Eric & Elisa: Birth Story

Two years ago, I met Doreen, Eulises, and Evan at one of my mini sessions and we instantly clicked. Doreen told me then that she wanted me to capture the birth of their next baby, whenever that may happen. Fast forward and I squealed with delight when Doreen text me to let me know she was pregnant and not with just one baby, but TWINS! I was so happy for her and she asked me again if I would be there to capture their birth. I told her I would be honored, but realistically my husband’s schedule and the fact that I had multiple weddings near her due date, that there would be a possibility I wouldn’t be able to make it. She said she didn’t want anyone else and had faith that it would all work out. As she began reaching 36 weeks, we were both on pins and needles as twins typically come early and I had a wedding in Ft. Myers which meant I would be 4 hours away. We would pray together that the twins would stay safely inside and that God would bring them into this world at a time that I would be able to bring glory to His name by capturing the miracle and beauty of their birth.

Much to our surprise, Doreen made it to 38 weeks and her doctor recommended they schedule an induction as the babies were getting big and she would be at risk of a C-section and Doreen had big plans for a natural, vaginal, birth. So with much reluctance she agreed to the induction which was set for the morning of February 9th. I was relieved since I knew Steve would be off to stay with the kids and I would be available all day. The morning of the induction, I arrived at the hospital just after the sun rose and anxiously awaited for them to arrive. A few minutes later, I received a text from Doreen saying the hospital just called and they don’t have a bed available for her and that it would be a few hours before one would become available. She was upset and I told her not to worry that I would come back whenever she was ready and that she should enjoy a quiet walk on the beach with her husband before the chaos began. Haha. I headed home even though I had a feeling that as soon as I got there, I would have to leave and go back. I picked up breakfast for the family and as I walked in the door, I received another text from Doreen. They had decided to go in anyways and they were monitoring her in triage. Turns out she was 6 cm and in active labor! God was answering our prayers and she was able to bypass the induction and go into labor naturally. It was a miracle!

I made it back to the hospital just as she was getting settled in her labor and delivery room. Doreen was so excited and their was a calm energy in the air. Her doula, Stacey, from the Orchid’s Nest was there as well helping her get settled and answering the millions of questions the nurse was asking. Doreen’s birth plan was to labor naturally and as hands off as possible. She was strong and determined to bring her babies into this world without any medical interventions. This a very long post that includes a lot of photos of the laboring process because I find it just as beautiful as the actual birth. Seeing Doreen surrender to her contractions and trust in her body was simply amazing. She used her hypnobirthing techniques to get through each contraction and never once complained.

When Doreen’s doctor came to check on her, she hadn’t progressed and he discussed some options with her that included using Pitocin and/or breaking her water. Doreen really didn’t want to use pitcoin and opted to have her water broken and hoped it would be enough to get things going again. Her labor intensified greatly after her water was released and again she powered through each surge and never uttered a single complaint.

The only thing weighing heavily on Doreen’s mind was the safety of her daughter who was laying transverse at the top of her belly. The doctor explained to her that the best case scenario would be that she would turn head down after her brother was delivered and she would be able to have both babies vaginally. However, he said he may have to manipulate her belly to help get her into the proper position and that it would be very painful to her. He urged her to get the epidural, not because she was weak and couldn’t handle the pain of birth, but because it would be the safest option for her and her babies in the case of an emergency. After speaking with her family and doula, she agreed to the epidural and was able to rest for an hour and was more at peace knowing she made the best decision for her babies.

Doreen’s body was working hard because a short time later the doctor came in to check her again and she was fully dilated with baby A’s head low in the birth canal so it was time to prep to head to the OR where she would be delivering her babies. It’s a precautionary measure for twins and a first for me!

Now I have to admit, I was incredibly nervous about being in the OR. I have a fear of hospitals and surgeries so I tried to slow my breathing and focus on Doreen. I was here for a purpose and it was a privilege to be a part of such an intimate moment for them. I held tight to my camera and made sure I didn’t accidentally bump or touch anything since it was a sterile environment. Once Doreen began to push all my fears went away and I was overcome with joy. Just a few pushes and Doreen was able to reach down and pull her son onto her chest and the room erupted in tears.

Now that Eric had arrived safe and healthy, it was time to focus on bringing Elisa down head-first. She tried to come with her hand first but the doctor was able to push it out of the way and she came down into the perfect position. The nurse had Eric breastfeed to try and naturally get Doreen’s uterus to contract to help bring Elisa down and about 30 minutes later, Doreen was able to reach down and pull her daughter onto her chest. Once again I was overcome with emotion and tears streamed down my face as I captured her first sweet cries. Witnessing their birth was incredible! Doreen was so strong and such a warrior mom for her babies.

The family was thrilled to hear both babies were perfect and healthy! Big brother, Evan, was especially excited to meet his new baby brother and sister. He was so smitten with them!

Brittany & Joey: Murphy-Burroughs House Wedding

The leaves crackled beneath her feet as she made her way up the ramp and Joey began to bite his lip and shift his eyes back and forth. He was a ball of nerves as he was about to see his beautiful bride for the first time. Brittany paused to wave and say hi to their bridal party watching in the window and I could see tears well in his eyes at the sound of her voice. This was the look of true love. She tapped him on the shoulder, he took a deep breath, and turned around to just have his breath taken away.

Brittany and Joey’s wedding was intimate, beautiful, and emotional from beginning to end. There was no doubt these two were head over heels for each other and were so excited to be husband and wife. I’ve had the pleasure of capturing their precious family from the beginning when they were expecting Braxton and then again with Brynlee and it was so heartwarming to be a part of their wedding day as well. Brittany will often joke that she had her photographer before she had her groom and that means more to me than she knows. It’s always an honor to be able to capture intimate and precious moments for people. Thank you Brittany and Joey for having me and making me feel like part of the family!

Joey’s father passed away when he was 21 and one of his sisters wrote the most beautiful poem honoring him that brought everyone to tears. She spoke of the man Joey has become and how proud their father is in heaven watching him. Then each of his sisters danced with him and I was just a blubbery mess. I can attest to the fact that Joey is an incredible man, father, and now husband. He has a huge heart and has a way of making people feel instantly at ease around him.

Hyatt Bonaventure Resort Wedding: Kristyn & Tommy

As the last couple of the bridal party made their way down the aisle, Tommy began to shift and rub his hands. I looked over my shoulder to see him take a deep breath and turn toward where his bride would be emerging to make her way toward him. A smile started to creep across his lips and there was a warmth in his eyes. It was clear as day, he was head over heels in love with Kristyn.

Kristyn clutched to her dad as they both fought back tears and began walking toward the ceremony. They reached the beginning of the aisle and Kristyn took a deep breath as her dad couldn’t help but let tears fall. She turned to him and smiled and then they began their walk down the aisle. Kristyn looked into Tommy’s eyes and she glowed. There was no doubt she was madly in love with Tommy.

From beginning to end, Kristyn and Tommy’s wedding day was beautiful and emotional. I feel so honored to have been able to witness them vow their love and commitment to one another. I found myself fighting back tears many times throughout the day, just hiding behind my camera and trying to focus on the job at hand. It was so hard to go through and pick a few favorites to share with all of you, so this is a pretty lengthy post.

Mr. and Mrs. Tobacco, I wish you all the happiness in the world. May you always look at each with such love and admiration.

The ceremony and reception were held at the Hyatt Bonaventure Resort in Weston, FL.

Kristyn’s grandmother has passed and she chose to have a yellow butterfly symbolize her presence and I saw it fitting to photograph it with her grandmother’s pearls she would be wearing.

I love Kristyn’s facial expressions as she read a letter from Tommy and opened his gift to her.

I adore Tommy’s reaction to seeing his bride for the first time during their first look. This is the face every bride hopes to see on her groom’s face.

The spa of the Hyatt had a beautiful waterfall and lush landscape that served as a beautiful backdrop for their first look and some portraits.

Everywhere I looked there was such gorgeous light which made me squeal with delight!

You can tell how awesome Kristyn and Tommy are by how BIG their bridal party was. They were surrounded by so many friends and family who truly love them and were so happy for their big day.

Kristyn put a lot of effort into the details of their special day and it all turned out amazing.

This is the moment I described above. It still makes me tear up. I also LOVE that Tommy and his mom are looking at their guests as they make their way down the aisle. And Kristyn’s sister even got emotional when she saw her coming out with their dad.

Yep, I was totally sobbing and I turned to see Kristyn’s baby sister was also crying watching her big sister and daddy dance.

And they lived happily ever after!

Miramar Backyard Wedding: Krysten & Tim

When Krysten first reached out to me about her wedding, she already have everything figured out as to what she wanted. She said she always dreamed of having a wedding in her parent’s backyard underneath their gazebo overlooking the canal. Throughout the planning process, she would share different details and ideas with me and my excitement for their big day would grow and grow. I was looking forward to capturing such an intimate backyard wedding where guests felt like family. I love when brides make their wedding day personal and filled with details that have meaning to them. When their wedding day finally came, it was better than I had imagined.

Krysten and Tim, I will never forget the looks on your faces as the ceremony began and Krysten, you came walking down the aisle. Your eyes met and you both were overcome with emotions of joy and happiness. I held back tears as your dad gave you away and I saw you breathe a sigh of relief as you approached Tim. You two are perfect for each other and I look forward to seeing your relationship grow and flourish. May your marriage be blessed with everlasting love and happiness.

John & Alexandria: Villa Woodbine Wedding

The winds picked up and the clouds began to roll in just as Alexandria was about to walk down the aisle to the man of her dreams. There was worry on everyone’s faces as they silently prayed that the rain would hold off. I could hear John’s mom whisper to her husband, “It’s okay. Rain is good luck!” And the first few drops began to fall as Alex’s dad gave her hand in marriage to John. Alex looked back at her guests with shock and whispered to John, “this sucks.” Everyone was willing to endure the rain to witness their ceremony, but as they saw all of their guests huddled under coat jackets and standing under the tree canopy, they decided to move the ceremony inside to the reception tent. Alex and John took the change of events in stride and were just excited to be getting married. They became husband and wife with a beautiful and personal ceremony surrounded by their loved ones. It may not have been the ceremony they had originally planned for, but it was still perfect.

I adore how much Alex and John laughed and cried throughout their wedding day. It’s easy to see their love for each other and how relaxed they are in each other’s company. I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness. May you love each other more each day and never stop laughing.