2016: a year in review

2016: a year in review

21 birth day parties: 14 boys and 7 girls. 15 hospital births, 3 out of hospital, and 2 c-sections. 

I cut back in 2016. I wish I could tell you it was this super deliberate business decision but life ran us over a little (a lot) and by the grace of God, A Sacred Project took a bit of a backseat to survival. But you know what? What a gift these days were in hard times. I talk often about the light that birth shines in the darkness and the stories this year were a beaming ray of hope into a heavy and grim 2016. I am thankful for that. So thankful.

Like many of you, I'm shaking off the dust of the past and stepping into 2017 with fresh eyes and open hands. There are many stories on the books already and there are many that I won't know about until later. I'm going to meet new faces and say hello to old friends, step foot into new territory, push myself creatively, and continuing loving and being obsessed with what I get to do for a living.

the birth of Archer & Aceton

the birth of Archer & Aceton

OOH TWINS.

With filming a twin birthing being on my bucket list, there were certainly high expectations that came along with meeting the Johns family. Life is life though and birth is birth so when mama got thrown with some twists and turns - way long labor, c-section, NICU stays, and more - it was quite the emotional roller coaster. 

Change and all though, it was a sweet sweet story to tell. Part one is birth day (magical despite all the unplanned happenings) and part 2 picks up at their home the day after Archer came home to join his family from his NICU stay. Hey Danica, boy mom looks GOOD on you.

the birth of Dresden

the birth of Dresden

This was probably my most anticipated birth of the year and not just because they're one of my favorite families to hang with, but because this kid took his ever loving sweet time. Doctor was concerned, at one point, that little guy would want a birthday party before 37 weeks. I left town, had multiple backups covering just in case, multiple nights where we all thought SURELY this is the real thing. Dresden, you silly boy. Over his due date by 3 days and the waiting was finally finally finally over.

the birth of Maximus

the birth of Maximus

This warrior mama laughed through and gracefully conquered bringing her first born earthside, and a lot quicker than we all imagined!

You guys, you can't put a price on a visit from magical chiropractors during labor. Amen? Amen. 

the birth of Elle

the birth of Elle

It's not often that a baby takes my request for an afternoon, naturally lit birth seriously. But Elle, that girl -- she knows the way to her photog's heart. 

PS: Despite what these photos may look like, this was Brittany's very first natural and out-of-hospital birth. Right? I'm impressed too. Gorgeous and strong and sweet and boss mama.

the birth of Jasper

the birth of Jasper

Oh this day was beyond sweet. After an entire month off call and almost drowning with personal life shenanigans, this slow and steady September birth was the medicine my soul needed. Jasper, thanks for having the most cool and chill and hilarious and kind parents ever. 

the birth of Hayes

the birth of Hayes

I didn't walk with Randal through every step of pregnancy like her man and midwives but from what I understand, it was doozy after doozy. Which, of course, home girl made it to 42 weeks. 42. Luckily there was a cute baby at the end so win win win.

the birth of Griffin

the birth of Griffin

Oh the things I could say about this night/day.

It was love at first meeting (client-photographer edition) with these two. I adored every second of our coffee date so I had high expectations for birth day. Crystal was all sorts of mama powerful as she worked to bring sweet Griffin into the world. Things didn't go 100% as planned but at the end of the day, there was love spilling over and we were all grateful.

the birth of Jameson

the birth of Jameson

It's been the year of incredibly fast babies. 

These first time mamas that are straight up naturals have been the norm and while it makes for a higher speeding ticket chance for me and some sad feels because I walk in right after the action, everyone is happy and healthy and glad the hard part and waiting is over.

the birth of Claire

the birth of Claire

May 27th, y'all.

I spent the night texting two laboring mamas on and off, the stormy morning hours with one lucky family, took a Chipotle and soy chai break on my drive across Dallas, and ended the evening with the Wilkinson clan.

And even though I was exhausted, watching Leia handle birth like a boss gave me all the good feels and energy I needed for a job well done. Plus, the warmth and comfort in that room was tangible -- she was surrounded by the best. And by the best, I mean they bought me Chick-fil-a and we joked about inappropriate things and I just really hope they have more babies.

the birth of Eloise

the birth of Eloise

This day held surprises for so many people. With baby E making her appearance a couple of weeks early and on the same day as a previously scheduled induction, it made for a double header Thursday I'll never forget. 

This birth was made just perfect with morning thunderstorms (my favorite), natural light, a gorgeous family, and absolutely perfect timing. Isn't it great when babies cooperate? I mean, so great

the birth of Gage

the birth of Gage

Peter Pan playing in the other room, little helpers, dinner still on the stove -- life was as usual except for not at all. Gage's birth day was a beautiful kind or normal and a beautiful kind of chaos all at the same time and that's why I love birth.

the birth of Aalani

the birth of Aalani

Birth be cray, like mom having an almost unassisted birth in her bathroom and then having to be transported without her new sweet one.

I was 100% happy with setting my camera down to fill my arms with brand new baby snuggles that night, but obviously that's not a job well done in my book (although pretty close). You know what is though? Coming back to hear tales from the trenches of that nutso night, talking about tattoos and gardening and ducks, watching big sister bring the chickens to meet her new baby, and enjoying a 75° sun soakin'.

the birth of Carson

the birth of Carson

“I think I’m going to head that way soon..” I said after receiving news that my mama friend was progressing. “Nah, I think we’ve got some time. I mean, how likely is it that I’ll go from 4cm to pushing in the next 30 minutes?!” LOL SO LIKELY, turns out.

Even when things take a (fast & furious) turn, I’m thankful to spend the first few moments of new baby life with favorite families like these.

the birth of Bridget

the birth of Bridget

Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, and other 90's jam essentials were musically present as this mama labored and pushed out her third and final little lady.

We danced in an L&D room in Dallas while our homes in Arlington took a major hail hit but no one cared -- there were bebe toes and big sisters and a whole lotta love.

the birth of Preston

the birth of Preston

When one goes into labor, with a schedule c-section a good 3 weeks away, it's an unexpected party for everyone. But you know what? I'll join any birth party no matter when the baby says it's time because birth is the most unexpected and the most fun.

the birth of Maria

the birth of Maria

Celebrated the beginning of my birth season with an OB in Birkenstocks, jokes while pushing, one of my favorite big sisters, and the joy that comes from a rainbow baby after a stormy season of loss. 

the birth of Haven

the birth of Haven

Throwback to this gal's first birth -- 70 something hours, 3+ hours of pushing, and obvious HARD FREAKING WORK. When the Mayer's sent the exciting baby # 2 news my way, I a) did my repeat mama happy dance and b) started praying for an easier second time around. 

Well.

Fast forward several months and labor signs begin. Yay! Praise the Lord! Here we go! Little did we all know that less than 2 hours later, this little lady would be earthside and ready to take on her new world.

Did she wait for her birth photographer? Not in the slightest. But she absolutely made up for it with a sunset herbal bath sesh. Thanks sister! 

the birth of Maverick

the birth of Maverick

The day before Thanksgiving is as good as any to have a baby! After all, ol' Maverick had some incredibly pumped older siblings (and parents, duh) who had been waiting to celebrate the holiday with him. I mean, turkey day in a hospital may not be ideal for some but enjoying the newborn smell & snuggles while the world slows down for a day is, in my book, a very ideal way to be thankful. 

the birth of Liam

the birth of Liam

Without fail, I book a trip to Disney and one of my favorite mamas sends me the "Hey! Baby #2!" message. Though, my plane does leave a week after her due date and positive thoughts and we'll be just fine.

LOL.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - thank the good Lord in heaven for amazing back up. When days went by with no sign of baby, I turned the reigns over to my talented pal Jashley and prepped for a few days at the happiest place on earth. Woke up early on October 8th to finish packing (last minute, duh) and awaiting me on my phone was a text saying - of course - labor had started and things were becoming speedy. Jashley was on her way and knowing the family was in the best of hands, I put my phone on airplane mode and enjoyed the flight to Orlando.

Fast forward 2 hours and baby is here. Jashley didn't even make it in time and dad + midwives almost didn't either. It always amazes me how quickly the body can do miraculous things like push out a baby. 

Even with how chaotic the birth was, Jashley did such a great job telling the story of those quiet hours afterwards and captured beautifully the first moments of this new family of 4.