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I know I haven’t posted very much in the past few months. I’ve been busy making a baby myself. Now I am beyond excited to share our birth story with you. As a photographer, birth stories have a special place in my heart so it feels different sharing my own story with you. It feels vulnerable, but it feels right since my clients allow me into the most intimate parts of their lives. Our sweet baby is 5 days old as I write this, and I am still in shock as to how different this birth was in comparison to my first. I will allow the pictures to speak for themselves (for the most part. You all know I’m long winded so I’ll do my best to keep it short). Here is the birth story of Josiah Salar Tioaquen…

At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 28th, my water broke. We had just gotten home after our last childbirth class. What great timing! I actually started sobbing when my water broke. I had really hoped that it wouldn’t because I wanted another unmedicated birth. My water broke with my first child and it was a traumatizing, painful experience. When my water broke this time, I started crying and saying, “It’s going to hurt like last time. I didn’t want it to break, etc.” My sweet husband grabbed my face, made me look him in the eye, and encouraged me that I would be ok and that I would do great. My Mom was already on the way to our house, so she came with us.

2015-07-04_0001PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0002PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0003PINIMAGEI had to post my last baby bump pic on Instagram of course…

2015-07-04_0004PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0005PINIMAGEAnd put on makeup. I looked a hot mess after the birth of my first.

2015-07-04_0006PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0007PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0008PINIMAGEI kept apologizing to the staff for the puddle on the floor from my water breaking. Did you know, statistically, that having your water break on it’s own is something less than 15%? I need to start buying lotto tickets since it’s happened to me twice!

2015-07-04_0009PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0010PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0011PINIMAGEMicah was fascinated with watching birth stories throughout my pregnancy. He was so inquisitive about the baby and I wanted him to be there for when his baby brother was born. Little buddy fell asleep on the car ride there but woke up a little bit later. 2015-07-04_0012PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0013PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0014PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0054PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0015PINIMAGEWe prepared for an unmedicated labor and delivery. I wanted to have the least amount of intervention as possible, so I was a bit worried about having to be monitored for 20 minutes out of the hour. I was initially afraid that meant I had to labor on my back in the bed, but it didn’t. My nurse actually ended up holding the fetal monitor the last hour while I was laboring on the birth ball. I remember her arm literally shaking it was so tired. Now THAT is an amazing and supportive nurse! I was also a little worried about who my midwife at delivery would be, since my friend that is a midwife at Northcrest was out of town. Mary Lou ended up being beyond awesome. She held my hand through a few contractions and encouraged me throughout, reminding me that I was capable and strong.2015-07-04_0016PINIMAGEJulie (my dear friend and doula) helped my husband in some Rebozo scarf techniques to relieve the pressure of the contractions. 2015-07-04_0018PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0017PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0019PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0020PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0021PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0023PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0022PINIMAGEWe tried out some advice from Ina May (often described as the mother of authentic midwifery) and would kiss through some contractions. She says what get’s your baby into the world will get him out. 😉 Worked for us anyway…2015-07-04_0025PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0026PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0024PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0027PINIMAGEI know this picture looks like I am in pain, but I wasn’t. I was actually in almost-tears because I was so happy that our baby was on the way. In fact, I didn’t experience any pain during this labor until it was time to push and that only lasted around 20 minutes (I truly believe keeping my anxiety in check and trusting that my body knew what it was doing contributed to  the fact that I did not experience pain. Having my doula and Ben use the scarf and press on my hips also helped tremendously.  I did experience a tightening, but not pain. I don’t share this to brag, but to encourage other women that labor and birth is truly meant to be a beautiful experience. Reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Childbirth Without Fear really made me understand that concept).

2015-07-04_0028PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0029PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0030PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0031PINIMAGELavender essential oil in-between contractions was divine! I literally felt like I was in a spa with all of the essential oils, dim lighting, and music from my playlist. I was so relaxed that I wanted to lay on my ball in-between contractions because I felt like I could just fall asleep. 2015-07-04_0032PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0033PINIMAGEI had an amazing labor playlist. I actually sang quite a bit through some contractions. Singing “You Make Beautiful Things” by Gungor, “Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli, and “Oceans” by Hillsong really got me into the mindset where I needed to be. There were times others even joined in and sang. It was a very spiritual and beautiful experience. My midwife told me I had a beautiful voice at one point where I didn’t realize I had been singing. I was in the zone!

2015-07-04_0039PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0034PINIMAGEOne of my favorite moments during my labor was having my sweet Micah come into the room. He said, “You gotta push mama! Like this : GRRRRRR.” The midwife came running in, thinking I was pushing. There was so much laughter in our room. Micah expressed that he was a bit impatient about the baby not being there yet. Sweet, silly boy. We were only there for 4 hours! 2015-07-04_0036PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0035PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0037PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0038PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0040PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0041PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0042PINIMAGE11:30 p.m., when things started to get intense. My midwife had checked me and to my surprise said I had progressed to a 7. I had a moment of anxiety thinking I would get stuck at a 7. I’m not sure why, other than hearing stories of others who got stuck. I expressed that I was feeling afraid and that I was scared to be stuck at a 7. I started crying. My sweet midwife, friend, and husband rushed to my side and quickly helped me move past that fear with their encouragement. That was an intimate moment for sure. 2015-07-04_0043PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0044PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0045PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0046PINIMAGEMy dear friend and doula/midwife Julie encouraging me. At this point I kept saying “I’m so tired”. She prayed over me and encouraged me through my exhaustion. Ben was in my other ear encouraging and loving me through as well. 2015-07-04_0047PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0048PINIMAGEAnd after only 15 minutes or so of pushing, my sweet Josiah Salar Tioaquen met us face to face for the first time. 2015-07-04_0049PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0050PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0051PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0052PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0053PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0055PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0056PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0057PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0058PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0059PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0060PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0061PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0062PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0063PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0064PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0065PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0066PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0067PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0068PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0069PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0070PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0071PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0073PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0072PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0075PINIMAGE2015-07-04_0074PINIMAGE

The birth story of Josiah was incredibly redemptive after my birth with Micah. I was so full of anxiety with Micah and I didn’t have a supportive labor/delivery team. Although I was able to birth Micah unmedicated,  it was traumatizing. Not so with Josiah. I am so grateful for how Josiah’s labor and birth turned out. It was dreamy and wonderful. It will always be a memory that I cherish.

Names are important. They have meaning, sometimes a story. Both of my boys’ names have a story behind them. Many of you know that our family went through some of the worst times we hope to ever see in 2013 and 2014. We endured things we never thought we would endure. There was so much pain, turmoil and hurt during those times. We honestly didn’t know if our family would make it. The past year or so has thus been a time of healing for our family. Slow and steady healing. We were elated when I became pregnant last October and began dreaming of names for our baby. One day I thought of the name Josiah. Something about it felt right, so we looked up the meaning of the name. When I read that the Hebrew meaning of the name Josiah meant “Jehovah has healed”, I burst into tears. It was perfect. It was our baby’s name. We hadn’t even found out if our baby was a girl or a boy, but at that moment I had a feeling God was up to something amazing and that our baby was a boy.

For his middle name, we named him Salar. At around 4 months pregnant I had a dream. One of those dreams you will never forget and you are 100% convinced it was from the Lord. In the dream, the world was awful. We lived in a dystopian type of world where we all followed what the government said to do and didn’t voice what we thought was right because we had lost the ability to think or believe for ourselves. We blindly trusted those above us. In the dream, Ben and I had a baby and we were basically told that our baby “needed” to be terminated. Long story short, Ben and I barely escaped with our baby (whose name was Salar in the dream). The dream ended with me and Ben as an elderly couple, walking down a busy street in what was the new world. We passed a coffee shop and saw our grown up child, Salar, speaking with some friends. We were so proud and waved as we walked by. We had seen the world change in so many ways, from bad to good, all because of believing our baby had a purpose and raising him to believe so. And guess what? When I woke up I immediately went up to look up the meaning of the word Salar. I mean, I didn’t even know if it was a real word! Sure enough it is a name. And it means Leader, World Changer. WOW! Gives me chills every time.

JOSIAH SALAR TIOAQUEN :: May you always be a reminder that JEHOVAH HAS HELAED. May you always be confident that you are a LEADER. A WORLD CHANGER. May you be the change you want to see in the world. We love you. Always.

 

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I love it when I have a cool summer evening with a gorgeous golden light. This was one of those beautiful evenings and it was even more enjoyable to watch this precious family interact with one another. Even the family dog decided he wanted to be in the photos! That’s what so great about lifestyle photography. You just go with the flow and capture the true essence and spontaneous moments of your clients. Of course this particular family happens to be friends of mine so it was just a fun evening all around. There was laughter and fetch (with the dog of course) and wrestling with father and son. A true summer evening! 2015-05-30_0001PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0004PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0011PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0006PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0003PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0009PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0005PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0007PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0012PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0008PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0014PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0018PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0013PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0010PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0019PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0015PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0017PINIMAGE2015-05-30_0016PINIMAGE

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This sweet girl has the same birthday as me! So, of course I love doing her birthday pictures. It’s amazing to see how much she has changed in one year. I’m 7 months pregnant and I had a time running around trying to capture a few pictures. Sammy is full of energy! She also loves her lalaloopsy dolls and does NOT want you to take her stroller away from her. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful little girl. Happy Birthday Sammy! 2015-05-03_0026PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0027PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0031PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0029PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0028PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0030PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0032PINIMAGE2015-05-03_0033PINIMAGE

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Sometimes when I am about to post a birth story, I feel as though I don’t need to write anything because the photos themselves tell the most incredible story. While I absolutely adore all the sessions that I do, I feel that birth stories have become my absolute favorite. Being able to photograph and witness life coming into the world is the most precious experience I get to have as a photographer.

This mama’s birth story is unique, just like all birth stories are unique. She labored for awhile at home with her husband and doula until she was a 7. I got the call and arrived as they were getting settled into the hospital. Jen had a completely natural labor as she wished and she did amazingly. She was calm, focused and did not make a peep the entire time. Her husband Andy was there by her side, as well as her amazing doula Susie Meeks. Jen was able to labor for awhile in the water, and even smiled for a picture in between contractions. Something that really warmed my heart was how Andy took a moment to stop and pray for Jen when she was in transition. The love in the room was so obvious.

This was my first birth where the parents had chosen to not know the sex until the birth, so there was a lot of excitement in the air when it was time for Jen to push. When the baby was born, Andy exclaimed “It’s a boy!” and began to cry and tell Jen how proud he was of her. So many beautiful moments. Congratulations Jen and Andy! Welcome sweet baby Davis. You are well loved.2015-04-10_0024PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0025PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0026PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0027PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0028PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0029PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0030PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0031PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0032PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0033PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0034PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0035PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0036PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0037PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0038PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0039PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0040PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0041PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0042PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0043PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0044PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0045PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0046PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0047PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0048PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0049PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0050PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0051PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0052PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0053PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0054PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0055PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0056PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0057PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0058PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0059PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0060PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0061PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0062PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0063PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0064PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0065PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0066PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0067PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0068PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0069PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0070PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0071PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0072PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0073PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0074PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0075PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0076PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0077PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0078PINIMAGE

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A few weeks ago my friend Erin emailed me about photographing her baby shower. It would be a virtual baby shower since she and her husband are missionaries in Kenya. They are expecting their first little boy in a few months and will have all kinds of adventures as first time parents in Kenya, where things are quite different. Since Erin wouldn’t be at the shower, the plan was to take pictures of everyone there as they skyped from Kenya. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing? We were having trouble getting ahold of them via Skype and then all of a sudden Erin burst through the doors, completely shocking everyone. She came all the way from Kenya and surprised everyone! There were tears and hugs and laughs all around. After eating some of the delicious food (ummm the blueberry cupcake was relish), we gathered around for her to open the gifts for sweet baby Cooper. The gifts she received were absolutely precious. Someone had made a quilt with all kinds of animals and another had gotten a burp cloth that said “I love my Mommy” and “I love my Daddy” in Swahili. I loved the Kenya themed gifts they received for their little one. The little Lion King outfit is adorable and Erin said that “Hakuna Matata” is a phrase they really do hear quite often. Congratulations Erin! What a wonderful surprise. 2015-04-10_0023PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0016PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0007PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0009PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0008PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0010PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0011PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0012PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0013PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0014PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0002PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0003PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0005PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0004PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0015PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0021PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0006PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0017PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0018PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0020PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0019PINIMAGE2015-04-10_0022PINIMAGE

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