a beautiful beginning: Charlotte Harlow’s birth story.

Lauren decided to book me for her birth just weeks before she was due, and we were both nervous that it might not work out for me to be there considering I was already booked for another mom around the same time AND had a wedding on Valentine’s Day. But fortunately it all worked out! I got home from the other mom’s birth around 3am Friday morning and then got a text from Lauren at 6am saying they were heading to the hospital. Oh boy! Lauren was having strong contractions and checked into the hospital at 4-5cm dilated. She got her epi around 8am and then was able to relax for the rest of the afternoon. At 12:45pm, she was 8cm, so I made my way to the hospital. Due to a combination of having to wait for the last little bit of cervix to dilate and wait on her doctor, she didn’t start pushing until close to 4pm. After an hour of good pushing, precious Charlotte (Charlie) Harlow was born at 5:06pm and weighed in at 8.7lbs, 20.5″ long.

The nurses at Christ were great during her recovery, so Lauren & David were able to enjoy a lot of uninterrupted quality time with Charlie. Lauren’s parents flew in from Florida the minute they heard Lauren had been admitted, and they were so excited to meet their first grandchild. David’s family also came to meet the newest addition and little Charlie was so good and chill the whole time! Charlie is already so loved and is everyone is doing well all snuggled in at home along with everyone else enduring this polar vortex. Congratulations Lauren & David and so glad everything worked out!

Love, Kelly

welcome ellie, ruthie & libby {just born}

Megan was just like every other first-time mom anxiously awaiting her 20 week ultrasound and the chance to see her baby for the first time (unless there was a medical reason or other concern, her OB does not do ultrasounds before 20 weeks for most mamas). So imagine her surprise when she saw not only 1 baby, but 3 GIRLS !!! Yes sweet Megan was having spontaneous triplets and had no clue until half-way through her pregnancy! At the time, Megan & Kyle were still living in their apartment, but thankfully a couple from their church moved and is letting them rent their house. So when she was 28 weeks pregnant, they moved into their house on a Thursday and ended up in the hospital that following Saturday because she was having some light contractions. Much to her surprise, she was already 4cm, so she was admitted right away and thankfully they were able to get her labor to stop, but the doctors expected that she would deliver within a week. A week passed and she was still hanging in there, so she was moved to a less intense floor for the remainder of their 44 day hospital stay.

Megan & Kyle made the best of their long stay and were just thankful for every day that passed with the girls still safely inside their mama. Megan & Kyle had a team of family & friends working to unpack their house and get everything ready for them while they were stuck in the hospital. Megan made it all the way to 35 weeks, and then gave birth via c-section to 3 beautiful, healthy baby girls on the morning of January 24, 2015. The girls are still in the NICU with feeding tubes, but they are doing great and are expected be home very soon:)

God sure knew what he was doing when He blessed Megan & Kyle with 3 little surprises, though, because they have totally embraced the crazy and have had such a positive outlook ever since. They were so at ease and comfortable caring for the 3 girls in the hospital and I’m going to join everyone else praying that their transition home goes smoothly. Congratulations Megan & Kyle!!

Welcome Elliot June | Born January 24, 2015 | 4.9lbs | 18″

Welcome Ruthie Lynn | Born January 24, 2015 | 4.4lbs | 16.5″

Welcome Libby Grace | Born January 24, 2015 | 4.2lbs | 17.25″

Cannon.001Cannon.002Cannon.003Cannon.004Cannon.005Cannon.006Cannon.007Cannon.008Cannon.009Cannon.010Cannon.011

Cannon.012Cannon.013Cannon.014Cannon.015Cannon.016Cannon.017Cannon.018Cannon.019Cannon.020Cannon.021Cannon.022Cannon.023Cannon.024

Love, Kelly

Tammy Palmer - February 7, 2015 - 9:03 pm

I have been praying for you throughout this pregnancy and was thrilled to hear that all three of those precious girls arrived safely. Now the fun begins!

LeAnn Kaiser - February 4, 2015 - 7:18 pm

Wow! Congratulations!

Karen Smith - February 4, 2015 - 5:17 pm

What a true miracle you have been blessed with, three beautiful baby girls. May you enjoy all the days ahead of you as you watch your three precious daughters grow.

JennyBZ - February 4, 2015 - 2:24 pm

Oh. My. Goodness!! Three little teeny beautiful princesses! They are all so beautiful! Congrats to this sweet family!! How amazing!! So many multiples being born, maybe I can hope for twins yet! Beautiful job as always, friend. Can’t wait til it’s my turn! xx

A Beautiful Beginning: Ari James and Ezra Robert’s Birth Story.

This story began over a year ago when I started having very vivid dreams of twin boys. Then their Auntie Ali visited me in a dream and told me I wasn’t projecting it, twins were about to be my reality.  A few months later, there they were, clear as day on the ultrasound. Two little frogs nearly on top of each other. The pregnancy was as hard as I thought it would be from the beginning. Puking around the clock from 5wks till it slowed down by 25wks. All the textbook pregnancy symptoms, but of course double because that’s how carrying twins worked. Double all the joys from the start. I was a very unpleasant mother to be around. Though, I had zero complications and was even able to travel to a few countries in Europe and to Florida to shoot while 6mths. I was very diligent with my protein intake so the boys were always measuring well ahead of schedule. At my 35 week check up, I was measuring a solid 45 weeks. FORTY FIVE. That day with tears welled in my eyes, I told Dr B I was having a very hard time physically and I was so uncomfortable in every.single.way. that I couldn’t imagine carrying another few wks or more. He assured me I was doing fantastic and I could do it just like I’ve done it so well through the rest of the months. I wanted to punch him. He meant well and I don’t really know what I wanted him to say, but I was done.

The days prior I had received 4-5 feathers and another very startling message from my sister.  So she was either telling me, “Relax will ya? I got this under control.” or “Prepare yourself, you’re about to have your prayers answered.” That evening I prayed through my sister again to help me get through the rest of the pregnancy. Since we knew the boys were nearing 6lbs, they told me I was good to go anytime labor started. So we started our inducing techniques. Just before bed, if in my house, you may have heard a joyous, “YAHTZI!” come from the bathroom. The ole plug was out. YES. Finally, my light at the end of the tunnel was visible. I expected days or maybe even a week before any action. Except once in bed I started cramping. A couple hours later I knew it was labor and I was already 2-3min apart. By 330am, I woke up Adam and with great annoyance  gently reminded him that he never installed the car seats like I asked him to do 45 times prior and he needed to pack his hospital bag like I asked him to do 45 times prior, and get the camera ready like I asked him to do 45 times prior. I took a long hot shower that felt absolutely fantastic, fixed my hair and ironed the dress I bought for labor and delivery. Whiiiich I wore for less than 20minutes. By 6am I woke up Rachel (who was staying with us that week) and tried to get out the words, “Yep. I’m having the babies today. Maybe in the car, if we don’t leave soon. We will be in touch.” But in that time I had to breathe through 3 contractions and barely got the words out without moaning. I was certain that the way I was feeling, I was a solid 6-7cm. Adam took my last belly shots, I grabbed some food and we left.

The 30min drive to bNorth was really neat. Thankfully it was New Year’s Eve and not many people were out in Wednesday morning rush hour.

I told triage I was 2 min apart. From the looks on their faces, they didn’t believe me. I told them I was very progressed. They didn’t believe me. After I stopped multiple times to breathe, they pushed me on to triage. Triage, again, saw no urgency and took their time. I made sure my favorite L&D nurse was in the building (It was Kate’s first shift back after over a week of vaca! The babies knew they had to wait for her!) and went to the bathroom to put on my dress and pee in a cup. Later, I failed the drug test for opiates in my urine. NOTE: Do NOT take a heartburn pill while laboring. You will give a false positive for opiates and they will not release you and your babies in a timely fashion because clearly you will all be in the throws of withdraw! UGH.

The triage nurse said she would just wait for Bowen to check me since he was in the building already. “Ok!” Contraction. Contraction. Contraction. They laughed at me because I was busy alerting my family and a couple close friends that I was in labor so I couldn’t be thaaaat far. Contraction. Contraction. Found out Kelly still had the flu and couldn’t shoot the birth! BUMMER. Poor Adam was on double duty and thankfully Kate can handle a camera too! Dr Bowen reached in. “OK. Wow. You really were ready for this to be over. You have a bulging bag and you’re 8+cm and +1 station. We need to get you to a rm quickly!” In the room, Kate’s pretty face greeted me with a few other nurses and the anesthesiologist who I promptly told to “BEAT IT, DUDE, I don’t need your goods.”

A handful of minutes later I was feeling good pressure and walked down to the OR where it was mandatory for me to deliver out of precaution. They made me change out of my nice pretty dress and put on a really flattering gown and hairnet. I labored next to the operating table that I swear was as wide as my right thigh. I was still ridiculously calm and waiting for it to really start hurting. Was waiting for labor land to start. It never did. With Nico’s labor I was unable to talk by 7cm and there I was standing in the OR laughing and texting between contractions. What the? The birth I prayed about for the last 9mths was playing out perfectly. I had told myself over and over, “Nori was breech, Nico was posterior, these babies will be head down and anterior. Quick easy birth.” It was my mantra. And I couldn’t believe it was really happening just like that. I guess that’s what happens when you have such a badass angel looking over. And with the Bowen/Kate team, the OR had half the staff it should and was super calm. Thank the Lord for them. Truly.

With some “Oh God, this hurrrrts!” yells, I thought I was crowning Ari. But I wasn’t. It was his dang intact bag o water bulging out. That, THAT, was painful. What seemed like an eternity later (but supposedly only another set of contractions), his head came through the ring of fire and he was born in his sac. An old wives tale that a child born in the caul brings much luck and the child is destined for greatness. Truthfully, I was so unbelievably uncomfortable on that tiny freaking table and after I was certain Ari just split me end to end, I wasn’t quite in the mood to cuddle with him. I got out a, “hey little dude!” and the pressure started back up. 16 minutes later out comes Ezra, bursting his sac while crowning. Kate was thrilled to be able to ring out her scrubs with that gush.

Just like that, the twins were finally here. Those amazing but long agonizing months of pain prepared me so well for this L&D. Ari James 5.9# and Ezra Robert 5.10#, both 18.5″ were here. The sweet boys I prayed over, day after day were here and well. No longer prying up my entire rib cage. No longer causing my body to hate me in general. They were in my arms. We are blessed. And somehow I was a mother of four.

And you know what? I didn’t even call them aHoles during the whole labor. Not even once. That’s what was most impressive.

Love, Melanie.

Renae - February 2, 2015 - 3:42 am

congratulations on your two precious bundles! I love the pictures of your older 2 kids meeting the twins…such a special moment. They all are beautiful!

Kristan - January 30, 2015 - 12:10 am

YOU ARE AMAZING!! Gorgeous family, Mel :) Congrats!

Dianna - January 29, 2015 - 7:35 pm

You are a rockstar! What an awesome story! They are too cute. Thank you for sharing.

Ari & Ezra. » LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY - January 29, 2015 - 5:31 pm

[…] you wanted to read their birth story or watch the slideshow, click HERE to go to our birth photography […]

Nicki - January 29, 2015 - 11:42 am

I love you so much friend. You are incredible. And Adam is such a good husband. I am blessed for knowing you both and hearing the incredible story of these two. Xo

Shannon - January 29, 2015 - 3:58 am

I just love everything about this. You are so beautiful, your family is a beautiful blessing and I’m so thankful you share with all of us. You are an amazing woman, Mel! Hugs!

Daley - January 29, 2015 - 3:08 am

Will never tire of hearing your story. So much beauty in the music for your beautiful babies my heart aches. I thank God He keeps Ali by our sides all the time. love.

Luci - January 28, 2015 - 9:03 pm

of course i am sobbing… you already know that.
but i hope you know how proud i am of you mel. you are so strong. your family is such a gift to mine and i treasure our friendship! i can’t wait to see those boys again! love you.

JennyBZ - January 28, 2015 - 7:04 pm

Omg so many tears. I’m obsessed with this post. Loved reading all about it and could watch that slideshow over and over (and maybe I did). I’m so happy those sweet boys are finally home! Can’t wait to see them (and you!) again! Big love, friend, big big love! xx

Aunt Net - January 28, 2015 - 5:37 pm

omg I still had tears thinking about all the signs Ali sent! I luv how close u guys r that u can receive the gift of her luv still! These boys r amazing, and after the crazy beginning, we have to believe they r destined for greatness! What they survived is a miracle by itself. Thnx for this incredibly touching story of luv n labor. Your words made us feel your anxiety and relief after u finally gave birth! I luv that Nori is no longer upset that she only has brothers n no sisters! She n Nico r so proud and luv on them so sweetly. We look forward to watching the boys grow and experiencing a twins life like we have never seen! God bless all of u n thnx for sharing n allowing us all to b a part of their lives! Luv u all! Uncle Roger n Aunt Net

Stephanie Lyell - January 28, 2015 - 2:55 pm

So beautiful Melanie. I loved the music you chose to go along with it as well, it helped tell this beautiful story. My heart is filled with joy for you Adam, Nori and Nico welcoming these little angels into your home and family. Congratulations friend :)