I wanted to do something different for this sweet baby and her family since they have chosen me to document all three of their daughters! Isn't she ADORABLE? Wait until you see her eyelashes up close! And, her daddy's shirt? Father, Husband, Protector, HERO! <3
When most people in the birth industry hear the term "induction", they often cringe. Inductions have come to be equated with long, unproductive early labor sometimes resulting in days-long augmented processes and nearly 50% csection rates. But we all know that birth is unpredictable and you never really know what will happen. Such is the case with this birth story!
After a few elevated blood pressure readings, the decision was made by her care providers to induce labor - and when the options were laid out, this couple chose to go with Cytotec as the first method of induction. They would move forward with pitocin after that and then hopefully not need other interventions. This was a much different plan than the low-intervention, completely natural path that they had planned to walk. But they moved forward positively and with great hope that their baby would be born and their labor would progress as naturally as possible. I was kept informed throughout the evening and the text messages kept coming every 3-4 hours saying "Still at 3cm. Going to rest for a while. We'll let you know when things pick up." It was getting to the wee hours of the morning, so I headed to sleep hoping to be woken up in the morning with a progress update.
The next update was a phone call, not a text. I heard, "She's complete!" and I hopped out of bed, threw on some clothes and FLEW to the hospital as quickly as I could. I think when I looked back at my time stamps, my first image was taken 23 minutes after that phone call!!!
When I walked into the room, there was a flurry of activity, multiple nurses, and I heard "Push Push Push PUSH!" I quickly unzipped my bag, threw on the flash, set my camera to what I thought was right for the lighting and turned on the video to get at least one pushing sequence. It turned out that my settings were not correct and I fiddled for a second before I heard "You can reach down and touch him if you want". I searched for a spot to get a good vantage point (at this point there were more bodies than I could count) and all of a sudden there was a baby on her chest! It happened so incredibly fast - not one person in the room was expecting a first time mom who had never pushed before to go from 3cm to crowning in less than an hour and a half and then push her baby out in mere minutes.
But the room was full of joy and everyone was healthy and happy and little Roux was adored by all. I went back the next day to get a full account of the birth story from his parents and I strongly recommend clicking on the video to watch their account and see more precious images of this sweet family! My heart was so full being able to be there to capture their birth story and I'm sure that this is one for the books!
Watch the birth story as told by his parents:
In over 7 years as a birth photographer, I have been privileged to capture over 75 births and many of the families I've worked with have also hired a doula to help them manage labor, delivery & postpartum. If you had asked me 10 years ago what a doula is, I would have had virtually no idea. But through this work, I have come to know some of the strongest, most compassionate, knowledgeable women in the Hampton Roads area. Here is my take on what a doula does:
They watch a laboring woman carefully. They have seen labor. They have seen the dance, the sway, the instinctive movements of a laboring mom. They have heard the sighs, the groans, the grunts. They have seen the power and the grit. They know what to watch for and what it means, oftentimes before the laboring woman, her partner or even her care provider! They focus all of their energy on watching a laboring mom and giving care in ways each individual woman needs.
They guide women through the labyrinth of labor. Birth is unpredictable and ever-changing. One of the things I love the most about capturing birth stories is that each journey is unique and powerful. And doulas help parents navigate the uncertain waters. They provide a shoulder to lean on, a helpful presence, answers to questions, and a calming nature essential to protect the birth space.
Doulas walk alongside their clients.
Doulas walk along side their clients in times of struggle...they walk in times of triumph...they walk in times of heartache...they walk in times of joy. They are called to walk no matter the journey.
Doulas do not replace partners. They support partners.
I have seen the most loving and incredible couples work through labor as a team, totally in sync. Doulas do not disrupt that relationship. Instead, they work alongside it, helping partners to anticipate a laboring mother's needs, suggesting alternative coping techniques when needed and strengthening the support system that is already present. Alternatively, when a spouse is deployed, a doula can be a vital part of a birth plan and help to stand in when needed for family and spouses who are not able to be at the birth.
Doulas comfort in times of struggle
Doulas are a great source of comfort in those moments when a laboring mom doubts herself or doubts the process. They draw on their wealth of knowledge about birth and their experience guiding women through. They use soothing words, a healing touch, an encouraging look. When plans go awry or the unexpected happens, a doula is there to comfort.
Doulas hold legs, hips, and more
When needed, doulas physically assist laboring moms in a variety of ways. They spend hours hunched over applying counter pressure, they walk up and down the same hall week after week, they hold a hand, apply a cool cloth, or fetch ice chips for the thousandth time. They hold a leg and encourage as a mom pushes for much longer than anyone thought was possible. Doulas stay awake all night but never look tired, never letting on that they are exhausted. They seem superhuman at times and always put their clients needs above their own.
Doulas assist with that precious, (sometimes awkward) first breastfeeding
A first time mom often needs just a little help with that first latch. And doulas are perfect for assisting! Nurses often help, too, but a doula can help not only at the hospital but also in the first few days or weeks at home!
Doulas celebrate with you
They stood beside you and walked with you on that great adventure called labor....and when you finally get to meet the new baby you worked so hard for, there is no one who celebrates with you as much as your doula! I've seen the tears in their eyes and the giant grins on their faces time after time after time. They feel the joy as if it were their own because each client is forever a part of their history.
Happy World Doula Week to all of you!!
If you are interested in seeing more images, please visit my Birth Photography page!
New Artistry Sessions for 2017
Ch-ch-ch-changes!!! It's the way of life and as everyone knows, things change all the time. The goal is to keep growing, keep moving and never stop! As you know, we took a short break from our Artistry sessions after our beloved Tina moved her family to NC. But never fear! We have regrouped, added Elizabeth to our team, and have re-imagined the Artistry Series for 2017!
The goal of our Artistry Series is to create unique and special themed sessions each month that Capture the Magic of Childhood. And we have some truly incredible things planned for the next 6 months! We will have images and dates to share very soon - but here is just a peek into what we have planned:
April: Glitter Dazzle - Surrounded by glitter, these gorgeous portraits will truly capture the joy and sparkle of your little one. Simple, beautiful and glitzy, we will use our studio lights and actual shining, sparkly glitter to get the best smiles and most dazzling images!
Also in April: Special Super Hero Event - Back by popular demand, we will don our Superhero Gear and save the day! (Capes and masks provided!)
May: Carousel Wonder - A true spring beauty, the carousel horse is so stylish! Your little one can sit atop a beautifully painted carousel horse in her finest attire, surrounded by ribbons and bows. A top hat would be the perfect accessory for the dapper young man who attends as well! Springtime never looked so fine!
June: At the Carnival - Join us at an actual carnival for a bright, colorful, entertaining time! Using the incredible games and rides as our backdrop, we'll eat cotton candy and show just how fun it is to be a kid during the summer!
July: Beach Bliss - Sandy toes and salty kisses make for the best portraits! We'll have a beautiful tent set up on the beach to capture your little ones with seashells and big waves - just what you want to remember from your children's summer adventures!
August: Unicorn Magic - If your child believes in magic, this might just be their most favorite experience EVER! We've found a farm with an actual unicorns! Okay, so these mini-horses will LOOK like unicorns to your little ones, so that counts, right? A truly magical time will be had by all!
Our new sessions come at a new price, too. $99 reserves your spot. Once you see all of the pictures, you can choose to order more digital images, printed pictures (for framing or gifts), or even a small album to commemorate these beautiful, magical portraits! Digital images start at just $50.
Now's your chance to join a successful photography business! We are HIRING for 2017!
Are you a motivated, creative person who is looking for a new challenge? Kimberlin Gray Photography is looking for a special few people to join our team!
*must be available weekdays between the hours of 9am-2pm
*compensation is $10/hour, hours vary depending on how many sessions we have per week
*responsibilities include: helping to set up before newborn sessions, helping to soothe babies during sessions, creatively put together colors and fabrics, organize and put away props after sessions, etc.
*must have a flexible schedule and be able to assist with only a few days' notice
*must be able to easily get up and down off the floor
*other children (babies/toddlers) not permitted in the studio during client sessions
*should love babies and not be squeamish about baby pee/poo
*must not be planning to open a business or do newborn sessions on your own
*must be a fun, creative person who enjoys working with others
*must have proficiency in shooting (manual mode on DSLR) and editing (PS or LR)
*must communicate well and uphold the customer experience of Kimberlin Gray Photography
*must be willing to meet bi-weekly at the KGP studio in Virginia Beach
*should want to bring something new/unique to the KGP team
*would be responsible for shooting/editing and receive commission on client sales
*all types of photographers will be considered (think we should add something to our offerings that you specialize in? Try me!)