I got the text at 4:45 on Saturday, that Elka's water broke. That she was on her way to the hospital. Do you know where I was? I was checking out the light for the wedding ceremony that was about to happen in one hour. In one hour. I frantically started texting. Texting. Texting other photographers. Jessica was my first choice and she answered right away. I was so happy. She was making dinner with her family. I pleaded a little. But, she went. She did so good. She did so so so GOOD. I am so thrilled that we got to work together on this project. Here are hers, mine are at the end, after she kissed her baby for the first time.
You can see Jess's work at http://www.jessrotenberg.com/
You can see all of the images here.
Jamie had a rough week. Labor started on late Saturday night. She was having strong contractions, five minutes apart. It was obvious labor. Sunday morning, they were still going strong. Jamie labored at home for several hours. We headed over to the hospital that evening, but they said she was only at 5cm. Jamie headed home. Disappointed, but still going strong.
I headed back over on Thursday. Still in labor. Still having contractions. They hadn't slept much, neither of them. Jamie was exhausted but we were sure that today was the day. She labored at the hospital for another several hours. Labor was really intense. Baby just wouldn't descend. Jamie ended up having an epidural, a much needed nap and then a c-section (photos of the actual c-section and birth are courtesy of the fab doula, Andrea Dixon. I wasn't allowed in.). Misha was finally born. He was wonderful, beautiful, but had really low blood sugar. He had to go some extensive tests and went to the special care unit.
You can see the rest of the images and order prints here.
Wednesday was the Snopocalypse part two, here in the South. Roads were crazy and icy and there was still loads of abandoned cars on the road when I got the first text from Jess saying that this might be it. Luckily the temperatures warmed up a bit by the time she headed to the clinic. It was a warm 37 degrees and the roads were pretty clear.
Labor did stall a little at 5cm and we went for a walk around the University Mall hoping to get it going again. Sure enough, it worked. Labor was fantastic and Jess handled it like a total rockstar. She was cracking jokes all the way till 8cm. I really like Jess.
Heather came along and acted as super doula and was just wonderful to be around. I really like her and was glad that she was there because the conversation was fantastic. Jess probably loved that she was so comforting and helpful. Eric was super awesome and so supportive. He was fantastic and even rocked some skin to skin contact with baby boy! Go DAD!
It was also Valentines Day and labor was here, and this baby insures that they will never have a romantic date on V-Day ever again.
The photographer in me's p.s. These photos span 11:30 am to 11:30 pm. I'm only saying this because the light is awesome!
Location: Women's Birth & Wellness Center. Chapel Hill, NC
Doula: Heather Clements
Heather gave me a calm phone call at 4'ish in the morning last week. She sounded so relaxed I thought no way this is it, but her other children's labor only lasted for an hour and a half max so I headed out the door and over to their place to see this little wee babe enter the world. Heather and Robby planned a home birth, with their two little ones in attendance and gramma helping out.
I walked in shortly after Nancy (the midwife) and her assistant, Belinda. Heather was 5cm dilated and feeling pretty good but this labor was very different from her other labors. This one was slow moving and Heather was enjoying it. Her and Robby went for some walks, played cards, cuddled with the children and just laughed and talked.
Little guy finally made an appearance after about 17 hours of labor, at 5:18pm. It was beautiful.
It's been quite a year. Amazing. There were so many fantastic moments. A few very hard moments. I've gotten to explore more of North Carolina and the East Coast. I've made some friends. And I've had so many special happy moments that just thinking about them make me tear up a little. These are some random shots throughout the year. Most work related and some very personal.
Here it is. 2013.
It was so great to be there at the beginning of lives together. To see baby's come into the world. I learned so many things. New tricks. What I really like and what I don't. For one, I decided that I really love hora's. I love the faces fathers make when they get the first glimpse of their baby. I love seeing how people interact with each other.
This brings us to October. Then something awful happened. When I was a kid, we always lived very close to family. If not with extended family. When I was really small we lived my an gong (grandfather) and ah ma (grandmother), my auntie mama, uncles up in San Francisco. Then we moved back down to San Diego and we always lived within a few miles of my Auntie Peggy and Uncle Min and my two cousins, Erika and Marika. We were super close. We were always there. Uncle Min's cooking was my comfort food. Erika used to take me out with her friends to movies and always spent alot of time with me even though she was 8 years older. Then in October we lost my cousin Erika. She was one of the kindest people ever. I zipped on down to San Diego. It was wonderful because I got to see family that I haven't seen in years. I got to meet new family members that had been born. I got to get closer with my cousins than I ever had.
Erika had a traditional Chinese and Burmese funeral and her ashes were scattered in the Pacific. The Burmese monks came down from Los Angeles and the ceremony was at home. When Erika's sons put the urn in the water the pelicans flew over. These are the saddest photos I've ever taken.
(note: The gold paper boats are to give her wealth in her next life. They were burned after the ceremony.)
And then back home. I was glad to be back but I have to admit I was off for a little bit. Emotional. Everything seemed so much more important. My family especially. My babys. My time. Even the photographs I took. Everything. It was so great to get back to normalcy. It was especially to come back and photograph a baby come into this world.
Things I'm going to do this year differently. I'm going to make all my clients feel special. I'm going to try to be a bad ass at customer service. I'm going to set hours. I'm going to do more things for me. I'm getting some new hobbies (like right now, I'm trying to learn to speak mandarin. And I'm gonna get good with my bow and arrows)
It was an incredible year. I am so ever grateful that I got to photograph all these families. It is so incredibly flattering to be invited to be such an great part in so many peoples lives.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you Everyone For making it amazing.
When I showed up at the hospital at around 11am, Lysandra was laughing at one of Adam's jokes. She was laboring beautifully. She casually picked her lunch. She would joke some more. I joked that the baby was going to look at its birth album one day and say that mom couldn't complain about labor since she was smiling the whole time. Then the hours went on and on and on. It was getting rough and Lysandra wasn't getting a reprieve. Adam was amazing as a daddy doula and Liz Oldham, of Creating Your Calm, was so calming and wonderful, that the rough day went by as easy as it could have. The contractions weren't letting her rest at all and she wasn't moving along. She was exhausted.
At 7am it turned out that this little baby was going to have to come out and not in the way that Lysandra had hoped. It was to be a c-section. I'm just glad that mom and baby are alright though. That in the end, there is a new, beautiful family and that they are all blissfully happy.
p.s. This is officially the longest I've been at a birth- 27 hours! Whew!! But it was worth every single moment and I have declared myself an aunt!!! This little baby boy is going to have me as a part of his life. So, yay for me!!!
Alicia and Eric texted me at 2'ish am to let me know that things were moving along. I was so so so excited to see a baby be born and so I took a quick shower and got ready to head to UNC Hospital to see the couple. Luckily, this time I made it there before the soon-to-be parents. I got to photograph them coming through the door with her sweet hubby and Liz Oldham, doula extraordinaire at Creating Your Calm, helping Alicia into the hospital. The rest was a whirlwind of love and anticipation. Excitement and pure joy.
Congratulations you three!
Part TWO: Clif's newborn session coming soon.
Location: UNC Women's Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC. // Birthing assistance: The midwives at UNC and Elizabeth Oldham, Creating Your Calm.
***Special note: Liz is amazing, if you are looking for a doula go check her out.
When Mindy emailed me asking me to photograph her birth I was so thrilled and then when I saw the signature on her email and realized that she was part of JAM Photography, I was so intimidated. Jordan and Mindy are a super talented husband-wife photography team and their work is fantastic. I love it. Especially their work at home. It's so heartwarming. You should go take a look. Anyways, I'm getting side tacked. Then I met them and I liked them instantly. Jordan is crazy funny and had me laughing the entire time and Mindy is so sweet and calm that I loved just being around her. So, I'm especially honored that I got to be there to photograph the birth of their first baby. It meant so much that they chose me. :)
So, as I got to the hospital I could just feel the love in the room. It was tangible. Jordan and Mindy are one of those couples that you can see how in love they are just by a simple little glance and that gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies. And just like that, with them only being at the hospital for a mere one hour, this little boy was born. And he is perfect. Perfect. And Squishy. I'm kinda smitten.
There are only a few blogs that I actually follow and Let The Kids is one of them. I love the photographs that they pick, I love the colors, and everything is just so natural. Nothing feels forced. It's one of those blogs that I've been hoping and waiting that one day I can be on and well, today was the day. I'm all super jump up and down happy.