Why Hire a Midwife? | National Midwifery Week 2019

“Midwife? Are those still around?? Why wouldn’t I just go to a doctor?” I heard this statement from a friend a few years back and remembered wondering similar things when I was getting ready to choose care for my 2nd child. You see, I had a long, intervention-filled first labor & delivery and I was looking for a different provider who would listen to my birth story and offer me a different path when I was pregnant again. A friend recommended a midwife and I honestly thought, A Midwife? But I want good medical care! She explained to me that not only were midwives TRAINED in women’s health, they actually often had MORE expertise in labor and vaginal delivery than some obstetricians. That got me thinking and researching for myself. Through my readings, I found out that midwifery care leads to lower intervention rates and more patient satisfaction.

In fact, research shows that women who give birth with a midwife are:

  • Less likely to have a c-section

  • At lower risk for assisted delivery (forceps, vacuum)

  • Unlikely to have an episiotomy

  • More likely to breastfeed successfully

  • More satisfied with their care

I found a practice here in Hampton Roads that employed both midwives and obstetricians and I was seen by midwives throughout my pregnancy, but had access to the OB’s if I developed any medical condition or was in need of a second opinion as I progressed. I was fortunate to have a low-risk pregnancy and was able to deliver all 9lb 10oz of my son under the care of the midwives! It still is one of my greatest accomplishments and I am certain that the support and encouragement of the midwives led to my feeling positive leading up to my birth and satisfied with my birth experience and care. My son is now 10 years old and I have gone on to photograph these same midwives care for countless women since my own birth. I’ve also witnessed many of our area’s home birth midwives in action and the research on midwifery care has been shown to be true over and over again.

Some midwives work out-of-hospitals and deliver babies at home. Others work inside birth centers or hospitals. But no matter the location, simply having midwifery care has been shown to have long lasting positive effects on women. That’s why we are celebrating midwives during National Midwifery Week! Here are a few quotes from local midwives alongside some images I have taken of midwives in my area listening, counseling, attending births, and celebrating alongside the women they serve! If you know a midwife, reach out this week and thank her for all she does!

The word midwife means “with woman”. From early days to today, midwives have helped women throughout their life in various stages. Midwives are women’s number one supporters. They are teachers, cheerleaders, and nurtures all wrapped in one. If you want women to succeed, use midwives.
— Lorena Seitz, Woman Care Centers
I chose the midwifery field of practice because I wanted to provide the families of Hampton Roads with a level of care that they deserve as women and babies. I want to support women in safe out of hospital birth with a skilled provider.
— Jennifer Green, Seven Cities Midwifery
I love being with women and families during the most special times of their lives and being able to help guide and protect the birthing process to make it as comfortable, gentle, and peaceful as possible.
— Cindi Wylie, Three Rivers Midwifery
Evidence-based Midwifery Care is safer than today’s standard obstetric care. Women are literally saving their lives by choosing that care.
— Tammi McKinley, Hampton Roads Midwifery

5 Surprising Items You Should Include In Your Hospital Bag for Your Birth in Hampton Roads

What should I pack in my hospital bag? I remember asking this very thing when I was getting into the last months of my first pregnancy. What is NEEDED and what is just nice to have? If I pack everything I think I might need, am I going to have too much? The answer was yes, by the way - I packed way too much. Honestly, I found that I really didn’t need as much as most of the packing lists said I needed. Anything that I needed AFTER the baby was born, I could send my husband or my mother to get for me. So the important items were just getting through labor and the immediate moments after that I needed to pack for.

Whether you’re planning to give birth at DePaul Medical Center, Sentara Princess Anne, Norfolk General, Sentara Leigh, Portsmouth Naval Hospital or any of the other area hospitals, this might help you pack that bag!

Here are 5 things that I think are essential to pack in your hospital bag:

  1. Your own Pillow (and maybe blanket too!) - Choose a dark color or pattern for the pillowcase so that you know which one is yours. Plus it just looks cool in the photos! :)

  2. Your favorite Lipbalm - Hospitals can be dry places and sometimes you are there longer than you think you might be. During the pushing phase of labor, ice chips sometimes aren’t enough to soften your lips.

  3. Honey Sticks/Snacks - In many hospitals, laboring moms aren’t allowed to eat or drink. But things like popsicles are given freely. Bringing honey sticks can be a good way to get a boost of energy through natural sugar! Also, don’t forget to pack snacks for your support people!

  4. Slippers or socks - Hospital floors are cold (and DIRTY!). Let’s not talk about all the fluids and germs that end up on the floor of a hospital room. Blech! You will want to be comfortable and warm, so be sure to pack something for your toes. They can be cute or just a throw-away pair!

  5. Your camera (of course!) or your Birth Photographer! - Don’t forget to capture these precious memories. They are literally once-in-a-lifetime moments that cannot be redone! If you are interested in learning more about hiring a birth photographer, please click here or email me at info@kimberlingrayphotography.com and I’m happy to chat with you!

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 1.12.11 PM.png

Our crowdsourced FB post got lots of suggestions

Thanks for everyone who chimed in!

Best Photo Locations in Hampton Roads

Do you have any recommendations on WHERE to take our photos?

YES - of course we do! After 10 years of photographing families and expecting mothers, we have our favorite spots. These aren’t the only places to take pictures, but they are some of our favorites. If you have another suggestion, please let us know!

Below are some of our favorite spots in Virginia Beach and Norfolk for family pictures and maternity portraits:

East Beach, Norfolk

Our studio is located in this neighborhood and we just love the beaches here. If you’re looking for tall beach grass, lots of sand, and silhouettes, this is the best spot for you! The rocky jettys make for a beautiful water backdrop, too, and because it’s the Chesapeake Bay and not the oceanfront, there are rarely big waves and you’re a bit more protected from the wind.

89th Street, Virginia Beach

This location has both a wooded pathway AND huge open skies at the waterfront, so it affords two different, distinctive “looks” in one session. This is the spot if you love more of the ocean look and big skies in your portraits - there’s a bit more wind at this location because it’s the oceanfront. Silhouettes cannot be guaranteed at this location since the sun sets over the land and not the water here during some seasons. But, this one is great to frolic in the water, especially if you like more candid poses and get lots of the ocean look.

Pleasure House Point

This spot is one of our favorites for those who don’t necessarily want the beach, but want a beautiful outdoor location. It generally tends to look more fall-ish with all the trees and pine straw, but the floor is sandy and there is beautiful area of beach grasses and a lake front! This is more of a private location, with very few people other than some dog walkers and runners! A favorite for families with young children who might not feel the beach is right!


64th Street entrance to First Landing State Park

This spot has some amazing wooded pathways, spanish moss covered trees and a little beachy area, too! It has more of a foresty look in the paths, but also has a light, bright beach with white sand. Definitely gives you options for different types of photos. Most nights we can get silhouettes on the beach side of this location.

The Neon District, Downtown Norfolk

For a more modern and colorful look, the Neon District is the perfect spot. There are so many colorful murals painted on the sides of the buildings - something for everyone! This location is perfect for fun, active families or stylish, contemporary maternity portraits.


Pagoda Gardens, Norfolk

This downtown location has many little areas that are perfect for photos. Year round, this garden has a bridge, rope fence, a stone wall, circular openings, and many trees (sometimes flowers).


The KGP Studio

Our studio is always available for maternity sessions and we can schedule these at any time of day. There’s a variety of backdrops and poses and we can be creative and have fun! These sessions are best for couples only or couples with one child. They are not ideal for toddlers who need lots of room to roam or are super active.


Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about choosing the perfect location for you!

Studio Holiday Minisessions

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

~Minisession Time~

Choose your favorite backdrop (or two…or three!) for some fabulous holiday photos of the kids! We have three sets: Hot Cocoa Stand, Cozy Christmas Window & Joyful Gatherings

1 Set with 5 digital images:

2 Sets with 8-10 digital images:

All 3 sets with 15 digital images:

Limited Availability!


Option 1: Hot Cocoa Stand

Suggested Wardrobe: Holiday colors (red, green, black, buffalo plaid


Option 2: Cozy Christmas Window

Suggested Wardrobe: Holiday PJ’s, traditional nightgowns or dresses



Option 3: Joyful Gatherings

Suggested Wardrobe: Gold, White, Cream
*add pop of color (red, green or blue) if desired


Nautical Cake Smashes | Virginia Beach & Norfolk Cake Smash Photography

One of our most popular themes for first birthday cake smashes is "nautical".  Sometimes, it's more beachy, sometimes more in the theme of the Navy, sometimes anchors and ship wheels!  Our goal is to create something unique and different for each baby that comes into our studio - we talk a lot in our pre-session consultation about style to be sure that the theme matches the color scheme desired.  But putting all the elements together is so much fun! It takes a lot of time and planning, but the results are always worth it!  

Here's just a sample of some of the Nautical themed cake smashes we've created over the past few years!!

Nautical Cake Smash Virginia Beach
Red White and Blue Cake Smash 4th of July
Nautical Sailboat Cake Smash
Submarine Cake Smash
Beach Sailboat Waves First Birthday Cake Smash