A Beautiful Beginning: Laurel Louise’s Birth Story.

Because Brian and Carolynn’s journey to parenthood is complex, I asked her to share some snippets in order to get it right:
“After 3 years of infertility and a year on the adoption journey, we welcomed miracle number one who was totally a surprise, our little Ellory Maeve. We held off on the adoption journey for a year then were back at it, along with trying a few more procedures. After 2 years of no luck on either path- God blessed us with another surprise miracle on our own, Laurel Louise. She came intensely quick leaving momma no time to get that epidural relief she was hoping for lol.”
At our consultation, they warned me that Carolynn delivered Ellory very quickly after receiving an epidural. This time when she text me at dinner time saying see was tracking contractions anywhere from 2-7min apart for a few hours so she went to the hospital. Though having surges regularly, she was only 3cm and sent home after a couple hours of monitoring because to a hospital active labor admittance is “4cm dilation.” Nearing midnight we decided she should call me once she’s back in triage. The call came by 245am that Carolynn was 6cm and getting an epidural soon. I knew better than to wait so I left immediately. (Never ignore intuition!!) At 3:11 Brian told me she had her epidural put in. At 3:13 he said her water broke. THEN AT 3:14 “SHE’S FULLY DILATED.” I frantically replied, “JESUS, I’m pulling into the hospital, keep those legs closed!” 3:18a, “Dr. is here now and she’s ready to push! You here yet?” Me, frantically racing through the halls, “WAAAIT!” HAHA! Like she wanted to wait any longer to meet this baby. I walked in to a very much in pain mama and a head full of hair crowning. She came out just in time for Carolynn’s single push dose epidural to kick in (::eye roll::) at 3:29. 7.6lbs and 20″ Laurel was chill and so content, waiting to meet her big sister. Ellory came in full of joy and couldn’t keep her hands off her new baby! You have so many fun times ahead and I’m thankful you have been blessed twice over. Congrats and happy it all worked out!!

Love, Melanie

A Beautiful Beginning: Kennedy Rose’s Birth Story.

A diagnosis of preeclampsia half way through her third trimester meant Jenny was to be induced by 37wks for not only the health of her but also the safety of the baby. A few days before her scheduled induction her HBP and protein in urine were too concerning to wait. With an almost complete 12 hr cervidil induction to ease her in, she had a spontaneous water break. So the good news was that baby girl was ready to come out too. With her body progressing on its own, she thankfully avoided pitocin and only received fluids. I was very impressed with how quickly she was moving along with it being her first delivery and after dinner headed in because her doula, Molly, had said she was contracting close together and stopped talking through which typically dictates about 6cm. I walked into some wonderfully deep moaning and swaying. Those moans got deeper, louder and longer which just made me grin and my heart skip a beat. It’s just so beautiful and empowering watching a mama work through the pain so gracefully. Like an old pro, she pushed so well that she pulled Kennedy up onto her chest after just an hr. A 6#11oz. and 19.5″ a beautifully healthy little gal laid there all kind of alert as the midwives inspected Jenny’s placenta that told a completely different story. The damage from high blood pressure wasn’t even the concern, it was the very rare velamentous cord insertion! Long story short, her cord was attached to the placenta in the wrong location and multiple scenarios could have and should have happened, all leading to infant fatality, ON TOP of the preeclampsia concern. But like her midwife said, someone up above was looking out that day because the odds were stacked against Kennedy. So can I get an AMEN!?!

Baby girl stayed sweetly skin to skin the first hour plus before nursing. But as soon as they moved her from Jenny, she finally started to show off those big girl lungs. Those cries! I love it!! Great work Mommy and you too, Kenny! I love an active husband during labor! I’m glad that I was able to capture some of his wincing so Jenny could see how he hurt right along side her as she lived in labor land. Adorable. Congrats all around! Thanks for having me!

Love, Melanie.

A beautiful beginning: Hudson William and Emerson Sovann’s birth story.

A long road of infertility and heartache leaves Rotha and David in a place where their joy and grief collide. Experiencing a pain that no parents should ever have to face. These babies were seven years in the making, but Rotha will say the story started last February when she lost her grandmother. A few months passed and she knew her Grandmother had a hand in finally blessing her womb with not one but two little babies! With a bittersweet due date almost exactly on Grandmother’s birthday! Months passed and excitement built as the babies were growing so healthy. Then at a regularly scheduled ultrasound a few wks ago, almost exactly one year after losing her Grandmother, Rotha immediately knew something wasn’t right by the reactions of the technician. At 32 wks gestation, for an unknown reason, Hudson’s heart just stopped beating. From perfectly healthy kicking that morning to an angel in the blink of an eye.:(Because Emerson was doing so well in her own sac, Dr. Knipper wanted her to continue to grow as strong as possible for life outside the womb. For the next two weeks, Rotha bravely swallowed back the agony and tears as she continued to carry and love both her babies. A reality that turned into an impossible nightmare that she woke up to each day as she resided on bedrest in the hospital.

Rotha originally contacted me to shoot this birth but I wasn’t allowed in the OR so we didn’t follow through. Then a very sweet mutual friend reached out to give me the news last month and asked me to be present as these gamut of emotions would eventually unfold. Dr Knipper and the Good Sam staff generously bent the rules to allow me to be present during the cesarean as they knew Emerson would be whisked to the NICU and the few moments the twins would share outside the womb as a family of 4 would happen only in the OR. Not only were they gracious in allowing me to be in the room, they pulled down the drape to give me the chance to really get all the good stuff happening! So thankful for the kind hearts of that staff and the empathy they shared to let me capture every second I could of these sweet babies together! I’m certain Emerson will be forever grateful for the moments captured as her teeny hand grasped her brother’s.

Both babies came out footling breach, which was a sight to see! Emerson is a tiny fighter but at only 34ish weeks at 3lbs 3oz and 17″ she could only hang out with us for a few minutes before David and I followed her to the NICU. When we left her, she was stable without additional support, so David wanted to be with Hudson and Rotha so the family could meet their new angel and baptize him. You’ll notice I’m not going to share much of sweet Hudson, as the state of his 2lb 14oz and 13″ fragile body succumbed in the womb after 2 plus weeks of being an angel. Rotha and David truly believe he “took one for the team” and gave up his life so she could thrive. His first selfless and protective actions as a big brother.

I know personally, that what once was will always be if we speak of them often and proudly. Hudson will always be near and I hope you never forget the weight of his delicate body as he laid on your chest. Thank you for inviting me into such a private and sacred moment in your lives. I will never forget the way your babies and your story has touched my life. As always, I pray for peace to surpass all understanding and strength as you balance and navigate your way through such extreme emotions in the days that lie ahead. Much love to the Brauntz and Penn families.

***Warning: There are some surgery images that may be considered graphic. I find them all beautiful but I see this type of thing on the regular so I know others may be squeamish.

Love, Melanie

The Brauntzes. » LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY - May 25, 2017 - 10:58 am

[…] much to think about. If you follow my birth photography blog, then you’ll most definitely remember the recent birth of Emerson and Hudson. […]

Kristy Johnson - May 23, 2017 - 11:00 pm

Was thinking of you all today and wondering how Miss Emerson is doing….. reading this again and looking at the pictures brings back so many memories of a delivery I’ll never forget. Hope you are doing well, David and Rotha…. Still sending thoughts and prayers for peace and healing 💜💙

Amy Clyde - April 12, 2017 - 2:58 am

What beautiful pictures! You captured those precious moments in such a way it feels like I was right their with them…as I have tears running down my face! My thoughts and prayers for Rotha And David! I can’t even imagine what they must have been feeling at that moment!

» LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY - March 22, 2017 - 5:45 pm

[…] To see more of this sweet birth and angelversary, click HERE. […]

brittany - March 14, 2017 - 12:50 pm

absolutely beautiful, mel. the picture of the twins holding hands is the most heartwarming and heartbreaking pictures i have ever seen. i am praying for this family. thank you for sharing.

Erin Bryant - March 13, 2017 - 2:48 am

Beautiful photos of a beautiful family. I’m continuing to keep them in my prayers.

Karen Stevens - March 12, 2017 - 8:25 pm

These turned out beautifully!!! It was my honor to assist in this making of memories for this family❤

Kristy Johnson - March 12, 2017 - 6:56 pm

❤❤❤ Such a blessing to be a part of this. Hope we work together more! Xoxo

Lois Brauntz - March 12, 2017 - 5:11 pm

Melanie,. Thank you so much for portraying the joyous and heartbreaking birthday of Hudson and Emerson with such beauty and dignity. The memories that you have created will be a comfort to all of us. You were truly an angel among us..!

Luci - March 12, 2017 - 12:52 am

My heart goes out to this family. These pictures are so beautiful and tell such a beautiful story of a heroic little boy and his love for his sister and their brave parents. Once again mel… God gives you these souls to take care of and you delivered for Him and them! They will serve as life long memories of their sweet boy. Prayers to all. Xo

Linda Collins - March 11, 2017 - 8:23 pm

Beautifully written and the pictures are amazing. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

Greg Brauntz - March 11, 2017 - 5:40 pm

Melanie,
I can’t seem to find the right combination of words to express my sincere gratitude for not only your talent of photography, but also your ability to elequently tell a story that brings one closer to understanding what Love, Life, and Family mean. I was unable to stand by my brothers side for this moment, and you gave that back to me. For that I’ll be forever grateful. You are an angel and your work shows it. Thank You!

JennyBZ - March 11, 2017 - 2:52 pm

I can’t find the words. This, tho: “what once was will always be if we speak of them often and proudly”.
Such good work you do Mel. Bless you. xx

Ceil D. - March 11, 2017 - 2:24 pm

You’ve surpassed all your most beautiful work! What a fine and beautiful piece of work this is! Brava!