A Story of Gratitude & Redemption - Alyssa's Birth Story

Killian's birth was an emotional one! More emotional than any birth I have had the pleasure of documenting! It all began when I met Bruce, Alyssa, and Vallory during our initial consultation and heard their back story. They were so excited for this baby and to have their story captured for a number of reasons. First, Bruce told me that due to some unfortunate circumstances, he wasn't at Vallory's birth and was so excited to be at this one and to be able to support Alyssa. Second, they were excited to have Vallory (age 6) at the birth to witness her sibling being brought into the world. Third, there was some postpartum trauma, which added another level to the emotion of the night!

You can read Alyssa's birth story in her own words below.

Killian's Birth Story
7 lbs, 15 oz
Saturday, April 20th 2019 @1:50am

Labor began on a rainy evening on Good Friday. I had gone in to have my membranes swept earlier that day. Afterwards, we went to Discovery Place in Charlotte, and were watching a movie in the IMAX Theatre when I began to have early labor signs and downloaded a contraction app to help me track them. We tried to figure out if we should stay in Charlotte or go home to Indian Trail- we called my midwife and she said to go home and rest. It felt ominous outside to me as we headed home while my contractions got more intense and real. My mind started going more inward to sustain the process and I knew it wouldn't be long because Vallory came fast! We were home for maybe 2 hours and I knew it was time to go to Baby + Co! Bruce started to get more excited/nervous and we were all nervously laughing because we knew it was going to be a LONG night. Little did we know how long it would be with my postpartum complications!

Both of my births were unmedicated, but my first birth with Vallory was in a hospital setting, so I was excited to be in a beautiful birth center. The different setting really made a big difference in how our delivery felt. My midwife was so supportive and calm. I also loved that we chose to have Vallory there, as her presence was sweet and kept a light energy in the room that I needed. And seeing her expressions as her brother was being born was priceless. What I remember most when I think back to my birth is Bruce being my strength when I felt I had run out. I remember gripping him and feeling at the end of myself, but him being there for me gave me a feeling of joy and hope and excitement for this new chapter together. It really helped me push through (no pun intended)! Killian was born at 1:50am Saturday morning. All I could think about wow beautiful he was! He felt so warm and sweet. I was admittedly anxious and wanted to make sure he was okay, but he looked right at us when he emerged from the water like he was so happy to meet us. <3

After Killian was born, I had a bad hemorrhage due to placenta accreta and required a blood transfusion. That was definitely not in our plan. The trauma was difficult to work through, so I felt worn out all the time, breastfeeding was/is a challenge and painful...basically everything was harder this second time around. But this baby was our redemption child for our marriage. I think it almost makes sense as we have struggled so much to become a family again, that this process wouldn’t be easy either- but just as worth it. It almost took my life and surviving it has left me which such an extra layer of gratitude for my life and my family. I’m so, so happy to be here and experience life with the people I love, as well as be able to care for my new baby, because at one point my mind wondered who would take care of him if I was gone. But he's here, we are all healthy and happy, and my family is complete!

Thomas Fresh 48 & Lifestyle Newborn Session | Charlotte Birth Photographer

One of the perks of my job is that I get to watch my client’s families grow. I met Amy, Scott and Emma last fall when they hired me to do a family session. When I found out Amy was pregnant, I suggested we schedule the session as far out as we could so that we could do a combo family/maternity session. It would also give us time to let the foliage peak. I loved this session because I felt like I got to really capture the essence of this family — close knit, laid back, and fun!

I was pleasantly surprised (and honored!) when Amy reached out close to her due date to ask if I would do a Fresh 48 and Lifestyle Newborn session for them. That’s where I met brand new little miss Sadie and this new close knit family of FOUR! I can’t wait to work with this family in the future so I can see them grow some more!

Birth Story of Baby Brycen Hayes | Charlotte Birth Photographer

I was invited to my first home birth when Sam was pretty far along in her pregnancy (37 weeks). I met her at a coffee shop a few days later so that we could meet each other in person, discuss how her pregnancy was progressing and review her birth plan. During our consult I learned that this was Sam's second baby (big brother Oakland was almost 2 years old) and she had had an unmedicated first birth at a local birth center. Her labor was long and hard and I could tell that she was already unsure if she could do it again, but the fact that she had powered through a long, hard, unmedicated birth the first time around told me just how strong she was! 

I got the call three weeks later at 5:30 in the morning that Sam had gone into labor and was 5cm dilated. When I arrived at the house I was surprised to see 3 midwives, 1 doula and Sam's husband, Tate, there. It was a full house filled with beautiful birth support! It had been ~90 minutes since I got that first call, and by the time I arrived, Sam had progressed to 9cm dilated...where she stayed for 4 hours! She handled each contraction like a champ and got into a rhythm in between where she would do a lap around the house and then go directly into the arms of Tate, her doula, or one of her midwives for someone to hold onto while she contracted. 

Sam wanted to have a water birth, her doula had told me earlier that she labored better out of the tub during her first birth, and as luck would have it, that stayed true for birth #2. When her labor were getting really intense, Sam decided to go into her birthing tub to deliver. But again, the contractions weakened a bit and her doula and midwives suggested that she change positions. She tried a few and then decided to stand and that's where she remained until her baby was born. This warrior mama gave birth squatting. She was incredible and birthed her baby beautifully. 

Baby Brycen Hayes was born at 11:51, weighed 8 lbs 8 oz, and was 21.5 inches long. Welcome to the world Hayes and congratulations Sam, Tate, and Oakland! Thank you for letting me capture this once in a lifetime moment for you!