Lucy's birth story :: Boston newborn photographer

Lucy’s Birth Story

Since I absolutely love reading birth stories, I thought it would be fun to share Lucy's. Hers was quite eventful (though I sort of think they all are), and I'm proud of her entry into this world. Therefor, I'm proud to share a sort of bridged version! The detailed version would be much too long because her birth was much too long! This is a raw and open post for me, but that's what I cherish most. Even though I cherish these raw stories and moments, it's a little scary to share. But what the hell, right?

In the first minutes of Saturday August 4th 2017, midnight, labor contractions began. I alternated moving around and laying on the couch for about 6 hours. In that time, I called my Mom to let her know it was time to come over so she could take care of our son, Julian while we went to the hospital. Brandon woke up around 6am, and I filled him in on the night. Julian began waking up and was in a great and easy mood. He actually shared my pillow with me a bit while I labored on the couch. My Mom made her way to the house by around 8am. Contractions were somewhat manageable, so I worked through them, ate a little and drank water. We left for the hospital around 9am. Had contractions on the way in, and during check in they slowed. I walked up to labor and delivery and we got a room. Right away they hooked me up to the monitor, an on-call Dr came in to check me and we didn’t really get settled. The Dr that checked me said I was only at a 1/2cm, which was shocking since I had been working hard for 9 hours at that point. We found out that the cervical stitch I had in had left scarring behind after it was removed at 37 weeks, and it may be extra tough to break through that tissue and dilate normally. Super. (A cervical stitch is used to treat an incompetent cervix, which we found I had after almost loosing my son at 19 weeks) Contractions had basically stopped and they sent me on a walk to help them kick in. I had some “progress”, but nothing consistent like it was earlier. After 4 hours, I was sent home.

Once we got back in the car, contractions began again, of course. They continued for the rest of the day, but began on the slow side again. I labored at home in bed while Brandon and my Mom looked after Julian. He was being pretty good, so there was no issue working through contractions with him there. I labored in bed, on the couch and in the tub, which was great. I tried to eat a little more and stay on top of drinking water. At around 4-5pm, the contractions picked up and I told Brandon we would just have the baby at home because I didn’t want to move. I was absolutely serious. In my head, we were covered because we had a doula. He wasn’t a fan of that idea. So he worked on packing up the car and getting ready to just go once I was in between contractions. I got mentally ready and after having a contraction, we got into the car and headed back to the hospital. This ride in was hard because I was uncomfortable, contracting and every bump in the road made it worse. Brandon got me checked in while I used the bathroom at the entrance. I was having contractions on the way in and kept getting asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I knew being on my feet would help me to dilate, so I turned the request down. Brandon got me mostly checked in, I signed a couple papers, had another contraction and we walked up to labor and delivery. This time, they knew I was getting checked in and not sent home because of how I looked. I was in active labor and could barely talk between contractions. This time I asked to get settled a few before being hooked up and before getting checked. I wanted to stay as calm as I could to keep the “home atmosphere” alive. We got music set up, lights dim and I got “comfortable”. I was checked. No changes at all. I cried. I had worked so hard for about 18 hours and my cervix was still working through the scar tissue.

The contractions got much stronger and closer together until they just started coming one after another with no break in between. By midnight, 24 hours after labor began, I was getting really bad. I had another check and still no changes. I cried again. I asked for a scalpel to cut my own baby out, and I was serious. Typically at this stage I would be transitioning to pushing, but with no dilation, that was not happening and so I became irrational. They offered me morphine, which sounded horrible to a rational me, but I was happy to take it. It only worked for 3 hours, but helps to calm contractions and make me sleepy so I could rest. My body really needed rest after being up so long and being in so much pain. Being relaxed is what moves the cervix, so it was the best option. The first shot didn’t really work. I calmed down a bit, but was still laboring through hard contractions. After 3 hours, they gave me one more shot and that worked. Contractions mostly stopped and I fell asleep for almost 4 hours. I drank a ton of water and was feeling so much better.

At around 9am on Sunday, my Dr was in and came to do a check. I was so happy to see him. I was at 1cm. Not great progress for 33 hours of laboring. He talked about sending me home again. I cried...  yet again. We talked about my options for a while on and off. Maybe Pitocin would help? But laboring through that would be too intense to do naturally, especially after over 30 hours of labor already. As much as I fought to not have a c-section, that’s where I thought we were headed, and I was OK with it and actually hoping for it. My Dr never mentioned it, and just kept up on checking in and waiting. He believes in being free of intervention, unless absolutely needed, which is what I love about him as a Dr. I asked to go into the birth tub knowing it helped me labor easier, and may help make some changes. The nurses were fantastic and got everything all set up for me. The water was warm, the jets were so great and we had nice music and dim lights. I had some great contractions and the water really helped me through them. It was especially nice because I could give Brandon’s poor hand a break. I stayed in there with the hubby and the doula about and hour or so, then went back to my room. My Dr checked me and I was at a 4. I was so happy! With that small opening, my Dr found that part of the stitch did not come out and had gotten scabbed over in my cervix. So the laboring for the last 35ish hours was all to break through that and the scar tissue. He was going to blindly cut it out, but found at this point it was not standing in the way anymore, so we left it. I labored in the room a bit longer and then asked for the tub again since I was now stuck at a 4 and wanted to advance more. Contractions were tough still, but manageable. The hard part was that I was so far into labor, with no food and very little sleep. So my concentration was broken, and I was so tired that I had a hard time staying calm. This made dilation slower. The tub was my only way to relax and let my body do what it needed to. After being in the tub a while, contractions kicked up and I knew it was time to get out since getting back to my room would be more difficult the longer I waited. I needed a wheelchair this time. The pressure was so low that standing was extra painful.

When I got back I labored in the bed for a while, changed positions a bunch with the encouragement of my doula, and hated every second of it. Contractions became incredibly intense. My Dr had come in and saw me work through one, and decided it was time to do a check again since he could see how strong they were. I was 5-6cm. It was the best news, even though it took me way too long to get there. After he checked me, my water broke and that was even better news. It was what I need to keep carrying on. I did my best. But eventually I got back to the same point I was at 24 hours earlier. In intense labor, not getting much of a break between contractions and not progressing fast enough based on all the work my body had done. I was also vomiting at this point. I was drained and trying to escape. Usually this is a good sign and it means pushing is super close, but the past 46 hours proved to me, I was not in a “normal” labor situation. I asked for an epidural, which I am normally super scared of and hate with a passion. (I had one for when the stitch went in and hated it) But at that point, I needed any relief and figured I would get it, and then turn it off after a couple hours. It went in around 9pm and took a few minutes because I kept having contractions. Brandon and my doula were not allowed in the room at this point so I felt sort of “on my own”, which was not fun. Luckily my nurse was so amazing, super nice and was excellent with helping me. It took about 10 min to begin working and the contractions got easier to deal with, until I could not feel them anymore. The anesthesiologist was awesome! After a half hour my nurse checked me and I was fully dilated and the baby was coming down! I almost cried again! But this time, I felt accomplished. Being able to let my body relax, even for 30 min., was what was needed to finish out the dilation. As much as I hate epidurals, this was the best decision. The initial dose is sort of a big hit that wears off after a couple hours. So the plan was to let it wear off so I could push on my own. We all thought we were getting a little sleep, but nope. It was almost go time.

I had to begin pushing before the epi wore off because the baby was on her way, but it was hard. I couldn’t feel if I was pushing right and just had to be coached through it. I hated that. Pushing took FOREVER! But the good part was that feeling came back and I could take back control. I had a ton of support and my drill sergeants, I mean, nurses were pushing me to keep at it. In between pushes, we actually had a great time. I had a great playlist on with 90s music, upbeat songs and random mixes of artists I pulled from my at home library. So we all enjoyed the music, got down to pushing business and began guessing her birth time. First guess was 11:11pm. My nurse told us the nurses all had races to see who would have their baby first and my nurse figured we would lose because one of the other mommas dilated fully way before me. So we were just guessing cool times and joking around. 11:11 came and went. So we began joking that she was waiting to be born past midnight on her actual due date, because you know, screw yo’ statistics. (Apparently only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date). Midnight came and went. I thought my head was going to pop off after 2 hours of pushing, but everyone was telling stories, coaching me well and enjoying the music, so it made the time pass faster and made me forget the pain and pressure. Our next guess 12:12am came and went. Then the block of Beatles songs came on and I joked that she was waiting to be born to “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” because we chose the name Lucy for her. Soon after, pushing was more effective and we all focused on getting me coached through these last few pushes. I had a mirror so I could see, and after a push I opened my eyes and saw we had a head! Really quickly after, her body came and she was finally born at 12:32am. 48 and a half hours after I woke with those midnight contractions.

Nothing beat that feeling of accomplishment and I was so excited to be able to hold her. Even though she had squeezed out a poo during birth and was covered in it. I didn’t care. I held her and we just cleaned her up a bit. Then she peed on me. Yup. Babies are messy. So quite the ending to such a long 2 days! After about 30 seconds or so, Brandon pointed out the song on the playlist. It was in the middle of “Lucy in the sky with diamonds”. I was shocked at the irony... and sort of wishing I had just played that damn playlist in the first 24 hours! On top of that, my nurse’s 1 year old daughter is named Lucy, and the day before was Lucille Ball’s birthday!

She looked perfect. Her color was great and she was pretty alert. Her heart rate had been perfect the whole labor and long pushing, and she was still doing fantastic. She is an absolute champ. I held her for an hour and then she got weighed. 7lbs. 11oz. I had been hot/cold for those couple days so I ended up giving her my temp, but it came back down quickly. I was shaking uncontrollably but she seemed to actually like it since it was like a vibrating bed for her. I passed her off to Brandon after hogging her for a long time. My camera was there so I was able to snap some early pictures of them and he got a few of us. It was not the best lighting, but the quality of the pics did not matter, it was the content. We found out that we did “win” and I was the first of the nurse’s patients to give birth. My nurse won a Snickers bar and I “won” a popscicle. (Not green though, due to barfing up a green one earlier in the day)

We all got situated and eventually packed up to head to the mother/baby unit. It was an incredibly hard and very long labor and It broke me multiple times. But as with any birth, it was the most amazing experience, and was one of my most favorite days of my life. Being a Mom is one of the most important parts of my life, and I can not believe how lucky I am to have both Julian and Lucy. The love I feel for them is out of control. On top of all of that I have a such a great husband. He went through just as much of the 48 hours as I did. He barely ate, didn’t sleep much and I’m sure his hands are hurting from all the squeezing. He was a great coach and never left my side. I needed him to get me through and he was there 100%. As I write this, we wait for Lucy’s to finish treatment under the bili lights. Apparently we make babies that have jaundice issues. Julian was bad because he was a preemie, but Lucy got yellow on day 2 so she spent the night in the nursery under the bili lights. It was hard to not have her in the room, but she made great progress and we all get to go home as a family.


My doula came from Acelleron in North Andover.  Having a doula support person has been one of the best decisions for both of my births and Acelleron has been a fantastic resource for all things baby related. I spent a good amount of time there after the birth of my son doing fitness classes and getting lactation support. I went through their hypnobirthing classes for both of my kids as well. I'm so grateful for them being a sort of one stop shop for everything I have needed, and employing such great doulas to support my daughters birth.

A snowy day with a little person

First we had a snack, then we took 20 minutes to bundle up, then we braved the snow, then we came in for hot (warm) chocolate. It's the way snow days are supposed to be for kiddos, and I didn't mind it either. The only thing missing was the fluff in the hot chocolate, but I'll be sure to have some on hand for the next snow play day.

It took Julian a while to realize he could walk in the snow. He would have just stood there frozen all day, except Mongo decided to keep knocking him over while she played in the snow. He had a much easier time walking in the street and seemed to love being out.

I hope everyone had a great time playing in the snow too!

Happy New Year :: Boston based wedding and lifestyle photographer

Happy 2017!

The calendar flips another month and another year and it always feels like a clean slate in a way. Not sure why, but I never used to give it much thought. The New Year was just a reason to be with friends, wear glittery hats, and smooch with my love well past our bedtime. This year and those most recent, we haven't made it to midnight and I couldn't be happier about it. We wake up early, and a late night means a groggy day. I love waking early, cooking, cleaning, and feeling as if I've gotten in a full day before it's noon.

The clean slate of the new year has been important in the years since I've had my business. I feel it's important to reflect on the past year to see what I did well, what I want to do better, and then make a plan to do that. I make my plan for the new year first, then I reflect. What can I say, I work backwards.

Last year I wrote my new years blog and I was giddy with excitement about what I had in store for the new year. Looking back, the year I had blew the year I expected out of the water. The pictures below tell a story of many stories that I was incredibly lucky enough to document. I met many newborns, documented weddings, and took pictures of families just living their lives. To top it all off, most of the newborn shoots involved dogs! Seriously... weddings, kiddos, babies AND dogs!? 2016 was not so bad, but I am quite excited for 2017 and all that it has in store. Before we get a full day into 2017, I'm happy to share my favorites from this year.

Much love and health to all my friends this year. I truly hope you have begun 2017 in the best way and I thank you so much for all the opportunities you have given me as your family photographer.

To get more information on a wedding, newborn or lifestyle photography session, please contact me! I look forward to the opportunity to spend time documenting your family, and providing pictures for you to cherish in the years to come.

The Ward family :: Boston Family Photographer

Meet the Wards!

I spent a little time with this great family during a day that they played, carved pumpkins, and took a little time for a few family pictures. We had so much fun capturing their daily life and the messy tradition that is pumpkin carving. During one of the quick moments that we grabbed a family picture while the kids we throwing up bunny ears, Mom said "ok one serious picture, or we are going to take standard family pics". Knowing this was more fun, the kids did a quick look at the camera and we grabbed a couple of the standard pictures. I loved that. Pictures should be fun and I really hope the kids look back on them when they are older and remember the day as a being positive family experience, not a chore.

The Wards wanted these picture to capture a hopeful time in their life after some difficult times they have gone through. The last time they had family pictures was after Nick's esophageal cancer diagnosis, and before treatment, and they are hard to view as happy and hopeful family pictures. They now have a collection of pictures that document a small snippet of their life as a family and a fun day to reflect back on in the years to come.

I truly enjoyed taking these pictures for them, and I feel so honored to have been invited into their home to take them.

To learn more about esophageal cancer, visit:

To get more information on a lifestyle family photography session, please contact me! I look forward to the opportunity to spend time documenting your family, and providing pictures for you to cherish in the years to come.

Welcoming Noah :: Boston newborn photographer

I'm so proud to welcome, Noah. Not only is he my first newborn session of the season, but he is also my nephew and I love him to pieces. He has the sweetest features, and he was so alert for most of the session! Momma had to work some magic to get him sleepy so I could get some pictures with the macro. We had such a good session, and I'm really happy to have these pictures for them all to reflect on even in the next month when he has changed so much.

There is something so special about being invited into someone's home for longer than the normal newborn meet and greet time, especially with first time parents. Life has just changed so dramatically, and those first few weeks home are a whirlwind. I feel so honored to have so many families being so open to work with me during that time. It's also one of the best times to really capture the details in your life that very easily get forgotten. I look to capture what I personally loved most about welcoming my son home, and I look to capture the details that change so incredibly fast!

To book your newborn, or family lifestyle session, please visit for contact information.

Coughlin family

A little while back, I met with the Coughlin clan at an apple orchard to document a little time with them as a family. I loved chasing the adorable Ophelia around and watching her parents interact with her just as playfully. I'm so happy I was able to provide these pictures for them to look back on when she isn't as small.

Interested in having a day of your life documented? Contact me for information and to book a lifestyle session for your family.