Birth Story- Baby #3 had me fooled!

Benjamin joined our family in May of 2009. I was 4 weeks away from my end of contract as a U.S. Marine. As with baby #2 I had plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions all day long for a few days. I got sent home from work early on the 26th and they told me to not bother coming in the next day, just call. I still had to get up and get my oldest to school though. I was having pretty steady 5 minute contractions all morning, but they didn’t really hurt so I didn’t give them much thought.

I decided to go ahead and drop Maddy at daycare and have a mommy day off to rest and relax in preparation for baby’s imminent arrival. While dropping her off the daycare worker, Mrs. G., said “You’re in labor, guess I won’t see you for a few days.” I laughed at her and told her I wasn’t. She responded by rolling her eyes and telling me I was in denial. I then took Corey to school. He went to school on base which was 45 minutes from our house, but only 5 minutes from the hospital. Since Mrs. G’s statements had gotten me paying a bit more attention to my contraction timing (consistently 4-6 minutes). I decided it might be a good idea to pop in and have them check me out before I drove the 45 minutes back to my house.

At about 8:30 am when I walked into the labor and delivery ward on my own and not in apparent pain I could tell the nurses were ready to send me home. Quite frankly I was ready to go home! I told them I don’t think I’m in labor, but since I’m having 4-6 minute contractions I figured it was best to get checked out before driving 45 minutes home. They hooked me up, verified the contraction frequency then informed me I was fully effaced and dilated to 5. I was in labor!  After the intensity of the contractions with the previous babies I couldn’t believe it! One of the nurses informed me later they had actually been betting on sending me home and thought I was a bit nuts to even be there.

I called Cameron, who was working about an hour away, and he headed up to the hospital. I just hung out reading my book while getting incredulous looks from every nurse who walked in the room over how calm I was. Yeah it hurt, but compared to my first two this was a walk in the park! By the time Cameron got there I couldn’t focus on my reading anymore and needed to stop and breath through contractions. The nurses stopped looking so disturbed by my calmness lol. I think I got a shot of IV meds at this time, but honestly I don’t remember for sure. If I had waited till it really felt like labor to me ( around 11:30) I probably would have had that baby by myself on the side of the road or at home!

Once again when baby decided to come there was no waiting. A nurse was holding Ben’s crowning head in telling me not to push as the Dr. got his gloves on. I yelled “I’m NOT pushing!” as she let go and baby flew out into the Dr.’s hands at 1:01 pm.

Birth story||newborn photogaphy|cell phone photography
Baby’s first photo

Mrs. G enjoyed telling Cameron “I told you so” to pass on to me when he picked Maddy up from the daycare later than afternoon. Guess she really did see something in my eyes.

birth photography||my birth stories|cell phone photography

If you’re interested you can read the rest of my birth stories here on the blog as well

Baby 1

Baby 2

Baby 4

Baby 5

Baby 6

Baby 7 

Baby 8


Birth Story- My First Baby

I realized recently that I have not taken the time to write out most of my birth stories. These are the stories that I want my kids to have, so I’d better get them out there before I forget more than just the little details.

I had my first baby in 2001 when I was 19. I was pretty carefree and “invincible”. I was a Marine. If I could go through boot camp I could do anything! I didn’t really do anything to prepare beyond the 1 hour required new mom birth class at the Naval Hospital. I didn’t have a birth plan.

I started having contractions about every 7 minutes while watching a movie in the base theater. Form the very first one they were INTENSE. I waited it out during the movie (had already been to the hospital for false labor twice) then headed in about 9:30 at night. They hooked me up and said “contractions every 5-6 minutes and wow those are STRONG!” Then they checked my cervix. Zero effacement and zero dilation.

I cried.

they disconnected me from the monitors and told me to go home. I asked if they could give me some pain medication. Take Motrin. Geez thanks guys. I felt so defeated. What was wrong with my body?

I went home a laid on the couch contracting every 5 minutes all night long. I cried and cried. I hadn’t prepared and I didn’t know a darn thing about managing this pain on my own. About 12:30am I got a call form one of the nurses. She asked how I was doing. I told her through my tears how frustrated I was and that the contractions were killing me! She coached me through a few contractions and helped me to breathe and relax. She then told me to come back first thing in the morning. Shift change was at 7 and the new head Dr. coming on would make sure to either stop contractions or get that baby out. WE went back in at about 7:30. I was fully effaced and dilated to 5!!! I was super excited and also a bit mad at the mean nurse form the night before who thought the first time mom was clearly exaggerating her pain level.

By the time they got me all checked in and offered an epidural I decided I didn’t need one. I had been undecided before because honestly the idea of a giant needle in my back totally freaked me out!! After going all night long contracting on my own I decided I could totally do this and I didn’t need it. I did accept a shot of some pain medication in my IV. Stuff didn’t touch the pain, but it made me not care that it hurt. Shortly after they administered the meds baby’s heart rate started decelerating with each contraction. they were discussing a C-section. Thankfully little bub decided it was time to make his grand entrance before the attending midwife could get an OB up to labor and delivery.

When it came time to push I was completely fighting my body. It hurt and I didn’t like it!! Each time the ring of fire started I pulled back and screamed. after about 3-4 times doing that the midwife attending told me very rudely “If you put as much effort into pushing as you did  screaming you’d have a baby by now!” While I thought she was a big jerk I did take her advice and on the next push he was out. All told I only pushed for about 5 minutes.

I honestly don’t really remember much else after that. I was totally wiped out. I do remember scarfing down a hot meal right there in the labor room then insisting I wanted to get up and walk to my recovery room. They thought I was crazy, but I walked with a nurse on either side ready to catch me if I fell.

I was pretty disappointed with my birth experience. I was filled with my own fear and doubts. I fought my body. I made things much worse on myself by not trusting my body. My “birth partner” aka ex-husband was completely disconnected and useless.

Despite all the negative feelings, however, I did walk away from that experience with a sense of power. I had done it. I had a natural vaginal birth. I was in awe of what my body could do. I also gained a determination to know and do better next time.

emily j photographer|birth story
Since I don’t have any birth photos of my first I will let you enjoy his cute 4 year old smile.


My biggest regret is that I don’t have a single photo from his birth. This was before the days of digital cameras in our phones and no photos were taken during the birth at all. The few pictures I had from the days afterwords in the hospital were lost or destroyed in the divorce. That’s one thing I definitely rectified for the future. Even if it’s a crappy cell phone shot, I have a picture of each of my brand new babies covered in their birthday frosting!

If you’re interested you can read the rest of my birth stories here on the blog as well

Baby 2

Baby 3

Baby 4

Baby 6

Baby 5

Baby 7 

Baby 8


The Most Powerful Women in the World

Strong. Powerful. Leader. Brave. Confident. Ambitious. Assertive. Knowledgeable. Persistent.

When you read these words what type of woman comes to mind? Who do you picture? What does she do? How does she live? Where does she work? What does she wear?

Something like this perhaps?

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Let me tell you a little bit about the woman I see.

The woman I see is completely exhausted with dark circles under her eyes, but they are eyes full of hope, peace, and purpose. She is tired, sweaty, and her hair is rather disheveled. She didn’t have time to do her make-up this morning and her socks don’t even match. She’s probably in bed, though she way be walking or swaying to manage the pain she is feeling. Every few minutes she has to close her eyes and breathe deep, sometimes crying out in fear, pain, or frustration. She may be tempted with thoughts of quitting, turning back, regret. Despite this she moves forward with determination.

I see a woman in labor. I see the most powerful woman in the world. I see a mother.

You see I believe that often the most important work we can ever do as woman is within the walls of our own home. I believe there is nobility in motherhood, and it is never more apparent than in those few hours when a woman works so hard to bring a precious spirit into this mortal life.

Motherhood is an eternal partnership with God. For nine beautiful months a woman is able to be a full partner with God in the work of creation. She is creating life. It is only through her intense sacrifice that a new child is able to take its first breath. It is through her pain and hard work that a new story is begun. In that moment she is able to taste just a small sliver of what Christ has given us, new life, as she provides a waiting spirit with a new life of its own.

Birth Photography Atlanta|Winder|Georgia
Baby #7 only a few minutes old, hadn’t even cut the cord yet.

I can not witness a birth without tears. In those few precious moments the boundary between our world and God’s is so thin. I can feel the presence of angels bearing up that woman and applauding her for the work she is doing. It is truly the work of salvation. It is a beautiful moment. It is life. It is hope. It is the promise of new beginnings. Nothing can compare with that moment when as a mother you first look into the eyes of that child that you gave birth to. From my first to my 7th the emotions only deepened and grew.

The miracle is every bit as beautiful if you journey starts or ends with adoption or infertility. The sacrifice is every bit as real. The desire and the love do not diminish. Every woman is a mother, whether she has given birth or not, if it is the role that she desires for herself.

Life is a miracle and it happened, dear mothers, because we were willing to make the sacrifice. It is the most noble work in the world. You are strong, powerful, brave, confident, persistent, and absolutely amazing!