Baby Henry’s Birth

I first met Kristyn and Joshua when they were looking for a photographer for their wedding. They were so warm and kind, and I just knew I wanted to have them as clients, so I was thrilled when they booked me.

About a month and a half ago, Kristyn contacted me letting me know that she was expecting and wanted me to do newborn photos of their baby when he arrived. I talked her into letting me document his birth as well. Though I did find some creative ways to take pictures of my daughter’s birth (hello timer and birth high hormones), I hadn’t ever photographed a birth before. To say I was stoked would be an understatement. I packed my photographer’s version of a hospital bag (cameras and lenses I thought I would need) and had it waiting in the car. I swear, I was more organized for photographing a birth than I was for delivering either of my babies.

The baby’s due date came and went, but Kristyn stayed in contact with me and let me know that she was being induced on Friday afternoon. They started the induction with a foley bulb. She was delivering at a hospital about an hour from where I live, so I spent the afternoon and evening with family. After no news, I headed home Friday night. Her labor was picking up on Saturday morning, so I drove towards the hospital, planning to sit in my car and knit until I got word to go ahead in. So, knit I did, and after two rows of knitting (just before 3:00 p.m.) I got a text from Joshua saying to come on up.

When I arrived everyone was in good spirits. Kristyn was handling each contraction like a champ. I even asked Kristyn’s doula (her sister, Katie) if Kristyn had practiced hypnobirthing techniques (she hadn’t). She was smiling and joking between contractions, and she didn’t even seem to have broken a sweat.

But even though the contractions kept coming every few minutes or so, and even though they lasted about a minute each time, the labor wasn’t progressing. After palpating Kristyn’s belly, the midwife indicated that the baby’s head was off to the side, causing Kristyn some intense pain in the front of her belly. Kristyn had wanted to birth her baby as naturally as possible, but of course wanted a healthy baby even more. Clearly exhausted and frustrated, she decided to have an epidural in hopes of letting her body and baby do what they needed to do if she could get some much-needed rest. At around 9:00 that night, while Kristyn was waiting for the anesthesiologist, I headed home.

I headed back up the next morning as early as I could after getting my own two kids up and ready. While I was on the road, Joshua texted me that they had determined that a C-section would be best. I got to the hospital just after 8:00 a.m. When I got to the birthing room, Joshua was shirtless, which I assumed was so that he could do skin-to-skin with the baby. But then I saw that both he and Katie had tears in their eyes, and that they weren’t happy tears. Katie informed me that she and Joshua were all garbed up but then quickly ushered out when the spinal didn’t take; Kristyn was to be fully sedated for the birth and that no one was allowed in the operating room with her. After hugging Katie, and asking Joshua if it was OK if I stayed and documented the morning, I continued on. There was lots of hand-wringing as we all waited for news of how Kristyn and the baby were doing. The doctor came out and told Joshua and Katie that both Kristyn and the baby were doing fine, and both let out a huge sigh of relief and happy tears.

Joshua waited just outside the pair of doors where his son – Henry – would come through. He walked alongside the entourage of doctors and nurses down the hall to the nursery, where Henry would spend his next couple of hours. Only Joshua was allowed in the nursery. I stood outside, catching snippets of words exchanged behind the closed doors. Joshua cheered Henry on while the medical team performed tests on him (standard tests, since he was born via C-section). “Good job, Henry! Look at you lift your head, such a strong neck you’ve got. You’ve got this. You’ve worked so hard this whole time.”

Katie wandered the halls, wanting to be near Kristyn but not yet having any news about her. The doctor finally came to update Katie, saying, “I know… you’re ready to stop being a doula and just be an aunt.” She told Katie that once Kristyn was more lucid she would head back to the birthing room, which she promptly did as soon as she was able. I was about to head to the birthing room too, when Joshua came out and grabbed me to take some photos. “Kristyn would kill me if we didn’t get any.” I was able to be there while Joshua cut the cord, and soon after that I headed to the birthing room to show Kristyn photos of her precious boy, which she was happy to see but I imagine (after having two children of my own) that those pictures made her ache for her baby even more than she already was.

One of the nurses suggested that Kristyn and Joshua could do FaceTime, so I ran down the hall to give Joshua the word. Joshua got to do skin-to-skin during FaceTime, and Henry showed how ready he was to nurse by practice nursing on his daddy’s shoulder. Katie asked if it would be possible for Kristyn to be wheeled to the nursery to see Henry. Instead, they suggested that if the pediatrician cleared it, Henry could come to her to meet his mama and nurse for a bit.

Henry was finally wheeled to the birthing room, united with the woman who had carried him all those months and labored with him all those hours. He took to nursing immediately, and Kristyn and Joshua were finally able to bask in all that sweet, newborn love. Katie faded back, allowing Kristyn and Joshua to savor the moment. And after Henry was brought back to the nursery for more vital sign observation, I bowed out to let everyone get some rest and spend time together as a family.




Simply Devon

I recently shared a post about my session with my friend Linda and her (growing) family at their cabin in PA (check those images out here). And although I loved those photos, I consider these the true pièce de résistance.

Introducing Devon.

20120228-153618.jpgHe is just so wonderfully and adorably precious. And, might I add, he looks just like his daddy.

Not long after Devon was born in December, he was showing signs of lung trouble. Nothing major came of it, but about a month ago he was sick again. Linda is such a trooper; when telling me about little Devon’s ordeal, she seemed so collected as she wrote:

“He was having a lot of trouble breathing and his heartbeat was all over the place and his skin was really blotchy. They checked him for RSV the flu, pneumonia – all negative. Then they thought he had a problem with his heart so they called in an echocardio gram. It was normal. No fever. They also gave him a bag of fluids cause he wasn’t eating. So once he was able to breath normally and his heartbeat was normal they let us go home.”

Here’s a photo by Linda of Devon, about three hours before he was released from the hospital:

20120228-152216.jpgAll the while, daddy is on a submarine and has no communication with the home front…

Which brings me to the next point. Linda really wanted to do a session with baby D before daddy gets back. She wanted to surprise him (sweet, yes?) with the pics when he gets home. So as soon as Devon was better, we set up a session on one of those 60-degree February days we’ve been having, hoping to head outside. Well all baby D wanted to do was eat. He’s putting some of the weight he lost while sick, so I don’t blame the little guy.

And then – finally – the thing photographers hope for the most for a newborn session: sleep. Glorious, deep, malleable baby sleep. Linda was so patient through it all. It helped that I wasn’t rushing off anywhere, and we had time to wait for him to fall asleep. The waiting really paid off.

Happy viewing!!

20120228-153247.jpgHe looks just like his Daddy here

20120228-153334.jpgBig sis (aka B) had to get her own pictures of D

20120228-153344.jpg20120228-153354.jpg20120228-153413.jpgFinally got a chance to get the two of them together


Enough said…



And… sleep.


I adore how his right cheek is all squished up!

20120228-153630.jpgHope you sighed and smiled half as much as I did while photographing him!!

Beccue Family Cabin

I meant to post these a while back. I really did. But I got swept up with busy-ness. First with all the fall weddings and then with Holiday portraits at Love Life Images. Then with making homemade Christmas gifts and working on DIY (do-it-yourself) projects for our wedding this May. Then with Josh coming home from deployment after a year (finally!). So yes… I was preoccupied.

But now I’m settled back in a routine of sorts – and more importantly I recently held the newborn session for this family, which prompted me to finally post these pics.

Linda and I met for the first time several years back at a picnic on base. Our guys knew each other in previous job assignments, but Linda had just moved to the area from Texas after having Brinley (pictured below), and I had just moved to the area with Josh. So I met baby B when she was just two weeks old. (I can’t believe she’s 3!!)

Linda and I talked about doing a session for a while, but it just never worked out. Until this fall. We just decided to go for it. Besides, Linda was expecting #2 so it was the perfect time. Linda suggested using her uncle’s cabin up in PA and I jumped on the idea.

We made the drive, and the weather was just perfect – mild and sunny, the way it has been all winter. So we strolled through the woods for some family pics, and ended with maternity. We even snuck outside for some more risqué (tastefully nude) maternity shots (not pictured here). We ended the night by eating a new tasty recipe Linda and I found, and chatting for hours.

In other words, it was just perfect.


This had to be my very favorite family shot. It’s so real, and so them.


B, posing like mama.



I just loved this shot.




B with Acey Boy (Ace).

20120228-093149.jpgB with Nieva.

20120228-093156.jpgThe cabin in the evening.

20120228-093211.jpgHope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for newborn pics of Devon!

Day at the Park: Taylor Arboretum

Visiting my aunt in Pennsylvania is always a treat. And a bit of a retreat. I get to go there and sample my uncle’s homemade beer (and most recently wine and honey mead too), hang out in the kitchen chatting, and usually see some family too. During my most recent visit, my aunt suggested that we visit my younger brother on a whim.

Now, this isn’t always an easy feat. In the past 5 years my brother has changed his number about twice as many times – and almost never tells me what the new number will be. So tracking him consisted of writing to his wife on Facebook (he isn’t a social networking type of guy) and hoping that the timing of things would work out. Imagine, then, how bummed I was when, the morning we were supposed to visit, I couldn’t reach my sister in law. I knew they had a Halloween party the night before, and that my brother had to work the very early shift that day, so I was afraid they’d be sleeping in like – pardon the pun – zombies. I decided to try my brother’s most recent phone number after all, just in case and – miracle of miracles – it worked!

My aunt and I made the 1-hour drive to my brother’s home, and were immediately greeted at the door by my brother and my nephews, Tommy and Aiden. “Natalie’s down for a nap,” he said. That’s right. Three little ones. (Despite the fact that he’s got three kids and is 10 inches taller than me, I still call him my “little brother.”) Their house was fully decorated for Halloween. Remnants of Halloween makeup and hairstyling aids were further evidence of a late night. But we were all there, if barely functioning.

After hanging out a while, we decided to take a walk to the nearby Taylor Arboretum. The boys were full of energy, and needed to get out. My brother, still in work gear, dressed the little ones and out we went. Here are a few of my very favorite photos from the day.

I have a photo of my brother with his younger son from years ago that closely resembles this image. I was thrilled a similar moment happened with the younger one during this visit.

This tree was simply gorgeous. Despite the poison ivy on the trunk (we didn’t let the boys near it!) and a rather large garter snake we found nearby, I just had to snap a few photos. This one was my absolute fave.

Told you: work gear and all.

Had to set up the auto-timer for a group shot.

Solemn moments with the boys, but still adorable.

My aunt, walking with the boys.

I just can’t get enough of his eyes…

So, this might not be the greatest “photograph” in the world, but I had to share it. Tommy was just enthralled with my aunt’s camera. Wouldn’t put it down. Think he’ll follow in his Auntie Ann’s footsteps? Tee hee…

Heading home.

Natalie’s awake! (Don’t you just get lost in her eyes too?)

And finally… meet Pathic. His big sister’s name is Psycho. (Put it together. Go on. Yep. You’ve got it.) He was just the sweetest little thing. I put him down on the floor after snuggling with him a few minutes, and he came running back to my lap. He was the last to bid farewell to us that day.

I always look forward to seeing my family, however far apart the visits might be. And I do savor the moments I spend with my brother. Partly because, well, he’s my brother. And I kinda like him. 🙂 Partly because I see him only once a year on average. And partly because, how could you not LOVE spending a day with (and taking pictures of) these little munchkins?

Look Who’s Blogging

Welcome to my blog. I can’t claim this will be the wittiest blog in the world. But that’s not why you came here, now is it? You came for the pictures. And that’s just what I plan to deliver. But first, a little about myself.

I started photography as a hobby in 2004, and taught myself by way of an old photography textbook and a Nikon FG 35mm film camera. For the first few months, I dutifully took notes frame by frame so that I knew what I had to do to produce the same results the next time. At the time, it helped that I worked at a photo lab at a nearby drugstore; can’t beat half off processing and getting to choose which images you want to print when you’re still working in film.

Soon enough, though, I started on with digital, and began photographing friends. Then friends’ weddings. Then friends’ babies. And wouldn’t you know, I was hooked. I have worked as a freelance photographer in this way since 2005, photographing not only friends and families, but also modeling head shots, singer-songwriter portraits, and even the occasional advertising campaign image.

In March of 2010, I began working as the Client Liaison (that’s fancy for “The Person Who Answers the Phones and Responds to Emails”) at Love Life Images, in Savage MD. The photographers and other team members are amazing, to say the least. Every day I feel honored and privileged to be a part of their crew.

Which brings me to my biggest point of all. I am honored and privileged to be doing what I love. Nothing compares to waking up feeling excited to have not only a job that you love, but also a lifestyle that you enjoy. Every day I have a session, part of me feels like I’m just hanging out with friends. I just happen to have a huge camera in my hand, capturing it all on “film.”

And now, for a few of my very favorite recent pictures. Since that’s what you really want.

the lovely Angelina:

the debonair Wes:

the cute Kirsten and Jon:

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life, and thanks for sharing in the milestone of my first blog post. See you again soon!