the birth of Abner

the birth of Abner

You’re told that the second time around is different – to expect a faster, easier experience. After big sister’s birth – a hard, long journey – there were high hopes for this little guy and his big day. Even though nothing was as easy this time around either (I would even be so bold to say it may have been harder), that marathon of incredibly hard work always always always pays off with the sweetest reward.

Enjoy this incredible mama & dad’s journey to their little Abner – it’s a real good one.

 

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the birth of Josiah

the birth of Josiah

I am incredibly thankful for Malloree because 1) she let me sit in on one of the most beautiful and spirit-filled births I’ve ever experienced, and 2) for trusting me enough to allow me to step into the land of full video coverage for the first time.

I think photos tell stories beautifully – they are something you can make tangible and to be able to freeze moments is nothing short of magic in my book. But video! Every highlight video I have put together has pushed me towards the love of cinematography and how it can recall so specifically details from a day like this. Little Josiah’s birth was the first where I have only been responsible for video and the freedom and creativity I felt was more than I could have asked for as an artist telling stories like these.

Days like this remind me of the dream I’m living. As I was driving home, on one heck of a birth high, listening to Dwell by Tony Anderson and watching the snowflakes hit my windshield, my heart was the fullest it’s been in a while. It’s normally hard for me to find hope and life in the dead middle of a sunless winter but my good Father above, through the help of the Gray’s, sent plenty of warmth into my soul and I’ll rest in that moment for months to come.

Oh, to do what you love and love what you do.

 

2014: a year in review

2014: a year in review

I can say with full confidence that 2014 was one of the sweetest years of my life so far. I could list the simple and complex, the happy and the sad, the grateful and ungrateful moments but we’ll stick to one particular sweet spot: birth.

This year was devoted to simplicity. I felt like my life had too much clutter – clothes, stuff in my home, business, relationships. While overloading myself with good things, I was still overloading. It was a year of purging for me and that, of course, rolled over into my love and life as a birth photographer.

I grow very fond of many mamas I work with and it was a goal of mine to continue offering the same type of devotion to each and every family that came my way in 2014. I want to live intentionally, serve intentionally, which is why cutting back and “simplifying” my workload for the year was a must. It was bittersweet, to have to turn away so many potentially amazing stories but to also have more time to devote to my clients and more importantly, to have more time to live life adventurously with my husband, family, and friends. To sum it up in too few words, it was the most life-giving year in this gig so far and I am so excited to continue this philosophy into 2015. The stories were so sweet and the families even sweeter. There are no words to thank them properly for letting me into their sacred stories, into their lives, and for the friendships that formed.

Tonight I’ll be raising my glass to the fact that in all the darkness, sadness, and unknowns that life brings, there is the gift of joy and new beginnings through the celebration of new babies. Praise God for this dream job and for another year to do it.

And while you hold your loved ones close into the new year, enjoy some of my favorite moments from 2014:

 

the birth of Nikolai

the birth of Nikolai

I’ve always heard that baby boys are more stubborn when it comes to labor & delivery (and let’s be real, lots of moments after that too) – they just want to hang on to mama a little bit longer. What’s funny is so many little guys have proved that to me, including little Nikolai.

The Sulkov house was full of the warmth of a gentle, laboring mama. Through every contraction, every position, ever laugh and cry, Shara was just amazing. The equal balance of laughter and comfort coming from her other half along with her kind and attentive birth team was just the perfect recipe for her little guy’s birth day.

Some concerning heart-rate issues and the fact that Shara’s body was exhausted and not contracting as much as it should led to a transport to the hospital close to their home. By God’s good grace, the nursing staff was so respectful of their family’s birth plan and did everything in their power to encourage that outcome. During the time it took to discuss and prepare for other birth options, Nikolai was born naturally into his mamas arms.