Sabrina Fields Photography » Photographer of New Beginnings

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My Paris

If you’ve ever connected with a city, it becomes more than just a destination or a place you play tourist.  A place most likely becomes “yours” over time, with many experiences, lots of memories, and some kind of life change.  I know that last part sounds a little drastic, but when significant things in your life happen, it marks you!

Since I’ve been visiting Paris for the last two decades (holy mercy, that’s a long time), a LOT has changed.  And Paris looks a lot different through the eyes of a married wedding photographer who has two baby girls than it did through the eyes of a young high school girl.  Not to mention all the stages of life in between!

So if you’ve wondered why I love Paris so much, it’s because in a way I’ve grown up there even though I’ve never actually lived there.  Not only that, but my photography has grown up there too!  I love looking back to see how my work has changed since I first went with my little 35mm point and shoot in high school to the professional DSLR I use now.

It’s taken me 5 months to finish editing our Paris photos from our trip last November.  And I feel like I’ll be using these photos for all kind of things in the years to come.  So enjoy seeing some of my favorite places in my favorite city :-)

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Paris architecture always gets me.  It’s so old and still so beautiful!

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We landed in Paris on All Saints Day (November 1) and they were having mass all day and evening at Notre Dame.  We didn’t stay for an entire service, but it was still amazing to witness pieces of it.

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My favorite thing we’ve done these last two trips to Paris is to rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel.  No, there isn’t anyone to make our bed each morning, but it gives us a chance to pretend like we’re locals!  Plus, again, the architecture!

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It was such a tiny little studio that the loft “bedroom” actually had half a glass floor to not make the entire space feel so small.  Those stairs next to the kitchen went up to the bedroom and the black square you see through the floor under the bed was the tiny little bathroom.  But again, it was perfect for what we needed and it felt much more like home than a hotel would have.

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I have this thing for carousels in Paris.  As in, I can’t get enough of them!

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Oh the color!

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Ever since I was little, I’ve heard about older Parisian gentlemen playing boule in the sand.  So running into these men and chatting with them for a minute (because that’s all the French I had!), they said it was ok if I took some photos of them.  It was just a few minutes, but this was one of the highlights of our trip for me! :-)

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We didn’t get to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe on our honeymoon so we tried again and y’all…
the sunset this time around was WELL worth the 5 year wait!

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It was just so pretty!!

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The city becomes more magical as the sun sets and the lights illuminate the city.

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I’d taken a photo just like this back in college and wanted another one this time around…
but I never thought I’d get an empty stairwell!

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My favorite bridge in the entire city is Pont Alexandre III.  I’m just in awe of the elegance that has lasted since 1900!

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But that morning light though…!

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We actually went to the bridge at this time of morning to see what the light might be like for our sunrise session the next day.
And I fell even more in love!

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This was a random house boat on the Seine, but I just loved it.

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As I mentioned in THIS POST, our friend Joel met us in Paris… so he’s in several photos.  And he’s the reason Ben and I have any photos together at all!

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It took us several tries to get this, but all 3 of us finally nailed it :-)

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That night, we went on a dinner cruise for our 5th anniversary and Joel joined us :-)  He was one of Ben’s best men in the wedding and we loved sharing that first day with him AND the fifth anniversary of that day with him!

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Again, because of Joel, we have a non-cheese photo of us at dinner together!

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Our last day in Paris began with a sunrise session that you can see HERE.  The light that morning was GORGEOUS!

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I know I already shared photos of the bridge, but this was a different day so it’s completely different, right?? :-)

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We finished the session in Montmartre and then wandered from there.  It’s my favorite area of Paris to get lost in.

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But first, some more photos :-)

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I played the violin until I was in college and am so in love with this portrait…
I wish I’d gotten his information so I could send this to him.

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On our honeymoon, we went to this fallafel place and definitely wanted to go back!
We waited in line for 40 minutes, but it was worth it.

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Plus… that light!!

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The last thing we did was something I’d never done before.  We wandered around Île Saint-Louis.  I’d read it was picturesque and I wanted a new place to explore… and it did not disappoint!

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Plus, I’d never seen this view of Notre Dame before.

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And succulents!!!

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This was just before we left for the airport at a crazy early hour.  But I wanted a photo of us in our apartment and this was our last chance.  A lot has happened and changed in the last five years, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.  And I especially wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anyone else.

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You can see our other Paris posts HERE.

Spring Family Mini-Sessions

I know.  I never thought I’d jump back into family sessions either.  Nor did I think I’d make my way out of maternity leave this early.  But God is funny that way, doing things that we don’t expect and showing us it’s another way to trust Him.

Saturday came with bright blue skies (praise!) and beautiful morning light.  20 minutes was just the right amount of time for the little ones but not enough time for me to hang out with their parents :-)

This doesn’t mean I’ll be doing family sessions on a regular basis, but just maybe it can be a one time a year thing :-)  Plus, it was really fun to see several of my past brides and grooms, birth families and some friends that I hadn’t had a chance to photograph before!

And, if you didn’t know I was doing these at all, it’s time to sign up for the newsletter!  You can do that HERE.  I promise not to spam your inbox, but it will be the best way to keep up with all things related to Sabrina Fields Photography :-)

And just for proof that these mini sessions happened, here’s a peek at some of the photos.  Happy Tuesday!

We photographed Crystal and Eric’s wedding several years ago.  Then, at Eric’s brother’s wedding, Crystal and I were both pregnant with our first kiddos.  Now, I have two little girls and Crystal is pregnant with their second!

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1. THAT LIGHT!  2. Laughter from children is one of the most wonderful sounds on earth.

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Hudson and I first met when he was barely 15 minutes old :-)

 

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But his mom and I met when we lived across the courtyard from each other in college!  Lee and Tyler, I love this one of you two!

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Oh, this family is precious.  It’s the first time I’ve met all of their kiddos, but Jodi mentored me in college and I still remember going to hers and Brad’s wedding.  I was so excited when I saw her email come through that they’d booked a session!

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Mercy, y’all know how I love daddy’s and their little girls.  This makes me happy and teary all at the same time!

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Y’all know these faces :-)  Amy and Andrew, I always love seeing you and getting to see Reece again was a highlight of my day!

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This is Amy’s brother and sister-in-law.  I actually did some maternity photos of them the day after Reece was born and 1 week before I had Isa :-)  So getting all 6 of these amazing people in front of my camera on Saturday was so much fun!

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Besides, these two cousins together are just precious!

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Kathy actually grew up right down the street from me in Spartanburg… one of her older brothers and my brother are still best friends but I’m not even sure of the last time I saw their family in person.
Kathy, it was amazing to see you and hug your neck and to meet your sweet little family!!

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How do you get an almost 3 year old to cooperate for photos?  Have him run some of that energy out!

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And then let him have a break to get some photos of just mom and dad :-)

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I Haven’t Forgotten About the Blog!

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If I thought blogging with one baby was difficult, it’s been almost impossible with two little ones (so bless you work-at-home-mamas with more than two kiddos!).  I KNOW it’s ok if I don’t blog as much right now.  But the truth is that I really enjoy it.  

The other thing I’ve really wanted to do is edit and blog our Paris photos since we came home in November, but that keeps taking a back seat too.  Most days, if there are a few spare moments, I either choose to nap if both girls are napping or I end up cleaning something (the kitchen, folding laundry, etc.).

Clearly things will be changing soon as my wedding season starts up at the end of the month, but I feel like it’s a good sign that I really miss my job!  And once I start shooting regularly again, I’ll miss my girls when I’m gone and be that much more excited to see them when I come home.  So really, it’s good for all of us to have a balance :-)

I just wanted to pop in and say I haven’t forgotten about the blog and that I WILL be back at it soon.  Thanks to those who do keep coming by to check on things though!  I promise to be back to more of a semi-regular schedule soon!

2017 Shoot & Share Contest

Please forgive me… it’s been over two weeks since I last posted and this has probably been the longest I’ve gone in between posts since we went on our two week honeymoon over 5 years ago!  I keep telling people that we’re still in survival mode, but Isabella is 6 weeks old.  Surely I’ll be coming out of this fog soon… right? :-)

One of the things that helped me get through the first few weeks of her life and those multiple middle of the night feedings was the annual Shoot & Share photo contest.  It was the same thing that helped me through Catherine’s newborn days and part of me was really sad when voting was over because what was I going to do now??

I won’t go into the full history of Showit and PASS and Shoot & Share, but let’s just say that I’ve been with all of them for a good bit of time now and I completely believe in all of them.  The Shoot & Share contest started in 2014 and I’ve entered every year.  And each year the photos just get better and better.  It’s a free contest open to anyone from anywhere in the world and each person can enter up to 50 photos.  This year there were 25 categories you could enter photos into so I submitted 50 images into 13 different categories.

Once the voting is open, anyone can vote.  Kids, teens, adults, senior citizens, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve ever held a camera or not!  If you can operate a computer, you can vote.  The way it works is that four images from one category pop up at a time.  You choose your favorite of the four and then four more pop up.  This literally keeps going forever, which quickly and easily causes an addiction… the best part is that no names or logos or any photographer information is associated with the photos so you aren’t voting for the photographer (as many contests end up being popularity contests), you’re voting for JUST the image.  So it’s 100% fair!

Each year, I learn lots of different things as I spend hours upon hours voting.  And 2017 was no different.  So, since I love some bullet points, here are the lessons I learned from this year’s contest:

  • If succulents are in a ring shot, there’s a 99% chance I’m going to vote for it.
  • Cotton fields must be a new thing because there were so many photos in cotton fields!  So beautiful!
  • Wanderlust was by far my favorite category… give me all the castles, water scenes and colorful European buildings!
  • I really want to spend more time with the groom on a wedding day.  There were some incredible shots of these guys and it’s as much their day as it is the bride’s.  And I really don’t think my brides would mind some epic shots of their men :-)
  • I want and need to change how I shoot first dances.  I’ve become stagnant in where I stand and what I capture (none of which is bad!), but I’m realizing I want to be more creative than I have been in the past.
  • It’s been on my To-Do list for ages but I REAAAALLLLY want to get a styled shoot together.  But I need to figure out the WHY behind doing it so that it’s more than just a reason to get some pretty photos. I think once I figure that part out, then I’ll have an easier time making it happen.
  • Naked babies are the cutest thing in the world.  That is all.
  • Photos with people genuinely laughing will always bring a smile to my face!  Which is why I love capturing those for my own couples :-)
  • Older couples who have been together for decades actually cause my heart to grow.  It’s a fact.
  • I’ve already started a list of photos to enter into the 2018 contest.  It’s never too early to start preparing!

So, which of my photos did I enter?  Well, I’m not going to post all 50, but I will share the ones that made it into at least the top 30% of their categories.  I’m always so excited to see any of my images do well because it still reflects back to my couples who allow me to do what I love!  So, it’s fun for me to see their memories rewarded too!

I SCREAMED when I saw this one won 4th place!  Never in a million years did I expect any image to do so well!!  This was from Brandon and Colleen’s Clemson wedding and I’m still so excited!  There were 7,635 photos entered into the Details: Cake, Flowers & Decor category and this one won 4th!  Ahh!

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And this dreamy trike with its basket of flowers from Amy & Andrew’s Charleston wedding?  It was in the Top 100 of the same category!  What?!?  So exciting!

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Images that were named “Finalists” made it to the last round (Round 12) of the contest.
This year THREE of my photos were Finalists!

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To give you an idea of how much this contest has grown, in 2015, the “Details: Ring Shot” category had 3,170 photos entered and one of my images made it to 22nd place.  I was THRILLED!!  In 2017, there were 8,304 photos submitted to the Ring Shot category (yes, it almost tripled!), so to have one of my photos make it to the final round in this category was amazing!!

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I’m telling you, if no other of my photos had gotten past the first round besides the one that was 4th place, it wouldn’t have mattered.  Even if none of my photos had placed at all, it wouldn’t have mattered because I do what I do for my couples, not to win contests.

But to have several be in the top 10%, 20% and 30% of their categories was so much fun!  I’m telling you… my couples keep upping their game and I am so excited to keep documenting memories for them!  If 2016 was this incredible, I can’t WAIT to see what 2017 holds!

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Isabella Grace’s Birth Story

I’d really hoped to have this posted before Isabella turned a month old (today), but having a newborn and a toddler at home makes things a little more tricky for getting things done.  I know I’m supposed to sleep when they’re sleeping (which is a small 1.5-2 hour window each day – if I’m lucky!), but let’s face it, that’s possibly happened once in the last month.  I finally had a chance to edit the images for this post (don’t ask me about the rest of them!) and am taking today’s nap time to write everything down.  So, here it goes…

When Catherine was born, I did almost everything short of drinking castor oil to get labor started!  In the end, my water broke the day before her due date and even though I’d progressed to 7cm in about 22 hours, she still wasn’t showing signs of dropping into the birth canal so instead of trying to keep going, we opted for a c-section and she was born the morning of her due date!  You can read her birth story HERE.

Because of all of that, my doctor said there was an 80% chance that my body would do the same thing with any other pregnancies so around 28 weeks, we scheduled Isabella’s c-section for February 21 at 1pm with Dr. DuBose.  I would be 39 weeks and 1 day when she was born.  It was all set and I was excited that we had a plan! No waiting around hoping and praying labor would start, no walking stairs countless times to try and get her to drop, no eating pineapple or spicy foods unless I just really wanted them :-)  Ben’s parents were going to fly in from Paraguay the week before, we would celebrate Catherine’s 2nd birthday, then have a couple more days as a family of 3 before meeting Isa (pronounced Ee-sa).

I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a good bit of this pregnancy, which actually scared me enough to say quite often that I really hoped she would stay put until February 21!  But I never thought too much of it because we had several things planned and scheduled for the last weeks leading up to her scheduled birthday.  But by the weekend of the Super Bowl, things started getting a little more intense.

Some friends had planned a small evening out at the Melting Pot for me on Friday, February 3.  In the hour it took to drive there and be seated, I’d had about 8 contractions.  They weren’t coming at timely intervals and they were still just Braxton Hicks (or so I thought) so while I was concerned, I wasn’t worried.  Especially after they calmed down and eventually stopped.  Saturday was fairly uneventful and I even went up to the hospital to see a friend and her baby who was in the NICU and get some photos for her.  I went home and we went back out for dinner and gelato with friends that night.  Sunday morning we went to church as usual and came home for lunch and to figure out what we wanted to eat while watching the Super Bowl that night.

I have photos of us hanging out with Catherine (mostly with me on the couch because I was editing to get some work done and my “Braxton Hicks” were starting to pick up so I was trying to take it easy) and her in my lap while I was editing.  I love it even more now since it’s the last one I have of the two of us before Isa came!  Ben went to the store and started getting food ready for the evening, I kept editing (after a wedding, a birth, and a maternity session the weekend before, there was plenty to be working on!), and around 7:30 or so, we put Catherine to bed.

We watched the game and I started keeping count of my contractions.  I was still convinced they were Braxton Hicks even though some of them were starting to get really painful.  There was just NO way they could be real contractions.  I was 36 weeks and 6 days along, we still had two weeks and a couple days before Isa was going to be born so what was there to be concerned about??  I have no idea how far apart these contractions were because I still thought they were Braxton Hicks, so I was only counting the number of contractions I was having, not how far apart they were.  So by midnight, I called the on-call nurse to ask about it because I’d had between 6 to 10 per hour since the football game had started.  She told me to keep counting but to go and eat some protein and drink plenty of water but if it continued for the next 3 hours, I should go to the hospital for them to check me.

So I told Ben to go to bed and get some sleep (just in case) and I stayed up to eat a spinach salad with grilled chicken, some cheese and almonds (I tried finding ALL the protein we had in the house!), drink water and I attempted to keep working.  By about 2:30am I’d been having at least 10 contractions an hour so I woke Ben up asking if he thought we should go to the hospital… but when I woke him up, he didn’t even realize that it was after 2am!  He was thinking that he’d only been asleep for about 20 minutes :-)

TIME OUT – I’d had the thought over the weekend that we should go ahead and pack our bags for the hospital, just in case.  I’d also mentioned to Ben that we should go ahead and install the carseat, just in case.  But with several photo sessions to edit, I chose to keep working through the weekend instead of getting those things ready.  Because we still had PLENTY of time!!

So at 2:42am, I called my mom to ask her to come stay with Catherine while we went to the hospital to get me checked out.  We threw a few things into a bag (just in case this was really happening) and I got my camera and a few lenses ready (again, just in case!).  Before mom arrived, I walked into Catherine’s room and laid my hand on her while she slept.  I resisted the urge to pick her up and rock her for a bit because that would have woken her up and she doesn’t do well being woken up, especially in the middle of the night.  But I laid my hand on her chest, told her I loved her and cried because that was possibly the last time she was going to be our only child!

Even on the way to the hospital, Ben and I were sure that they would send us home after monitoring me for a while.  There were so many things happening that week too!  The next day I had a newborn session to photograph as well as MY maternity photos that afternoon (hair & make-up and flower crowns for Catherine and me), on Tuesday the ladies at crossfit were throwing a diaper shower for me, Wednesday was the volunteer sale for the BIG consignment sale in Greenville (and I really needed some summer clothes for Catherine!) and then I was going to spend the next week finishing up work and finally getting Isa’s nursery ready (it needed a second coat of paint and the furniture needed to be pulled out of their boxes and the crib had to be assembled!).

We calmly walked up to the 6th floor of Greenville Memorial and I stopped to take a quick restroom break… and to also take this selfie because I was indeed a little annoyed :-)

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After changing into a gown and getting hooked up to the blood pressure and heart monitor machines, we waited.  We texted a few more friends who wouldn’t see anything until the morning’s regular hours, we talked, and Ben held my hand during the really rough contractions.  At one point I looked over at the paper spilling out of the machine that was monitoring my contractions and I knew they were way too regular for us to be going home.  And when the nurse came back in about 45 minutes after we’d gotten there, I knew it before she said it, “You’re going to have a baby today!”

And I burst into tears!  At that point, they were mostly tears of pure shock because I could NOT believe that this baby was actually going to be born 3 weeks before her real due date.  I was only 37 weeks along!  I had several friends who were past their due date and still waiting on their babies, but ours was going to be 3 weeks early?!?

Total and complete shock… but happy and so excited at the same time.

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So I was wheeled to the recovery room we’d be going into after the c-section and we began touching base with our parents and any of our friends who had actually responded to our texts.  The one call I did make was to my friend Amy Keely about coming up to take photos.  The nurses said she’d more than likely be able to come into the operating room for the entire procedure (yay!) so I texted her, then called her and left her a voicemail.  It was 5am so I kept my fingers crossed that she would wake up enough to get back to me and be able to make it up to the hospital before 6am.

The original plan was for my friend Kim DeLoach to be there for photos on February 21, but she was just getting over the flu so I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for her to be there.  And she would have been the first to tell me to try and find someone else if I HAD called her!  And the reason I called Amy was because we were going to grab coffee that very week for her to ask questions about birth photography because of friend of hers was hiring her to photograph her birth later in the spring!  So, when Amy did call me back, I asked how she felt about some “on the job training” :-)  Thankfully she was up for it and made it to the hospital in time to put one some scrubs and get a quick run down of my camera from Ben as they wheeled me back to the OR to prep me for surgery (after second shooting my last wedding with me on January 28, she’d taken her camera to the shop to have it calibrated).

I know y’all are dying to see photos, so I’ll fill in the gaps as you scroll through…

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Breathing through more contractions than I ever thought I’d have to… while c-sections were never a part of my plan, I am actually grateful that I was able to experience my water breaking with Catherine and then to experience “real” contractions with Isabella.  But even more grateful that I didn’t have to go through too many more of these because I know they only would have gotten worse.

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Amy and I had texted a few times as she was waking up, but then we decided talking on the phone would be much easier!

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And I couldn’t help it, but I did take a few photos while we were waiting… Ben took the rest until we went into the OR.

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The anesthesiologist giving me the low down on everything…

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And then Amy arrived!

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The rest of these are in the OR and in recovery… ALL thanks to Amy so that Ben could be in the photos too!  Seriously, Amy, we are so thankful you woke up so early to come and capture this day for us!

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Dr. DuBose was on call that day (she’s in the darker scrub cap), which was perfect because she was supposed to do the c-section on February 21 anyway!  Plus, February 6 was also her birthday so it was fun to celebrate her while she delivered our baby girl!

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Isabella Grace and her first breaths… she was not a happy camper.

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And we LOVE this one because Isa looks so bored!

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I’m beyond impressed that Ben stood up to look over the curtain!

IsabellaGrace-Birth-117 And as with every birth – but especially my own! – I was crying when I heard those first cries.

IsabellaGrace-Birth-118 IsabellaGrace-Birth-119 Just a few hours before this we didn’t think we’d be meeting our second daughter that day…
and now, we were laying eyes on her for the first time!

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IsabellaGrace-Birth-124 IsabellaGrace-Birth-125 This sweet nurse has been at other births that I’ve photographed so it was fun to see her before my c-section and realized that we’d worked together before!

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IsabellaGrace-Birth-135 Look at that sweet/angry little face!!

IsabellaGrace-Birth-136 IsabellaGrace-Birth-137 IsabellaGrace-Birth-138 IsabellaGrace-Birth-139 IsabellaGrace-Birth-140 It’s such a small thing, but I was SO excited when one of the nurses brought us a hat with a bow in it!!

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IsabellaGrace-Birth-146 IsabellaGrace-Birth-147 This was when the tears came all over again!

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To see more Birth Stories, click here.
For more information about me capturing your own baby’s birth or Fresh 48 Session, click here.