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



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

doula: cathy weinstein

first assistant: michelle snyder




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


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…


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.


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!