Birth Photography

 

 

I know birth photography isn’t for everyone, but for some of us it is such a wonderfully significant milestone it’s worth documenting. I am currently working on doing multiple guest post about my natural birth experiences. I had to dig the digital photos out of the archives to get to my pictures for these blogs, but after looking through all of them and reminiscing I knew I just had to share some of them on Messy Mom.

For how different each one was (birth center, Texas, home birth, water birth, hospital birth, Kentucky…) All of my pregnancies and deliveries have been quite predictable, which is a blessing. Without further ado here are some black and white photos of each stage of my last three pregnancies and deliveries.

 

The belly

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Ah, yes the retro iPod. This was at about 37 weeks with Z. 

 

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Full term with SJ

 

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Days before Ezie’s birth.

I tend to carry all of my babies the same I guess. I always gain 25 pounds and I usually don’t get stretch marks… until the end. Ha, you thought I was one of those lucky women, but no.

 

Labor

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My first baby. Laying on the bed at the birth center. J said I was mean. I don’t remember that! 

 

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I have almost NO photos of labor with SJ because the photographer and the midwife got there right when it was time to push, but here is one strategically cropped photo of me in the bathtub in our home. I was literally crowning and that’s my midwifes head in the foreground. Sorry if that’s TMI for anybody. 

 

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Here is a shot of me swaying with my husband during Ezie’s labor. I did eventually get in the water though after I progressed a little more. 

 

Delivery

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I’ll spare your the graphic photos of when Z was born, but J was the catcher and here he is with my midwife the very moment Z was delivered.

 

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Seconds after SJ was delivered. 

 

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I don’t even have my arms around Ezie yet in this photo. It’s the very moment he was born. 

 

Meeting the Family 

 

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The grandmas meeting our first born.

 

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Big brother and the grandmas meeting SJ at our home birth. 

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Z and SJ meeting their little brother for the first time. 

 

The First Look

Here are the first close up shots ever taken of my three little angels.

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Stay tuned for the 4th installment, which will be about a month from now!

By | October 22nd, 2015|Babies, Pregnancy & Birth|8 Comments

3 Year Gap

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Tomorrow I am 35 weeks along in this pregnancy! Let’s just say that if history repeats itself (as it has consistently done with all of my other pregnancies) then a month from now I will NOT be pregnant. I might still be in the hospital, but more than likely I’ll have my baby! So, I am getting so very excited, but also nervous.

Even though, yes, I have done this 3 times before it was over three years ago. For some reasons I have forgotten so much since then. All three of my children are 2.5 years apart, like clock work. This will be the first time the youngest is over three years old. It’s not that big of a difference, but somehow it is. I haven’t breastfed in over a year. I haven’t changed a diaper in 8 months. We rarely use a stroller and it’s been a long time since our home has seen a pacifier, crib, or highchair.  We have one child proof doorknob, other than we just don’t do baby proof these days.

It wasn’t like that with my other pregnancies. When each child turned two I already knew I was pregnant so we never fully vacated the baby zone.

Obviously a three year gap is NOTHING compared to the many friends and family I know that had surprise pregnancies after 8, 9, or even 10 + years! I could tell you some stories (and you probably have some for me). So I’m not implying it’s a big gap I’m just admitting that I feel slightly more rusty this go round. It’s like I have to loosen those muscles again and make more of a conscious effort to remember what post partum stuff I need or did my belly really stretch this much before!?

I told the midwife that I had a growth spurt. I was convinced this baby was bigger and would come sooner than my other three. As far as we can tell from her exam that is not the case, but I just don’t remember stretching this much!

On the other end of the spectrum I feel like enough of a veteran that I don’t worry too much about what to expect. In fact I feel old when I am on Facebook reading about all these new moms touting what the latest and greatest must-have baby products are.

First I feel old just for being so out of the trend loop and then I feel really, really old because my reaction is usually

Eh, you don’t need any of that overpriced mumbo jumbo. You got some diapers, boobs, and a carseat? Then yer all set. 

Yeah, the voice in my head is a hillbilly apparently.

Anyway, I will definitely keep everyone posted. This is the last week that I have no prenatal appointments. After this I’m full term and I’ll be seeing the midwife once a week. At that point it will be all hands on deck as far as nesting, planning, and preparing. You can expect some tunnel vision. I apologize in advance for the lack of diverse content on the blog. It’s baby or bust!

By | October 19th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|8 Comments

Trying Out My New Maternity Clothes!

While this is not a sponsored post I did receive a complimentary subscription and promotional item in exchange for my review. 

 

I said I would be bombarding you with pregnancy pics and showing off all of  my Bella Gravida maternity clothes so here is the first installment!

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Last week these packages showed up at my doorstep.

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What a treat!

The first outfit (shown on the top left) was a basic black dress by Imanimo. I wanted to like this dress. It was soft sweatshirt material, but modern and chic.

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It had so many fun details like the zipper in the back

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Or the asymmetrical grey piping and kangaroo pocket in the front.

 

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It’s a cute dress and I did have an appointment this week that it was totally appropriate for, but in the end I would say the dress did not do me any favors. The cut on my body was like wearing a potato sack (you probably can’t tell from these poses, but just take my word for it). Oh well, it was still worth a try! That’s one of the perks of Bella Gravida maternity rental wear. You can try stuff without any obligation to keep it, but if you do love it they do have purchasing options available.

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Next up I got to try this Everly Grey Eunice Dress. It was much shorter than I expected, but I paired it with leggings so it was more like a shirt.

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The first day I wore it I got to go on a little coffee date with J followed by attending Z’s graduation from his robotics class. It happened to be really cold that day. The red lips, boots, and trench coat made it such a classic autumn look. I loved it and wore it again to church the next day.

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Lastly, I had a similar look with with this lightweight knit sweater. It’s perfect for this unpredictable weather because you can stay cool when it warms up, but it’s not summery. Coincidentally it’s called the Evelyn Top and Evelyn is what we plan to use as our baby girl’s middle name. Ahhhh! Did I even just say that!? I’ll admit, I have had a really hard time not just announcing the name.

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As long as I’m talking about baby stuff, I should mention that I am 33 weeks now. I feel like she is going to be a fairly big baby. I probably have just forgotten what it feels like to be “with child”, but my stomach is so heavy and tight! The braxton hicks have been increasing and so has the insomnia. Also, I am all over the map emotionally. Last week I felt invicible whereas this week I have felt a ton of anxiety, but I am hanging in there.

I have been more intentional about taking ALL of my vitamins. I want to be in tip top shape when it comes time for labor. My next prenatal appointment is on Monday. I’ll be sure to give updates on that and my next Bella Gravida package!

This whole rental maternity fashion experience has been awesome, but it’s even better getting to share it with you, so thanks for that!

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By | October 7th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|12 Comments

Update on Baby #4


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Yesterday I was trying to remember how many weeks pregnant I am.

Thirty-two. The answer is THIRTY-TWO! I feel like everything is hitting me all at once. I really want to meet and hold my baby. I can’t wait to see the excitement and joy of my other three children to get to meet their sister.

I am also nervous though. There is still so much left to do and even though this will be my 4th natural birth I am also a little scared about the labor and the post partum period. I love pregnancy and babies and all the emotional miraculous stuff that goes along with it, but it’s hard work. I always compare it to running a marathon, which for the record I have never done. You train, you prepare, you have great expectations. You love running (again this is just hypothetical none of this applies to me) and there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when your first foot crosses over that finish line, but there are times of exhaustion that make you think you are crazy for trying. Times you need a cheerleader and a second wind.

Things are moving along though. J and I went to an orientation class at the birth center.  I was amazed at how geared toward natural birth it is. It’s actually within a hospital so I expected it to be a little bit more mainstream, but it wasn’t. Which I liked. The one thing I was shocked about was that they don’t allow video during births! I don’t know if it’s a legal issue or what. This was the one birth I was going to video tape and it’s the one birth where it is not allowed! Out of all the things to be frustrated about though, that isn’t really a big deal.

After the orientation we explored the city and made a date out of it. The last time we went on a date was in March when we took the pregnancy test so we were long overdue.

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All of these photos are ones that J took that day. So these are the most current pics I have of my belly which is getting huge.

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I am feeling really great. Lots of fetal movement. We have a name and it’s really hard for me not to say anything, but with only 7 weeks to go I’m going to hold off. I get the normal braxton hicks. Call me a weirdo, but I’ve always liked braxton hicks. It’s an empowering feeling to me, but as I already mentioned this time around they scare me just a little because my mind starts racing with the reality of it all. The baby is already head down so as long as she doesn’t flip that’s one thing less to worry about.

My iron is still really low and I do not want to give too much info, but if you don’t like to hear about gory pregnancy details you can stop here.

I have been trying to be good about taking my perscribed iron supplements (which they have now doubled the dosage on), but they make me constipated so that is really annoying. I asked my midwife what I could do and there was a range of answers, none of which I wrote down or have yet to try so I guess I can’t complain.

I should be getting my Bella Gravida maternity clothes in the mail soon and then I am going to bombard you all with tons of baby bump pictures because before you know it the baby bump will be gone and I’ll be able to bend down and pick stuff up again. I know most women can’t wait to be done with pregnancy, but it’s bittersweet. I am just trying to take it all in.

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By | September 30th, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

The Next Big Thing In Maternity Fashion

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Bella Gravida. I received a complimentary subscription and promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

 

Today I am 31 weeks pregnant and at a time when I should be feeling my most BLAH, I am actually ready to rock this baby bump like never before because I get chance to introduce to all of you a brand new revolutionary service for renting maternity clothes.

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You can find all the latest fashion available in maternity styles at BellaGravida.com. It’s brilliant really. Why spend tons of money on something that you are getting such a limited use out of!?  


1782045_599311656836084_7477942312591678720_n Bella Gravida means Beautifully Pregnant in Italian and I am starting a subscription service that will last through the remainder of my pregnancy. So get ready for lots of photos because in October I’ll be blowing up my IG feed and Messy Mom accounts with all the fun stuff I find!

The cool thing about renting through Bella Gravida is that there is a flat monthly fee with plans starting as low as $39 a month.

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It’s free shipping, unlimited exchanges, and thousands of designer maternity AND nursing outfits. So you can utilize the service from the time you are barely showing all the way to wearing maternity/nursing clothes after the baby is born. By the way, if you are a first time expectant mother be prepared to still wear maternity clothes for a while after the baby is born. It’s completely normal!

The best part is there are no return deadlines, you get unlimited exchanges, and laundry service is included. Do I need to keep going? I don’t think so, although I could because there is more. I’ll just let you go to BellaGravida.com and see for yourself. 11012779_687274231373159_8235411844444194926_o

By | September 22nd, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|11 Comments

What I Wore the 2nd Trimester

From the creator of What I Wore the 1st Trimester comes the next set in the trilogy. Unfortunately, I have been very busy the last three months so unlike the first installment where I had my fancy camera and set up a little session just to feature each outfit, I have nothing like that this time.

I do have some shots of my baby bump along the way though and I thought it would be fun to look at some of my outfits from the summer. So here it is. What I Wore the 2nd Trimester.

 

what I wore the first trimester

I had the opportunity to dress up and go to the Aronoff theater and I didn’t get any decent photos other than these super grainy ones from the phone camera. It’s shame too, because who knows when I’ll do something like that again.

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I was 15 weeks here so not quite showing, but I definitely could not fit into any of my usual formal dresses so I headed off to Goodwill and was pleased to find the deal for the day was buy two dress for $6. I got this dress and the one I will share next.

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Cute from the back too, although not that comfortable to sit in through a whole production. Ahhh, the things we do for fashion.

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Here I am outlining my 19 week bump, just before finding out we were having a girl.

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This is supposed to be a dress, but no way I am ever going to wear it without pants, however I might wear it without being pregnant because it isn’t actually maternity it’s just stretchy.

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Moving forward to 24 weeks.

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Shirt/ Kohl’s- this is also not maternity, but it’s billowy enough to work if I hoist the belted area up.

Pants/ Gap Maternity.

 

If you subscribe to the Messy Mom newsletter then you have probably seen this photo.

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I was 25 weeks here (I am 30 now!).

Dress/ thrift store

Shoes/ Given to me from a  friend whose feet didn’t get along with the lack of support (they are tricky to walk in)

Necklace/ Charming Charlie and since that day I have never worn that necklace with that dress again. After seeing the photos I didn’t like the combo at all.

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That’s about it. It’s fun to highlight some of my favorites, but most of my 2nd trimester summer days were spent in a tshirt, shorts, and flip flops.

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Shirt/Motherhood (I snagged it second hand from Once Upon a Child)

Shorts/ Gap maternity. 

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I plan on taking an annoying amount of pregnant selfies in a few weeks because I have a really exciting opportunity to work with a  maternity clothing company and review some of their stuff. I can’t wait to share more!

I potentially have only two months left before meeting the baby. It’s so hard to believe. I have tons emotions going on right now, but most of them are all goooood.

By | September 15th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

Behind the Scenes of the New Messy Mom Video

 

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Baby Face

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Baby Hand

Last week I had my 20 week ultrasound. Everything went great. The baby is healthy. I’m right on track with measurements. The kids enjoyed seeing the baby on the monitor and yes, we did find out the gender.

I texted my brother from the doctor’s office to announce the news and tell him I had a gender reveal video that I wanted to try to put together as soon as possible. He was on board and days later he and my sister in law came out to turn my idea into reality.

Some of you may remember last time we did this (back in March).

That video was obviously scripted whereas this next one (which I have not seen any of yet), is totally just documenting the moment.

I can’t share too much because I don’t want to blow the secret, but we used paint to make the announcement.

 

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This was the first drawing on my story board. Don’t critique it! It’s just a really quick sketch to get the idea across and that’s just about all I can show you other than this photo of set up

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and the two paint cans

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and here we are getting ready for some fun.

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I can’t wait to share our news with everyone!!! It is an honor to have my brother help out with this project. He has a busy schedule and he literally travels the world shooting films and commercials. Yet, he and his wife jump in with both feet to make a short film for their new nephew… or niece. Ha! Just kidding. I’m not telling.

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That’s my brother in the orange jacket on set in Iceland. Photo Credit: Paper Lantern Productions 

 

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Here he is wearing some kind of gear that I don’t know the name of. Photo Credit: Drive Media House

 

Subscribe to my youtube channel so that you know exactly when we release the video. The big reveal is just days away!

By | July 17th, 2015|Creativity, Pregnancy & Birth|2 Comments

The BIG Ultrasound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t believe the pregnancy is already half way over.

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I am feeling well. I still get a little nauseous from time to time, but it’s definitely on the decline. The acid reflux is just barely starting to make short little unwanted visit. Boo. For the most part I feel fantastic though.

I am to the point that I feel the baby moving now and it won’t be long before the kids and J will be able to. We  have our FIRST ultrasound on Monday.

Quick poll for anyone who has had a baby in the past decade or so.

Did you have more than one ultrasound?

At my first appointment they said that if they were unable to detect a heartbeat at the beginning then they would, but that wasn’t an issue so they just went ahead with the exam and didn’t schedule a sonogram until 20 weeks. This is a first for me. I usually had one early on where you can see the tiny little bean inside and then a second at the halfway point.

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With that said, I’m excited to see the baby on the black and white monitor for the first time. This is always an emotional moment for me. Of course I want reassurance that the baby is healthy and everything is coming along fine and I am definitely anxious about finding out the gender!

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Most people are guessing that it is a girl. The pattern so far has been boy, girl, boy… So it seems a girl would fit right in with our current rhythm. However, I have had some STRONG boy vibes. So much so that I was worried about psyching myself out if I was wrong. I didn’t want the baby to feel like I don’t want a girl if that’s what I’m having!

It’s just that we have a boy name picked out already and the baby would be 3 years apart from Ezie  (whereas he/she will be 6 years apart from SJ) so I can picture the boys playing well together and being in school together. Another reason maybe that I was the only girl with 3 brothers in my family so I know what to expect with that.

On the flip side, if I am wrong and it’s a girl there are lots of things to look forward to with that. I was sorting through their stash of costumes the other day and I thought about all of the princess clothes that SJ would be grown out of before you know it and I have so many more little girl party ideas that I won’t even get to throw if I don’t have another girl. There is also dividing up rooms and the convenience of an even number of boys and girls per room.

I’m rambling out loud, but needless to say it’s a win-win regardless of whether the baby is a boy or girl. I am still really anxious to find out so that I can hit up the yard sales and also clear out some of the old stuff we won’t need anymore depending on what the gender is.

Did any of you other mamas feel like you knew what you were having? 

 

By | July 3rd, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|2 Comments

Ten Pregnancy Symptoms I Had Before I Took the Test

I have so much suppressed details to write about this pregnancy. Three months into it and I have not blogged about any maternity stuff, other than the announcement. That might not sound like a big deal, but I have a chronic case of documentia. It’s a disorder that I made up to label my impulse to document everything.

So I do plan to catch up on all the first trimester updates, but let’s just start with how I knew I was pregnant.

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First of all I was not expecting to be pregnant. Here is the TMI version of the story.

I don’t do birth control pills or anything like that. I did once when I was a newly wed and have decided against it for the past 14 years due to personal medical reasons. However, we were trying NOT to get pregnant through every NFP (natural family planning) method in the book. Now some of you might laugh and say “Yeah, that NFP stuff is a joke and it never works”, but let me repeat I have not been on birth control for 14 years and the three children that I have were not accidents. Let’s just say we had a good system going. At one point at the beginning of this year we discussed the idea of having another child soon. Except we decided it wasn’t good timing and we wanted to wait a bit to be completely ready. From that point on though I will admit to being a little more laid back with charting and all that. It’s not the first time I have taken the casual-trust-my-gut approach to NFP. However, it is the first time it resulted in an unexpected pregnancy.

I knew pretty early on what we were in for. I made this list on March 23 (which would have made me almost 5 weeks pregnant). I even titled it-

“Am I Pregnant?”

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1. Weird Dreams

2. Fatigue

3. Late period

My period used to be all over the place so this one isn’t that big of indicator for me, but I was expecting to start any day.

4. Nausea

5. Ear problems

This is something I commonly struggle with when I am pregnant. That is part of the reason I had to go to the Doctor recently.

6. Forgetfulness

Not that I want to attribute everything I do to pregnancy, but there have been some CRAZY mix ups. I feel like I am in such a fog.

7. Insomnia

I knew when I woke up at 3:30 am hungry and unable to sleep that something was definitely up.

8. Metallic taste

During those first few weeks I had a slight metallic taste in my mouth. Which was probably the biggest indicator.

9. Numb Arm

My right arm had a lingering numbness to it. It’s not even a pregnancy symptom I have ever felt in the past, but when I looked it up, sure enough, it’s a pregnancy symptom.

10. Gas

Bloating and intestinal issues. Bleh.

From there the list just grew and was of course later confirmed through a pregnancy test. Even though it was kind of a tough first trimester I considered all the symptoms a blessing because it was a constant reminder that this was real. I knew it probably meant I was having a very normal healthy pregnancy.

Did any of you other mamas have tell tale signs when you were expecting? Did you know right off the bat, or were you oblivious for the longest time like those women on the show I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant? Just kidding, don’t even get me started on all that craziness!

By | May 21st, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|8 Comments