“Blessings” Birth Story: First-time mom water birth

I’ve waited a long time to share today’s birth story, a first-time mom’s birth center water birth!

I always respect my client’s wishes regarding whether or not images are shared, and prior to delivery, this mom wasn’t sure she wanted the birth photos made public. I am totally okay with whatever you choose from your session, but I am excited that she has changed her mind and wants to share images from her birth center water birth!

We had been waiting for quite some time for “Nugget” to join the world. We weren’t sure whether or not a boy or girl would be welcome us, but we did know it felt like baby was taking a long time to decide to make its entrance!

Finally, I received word that it was “time.” Yay! I packed my camera bag and headed out after the expectant father said that things seemed to be getting serious.

Mom and Dad had already decided they hoped for a water birth at Eastside Birth Center in Bellevue, but we hung out at home until things seemed to be moving along. We headed in, but after things seem to stall out a bit after being in the tub, mama was sent back home–a bit disheartened and now tired too. (Personally, I think Baby B just knew I would have far better lighting for an early afternoon birth instead of a pre-dawn birth ūüėČ )

During birth, I try to give the parents space and not be a distraction. With labor now slowed, I decided to leave mama alone, but I hung close since I suspected things would heat back up again shortly. Sure enough, two hours later I got the call to report back. We took our second journey of the day to the birth center, but there was no stopping things this time! Mama was a trouper, while Dad was a tremendous support.

Baby B emerged, and it was amazing. It was almost as if he swam up to the surface of the water to his mama. Tears of joy were shed all around, mama realized she had a brand new baby BOY, and dad cut the cord. At Eastside Birth Center, rooms are set up much like a beautiful hotel room, so mom and dad were able to cuddle the baby right in a big king-sized bed. Grandparents and auntie arrived, and baby B was blessed to be welcomed with so much love!

photo of dad waiting for baby to be delivered

Dad waited to welcome his new little one.

photo of mom breathing during birth

Mama enjoys a very brief respite between pushes.

photo of baby being pulled from water in water birth

Baby B was delivered in the water, and after two pushes emerged completely and was lifted up to mama.

photograph of family welcoming baby at Eastside Birth Center

Parents, as well as first-time grandparents and new aunt, welcome the family’s new addition. Eastside Birth Center in Bellevue, WA, features hotel-like rooms to make families more comfortable.

photo of newborn baby

Baby B, still adjusting to the new sights and sounds.

photo of newborn baby

I love capturing the tiny details of newborns… here the sweet little hands and his handmade hat.

I absolutely love photographing birth stories, and am currently booking through the end of the year. I reserve only two spots per month for births, so contact me now if you are interested in reserving your due date!

Let’s plan for your birth story!

 

Booking “Worn with Love” babywearing sessions!

picture of baby on Girasol wrap

 

Everyone who knows me knows that if I am with my kids, the baby is most likely riding along in a carrier or wrap of some sort! I have long wanted to do something special as an homage to babywearing, and now is the time!

announcing the “Worn with Love” mini sessions!

I have reserved just a few special “Worn with Love” mini sessions to take place in Covington on the afternoon of Sunday, May 18. ¬†During your 20-minute session, we will make beautiful photos of you and your little one. ¬†Does dad babywear too, or do you want a family portrait as well? ¬†That’s great! The only stipulation is that babywearing must be a featured part of your session. ¬†We will capture baby cuddled close on you, or perhaps some solos of your little one curled up in your favorite wrap. ¬†I am here to capture the intimacy and love that babywearing helps us all share with our little ones!

For $199, you’ll receive a 20-minute session, a beautiful professionally mounted 11×14″ print, and rights to 5 digital images for printing and sharing.

but don’t hesitate, there are limited spaces available, and I rarely offer mini sessions!

To book your mini session, head over to my marketplace page, and select your desired time slot. I will then be in touch with further details, our location, and everything you need to know for a gorgeous mini session!

Let’s celebrate babywearing and our little ones together!

Book your “Worn with Love” session now!

 

Mama’s New Favorite Way to Shop: Stitchfix!

I’m so excited to share today about this mama’s new favorite way to shop for clothes: Stitchfix!

Stitchfix is a simple premise: an online stylist picks out five items for you based on your answers to a short questionnaire. You receive your “fix” in the mail, try on the items, and have three days to decide which items, if any, you keep.

I had seen some buzz about Stitchfix, and when my sister-in-law asked me to give it a try with her, I decided it was worth a shot, in spite of my reservations.

Let’s just say that since I had my third baby, shopping is NOT fun. My body is shaped differently than before, carting around three kids ages 5 and under to stores is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen, and frankly, any shopping experiences I’ve had have been exhausting and demoralizing.

So it was with some amount of nerves that I signed up, sure that I was going to waste my stylist “fee” ($20, which can be redeemed toward any item in your box), but wanting to be a good sport for my sister-in-law so we could share the experience together.

We timed our orders to arrive on the same day (you get to select the arrival date, which currently is about a month out), and then we had a “box opening” together. It was exciting–and a bit nerve-wracking–to open our boxes and have no idea what we would find.

Much to our surprise, all of the items, for both me and my sister-in-law Laura, fit well! I was not too surprised at this for Laura, who is one of those people who looks great in everything (5’10”, no flabby parts needing camouflage, overall fabulous), but I was shocked for me! I am *not* a skinny minnie at all and am definitely carrying some extra baby weight these days. But Stitchfix fit me perfectly!

As for the style of the items, Stitchfix sent each of us items that definitely looked like “us” and then a couple items that were “stretches” for us. Prior to being styled, you fill out a style and size questionnaire, and you rate certain outfits as well. I’d say I would describe my general “style”–if I have one at all–as casual, sporty, and maybe bordering on a bit of preppy. As you’ll see below, Stitchfix matched me with items that fit my desires for a cute “mom on the go” look but that could also be appropriate for my photography work, where I want to look professional as befitting someone in a visual/artistic industry, but also be able to move around.

Both Laura and I had one “airball” each in our shipment; for me, the drapey apricot cardigan hit me at the widest part of my hips and didn’t do me any favors. For her, a layered off-the-shoulder sweater was a little too “Flashdance” for her conservative preferences.

However, we both also ended up loving items that we wouldn’t have normally tried on our own, but that we really embraced once we saw them on.

Here’s a look at the items in my Stitchfix shipment… (apologies for the less-than-stellar pics; these were taken late at night with a cell phone in my bathroom. Also, nobody make fun of me for my granny’s crocheted hangers ūüėČ

chevron shirt

item 1: chevron shirt. I never would have selected this myself, but Laura and I both agreed it was the hit of the box. Flattering and a big departure from my norm.

 

white shirt from Stitchfix

item 2: white henley. This is much more flattering on. I probably wouldn’t have tried this either, but it is so soft and hangs nicely. Not the most practical choice for a mom of littles, but very comfortable, and the ruching and details feminize it.

 

basic denim jacket from Stitchfix

item 3: basic denim jacket. Fit well. I’m sure many people would already have something like this in their wardrobe though.

 

apricot sweater from Stitchfix

item 4: drapey apricot sweater. Overall my least favorite item, as it did nothing for my figure. It did improve a lot when belted, however.

 

striped dress from Stitchfix

item 5: this one battles with the chevron as a favorite. As a photographer, I try to look “pulled together” but I also need to be able to move. This is a perfect choice. With leggings and the denim jacket, it looks cute and on-trend, but I don’t sacrifice movement. Also, it’s easily washable… a definite must!

So would I recommend Stitchfix? Absolutely, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.

Here are some types of people who are most likely to enjoy Stitchfix:
1. People who don’t enjoy the “thrill of the hunt” or bargain shopping.
The Stitchfix clothes are no bargain. They average about $50-60 each, though you do get a 25% discount if you buy an entire box (be prepared to spend about $210-230 out of pocket if you like everything and want to keep the box). They do include some “higher value” items like jackets, dresses, and jeans and then some cheaper items, like accessories or tops. These are definitely a step above Gap/Old Navy/Target in quality (Laura’s box had a pair of Anthropologie jeans as well as a J. Crew lookalike vest)… but still definitely not cheap. For me, I honestly do not enjoy shopping, digging through racks of clothes, or trying lots of things on…so the fact that I can get clothes without the hassle is a definite plus (and one that is worth the extra money for me). ¬†As my only big clothes splurge since Seth was born a year ago, I didn’t feel too bad for such high-quality items.

2. People who enjoy stores such as Anthropologie, J. Crew, Banana Republic, and Macy’s.

Stitchfix items are priced similarly (maybe a little cheaper) than the stores I listed above, so if you typically shop at those stores, you will probably be happy with the value and quality of the clothing you receive in your boxes.

3. People who are open to new styles and seeing themselves in a new way.

If you have a very rigid sense of what your style is, Stitchfix may not be for you. Part of the fun for me is trying something I never would have picked for myself, and seeing if it works.

4. Mamas with young kids or other extenuating circumstances that make shopping a chore, or those who live far from a mall.
Again, I am sure you *can* find similar items at a mall, but for those of us who have young kids and mall shopping is a total nightmare chore, Stitchfix is a great alternative.  Again, by the time I factor in gas, the fact that I live 45 minutes one-way (on a good day) from the nearest mall, I found Stitchfix to be a great alternative.

5. People who are style-challenged.
I am certainly no stylist. My husband is surely tired of seeing me in the same three black Gap Maternity shirts that are still a holdover from the last time I went clothes shopping. I am pretty sure wearing black solid shirts isn’t even really a definable style. So for me, receiving the Stitchfix box with new items *and* the handy “cheat sheet” of outfits was really great! It helped me to see things I already owned in a new light as well.

6. People who don’t have a huge wardrobe.¬†

I wouldn’t say any of the Stitchfix choices were earth-shatteringly unique items. For instance, the denim jacket is a staple that many people may have already had (but which I did not). If you are a big shopper or already have a big wardrobe, Stitchfix may not be for you…but if you get by with a few basics, it’s a great option to liven up your options. By adding very basic items like tights, a pair of jeans, and a couple of different shoes to my mix, I am able to get a variety of looks.

7. People who are interested in a unique experience.
It is a ton of fun to get a box full of surprises in the mail! I can’t say enough how much fun it was. And if you have a friend or friends who are interested in making it a box opening party, then it’s really great! Laura and I had a wonderful time sharing the experience together, trying on each other’s things, helping each other design outfits with our items, etc.

8.  Mamas looking for a boost in self-confidence and mood.

Since having kids, it has been all too easy when visiting stores to focus on what *isn’t*… that my body isn’t the same as it used to be, that I can’t as readily pull clothes off the rack and have them fit, that my time to myself isn’t as plentiful. ¬†And that can get really discouraging. ¬†For the first time since having Seth, getting some new clothes really felt like a boost and a happy event, instead of a chore because I “had” to get jeans that fit or I “had” to buy clothes in a bigger size than I would like. ¬†Honestly, I think wearing sad, blah clothes even became a form of penance or self-loathing… like I didnt *deserve* to look cute because I can’t fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes. It was a big booster to my mood and self-confidence to feel like I ended up with items that are trendy and stylish, and I don’t have to look dumpy as I go around town.

Overall, I love Stitchfix and am definitely planning on doing another box in a few months!

* Disclaimer: this ad is not sponsored and all opinions are mine but does contain an affiliate link to Stitchfix, and I do receive a store credit for each person that signs up using my link.  

If you are thinking about giving Stitchfix a try, please use this link to sign up!

Free book on loving your family: How Do I Love You?

I am so honored to have been invited by my friend Davina Fear to be a part of a very special project. Davina gathered 25 photographers and writers to join together to offer simple, easy ideas to share your love with your family. ¬†After spending hours devoted to compiling them all, she has created a beautiful little book, “How Do I Love You?”. Included in this group are notables from around the world such as Brooke Snow, Josh and Jenny Solar, Elizabeth Halford, and people behind A Beautiful Mess. ¬†I admit I’m a little starstruck to be included in such a group!

This book is perfect for Valentine’s Day, with enough ideas to pick one for each day until February 14.

To get this book (free!) and find out more info, visit Davina’s blog post on “How Do I Love You?”.