Friday, December 13, 2013

holiday mini sessions! { frost on flower }

On Saturday I held my first studio mini session day.  I recently ordered equipment and supplies for doing a studio set up and had tried it all out at my house before using it for this mini session day.  Before ordering everything and setting the dates I proposed the idea to the McKinley Community.  They have a building not too far from my house which is where I do a lot of the work for my work share with the McKinley Community CSA over the summer.  I was so excited when they said I could use the space.  It has big windows that face the street and skylights above as well - great natural light!

I schedule the day back in October, I believe, and tried to give myself a few weeks from when I assumed the new baby would arrive.  It worked out that he was just over three weeks old.  This was actually my second time working since he was born so we had already learned that he was, fortunately, able and willing to eat from a bottle and did not have any trouble adjusting to my feeding him as soon as I got back home.

Below are some of my favorites from a few of the sessions.

My first session started a little more hastily than I planned.  It was one of the coldest days we've had in a while and the person who was supposed to open the building for me was late!  His car wouldn't start in the frigid morning air!  He finally arrived about five minutes before the first session.  Thankfully I had set almost everything up the night before but I still wanted to be more prepared than only five minutes!  It was a stressful start to the day but it worked out just fine.  :)

You've seen this bunch before.  :)

I bought a few sets of photo booth props on Etsy about a month ago and threw in a Christmas set also, to have on hand for today.  I'm glad a few people wanted to use them.  I would love to set up a photo booth at a Christmas party!  Any takers??  :)

Little sister was hungry at one point so Claire and dad enjoyed themselves.  :)

I love the excited and likely loud toddler vs. the really uneasy and likely confused baby.

Next up was another family that you maybe recognize.  I haven't photographed them in a while!

We had to take this really really really important photo.  :)  ;)

This one should be an advertisement for this set of props - so perfect!

The photo above is probably my favorite from the day.

His strategy was to make himself laugh hysterically for the photos.  Right before and right after the laughing were usually good smiles.  So I guess it worked!  By the way - that's Olive's really good friend.  :)

Next was a new family that I had not yet met.  It turns out that the oldest takes gymnastics lessons at a gym nearby that I've been in contact with about trading services (my photography for gymnastics lessons for Olive) - what a coincidence!

These few are group together as my second favorite from the day.  What lovely eyes she has!  :)

And last are two little guys that I met over the summer.  I photographed them together as newborns and met up with them again at a wedding.  It was great to see them again.  They've grown so much!

But they're still always looking and trying to move in different directions.

This session could be summed up by confused babies and hysterical adults - we couldn't stop laughing at nearly everything they did.  From being entranced by Christmas ornaments to trying to eat things and from drooling all over everything to trying to hit the other with sticks.

We managed to get them looking in sort of the same direction at the same time at least a couple of times.

But it was mostly opposite directions they preferred.

I laugh every time I see these - he was so very interested in the ornaments in from of him.

Look at that face.. "oooooooooh!"

I can't handle it.

And then we tried to get them upright at the same time.  Which mostly resulted in tipping over and trying to eat the bowl.

And they were really not impressed.  :P

Thursday, December 12, 2013

June Day!

I'll start with the basics.. in case you don't want to sit through a birth story, in short, it went like this:

Olive woke me up at 2:45 am.
While snuggling in her bed I had two contractions. About 5 mins apart.
Tyler called Brooke to come over at 3:15.
And then called the midwife on call immediately after.
I didn't want to talk.
Contractions were around two minutes apart, or less.
Brooke came.
We left.
Tyler drove quickly. And treated a few stoplights as they were stop signs.
I bit the headrest (I was kneeling on the seat) for three pushy contractions.
We arrived at the birth center.
I ran into the birth center.
I waited for FOREVER for the tub to fill up.
June was born at 4:10 am after three big pushes in the tub.

Moral of the story:
Switching from St. Joe's hospital in St. Paul to Morning Star birth center in St. Louis Park was A VERY GOOD IDEA.
If we have more children they must be born at home.  Must.  Or else in the car.  Or on the sidewalk.

And, for those who would like a little more info, or maybe I've piqued your interest.. read on...

On Wednesday I had been feeling slightly crampy.  Not painfully crampy and not uncomfortable.  Just a little bit more of a feeling in my uterous area than usual.  Nothing alarming to me.  Just some feelings.  I told Brooke.  She took it much more seriously.

While in the bath later that night Brooke asked how I was feeling via text message.  I told her I felt the same, nothing major going on, I didn't think baby would be coming anytime too soon.  I assured her that we would all get a full night's rest.  I enjoyed the rest of my bath and eventually went to bed.

When Brooke went to bed she told Scott something like "Watch, they'll call at 3:00 am."

Olive woke me up at 2:45.  I could hear her being noisy in her room and had been sleeping somewhat lightly lately.  I woke Tyler and he went to see what was wrong - it was easier for him to get up than for me.  

Olive didn't want Tyler, she requested me.  So I joined her in bed.. she didn't talk to me, she just made it clear that she wanted to snuggle, which was pretty unsual.  She wrapped my arms around her waist, intertwined her fingers in mine, and tried to drift off to sleep.  My nose was on the top of her head.

Then I had a contraction.  Not overly painful, but the first not Braxton Hicks contraction I had had thus far.  I had one more, so I got up and told her I couldn't stay.  I went to the bathroom, discovered a little bloody show, and then back to bed thinking I should rest up - maybe baby would be coming in a day or so.  I wasn't in bed for too long before I went into the bathroom again.  Constant bloody show.  And constant contractions.

Those first two or three were approxmiately 5 minutes apart.  I found a website with a contraction timer as I sat in the bathroom.  As soon as I started timing them they were 2.5 or fewer minutes apart.  Even back to back.

I was a little bit confused.  I wasn't sure if I should really commit to this being "it" because whatever "it" was was happening extremely quickly.  But, just to be on the safe side, I told Tyler yeah.... maybe we should call Brooke.  I thought it might be good to have her around, even if things were just getting started, to help out with Olive in case she woke up.  Or something.

But then the contractions kept coming.  So I told Tyler... yeah... maybe call Brooke.  And maybe the birth center, too.  Maybe.  It was 3:15.

The whole time I was uncomfortably sitting on the toilet.  Sitting up was not enjoyable but my goodness... bloody show was happening and it felt like the most tidy location for that.

Tyler came to the bathroom door while talking to the midwife on the phone.  He was trying to relay what was going on.  From what I hear the told them about bloody show and the midwife said that was good, and he said "Are you sure?"  He asked me if I wanted to talk to her, but I politely declined.  Contractions were back to back at that moment so no... no thanks to talking.

The midwife said to come right over to the birth center.  So I stood up.  And then suddenly Brooke was there.  She came upstairs and I was like "oh, hi." and she watched me have a contraction standing at the bathroom sink.  Tyler was loading up the car.

Then we went downstairs and I made some quick decisions.  I couldn't stay standing up for long so I leaned over the ottoman while we finalized our plans.  I contracted as Tyler debated if we should call an ambulance. 

To that my brain loudly said no.  I did not want to wait for an ambulance.  I did not want to be on a flat surface.  I did not want to see people I did not know.  I did not want an ambulance, no.

Tyler kept trying to give me socks.  I asked him to get me a hair band because I thought birthing with my hair down would be annoying.  Upstairs seemed so far away so Brooke gave me hers.  She even put it in my hair for me.  I bet it looked lovely.

Tyler told me after the next contraction we had to run to the car.  My brain said DUH.

And then we ran to the car.  I immediately got in the front seat and kneeled on it facing the back.  Tyler started driving quickly and asked me if I could put on my seatbelt and I was like NO.  NO WAY.

Thankfully it was the middle of the night so the roads were bare.  Tyler drove very quickly.  He briefly stopped at stop signs.  And treated red lights as stop signs, brief ones, as well.  He zoomed onto highway 100 going south.  As we got onto the off ramp I felt pushy.  So I bit the head rest because no, I didn't want to push in the car.  I was moaning loudly while biting the head rest.  Tyler told me to wait.  He didn't know I was biting the head rest.

We pulled into the parking lot of the birth center.  I could see the door to the birth area was open and so was the second door of the main entrace but the first was closed (they're all normally closed).  But I was afraid the first might be locked and didn't want to be caught standing outside during a contraction so I had Tyler make sure it was open.

Of course it was, so I ran, or waddled, or whatever it was I did, out from the car and into the building.  I hurried down the hallway, walking like I had a giant yoga ball stuck between my legs, while moaning.  As I was about the round the corner Jenessa zoomed around the corner and met us there - she helped me into our preferred birth room.

I was so looking forward to hoping into the tub and almost died, yes died, when I saw that it had about an inch of water inside.  So I stood next to it, with my hands on it, for a few contractions.  With my pants and shoes on.  Feeling pushy and like I was soiling my pants.

I tried to take my shoes off but failed.  So I asked Tyler for help.  He removed them and then Jenessa was like hey we should take off your pants.  And then suddenly Aly was there and she put pressure on my bottom when I had a contraction and it was amazing.  What a great way to meet someone.

The tub was filling.  It's a huge tub.  But also the slowest filling tub IN THE WORLD.  Finally it was full and I dove in.  I had, I think, three contractions in the tub.  I yelled loudly.  Very loudly.  And I pushed, but not too hard.

I was on my hands and knees and I still had my shirt on.  That felt a little weird.  I was told to keep myself under the water because the baby was about to come out and we wanted it to be under the water, not above.  

But oops, I came out of the water a little bit.  I started yelling into the water on that contraction.  That must have sounded weird.  And then they told me to keep myself above the water because the baby's head was out but wasn't in the water... oops.  This next contraction seemed to take much longer to come than the rest.  Just hanging out there.. awkwardly waiting with a half out baby.

Later I learned that because of where they were positioned, Jenessa had the baby's head but couldn't get around to the other side of the tub to catch the body so Aly was ready to grab it - we literally had two midwives catch him.

On the next contraction I pushed and he came out!  I flipped over and they handed him to me and he had the biggest tiny baby hands I had ever seen.  And I was like what... a baby... I was sleeping an hour ago, wasn't I?  

We hung out in the tub for a little while waiting to deliver the placenta.  I wasn't having any more contractions so they told me to cough a little.  That felt weird and it wasn't doing anything.  I tried pushing a little and Aly tried tugging a little.  It wouldn't come out.  So we hung out some more.  Then we thought if I crouched maybe gravity would help.  But the cord was around my leg in the wrong direction so someone took the baby and I pulled my knee up to my face and untaggled myself.  I was on my knees and had to really push while Aly tugged and finally the placenta came out.  And Aly remarked that it was really big.


I stayed in the tub for a while longer before moving over to the bed.  I apologized for yelling.  Once I got in the bed I got the baby to latch on.  The cord was cut.  The placenta was inspected.

A while later I got check out and it seemed I had a tear again, basically the same as with Olive.  Eventually we got set up to get it stitched.  I'll save the details but it felt kind of like being at the dentist but opposite.  Except Jenessa and Aly were sitting on yoga balls.  They were getting everything ready and a glove broke.  Finally they got me numbed up, all while Tyler was holding little baby, and they got the tools out for the stitching.  And then Jenessa dropped them.  So I awkwardly sat there with Jenessa while Aly looked for more.  She found them and we continued.  And I laughed a lot.

Eventually the newborn exam happened.  This is when we learned that he weighed NINE POUNDS EIGHT OUNCES.  The entire room basically gasped collectively.  And Jenessa looked at the scale a second time, just to be sure.  Aly then exclaimed: THAT'S MORE THAN THREE POUNDS MORE THAN OLIVE.

For the next few hours we hung out together on the bed, chatted with Jenessa and Aly, I drank a ton of coconut water, and they made me and herbal sitz bath.  Jenessa and Aly also offered me some cake to which I immediately accepted.  I ate it while relaxing in the bath.  Oh, I also walked to the bathroom all by myself without falling over.  And I went potty - which is a big accomplishment.

I highly recommend this birth center. Spent some time relaxing in a hot sitz bath in a giant tub and ate cake.

While I was in the tub Tyler went home to pick up Olive.  We had been text messaging with Brooke since Olive woke up.  Brooke asked Olive if she wanted to go meet the baby, to which Olive replied "no, I don't want breakfast and I don't want to meet the baby - I want to play with your phone."  But she eventually changed her mind.

Just clipped these crazies.

After the bath I was back on the bed with June and I heard Olive with her loud voice coming down the hallway.  She came into the room and looked at things and asked questions and eventually checked out the baby.  For the rest of our time there Olive talked to everybody, she ate my cake, I ate some bananas, and we discussed the baby's name, the spelling, and his middle name, for a while.  Jenessa kept popping in for a name update, to write on his certificate and paperwork, but we were never ready.  And then June pooped - which was a big accomplishment.

My tummy was feeling badly crampy all of a sudden so Jenessa offered me some cramp bark tincture. It was amazing.

Having a chat before heading home.

Eventually Tyler started loading up the car, Jenessa took Olive to the potty, Olive asked another midwife, Rosa, lots of questions about what she was doing to an inflatable birthing tub, we got the baby dressed, and we settled on his name.  Olive picked his middle name.


We got everyone into the car and headed to Whole Foods for my own bit of cramp bark and to grab some lunch to eat at home.  And then the four of us drove home.  :)

Hand holding the whole drive home.

June was 9lbs 8oz and 22" long, his head was 13".

Morning kisses.

At our 24 hour in-home appointment he was down to 9lbs and everything about us both was going great.

So gentle. #siblings

At our four day appointment June weighed 9lbs 11oz.

Good morning. #siblings

At our ten day appointment June weighed 10lbs 4oz.

"We both have stars!"

And at our twenty-five day appointment June weighed 11lbs 7oz.

Morning #5 snuggle. "Tummy time snuggle!!!" With four very specifically requested pig tails.

And it's totally official now because he's on the birth center's new arrivals list.

Birth center onesie. :) in 3-6 mos.. Not newborn.. Haha!
We're having a serious staring contest.