My Crazy, Beautiful Birthday

Friday, August 23, 2013 – I turn 42 years old. I have the day off work. It is a FRIDAY! And on top of all that, I am invited to my daughter’s ultrasound with her and her boyfriend. In my life of beautiful things to count, it is one of the best birthday presents I could ask for. And I get to see her. There on the screen, all squishy cheeks with her head down and ready for GO time.

But the little booger is just not ready. Sydney has zero signs of labor. And that is OK by me. I want her here safe, and when it is time. It doesn’t have to be on MY birthday (although that would be so cool and totally trump my last gift).

But no. It’s not time. Or is it?

The ultrasound tech seems to think so. The fluid in Sydney’s amniotic sac has dropped significantly. So much so, she thinks the Doctor might go ahead and induce her labor before the baby runs out of juice….TODAY. On my Birthday! SHUT UP!

And that is exactly what they do. Admit her to the hospital, put her in a delivery bed, and give her the medicine to start the contractions.

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I’m in disbelief. There is NO way this is happening…ON MY BIRTHDAY.

Let me tell ya, I am giddy! Ridiculously! So! THIS is the best birthday present EVER!

The night wears on and the clock hand is nearing midnight. I tell my sweet grand girl it is okay if she is born the next day. No matter what, she is still the best birthday ever. And in my heart, I know this little one wants her own special day and that brings me so much joy.

I post a poll on Facebook to predict the time of birth. Hey, if it’s gonna be a long all-niter then at least I can do something to pass the time. So many of my sweet friends choose before midnight. HA. My prediction? 5:30am

Midnight passes and my birthday ends, but the labor does not and the night goes on. Sydney is given less than a 1/2 teaspoon of pitocin. The previous medicine given at Noon the day before is still working and she doesn’t need the pitocin. This is good. This is more natural (even though it is not). If anyone has been induced before (raising my hand) with pitocin. That stuff is a beast. ::shudder::

As we go into the wee hours of the early morning August 24th. The labor is steady, but not too strong. Sydney tries to stay comfortable. My mind drifts, and my eyes start to close.
© Angelia's Photography

Quiet hours go by until, finally, the nurse begins moving the bed and moving extra people out of the room. Baby is ready. Sydney is ready. And it is time to begin the push phase. Brandon and Sydney allow me to stay as the one additional person that can be in the room (shhhhhtup….best day after my birthday present ever). Not only do I get to see my grand child be born into this world, I also have my camera (of course). Having given birth, I know the moment is fast and fuzzy. Emotions are high, moms are tired. I want them to have photographs to cherish. To re-live that moment again and again. Birth Photography is becoming more popular (although it’s expensive). I studied the ins and outs online. What lenses to use….What settings…..Where to stand. I just prayed I would get it right.

5:30AM – It’s GO time for baby. Let the pushing begin.
© Angelia's Photography

I am a little amazed my time prediction is thissss close.

Sydney had an epidural earlier for the pain. She is given oxygen for the health of both of them. It is so hard to push when you are numb, but she does. It takes a lot of strength and resilience. She gives all she has every contraction. Brandon is at her side coaching her all the way through. It is exhausting. Exhausting to watch. Exhausting to wait. My stomach is in knots because it is sooo hard watching your child struggle and strain. A friend did warn me that I would be torn up by this and I am.

The baby’s head is RIGHT there. The only thing holding her back is her Daddy’s ears (HA! Kidding! But really funny when the doctor actually said that).

At 608am, Averey Elizabeth enters our lives with the most beautiful cry. She sounds just like her Mama and looks just like her Daddy. My heart springs from my chest. So amazing. So beautiful.

I am really glad the camera is in my hand and in front of my face. I am pretty sure it is keeping me grounded. I think I would be a blubbering puddle if I didn’t have a “job” to do.

I follow baby while Brandon pushes her crib to her first bath and we join what I call the Grandpa Brigade – Great Grandpawpaw, Grandpaw, and Poppy (Brandon’s Grandpa, Dad, and my husband Jason). It is completely adorable to watch all these big boys – who waited all day and night at the hospital – melt into a puddle over their tiny new baby girl. Did you see that? She already has them wrapped around her bitty finger. Just. Like. That.
© Angelia's Photography
I melt too. My eyes are googly and misty and OHMYGOSH we have a new baby in the family. Then, I realize I should go check on my baby! My little girl who just gave birth. Ooops my bad!.

I go to Sydney and stay with her while they get her clean and move her to the mom and baby room. The new room is exactly like the delivery room except the bed does not have a piece that comes off at the bottom and it is on the other side of the hall. Although it is not different, it is different. There is something in the air on that side. See, this is the place where babies cry and moms listen. They are held, fed, and loved. But most of all, they get to learn about their new parents, grandparents, family, and friends.

One second we are unpacking in the new room, the next second, they bring in a freshly clean bundle of joy. I swear… I forget to breathe.
© Angelia's Photography
She is so incredibly beautiful. I love every inch of her. And what they say is true. It is an incredible kind of love when you hold your grandchild for the first time. One that can not be described in words or pictures.

And THIS. This little package, wrapped all in pink and tied with a hat bow, is why I had the most crazy, beautiful birthday EVER.

Me (Grammy) with a belated birthday present. Little Stinker.
Me (Grammy) with a belated birthday present. Little Stinker.

How could I not?

“A Grandmother’s Prayer”

Oh Lord, I do not ask for much,
Eternal beauty, or youth, or such.
Just give me a little hand to hold,
And I’ll forget that I’m growing old.

I do not ask for cloudless skies,
A life that’s free from tears and sighs.
Just give me a little face to kiss,
And anxious moments will turn to bliss.

For what is there, really, that means so much
As little hands that reach and touch,
As little eyes that search and see
Only the best in fragile me?

So let me grow more loving and wise
By looking at life through their wide eyes.
For through these little ones, you have given
This grateful grandmother a glimpse of Heaven.
Author: Barbara Burrows

Newborn Photography Love

I promised my cousin Tiffany I would come take photographs of her baby after she was born. She lives about three hours away. It wasn’t a question of would I, actually I begged offered to do it. It was a chance to see family, to hold a tiny baby, and to practice another piece of portrait photography.

Photography is like anything else with a wide range of possibilities. It has many styles to choose from. You might be better at one over another. You could be still photographer – great at commercial products. Landscapes could be your thing – nailing that perfect waterfall, field, or mountain. Wildlife might make you roar (heh) – as you stalk the wild and hike the great beyond for your shot. It could be you love weddings – the thrill and romance. Studio portraits could be your art – capturing family, and children, generation after generation. What about maternity photos? A growing life, a glowing mom – the excitement, the joy. Then, newborn photography – the miracle. The wonder. A tiny form never to be that small again.

Every one of these might seem the same….but they are all so very, very different. It’s not just holding a camera. It’s choosing what you see, and choosing what you do with what you see. Finding where your passion lies. Art? People? Places? Things?

I have some idea…..custom photography is basically what I do. It is where a photographer comes to your home or place of choice. It is unique to you and your time. You capture moments in motion. A glimpse of the raw. I don’t think I realized the benefit and importance of custom photography until Aria.

Don’t get me wrong I am not boxing myself in. I am eager to experience all aspects of photography. To try all aspects of photography. Right now, it’s experience that matters the most. Maybe, I am just finding my wings, so I know which direction to fly.

Photographing a newborn? Hard work. They don’t just go into the perfect pose. You have to mold, and hold. They wake up and cry. Then you have to sooth and comfort (the baby and the parents – ha).

I am fascinated by the process. It reminds me of holding newborns in the NICU at Cook Childrens when I was a volunteer. It truly is a guilty pleasure. It truly is a passion.

Photographs within 10 days of birth………..simply amazing.

Introducing the precious Aria Rose four days old……

Congratulations Codye and Tiffany. When I say she is beautiful, I mean it. What joy and promise a new life brings. May you experience every soaring moment with great pleasure and wonder.