As JeAnn and I planned her maternity session, she knew they wanted the mountains and the river together in their photos. After finding the perfect spot, we decided on doing their session early first thing in the morning, however, we changed plans last minute to evening since it would be easier for them to get ready and drive over as they had a bit of a drive to the location. As the day went on, it began pouring rain and I was worried that we may have to cancel, but we decided to go ahead with the session as we were already on our way and just hope for the best! Little did we know that we would have the most incredible backdrop for our photos…..a full double rainbow and a brilliant sky of bright pink. That was amazing enough in itself, but when JeAnn told me that the baby they are expecting is a rainbow baby, I knew that this session was incredibly special indeed. A blessing of hope and joy after the storm they have experienced, a spectacular rainbow placed there for them, to help welcome their precious little rainbow girl. albuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographeralbuquerque maternity photographerAlbuquerque Birth and Maternity Photographer | All images copyright Lori Martinez Photography | www.facebook.com/lorimartinezphotography

 

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Sharing my very own birth story today, of my 3rd child Shiloh! Thank you so much Breanna with Blooming Images for documenting this special day for us! This was my first time having one of my births photographed and I can say from personal experience, it is so important for a mother to have images to look back on in clarity at her birth! So here it goes…

I have heard it said that 3rd babies can be wild card births. Just when you think you know what to expect and have it down from doing this thing twice already, baby number 3 comes along and completely confuses your pre thought out notions for birth, and this was definitely the case for me with Shiloh’s birth.

Prodromal labor…I had heard of it, and figured it was basically just a lot of braxton hicks. But when steady, consistent contractions started the night of Sat, May 13th, I was 100% convinced real labor had started. I had consistent, strong, painful contractions steadily 3-5 min apart that started at 1-2am. As I timed them, I knew labor had started and planned to give it a few hours before heading to the hospital around 5am. Throughout the night I nervously packed my bags and got ready. But then at 5am, just when I was about to head out the door, they began to slow down. 7min apart. 10 min apart. Weaker. Confusion set in as they stopped altogether. I went back to bed and figured it would pick up as the day progressed.

Well I was wrong. Not a single contraction that day. Or the next day. Or the next. I was officially confused. Every time I had ever had contractions like that, it had ended in baby being born a few hours later. I had no clue what my body was doing! I am a birth photographer. I have had 2 births at home in a tub! Surely I know the birth process by now!! As the days went on I had contractions here and there and thought they could be real each time but they never turned into anything and only added to my confusion.

By Wednesday the 17th, I began to notice more contractions throughout the day. They were feeling the same as that first night so I tried to ignore them and figured once again they were false labor. By around 4 pm I had noticed a pattern to them. 3-4 min apart and a minute long. I couldn’t ignore them, as they were strong and building in intensity, but I didn’t know if I should trust them either, being that I had been so wrong before. I told Jesse and my doula and birth photographer that I was having contractions, but to not worry about it yet as they would probably just go away. My mom came and picked up the kids just so we could be ready to leave if needed, but by around 8, contractions were still the same so they came home and Jesse put them to bed. I spent the next couple of hours on the fence going back and forth about what the heck to do. The contractions felt so strong and really painful. I could compare them to what it felt like maybe an hour or two before transition from my other two births. I needed to focus and breath for each one. But I couldn’t shake the confusion of not knowing if these were going to stay legitimate and keep progressing. Then I worried, what if I was ignoring them wrongfully and I ended up having this baby on my living floor or in the car because I waited too long!? I felt like a complete newbie! I emailed my doctor, the best doctor on the planet, Dr. Leeman and let him know.

Finally by about 10:15 Jesse decided we needed to get off the fence and go in. I think he was getting scared that he was going to have to deliver his daughter, since my previous births were pretty quick, and that wasn’t something he necessarily wanted to do! Having had both of my two kids at home, going to the hospital was a new experience for me! Exciting, scary, nerve wracking, but somewhat of an adventure as well! Dr. Leeman called right as I arrived to triage around 10:30pm and asked how I was doing and he let his colleague know I was there are to update him asap on how things were going. After getting into triage and getting checked the doctor informed me that I was at 2 CENTIMETERS. TWO. TWO measly centimeters after the entire day of labor!! I felt devastated. I wanted to cry, I could not believe that my body had deceived me again and I felt so so stupid for even going in! I knew how strong these contractions were feeling, they were intense to me, and I felt like a complete and total wimp. Why were they so strong but I was not progressing?? I worried and I knew that I couldn’t make it to the end if they were so strong already and I was only at a 2. Dr. Leeman then arrived at triage, I’m sure figuring he needed to hurry judging from the sounds I was making on the phone! He checked and said I was more like 3. Probably just to help me not feel so bad haha! He said by looking at the pattern of my contractions that he felt great about going ahead and admitting me and he said he had no plans of leaving as he had an intuition things would pick up quickly at any time.

The triage doctor did an ultrasound to check baby’s position. Head down. But face up. Face up!?!?! Now this was the nail in the coffin for me. Sunny side up!? Was this why it hurt so so bad but nothing was happening!? As a birth photographer I have seen women deliver sunny side up babies….it isn’t glamorous. It is way more painful and extreme. This solidified for me that there was no way I was ever going to be able to do this. In my mind, all my birth plans went out the window. If I did somehow make it through this It was going to be with an epidural. I told my birth photographer and doula to go back to bed, we would be here for forever.

We got settled in our room and contractions really picked up. I tried moving around, but couldn’t find a position that actually helped with the pain. With my other kids, certain positions brought relief, but not this time. No matter what I did it was just plain bad. At 12:45am, as I stood there leaning against Jesse, moaning and groaning, I heard a loud thud on the monitor and it felt like baby gave me a good punch! Immediately I felt warm water flowing down my legs. Great, now I peed my pants. This couldn’t get any more embarrassing anyway so who cares at this point. As I tried to make my way to the bathroom to clean up, more and more kept coming and it hit me, hey I think my water broke! And I simultaneously felt relief that maybe something was finally happening and sheer dread bc I knew the pain was going to get worse. And sure enough with the next few contractions things got really real. I told Jesse to call my birth photog and doula to come as I knew things were picking up. I asked to try nitrous oxide as I was starting to have trouble coping. It was amazing those first few contractions with it…super dizzy, spinning head, eyes rolling around, and I even felt like giggling! But the best thing it did was help me to remember to breathe because you have to hold the mask to your face and breathe deeply in and out. It didn’t take away any pain but it at least helped muffle my yelling if nothing else!

The nitrous stopped helping and I started to feel my screaming turning into the kind that was letting me know that I needed to push soon. I was surprised at how loud i was being! I reminded myself being loud is ok too, I told myself I wasn’t failing bc i was loud. Loud is beautiful too! I begged for someone to check me because I knew baby was coming soon…they did around 1:30am and I was only at 6!! No way this could be right I thought, I was about to start pushing! Things got totally out of control at that point and I was basically writhing around in bed like a crazy person screaming in pain. I asked for the epidural, there was no way I could do it, I was only at 6. They ordered it for me but said it would take a little while as the anesthesiologist was occupied. I yelled at Jesse, get Dr. Leeman in here!! And a few minutes later he came in like a boss, not even wearing scrubs, and leaning in towards my face and said, “Lori! you can do this!” I felt a lot of comfort knowing he was there. He checked me again and said, I was at 8 around 1:40am. I kept yelling, where is my epidural!! I looked around the room at all these random medical staff and started asking each one if they were “the epidural guy”. But none of them were and Dr. Leeman said there was no point in getting it, I was about to have my baby! A couple contractions later and I couldn’t help but push. He said I had a little bit of cervix left. But within a few more contractions I was at 10 and ready to go!

Although the pushing stage was so painful, it was almost a relief to be able to channel the pain out somewhere. It became more purposeful and i knew it was going to be over soon if I could just push a few more times. I was burning up and started yelling for someone to fan me and put my hair up, so Jesse grabbed a pillow and started fanning me which felt amazing, and a nurse attempted to put my hair up, but that didn’t work so well with the writhing lol. The pressure was immense and I kept yelling that I was pooping everywhere, but Dr. Leeman said it was just the baby. He had me feel her head with my hand and I could feel that she had lots of hair! I could hear everyone around me saying I was doing great. Then the terrible fiery burn of crowning, a big scream, and Dr. Leeman announced that her head was out! Then a few plops and she was born!! She went straight to my chest and was so sticky and covered with vernix!! She cried right away! I looked up to find Jesse crying and I couldn’t believe I did it and she was here!! 7lbs, 7oz, 20 inches long, born at 1:50 pm. We kept her cord attached until after the placenta was born, about 5 min later.

My beautiful Shiloh Evangeline!! After such a long early labor, only a few hours of active labor, no tearing, and I think she may have turned to head down at the last minute coming out, but I still am not sure about that! I like to believe she was sunny side up the whole time because that would explain my crazy out of control screaming! haha!! I can’t thank my birth team enough for your patient support…Dr. Leeman, Jesse, MJ, Breanna, and nurses and staff, love you all!!

Brandy and Donovan were an incredible team during the birth of their first daughter! I was so amazed at how closely they worked together to deliver Everly, and Brandy never gave up despite intense pain from the pitocin contractions. She fought for the birth she wanted and did an absolutely incredible job! Here is Everly’s birth story told by her mama:

 “Deciding to try for a baby was a bit of a spontaneous decision. My husband and I had been torn between traveling and finishing school or starting a family. For several months I had been having irregular cycles and sore breasts and finally decided to discuss it with my doctor. After some tests, she found that a hormonal imbalance was the cause and it had potential to make natural conception difficult. This encouraged our decision simply because we didn’t know how long it would take to become pregnant and we wanted time to try, just in case. Well, less than a month later, before medicinal intervention was effective, I had a positive pregnancy test (or should I say, tests). My husband was on a wildland fire deployment and I had to keep it to myself for 2 weeks until he came home so I could tell him intimately. Our journey as a couple has been the greatest time of my life and little did I know that growing Ms. Everly Axton Jacks would make it greater.

During my pregnancy, I started working part-time as a clinical nursing instructor. I was working two jobs and going to school for my Master’s degree in Nursing. I maintained my yoga practice and gym sessions. I was incredibly lucky I did not get sick, my hair grew, my skin cleared up, and I felt more confident with my growing body than I had my entire life. I loved being pregnant and I loved my belly. More so, I loved my little hamburger growing inside, moving, hiccuping, and making me proud. I think my husband kept waiting for the pregnant girl experience portrayed in movies where I had cravings he had to get, socks he had to put on for me, or yelling fits he had to endure, but I did my best to keep all of that to minimum. He was my partner and my gift in life.

The morning I started labor, I got up to use the restroom at 0345 and noticed what seemed like amniotic fluid leaking and maybe some mucus plug along with it. I went back to sleep unimpressed and not convinced it was time. I had a feeling labor was imminent because signs pointed to labor any day, but with it being my first pregnancy, I was sure I would go past my due date. I woke up to teach clinicals and the fluid continued leaking slowly. I woke up my husband and told him to keep his phone nearby and put the hospital stuff in his car just in case we had a baby later that day. He calmly agreed and I left. I warned my students I may start labor, but otherwise clinicals would go as planned. I had an OB appointment at 1500 that day so I figured I would inquire then whether I was in labor. I was half sure that I was making it up in my head and being dramatic. I had the weeniest contractions throughout the day. They worsened mildly at my appointment, but still nothing impressive. It was determined then that I was in labor and needed to go to triage. We gathered our things from the car and checked in. I had gone from 3cm at the appointment to 5 cm at admission. The midwife immediately encouraged Pitocin since my membranes had been ruptured all day. It was not in my birth plan, but if it keeps baby safe, who cares about a birth plan? My contractions were bearable. In fact, I was doing homework during the beginning stages, dancing, and laughing. I really thought for a second I might be the girl that sneezes her baby out. Then, the Pitocin started to kick in. I started moaning through the contractions, I tried the bath and it helped, but I got too hot. I begged to be checked because I felt progressed and it had been a couple hours. When they finally caved and checked my dilation, it was only 5-6cm. I lost it. I cried and gave up in that moment. It set the mood for the rest of the delivery.  I felt defeated and incapable. The pain continued to worsen and become longer and more frequent. My moans turned in to yells and my poor husband was put in every compromised position you can think of trying to accommodate me through each contraction. He watched the monitor and when he saw one creeping up, he would put his arms around me, hold me, and encourage me through the entire scream session. I think I only yelled at him once, though. I repeated “I can’t do this” during every contraction for 2 hours and the saint of a man stayed patient and encouraging the entire time. I begged for the Pitocin to be turned off because I was convinced it wasn’t working. I asked for a c-section with general anesthesia. The doctor checked me at that point and said I was 8 cm and popped my bag again because for some reason, it re-sealed. She assured me the Pitocin was causing no distress to me or baby, my breaks between contractions were adequate and I was progressing appropriately. I felt outside of my body. I was catatonic between contractions. I would just lay there and wonder how I could continue. I felt like I needed to push. The nurse warned me against it because prematurely pushing would swell my cervix and I knew I couldn’t withstand that, so I held in the urges each contraction. After 45 minutes, the doctor checked my again and said the words I thought I had been waiting for until I heard them, “okay Brandy, It’s time to push. You’re ready.” I wasn’t ready. I didn’t feel like it anymore. I was tired and defeated. I got set up and started pushing. It actually felt good to give in the urge finally. 12 minutes later, they plopped a 7lb 15oz baby girl on my chest. She was healthy. Daddy was enamored. I was in shock. I just stared at her and everyone around me for several minutes trying to absorb what just happened. I was shaking, but my monster self was gone and I was my polite self again. It took me some time to realize she was mine. The experience is so surreal. My husband deserves half the credit for that delivery because I couldn’t have created a better support system from scratch. He woke up sore the next day from all he sacrificed the day before. The experience was phenomenal. I was empowered, he was impressed, and we were in love. Now, we set forth on a naïve experience raising Ms. Everly Axton Jacks, our perfect baby girl.”

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Albuquerque Birth Photographer | All images copyright Lori Martinez Photography | View more at www.facebook.com/lorimartinezphotography or www.instagram.com/albuquerque_birth_photographer

Melissa and Tony are sharing the birth story of their second child, baby Hazel on the blog today! I was completely amazed at how awesomley these two worked as a team bringing their baby girl earthside, and through an intense labor, Melissa was set on her goal and had such a beautiful birth. Here is her birth story in her own words:

“I feel like my daughter’s birth story begins before conception. After a really hard postpartum period with my first baby, I was not sure whether or not we would have another child. Around the time that my son was 18 months, I began to think that maybe I wanted to try again and that I might later regret not having another one. My husband took a few more months and a little more convincing.

I knew that I wanted this time to be different. We talked for months about me quitting my job, which was becoming increasingly stressful and putting a strain on our family, taking too much time away from our son, and impeding me in finishing my Master’s degree. In December 2015, I left my job and the 120 mile round trip commute and threw myself into school and being a mom. I also began to take better care of myself going to boot camp classes and yoga a few times a week and beginning to run. Once we had settled into a new normal, I could finally imagine getting pregnant again. And we did after just a couple months of trying.

Throughout my second pregnancy, I would think about ways to be kinder to myself than I had been the first time. I had a particularly difficult time with breastfeeding, so I would imagine it working perfectly and believe I could do it. Then I would imagine it going as poorly as it did the first time, or worse, and plan for that possibility and promise myself that I would try longer than I had before but after trying for the length of time I set as my goal, I was allowed to quit if I needed to and that exclusively pumping was still an option.

As I hit my third trimester, I just had a feeling that I would deliver this one a little early. After all, people say the second tends to come earlier, and things kept coming up in my appointments that required a little extra attention. They would turn out to be non-issues, but the worry and the extra testing put the idea in my mind. Then in the last weeks, my blood pressure kept creeping higher, and finally I developed preeclampsia. My primary provider had been discussing an induction at 39 weeks for hypertension alone, but once preeclampsia was diagnosed and a perinatologist weighed in, it was determined when I was 36 weeks and 6 days that I should be induced the next morning. Once you hit 37 weeks gestation, it is often considered safer to deliver the baby than wait and see any longer. It was a difficult night and I had trouble sleeping. I woke up early and ate a big breakfast, I packed and repacked my bag, and I crawled into bed with my three-year-old son and held him tight. I thought he was going to have two more weeks of being our only child. It didn’t feel fair to him.

The timing, though too early for comfort, worked out because a few friends were ready and willing to watch my son. My mother wasn’t due to come in until twelve days later! My friend, Jill, entertained my boy with her three-year-old daughter until after our baby was born and texted us pictures. It was such a weight off my shoulders to know he was happy and safe. We met Jill at the hospital. She took our son and Tony and I went up to triage where they were first planning on monitoring me, and maybe even sending me home! That was a surprise, and a possibility I was uncomfortable with after our long visit with the perinatologist the day before, but the midwife on-call came and said that after reviewing my history she felt this was a clear induction and off we went to the labor room. Things started very slowly. The midwife inserted a small Misoprostol pill to work on ripening my cervix. At 37 weeks, I was 60% effaced but not dilated at all. The pill was left to do its work for four hours at the end of which she would either insert a balloon to physically work on dilating the cervix along with starting a low dose of Pitocin, or I would get another Misoprostol. I was expecting a long process, but after one dose the midwife was able to place the balloon and start the Pitocin.

In these early stages, my doula offered suggestions of different movements and pressure points to naturally augment the medicines. I had a birth plan that requested unrestricted movement, wireless and intermittent monitoring, and laboring in the tub. But here I was attached to a monitor, warned against walking around too much due to my blood pressure, and likely cut off from the tub. I was so tired after the many nights of broken sleep with a head cold, including only four hours split into three blocks the night before, and after the stress of the last couple of days. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep. Of course, it’s impossible to sleep in the hospital and anytime I got close someone would talk to me. I felt pressure to stick to my birth plan inasmuch as I was allowed, but I simply didn’t want to move. It was an hour or two into the Pitocin when I felt obvious contractions and decided to move to the birth ball. This part of labor was pretty peaceful and contractions were very bearable. I breathed through them serenely and talked in between. Right before the midwife’s shift was to end she checked me again and I was 5cm dilated. I believe this was about 6pm. At this time we swept my membranes and unintentionally broke my water earlier than planned. My pain increased substantially after that.

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Another hour or so passed with much more intense contractions before the new OB on call came in to check me. At this point, lying flat on my back through contractions for the check was awful. I was disappointed to still be 5cm. I tried a couple different positions but decided I wanted back on the ball and I wanted my husband close. In the next hour, I went from 5cm to crowning on that ball. It is a blur, but there were tears and lots of deep moans. The nurse really wanted me to move more and try different positions and also it seems to make less noise. With my first labor, these other positions were beneficial in helping the baby move down the birth canal, but I didn’t need them here. I could feel the baby descending quickly. I could feel my body pushing her without any input from me. I was happy where I was and felt safest with Tony close. And, to be honest, I roared louder and longer than I needed to pain-wise in order to drown out the continuous instructions on what to do and how to move. Throughout all, my doula kept helping apply counter pressure to my lower back, massaging pressure points, and I can’t even tell you what else.

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I felt the unmistakable burning of crowning and told the nurse. Everyone got me back on the bed so the doctor could check me. That was incredibly miserable! Then the nurse’s device for calling the doctor didn’t work and she asked me to stop pushing and I think ran out into the hall. Well, I wasn’t purposefully pushing as it was, so I wasn’t really sure how to stop! The doctor rushed in and there was a scramble to put on gloves. My husband got to help the OB deliver the baby. Finally, they told me to give one long, slow controlled push and I felt my baby slide out of my body. My eyes were closed and my doula was brushing my hair from my face and massaging my forehead. Hazel was put on my stomach. She was born at 8:22pm. I went from 5cm to a baby in about an hour. I was still shocked that I already had a baby, three full weeks before she was due to be here. After my husband cut the cord, I brought her up to my chest. She immediately tried to nurse and we got her latched, but not before she left a couple misplaced bruises in her enthusiasm. After what felt like a very intense, very fast induction, the next couple of days in the hospital were very peaceful and much easier than it had been with my first born. After staying the night, Tony brought our son in the next morning to meet his baby sister. Then Hazel and I had another day to ourselves before we were discharged.”

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Thank you so much Melissa and Tony for sharing the arrival of your baby girl with us and the beautiful story of her birth!

Albuquerque Birth Photographer | All images copyright Lori Martinez Photography | View more at www.facebook.com/lorimartinezphotography and www.instagram.com/albuquerque_birth_photographer

Tony and Melissa are welcoming their second little one soon, and Melissa knew she wanted snow for her maternity images! So we went up to Sandia Crest to find snow…and we REALLY found snow! As soon as we turned on the Crest road a blizzard began to fall and there was tons of snow on the ground! We didn’t have to go far to find the perfect spot. The snow stopped falling and we were able to enjoy the perfect shoot! Little Isaac loved the snow and was having a blast gathering it in his mittens and throwing it! The family enjoyed hot coco together and even stayed for some sledding fun after the shoot. I loved the way these came out and I can’t wait to meet baby girl Hazel coming soon!

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Albuquerque Maternity Photographer | All Images Copyright Lori Martinez Photography | View more at www.facebook.com/lorimartinezphotography or www.instagram.com/albuquerque_birth_photographer.

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