I am a wedding + portrait photographer, wifey, momma of 2, and coffee enthusiast! 

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Throughout the last 12 years I have photographed couples in love say "I do!" on their wedding day then shortly after I have photographed them become first time parents. I love becoming their lifelong "family photographer".

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Jaelyn!

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I thought I’d do a personal post on my son’s 1st year. It started out as just one blog post and then it became apparent there are three different parts to Henry’s first year that I think people will relate to. The first part will be about my Pregnancy and Delivery. Throughout my 9 months of pregnancy I read A LOT and some of my reading was other people’s stories about their birth stories so I thought I’d share a little bit of mine since those were helpful to me, maybe mine would be helpful to someone else.

PREGNANCY

This little guy gave me a run for my money while I was pregnant with the joys of morning sickness from week 7-15. If you know anything about our family, we don’t eat out and we make literally every meal in house which meant every morning when I woke up, my heighten sense of smell went in over drive and I got sick almost instantly from my hubby’s meat/onion/garlic smelling breakfast. I actually ended up begging him to grill most of his meats outside while I pregnant since I couldn’t stand the smell of it cooking. There were several times I asked my precious hubby to pull over in the car, had to run out of the grocery store once (where a girl was walking in and asked “Are you ok?” which I proceeded to say “Yea, I’m just pregnant.”) and actually got sick as I ran out of the church service and didn’t make it to the restroom in time (yikes! cue the red cheeks and major embarrassment here as I walked out of the restroom to two precious deacons cleaning up my nasty mess – I still apologize for it to this day). I never had any cravings but did feel the need to eat constantly to not get sick. Fortunately that all subsided after accidentally sliding down a couple of stairs on by tush at a family reunion (with a bowl of potato salad in my hand if I may add). 🙂 All in all my pregnancy was normal and kind of easy (if you don’t count the morning sickness and exhaustion). Thankfully the Lord was good to me.

I photographed every wedding in 2016 pregnant and I don’t think I could have made it through all of them without my second’s and assistant’s – Marissa, Madison, Hannah! Thank you ladies for making sure I ate, drank plenty of water and rested periodically.

MATERNITY SESSION

In September 2016, we drove down to Dothan, AL where my best friend, Kensie Layne and her family were stationed where we took the 2 hour drive to Destin, FL to do our stunning, amazing maternity session. Kensie and I have always taken each others pictures and when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to do them at the beach and we were both stoked for the opportunity! We couldn’t have asked for anything better! Thank you Kensie for capturing us so well as we awaited this little guy’s arrival! As we were approaching the beach, Kensie looks back at me in the car and says “ugh it’s so cloudy and gross. This is not going to be good.” I responded with such assurance “Nah, it’s going to be amazing!” Sure enough, we pulled into the parking lot (I ran to the bathroom after a 2+ hour trip 28 weeks pregnant) then walked back to the car under blue skies and sunshine. Who knew?!? As the sun began to set, the most gorgeous sunset appeared and Kensie just kept saying “One more! I want one more shot!”

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THE BIRTH

I was anxiously awaiting this little guy’s arrival and was curious if he’d even wait until his due date (December 9th) and sure enough he didn’t. We went into our last appointment at the midwives and met with our favorite of the 7 who worked in that practice and she informed us that she was on call that night so we needed to have the baby then! Ha! Unfortunately he decided to wait one more day to come so we ended up with one we weren’t super thrilled to have and you’ll find out why.

Little man let me rest throughout the night but woke me up with contractions at 5:55am. I laid in bed for a few minutes thinking, I know I’m suppose to rest as much as possible so I’ll just lie here and not look at the clock and just try to go back to bed. HA! That’s funny! I ended up recognizing they were coming pretty close together so I got up and drew a warm bath and took my Gilmore Girls on the iPad with me as I labored. My hubby woke up about an hour later poked his head in and said, “Do I need to do something? Everything ok in there?” with a smile on his face. He knows me too well and if I’m awake before him, something’s going on. I told him, I’m just in the first stage of labor and I’m good and will let him know when I need something.

Surprisingly Henry decided that a Saturday would be a good day to come and I’m so thankful since Jerry was already off work and he didn’t have to call in.

I waited until 8am to text my doula, Mary Hanks  (if you are pregnant, do yourself a favor and call her to be your doula because she is AH-MAZING at what she does and I will never have a birth without her!) which she replied “what a beautiful way to wake up to!” I’m telling you, she’s a godsend! She asked how things were progressing and then suggested we go for a walk and let Jerry rub my back when there was a contraction. I then called the midwife on call and of course we waited to hear back from her. When we did, I knew it was that one lady I wasn’t thrilled about. She said if you have any contractions while we are talking just stop talking and then we’ll pick back up the conversation. I think I had two during our short conversation which she decided to inform me “well, it doesn’t sound like your in very much labor.” Thanks lady. Yes, I am. No I’m not a normal chick who is going to scream through labor so thanks for your encouragement. She said it sounds like your fine and she’d call back in about 2 hours. It was December so there was a little chill in the air but I was thankful for it since it had been in the 90’s all summer and fall. We walked for probably close to an hour then I started to do lunges in the driveway (which was probably a hilarious site for our neighbors) and around our house since they were getting closer together. I think I then made some blueberry waffles and tried to eat them but the contractions were coming closer together at that point (probably around 3 minutes apart).

I text Mary where we were at that point and she said she had already started heading our way and was just hanging out at the local Target down the street. We spoke on the phone and she said she was going to drop by to see how I was doing. I then jumped back in the tub and tried to labor a little more there – trying to relax my body as much as possible. Mary arrived and she looked at me and said calmly, “I think we should go ahead and start heading to the hospital.” As Jerry was packing up the car, we tried a few different positions and then got in the car. At that point, I looked at Mary and said “what’s the best way to do this??” She said hold on to anything you can and just breathe through the contractions. Just to give you some insight on how far our drive was, it takes about 45 minutes to get to the hospital…. yea. Not a fun trip if you ask me. We got stopped at a red light and Mary jumped out of the car, ran up to my door and handed me two combs which she said “squeeze these in the palm of your hands!” Oh my – that was exactly what I needed to get through the final 10ish minutes to the hospital.

We pulled up to the ER where Jerry left the car (listen to Brian Regan’s stand up on this predicament – it’s so true “If that’s not the biggest oversight in our solar system…”), ran inside where the front desk lady said, “we have to register you and I’ll call the midwife.” At that point, I was bent over the desk with contractions coming probably a minute apart and I said, “I need a room now. I’m not joking.” The receptionist then says, “Don’t worry your midwife says you have plenty of time.” I bet my facial expression at that moment was probably one that said “I will kill you if you don’t get me a room now.” Ha! Mary then looks at the lady and says, “She needs a room now.” Finally we were able to go back and I just about sprinted to our room where the nurses were starting to undress me and I just closed my eyes and bent over the end of the bed laboring. That wonderful midwife shows up and says “would you like me to check you?” “YES” “Well, you are 9 cm.” Yup. I could’ve told you that.

My hubby distinctly remembers everyone moving much quicker at that point and the nurses saying “I need this room switched over now!” After laboring down, doing some squatting on a blowup U-shapped thing, I moved to standing at the end of the bed where my hubby and Mary rubbed my back through each contraction and played worship music as we awaited Henry to arrive on his own time. I knew before hand I didn’t want any pain meds nor did I want to labor laying down. It just seemed counterintuitive to labor that way. To be honest, I didn’t know how I would end up for the final contractions but standing (naked) probably wouldn’t have been the way I would’ve thought I would do it. We actually called the hospital and told them we wanted the room with the birthing tub since we were forgoing all pain meds, IV’s, anything really. We didn’t even have time to get in the tub since we waited so long to arrive and he was so far along. Within 2 hours of walking into the hospital, Henry made his arrival sunny side up. Henry Jedidiah Weiden had finally come and it was one of relief, excitement and joy for us all. To be honest, none of us knew what time he was actually born until we went to the mother and baby room. We spent the next hour spending time with Henry skin-to-skin, I continued to thank Mary for being so amazing and she just kept saying “Wow, that was amazing – you did it!” The nurses said “You’re some kind of super hero.” My hubby stood in awe and listened to everyone in shock on how well everything happened. He had the sweetest look on his face of a combination of awe, proud hubby, proud daddy and excitement that Henry was finally real. If you really want to see your marriage in a whole new light – having a baby will do just that!

He was finally here and looking like a Little Man which we started calling him from the moment we knew he was a boy.  December 3rd, 2016 at 4:14pm, 6lbs 4oz and 20in long

I then told Jerry he could call our parents and they could start making their way to the hospital (which would give us a little time to enjoy being a family of three) but come to find out the dude texted them already and they were there with food – chipotle! The night nurse we had was AMAZING and her name was Mary too (we were surrounded by Mary’s that day)! She gave Henry his first bath about 6ish hours after birth, encouraged us and tried to show me a few things with breastfeeding since it was the weekend and a lactation consultant didn’t work on the weekends… because of budget cuts. A little ridiculous if you ask me. We asked them if we could leave the next day if everything looked fine – neither one of us wanted to stay in the hospital for an additional night if we didn’t have to. They gave us the clear to leave after 24 hours and we were thrilled to be taking out little man home. We actually almost left without filling out any paperwork for Henry’s birth certificate… thanks day nurse for not making sure that was done before we walked out. I just happened to be signing discharge papers and said “So will you guys be sending us a birth certificate?” and she looked at me like I was crazy and responded, “No, you should’ve filled out paperwork.” Jerry and I looked at each other and said , “Nope. Got that paperwork?” So… first time momma’s make sure you fill out paperwork with your child’s information before they discharge you!

Henry was an amazing baby and was pretty chill. Jerry was an attentive hubby, father and caretaker. He would normally do all the cooking and making sure I ate, changed Henry while I got to take my ten minute window to go to the bathroom or take a shower. He was an amazing partner during this entire year. He ended up taking a (sort of) 2 week leave from work but still went in on Friday’s and worked a little from home. I did pump as well as breastfeed throughout the entire year so I had the freedom of allowing others to feed and if we were in a situation where I couldn’t breastfeed, we could do a bottle of breastmilk. We had a little difficulty with breastfeeding (having the right latch and man was that toe curling pain) in the first few days since we never had a lactation consultant so Henry and I took our first trip in the car together to the free classes at the hospital (do it ladies! Take the hospital up on all the free things you can get!) which was extremely helpful and we had it down no problem after that. I continued to breastfeed and pump throughout this year and am still now. It took about 3 months to have it down like you see in the movies and pictures but it was worth all the work and hand coordination in the end. It hurts, it doesn’t feel natural (at first) and it’s a lot more man handling than you think in the beginning. During those first 6 months every time I was feeding, I was researching and surfing the internet on EVERYTHING. I think a lot of mom’s can attest to doing the same exact thing. It’s a good thing Jerry and I wanted to breastfeed Henry from the beginning because of what we found out when he was 3.5 months old. You can read more about that journey in Part 2.

Henry Weiden || 1st Year : Part 1 {Pregnancy and Delivery}

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December 5, 2017

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