This is a time of year I find myself reflecting on the past year as planning for the new one begins. In these times of reflection, I realize just how blessed I am. I have been in business now for almost 9 years, most of them as a studio newborn photographer. As I focused on rebranding into the genre of birth photography over the past year and a half, there have been so many moments of fear and doubt. Would I be able to make it in this genre? It is a different direction, and I knew that I would lose some clients in the transition and rebrand, which was so scary.
This is one of those birth stories that helped confirm that my role as a Las Vegas birth photographer and storyteller is exactly where I am made to be.
I met this beautiful family when they were pregnant with their oldest daughter as they were searching for a maternity and newborn photographer. I fell in love with them right away and truly enjoyed working with them. Courtney grew up here in Las Vegas and has deep roots within our community; she is so well-connected. You are instantly drawn into their love for each other, beautiful sense of humor, and family’s importance.
When they were pregnant with their second child, I had already filled my calendar, so I could not take them on for their newborn session. I was ecstatic, to say the least, when Courtney contacted me early this summer about documenting the birth of their third baby! They had not documented their last two births, so this would be something new for them. It was something that she wish she had after the fact with her other two, which I have found so many families say. I think is through the birth of our children that we see less of the fears and more of the importance of capturing every bit of it, the desire to hold every little detail. It is such a momentous moment in life and one that can’t be repeated.
We talked about their wishes and hopes in documenting their birth through their questionnaire, email communications, and our in-person meeting, so I really had a good feel for the moments that were most important to them. Of course, I truly believe that seeing your birth story in video captures even more than still, images can, and we captured so much of both!
It is always so hard to narrow down which images to show, and it was so hard with theirs; I have so many favorites.
Courtney had gone a week over with her first and close to her due date with their second, so we figured it would be right around there. Her due date came and went, and as she approached her 41st week, she started experiencing a lot of prodromal labor, something she really hadn’t had with the other two. She spent the entire weekend before her birth contracting off and on, especially at night, so by the end of the weekend was pretty exhausted. I was on high alert the whole time, often communicating with her, keeping my gear charged, packed, and by the door ready for that phone call. I finally got the call just after midnight Monday morning; she was going in to be checked as her contractions were progressively becoming stronger. Since her hospital was half an hour away, I quickly got ready and headed over, which was perfect because she was 6 cms when they checked her. By the time I arrived, she was ready to move from triage to their room.
Courtney had planned on laboring as much as she could without Pitocin and planned to hold off on getting an epidural until closer to delivery, as she had done with the other two. Luckily, St. Rose San Martin hospital here in Las Vegas has wireless monitoring available, so she was able to move freely throughout the room, change positions frequently, and continue to stand, which is the most comfortable position for her.
They had only been in the room for about an hour when things started progressing, and Courtney was ready for her epidural, so anesthesia was called. As she waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive, things changed very quickly, and her water broke after a string of intense contractions. It was soon clear that the baby was coming without an epidural, and her doctor was there.
A delivery table was quickly made for her as staff rushed about the room, and the hospital laborist was called when it was clear her OB would not make it in time. Things changed in mere minutes. Within one contraction of the laborist arriving at the bedside, their baby was here!
Things happened so quickly that it took everyone some time to process them. Aaron literally had to sit down and gather for a minute, and he saw some things (they are both morticians). He gathered himself and then got right back up there and encouraged and loved on Courtney and their new baby; it was such a tender and beautiful moment.
By the time they had delivered and spent that important first hour of skin-to-skin with their new baby, it was the early morning hours. In just a few hours, the siblings would be up and headed for school, so we decided to have me run home and freshen up and then come back and document them meeting little Alessandra before school started. This was something that was really important to Courtney and Aaron and we had really hoped that the timing would work out with the timing of their delivery, so it was perfect!
The siblings meeting their new baby sister was one of my favorite parts of it all; it was so tender and adorable! Both were totally smitten with their new baby sister and fascinated at every little detail they could take in.
And we weren’t done! Because they had documented newborn sessions with the older siblings, they wanted to come up with a good middle ground. Because I no longer photograph studio-posed newborn, we scheduled an in-home newborn session once they got home and settled. We captured a few posed images they could hang on their walls to remain cohesive and then continued with a more lifestyle session. It turned out so adorable. Big brother and sister were still just as smitten with their new baby, and it was so nice to see them all together in their home, where most of their memories are made!
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