Maggie’s Birth

Getting the honor of capturing someone’s birth story is hands-down the biggest privilege I can think of as a photographer.  Especially when it’s a family’s first baby.  And especially when it’s a fellow photographer.  So you can imagine my excitement when my dear friend, Bethany, from Paint the Sky Photography asked me to document their first baby’s birth.  Ummm, YES PLEASE!  I’ve been anticipating this day maybe with nearly as much excitement as Beth and Justin.  🙂  So on Sunday evening when I received a call from Justin, I knew it was go-time and jumped in my car to head to the hospital.  I raced there so quickly I actually arrived seconds before they did, and quickly got my camera out to document them getting all checked in.

*side note*  Why wasn’t Good Shepherd Hospital this pretty when we had our last baby?!  Awesome remodel!

Justin got her checked in while Beth tracked the consistent contractions on her phone.  Her due date was the very next day, so we were amazed at the timeliness of this little girl already!

We got up to the room quickly and got settled in.


Since it was a Sunday, Beth’s doctor wasn’t working, so she met the on-call doctor.  We instantly loved him, he had a laid-back demeanor, showed up in a polo and jeans, and had a great sense of humor.  He quickly put Beth to ease and she relaxed a bit.

The nurse, who was also awesome, started tracking her contractions and we were able to sit and listen to the baby’s heartbeat… always a peaceful, reassuring sound.

Next was time to put in Beth’s IV and her veins weren’t very cooperative.  Poor Beth already had one arm bruised from a recent IV, so she toughed out some serious pain and a couple of tries to get it in correctly.






The contractions continued.  During a contraction Beth would become quiet and serious, but as soon as it was over, she’d perk back up to her normal chatty self.

Justin was her constant companion, always by her side and tending to her every need.

In between on her her contractions, Beth was telling her nurse all about the nursery prepared for Maggie.  Justin pulled out his phone to show off his handy work and the nurse was so in awe, she grabbed the phone and asked if she could show the other nurses at the nurse station.  It is a seriously impressive room! (See a photo that Beth took below, sorry Beth- I had to steal it off your Facebook page)  🙂




See why that nurse wanted to show it off!  Amazing, right!?

O.K.- so back to the birth… Beth is ready for her epidural and her nurse lets the anesthesiologist know.

We can hardly wait for Maggie to wear her first hat for her “Fresh 48” session…

Finally the beloved epidural arrives.  Once again, Beth lucked out with a fantastic doctor that we all adored.  Friendly, kind, and funny- and delivering pain meds!  Yep, he’s a keeper!

Beth and Justin were both nervous but ready.  At this particular hospital, no one is allowed in the room during the procedure, so Justin and I headed out into the hallway to wait.

Waiting is never fun when your wife is in pain, but Justin was calm and patient.  During their birth classes, Justin actually passed out during the part of the class when they explained the epidural.  Sooooo needless to say, we were all thankful he was chillin’ in the hallway.  😉

When we came back in we found Beth all smiles and feeling better.  She was relieved that it was over and not nearly as bad as she thought it might be.

Beth’s parents and brothers were there for much of the labor, keeping her comfortable and chatting to keep her occupied.

At 9:30 Beth was at 5 centimeters dilated and her nurse wanted to see her rest for awhile.  So I headed home knowing it might be a long night so I could rest as well.  At 3:19 a.m. I got the call that she had progressed to 10 centimeters (that magic number!), so I raced back to the hospital so I wouldn’t miss a moment!  By 3:30 I was in the room and the nurse was ready to have her start pushing.

Beth’s dad headed out to the waiting room and her mom and her husband remained to cheer her on.  By this time the epidural had worn off quite a bit and Beth was scared and needing all the support she could get.

Beth pushed for about 90 minutes, with her husband never leaving her side.  She often requested ice chips and other than that, didn’t speak much.  She was incredible- so strong and worked so so hard.  Justin was so emotional watching her, it’s so hard to watch without being able to take away any of her pain.

Finally after an hour and a half, the nurse said she was ready to call in the doctor.  Glorious words for all of us to hear, we knew Miss Maggie would be here soon!!

The pain was strong, so the anesthesiologist was called in to give her some more medication to dull the pain.  It certainly didn’t take it all away, but helped bring her some comfort.

And the miraculous moment arrived at 5:16 a.m.  I’ll never ever get used to the extreme joy and relief felt when a baby is born.  It is truly amazing and like nothing else in this world.  The joy is indescribable.

Justin did so well through all of the labor, but got a little light headed as soon as Maggie was born.  So he sat for just a moment to be sure he was OK.  Thankfully he recovered quickly and was ready to cut the cord. The deep sense of peace holding your perfect baby girl for the first time.  

I followed her mom out into the hallway when she went to deliver the news to Beth’s dad.  As a mom to five daughters myself, I can’t imagine the anxiousness grandparents must feel as they wait.  After a long time alone in the lobby, he was overcome with joy to hear the great news that both his daughter and granddaughter were doing well.

Meanwhile, back in room 306, Maggie was busy getting measured and weighed.  She was incredibly calm and wide-eyed.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brand new baby so alert and peaceful!All wrapped up and placed in her daddy’s arms for the first time.Again with those amazing eyes- taking in every detail of her sweet daddy.

Beth’s parents were deliriously happy to hold their newest granddaughter and congratulate their hard working daughter.

A final thank you to the doctor and a first family portrait.Poor Beth was thirsty through all of her delivery and couldn’t wait to “chug a lemonade”.  So as soon as she could, she was happy to have her cup of lemonade while Grandma got a turn to hold Miss Maggie.
I was continuously amazed at how intently Maggie stared at everyone holding her.  Beth was so excited to take in all of the precious details of her face, including her gorgeous round eyes.
Justin served as the communications director and made sure their family and friends knew that Beth was doing great and Maggie was just perfect!Time for the official first foot prints for the birth certificate and baby book.  Beth, Justin and Maggie- I cannot wait to watch your family walk the new journey of parenthood.  You are both going to be AMAZING parents and Maggie is one lucky girl.  I am so, so thankful you asked me to be there.  I cherished every single minute.  Love you guys!  And now I counting down the days until I can do her newborn session in that gorgeous nursery!  😉