This family looks a little different from the last time I saw them, soothing their newborn and settling into a new, strange life rhythm. Coleman is now an intelligent, vivacious, wildly curious kid, and I’m so impressed with the individual he’s become! I still see that newborn in him, though, and won’t ever forget seeing him for the first time in the hospital, his parents both stunned and thrilled, having birthed him unexpectedly at home. I think he showed the world even as a newborn that nothing could stop him from drinking life in, from exploring, and from inspiring others to come along, too! He’s going to show his baby sister the world, and I know they’ll have the most unimaginable adventures together!
When I arrived, they were cutting fresh flowers and enjoying this gorgeous day, clearly settling into parenthood full of joy. Daddy played piano throughout the session to sooth his babes as I worked… what a treat! I must mention that sweet Gracie (in the long, blond hair), is clearly still their baby!
. .:: We’ve quickly stumbled upon the anniversary of Elias’ birth, and as time has flown, so has he grown. I feel so blessed to have been a small part of Elias’ birth day. I’ll never forget Tiffanie’s warm, welcoming embrace upon my arrival at the hospital, her tireless determination to do everything in her power to keep those contractions coming, her delightful dancing and always positive spirit, joking with hubby between contractions, Elias’ abrupt and startling entrance into the world, and their insistence that I hold that tiny, perfect soul before I left them. But enough from me, now. Enjoy his momma’s beautiful account, below. ::. .
Doula in training: Hayley Mazula
My son, Elias,
Today is your First Birthday and as I am reflecting on how quickly this year has seemed to pass and perusing photos from your birth, my heart yearns to share with you about the day you joined us earth side.
I believe that you are a "way maker", and that you are destined for greatness, Elias. Your story of birth is beautiful and cherished, as are you. The name Elias translates "The Lord is my God" and is a form of the name, Elijah. Your name carries strength and blessing my son, and you have brought strength and blessing to our home in more ways than you may ever know...although I hope that someday, you will know, and I will always do my best to convey it as well as I can!
Let me tell you about how you arrived on this earth.
We had a normal and healthy pregnancy all the way to the day you and God decided you guys were going to call the shots instead of letting mama stick to her plans. ;)
It was the 5th day after your "due date" and I had gone to the Boulder Birth Center that morning to have a check up done to make sure you were not under any stress. Since it was 5 days past the day everyone thought you might come, it was a good idea to keep an eye on everything and make sure you were safe and mommy was safe. At this appointment, the sweet midwives hooked up a monitoring device to my tummy to help us hear your heartbeat and see how you were doing in there. You were moving a little bit slowly and seemed a little sleepy so mommy drank some juice to wake you up a bit. You still were pretty sleepy after a while and the midwives recommended that I head over to the hospital to do an ultrasound where we could see you better and also so we could measure how much amniotic fluid was present. (That's the name for the baby waterbed that I'll tell you about when you look at these pictures with me for the first time.)
I was a little stressed out about finding an appointment time because they said the only time they could see me was in the afternoon. I knew I needed to pick up your sister from school in the afternoon. I asked the midwives if they would call me if the hospital came up with anything open sooner and I walked toward the door to go home. As I was leaving, they called after me, "Wait!! They can see you right now!!! Just go straight over!" Yes!!! I got excited and exclaimed, "Yes!! Everything always works out for me!" and I drove to the hospital.
They got me in and did the ultrasound right away and it turned out that the amniotic fluid in my uterus was actually very very low, and it was not safe to let you stay put any longer. So, they told me I needed to go upstairs to the labor and delivery department where the babies get to be born and that I would not be able to go home, or to go to the Birth Center to deliver you (like we had been planning to do.) I was very shaken up and I called your daddy right away and told him what was happening. I was very sad because I had gotten to know the midwives at the Birth Center all through the journey of your growth in my tummy and I had my heart set on having one of them help you come earth-side.
After I talked with daddy on the phone, the nurses sent me upstairs to the hospital Labor and Delivery area and I got checked into a room. It was room 327! This was the same room your big brother was born in! And when your sister was born, she came at 3:27 in the afternoon! I loved that little connection. The nurse that was helping me hooked up a monitor to my belly so we could listen to your heart and make sure you were still happy and safe in my tummy as I waited for daddy to arrive. He had been at work since it was a Thursday. I called our doula, Hayley and she said she was going to bring me some lunch and come over right away.
Eventually daddy and Hayley both arrived and there was discussion about what we would do in order to help you come out to meet us. I knew that I wanted to deliver you without the help of any medicines and so we all agreed that since I was not in labor yet, we would try all the things we could to get labor started naturally. A midwife came and we started the process that eventually brought you out to meet everyone. You and I danced, exercised, walked up and down the halls, put on oils, and used the breast pump to help stimulate contractions. We did this for hours and hours on end until finally, we all decided it was time to break my water the rest of the way. This would hopefully encourage a more regular pattern of labor in order to bring you out.
As soon as we did this, I knew you would be here soon. It was like you were pushing your own way along the birth canal now. You were ready! I was ready! Everyone was ready! I sat on the birthing ball at the end of the bed for a short while and then decided I needed to try to use the restroom a final time before you made your debut. I hobbled to the bathroom with the help of daddy and Hayley. We were not in there very long and on the way back to the bed, which was a very short distance, I felt you making your way out. We had planned to have me get into the bed and lay down on my side when it was time to push but we had only reached the corner of the bed when I said, "He's coming!!!" There was no time to get into the bed because you were coming to meet us NOW. Standing up, right there at the edge of the bed with daddy holding me by one arm and Hayley holding me by the other, I groaned and pushed 3 times and delivered you into the hands of our midwife and nurses. It was like time stopped. The experience was very surreal and I'll never forget how ecstatically happy I was to finally hold you in my arms. We cozied up in the bed together, let your cord stop pulsing, and then daddy cut it for you. You were tiny and perfect and weighed 6 lbs, 8 oz. Your hair was dark and your sweet tiny fingers curled and uncurled, feeling their way around. The midwife and nurses were working on helping mommy's body and so we snuggled and adored one another for a good hour, if I recall correctly. It may have been even longer. During this time, you nursed for the first time and you took to it so easily. We put some Frankincense on your back and laughed and talked and cherished you.
Eventually it was time for you to have a check up to measure you, weigh you, and make footprints for your hospital records. Mommy ate some breakfast while the nurses and the pediatrician checked you over and then daddy got to hold you for a while too. The nurses moved us into a different hospital room where we stayed for a couple of days to recover a little bit and the whole time you slept and nursed like a pro. You were taking to life outside the womb like a champ. While we were there, you were visited by some different doctors and nurses and also your brother, sister, and grandma. You charmed us all and you have continued to do that every day since.
It is with great joy and love in my heart that I celebrate you today, my son. You are cherished beyond measure and loved beyond words.
Happy Birthday sweet boy.
I’m so excited to introduce to you my dear friend and partner, Kim! Kim has been my backup photographer for years, but in September 2017, we started working together in a more consistent and formal capacity. We mentored together tirelessly and aligned our shooting and editing styles meticulously.
Kim continues to work as a backup photographer for birth clients, offering ultimate peace of mind for such an unscheduled and dynamic event that birth truly is.
Kim is also a talented maternity photographer, and incredibly gifted with newborns. She makes them feel so calm and comfortable… she is truly a baby whisperer!
All of the gorgeous images featured below were captured by Kim!
. .:: As this child’s birthday approaches, I’m reminded, once again, that I’m totally off my blogging game. I’ve loved putting together this post and thinking back on my sessions with this beautiful family. We weren’t sure whether we’d have time to squeeze in a maternity session before baby girl’s birth, but I was so delighted when it worked out! I about froze them to death for certain, but enjoyed the cool quiet air, most sound dampened by the snow, interrupted only by our laughter. They were great sports!
This surrogacy journey was brimming with little miracles throughout, small things that blessed my heart, particularly as I’ve been struggling with infertility myself. I’m so excited to share this journey with you, and this is just the beginning. Don’t miss their birth film in the Gallery! ::. .