birth center, Serenity Birth Center, to bringing her home with an in-home newborn session. More and more families have chosen this birth package over the last few years. The Whole Story birth package includes maternity, birth, and newborn sessions. It captures so much more than just the day your baby arrives. After all, there is so much more to birth stories than the day you deliver!
Be sure also to check out their beautiful birth film at the end. It perfectly demonstrates the beauty and grace she brought their sweet baby into this world.
Getting to know clients is vital in being prepared to capture the moments most important to you, so face-to-face meetings are always included in my birth packages. It is the perfect time to hear your wishes and hopes and get a feel for your personalities and family dynamics. It also helps to make the day of delivery more comfortable for everyone. Working alongside families during maternity sessions also helps as I get to see their dynamics in action, and it adds a layer of trust before delivery day. I left this maternity session even more excited to document their birth because their love for each other was tender and sweet. Their laid-back personalities and the way they interacted made it evident that their connection would be a highlight of their birth story.
Kaitlyn had an estimated due date of December 29th, which added an exciting layer of anticipation of whether she would deliver in 2022 or 2023 or even on New Year’s Eve. She is a registered nurse who has not only worked as a travel nurse but now works for a travel nurse company. She worked hard both in a staff position on the floor and as a coordinator until the week before her due date and was ready to meet her baby girl. But, their sweet girl was nice and cozy on the inside and waited until 41 weeks and three days to make her grand appearance.
Kaitlyn labored for days before finally bringing their sweet girl earthside. Contractions began after an exam in the office with their midwife and were consistently off and on and uncomfortable, but not enough to be admitted into the birth center. Finally, two days later, they changed and became consistent and intense. She was admitted to the birth center, and I was called in the early morning hours to head their way.
Their amazing doula Regina Roy, was with them, and I was so excited to finally meet her in person.
Kaitlyn was most comfortable in the water, and their birth space was quiet and serene, with Jason and Regina diligently by her side, very in tune with what she needed and when she needed it. She was tired after contracting as long as she had and rested as much as possible between contractions.
After a few hours, her contractions became a bit irregular again, and so an exam was done. She had made minimal change, and so the decision was made for her to go back home and hopefully get some rest while her body continued to work. They were, of course, disappointed.
There was little rest at home, and Kaitlyn remained uncomfortable but determined. Finally, two days later, things changed, and the intensity and frequency finally increased, and they returned to the birth center, this time with significant cervical change.
Kaitlyn’s demeanor had also changed. Her determination was awe-inspiring. She remained turned inward where she needed to be to stay focused, and Regina was consistently by her side. Their trust was evident, which helped Kaitlyn’s trust in her direction and suggestions for labor positions. Although exhausted, Jason remained by her side and calm and grounded throughout the process. I was impressed with how calm and supportive he stayed throughout, always trusting Kaitlyn’s body and the process. This is a perfect case of how important it is that your birth team believes in you and supports you. That energy becomes palpable and, I believe, can sway outcomes.
The last stages of labor required Kaitlyn to dig deep and allow her body the rest it needed between contractions. Although she was fully dilated for hours, the urge to push and fetal descent was a slow process, just like the rest of her labor, but she remained determined and committed. Finally, at one point, her amazing midwife, April Clyde, and student midwife, Alexyis Bonilla, encouraged her to sit on the toilet in hopes it would aid in fetal descent. There is a reason they call the toilet the “dilation station.” It is often the key to opening the pelvis up to allow for fetal rotation and descent, and it finally did the trick. Kaitlyn went from working so hard to her baby’s head right there! They quickly assisted her into the tub (where she wanted to deliver) just in time for her to deliver her sweet baby girl.
The pride on pure joy on Jason’s face and the pure love and joy of Kaitlyn as she finally held her sweet girl in her arms pretty much had us all in tears.
As Kaitlyn was showered and assisted back to bed, dad had some precious skin-to-skin time with his new baby girl; it was so tender and beautiful. He just soaked it all up.
And this beautiful soul, Regina. I had heard so many things about her, and I could 1000% see why her clients and the birth community love her. She is a blessing and holds such a special gift. She was so patient and connected with Kaitlyn, and so knowledgeable of the labor process.
Newborn sessions with The Whole Package clients are always a little bittersweet. We’ve communicated so often in the weeks leading up to their birth, and to be a part of such an intimate and important time in their lives always leaves a lasting connection. To see that sweet reward in their arms is the best. These two were utterly smitten with their sweet Adeline, and I loved that they included their fur babies.
And finally, their birth story in motion. The emotions and beauty of this period always carry over much better in film.
Wednesday, November 8th, 2023
The benefits of family-centered birth care began to emerge over the last decades. Initially, this model of care started in the fields of pediatrics and geriatrics. The importance of keeping children with their family members and including families as a whole in their care plan positively impacted physical and emotional outcomes. However, over time it has grown into many other areas of medicine and brought much-needed changes to how we approach and view care and the active roles patients play in their care.
Patient- and family-centered care is working “with” patients and families, rather than just doing “to” or “for” them.Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care
I’d love to share how this approach benefits birth experiences both at home and in the hospital setting. This post will focus on home births. This beautiful birth is a prime example of how it can look in the home setting.
Home birth provides the perfect setting for emphasizing family-centered birth care, after all, it is the birth of not just your baby, but your family as a whole, however it may look!
Of course, not everyone is a candidate for home birth, and delivering safely is always the best option. Always follow the advice of your care provider and be sure to explore and examine if home birth is a safe option for you.
As a labor and delivery nurse from 2000-2019, I enjoyed seeing many benefits of family-centered birth care emerge in my field. Patients and their families were empowered to participate actively in their care. The evolving emphasis on keeping moms and babies together, especially in those vital first hours, changed over my career for the better. Birth spaces became more family-friendly and much more comfortable and relaxed spaces. I learned firsthand how vital including family is in helping patients feel supported physically and emotionally.
During the pandemic, when families were separated from each other, and birth spaces became more and more restrictive, it felt like we had taken ten steps backward. Mothers were away from their children at home for more extended periods. Mothers weren’t allowed to have more than one support person present. It felt like a big gap had formed in the model of family-centered birth care.
I have loved being present in more and more home births in my role as a birth photographer, and I would have to say that this is part of the home and birth center births that has had the most significant impact on me; the stress on the family as the center. Also, during the pandemic, I saw more and more women turn to options outside of the hospitals, and this type of care was often the driving force.
As a labor and delivery nurse from 2000-2019, I enjoyed seeing many benefits of family-centered birth care emerge in my field. Patients and their families were empowered to participate actively in their care. The evolving emphasis on keeping moms and babies together, especially in those vital first hours, changed over my career for the better. Birth spaces became more family-friendly and much more comfortable and relaxed spaces. I learned firsthand how essential including family is in helping. One of the primary benefits of family-centered birth is the empowerment it gives families as they play an active role in their plan of care. With communication between patients and their midwives, a safe care plan can be arrived upon. It is a team approach, with families actively choosing who is present in their birth space between midwives, doulas, and ancillary staff versus being cared for by strangers. With active planning with their birth team, decisions can be made on spaces utilized, water birth versus land birth, and family members’ roles.
I have found in my experience that family members play a much more active role in this setting. It makes sense as these are the spaces they are most comfortable in, and family members and friends know you the best.
Patients can more easily change positions in this setting, often utilizing the comfortable spaces in their homes, such as showers and bathtubs, to living spaces, such as bedrooms. I’ve even followed some of my clients on walks in the neighborhood to keep things moving along. The patient’s birth team most often tends to follow the mom’s directions on what feels comfortable versus directing it.
This family is a perfect example of family-centered care at home. This mother had given birth to two of her children in the hospital setting, and although she had good experiences, the idea of not being able to have her family around her swayed her decisions. She delivered mid-Covid and wouldn’t have been able to have her husband, children, parents, and aunts present. Family is very important to her and affected her decision on where she believed it was best for her to give birth. Well-Rounded Mama helped this family create their perfect birth story.
Because families have actively chosen their birth team, their wishes and fears are well-known before the day they give birth. This adds layers of personalized care and adds dignity for families. Although I believe this type of care is achievable in all birth settings, a home birth adds the history of already knowing families and developing relationships with them. Their chances of everyone present in their birth space knowing them adds an extra layer of trust.
Although her family wasn’t always in the space she labored in, they were continually close by. Her children were asleep just on the other side of this wall, and her aunts and mother spoke encouraging words over her from the same area.
One of the most significant changes I witnessed in my nursing career was the shift towards uninterrupted bonding between mom and baby during the first hour. Things that parents had long advocated for, like the baby remaining with mom that first hour, delayed cord clamping, waiting on medications, and measurements were done on mom’s chest, finally had come to fruition. But, of course, this has been standard in home births all along.
It is one of my favorite aspects to witness in home births. Midwives are hands-off (unless interventions are needed) and sit by for those first essential moments of skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, and bonding. Then, when the parents are ready, they step in for newborn assessments. It doesn’t feel rushed, and it is beautiful to see. Instead, they spend that time feeding and hydrating mom as needed, getting her to the shower (if she wants), and providing a pleasant environment for mom, baby, and the entire family.
Because families are in a familiar environment, they feel comfortable in their beds, their children feel comfortable interacting and meeting their new baby, and all comfort items are close by.
The Empowered Start names some of the many benefits to mom and baby for skin-to-skin including:
-Mothers are more likely to breastfeed during the first four months of life.
-Studies that followed moms and babies for one year found that mothers were also more likely to bond with their newborns.
-Mothers are less likely to have anxiety and experience more satisfaction with their birth experience as a whole.
-Newborns are more likely to have stable heart rates, breathing, blood sugars, and oxygen levels.
There are many resources and evidence-based studies to support this practice.
Her sons were able to come in and out of the space as they felt comfortable meeting their new baby brother. They were all immediately smitten, of course!
Women have given birth with women present much of history. Having the wisdom and support of those that have gone before you is not only helpful, but also adds an additional layer of trust, and improved experience for mothers.
I hope you enjoy their beautiful birth film. It is full of support and care from her beautiful birth team and family.
Stay tuned for my post about how to have a family-centered birth experience in the hospital setting and how you can advocate for it.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2023
This birth of Iliana is a beautiful birth story from St. Rose San Martin Hospital here in Las Vegas.
This family has trusted me in one form or another with bringing each of their four children into this world.
It all began when Courtney inquired about maternity and newborn sessions for their oldest daughter. She has always valued images and their importance in preserving memories. With their first baby, I was able to document both their maternity and newborn sessions. Being a little uncomfortable in her post-pregnancy skin after their first, she was very hesitant about being in their newborn images. It took a little nudging on my part and she was so glad later that SHE was in them too!
By the time their third baby was on the way, she had come to see, hold, and cherish all these memories even the ones where she might not have been comfortable. I was so excited when she reached out to have me document their third birth. There is nothing more vulnerable than those moments surrounding the birth of your baby, and I loved that she was willing to embrace it all!
By the time they found out their fourth and last baby was on the way, she knew she wanted it all; maternity, birth, fresh 48, and newborn. There is something so special about those last babies. Of course, all babies are special but I remember with my last just wanting it all to move slower, to enjoy even the smallest of moments, and just wishing I could bottle it all up.
Courtney had gone super fast with her last delivery, and so we anticipated the same with this one. In fact, with baby number three we were in the hospital for less than an hour, and anesthesia didn’t even make it in time for her to get an epidural. Because I live a good distance away from St. Rose San Martin, I was on hyper-alert and just two days before she delivered we had a little false alarm. It is not uncommon at all, even with previous deliveries! I always tell my clients that I would rather have 10 false alarms than an “oh no! come now”! When it was finally time and they said they were on their way to the hospital, I booked it as quickly as I could to get there. As I was pulling into the parking lot, her husband updated me that she was 7 cms and moving fast. I had to get past the COVID protocols up front and rush up to the unit. When I arrived they were quickly admitting her and her doctor was notified. It was pretty intense at this point.
Courtney was working so hard with her contractions and staying so calm in the midst of the chaos going on around her. There was COVID testing to be done, IVs to start, labs to draw, and the room to set up. Aaron stayed right by her side fanning her and maintaining a sense of calm with his reassuring words.
Within 20 minutes of my arrival, it was already time! I think we were all sweating at this point just so happy to have everyone made it, including her doctor. She brought their sweet girl into this world so quickly and so powerfully!
Iliana’s birth happened so quickly it took a bit of time to take it all in! I love these sweet and tender moments in the hour or two following birth. It is so surreal to process that this tiny human that you carried for so many months is now in your arms. Aaron is such a great dad and so hands-on with his children, it is beautiful to witness.
Because COVID hospital restrictions were still in place siblings were unable to come to meet their new baby sister for their fresh 48 session. Instead, we decided I would capture them meeting her for the first time at home. It was the sweetest. All three of Iliana’s siblings were completely enamored with her.
It is always a little bittersweet to come to newborn sessions with these families that book ‘The Whole Story’ with me. By this point, I have become so invested, and have communicated often with them.
It is fun to see how everyone has settled and how much newborns have changed in those short days and weeks. There has been some rest and routines are starting to develop, but life still has that slower pace which is so nice.
This sweet little one is already so loved and I don’t think between mom, dad, and her three siblings, she is loved on and held often.
Their birth story wouldn’t be complete without their beautiful film. There is something special about seeing all these tender moments on film, even more so than a still image can capture.
Friday, February 3rd, 2023
2022 has been a wonderful year for me personally and as a business! After two years of the pandemic, my heart and soul needed it. For me, 2021 was just about as disappointing and confusing as 2020.
After deciding to rebrand and specialize in births in 2018, I had just gotten my groove going and hit my happy place before the pandemic hit. I was blessed to have plenty of work throughout the pandemic, but I often took on more than I should have and ended 2021 completely exhausted.
After being unable to attend so many births for two years, I had come to question my future path. The frustration of not being allowed into hospital birth spaces and the often unwelcoming atmosphere when I was added stress for myself and my clients.
I’m still not back to the number of births I was booking pre-pandemic, but I have hope. Believing wholeheartedly in this work and its importance for families has kept me focused. Birth is the most life-changing moment we experience. Whether it is a joyous birth (which I hope and wish for all families) or a traumatic one documenting your birth is important. Documenting your birth can be incredibly healing for past and current traumas. In fact, studies show that families who document their births report better birth experiences.
Showing you how beautiful and strong you are, and how many beautiful layers there are to your birth story is what drives me. Many clients have shared how their images and films have helped them through postpartum depression and anxiety. They’ve shared how valuable their images and film footage are to them in being able to look back on those powerful moments.
I believe I have been called to birth work and have immensely enjoyed this new phase of that work; the role of documenting birth stories for families. I’ve been in it for 22 years (19 as a L&D nurse, and 5 of my 11 years in business as a birth photographer), and can’t imagine ever growing weary of it!
Being allowed into these sacred spaces and being trusted in them means so much to me. It is a responsibility I don’t take lightly!
Without further ado, on to my favorites!
I pick a session favorite from each session I document each year. It is fun to look back on the year by picking an image from each session that has inspired or impacted me. My favorites even change throughout the year, and often choose one that reminds me of how that session and time felt. (Clients who have requested their images remain private are not included in this post).
5 hospital births, 6 home births, and 1 birth center birth.
I donated two birth stories for families experiencing a loss.
This special time in the lives of my clients is one of my favorites. It is such a special phase of life, and the anticipation always feels palpable to me. I love showing mamas how beautiful they are carrying their babies. They will have these images to share with their children as they grow. I’ve also added to my client closet for maternity sessions.
Fresh 48 sessions were often the next best option for clients who could not have me attend their hospital births. I love these early days of the newborn period and all the special little details it holds. It is such a fleeting stage of life, and for that reason, I believe it is so important!
This number of family clients worked well this year. It is much less than I normally take on, but one of the areas of my business I’ve had to restrict because of the call time for birth clients. Thank you so much to all the families that have continued to trust me with their families and this time in your lives. I am so grateful to you!
For 2023, I have again limited the number of family sessions in my schedule.
I have transitioned into more lifestyle-type work when photographing families over the years. My goal is always to capture how this time in your life feels. I want to capture those silly little laughs and personalities and your loving on each other! My clients showed up this year ready to play and be fully present in their sessions and images; it was so wonderful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Yes, that’s my beautiful daughter and her sweet and handsome boyfriend. I don’t photograph couples anymore, but it’s a special occasion when she asks!
For the last four years, I have done a giveaway telling the story of one individual, organization, or cause. I have loved offering this and have been able to tell the most amazing stories! This is an area I also had to pull in 2023 to allow the space to manage my schedule best for myself and my clients. Amazing stories seem to find me, so I will continue to tell them on a case-by-case basis. So, if you feel inspired to tell yours, please reach out! If my schedule allows, I would love to share it.
Ashley is an amazing and beautiful human being. I have known her for many years as we worked together in labor and delivery. Her transformation story is inspiring on so many levels, and she inspires me daily. Ashely’s story is important, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
This is another type of session I’ve pulled from my offerings. This beautiful client is my sister, so special circumstances as well!
I adore this type of session but have had to pull from my offerings. With such limited time and space between births, I have felt referring them out has been best for both myself and my clients. I mean, look at this guy. He was a 2020 birth I could not attend because of hospital restrictions.
I’ve also created a year-in-review birth film reel, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Thank you so much for trusting me with life’s most important moments and your most valuable and important people-your families! I am grateful for every one of you, and so grateful for this life and career. Thank you for believing in me and supporting my small business; there aren’t enough words!
Sunday, January 1st, 2023
Ashley’s story is an inspiring transformation story. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to create another Las Vegas documentary, and am so grateful for her trusting me in the telling of her story. Ashley’s story is more than a weight-loss journey, it is full of determination and major life transformations.
I have known Ashley for years as we worked together on labor and delivery here in Las Vegas. I have always adored her passion for whatever she does whether it is taking care of her patients, her continual drive to learn and grow, and most of all her passion and love for her family. It shows in all that she does. Watching her navigate pain and loss, as well as celebrating the victories in her life, has been a blessing, so when she applied for my annual ‘The Story Giveaway’ I was beyond excited and immediately knew it was her story I wanted to tell.
Between the busyness of her work schedule and my birth client’s schedules, planning, filming, and editing this project was a long process, but seeing it all come together left me in tears every time I worked on it. I hope it inspires you just as much as it did me. It is a story full of hope, love, and commitment.
In communicating with Ashley and through her questionnaire, we narrowed down the areas she wanted to focus on in telling her story.
Her weight loss transformation was so much more than her bariatric surgery. Through her family’s love and support, she made lasting changes in her day-to-day life.
In evaluating the patterns and habits she had developed so early in her life, she wanted to set a new and different example for their children. After her surgery, Ashley began to experience so many health benefits, and one of them was her increase in energy and desire to be active.
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle with her children has been one of her greatest joys following surgery. Instead of being passive observers, they can enjoy physical activity together as a family.
They are huge hockey fans and their oldest son Hunter plays, so, of course, had to capture a little street hockey!
Adding a home gym where they could easily work out as a family without worrying about having to leave the house has helped her maintain a physical activity regime. Again, not only has this been a huge benefit physically and emotionally for Ashley, but also for her family as a whole.
Becoming more aware of unhealthy dietary habits following her surgery, Ashley went to work incorporating new and healthy eating habits in her home. Learning to cook and eat differently led Ashley on a journey of finding new ways to create recipes as substitutes for the foods she loves or healthy options to replace unhealthy fast foods and poor habits.
Again, this is something she has been able to incorporate into her family life and involve her children in. They shop, prepare, and cook together.
The ripple effect of Ashley’s lifestyle changes has had an amazing impact on her family. Her husband, who has been an incredible support to Ashley, has lost a lot of weight through the dietary and physical activity changes they’ve made together as a family. Her oldest son Hunter has also experienced some healthy weight loss as a result. In addition, she is teaching her daughter London how to have a healthy relationship with food and a healthy view of her body.
Ashley’s joy and passion have always been her family, and being able to be the best version of herself and be physically active and present with her children, has brought her so much joy.
I wanted to help Ashley celebrate these significant milestones and changes she has made in her life not only physically but emotionally as well with a studio session where she could express the confidence and joy her journey has made in her life.
Friday, December 16th, 2022
I’m excited to share The Birth of Ruby Ray, a beautiful cesarean birth at Southern Hills Hospital here in Las Vegas.
What makes this birth story extra special is that it is the second birth I’ve had the privilege of documenting for this family. This is another COVID birth story with so many unknowns. This mama advocated hard for me to be present for their birth and put in so many hours and hard work, making sure she contacted and talked to the people she needed to in order to make it happen. Even in the weeks preceding their birth, we weren’t 100% sure I would be able to attend, but she did not give up because it was important to them.
Sometimes it takes families a previous birth experience to realize how important having these moments captured is to them. Having faced infertility with their first, they knew they wanted their births captured. Dad is an incredibly talented photojournalist, and so, of course, they truly understood the value of documenting time and moments.
Their first delivery ended in a cesarean section, and luckily, I was allowed in the OR for that delivery. Facing postpartum depression and anxiety after that delivery, Sarah often shared that the images and video footage we had captured of their birth carried them through many hard days and nights and brought some healing into their journey. This time she was more prepared and able to be proactive in preparing for those emotions knowing she would likely experience it with their second. What I love about Sarah is her transparency and vulnerability in sharing her struggles and victories. She is passionate and advocates for what she believes in, and I admire that!
I’m grateful to Southern Hills nursing staff, nurse management, her OB, and anesthesia for allowing me into their birth space. Being allowed into the operating room isn’t always guaranteed and depends on multiple factors; I am grateful to be trusted in this space.
Be sure to read through to the end to see their beautiful birth story in film.
Having finally gotten the approval to be present in the operating room for her delivery just a week ahead, I was ready and excited for her surgery on their scheduled date. I woke up to a text from her telling me that she had started laboring in the early morning hours and was heading in a bit early. I quickly finished getting ready and rushed to meet them there.
By the time they arrived, her contractions had gotten intense, and she was pretty uncomfortable. A cervical exam revealed that she was significantly dilated, so they had tough decisions on whether to proceed with the scheduled cesarean or attempt a trial of labor. There were many factors they considered in this tough choice, and they decided, along with their OB, to move forward with the c-section. So, her prep for surgery was completed, and an epidural was administered to give her some pain relief before surgery.
Having her children close together, there was still so many vivid memories from their first delivery that added a layer of emotion and fear.
Their delivery was so beautiful and look at that head of hair!
Why they continued with repair after delivery, dad was able to accompany their sweet girl to the nursery. There were so many tender moments there.
After Ruby was finished with her newborn exam and vitals, dad headed back to the room with her, and mom arrived shortly after.
Thank you so much, Hagar family, for trusting me, not once, but twice, with life’s most precious and intimate moments!
Wednesday, November 9th, 2022
I am so excited to finally share this beautiful Las Vegas home birth story.
Once again, I am behind on my blog posts, but I am committed to getting each birth story up, not only because they are beautiful and full of emotion but also because each is unique and special.
What I love about this birth story is that there are so many beautiful elements and layers of support woven in from her husband who never left her side, to her sweet pups that were nearby at all times patiently waiting, and her midwives who held and supported her when she began to doubt she could.
Be sure to follow along to the end to see their beautiful and powerful birth story in film.
Deanna called me on a Saturday morning to let me know that she had been contracting since before sunrise and that they were staying consistent as well as increasing in intensity. The funny thing is that she had a feeling that this particular day would be her son’s delivery date, and she was right! She told me she would call me back when she was ready for me, and I got that call just a few hours later. So mid-morning, I joined them.
She was doing so well moving around to whatever position she felt most comfortable, and that changed from standing, to the birthing ball, to rocking on the bed. You could feel the anticipation in the room. She was able to talk through her contractions, and we had some sweet conversations about how they met and their history together; I love hearing families stories about how it all began.
Her midwife team arrived early afternoon and got right to making sure she was hydrated and had some healthy nutrition on board, as well as checking on baby and mom’s vital signs. It was such a beautiful early summer day, so they decided to try and get things moving and went for a walk.
Her contractions did increase in intensity with the physical activity, and she began to turn inward more, and we all gave her the space to labor. You can feel that shift when moms have a strong birth team; it is a very sacred feeling when the room begins to ground itself, and the chatter fades to quiet support.
She spent some time in the water and tried to find the most comfortable position for her. After some time in the water, she decided to get out and spend some time on the birthing ball she had found comfort on earlier. By this point, it was getting a bit harder to rest between her contractions, but she continued to stay focused and grounded through each wave.
By now it was early evening and she was moving into the transition stage of labor. Her contractions were coming closer together, and she leaned into her support team. I have seen mothers begin to doubt themselves during this stage of labor; there is often so much going on physically between intense contractions, nausea, shaking, and pressure. She began to doubt herself and her husband, and midwives were there to physically and verbally support her with position changes and encouraging periods of rest. This stage lasted late into the night, and this mama was so exhausted.
By now, she was feeling pressure and the urge to push and spent some time in this stage of labor, and finding a comfortable position was increasingly difficult. There is a reason they call the toilet ‘the dilation station’; it is often where women instinctually go with that intense pelvic pressure, and sitting on the toilet helps to open the pelvis and allow the baby to come down. When her sweet babe decided to come, it happened so quickly that she only had time to get to the space directly outside her bathroom.
Because of the baby’s position and he was delivered, there was some perineal tearing and quite a bit of blood loss. Poor Deanna was not feeling well at this point and was trying hard to enjoy and savor every moment. Because of the difficulty keeping her vital signs stable, they decided to transfer to the hospital.
Luckily, I was able to come and document a sweet Fresh session for them when they were all home safe and sound.
Thursday, October 27th, 2022
I am so excited to share this beautiful Serenity Birth Center birth from May 2021 with you all!
I am about a year behind in my blog posts, but does any of the last two years count? I don’t know about you, but it feels like two years of crazy time warps and so many unknowns, which has kept me on my toes!
Yes! Las Vegas finally has its first free-standing birth center! It has been a long time coming, and so much hard work, blood, sweat, and tears for April Clyde and her amazing birth team. She fought for years for this facility and this gift to our community. Finally, Serenity Birth Center officially opened its doors in the spring of 2021.
I was so excited when asked to document this beautiful birth story. This first-time mama was away from her home country and her partner, which made documenting it all the more important in sharing her birth story with her family. It was another birth story altered by the pandemic. Through our communications, she could share her wishes and the most important moments. Her sister would be her main support, and she also wanted that special relationship documented.
Read through to the end to see their beautiful birth film!
I got the call that it was finally time on an early morning in late May, and I quickly jumped in the car and headed to the birth center where she had just been admitted. Would you believe that in the first image in this blog post, she was in active labor and six cms?
Her partner could join via Facetime and exchange some emotional support and encouragement.
The special bond between these two sisters was so beautiful to watch.
As is common with many first-time mamas, things were moving along quite well, and labor stalled a bit. Physical position changes were made, and the baby continued to be monitored. I believe this is when mamas need that emotional support because they can start to doubt themselves and their bodies. But April’s calm presence and professional care held her during this period.
Once her little guy made that final fetal rotation, things moved pretty quickly, and she was quickly moved from the toilet to the tub, where she quickly gave birth. All with daddy on Facetime!
Look at this healthy boy! Just under 9 lbs!
Wednesday, August 24th, 2022
I am so excited to finally share this beautiful Las Vegas home birth story!
This mama found me in her online search for a birth photographer. Keline had not documented her first birth, and as with so many moms realized after that experience how much meaning having those memories captured can hold. She also had a hospital birth with her first and planned a home birth this time around, so this would be a new experience on multiple levels. She also booked ‘The Whole Story’ package with me, including maternity, birth, and newborn sessions. These are by far my favorite because I get to witness so much more than the birth of your baby, I get a deeper peek into the dynamics, love, and unique characteristics of each family. There are so many beautiful layers to birth, and I love capturing more of each family’s stories through this package.
Keline had pretty quick labor with her first so we knew when active labor kicked in it had the potential to progress quickly. Four days after her due date and after an exam in the office things really started picking up with her contractions. She had been experiencing some labor signs in the days leading up to her labor, but nothing consistent. She was great at updating me on progress and what was happening with her body. We texted back and forth as she updated me and within minutes of telling me things weren’t progressing too much yet, I got another text asking me to come now. So, I grabbed my bags and headed out.
When I arrived, things were moving really quickly. She was already feeling intense pressure and the urge to push, and her tub was still being set up even as she was getting in. Luckily, the birth team was all present including her midwife Sarah, her husband, sister, and daughter, all there to support and hold her.
The plan was for dad to catch the baby, so he got right in the tub with her coaching her through contractions with encouraging words and supporting pressure.
I have seen so often that period when moms question whether they can really do it. In fact, it is quite common in the transition stage of labor and the baby makes its way down to doubt yourself. Keline stayed so strong and committed even through the intensity of it all.
When little Angelo finally came down, he did so quickly! Both Keline and Ashton delivered him up into Keline’s arms. Their birth is one of the most beautiful and emotional births I’ve documented. Their faces totally say it all. Big sister moved in and out of the area and didn’t stay for too long each time, but when sweet Angelo made his appearance, she was right there. It was the sweetest thing ever.
One of my favorite things about homebirths is the family-centered care and vibe. It has such a natural feel and provides so much space for families to hold, bond with, and get to know their babies. Those first hours are honored and supported, which is so beautiful to witness.
It is always so fun to come back for newborn sessions, especially for my birth clients. It is also a bit bittersweet. I get to see so much of the story come full circle and get to bear witness to so much strength and beauty, and then to see families thriving after it all and so smitten by their new babies. It is seriously the best!
Be sure to follow along to the end to see their beautiful birth film. You’ll need some tissues especially with the tender moments between this big sister and her new baby brother.
Thursday, May 26th, 2022
It’s an honor that you let me capture yours.