Micah H. Birth Story

Raleigh Birth Photography | The Birth Story of Micah

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A Fast natural Birth Center Birth of a Surprise Baby Boy

At Baby Co. Birth Center

One of the most beautiful parts of birth photography for me is honestly the community. You see as a birth photographer we need other birth photographers, we can’t isolate ourselves completely and competitively. We have to go out and build relationships with the other women trying to create beautiful birth images and run a similar business as us. This takes a lot of trust for each of us and an amount of surrendering our own competitive spirits in order to allow someone else to help us. I’ve had the opportunity to share in the back-up bond of birth photography a hand full of times with a hand full of awesome photographers. I’ve been able to rely on them for peace of mine and in some rare occasions I’ve even gotten to support them by capturing the birth story for them.

This beautiful swift birth story was one of those! Amanda, of Birthpix Raleigh Birth Photography, needed me to come and capture the story of little Micah’s birth last Summer. I was completely honored to be there for Molly as she with power and grace brought her little boy earth side at Baby Co. birth center. Alongside her awesome supportive husband, Neil, Midwife, doula, and their little girl.


I got the text around 1am that waters had broken while she was asleep. This usually means we have a little time because contractions aren’t as active but I also knew from Amanda that this mom had a very fast first birth and to be wary of the “normal” patterns of birth. So honestly when I got that text, I immediately got in the shower and dressed just in case things picked up fast. About 20 minutes later, I think I was putting my pants on ,I got the text that they were headed into the birth center. We both were coming from Durham so about 30-40 minute drive and I knew I wanted to just get going so I jumped in the car and headed there. I ended up making it 10 minutes before they did!

Molly came in, in full active labor. She got straight into the tub and began to breath through her birth waves. She looked as if she was an olympic birther, with the ease and power she evoked with every contraction. Her little girl was in the moment and surrounding the tub as Molly just calmly breathed through, occasionally taking a moment to encourage her daughter. Soon after we arrived her awesome Doula, Anna of a Joyful Noise Doula Services, also joined in to offer her support. Neil, her husband, was like a saint balancing with so much joy their little girl while still being fully present with Molly. He even managed to get up her birth affirmation streamers just as they got into the space before settling into his role as birth partner. You could see their sweet love connection all throughout and even though labor was short, some of those affectionate moments still stand out to me. I love seeing partners truly in love with their wives affectionately throughout birth.

I’m blanking now, a full year later, but I swear it was no more than 30-40 minutes from the time they arrived to the moment sweet Micah was born, right into Molly’s hands in the tub with the guide of Laura from the edge of the tub. She had a perfectly seamless “look here is your baby” pushing stage and it was such a powerful thing to see. And while that’s rare it’s pretty incredible to watch women truly labor and birth as unassisted and in control as possible.

The room of course was just flooded with all the joy, oxytocin and new life sacredness. As Molly and Neil moved over to the bed, a sense of calm and just full completeness fell over everyone in the space. Big sister who had been back and forth on sleeping in the other room came back in to meet her precious baby brother and even tandem nurse within those first hours. It was pretty incredible to see them bond so early in Micah’s life earthside in this way. Molly continued to exude such beautiful raw emotion as she thanked the entire team surrounding her. She even wept thanking Laura, her midwife, and she fell into a beautiful state of rest as the fast paced energy of everything that had just occurred finally set in.

Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
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Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography
Micah H. birth story | Raleigh birth photography | Durham birth photography | natural birth center water birth | Hanna Hill Photography

Our Stories of Breastfeeding

Our Stories of Breastfeeding

A raw re-telling of Motherhood from many different moms and the journeys of breastfeeding they experienced.

This Month of August has been another beautiful National Breastfeeding Month! So many moms have reached out and shared both their highs and lows of choosing and not choosing to breastfeed their little ones, all over the world. This month we acknowledge both the sacrifice and celebration of choosing to breastfeed and also honor the moms and families who were unable to breastfeed or who’s choice was not up to them. During August we have both International Breastfeeding week (August 1-7) AND Black Breastfeeding week (August 25-31) which are both amazing weeks where we shine a little light on the needs in our community for breastfeeding mothers and moms-to be!

In my own little corner of the world I connected with my community of followers to talk a little more about the stories we all carry about breastfeeding.

I think so many of us hide our experiences in the shadows. Whether it’s Because we couldn’t breastfeed, didn’t love breastfeeding or didn’t have the support needed. I also know many moms who Loved breastfeeding but haven’t yet been given the confidence to share their positive experience either. Each story is beautiful and unique and that’s something I’m trying to express in all of my art. It’s the realness that we share that makes our stories beautiful, not the perfection or easiness of the season but the truth.

So I collected just a handful of stories from the women that surround me. Written in their own words with their own emotional inflections. Honoring the long, hard and beautiful seasons of breastfeeding, the journeys that ended sooner than expected and the moms who are still on the path of breastfeeding who need our listening ears now, more than ever.

We are not alone in

Mastitis, Thrush, Lip Ties

Nipple Confusion, Low Milk Supply,

Having to go back to Work,

Premature Births or Breastfeeding journeys that ended too soon.

If you breastfed for one day or 3 years, you are celebrated and your story deserves to be shared.

If you wished you could have one more day or were glad to put that season beyond you.

These are the stories of motherhood, the stories of late nights and painful breasts. The stories of emotional lows and bonding highs that are easily forgotten or ignored by a “perfection seeking” culture. I hope that the diversity of stories and experiences both inspire and encourage you wherever you are in the journey with breastfeeding.

Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Alison’s Story

My first thoughts about my breastfeeding journey would definitely be that it’s hard but so beautiful. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. I’m so thankful for that time.
My greatest support came from my husband and my sisters. My sisters and mom answered every question I had and my husband was gentle and kind. He brought me food, he listened to every little thing that my body and brain was going through, and he would encourage me every step.
I think the hardest thing for moms and breastfeeding is recognizing that the experience can be very different for every mom. And that’s really ok!
I breastfed two of my three babies. My first had complications and some delays so I started breastfeeding only with my second. Those first few months were so hard I was determined to succeed and I after time fell so in love with breastfeeding. It got easier as I went but the whole thing was so beautiful it made the process a wonderful time that put us in a precious bubble.
But I think it’s really important to say the time I spent with my first was just as beautiful and bonding as the time I spent breastfeeding. I fed my children the best and most healthy way for them. I am so thankful for the nine months I had breastfeeding my second and third little ones and I wouldn’t change that for anything but I do think it’s important to recognize and validate the bottle feeding mamas and the work they do too.
I also believe though without full support from family and friends it becomes increasingly more difficult to breastfeed. Not impossible just different
The wisdom I would give to expecting moms or moms struggling through breastfeeding is definitely COMMUNICATE. Talk to your partner talk to your friends. Tell them how you’re feeling. Then find someone who’s going through it too. If you’re struggling I guarantee some one else is too

I was honored to capture both of Alison’s breastfeeding journeys and the postpartum season of all three of her babies in one way or the other.


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Karen’s Story

This is of my own mothers breastfeeding journey!
She breastfed from 1986-2000 on and off with 4 babies, she is a strong believer in the power and bond of breastfeeding but also a true realist on the struggles that come with it.

So my first thoughts on the concept of breast feeding is to relax. In fact, I feel breastfeeding is one of the only times in my life that I was forced to let go of all my plans, the things that needed to be done, the indulgences I wanted and stop. To give completely my time, my comfort, my mind and my nourishment to someone else.

I breastfed babies in the 80’s and 90’s so there wasn’t any internet or smart phones, but I had distractions. Putting aside the time that is for you and baby and no one else will be the most valuable time you will ever have with that little person. Ironically, they probably will never remember one second of it, but if you relax and experience it the way God made it to be you will never forget it.

I have vivid memories of a quiet, dark house, the snuggling and gurgling sounds, the warmth and the smell, but above all the intimate bonding. Every person is different and every baby is different. However, babies are born knowing what to do and how to do it.

I remember the hardest times being when I would try breastfeeding when I was focused only on the discomfort and didn’t take time to get into the mental state. My first baby was like that although I managed about 3 months. Baby 2 was so different. I just let go and it happened with literally no effort from me. Babies 3 and 4 were easy because I learned to relax and enjoy the experience. My longest breastfeeding was with number 4. By that time I was completely convinced that the experience and health benefits far outweighed any other issue. I went about 19 months with that one.

My mother was a great resource for me (having breast fed all her kids in the 60’s) she always encouraged me and reminded me of how next to giving birth this was the ultimate example of unconditional giving. I also had a great friend who was breastfeeding at almost all the same times as I was, who encouraged me to relax and freely breast feed in public. I think if you feel overwhelmed or anxious you just need to tell yourself over and over, I can do this, billions of women before me have done this and I am the best at doing this right now. Even if it hurts! ❤️ warm tea bags are the best remedy and the pain WILL go away.


Along with sharing her words above, I put together a very short (30sec) film from my own 1991 birth video! Yes they did do a video of my birth (or at-least the 30 minutes after I was born)


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Courtney’s Story

My first thoughts about my breastfeeding journey would be nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Specifically one of self doubt, alienation, bouts of joy, stress, anger and fighting to live up to being a perfect breastfeeding mom. My failures were ones that I created by not taking the time to trust my body, baby, living up to family members views and guidelines to breastfeeding or not and lastly not embracing my leave time with baby.

The hardest thing would be believing in yourself as a provider for your little one. I was always worried that I wasn’t doing it right or that they weren’t getting enough or I wasn’t doing all that I could. And this was through sleepless nights, bouts of mastitis, going back to work, being an Army wife where the hubby was gone often and dealing with babies that were pre-term. Breastfeeding was one thing that I fought so hard to be good at yet the struggle was real. It was much harder than I thought and what I saw on brochures and commercials. It was work and some days it was just so hard especially out in public where I had to cover up and be afraid that someone else was uncomfortable with me feeding my baby. I once had a flight attendant throw a dirty airplane blanket over me as I was nursing. Mind you, I already had my baby covered. But because someone could see my daughter feet wiggling and hearing sounds of nursing, she figured the extra cover would dull the sounds and her feet.

The most support I got was when I got mastitis. I had no clue what I was doing with my premature baby. I delivered 5 weeks early, my milk did not come in for 2 weeks. She was on donor milk fed through a feeding tube syringe. When my milk finally came in, my body was just in shock and my little one could not empty the breast so I never got relief. Turns out her sucking complex was ineffective during my breastfeeding session. And thus, mastitis. When this happened the support started pouring in from the doctor, the NICU staff and even my husband who felt bad for me.

My mom did not breastfeed so I did not have a wealth of knowledge about it. But my mother-in-law successfully breastfeed three children. So she was eventually my sound board(my help) . And even she too, admitted it is a beautiful bond with your baby. But the journey to get to the point of joy, is hard one. Also to not give up if it is what you really want for you first and then your baby.

I have breastfeed four babies.

Baby 1- Born preterm at 33.5 weeks. Struggled a lot to even breastfeed. Only lasted 2.5 months. The stress and the realization of failing my baby took its toll on me (emotionally). Not to mention she was not thriving and so I took the option of formula feeding her. She bounced back and I was just happy that she was okay. I had a lot of tears trying to understand the issues and needs of a premature baby.

Baby 2-Born at 35.5 weeks still deemed preterm. Baby latched on immediately after birth which was great. But I suffered some damage to the breast based on her latch and actually had to nurse her through a breast shield for about 3.5 months. I stopped breastfeeding at 4 months due to supply issues and returning back to work. She was born in June and I went back to work August 1st. I felt redeemed a little with my second time around experience.

Baby 3- Rainbow baby. My saving grace for motherhood. Nursed immediately after deliver born at 36 weeks. I felt the most comfortable with him nursing. And I learned by then that everyone can butt out of my breastfeeding journey. I no longer was going to let every little thing bother me. I was going to do it my way. And this included nursing in public as well. He nursed for 5 months and then it stopped due to him being hospitalized for RSV. He had difficulties nursing and the hospital staff had to inform me of the true realities dealing with my nursing abilities with him. I struggled with harsh reality that it was over and not on my terms. 

Baby 4- We are two months in and I have already gotten double mastitis and have been placed on medications for it. Of course, I had to fight for breastfeeding approved meds which are few and far between by the way. I currently have my good days and bad days. Not sure where my journey with her will be. She is my surprise baby and my last baby. My kids are now 6, 4, 1 and 2 months.

What wisdom can I give moms? 

Well wisdom is funny. Funny because it has to be learned. I guess I would say it’s more of wisdom in the since of active and positive support as well as realizing you know what’s right for your baby. Don’t let others push your feelings and views aside to agree with them, to give up or in for them. Your breast, your story. Advocate for your breastfeeding journey!

I was honored to capture the birth of Courtney’s third little one and first baby boy, including their first latch! You can see the full story HERE.


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Lindsay’s Story

I have breastfed all five of my children and I’m currently still breastfeeding. Most of my boys I breastfed for 18 months give or take a month or two. I’m hoping to make it two years or more with my fifth. I have been pregnant and nursing before, but I’ve never tandem nursed. I was never against tandem nursing, but I didn’t know anyone who did that and I wrongfully assumed baby would need to be weaned before the next baby came along, so that’s mainly why I weaned. Weaning was never really hard for me or baby. We always did it very gradually.

I began breastfeeding in 2007 before I was on Facebook and really had no support other than the midwives who helped me at birth. I knew lactation consultants existed, but thought they were only for moms who needed help on learning how to breastfeed. My first baby was diagnosed with a mild tongue-tie, but seemed to be breastfeeding fine, so we never did anything about it.

The hardest things I’ve experienced in my breastfeeding journey were PPD and a nursing strike. Less than one month after giving birth to my third son, my grandmother passed away. I became very depressed and was definitely struggling in many areas of my life, but too proud to ask for help. My baby sensed my stress and went on a nursing strike, refusing the breast. This was a breaking point for me because I felt like a failure who couldn’t even feed my own baby. It was a vicious cycle that caused more stress, therefore stressing the baby, and not being able to breastfeed. I was able to pump through this time and did go and talk with my midwives who were able to get me though this bump in my breastfeeding journey.

I’ve also had a baby who decided at 9 months old he would only nurse from one side. Again, I just wanted somebody to tell me that it would be okay. I was so worried that if I stopped pumping my other side, my supply would dry up and I was not ready to wean. I finally gave in to one-sided (AKA lop-sided) nursing and baby was much happier this way, and nursed for more than a year after that on just one side!

Now that I’m nursing my fifth child, I have much less worries and much more support than I did when I began my breastfeeding journey 12 years ago. When I first began nursing I was a new mom who didn’t know any other moms, much less any breastfeeding ones, so there was nobody I could turn to for questions. Now I have many mom friends and know several breastfeeding moms I can reach out to day or night when anything comes up with me or my baby. Finding your breastfeeding village is definitely the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby if you plan to start/continue your own breastfeeding journey.


I was honored to capture a full
Year in the Life of Lindsay as she brought her 5th little one into the world capturing her breastfeeding journey from first latch to 3 and 6 weeks postpartum.


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Carlita’s Story

I love nursing my daughter. I love the snuggles and the quiet moments together. I love how now that she’s at a more interactive age, we have a moment to reconnect, make eye contact, and even play little games. I love how it calms her when she’s upset and is able to lull her to sleep (which means I get to sleep too!).
I’m currently breastfeeding my 12 month old daughter with no end in sight. My husband and the breastfeeding mama community I built got me through those crazy early months. It was smooth sailing for us from then on!
But It was so hard for us when she was first born. It took us a while to get a comfortable latch so I had some very raw, painful nipples and engorgment that led to mastitis. I wanted to give up.
Honestly, I knew very little about breastfeeding before my pregnancy. I did hear from moms that the early days can be difficult. When I was pregnant I went to a local La Leche League meeting. I wanted to meet the leaders and other mamas. I built a community that I could reach out to during those crazy cluster feeding days and nights and when you are worried that something isn’t right. I think that was what helped me survive. I knew I wasn’t alone and what me and baby were going through was normal (or not normal, in regards to mastitis and painful latch).
But I got the most support from my husband. Without him I wouldn’t have made it through those early days.
I definitely think you need support and education to make it through the breastfeeding journey and I see a lack of education a lot of the time . For example, a lot of mamas and families are shocked when babies cluster feed. It makes them believe that their breast milk isn’t enough for baby or that their milk supply has dropped. None of that is true! But since most don’t know this, the mom may be pressured to switch to formula.
Just remember first 40 days are definitely the hardest, but it truly does get easier! My advice for moms starting/continuing to breastfeed is, “Don’t give up on a bad day!”

I captured the powerful day that little Ayara was brought into the world and got to capture all the joy that came along with her first latch!


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Maggie’s Story

The first thoughts that come to mind when I consider my breastfeeding journey are Pride! And gratitude.
After a really difficult pregnancy and birth, including a NICU stay, I was so grateful that breastfeeding was something that came fairly easily to us. We still had our fair share of issues: oversupply, engorgement, mastitis, and plugged ducts but with the right support we were able to navigate all of those obstacles without any trauma. I’m incredibly proud of the time, energy, and nourishment I have been able to give to my daughter through our breastfeeding relationship. I’m grateful for the ways it forced me to slow down and be more present with her.
I am still breastfeeding my 2.5 year old and as of right now plan to allow her to self wean whenever she decides she is ready.
But I only got here with the support from my doula, my sister, la leche league, and my intuition! (when I could quiet my fears and insecurities down enough to listen to it)
I think the hardest thing is this expectation to do it all (and do it without education or support). There is an expectation to breastfeed for at least a year while jumping right back into work. As a culture we do not recognize and honor the toll breastfeeding can take on our sleep, energy, and time. We don’t give birthing people space to heal from birth and time to learn how to breastfeed. We expect others and ourselves to jump right back into life but just with a baby on the breast. That’s not a realistic or fair expectation.
What helped me get through those hard first months started with practicing mindfulness and meditation while breastfeeding. Setting limits when I needed to honor my mental/physical health and respect my own limitations. Celebrating and loving my body for all that it was doing for me and my baby. Taking self care very seriously - nourishing myself with healthy foods, getting as much rest as possible, and staying hydrated.
The wisdom I would share with expecting mommas or mommas working presently on their breastfeeding journey would be,
Learn about breastfeeding in pregnancy. Read up on the science behind it - understand the benefits you are giving your baby but also recognize and learn about just how much it requires of you physically and mentally. Always allow yourself the freedom to stop if you feel that the stress of it is negatively impacting your mental health and ability to connect with your baby. Don’t just ask for help - DEMAND help and support. Although in an ideal world you wouldn’t have to do this - educate those around you on why breastfeeding is important, why it requires so much of you, and why you need their help. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your baby.

I’ve known Maggie and her husband, Zach for more than 15 years and they’ve walked with my husband and I through some of the biggest parts of our journey from capturing our wedding and recent maternity photos. Maggie herself is an incredible Birth photographer in Asheville, NC and I was honored to capture her journey of breastfeeding with a family session earlier this year!


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Katie’s Story

I never planned to breastfeed. In fact, I just thought it was weird. But when I was pregnant with my firstborn I lived in the middle of the Appalachian mountains and was perceived as the weird one in birthing class because I planned to have an epidural and use formula.
Then my husband was laid-off. It was the crash of ‘08, I worked for the same development company he did and my job wasn’t exactly stable. I breastfed because my milk was free.
And I think because I didn’t have this self-imposed pressure on myself, like so many in my birthing class did, it came relatively easy to me. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all fairytales - when my milk came in the very first time it was as if my breasts were a foreign extension on my body. Then there was the leaking and engorgement. With my second baby I had mastitis in two quadrants that I nursed him through instead of taking meds and with my last baby, her suction was so strong that she sliced one nipple wide open.
But I nursed for 22 months, 26 months and am still going at 12 months. I also pumped to feed my child when I was working and have donated hundreds of ounces of milk to WakeMed. My breasts have shrunk a cup size with every baby and there is no buoyancy left in them, but I’m proud of the “work” they have done.
And it truly is a personal experience because no one - not even your baby - will ever understand or appreciate the effort it takes. And when your kid walks into kindergarten, no one except you and your partner, will know if s/he was breastfed. So while I support breastfeeding, I ultimately support mamas feeding their babies in whatever capacity that works for them.

I got to capture all the first latch joy as little Lainey made her epically fast entrance into the world and you can read the full story HERE.


Our Stories of Breastfeeding | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth and Family Photography

Anonymous Stories and Shorter Story Shares

I thought I’d share my breastfeeding experience since I haven’t heard it voiced before but I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Breastfeeding was the right thing for us, rather than switching to formula, but I never fell in love with it. It wasn’t until I stopped at one year that I even felt like myself again. It’s not something I look back on with fond memories, it was just part of early motherhood for me, and one of the things I’m happy to leave there.
I don’t think you have to love breastfeeding to choose it or persevere in it, or to have a valid experience, or to love your child, or to treasure those moments.”


With my firs,t she was too immature to latch due to being 34weeks so I pumped for three months. For my second, also 34 weeks they never even had me try in the NICU. But one day at home I found she latched and so I nursed her a bit but mostly pumped. Having preemies makes you concerned about how much they are eating, gaining, etc. With my last I was able to carry to full term and breast feed. He's been a trooper and is in love with boob. He was small too but gained weight like clock work so no concern. I also pumped with him so that my husband could take a midnight feeding or times when I wasn't able to feed him. We are starting to supplement formula for him cause my supply is just not keeping up with demand. He'll be nine months soon and is currently nursing as I type. I truly love the saying fed is best.

- Carlene’s Story


Breastfeeding has been a saving grace in my postpartum journey with all 3 of my babies. I get terrible PPD and PPA, and those endorphins from feeding babe help so much! I’ve been very lucky to be able to nurse my babies as long as I did!

- Kait’s Story


I vividly remember leaving the hospital after my oldest was born, expecting to feed "every 3 hours," just like the nurses told me I should.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAAAHHAAHAHAHA.

Eight years and three babies later and I look back at poor new mama me and want to hug her and say, "it's ok! She's eating every 40 minutes because she's hungry/tired/sad/lonely/scared or just wants to be near you! Feed her mama. Feed her and enjoy this time

- Bri’s Story


Fall Mini Sessions 2019

Raleigh Family Photography

September 21st | Fall Mini Session Day

Hanna Hill Photography | Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill Family Photographer


Fall Mini Sessions 2019 | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Family Photographer | Durham Family Photography | Chapel Hill Family Photography

What a crazy 2019 it’s been so far. Chris and I found out we are expecting our first baby right at the beginning of the year which really shook everything up for us! But we are so excited for our little to join the adventure sometime this Fall! This is why we will only be having ONE Mini session day this year. The big day is September 21! And there will only be a few slots available so if you are considering a session in NC this year, now is the time to grab your slot!

Each year I love getting a chance to reconnect with past families and meet new parents too! These 30 minute Mini sessions are such a sweet and simple way to get frame worthy pictures that celebrate the year you’ve had! I’m keeping things very laidback this year, relaxed locations and only 5 spots for the entire day.

Each Session will be 30 minutes at a location mentioned below!

They will include 6 fully edited images

with downloading and print release.

This year is just like last year, you will receive a full viewing gallery

and be able to select your favorite 6 or purchase additional files if you would like!

Mini Sessions this year are

$200

with full payment needed at contract signing to reserve your session.

All payments can be made through PayPal. 

Once you're paid up and contract signed

you'll be officially on the schedule!

Fall Mini Sessions 2019 | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Family Photographer | Durham Family Photography | Chapel Hill Family Photography

RALEIGH-DURHAM

SEPTEMBER 21st, SATURDAY

MORNING SESSIONS

At Brumley Nature Preserve, Chapel Hill

8:00am | OPEN

8:45am | RESERVED

9:30am | RESERVED

SUNSET SESSIONS

At Forest Hills Park, Durham

5:45pm | RESERVED

6:30pm | RESERVED

sunsets at 7:15 pm

Fall Mini Sessions 2019 | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Family Photographer | Durham Family Photography | Chapel Hill Family Photography

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I book? 

Click one of the "Request a Date and Time Here" links above. Or Here! All session requests come through me! I'll answer questions and then send you the contract followed by the invoice for payment. All contracts must be signed and invoices paid within 24 hours of request in order to confirm your slot. Out of fairness to everyone, I cannot hold any session times beyond that point. I'll respond to requests in the order that I receive them. Please NO FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM Messages. 

What Should I wear?

This is a great question! This year I want to encourage all of my clients to really take time to get a little dressed up(while still feeling comfy) to make these incredible photos that much more special. My style of photographing is very laidback, emotive and intended to bring out the natural joy and beauty of your family, but that doesn't mean getting a little styled wont take these family moments to the next level :) I'm linking below a Pinterest board for inspiration but I would love to be in contact before then if you have some outfit combination ideas! I'll also send a couple "dos and dont's" once we are officially confirmed! 

https://www.pinterest.com/hannahillphotog/wardrobe-inspiration/

What Should we bring? 

Always bring a blanket! I'll have a very neutral one in my car this year just in case but there is nothing like a family quilt or colorful throw to add a little pop of personality to your session. We will do a mixture of walking, standing, sitting, snuggling and even lying down if the organic mood strikes us, so be sure to have something to relax on other than the cold ground.

Also leave the snacks in the car or in small amounts.

But definitely bring along books or small toys if your little one may need a little distracting and you’re ok with them being in some of the images. These sessions are fun, not posey in anyway so letting them wander and explore, pick up sticks or flowers is definitely allowed (and a little encouraged!)

Can we bring our pets?

Sadly, no pets allowed this year :( If you would like to upgrade your session to a full family session to include your favorite pups, rabbits or whatever animal in your home you treasure, please let me know as soon as possible and I will do my best accommodate you and your family this Fall! Unfortunately the limited time frame of these sessions just doesn't give us what we need to balance little ones, snuggles and wiggly animals. 

How many images will I receive?

Included with each session is 6 Hand-edited, high-resolution images with a personal print release. You will receive access to an online viewing gallery of edited files(25-40) for you to select your favorite 6 for download. 

You will also be able to purchase additional photos individually, in sets or purchase the entire gallery if you would like! 

How long will my session last?

Sessions will last 30-35 minutes from "hello" to "see ya soon!" It is important to be about 5-10 minutes early so that everyone is ready when we meet and prepared to walk up or down to our exact location! 

Where will the session take place?

Each "Mini Session Block" has a specific location. Where to meet will be sent at confirmation of booking or right before our session. Both spots this year have very minimal walking, Brumley Nature Preserve has a beautiful trail that will give us a few location stops while the special location within Forest Hills is an secluded yet open field that keeps things very simple!

What happens if the weather doesn't cooperate?

Overcast, even drizzly weather can make for good photographs...Umbrellas and rain coats are adorable and fun!! But, I do understand that it’s not feasible for all situations. On the day of our Session I will make the call on whether we will try and attempt or not, I will do my best to move sessions around to get everyone photographed within the day. But if the weather is truly pouring down and we have really no choice... 

All sessions will be moved to the following day (SUNDAY)

Can we use our slot for Maternity or Couples photos? 

Yes!

If you are expecting a little one or celebrating your love, you are welcome to book these Fall Mini Sessions! 

Is there a limit on how many can come to the session? 

Yes,

since we are limited on time, only the nuclear family is welcome to your session slot (ie. parents and children) If you would like to include grandparents or share you session with other members of your family, just let me know and we can upgrade your session to an Extended family session this Fall and customize it to a location and time that works for the whole family! 

Fall Mini Sessions 2019 | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Family Photographer | Durham Family Photography | Chapel Hill Family Photography

Lainey J. Birth Story

Raleigh Birth Photographer

The Birth of Lainey

A Fast Natural Hospital Birth of a Surprise Baby Girl

At Rex Women Center in Raleigh, NC

Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story

As an artist I always feel like my role is often to piece together the story for my moms and their partners. The birth process can be hazy and very focused obviously on the labor at hand. And the birth floods right into the newborn stage of sleepless nights and cluster feeding, so the looking back on the power of their birth story is often forgotten until much later. I hear all the time after I deliver images how, “they didn’t even remember that happening” and how thankful moms and partners are to have the photos to jog back their memory through the long days of parenthood. That really is one of the beautiful aspects of birth photography, the visual processor once you’ve had a moment to breath that helps you remember your power, sacrifice and true beauty in motherhood.

But something I’ve also tried to start doing is to grab perspective from the mom herself, see the story from her eyes too. My part fo story is driven by the pictures and emotions but hers is all encompassing and with a birth as fast and unexpected as this one I knew my images and words would just not do it justice! So i reached out to Katie herself to share her story and turns out she is an incredible storyteller and writer! Her down to earth writing and sense of humor grabs you and I just loved reading through her words over and over. She has such a beautiful way of telling the story of this day that goes along so perfectly (in my opinion) with the photos too!

Lainey’s Birth Story

Written by her beautiful mother, Katie

I must do the dishes

For about three weeks I struggled to sleep, often resorting to the couch where I would fall asleep in an

upright position around 3 a.m. It was not the most ideal situation, but at the time it was the most

comfortable. At some point I would wake up, stumble to bed and sleep until about 9:30 a.m. For the last

week I woke up every morning with disdain thinking, “Well, I’m still pregnant.”

As I laid in bed on July 23, I woke up before I opened my eyes, it was before 8 a.m. I was flat as a

pancake on my back, how I frequently ended up while sleeping with this babe, when it felt as though I

lost my bladder. But I had emptied my bladder in the 3 o’clock hour. I immediately grabbed a tissue and

Googled, “How to tell if your water is leaking.” Dr. Google informed me that the Internet had made me

stupid and I, in fact, knew what was happening. After all, I was five days away from my due date with my

sixth pregnancy, third baby.

I headed to the bathroom. Yes, I knew my bag of waters had broken, and today would be the day. Even

after two healthy deliveries I felt a pit of nervousness in my stomach. This baby was coming … and I

needed to do the dishes that had been left in the sink the night before. I mean, when I think of first-

world problems, it’s my damn dirty-dish-filled sink.

Oh, I need to text Hanna

I put a panty liner in my underwear – no, not even a real pad – and made my way to the kitchen. I was

half-way through cleaning the dishes when I realized I needed to tell someone that I was in labor. I

immediately picked up the phone and sent a text to my best friend of 16 years, my husband of 11 years.

No, of course I didn’t. I sent a text to my birth photographer Hanna. It was 7:52 a.m. THEN I sent a text

to Jake, my husband.

Because I was on a roll of doing things I didn’t really need to worry with, I picked up a few art projects

from a camp Kaege completed two years ago and snapped photos of them so I could throw them away.

One less thing. Back to Jake … I didn’t pick up the phone. Nope, just casually sent him another text

asking if he planned to come home because I could just keep him posted as he continued to work. He

was coming home. As Jake walked in the door Kaege and Lawson were waking up. I’m not sure who told

them I was in labor and I’m not really sure how they responded, but they had come home early from

visiting Grandma and Papou in Florida in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, so I know they were excited.

Make an appointment

Because we were old pros at this parenting thing, we had no clue how to proceed next. Birthing class,

hospital tours and asking practical questions are so first-time parent moves. Because I hate to talk on

the phone, Jake called Rex hospital and asked if we needed to head to the hospital. Did I mention I

hadn’t had a contraction yet? As he called, I realized that the panty liner was in fact NOT made for

preggo women whose waters were leaking. Who knew?

I headed to the bathroom while Jake called my OB’s office, as directed by the hospital. I could overhear

him talking as they told him I needed to make an appointment. WTF? An appointment? Because we all

knew the baby would wait. The receptionist asked him how long it would take to get there, and he told

them 15 minutes. By this time he was standing in front of me on the phone as I sat on the toilet – and I

was 100 percent certain, and unable to deny it any longer, that my bag of waters was leaking. You

wouldn’t know I have a master’s degree, huh?

He responded, “9:15 a.m.,” as to simultaneously confirm

with them and ask me. I asked him what time it was – it was 9 a.m. Oh, ok. I thought they were going to

throw a 3 p.m. appointment at me. The woman on the line told him that it was fine if we were late.

I put on one of my favorite maternity outfits, a gray flowered top and a GAP jean skirt. It was the last

time I’d be sporting a maternity outfit, so I was going out in style – and comfort. We walked out the

front door and Jake took the last photo with my boys in my arms and a baby in my belly. It was 9:11 a.m.

You’re gonna go see my wife

We made it to my OB’s office and into a room relatively quickly. I vaguely remember the drive and I

definitely don’t remember the walk into the building. At this time my contractions had started, but they

were soft, and felt like a warm heat moving across my abdomen. I remember looking and talking with

Jake in the room as we waited for a doctor, but I don’t recall what was said. I wish I did.

My favorite doctor, Dr. Brimmage, walked into the room. Damn. Guess he wouldn’t be delivering my

baby. He said he would do a quick cervix check and test me to see if my bag of waters was in fact

leaking. Ha. Not necessary. As he pulled back from the cervix check I could feel more fluid come out. I

waited until he was out of the room before I asked Jake to hand me a tissue to clean myself. I was

dilated 4 cm and 70 percent effaced.

A few short minutes later, Dr. Brimmage opened the door and said, “You’re gonna go see my wife.” She

was the doctor on call. He was on call tomorrow but said he didn’t think I’d make it that long. I did

wonder if I could will the labor to wait. I told Dr. Brimmage that his wife was the only doctor in the

practice that I hadn’t met but that I looked forward to meeting her.

What are they waiting for?

We walked out of the Women’s Center to take the short stroll on the sidewalk to the Birthing Center

and I asked Jake to stop and take a picture of us. It was 10:21 a.m. and it’s the last photo I have on my

phone of us before the baby’s birth.

We walked into the Birthing Center, went upstairs and then checked in at a desk as if we were getting a

hotel room. They sent us to a waiting area that was in a different location than we had been with

Lawson nearly seven years ago. There were three or four other couples there. I decided to wait, standing

against the wall across from the seated area. It was 10:29 a.m. and I informed Hanna – remember our

birth photographer and the first to know of my waters – that my contractions were present but not

consistent yet. I wanted to ask her to come to the hospital straightaway. My gut told me to ask her to

come, but I am a rule follower to the core, and she waits until active labor (5 cm and when contractions are consistent) so I hushed my gut

and followed the book.

As we stood waiting for a room, we began to send out texts to parents and close friends. We text our

parents. We reached out to Cindy and Carl and asked them to go be with our boys since we knew Jake

wouldn’t be home for a while. I told a great friend and my Pure Barre instructor Denise that baby was

coming!

As I began shooting out texts my body began shooting out consistent contractions. I grabbed onto the

bar along the wall and would bear down as they would come. Sweat began to pour out of my body and

while I didn’t regret selecting the outfit I did, I did regret that you could see the armpit sweat stains in

my shirt. Something that my mother-in-law so lovingly pointed out later. Thanks. Meanwhile, the other

preggo mamas, all sitting there dolled up with make-up and hair done so perfectly and contraction-less,

were called one-by-one back to their rooms. It was fine. I was ready to have the baby in the hallway.

Put the gown on and get in bed

I was finally called back to make my way to a birthing room. I hadn’t brought my bag because

remember, old pros here, so Jake had to go back to the car and get it.

A few days earlier I had bought nearly every sports bra Motherhood Maternity sold and I came prepared

to birth this baby in the most perfect, and elegant bra. To me it screamed bold and sexy. The very two

words I think of during my previous labor experiences. No. Not at all. But this one was different. It was

my last and it was going to be on digital “film,” so I was ready. And Jake went to go get this all-

empowering bra.

But as he walked back in the birthing room, I was already in the dreaded hospital gown and the ugliest

color gripper socks that have been created. They were a vivid sky-ish blue with pure white grippers and

came up to mid-calf. My calves are huge. I was so glad these socks could highlight this feature of my

body. Who buys this stuff? Could they at least coordinate with the nasty smock I have to throw on? My

attire was now dictated by my nurse and even my wedding rings had to come off.

Because I had a C-section with Kaege [nearly 10 YEARS AGO] I was considered higher-risk and required

to be ready for an emergency C-section. If my VBAC with a 10-lbs. baby didn’t rupture my uterus, I think

this one would have been fine. I also was told to get in the hospital bed. There would be no birthing

upright for me.

Go get something to eat

The nurse began to do the normal check-in procedures – have me sign a few things that pre-registration

didn’t cover (I wasn’t completely unprepared for this experience), and some other things that obviously

are not important because I don’t remember them. She then started to put my IV into my left arm. I

warned her that my veins are close to the surface and they roll, but she still blew out my vein with her

first attempt. At that point the contractions were tough, but that hurt! With the IV successfully in, I

began my first (and what ended up being my only) bag of antibiotics for group b strep. This was the first

time I had tested positive, so it was a new experience for me.

As I sat, chained to a bed, attached to an IV, in an ugly outfit, I told Jake to run up to Chick-fil-A and get

some lunch. Because I had called him at work so early he didn’t have breakfast and I knew he’d get a

queasy stomach if he didn’t eat something. And we had been to that Chick-fil-A before for a couple of

lunch dates and it was a good one. He told me no but said he was going to go check the vending

machine. He wasn’t gone long before he returned with a Mountain Dew and a pack of nuts.

Before this pregnancy Mountain Dew was my drug of choice, now I could barely tolerate it so it wasn’t a

big deal. However, I told my mom at 12:11 p.m. that they wouldn’t let me drink anything, so I asked her

to drink a Chick-fil-A Coke for me. This baby loved fountain Coca-Cola from Chick-fil-A. Me? Not so

much.

I guess I’m sitting up

It was 12:09 p.m. and I sent a text to Hanna to keep her informed. I could ask for an epidural at any time

but hadn’t yet. And they still hadn’t checked my cervix so I couldn’t update any further.

Up to this time I was having some strong, but manageable contractions. I’ve done Pure Barre for years

and the breathing techniques were allowing me to handle them relatively easy. For a moment I even

thought that maybe I could do this without an epidural, something I NEVER thought I could – or even

wanted – to do. I felt God with me, and I knew He was giving me His strength.

Within a blink my contractions became intense and Jake asked if I could get an epidural. He has always

been good at determining when I’ve had enough and speaking for me. The nurse said she was going to

ask for one but was waiting to hear back from the lab on my bloodwork. She then told me to lie back so

she could check my cervix. She did an aggressive check and as she pulled away from me, I could feel the

remainder of my bag of waters follow her. I remember giving Jake a side glance with my eyes, following

with my head. At that point, I knew. I just knew. It was 12:50 p.m. and I was still dilated to 4 cm.

Jake asked me if I wanted him to text Hanna and I told him, “Yes.”

He sent her a text:

“Jake here. "They’re about to do epidural. Contractions are very regular and about 2 min apart. 4cm”

I wanted to tell her to get in the car but, again, I was only at 4 cm. The pain from the contractions

increased ten-fold and the nurse began to prep me for an epidural so I would be ready when the

anesthesiologist came in the room. She asked if I could sit up and I then asked if I could remain laying

down. She said not for the epidural, and I said, “Well I guess I’m sitting up.”

Hanna Here, I wanted to also add that my response was “K, let her get the epi and see if she can rest a bit. Let me know when they check her again or if things start to progress after the epidural” From my side of things contractions were still spaced out and she was hoping to get settled and comfy in their room. But I was fully ready to walk out the door.

The next text I received was 6 minutes later “no time for epi, baby on the way” I was in the car in under 2 minutes (20 minutes away)

Get me a hairband

I somehow sat up. Maybe Jake and the nurse helped me, maybe I did it on my own. As the nurse pulled

my legs around to hang off the side of the bed a flash of heat surged through my body. It was if every

pore in my body has a sweat bead sitting on its surface. She was quick to notice and asked if I had a hair

band. I told Jake to get my purse and with my eyes closed, focusing on the contractions, I reached in

with my left hand to grab a spare that I kept in there. She came behind me and pulled my hair into a

ponytail to get it off my drenched body.

As another contraction hit, I pushed my palms down on each side of my hips as I lifted my torso. I told

the nurse, “I feel like I need to push.” It was 1:01 p.m. She quickly came around to face me and asked if I

could lean back so she could check me. I couldn’t. I felt stuck in the position. I just wanted the pain to

stop. I took a breath and leaned back slightly. She was probably pushing my body back too, but we’ll just

pretend I was compliant.

I kept my head down, but I could feel the room door open. That’s when the nurse said, “I feel the head.”

The anesthesiologist promptly made a U-turn out of the room and I fell to my left side on the bed. It was

1:03 p.m. I kept my legs open, feet pressed to the bed and I prepared for another contraction. In that

moment I was thankful that Hanna was not there because I was not handling this labor gracefully. It was

not bold. It was not empowering. It was fast. It was intense. And it was painful. In my head I told God

that I was not strong enough for this and I needed Him to completely take over. And He did.

She doesn’t know what she’s having

I think Jake was at my left side and the nurse to my right as she called for help. Within seconds the room

was flooded with people and someone pulled me down onto my back. A different nurse bent my right

knee and shifted it toward my ear. I’m not sure if I followed suit with my left or if another nurse was

there doing the same. With one push, the baby came out past its shoulders. The doctor – yes, there was

a doctor who came in to catch the baby. I had never met her and didn’t even really see her, but I didn’t

care. It could have been the janitor so long as this baby came out – told me that I didn’t have to wait for

another contraction to push. She said it looked pretty uncomfortable and a simple push would do it. I

wanted to wait for a contraction so I could rest, but it was uncomfortable, almost a burning sensation so

I took a breath and pushed the baby out. It was 1:07 p.m.

They immediately put the baby on my chest and covered it with the standard hospital baby blanket to

keep it warm. I put my arms around it but didn’t immediately focus on the baby. I was in shock from the

events of the past 17 minutes. I held onto the baby and took some deep breaths, in through my nose

and out through my mouth, to really take in what just happened. Seriously 17 minutes.

It felt like I had the baby on my chest for at least a minute or two (but a picture snapped by Jake proved

it was much shorter), when my nurse said, “She doesn’t know what the baby is.” Since I didn’t have the

opportunity to meet Dr. Briscoe before she ran in to catch it, she didn’t know that baby’s gender was a

surprise to me. In my head I answered, “It’s a boy,” envisioning a little penis under that hospital blanket.

“Oh,” replied Dr. Briscoe. “It’s a girl!”

Shut-up

Jake swears I spent the next few minutes repeating “shut-up.” I remember no such thing. As Dr. Briscoe

finished saying “It’s a girl,” my head snapped left to look at Jake for confirmation. I couldn’t believe it.

And even as I write this recollection a year later, I still can’t believe we have a baby girl in our family. I

came to the hospital with a little boy’s outfit for the baby to wear home. I came to the hospital with a

killer list of boy names in tow. But I left with the sweetest little girl I could have ever hoped and prayed

for.

I pulled this new baby girl further up to my chest and tried to take in every moment. She was fiery and

loud. And I was elated.

I’m in a black polo

Even as things had progressed so quickly, Jake had kept Hanna informed and after a text at 1:01 p.m.

that baby was on its way, she got in her car and made it to the hospital lobby by 1:35 p.m. She had only

ever met with me so as Jake went downstairs to greet her, he identified himself with clothing as if they

were on a blind date. I’m sure Hanna is used to it, but I thought it was funny and still have the text

conversation between them on my phone.

Hanna came up to my room and immediately started taking pictures. I so wish she could have been

there to capture the labor and mostly the shock on my face, but I think she captured the joy I felt. I was

secretly trying not to be too excited because boys are great, too, but to know what it’s like to have both

sons and a daughter is something I never thought I’d be able to experience and it’s special.

Finishing a chapter

I love surprises. But it’s hard to surprise me. Somehow, I always manage to find out a surprise and ruin it

for myself. But not this time, God had the ultimate surprise planned for me. Our fertility journey has

been a long and difficult road for me. I have experienced pure joy and unconditional love, and I have

also experienced loss, pain, resentment and anger. But in the end His plan is always greater than mine.

The pain that may come from that plan may not be easy, but it’s always better than my own.

Unless God changes our hearts, Lainey has completed our family. It’s both saddening and refreshing.

While it’s difficult to leave this part of our journey behind, we are thankful for the six children God has

blessed us with – three that we enjoy each day and three we will meet someday. Until then, I’m going to

go give my babies another kiss.

Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story
Lainey J. Birth Story | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photography | Natural Hospital birth story

Alicia F. Maternity Story

Durham,NC Maternity Photography

Alicia, Chris and Ori celebrate baby number two and Mom’s beautiful growing Belly

in Durham, North Carolina

Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill Birth and Family Photographer

This past year I got to truly follow along with this beautiful family from Maternity, birth to Newborn! They were team green on baby number two and I just love capturing all the joy and anticipation that comes along with waiting. Big sister Ori is one of the best and biggest little personalities I’ve come across, she made this session such a blast. Even when things started off a little emotional it did not take long for her excitement and silliness to win out as she got comfortable in front of the camera. Her curiosity and love for her little baby sibling were beautiful to see. It was fun to just take these three out to a favorite little park and really celebrate that this precious family of three was growing by one. Chris and Alicia took so many beautiful moments to just connect and reflect as they awaited their little one and of course laugh at their precocious little girl. We celebrated that growing baby bump too which I am obsessed with. Our bodies grow and change in such a unique way during pregnancy and I wish every mom wanted to flaunt that courageous motherhood bump. I can’t wait to continue to unfold their sweet family story and share the powerful story of birth that brought their second little one into the world! (So stay tuned…)

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Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
If photographer is unable to perform this contract due to sickness, emergency, or causes beyond photographer’s control, the photographer and client shall attempt to schedule a replacement session (fresh 48, newborn session, etc.…). If an agreement cannot be reached by photographer and client, the photographer agrees to return payments made (minus the retainer). The photographer will have no further liability. If the photographer is not able to deliver the agreed upon images due to a technical malfunction of her photography equipment, the photographer’s liability is limited to the price of a birth session.
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer
Alicia F. Maternity | Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Durham Birth and Family Photographer