December 10, 2014

Chico, CA Portrait Photography::The Stewart Family

It is such a privilege to photograph such sweet families with beautiful stories. This family is doing great things with the story God is writing for them and just being with them for a short time will leave you encouraged.

Northern California is gearing up for the crazy weather but we got in just in time and the rain drops were short-lived. Thankful these guys were up for the challenge and wet weather! 

Meghan and Daniel are such loving parents and their daughter is cherished. 
 This little lady has a very sweet and silly spirit!
 This is a must have in a Fall photo session! Pure joy!!
Thank you for allowing me into your life with your sweet family! I am blessed to know you.

December 4, 2014

Brinley's Birth Story

I can't believe I have the opportunity to share another birth story. This story of our daughter's arrival is so personal and close to our hearts. We share it to not only have this time documented for our children but to share with you the beautiful story of how our baby girl was welcomed into this world. We are in awe of many things--mostly how wonderfully she is made and how great our God is. Thank you for all of your support, prayers and love throughout this pregnancy. So without further adieu, let's get on with the story!

On the morning of October 16th I started having light contractions that were fairly sporadic, lasting into the afternoon. They were not serious or consistent and I didn't want to cry wolf so all of my texts to family and friends were fairly nonchalant at this point. By 3-4pm I was feeling more consistent contractions that were about 8-10 minutes apart--thanks to the contraction counter app on my phone. :) I texted Travis a few times telling him that I needed him to come home right after work and not go study. His usual schedule is that he gets off around 4pm and studies at a coffee shop until 6pm.

At this point, my mom decided to make her way from Tahoe. We had been talking throughout the day and finally decided we thought this was going to happen. She didn't want to miss baby girl's arrival and knew that it could go much faster this time around. She is a 3.5 hour drive from Chico and I told her I needed her. :)

Brody woke up from his nap and I texted my good friend Ashley and asked if she could come help me out. She was so helpful--dropping everything and bringing her 1 year old over to come play with Brody so I could relax and labor in our bathtub. Travis got home around 5pm and after lounging around for a bit, we decided to walk to the grocery store. This is a pretty normal thing for us to do, as the grocery store shopping center is less than a mile from our home. We picked up yogurt, bananas, ice(craving it!) and milk.

Travis was still playing Mr. cool. Every time that I updated him he said things like "Oh, it could be a while" or "Good job, babe. It could still be a few days."

I had Travis use my phone to track my contractions on our walk home from the store. I'd just say "start" and he'd start the app. This is when my contractions picked up--it was around 7pm and they were now 5-6 minutes apart. I was that lady using her stroller for support and bending over the handlebar. A few walkers gave me a sympathy look as they passed. I really didn't care what I looked like at that point. Things were picking up!

My mom arrived around 8:00pm and checked me. I was dilated 3cm and 70% effaced. This wasn't great news but wasn't bad either. The day before at my Dr appt. I was 2cm and 50% effaced. My mom said that if it's true labor, I will make progress in an hour. So we decided that she would check me again in an hour and see where we stand. After about 45 minutes and contractions that got MUCH more intense after the check I told her just three more contractions and I wanted her to check me again. I was ready to go to the hospital. At this point I was 3.5 cm and 90% effaced. Progress=going the hospital ASAP.

I had told Travis to try to get some rest since my mom was here to help me so he had been sleeping in our room at this point.  At 9:15pm, I walked into our room and said "We are leaving now." He was kind of in a daze and said "Okay, let me take a quick shower." I responded with "No, I'm leaving like NOW. You can meet us there." I wasn't joking around. My mom drove me to the hospital and Travis was just a few minutes behind us.

I walked into the hospital and gave a lot of fake smiles to the people at the counter and in the hallway. Yes, I'm in labor. Yes, I'm having a contraction. No, I don't want to have small talk with you. Carry on.
We waited at the L&D desk for our triage/ "maybe baby" nurse to come get us. This seemed like it took forever. I had multiple contractions there at the desk and was struggling to keep my calm and find my happy place. We then moved into the monitoring room and I was checked again, which was MUCH more painful than when my mom checked me. The contractions in this room were the most intense. I was doing well with my breathing but my pelvis was on FIRE. The same sensation I remember with my labor with Brody.
I knew this was it. And I knew it was going to happen fast. I very nicely, yet very enthusiastically, told this nurse that I want the epidural "like yesterday". She laughed and I told her that I was dead serious and wondered if they could start my IV ASAP, preferably before I even got into my room. She said "Okay, let me go call Dr. Mellum and see what he thinks about admitting you." Um, I'm not leaving. I was having this baby soon and I knew it. I could hear her talking on the phone in the other room and when I heard that they were getting my delivery room ready, I couldn't get my shoes on fast enough. We were admitted into the hospital at 10:45pm and my love for Dr. Mellum was very evident. :)

We walked very quickly into room 4463 and got my IV hooked up. My nurse Kristi was an angel. She was not only beautiful with a great smile, but she was calm and encouraged me a lot. She also got my fluids quickly and I loved her even more! Once in this room, I had such great control with my contractions.  I was standing up, swaying from side to side, moving my hips in a circular motion, and holding on tight to the bed. I'm slightly embarrassed to share this but here it goes: I was singing Frozen's "Let it Go" in my head over and over again while I breathed through each contraction. It worked.

It was now an hour after being admitted, about 12am. My IV fluids were in and my fabulous friend Dr. Barron, who I later said "I love you" to, was here to give me my epidural. His wife is a friend of mine and I had texted her earlier in the evening with "I NEED YOUR HUSBAND!". Ha! You guys, when my legs started to tingle and feel warm, I didn't shut up about how glorious I was feeling. Seriously, I think people thought I was NUTS. I kept saying "Oh my gosh, this is sooooo good." I just had to share my praises to Dr. Barron and whoever invented the epidural. I (now) embarrassingly told him that I could kiss him.
By 12:30am, I could only feel the pressure of my contractions and no pain. I could move my legs and truly felt like I could've walked around the room. Dr. Mellum checked me and I was 7cm and my water broke. He told me that this will probably happen within the next two hours and to get some rest.
Out went the lights and we all snuggled up for some rest. One hour later, I could feel pressure. I didn't really feel the "need to poop" so we rested for about 5 more minutes. Then I figured it was time to get checked because I could feel her head VERY low. Low and behold, there she was--ready to meet us.

 Our great friend Eddie arrived at the hospital, just in time to photograph baby girl's arrival. We all joked that this was deja vu because he made it at the exact same time in my labor to photograph Brody's arrival.
Travis is one excited daddy!
 See our nurse Kristi and her gorgeous smile? She's the best!
The pushing began at 2am. I didn't feel much control with the first push--it felt like I wasn't using the strength that I remembered having with Brody. The next contraction, I got my chin to my chest better and it all came back tome. I pushed for 3 contractions total and we met our baby girl.
Brinley Madison Albini was born at 2:11am weighing 7lbs. 5oz. and 20 inches long with a full head of dark hair.
 She took our breath away.
 I got to watch her enter this world and it was so surreal. Her cord was wrapped around her neck but she came right onto my chest and reminded us so much of her big brother. She had a great big cry and then just snuggled on me for the next hour.
 My mom was able wear the gloves and deliver our baby girl. She has been able to deliver all three of her grandchildren now. We are so thankful for her and that our amazing Doctor is so gracious to allow her to be such a big part of our children's births.
Travis holding his girl for the first time...
Moving to the recovery room felt so different this time around. I (fairly) easily walked with Travis and was taking pictures as we made our way to the room where we would spend the next two nights. After Brody was born, I was nervously placed in a wheelchair to be slowly pushed to the next room--afraid of what recovery was going to be like. I'm so thankful for the easier delivery this time around!

Here is the proud daddy pushing the button that plays the nursery rhyme each time a baby is born!
I can't quite express my thankfulness for the health of my family. Children are such a precious gift and the way we have been blessed is amazing and so not deserved.

Thank you to the absolutely incredible Enloe staff. You made our experience so memorable and enjoyable.
And, once again, thank you to our friends and family who visited us in the hospital and at home--you are Jesus' hands and feet. We are humbled by your kindness and generosity and love you all very much!
These photos were taken by both Travis and our friend Eddie Wilson. Thank you Eddie for being there to photograph our daughter's birth. We are so grateful for you and your willingness to document such a special moment in our lives--We will cherish these photos for a lifetime.





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