Tag Archives: unmedicated

welcome baby kai!

birth is a journey, a crazy, unpredictable, wild journey!  no one can tell you how long labor will be,  when it will begin, or what the path will look like.  my midwife, bj snell, has told me several times, “if i had a crystal ball and could tell when this baby will come, i would be a rich woman!”  it’s true!  many people would pay big bucks to know this kind of info!!!  for those of us who have had the privilege of carrying our babies to full term, it’s the end that is often the most difficult!  i remember feeling so uncomfortable, not being able to sleep, only have 1 shirt that i felt decent in, and just waiting and wondering and trying to figure out… would today be the day i would meet my baby?  early on when i heard of women who scheduled c-sections without any medical need i felt so righteous and smug for my choice to go natural, but near the end i envied those women who could look at their calendar and know that on monday the 28th, an hour or so after 10:15am, they would be holding their babies!  there is little else in our life that reminds us of how little control we truly do have, than birth!  we are painfully aware of our lack of control and it is not easy to tollerate, to just ride the waves and trust that our bodies will work, our baby will come… perhaps not as early and quickly and easily as we had hoped (or maybe so!), but in the end, there is always a baby… a tiny, slippery miracle that with it’s first breath cries out, “i’m here!”…tears flow and all are in awe and nothing is ever the same!

i met pete and krista when they were pregnant with their baby boy, and looking into hiring me : )  for me, the connection was instantaneous!  and i have just LOVED the opportunity to get to know this beautiful family, through their {before baby} session we did, 21 hours of me hanging out at their place while they birthed their baby boy (see pics below), and then a {with baby} session that i still need to blog : )  plus many texts back and forth about life and photos, surfing and breastfeeding!

they had a homebirth and as you will see, their home is AMAZING!!!!  there is beauty and inspiration in every crannie of their house, but i believe it’s the beauty in their relationship that really makes this place magical.  i hope you get a glimpse of the beautiful connection that pete and krista have cultivated!  for 21 hours i photographed and laughed, drank refreshing water from wide-mouth mason jars and glass bottles, listened to stories of when krista was a little girl, looked at baby pictures, ate yummy fish tacos, witnessed many tender moments (a mother’s tears when telling her daughter how proud she was, krista’s tears during an emotional part of labor, the intensity of seeing his son for the first time, a couple clinging to each other when things were getting difficult), and all the while i sought to capture the beauty and connection that was oozing everywhere i looked.  i have never taken so many pictures!

can i be honest?  sometimes it feels awkward to bring my camera up to snap a shot of someone crying, or another tender moment.  like, what is happening is so real, so intimate… the person is being so vulnerable and trusting, dare i risk marring it with the click of my lens?  yet i tell myself, this is why i am here, to document the truest parts of this journey!  i have been invited here to do this!  heck, i have been paid to do this!  i will not shy way, but will continue to be present and engaged.  and although it can feel strange, it also is why i LOVE my job so much!  i get to be a part of one of life’s most real and raw experiences!!!  when true character arises and pretending isn’t possible any more; where it’s normal and natural to need others, and for some reason help seems a little easier to accept than it usually does.  i feel so incredibly blessed to be able to do what i do!

thank you pete and krista, for the honor of spending kai’s birthday with you (and for allowing me to share his birth story)!  what an amazing team of people you brought around you to love you and support you and walk with you through this birth journey!  you both endured and persevered so well!  and your baby boy, kai edward, is so precious… such a gracious gift from above!

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born at home at 40 weeks & 6 days gestation, after 24.5 hours of labor, 9 pounds 11 ounces, 22 inches long

 

BIRTH TEAM

midwifes: bj snell & vickie alston with beach cities midwifery and women’s heathcare

doula: cathy weinstein

first assistant: michelle snyder

 

 

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welcome, sweet amryn grace!

isn’t that name stunning?!  so unique, yet familiar somehow!  one of my very best friends in the whole world, gave birth to her first baby 8 weeks ago today!  and i had the privilege of being there that night to support and pray and photograph : )

let me tell you some things about my friend cayla.  1) she loves jesus with her whole heart!  2) she is able to maintain a beautiful perspective on all the blessings in her life.  within the last year, cayla and mike got married, bought a house, got pregnant, fixed (or should i say, are still fixing : ) up the house, and had their first baby!  what this couple has done within their first year of marriage is both crazy and amazing!!!  i have been so inspired to see the ways that cayla and mike have loved each other so well in the midst of all the stress that these blessing have provided!

birth of sweet amryn put all of these wonderful attributes of cayla beautifully on display.  amryn was born on a friday, and that monday cayla and mike decided to go ahead with their plan to have new flooring put in their house.  it was risky as cayla was due that week, but since most first babies come late, and since cayla and mike needed that last piece of their house done to feel ready for baby to come, they gave the go ahead for a crew of guys to come and demo their floors and put new ones in.  a process that would take 5 FULL DAYS!!!  well, tuesday rolls around and cayla starts feeling contractions.  mike heads to work and cayla comes over to labor since there was a crew of dudes at her house.  contractions continue coming every 4-6 minutes, and at the end of the day she and mike decide to get a hotel that night, so they don’t have to sleep/labor in a construction zone.

i’ve seen (and i know!) that labor can be physically exhausting!!!  but it’s progress that keeps a laboring woman going!  we are reminded that the hard work we are doing is not in vain, that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that soon we will be holding the tiny baby we’ve been dreaming about!  well, thankfully cayla also had some amazing encouragement and support in mike and beach cities midwifery, because progress was slow to come for my friend!  she was in early labor for 3 days, which for her meant having contractions every 4-6 minutes, without much cervical change.  even after castor oil, labor induction massages, walking around, etc, little progress was made.  we prayed and asked God to keep baby girl safe and bring strong, effective contractions!!!

finally, thursday evening, after laboring for THREE days in a hotel room, walking past staff when she came and went, feeling observed each time; cayla was far enough along to stay at the birth center!!!  i felt so relieved for her and mike, knowing that now they could fully relax and rest.  they were here and would stay until the baby came!

as you can see in these images, mike and cayla have something special!  technically they are still newlyweds, yet there already is such a depth to their love.  these two were tired, physically and emotionally!  yet watching mike be so attentive and engaged and seeing cayla find rest and comfort in mike was so, so beautiful!!!  my words and my images fail to do their beauty justice!

as the sun thought about waking, amyrn grace made her appearance!  my sweet friend reached out and brought her baby girl to her chest!  such an amazing moment!!!  so many hopes and dreams realized as she kissed her baby for that first time!

mike and cayla, you have created something quite beautiful – in your home, in your relationship, and now in your amyrn grace!!!  no doubt, God’s cutest blessing in your lives!!!

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cutie cutie ruby!

and she really IS a cutie!  and you know what else is so cute???  the way that this new daddy looks at his wife, who just birthed their first child.  i can just feel his love and admiration for her!  can’t you?!

i wish i could tell you more about the birth, but alas, i MISSED it!!!  yes, it’s true… another missed birth!  i arrived within 30 minutes of being called, but this little girlie wanted to be in her mamma’s arms pronto, so i got there minutes after she came.  the induction went faster than anyone could have possibly imagined!  even the doctor missed it!

when i did arrive, it was a joyous scene… hands held, hugs given, kisses received, with smiles and laughter filling the room!

thanks david fam, for allowing me to share these images, and for inviting me in to document and be a part of the night you became a family of 3!  i LOVED every moment of it!  congrats to you all!

 

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hospital birth, induced at 39 weeks & 2 days, labored 7 hrs from start of pitocin, 5 lbs 13 oz, 1st child

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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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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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welcome baby rhys!

you pronounce his name “reese.”  isn’t that so cute?!  baby rhys melted my heart when he made his arrival the night of february 9th.  i just couldn’t get enough of his peel-y feet & hands and fuzzy skin rolls!!!  his mama, kelly, had a natural water birth in her beautiful home.

each birth i attend amazes me in different ways. with this one, i was struck by how the laboring mother is so focused and almost in another world, and yet one second after the baby is born, she returns back to her normal self, talking, joking, and laughing. it was crazy to think that when i arrived there were only 7 people in the house, yet when i left there were 8!!!  there is another person in this world!  and i got to see his grand appearance!  and this is my job!!!  i am grateful and blessed to have been there that night and to have had the honor of capturing a bit of the miracle that i witnessed.  see for yourself…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

if you want to see more, you can watch the whole slideshow below…

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welcome baby kailaya!

it’s been several months now, but i had the incredible honor of photographing another birth!  kathy and my relationship was at first just professional, as she was looking for someone to help capture her 3rd and final birthing that would take place at their home; but quickly we grew to be friends.  for those of you who don’t know kathy, this woman LOVES being pregnant!!!  she loves the way she looks, feels, all of it!  and her birthing was simply miraculous!  her baby was 9 lbs 8 1/2 oz and presented forehead first (which, btw is not the smallest part of the head) and this woman’s only anesthetic was the presence of all her family and friends (it was the most well attended birth i have ever been a part of), the sweet touches of her mother and daughter and husband, and water!  kathy, you rock!  and kailaya couldn’t be more beautiful!  to see the whole story of this home birth, see below.

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welcome baby silas!

several weeks ago, i had the privilege of photographing another birth!  i was introduced to deanna through our midwife, bj.  who knew we had so much in common: both biola grads, pregnant, and using the same midwife.  deanna and her husband brock have been married for 3 years.  get this, at the same time she found out she was pregnant, he was finding out that he would be deployed to afghanistan for 15 months.  when they both saw each other that evening, they had a lot to talk about.  wow, i cannot imagine that! obviously, brock was unable to make it to the birth in person, but he was able to be there remotely via skype!  that’s why the black macbook is in a lot of the photos!  it was amazing, actually!  deanna says that most of the time when they talk via skype, the call gets dropped every 5 minutes or so, but during the birth and afterwards (about 4 hours) the call only was lost a handful of times!  what a blessing it was that he could be a part of that special day that ethan silas made his way into the world.  deanna did an AMAZING job!!!  it was so inspiring to me to watch her confidence in her self and her support people (side note: emily, deanna’s neighbor, drove deanna to the birth center along with her first child who was 5 weeks old!  the little one slept through the whole birth!  and emily was such a strong calming presence – both to deanna and the rest of us in the room!  i was so glad that emily could be there to encourage and support deanna!)  below is a tasteful slideshow i put together for deanna and brock that they are allowing me to share with you 🙂

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welcome baby benjamin!

what an incredible experience i has this past tuesday!  on 4.6.10, i was able to witness little benjamin cole goodman make his way into the world!  it was a home birth and was attended by 2009 midwife of the year, bj snell {she’s my midwife too}.  the process was so beautiful and peaceful!  and brooke did such an amazing job!  she was so centered and calm.  although i have seen many births during my nurse’s training, i think this was my first natural birth, and definitely my first home birth!  there seemed to be such comfort and ease in being at home.  even big brother jonathan and big sister kate got to see their little brother’s arrival.  what a moment!  i feel honored to have been given the opportunity to capture some of the beauty of benjamin’s birth day!  congrats, goodmans!

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