This blog post is going to be LONG, with lots of photos! It includes my natural birth story, monthly bump photos collage, maternity and birth and newborn photos thanks to dear photographer friends, and just overall a LOT of cute photographs :):)
(For those who have visited my blog before, you might notice an update to the look of the blog! YAYY, I love it so much more!!) <3
To start off with…I’m so thankful for my family, friends & clients’ support throughout my pregnancy & maternity leave (my first wedding back was just over a week ago, though I still took some small family sessions & engagement sessions in those first few weeks after the birth too). To my brides’ whose weddings I photographed at 7 & 8 months pregnant, where guests joked that I might have the baby right there because I looked so pregnant, and wouldn’t believe me when I said I still had over a month or two to go! Another big hug & THANK YOU to you, my most recent JTPbrides <3 The body’s ability to stretch so much & carry a baby, and also to still be able to be running around working so hard for 8+ hours straight, is truly amazing!!
This blog post is going to be full of so very many photos from the last 11 weeks since Baby Tree Two was born, of course :):)
If you wanted to read my birth story & see weekly pregnancy photos from my first pregnancy with Baby Tree, that would be here. Of course this time round….well, weekly photos didn’t happen. #Secondbabyproblems. Having a business PLUS a toddler makes things for just a bit busier! Plus hubby got tired of taking the weekly ones last time, so monthly it was, plus I started late at halfway through, oh well! Here’s the photos all in one collage…
The birth story…so if you want to read just the basic facts, scroll down past this longer section of paragraphs :) Otherwise…be prepared to read a lot, involving various repetitions of the word ‘painful’ ;)
Baby Tree Two’s Birth Story (accompanying pics further down below)
Her due date was Feb 3rd. That due date morning I had one of my appointments, and being quite over being pregnant this time around (chasing a toddler at 9 months…no joke!), I had the midwife do what’s called a ‘membrane sweep’. Thankfully it wasn’t as painful as I’d read, at least for me. I’d been having Braxton Hicks all week (never had those with my first), and after the appointment they became stronger and kinda turned into contractions. After the appointment, David (hubby) went into work (45 mins away), ready to leave at any point. I was actually able to nap in the afternoon – so thankful for that later – for almost two hours while Baby Tree One napped. By 4ish I was definitely having contractions, about maybe 10 minutes apart. Hubby left work, we let some family & friends know that labor had probably started. We finished packing the labor bag and headed to hubby’s parents, to have help with Baby Tree One while I labored (she’s quite an energy handful nowadays!) & it was closer to the birth center. I believe we got there around 7:30. I ate a bit, and did some walking around the neighborhood with David. By 9 they were starting to get more painful, and at 9:30 I had three in a row and wanted to head right now to the birth center. Almost forgot to call the midwife before we left! She said to wait until 10pm and then head out.
During the 15 minute drive I had three contractions that were pretty painful to just sit through, and were definitely more painful than our last hospital-labor ride with Baby Tree One (which when we arrived I was 5cm dilated, so I thought for sure this time I’d be at least at 6 cm already). Well upon settling in, the midwife checked, and I was only 3 cm. I couldn’t believe it, these contractions were so much more painful already!! She was on the edge of sending me home, and I was so very disappointed and on the edge of tears, how could they be this painful already at only 3cm?? She said she’d give us an hour, so Connie (my amazing doula, who arrived at the birth center at the same time as us), David & I walked around outside for most of that time, trying to breathe through contractions & with Connie forcing me to drink water, but I was really struggling with those even. We headed back & I went to the bathroom, and talked for a bit, and then the midwife checked me -I was 6 cm! It’d been about an hour and a half since her first check. I started laboring on the bed on my hands & knees, with David & Connie taking turns applying pressure to my hips (seriously the best thing for some relief during contractions!!), I so wish we’d started this earlier as they only had to do like 5 of these before my water suddenly broke. I was like ‘somethings coming!! The baby is coming, and I’m not even pushing!!!’ but it was my water breaking. After that I climbed off the bed to get into the water tub they’d been preparing, but I suddenly threw up before even reaching it (also never happened during my first labor). Thankfully my body gave me a small break from the contractions while throwing up and for a minute after.
I then climbed into the tub, at first sitting on the little seat but quickly moving to my knees with my head resting on the side. At this point I was feeling like pushing, the contractions were so painful & with being in the tub I couldn’t get the hip squeezes. The midwife said it was fine to push and I asked her to check that I was at 10, which she did & I was. At first, it was so painful I was barely wanting to push even, and the contractions were coming so quickly all together. Even between the contractions it hurt, and I started saying ‘wheres my break, why am I not getting a break, last time I got breaks between contractions, where’s my break??!” between load moans (David’s favorite part of the story to retell). I was not able to do any of the breathing like last time (which Connie helped me so much with, pushing for 10 seconds three times during each contraction, really being able to focus my energy into the pushing). I finally committed to the pushing, though it hurt a bit more, it gave me something to do and I just wanted to get this baby out as fast as possible!! I felt like I could barely handle the pain, compared to my first birth, which the part that hurt the most was the tearing by far. I only did a few pushes (not even sure how many as they felt kinda continuous) and did a final big push were I could tell she was coming out….and moaned even louder as her head did, over what felt like 10 seconds. When I could feel like it was over I said “Is she out??” and the midwife said “her head is out” which I apparently replied with “well, pull her out!!!!!” Last time one of the nurses had gotten on my stomach to help push baby the rest of the way out, as I was recovering from the tearing that happened when her head came out. This time I tore a bit as well, but not as badly. Well I had to do another final big push by myself (that felt like it lasted at least 10-15 seconds, of intense pain) before she fully came out. They helped me to flip over to sitting on the little seat again and were like “pick up your baby” and kinda handed her to me (this parts a big vague, I was really recovering from the pain). And I got to hold her, just like that! I was really just so relieved most of the pain was over, and recovering from those painful last two pushes.
Most of the pain turned out to be because she was born ‘sunny side up’ which means she was facing the wrong way – still head down, but facing my spine instead of front, which pushes her head then against my back & caused the more painful ‘back labor,’ and meant she was born with bruising on her face from the pressing against the spine. Her poor face was so purple, and her lips so swollen!! And that’s why the contractions hurt so much even at 3cm. I got to hold her like that for around 20-30 minutes during the rest of the birth, before David cut the cord, and I got out of the tub. David then got to hold her :) Soon after we did our first breastfeeding, which she did well for. I got stitched up, and also found out that your post-labor contractions (to help your uterus get back to its shape) are quite a bit more painful the second time around, for the first 24 hours at least. Like, first-labor ones are just twinges compared to the second time – lol. Family & friends started heading home (it was like 2am), and by the time we checked out it was about 4:30am. Just like that (compared to the 48-hour hospital stay!) we got to take our Baby Tree Two home!! :):)
A few timeline facts, and the SHORTER VERSION…
I had an apt in the morning of my due date Feb 3rd & and something done to help hopefully jumpstart labor, and it worked! By 4:30 I was having light contractions every 10 mins or so. David came home & we headed to his parents, walked around there for a while, then headed to the birth center at 10pm. The midwife checked me at 10:30 pm & I was only 3cm dilated, which was majorly disappointing to me with how strong I felt the contractions were.
From when the midwife first checked me at 3cm around 10:30pm, to when she was born at 12:50am, it was just over 2 hours!! Painful labor, but at least fast towards the end….
From when she checked me & I was at 6cm at 12:18am, to when she was born, was just over half an hour…!!!
No, I wasn’t necessarily planning on having or wanting a water birth labor…but that’s how it ended up happening & I don’t mind, she came within 10 mins of me going in there, and I was not moving anywhere else at that point with the contractions! lol
People said I was a champ…but I did not feel like it compared to my first labor! I was much more ready to take drugs (when I found out I was only 3cm & the contractions were already that painful), had it not been a birth center. I was like… if I was a champ pushing this time, then last time I would have been world-dominating champion!! Between pushing contractions I was almost talking normally to the people & nurses around me, even able to smile at a joke….nowhere near that this time!
She was born facing the wrong way (my spine instead of front) which caused major back labor and a painful birth, and bruises on her lil face (that’s why she looks so red in that photo…haha).
We were only at the birth center til around 4:30am, then headed home with our precious baby girl :):) Grandparents had Baby Tree One, and brought her over the following afternoon to meet her lil sister :)
Baby Tree Two was born at 12:50AM on Feb 4th, 7.14 lbs, and 20.5 in.
So some other photos relating to my pregnancy, birth & Baby Tree Two’s first few weeks, are below…
Starting off with my maternity photos by my friend Diana Lupu, she did an incredible job!! Floral crowns provided by Ever After Helen & I adored them! No blog post to link to from Diana (yet? unsure if she’s going to put one up…she has two cute littles of her own!) but here are some of my faves from all that she sent me :)
Now for the birth photos thanks to Beca Companioni…my faves below, and her blog post here. :)
Gettin’ personal here…this was right when I was pushing her out, pretty sure!! LOL
Proud Dada holding her for the first time :):) Love this man!
When Baby Tree met Baby Tree Two for the first time! Oh my heart <3
And by the way, she is still doing so well with baby sister & not showing any jealousy, nothing but love & kisses <3 <3 #blessed!!
Now, for her newborn photos, thanks to our dear friends from Churchill’s Photography, I chose just a few faves below, and here’s their blog post. Florals again thanks to Ever After Florals by Helen! I took the flowers & created a cute mobile from them, seen below :)
AHH love!!!! :):)
Baby Tree One wanted in on the photo action… :)
Now, photos that I/hubby/mom took…5 days old here….
Yes, she’s quite purple due to the bruising she got from the birth.
From the first two weeks..
A few weeks old here….
A month old here…my two baby girls, both SMILING!! <3
2 months old here…Easter weekend!
Adore this one…
For those who don’t believe me when I say Baby Tree Two’s toes are as long as Baby Tree One’s…well, here’s your proof! She got Daddy’s toes, this one! :)
A week later, hanging out in big sisters crib..
So ironic how it looks like she’s enjoyingpunching her big sister, while wearing that onesie!
10 weeks old, wearing the same outfit as her sister at that age!
AND, taken just last night…that full-out smile of hers!! So cute :):)
So, if you actually took the time to read ALL of that & look at ALL of the photos, you’re amazing!! Haha ;) Thank you! #toomanyphotos #photographermomproblems
We are so very very blessed with two adorable little baby girls, whom we love to the moon & back! Thankful that the Lord has blessed us so. And I’m so humbled to be able to simultaneously do two of the things I love the very most: be a stay-at-home-mom & photograph weddings!! Again, thank you to my family, friends & clients & JTPbrides for your love and support! :):)
<3 <3 <3 <3