the polstons

meet my friends, the polston family!  do they look familiar?!  i photographed them last year when their third child came into the world!

 

the polstons started out as amazing clients, and have since become dear friends that ask me about jason’s job situation and who have my whole family over for pizza dinner!  and let me just say, i LOVE this family!

 

there is such so much laughter and fun in this home!  i came over several weeks ago now, to document a little taste of this season of their life, before their 4th child makes his/her arrival.  and i need to tell you, kelly is my hero for busting out a bikini for this session when she was 39+ weeks!!!  obviously she can totally rock it!  but i just love the confidence she has in her own beauty!

 

it was an honor to spend the afternoon with this family (and then get to eat kelly’s delicious food afterwards!) and capture a bit of their real, fun-filled life in this season before baby #4 arrives!

 

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Posted in before baby, family, Real Life

willa plum, a new soul

chi-lin and i met almost 20 years ago!  she was my youth group leader at church when i was in jr. high  : )  we hadn’t seen each other in years, but we got reconnected 2 years ago through a parenting class we were both in.  chi-lin is one of those people that oozes beauty!  whether she’s mothering her girls, creating with her camera, or running her amazingly fabulous store, there is more beauty in the world because chi-lin is.

 

she allowed me to come photograph her little willa the other day!  (willa plum, isn’t that the cutest name ever?!)  little willa was just 6 days old when i photographed her and she was being treated for jaundice.  that is why she had that blue light on her.   as you can see, willa is dearly wanted and loved!

 

thanks chi-lin for allowing me to come capture a bit of the beauty in your family and home!  you sure make cute babies!

 

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Posted in family, newborn, Real Life Tagged , |

welcome sweet baby jude!

i recently got the amazing gift of attending and photographing the birth of my little sister’s first baby!!!  my sister, angel, lives in colorado so i had plans to arrive there just a couple days before the due date. we all prayed and hoped that the baby boy, jude, wouldn’t come early. angel and i were grateful when, after i arrived, we had a whole week together to chat and watchmovies and just do life alongside each other (something we don’t get to do living states away), before she started feeling any contractions.

 

(warning: this birth story i am about to tell is very intense.  everything turns out ok in the end, but if you are pregnant and need to keep your mind focused on the positive, you might not want to read on)

 

the contractions started at dinnertime, but because they had begun, did not mean we would see the precious baby boy any time soon! i went to bed expecting to be woken up in a few hours for the birth, but the next morning there was still no jude. and the contractions had kept angel up all night! so that day we went on walks, watched a bit of “the notebook,” made cookies, and things were progressing, but very slowly. angel and her husband, dan, had planned a home birth, so that evening they consulted their midwife, who came over and concluded that jude was just not in the correct position yet. she had angel (and dan) do some positioning exercises that would help the baby get in better positioning. we continued to chat and smile between contractions. it got late and i decided to sleep for a bit to give dan and angel some privacy, and when i woke up around 4am, things had gotten a bit more intense.  the next 10 hours were a blur.  we all lost track of time and place. there was more walking, water therapy, hand holding, use of the birthing ball.  at some point angel started transitioning to pushing.  she was so exhausted! at this point, she had been up for 2 nights straight in active labor!  no sleep!  she was so stuck in this land of labor that she started getting extremely discouraged.   her body and her mind were so tired!  i set down the camera so i could just be her sister!  i did all that i could – i gave counter pressure on her back, prayed for her and dan, tried to encourage them, advocated for them, made coffee for the birthing attendants, boiled more water.  but i cannot describe the anxiety that i felt, watching my baby sister struggle and cry and despair.  i am a nurse and i photograph births for a living, but that did not prepare me for this experience.  i felt so helpless and scared, as i saw the hours pass and no baby.  wisely, the midwives pow-wowed in the other room.  i wondered if they were going to suggest a hospital transfer, but instead they put angel on the floor to push.  she was so exhausted that she actually slept between contractions.

 

finally, after a total of 5 hours of pushing, and a LONG and incredibly trying 40 hours of labor, we all met jude paul!  yes, i cried!  and i remember holding my sister’s face and kissing her forehead, crying, telling her, “you are so strong!  i am so proud of you!  i can’t believe you just did that!”

 

i am still so in awe of my sister!!!  she persevered and did something that i don’t know if i could have done!  she is SO STRONG!  and i could not be more proud of her!  and it was such an honor to watch dan love my sister so well through this process!  he hugged and walked, pushed and waited, cried and loved!  he did not slink back in fear or fatigue (though those were both there i am sure) but he was so present with angel, supporting in whatever ways he could. dan and angel, you are an amazing team and i’m inspired by you both!!

 

i thank God that He allowed me to be there to witness, alongside of some amazing midwives, this beautiful yet intense birth and to see my sweet nephew coming into the world!

 

see my favorite photos from the birth below!

 

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Posted in birth

the crandall family

Posted in family, Real Life Tagged |

the sweggles

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Posted in family, Real Life Tagged , , |

backlit baby buns, hand squeezing, & the amazing shape of a contracting tummy

thanks jen for allowing me to share these images!

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Born at home, at 40 weeks and 4 days, after 6 hours of labor, 8 lbs 10 oz, 3rd child

 

Midwife: BJ Snell, Beach Cities Midwifery

First Assistant: Birgitte Damgaard

From Jen’s Perspective

Posted in birth Tagged , , |

mason is born!

“go team kliewer!”

that is what jason (my hubby) and i say out loud to ourselves when there is a big task ahead of us.  it is sort of the way we pump ourselves up to face something a bit overwhelming!  take this past week for instance… when faced with a messy house, lack of sleep, over-tired & over-sugared kids, and 5 hours to pack for a 2 week long family trip to the mid-west for the holidays, all i felt like doing was flopping.  you know… lay on the ground, close my eyes, mumble something only when absolutely necessary, and do everything i can to pretend nothing exists but me and the floor!  but thankfully, i was not alone in that moment!  my hubby with his words, example, and energy pulled me up off the floor.  he prayed for me!  we got a plan that made the task seem somewhat possible, and we moved into action, shouting, “go team kliewer!”  i couldn’t have done it without my other team member, and thankfully i didn’t have to!

when i photographed cheryl and kevin sheik’s first birthing several weeks ago, i was reminded of how beautiful it is to witness an effective and loving team in action!  these 2 blew me away!!!  kevin remained so engaged with cheryl, in spite of all the unknowns of birth!  he was so present and so available and so willing to serve her in whatever ways she needed!  he gave her the space and freedom to birth their baby the way she needed.  and cheryl was so accepting of his help and love and touch!  she was so strong and determined as she labored!  together kevin and cheryl both peacefully and beautifully brought mason into the world!

cheryl and kevin, you two work together so well!  i LOVED being a part of the work, anticipation, joy, and celebration of mason’s birth!!!

go team sheik!!!  i am a big fan!

 

ps- of course, they were supported by the wonderful beach cities midwifery team: all beautiful women who create such a comfortable birth environment!

vickie alston: midwife

mette dempster: doula

brigitte damgaard: birth assistant

 

pps- and thank you so much, cheryl and kevin, for allowing me to share these images!

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Posted in birth Tagged , , , , |

guinevere is born!

baby guinevere was born peacefully at home into her daddy’s loving arms!  being a part that day, when she made her entrance into the world reminded me of the importance of community!  we can’t do birth alone and we definitely cannot do this life alone.  we need our peeps.  in life and in birth, we need people beside us to encourage us when it gets hard, to remind us of why we are doing what we are doing, to believe in us when we don’t believe in ourselves, to cheer us on, and possibly most importantly, just be with us!  we are not meant to do life alone.  and we are not meant to bring to life alone either!

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Posted in birth Tagged , , , , |

dj & andrea

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Posted in just for fun Tagged , , |

the goodman family

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Posted in family, Real Life Tagged |