Cordelia was born one day after my birthday! Photographing this sweet, sweet families beautiful waterbirth was just what I needed this week!
Cordelia was born one day after my birthday! Photographing this sweet, sweet families beautiful waterbirth was just what I needed this week!
Wow, my web-stats have gone through the roof today! I thought I would post some of my favorites for my new viewers to see.
I have been told so many times that it is obvious that I love what I do, that my heart shows in my work and that I capture the emotion that no one else can. I don’t know how I manage to do that, but I do love my job and I am so extremely grateful for all of my wonderful clients who have been so supportive of me and for all of the midwives and doulas who send referrals my way. I love and appreciate you all more than you will ever know.
Ella Grace was born at home this morning after an active labor of only 1 hour and 27 minutes! Whew!
having skin to skin contact with Daddy…
I have been to over 40 out of hospital births, but I think this is the 1st time I have seen the midwife help stamp the footprints! Something else that I loved from today was that everyone who attended the birth signed the measuring tape that was used during the newborn exam. I think that is such a neat momento!
Mom and dad giving their 1st baby, Sophie, some attention while Ella meets her grandmother…
Joel, Lucy and baby Kacen! Congratulations!
I wanted to share more than just the winning picture, so I thought I would include my favorite photos from the 2nd and 3rd place winners and some of the cute little notes I received when votes were being placed too. Many of my favorites from Kacens birth can be found in the May archives in the post titled “Kacen” and my favorites from all of the other entries are on my old blog.
I also want to say thanks to everyone who participated, it was really fun. I think I will definitely do something like this again! For those of you who wrote saying you would LOVE for me to photograph your birth ~ except for the *tiny* issue of you living in Australia, New York and various other locations ~ I have decided that if you can get me there I am totally on board!
Well, without further ado…
Tanya and Daniel came in 2nd and were very inspiring with their VBA4C story…
“Wonderfully touching photography work. Great job. I simply have to vote for the photo of Daniel Bartholomew. It’s a great photo and an even more wonderful story. Very touching to the point of tears, to hold your first natural birth child after 5 taken surgically. Keep up the good work.” ~Randy
“My vote is for Tanya with her VBA4C photo!” ~Sheila D: Planning a HBA2C with #3
“First of all… THANK YOU for sharing your blog this way! I just had my 4th baby and had to have a c-section and I think you’ve maybe swayed me towards having one more! (In hopes of my home birth!) My pick is Tanya, Mom to Daniel’s photo – but I truly do love them ALL!”
“My vote: Tanya, mom to Daniel. What a precious story about God’s miracles & a wonderful little boy!” ~Anna
“I vote for Tanya and Daniel…VBA4C. What an inspiration. I understand her elation after all of that. I have had one VBAC and I can’t tell you how good that was.” ~Marissa
And Manda and Ainslee came in 3rd! Yay!
“I am excited to vote for Manda, mom to Ainslee for her photo relaxing in the birth pool! This photo captures a wonderful part of the birth process.” ~Judith
“Manda, mom to Ainslee, but if I get to choose a 2nd place I would choose Jolee mom to Finn. You do fantastic work and your clients are blessed to have you!”
“I love all of those pictures and hearing why each parent thought those were the best. The one that made me giggle though was Manda so that is my vote! Her picture reminded me of my own home birth complete with toilet story and all.”
A few more of the little notes I received when votes were being placed…
“Payton is THE MOST GORGEOUS KID EVER!”
“I am voting for myself!!! Jolee and Finn!!!! (I LOVE Barrett’s though… Love, love, love it!! Also Avery’s and Daniel’s.) I don’t expect to win, but I can honestly say that I am happy for whomever wins. Awesome mamas, daddys and babies!!” ~Jolee
“My vote is for the best Doula in the world: Lesley Spradlin and the birth of Austin!” ~Melissa H.
“All of your photos are absolutely stunning. My vote is for Lucy and Kacen. You captured the moment that every woman wants to remember forever.” ~Kimberly
“Jessica and Raegan Fuester. I love them!” ~Phillip F.
“Eli Johnson is the most precious child. He deserves to win.”
“I place my vote with Jessica and baby Raegan! Jessica saying “..Gods handmade gift..” about her baby girl brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderfully perfect description of a child.” ~Pat
“I vote for Bonnie and Payton…I think this shot was ingenious…it has mom, baby, and dad without one face in the shot!”
“I would like to vote for Jolee. Her baby boy is named Finn. She is a wonderful mom and a beautiful one also.” ~Georgann
“I vote for Leslie, mom of Austin. What a powerful moment!”
“I don’t know any of these people, so it was easy for me to vote. I went with the one that made me most emotional: Gina, mom to Phoenix!” ~Donna
“I know it’s not required to write something but I have to let you know that I think your pictures are beautiful. Angelica is a good friend of mine and I was not there for the birth of Lark but I was there after Jade was born and I just have to say that I know how much this birth meant to Angelica. So I hope she wins! Thank you for all you do!” ~Ashley
“My vote is for Gina, she is right that picture says a million words!” ~Jessica
“I would like to vote for the picture of Kathleen May, holding Caroline May’s baby boy. I have known this family my entire life, and the way you have captured the love that everyone felt on that day is amazing, and more special than words can describe.” ~Sarah
“My vote is for Jolee, Mom to Finn. The photo captures complete joy of the parents upon the arrival of their most precious gift from God, a new baby!”
“Hi Lynsey! I’m casting my vote for your photo contaest of Angelica & Lark. I remember getting the link to her photos after her birth last year, and they were amazing! So much so, that it was what got me thinking about a home birth for my next baby. Now here I am actually getting one of my own, and getting very excited!!!” ~Erin
“I must vote for Jolee (and myself of course) if I’m allowed to. Just seeing that photo brings back memories of the surprise of Finn, our boys being there and being fascinated in wonder, and the amazing sense of family and love shared by all of us in the room.” ~Andy
“The picture of Bonnie and Payton with the directions on her belly is absolutely the coolest! I am sure that Payton was not checking his GPS!”
“I must put in my vote for the photo of Lucy, Joel & Kacen Eades. It’s an amazing photo, and I love the way it shows the love and connection between the parents as well as a perfect, clear shot of little baby Kacen.” ~Bec
“Oh man…it’s hard to choose!! There are soo many beautiful photos/stories….I just had to choose Sarah, mom to Elianna. The look on mommy & daddy’s face is priceless.”
“I would like to vote for the photograph chosen by Jolee, mom to Finn. This photo really seems to capture a moment of joy and made me cry when I saw it. I don’t know anybody in the picture, but had to vote for this one over any other as it reminded me of the exhausted happiness I felt when I held my daughter for the first time, and the magic of knowing that the love between me and my partner had created a new life. Sorry to ramble but I thought you should know WHY I loved the picture!”
“I would like to vote for Lesley.” ~Gina Phillips
Thanks again for playing everyone!
The last thing I wanted to mention before I end this post is that if you are the 1st to book a session by sending in your deposit after reading this *and mentioning the contest* you will receive a very special gift. Contact me for details!
I know that all of you have been anxiously awaiting this blog post (and I apologize for it taking longer than I thought it would to get up), but here it is FINALLY! Before I give voting instructions I just want to say thanks to all of you who entered – it has been super fun seeing everyones favorite pictures and reading what you wrote about your births!
The entry that receives the most votes will win a keepsake coffee table book telling the story of their birth through the photographs that I took! To vote please email me at: Lynsey@dfwbirthphotographer.com with “Blog Contest” in the subject line and give me the mom and/or babys name in the body of the email. Votes placed anywhere else besides in an email to me will not be counted! You have 48 hours, which would be 1:00 PM (central time) on Tuesday, June the 9th to vote.
This photo is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that we didn’t know the sex of our child – we were certain it was a girl. You captured the moment that Andy saw he was a boy and that he told me. It was utter shock, and it lasted for about 2 weeks. I remember the moment, so clear in my mind, and there is a photo of such a moment: how often does one get to say that an important few seconds in her life is captured, just as the memory is made? You’ve also somehow managed to get the cute way Andy’s tongue positions itself in his mouth when he is very tickled. I always tell him his mouth makes the most wonderful formation when he is laughing happily, but I’ve never been able to show him until I saw this picture! I’ve thanked you so many times, Lynsey, but I will continue to do it because you’ve given to us such a wonderful gift – images of the most important thing we’ve ever done… become parents. ~ Jolee, mom to Finn
When I think about Ainslee’s birth and try to pinpoint what my favorite moments from that day might be, there are a couple that stick out to me. Probably the memory that gives me the biggest smile is when recall the look on my husband’s face when he realizes that I have made a permanent camp on the bathroom toilet, and that I fully intend to give birth over the commode. I can see his face like it is yesterday, wide eyed and wondering. His emotions playing out through his eyes as he weighs his decision to respect my birthing space with his duty as a father to prevent his youngest daughter from being born in our master bathroom toilet. The relief that washed over him when I finally shifted from the toilet to the bed was palpable. Other moments that stand as highlights include finding out our baby was being born in caul, and discovering that our youngest baby would be a girl; such wonder and joy.
However, if I were asked to only select just one part of Ainslee’s birth to celebrate and cherish, it would be having the opportunity to labor in a quiet space with the people I love most in the world. Lynsey, in her infinite ability to capture mood through her photographic images, took a candid shot of me laboring in my birth pool. Feet’s resting on the long edge of the trough and my back reclined against the other, the image speaks volumes about the peace and calm of birthing in a space where I felt the safest and most supported. This image depicts for me everything that was good and perfect about Ainslee’s birth. I am forever grateful for Lynsey’s reassuring presence and her photographic artistry. Her ability to preserve the memory of that momentous day is an immeasurable gift to me and to my family. ~ Manda, mom to Ainslee
This was tricky, but this picture is my favorite! It captures Barry’s excitement and Avery’s first seconds out of the womb all in one pretty picture. He was hands-on, calm and joyful in this moment and this picture reminds me that I married the perfect man. My face was buried in the bed and I hadn’t yet seen my daughter, but I knew in this moment that Avery was here and in her Daddy’s hands and we had successfully birthed a breech baby from the comfort of our bedroom. This special first moment Barry had with his Avery is my favorite part of my labor! ~ Whitney, mom to Avery
It’s so hard to choose, but the picture that speaks volumes to me is the one showing the reaction of my 4 year old Brooke, when Daddy announced “It’s a girl!” It had been a long wait for my little ones (aged 4 and 6) wondering whether we would have a boy or a girl. You captured her at just the right moment! I treasure every photo you took that day! ~ Michelle, mom to Briley
My favorite moment of the birth actually started with the breaking of my water to the time that I finally got to hold my sweet baby girl. I say that all of that was my favorite because God was with me, holding me every step of the way, and He was in complete control of my labor. I had prayed all throughout my pregnancy that God would take care of my baby and me, and let my body do what it needed to do. I was in an almost constant state of prayer during labor, and knew that I had to put my faith in God to get me through it. During it all, I was in awe of what God was doing and how my body was responding, and when Raegan made her way into my arms, it was the sweetest, most fulfilling blessing I had ever received. I was holding God’s hand made gift- made especially for my husband and me- and at that moment the love I felt for her and for my husband overwhelmed my entire being. I knew that we would do what ever it took to take care of her, to love her, and to teach her about her awesome Heavenly Father. ~ Jessica, mom to Raegan
It was a difficult choice, but the picture that brings me the most warmth is this one. I can feel Johns happiness and I remember it all so vividly. I was on a high, he was…we were just two peaceful parents bonding with our baby. ~ Melany, mom to Soren
This may seem to some people to be a rather unusual choice for my favorite birth photo. In order to understand why I chose this for my favorite, you have to know a little bit of my birth history. Daniel is my sixth child, but all 5 of my other children were born by cesarean section. Before his birth, I attempted VBAC with my 4th and 5th babies, but both ended up back in the operating room. With Daniel’s pregnancy, I was blessed to have a fantastic birth team, orchestrated by the Lord! I had a supportive husband, a wonderful midwife willing to serve me as a monitrice/doula at the hospital, and an amazing, rare OB who was willing to let me have a vaginal birth after four c-sections! Additionally, I had my mom, several dear friends, and a great photographer who all made the event perfect.
While scrapbooking with a friend one night shortly before Daniel was born, I suddenly realized with a jolt that SHE had held my firstborn twins before I did! That thought led me to the realization that I had always held my newborns after five to TEN other people had held them! This was a devastating thought for me. I had never held any of my children immediately after their birth, but usually had to wait until later, in the recovery room.
This is my favorite birth photo because this is my son being handed to me, immediately after I pushed him out of my body completely naturally—he was messy and slippery and crying and I will NEVER forget that moment as long as I live! ~ Tanya, mom to Daniel
This is one of many of my favorite pictures, I chose this one because of the expression on her face. We lost fetal heart tones during labor and so my midwife wanted to get her out quick. The last part of my labor was hurried and worried with a lot of prayers going up to our Father for her safe delivery. The amazing releif that came to us all when I delivered a healthy pink baby can not even be described. Now every time I look at this picture of my little miracle, I think she is saying Hey look at me, I am just fine why all this fuss? ~ Nicole, mom to Barrett
When you are a photographer, as I am, a few things happen. You are never in pictures yourself. When you are in a photo it never turns out like you imagined in your head. Or the other photographer misses the perfect moment (in your mind) all together. I must say that when Lynsey photographed my birth. I was in most of the pictures:o) When she took a shot every one turned out just as I pictured in my head and she captured every perfect moment. This picture I chose was one of those moments that I feel summed up our whole birth experience. Exhaustion, desperation, anticipation, excitement and humor. It was sometime in our second full day of labor. Things were progressing so slow and Payton just did not seem to want to come out. Daddy grabbed a pen and wrote “come this way —> Thanks, Dad.” on my belly…Lynsey grabbed her camera and got the shot. ~ Bonnie, mom to Payton
After thinking I was going to have the best labor ever to screaming I can’t do this Sarah, I can’t do this, my favorite memory by far is when he was placed on my chest. I was done, well… almost. Even though 9 months FLEW by I still couldn’t believe that he was finally here in our arms. That we had done this 100% natural, and at home. All our dreams had came true, he was so beautiful. All I could manage to do was kiss my husband over and over again with pure joy. We adore this picture. It not only capture the moment but is exactly what I see in my head when I remember his arrival. ~ Lucy, mom to Kacen
~ Laurie, mom to Krisalynn
“The essence of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed.” -B. Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
This picture captures for both of us exactly what we wanted for Coco’s grand entrance into the world – a sweet new being of absolute clarity in her inaugural moments. It reminds us of all the elements (our wonderful midwife, a beautiful day outside, a warm and comfy birthing pool!) that a little planning and a lot of luck brought together to make her birth perfect. Our first introduction to our Uncarved Block… ~ Shannon, mom to Coco
To set the stage, at 34 weeks pregnant I became very sick, and had a nasty cough that would induce contractions, contractions that came 10 minutes apart and lasted for about and hour every time a coughed. Ame, my midwife, told me I had to get the coughing to stop, so I went to three clinics looking for SOMEONE who would take me and give me something to get them to stop. I finally went to the local hospital to their woman’s center, explained that I was using a midwife, but needed a doctor for a cold, and that no one else would see me since I was so pregnant. The lady at the reception desk said no one could help me, but that I should probably fill out a registration form because I was probably going to end up at the hospital to give birth anyway, and that I was being irresponsible for attempting a home birth. I left extremely disheartened, but finally spoke to someone at a doctor’s office who just gave me a list of safe, over the counter stuff.
Labor was definitely not easy (not that I expected it to be), and I ended up transporting. At that point I was so discouraged, and thought for sure this would never end. Everything stung so wickedly I just wanted to roll over and die. I felt like a failure for giving up and going to the hospital, and couldn’t hold back the tears when I thought about that horrible woman at the hospital I had visited when sick.
But then my mom and mother-in-law showed up, and I suddenly had this support system of two, close women who had been through this whole labor-and-delivery thing and survived! When I asked them if I was going to make it and they said yes, I believed them. There is something empowering about having experienced women there, helping you, holding your legs, feet, and hands, and helping you get through the most difficult parts. That is something I will never forget, and something I am incredibly grateful for. The picture I chose beautifully shows one of the wonderful women (my mother-in-law) who got me through the birth of my son, and what is special about it to me is that it represents the other people who are involved with this little guy’s life, and who love him and care for him as much as I do. ~ Caroline
If a picture says a thousand words then there is no way to adequately express “why” this is my favorite photograph! The expression on my face says it all. It was first time I held my baby in my arms. I felt the most amazing feelings known to mankind as I pressed his warm soft body against me. This picture captured my joy, excitement, relief, pride, and happiness all in one unforgettable moment in time. It shows how our child was brought into this world surrounded in love and peace. That the first things he felt were his daddy’s and mommy’s waiting hands. There were no outsiders to rob him or me of one of the most important and spiritual experiences of our lives. It shows how our creator has so perfectly designed the beautiful interaction between mother and child when life begins. ~ Gina, mom to Phoenix
It was hard to choose just one picture from all of the gorgeous pictures that were taken of Lark’s homebirth VBAC. Having the opportunity to make informed choices about my child’s birth was a whole new thing for me. This picture captures several of those choices: the ability to have my daughter by my side during the birth of her much anticipated baby sister, the ability to follow my insticts for pain relief, and the ability to birth my baby in an atmosphere of such peace and love. Thank you, Lynsey for being there for Lark’s birth. I am blessed to have you as a friend, and am so very glad you were able to be a part of such a wonderful time in our lives. ~ Angelica, mom to Lark
~ Megan, mom to Paisley
My favorite memory from my birth was feeling the power of “support” and how that carried me through 2 days of labor. As a doula, I know support can make a difference and can help a birth experience, but until I had felt that support as I went through my own labor and birth—I had no idea how that support can SHAPE your birth. The moments I wanted to give up—my support team carried me through. The moments that I felt totally alone inside—my birth team came up beside me and reminded me that I was never alone. My team made my husband feel empowered—which then allowed him to meet the needs that no one else could for me. So even though my birth is filled with so many hard memories—I am so thankful that the one that covers them all is love and support.
Why I chose this photo? This picture encompasses all the emotions that go into giving birth and meeting your child for the first time. Pain, exhaustion, love, joy, fear and complete awe. I look at this picture and I can literally feel those emotions, smell the air, feel the slippery baby in my arms and hear my husband choking back the emotion as he spoke in my ear. This photo is like a small glance into the amazing experience that birth is. ~ Lesley, mom to Austin
The anticipation and wonder were all building to this. I had been wondering for months: who would he look like? would he have hair? Would he be big or small? What would we call him? When would he come? Could I handle the pain of labor? Would we get stuck in traffic? Would Joel get lost on the way to the hospital?
The day finally comes I welcome the contractions, I welcome them with so much excitement because I know he has decided it is his time. My questions would all be answered. The labor continues and I think to myself we have made it so far! At last I hear his cry, at last I see his face. At last I announce his name my Eli he is perfect more perfect than I ever could have imagined!! At last!!!
This was the first time I got to see my son and touch him it captured my feelings of the time perfectly. We had our baby boy safe in our arms after all that time of wonder. Such a weight was lifted off my shoulders then. I love looking back at this knowing what a precious memory has been preserved for us. ~ Silvia, mom to Eli
Looking at this one, I can still feel the incredulity and almost giddiness that surrounded Elianna’s birth. It was so extremely fast, I hardly had time to fully emotionally realize what was happening. Her actual birth was a whirlwind and so my favorite part was after my herbal bath, when I was tucked back in bed with my new little delight, reveling in her preciousness. I remember just looking at Trent as she nursed, still not believing it was really all over already, it was so easy, and we had our little princess #2! Everyone told me that you suddenly find your capacity to love grows beyond your wildest dreams when your second child arrives and now I know it’s so true. I really did feel giddy, I was so happy, looking down at my little Ellie Joy, realizing I couldn’t possibly be more in love! ~ Sarah, mom to Elianna
That’s all of the entries, I hope you enjoyed looking at them as much as I did! Good luck everyone!
Ready, set, GO!