I just ran into baby JD and mama Alison at a coffee shop a week or so ago, which reminded me that I had not yet shared their sweet newborn session. I can't believe how big JD has gotten! It feels like this session just happened. Alison & Bill were super low key. They almost skipped newborn photos all together assuming they would end up being too fussy, overly posed, and not really represent them as a family.
If you know anything about me, you know my passion for documenting families just as they are. My sessions are laid back, pressure-free, and simply aim to capture the real stuff in a beautiful way. We were pretty much perfect for each other.
Alison has been kind enough to share her birth story with us, so I'll let her take it from here...
My due date came and went, and I was about as uncomfortable (and subsequently grumpy) as any woman at 40 weeks pregnant. My doctor suggested we schedule an induction. I was disappointed that things weren't naturally progressing fast enough, but ready to do what needed to be done to stop being pregnant and to meet the mystery kid that I'd been carrying around for nine months. We set a date, and I spent the next few days finishing a book, eating at my favorite restaurants, and worrying about little things––you know, like giving birth and being a mom.
The day of the induction, I was scared. Unsure of what to do with myself, I cleaned my already clean apartment and made a last minute appointment on a whim to have my haircut. We went to the hospital for 9PM and after everything was set up, I was expected to try and sleep while the pitocin went to work. The baby's heart rate kept dropping slightly, so the nurses were in an out to make adjustments to my position. Around 2AM, I finally started to drift to sleep when I heard screaming from across the hall. My husband Bill sat up on the couch where he'd been resting and our eyes met. "Is that...?" he asked. "I think so," I groaned. It was another woman in labor, and while the intense sounds increased my anxiety, we both couldn't help but laugh. From that moment on, sleep was out of the question.
Labor progressed slowly, and there were multiple cervix checks. By 10AM I was fully dilated. The nurse had me do a practice push, and she didn't exactly say so but I can only assume it wasn't promising, because she announced that I needed to "labor down," or in other words, stay put and let my body do it's thing for an hour or so. Well, my body certainly did it's thing––I almost instantly started shaking and crying. In retrospect, I'm not totally sure why I was so afraid of what was ahead. I wish I would have been more positive and confident, but that's just not how it was for me. I knew everything was about to change in a major way, and even as a Marine Corps wife with frequent changes ahead, this one felt like too much was on the line. Bill did his best to keep me calm, but I needed more of a distraction. I asked him to get the book I'd brought along––an old favorite, Nine Stories by JD Salinger––and I started reading. I continued shaking, and crying too, but I kept reading, and that helped. Toward the end of the hour, I asked Bill to bring our notebook over––the one we keep by our bed at home to write down funny inside jokes that come up late at night and other nonsense we'd otherwise forget in a day or two. It also contained our lists of baby names, about 10 in each category. Thinking of my Salinger book, I turned to the boy list and added "Joseph Daniel (JD)."
The nurses returned and the book was put away. I pushed for just over an hour. I cursed myself for not sticking with those Pure Barre classes––could have used the prep for the labor workout! But finally, the baby emerged and there was so much relief all at once. My worries about motherhood and change were put to rest for awhile as I held my son against my chest. Bill took the notebook and reviewed the list of names we'd been discussing for months, and spotted the new addition he hadn't seen before. He said, "I like JD. That's the one."
If you're wondering about these last shots here, Alison has a family member (great uncle maybe, but I'm not sure I am remembering that detail correctly) who ran for state senate. I love that she found and framed this old campaign sign. Such a cool piece of her family legacy. I had to capture it.
Do you have any cool mementos or pieces of your family history that serve as home decor? Tell us about it in the comments.
Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design.
Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography