Hi-yo! I’ve switched some things up and I have a new site and blog, so I won’t be posting here after this.
If you want to keep up with my work, or contact me for your wedding or elopement, head on over to the FRESH SITE!
I’ve been taking life real slow lately…and I’m not mad about it. I’m just soaking up all the baby smiles (and most recently her giggles!) and trying to get as much sleep as possible 😉
Not sure when I’ll ramp the business back up, but I’m just taking it one shoot at a time right now, and I’m incredibly thankful for this slow season in life (extra thankful for my awesome & supportive husband!).
Some of you already know that Michael and I renovated our barn into a studio space, but if you didn’t – now you know. It’s about 1200 sqft of awesome tall ceilings, loads of natural light, concrete floors and bright white walls. Makes shooting a breeze!
It was extra special that my first shoot back from “maternity leave” was this sweet maternity session. Enjoy a few of my favorites below, and if you’re in Bend or Central Oregon and you’d like to book a studio session, shoot me an email!
Also: we are renting the studio out to other photographers and business, and even for events, so if you are planning a wedding or party, or if you’re a photographer needing a natural light studio space, email me: email@example.com
I had a routine checkup at 11:30am last Tuesday 1/5/16. Michael came along because they were doing an ultrasound to confirm she was head down. I decided not to have my midwife do a cervical exam – we’d just wait until the following week’s appointment since we were still 16 days out. Michael’s mom also came to the appointment because afterwards the 3 of us were going to tour a local gym since it was near my doctor’s office.
About half way through the gym tour I felt a strange liquid come out of me. Ironically I had just talked to my sister the day before and she told me the mucus plug felt like 30 tiny snails sliding out of her body. That’s exactly what it felt like. I asked the tour guide where the closest bathroom was and I headed in the direction with my heart pounding. It was definitely my mucus plug.
I came out of the bathroom and we finished the tour. I continued to leak liquid as we all walked back to the car. I was nervous to say something but I finally muttered, “I had a strange discharge come out when I was in the bathroom.” Michael and his mom looked at me like…okaaaaay??? I googled on the way home and it was pretty clear that it had been my plug, but that it could be days or even weeks still before my water broke (however, I didn’t realize that the “continued liquid” coming out all the way home was in fact my water breaking). We got home and I started noticing my contractions (I had been having them pretty regularly for a few weeks now) were stronger than normal, so I called my midwife (around 2:20pm). She said to start timing them and to call back in one hour if they were consistently under 4 min apart, lasting 1 minute. After an hour of just that, I called back and she said to take a bath, drink some water and eat something light and call back in one hour. After an hour I called back and she said to go the hospital.
It was so sweet to see how excited Michael was, running around the house gathering everything we needed (I hadn’t packed my bags yet – it was on my baby “to-do” list that week). I called my mom and sister to tell them and packed the diaper bag and around 4:45pm Michael and I headed to the hospital. My contractions were getting more painful by now and we had to pause in front of the hospital doors so I could have a contraction…a few moms passed by me with sympathetic smiles. They admitted us to triage so the nurse could do a cervical exam. She was going to make me wait 30 minutes before deciding to send me home or keep me, but my contractions were getting really close and more intense so she decided to skip the 30 minute wait period and took me down to labor and delivery (I was only between 2-3cm).
It was about 5:30pm by now and we were settled into the room. The nurses were asking me about my pain management plan (which was basically: natural unless I need the drugsssss) and they mentioned that they could give me Fentanyl to take off the edge if that was something I wanted. After another hour passed, I decided to try 50mcg of Fentanyl. The effects lasted about an hour and it definitely helped. The next hour we went up to 75mcg and I decided to try the jetted bathtub…again, it was a totally doable hour. At this point I was thinking that this was no problem! The 3rd hour (and final hour since they only allow 3 doses of Fentanyl) I went up to 100 mcg and tried the tub again, however the effects wore off much faster and my contractions were getting more intense. I started to chat to the nurse about an epidural. They did a cervical exam and I was only 4cm. Since I hadn’t been hooked up to fluids yet, I had to get some in me before I could get the epidural so they hooked up my IV. After waiting about 30 minutes to hydrate, they called in the epidural but it took another 30 minutes because the anesthesiologist had just started on another patient. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life. It was about 11:30pm when he finally administered the drugs. I was nervous about getting a shot in my spine (having to stay still during a contraction sounded impossible) but I barely felt the needle.
By midnight I was finally starting to feel the effects and by 12:30am I was feeling reeeeeal good. The nurse said we should rest and they would continue checking me. By 2am I was 10cm but I wasn’t feeling any urge to push so they said we would wait. 5:30am rolls around and even though I still wasn’t feeling any urge to push they said we needed to start trying. I remember looking at the clock at 5:40 and mentally thinking, “okay, it’s 5:40 and I’m beginning to push” – as a mental note to myself to track how long the pushing would be. By 6am I had made zero progress so they turned my epidural drip down from 10 to 8 so that I could feel the contractions. They also decided to give me pitocin to speed up my contractions because they were about 7 minutes apart and baby’s heart rate kept dropping in between. By now I was feeling my contractions as if my epidural was totally turned off (and maybe worse because I was confined to a bed). I tried a few pushes through the pain but by 6:45ish I was so tired and in so much pain I was refusing to push. A contraction would come and the nurses would tell me to push and I literally shook my head and said no…for about 8 contractions. My midwife ended up calling in her back-up MD since I was not progressing and we were going on almost 17 hours of labor by now. Around 7am, the doctor comes in along with about 5 NICU nurses (as a precaution since her blood pressure kept dropping). The doctor gets in her position and looks me in the eye and says, “Okay Paige, we are going to use the vacuum. I need you to push as hard as you can because if I have to try 3 times and fail, or it the vacuum pops off once you have to have a c-section.” I started to cry then but it didn’t last long because a contraction was coming. I pushed 3 times as hard as I could. Apparently I made good progress because I heard one nurse say, “Okay Paige, your next contraction you’re going to have your baby”…I distinctly remember thinking “yeah right.” But sure enough, another contraction came and on the first push I felt her head pop out and then the 2nd push I felt as though everything inside of me was coming out and felt a huge pop/pressure and then all of a sudden I saw the doctor holding a baby. As soon as she was out I felt such a huge amount of relief and no pain. Michael said he’ll never forget the noise I made when she came out of me haha. All I remember thinking when I saw the doctor holding her up was: “omg she’s HUGE. I can’t believe something so big just came out of me.” But then when I held her for the first time she felt so tiny.
I immediately started crying…the hormones and sense of adrenaline immediately following are crazy! Thankfully she didn’t need to go to the NICU and they laid her on my chest. Michael cut the umbilical cord and a nurse rubbed her body for a few minutes with a towel. Meanwhile, the doctor was stitching me up, because thanks to the vacuum I had a fun little 3rd degree tear (for reference, 4th degree is the worst). Thankfully I didn’t feel any of this since I was numb, but it took her a while to finish. I’m glad I didn’t see what it looked like down there but now I am kind of curious. Probably for the best though. Michael go to see it all…he said he now understands why so many women have died from childbirth…thank god for modern medicine!
She laid on my chest for about an hour and then they took her to do all the assessments etc. I was famished since I hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day, so Michael ordered us room service (buttermilk pancakes, bacon, eggs and hashbrowns). I was pretty impressed with the hospital food during our stay. If I could, I’d order their chocolate milkshake right now!
The next 2 days were pure bliss. Even though I had a lot of pain from my tear and I couldn’t move around very easily, those next two days and nights in the hospital were so nice and I’ll always cherish that time the 3 of us had. It was actually really hard for me to leave and come home. My first 24 hours at home were hard. I cried a lot, and I had a lot of anxiety about not being back in our sweet, safe hospital room. My sister-in-law phrased it well…she said for about a year after giving birth, she’d drive by the hospital wishing she could be back there as if those few days were a resort vacation…that’s exactly how it felt for me…the best vacation ever and I didn’t want it to end.
As I sit here and type this, today marks one week from when my labor began. Each day gets better and better having June in our regular life now, but part of me is still mourning the fading hospital stay. It was like time was frozen still and literally the only care in the world for me and Michael was to soak up every little thing about our new baby.
January 6, 2016. 6lbs 11 ounces. 19 inches long. Elizabeth June Jones.
I was totally inspired by my friend/photographer Cheyenne to do this post…a reflection on this pregnancy. I’m just shy of 38 weeks right now…technically she could come anytime time even though our official due date is Jan 21.
Over the last week or so I’ve started thinking more about how the hard part is still ahead of me…the actual birth part (and of course the parenting thing!). Pregnancy itself has been physically draining, but I know bigger things are still coming and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous! Anyway, let’s re-cap the past 9 months:
Finding out we were pregnant.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know it was a struggle for us to get pregnant. In fact, we were 100% moving forward with adoption and the day the agency received our contract and big fat check, I took a pregnancy test (I was 6 days late and I’m never late), and it was positive. Needless to say we were overjoyed and shocked and so happy with this news.
We had a few extra ultrasounds than normal because I spotted in the beginning – but of course we didn’t mind seeing baby on the screen as much as possible! We both secretly wanted a girl (Michael was convinced we were having a boy) and we were so pumped when our 20 week ultrasound confirmed….GIRL!
All of a sudden teeny tiny pink clothes became irresistible to me haha.
Some pregnancy highs…
– Feeling her kicks and visibly seeing her move around
– My vitamin D chewables. They seriously taste like candy and I look forward to them every morning.
– Extra attention. Everyone always told me to take advantage of the extra help/attention. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about all of that, but you certainly feel a little extra special while being pregnant, haha.
– Setting up the nursery. This was fun for both of us and seeing it go from an ugly blue room with gross carpet, to a fresh white room with white floors, and seeing all the little details pull everything together was really exciting. It’s cozy yet bright and we are excited to bring her home and show her!
Some pregnancy lows…
– Morning sickness and exhaustion. While I never threw up (woohoo!) I definitely had daily nausea in the 1st trimester. I also became a nap person and I seriously neverrrrrrr took naps before this pregnancy, even to the point of fighting a nap. But when all of your energy is going towards building a human brain, you kinda have to just succumb to the pressure and curl up on the couch.
– Aches & pains. Weird stuff happens to your body. Muscles stretch and pull and weaken. My back gave out on me around 20 weeks which was terrible and I still haven’t bounced back from it. If I’m lucky enough to have a 2nd pregnancy I’m going to make a big effort to be in much better shape beforehand.
– Insane amounts of bathroom breaks. I had a small bladder before pregnancy, but it’s seriously out of control now. The pressure on the bladder is very uncomfortable and I’m honestly so tired of sitting on the toilet haha. Nothing you can do about it either because you’re also supposed to drink way more water, so it’s a real catch 22.
(FYI I’ve already had to pause typing this post 3x to go pee.)
– 3rd trimester insomnia. I guess it’s a real thing that effects a lot of pregnant women. I was certainly not expecting this and it’s suuuuuuch a bummer. However, I think my body has adjusted to getting very little sleep, so I should be slightly more prepared for nightly feedings now (at least that’s what I’m telling myself).
Some pregnancy surprises…
Since this is my first time experiencing all of this, there have definitely been some surprises along the way.
– The body changes were surprising. Not the growing of the belly & boobs, but just how physically weak I became. I’ve really had to force myself to just take it easy which has been hard because I’m typically an active/rough person, so it was a little surprising to experience my body responding differently to normal daily activity. I’m definitely excited about getting back to my usual level of activity without all the aches and pains as soon as possible!
– No food cravings. I was a little nervous about my weight gain and cravings because I loooooove food (read: carbs and sugar). Plus I had already gained some weight prior to getting pregnant. However, I really didn’t have any cravings, and I never felt the need to change the way I ate, or the amount. So far I’ve only gained about 25lbs (which is impressive considering I had to go through holidays).
– Varicose viens. Say whaaaat?! Haha, yes I have a few now…but from everything I’ve read, it’s common and will most likely go away.
Anticipating the arrival
We are both so ready for her to get here so we can physically hold her and look at her! Each day is more uncomfortable and I’ve been having more contractions and lower back pains lately but that just means the end is near! I know she needs to stay in there as long as possible, but we’re ready for her anytime now…
Hmmmm. Not sure where to begin. 2015 brought on LOTS of changes…I haven’t even officially announced on the blog one big change, so let’s dive in and re-cap!
This year was way different than 2014, mostly in good ways. I’m so glad I decided to shoot less this year because I ended up getting pregnant and could not have shot a full fall season, but even though 2014 was craaaaaazy busy and exhausting I realized this year that I could still slow down, just maaaaaaybe not as much (read: there were some times where I was bored because I had such huge gaps in between weddings). Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where to take the photography business next year. I intentionally haven’t booked any weddings yet because honestly I have no idea what being a mom is going to be like, and how it’s going to effect me on a day to day basis. I know it’s a full time job in and of itself, so I’m just going to pace myself and figure out what I want my business life to look like once motherhood takes reign. I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet soooo yes…I’m currently entertaining bookings for 2016 in Bend, Oregon (and destination weddings of course!). For now, we are just patiently awaiting the arrival of our baby girl. Could happen anytime now (official due date is Jan 21)!
It was harder this year to pick my favorite images which is funny because there were way less images to choose from, but here ya go…my favorites from 2015! Thanks for following along.