Emery Drew | Birth Story

A Homegrown Love Story

Hey again! As you can clearly tell, I did NOT do very well blogging in 2017. I shot so many beautiful weddings, engagements, families, seniors, and births this past year but gosh darn it I am terrible at setting aside time to blog about all of these beautiful Homegrown Love Stories that I get to witness. So, as I've been prepping for 2018 I've decided that I'm going to have to plan to schedule days for blogging! Wish me luck! And I'm not blogging at least 1-2x a month, someone holler at me and kick my booty in gear because I just have too many great love stories to share!

Where to begin? Oh, right, back to the birth story of sweet Emery Drew! It was a rainy May morning when I got the call that it would be the day! I gathered all my things and talked with my mom, making plans to drop Ellie off at her house a little later. Once things finally picked up pace I headed out to BRMC. 

Mary Kate + Jared, thanks for inviting me to be part of such a special day. I hope these images and your video are so treasured and that one day Emery loves seeing the story of her birth day! It was such a joy to be there and celebrate with you and your family!


Selah Vaile | The Birth Story

I'm back again! And it's with another beautiful birth story!! 

This one is so special to me because Em is one of my closest friends and our friendship actually grew because of our passion for healthy living, organic foods, home/natural birth, and of course, Jesus! Back in the winter I knew Em and Brent had been talking about having a baby...because everybody knew Em was just aching to be a mama...so one Sunday when they both came walking over me at church I instantly knew what they were about to say. It was so exciting to find out they were expecting! Of course this led to even more conversations about babies and birth...and birth photography!

As October rolled around Em and I would talk about how she was feeling and wonder when baby Selah would decide to come. We also talked about her plans for natural birth and what I could do to encourage her. What no one expected was that Em would end up having to be induced due to dangerously high blood pressure and protein in her urine.

On Monday (10/10) Em text me saying she was going to labor and delivery to have her blood pressure monitored because it was high at her appointment. Her doctor explained that they would probably have to induce later in the week but they would make a final decision on Wednesday. We text back and forth the next couple days then Wednesday morning I got the text saying that she was headed to hospital and that things were going to get rolling. I made sure to shower then pack up my gear, a toothbrush, extra clothes, and plenty of snacks before I took care of some family stuff. I dropped Ellie off with my mom and headed on to the hospital. 

It was dark by the time I arrived to the hospital. When I walked into the room Em looked very tired but she was in good spirits. She was surrounded by Brent and their family and the presence of Jesus was strong the room. I fell right into the mix and prayed for Em as I quietly documented this sweet birth story. 

As the night went on, the doctor on call (unfortunately her doctor was unable to be there) was anxious to see progress as Em was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome. Unfortunately things slowed down and the call was made to do a C-section. As nurses and the anesthesiology team prepped Em, I got a quick minute to talk to her doctor about being able to be in the OR. At the last minute he said yes! It was an amazing experience for me but even more than that I am so grateful because through these images, Em was able to see her sweet Selah's entrance into the world despite it being a bit different than she imagined! 

Em and Brent, thank you for being our friends and thank you for letting me be part of Selah's birth day. Mike, Ellie, and I love you guys and are so grateful for your friendship. I hope you always remember how beautiful Selah's birth was, even if it wasn't exactly what you had planned. God is going to use your story in a powerful way. 

And to any other c-section mamas, I hope this encourages you to know that your birth is beautiful no matter how your baby makes his/her arrival! God orchestrates our stories and is weaving a beautiful picture!

So now grab some tissues and watch the beautiful birth story of Selah Vaile!

Isla Bardot | The Birth Story

Since I'm a wedding photographer, it always seems that the births I document happen to be in the fall and early winter. It works well that way. I get my fill of spring and summer weddings then I get a lovely dose of beautiful babies being born in the fall and winter. That's not to say I don't book weddings in the winter but it just happened that way the past couple years. 

Anyway, moving on. 

Several months back I got a message from Traci asking me about birth photography that sent me over the moon. I obviously love births but Traci is a fellow photographer so it's even more of an honor that my work resonated with her. We actually met back at Southwest Virginia Community College in 2009 while taking a basic photography course. We've kept up with each other over the years so I really enjoyed getting to know her family even more and witnessing her sweet baby girl's birth day!

As Traci got close to her due date we would text back and forth every few days so I could keep up with how she was feeling and what her doctor was saying. Around Labor Day weekend it seemed things might be ready to happen fairly soon. Traci, Brandon, and their son stayed with family closer to the hospital in Johnson City (they live almost two hours from the hospital). Monday evening Traci decided they should head home because nothing much had happened. Well, no sooner did they get home and hop in bed that that contractions came...and hard. Just a couple hours later and they quickly hit the road back to Franklin Woods Community Hospital!

6:00a.m. rolled around and Mike was shaking me awake...

I had fallen asleep in Ellie's room when she needed help getting back to sleep in the night. He told me to get dressed quick, that Traci was already to 5cm and things were moving fast. My heart was pounding out my ears as I jumped out of bed, waking up Ellie and leaving her in tears (yes, this broke my heart). I threw clothes on and grabbed my gear, water bottle, some yogurt for breakfast, and a hoodie. I flew to the hospital the entire hour and fifteen minutes there! I prayed for safety, that Traci's labor would hold off just a tad, and I thanked Jesus that it wasn't the weekend of The Battle at Bristol (it was just a few days away)! Also, I want to mention that it was the most beautiful sunrise that morning, just perfect for a baby's birth day!

7:25a.m. As I ran into the Birth Center Brandon met me and explained that she had slowed down a little, had an epidural and was doing great. My heartbeat gradually slowed to a mostly normal pace and Traci and I were able to chat for a few minutes. We laughed about Brittney Spears jokes ;] and talked about how she hoped Archer would do great when he met his baby sister in a few hours. Suddenly there was a change in the room as Traci felt sick. Finally a nurse and dr came in to check her only to find that baby was literally almost there. There was a VERY fast shuffle of nurses and delivery items coming into the room and then suddenly there was a baby! No joke. It was that fast! I hardly had time to get any labor pictures because baby Isla was in a big hurry to meet her mama and daddy. 

Just an hour or so after Isla made her speedy arrival, Dr. Archer got to meet his baby sister. It was the sweetest, most precious thing! You'll just have to watch the video to find out his thoughts on meeting baby Isla! 

Traci and Brandon, thank you for trusting me with some of your most precious memories. I am so grateful you invited me to be part of such a special time in your lives. Your whole family is absolutely the sweetest and it was so great to be able to meet them. I hope you treasure these photos for years to come and that Isla can one day enjoy hearing stories about her birth day! Thank you for letting me tell your story!

And now, introducing Isla Bardot...

Special thank you to Will Bundy for the original music!