The Birth of our Hazel Elizabeth {Denver, CO: Personal Birth Photography}

Two weeks ago today we welcomed our precious baby girl, Hazel Elizabeth, into the world. I don’t know if I can, or will ever be able to put into words the intensity of emotions that have been my constant companion the last year leading up to this day. The stress and anxiety of caring for Henry through his trials and tribulations, while also being pregnant and exhausted, and trying to wrap my mind around what it would be like to have a daughter, which completely terrified me…it’s been a struggle to keep my head above water. Thus the absence here, and in many other areas of my life.

But then she came. In 4 hours my sweet and beautiful baby girl came and it’s been complete bliss ever since. It will never cease to amaze me how pregnancy has me swearing we’ll never have more children and then this beautiful creature is in my arms and I would do it again a hundred times. Another discussion for another time, but I sure am glad that God made it that way…

And while I would say, let me share the short version of Hazel’s birth story with you, the story itself is quit short. After weeks of early labor symptoms, labor still seemed far away and I had slid into a major case of the grumps, waiting impatiently but trying to prepare myself to go past my due date. Then, the morning of March 29th, 6 days before her due date, Hazel came fast and furious into the world. I woke up at 4am with contractions 10 minutes apart. By 6am I was waking up Drew with contractions 3-5 minutes apart. We were at the hospital by 6:45am and Hazel Elizabeth came into the world at 8:13am, all 7Ibs 2oz of her perfect in every way. I dilated 5 cm in one hour and pushed for aprox. 11 minutes and it will go down in the books as the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

It was a complete whirlwind and I was just glad that everyone made it in time. And while it sounds like I’m on an award show, I have to thank a few people: obviously my incredible and hott hubby, who ran red lights, basically carried me into the hospital and was my pillar of strength. My precious friend Brenda who stood by my side, squeezed my hand, and prayed me through the whole process. Our fabulous midwife, who was so talented I want more babies just so I can go hang out with her. And our friend and birth photographer, Sara Martin of Sara Joy Photography. All the images below are hers and I’m deeply grateful that she agreed to capture this special days for our family.

With all of this said, and the story told in it’s basics, I’ll say that I’m still processing a lot from Hazel’s birth. I could still be pregnant right now, and though she’s been here for 2 weeks, it all went so fast I still can’t believe she’s here sometimes. And as it always is, it was the most life changing and intense experience of my life. Henry’s birth changed me because it was long, exhausting and in the end I became a Mother. This time I walked away having faced a mountain called natural birth, that I thought I was not strong enough to climb, and yet I did, and I am again changed. I fought for this precious baby girl: I fought for her conception, I fought for joy and peace throughout my pregnancy, and I fought a war to bring her into the world. She is already teaching me so much and I can’t remember a time when I did not know her beautiful face.

Welcome to the world Hazel Elizabeth. You totally rock our world. 

Each day is too short {Denver, CO: Personal Update}

Happy New Year friends of Rachael {hope} Photography! I know I’m more than a week late, but there it is and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. 2013 was full of dreams set aside, unexpected adventures, and grace upon blessing upon grace. It was not was I expected for myself, my family, or this space here, but at 27, I think maybe I’m finally starting to put less stock in my expectations and more stock in just trying to embrace the twists and turns of life. An intentional living, yet go-with-the-flow type attitude. I’m sure my close friends and family would maybe pick a bone with this statement, because I’m still not very good at going-with-the-flow, but I sure am trying.

It is for this reason I have not been present here, even in the New Year. I definitely expected to be back on my feet, full of plans for my business and family that would be enacted January 1st. That did not happen, to say the least.

For those who’ve been kind enough to ask, Henry is doing GREAT! 8 weeks post-op and he is getting around pretty much like his old self, just with an extra toe! His wound care continues to be a part of our life, which has been an unexpected part of my days, but we are just grateful for our little boy to be feeling like himself again. Next hurtle: potty training…yikes!

As for Drew and I, we will celebrate Drew’s 28th birthday tonight and I’m amazed when I think back to the fact that we started dating at 18! 10 years have flown by and I’m sure there will be many more mushy posts about our 10th year adventures in the coming soon. Hazel and I are 28 weeks along today and couldn’t be happier to welcome trimester 3! She just can’t come soon enough for me, though I’m not wishing away time with just Henry and I either. It’s a curious conundrum that I wish I had more time to think about and process, yet daily life and trying to get back on my feet completely overtakes me every day. It’s like that quote from John Burroughs, “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” Isn’t that the truth?

As for work, I’ve had so many people ask if I’m ‘back,’ and the short answer is, YA…kinda. To be honest, I don’t know myself.

I had big plans for starting the New Year with fresh work on my website, updated blogs, more focus on my birth photography, and an exciting business plan for the New Year. Amazingly, all my time off got filled up and I didn’t get any of these things done. Shocking, isn’t it?

I guess the answer is, that I want to be back, but I have not had the capacity to plan a BIG re-launch of r{h} p as I had hoped for. I guess this goes along with being more flexible about life sometimes. Maybe sometimes we just don’t get the completely fresh starts we’re hoping/planning for, and starting something back up again is a process. It’s a process I’m fully willing to embrace however. I have so many ideas floating in my head for this space AND SO MANY images that need to be shared here. I have a few sessions already on the calendar for the Spring and even two births bookending my due date with Hazel…that should be interesting! A pricing adjustment is in the pipeline…and my big dream is to re-brand this year. (I’m not putting much stock in that dream.) I’m sure Hazel coming, followed by another surgery for Henry, will bring a fresh new set of challenges as well as inspirations this year. I can’t wait to share both here and fully plan to continue to make telling the story of family and babies in the Denver area a part of my life.

So, I suppose that’s the update from here. It’s not as poetic as I had hoped, or as planned out as I’d thought I could find the time for in my head. BUT, it feels good to be back in this space regardless. Thanks for hanging with me friends. More here soon.