My 30th Birthday Photoshoot

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!

It is true, I am THIRTY. Many shudder at the sound of their 30th, but I have been rejoicing. To me, being 30 means you can do whatever you want. See, while you are in your 20s, you are really concerned with how others perceive you, but once you hit 30, you realize "ain't nobody got time for that". So you do what you want. and what did I want to do?

a 30th "cake smash" session. 

My AMAZING friend/blogger/photographer, Molly Perdue, took these photos for me and truly made my dreams come true. You can find out more about Molly here

 

So here it is. A bunch of pictures of myself.

You're Welcome.

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Little Neil

I am partial to moms. It is true. If you are a mom, I already respect you because you are sustaining little lives everyday. I am sure that if I were a surgeon, I would also be partial to surgeons, but in my book moms are the winners. 

Ashley is a mom to 6 month old Neil. She and her husband, Robbie hired me to do a lifestyle/milestone photoshoot. Let me tell you something about Neil... HE IS A HAPPY BABY!

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Something really loving that Ashley kept saying while we walked around the park was "this is about Neil...these pictures are for him". There is another reason I love moms...they are constantly living a life of selflessness. 

Yes, the pictures are about Neil, but they are also about this beautiful family of THREE! 

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Milestone photos for the win! Happy 6 months little Neil!

The Hoyle Family

Ahhh, it is finally starting to feel like spring! 

Last week I had the chance to go spend a few nights away (YES WITHOUT MY KIDS) with my friend Meghan. She recently had surgery and could use the extra hand with her daughter, AND I haven't been away by myself since Shelby was born. Yes, that is 2 years folks. 

My 3 day vaca was packed with toddler activities, doctors visits and movie nights, but I also wanted to grab a few shots of their family while I was there. As you can tell by the photos, you would NEVER know that Meghan just had surgery. She is quite resilient.

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This is Dorothy. She is probably the happiest 19 month old I've ever met. I don't think she wined one time during our trip. She is a doll!

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No Mistakes #lucysbirth

Kaitlin hired me at 37 weeks. This isn't the most common occurrence, but it happens from time to time. Whenever it does, I am OVERJOYED! Doulas want clients to do whatever they need to have support in their labor. If that means deciding last minute that you want support, then do it!

In Kaitlin's case, labor was on and off for a couple days. Yes, the books often have a model for what labor looks like, but our bodies tend to not abide by anything in a book! The drive to the birthing center was about an hour, so once they checked in with the midwives, they made the decision to head next door to the "hotel motel holiday inn".  Things progressed very quickly after that...

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Very shortly after we got there, we decided to head on back.

and as you can see

homegirl COULD NOT get off of the floor

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Thankfully, the (very curious) hotel staff provided us with a rolling chair...

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Kaitlin's husband Randy just could not stop laughing.

This is about the time that Randy said 

"I am so glad you hired a photographer"

:)

Thankfully, we made it back to the birthing center...still on the floor though.

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There is a peace that comes over mom once she arrives at the place she will birth her baby. She knows she is safe. She gains just a little more control of the contractions because she is ready for baby to come.

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This is one proud husband (and dad!)

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Birth can be exhausting! Especially when you are up throughout the night with contractions and cramps. 

Sometimes mom just needs a power nap!

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It is a good thing Randy has this dad thing down!

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Kaitlin, you are STUNNING!

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Thats right ladies and gentlemen! 

10 pounds

TEN POUNDS!

This force of nature of a woman birthed a ten pound baby in a birthing center 

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This birth was really fun! Randy and Kaitlin's attitudes were just so light and comical. 

Like Randy's shirt!

It says "no mistakes, just happy accidents"

Randy felt very passionate about wearing it for the birth of his daughter. Because let's face it, sometimes we have babies when they aren't the "plan", but look at that beautiful happy accident in his arms! 

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Sarah Camille

Want to know what makes this photo so special?

The rug that Sarah Camille is resting on is the same rug used with her mom's newborn photos. I love family heirloom pieces and I love that this newborn photo shoot is FULL of them!

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And then there are these. 

I just can't. 

This photo has so many special connections and brings up so many amazing memories.

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And this family. A family I now consider my good friends.

It is a perk of the job to be able to serve some really amazing folks. 

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I just love this one. The face that mama is making is the most beautiful! It is what mamas do! They make big faces to talk to their babies! It may seem silly, but it is so natural so exaggerate our words so the babies can see us! 

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It is an honor to document these memories and to serve as a doula for this beautiful family!

Sweet Effie

Amber found me through a referral from another client. I am so thankful for human connection and for knowing friends of friends of friends. 

Baby Effie. The most unique name with a story behind it. She was so snuggly and sleepy during the photos. I even caught a baby smile! Scroll below to see all the sweetness!

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BABY SMILESSSS!!!

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Now this is a beautiful photo of real mom life. 

Every mom should be taken care of postpartum. This mom needed a little more monitoring...just to be safe.

We should ALWAYS do everything we can do to make sure mamas are safe!

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Amber wanted to do photos where it felt natural... hanging out on the couch. This is real! This is their everyday life. 

I love being able to capture every day life!

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A Family of Five

This family session was completely precious. Big brother was a big helper and big sister was full of personality! Both of them helped me set up the flowers for the newborn backdrop and at the end of the session, each of them were thrilled to keep a flower for themselves! Yes, I love the babies a lot, but having conversations with 4 and 2 year olds is quite entertaining! 

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I just need to stop and say 

THIS IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!!!

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Mamas. 

They give everything...and get back a fraction of it. This mama is stunningly beautiful. Seriously radiant. How does one look this lively with 2 kids and a newborn? I'll tell you.

It's a superpower called being a mom.

She's got it! 

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Baby Henry

I am always amazed at moms of more than two. I am a mom of two and I have no clue how a mom holds three hands while walking through a parking lot. Does she grow another? Put a kid on a leash? Leave them on the car and go get the cart first? I don't know how they do it!! So, to the moms of 3+ out there, I commend you and lift you up for you super power. 

Henry is the third in this beautiful family. 

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I am amazed at how Sarah handles it. But Just look at her! Completely beautiful!

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Worth the wait...

Laurie & Adam were anticipating this Christmas.

They were anticipating the birth of their 2nd child. Christmas came and went, as did New Years, but there is something about the moon that brings babies into the world. On the night that baby Daphne was born, the moon was as full as could be. She was well worth the wait.

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We all expected Laurie's labor to be quick, so as soon as labor began, I rushed to meet them at the hospital. Things had progressed quickly and baby would be earth side very soon after I arrived. 

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A beautiful moment of serenity in the chaos. A deep breath. This is a moment of gathering strength. 

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Welcome to the world Daphne.

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Laurie's labor was quick. Many women wish for a quick labor, but honestly it has a downside. Quick labors sometimes bring a sense of being out of control... not being able to get grounded. In spite of this, Laurie handled this birth with beauty and grace. She rocked it. 

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Who cut the cord? The woman who brought this baby into being. She fostered life and then was able to control the moment when that tender connection was removed. 

This is empowerment.

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Daddy's also need connection and skin-to-skin is a great way to begin the bonding process.

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My relationship with this couple is a gift. As their doula and birth photographer, I was able to walk through the process of labor and recovery with them, as well as give them the chance to have a few of the memories from labor captured. I am honored to do this work and constantly feel humbled by each woman's birth experience. 

Stevenson Family Photos

This winter photo session was up in the air due to a forecast of freezing temps & snow, but it actually turned out to be the perfect weather! It was the ONLY day of beauty and I am thankful I was able to spend some time with this family. 

Yes, it was a little chilly, but that didn't keep the cousins from running around and playing! There is nothing better than spending time with family, and this one is usually separated by few states, so a family photo session was definitely a good choice to capture the memories. 

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Laurie & Adam & Zella

I am hanging out at my house on the Saturday before Christmas, anticipating. You might think I am anticipating Christmas, which I am, but really I am anticipating BIRTH! Laurie hired me to do some family maternity photos and I am thrilled to also be her doula! But that means, any day now, or any week now, we could meet her sweet baby. With all of that said, I just HAD to share these photos from her family session. This also might be in an effort to send some oxytocin to her brain and get her baby started on the journey out (secret doula tricks), but mostly it is because these photos HAVE to be shared. They are truly beautiful.

 

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Sadie Rose

I am so glad that I was able to do this shoot in Carthage, NC. Firstly, I love heading into "the country" and secondly, this family is so lovely!

I will just let the pictures speak for themselves. 

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Damie's Newborn Session

My daughter was watching me edit these photos and she said "dat baby a princess?"... 

OF COURSE SHE IS. 

Look at how beautiful and perfect she is! 

This session was just delightful. This family is beautiful. I will say it over and over again, but I love getting to know people and being able to hear everyone's stories. Having a new baby is not easy, but there is something freeing about hearing "you aren't alone" and "you will figure it out" and "it gets better". I have been there. Many of you have been there. 

This is why we do it, right? These beautiful little babies. They cause us to sacrifice so much, yet somehow it is worth it. 

So gaze upon this beauty with me.  

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Pfeif Family

Don't be fooled by the good looks of this family.

They are not professional models. They just look this good.

Every moment of this was so fun. Their smiles are genuine. I really enjoyed spending time with this family!

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And now you will see a few photos of the parents. You know, we normally capture moments in the beginning of love, and we get all the babies and kids, but we forget to capture the moments after the refinement of love happens. These photos capture the love that has endured sleepless nights and soccer game and plenty of tough discussions.

Oh and look at this love. 

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Sadie's Arrival

I had this amazing opportunity to attend the Birth Without Fear Conference a few weeks ago. Throughout the conference, I kept hearing stories from moms who had babies in the NICU. So many strong moms in one room. It has made me so much more aware of how different this type of birth is. This birth gave me so much insight as well. Such strong parents, ya'll. 

There are a lot of ups and downs to this post.

See, Autumn & Jace were planning on giving birth in the Eastern part of the state, then at 38 weeks, an ultrasound discovered that their sweet Sadie had a heart condition. They ended up giving birth at Duke so that Sadie could be in the best place for her surgery. 

This is definitely an emotional birth session. But Sadie came out breathing strong and looking perfect! Autumn and Jace were so incredibly strong throughout this process. 

And sweet Sadie came earth side on their grandmother's birthday. So it was perfect timing!

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Aubree was curious :)

hahaha

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This was the view that mom and dad had of their baby girl for the first few minutes. 

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This is not a typical “post delivery” photo. See all those people on the left? They are focusing on Baby. Now look to the right! See who is looking after Mom? One doctor and DAD! This photo gives us just a small glimpse of what NICU parents have to experience. 

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Reunited.

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These were hard moments, but mom and dad have since been able to sit with Sadie while she is monitored. Her surgery went well, but they still have a lot of healing before they can go home with her. 

Lots of love to this family and prayers of healing!

Baby Ella

I love to be able to watch our friends begin the journey of parenthood. Sara & Lou recently welcomed their first baby girl, Ella into the world. My husband and Lou grew up together,  and now we all get to watch our kids grow up together. Looking forward to memories and watching this girl grow up. 

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Ella's room is so lovely. Sara and Lou (well, probably Sara) picked out some meaningful and simple decor to make this a room you just want to hang out in. 

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Everyone loves a pair of BABY VANS

Sara said this is the first thing Lou bought for Ella. So sweet!

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(mid-sneeze)

hehe

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Congrats Lou & Sara. This is one cool family!

Sevara + family

This job gives me the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people. Also beautiful people.

This is one beautiful family. The only trouble I had with their session is that I had TOO MANY wonderful photos. 

I hope you enjoy walking through the park with this crew. They are simply lovely.

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moms + babes

because all the moments between mom + their babes should be captured,

cherished, 

and gazed upon

Jane & Kelly, I am amazed at the way you have entered the life of motherhood with strength and grace. I am so proud of the moms you are everyday. Both of you are rocking the mom life and showing your boys serious love.

I hope you see these pics the way I see them...

(tear bringing moments of beauty)

 

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Capture all the moments people. These babes don't keep!

Mother Nature

Mother

Nature

This photoshoot is a product of them both. 

This is Laura and her hubby JB. We met on a weekend getaway to the lake. I kind of have this habit of inserting myself into the lives of pregnant people (wonder why?), & I convinced Laura to do some photos while we were together. 

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The scenery at this place was phenomenal! Every morning and evening, the light was begging me to take photos. I just couldn't resist capturing some really lovely moments between some soon-to-be parents.  

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Did I mention that I kind of made Laura get into the water? 

A little bit icky? umm, yes. But TOTALLY worth it! Just look at this water goddess!

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Mother + Nature

Creation. It is a beautiful thing.

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