Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?

Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?

Are you pregnant and wondering if you should hire a birth photographer?  Then you are in the right spot.  I was in your shoes just about a year and a half ago.  About 8 months pregnant, exhausted and trying to sort out the wants from the needs and on a budget to boot!

When you are pregnant there are so many things that people try to force on you.  They tell you all these things that you NEED to have!  Your mom, mother-in-law, commercials, social media, Megan down the street… EVERYONE!  Everyone has an opinion on what you should do.

With Birth Photography being a ‘newer,’ thing I’m sure you have questioned:

  • Is something you need?
  • Is it worth the expense?
  • Will it be weird?
  • Will you even look at those pictures down the road?
  • Is it something you and your partner even want or is it just on trend?

I wanna answer some of these questions and tell you a little about our experience and hopefully by the end of this post you can decided, Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?

Is birth photography something you need?

This is the question I am sure you are hung up on.  Is this a want or a need?

That is a tough question, obviously you do not need to have a photographer there to have a baby.

BUT if you want amazing photos of your bundle of joy then you could justify that having a professional photographer there is way better than phone pictures taken by the nurse.

Is it worth the expense?

Look, I know money can be tight but if you decide you want pictures of this day you will pay the money.  Birth photographers (from my experience) love what they do!  They want to be there with families during their most precious moments.  Lots of them offer payment plans and their prices vary.  So, finding one in your price range should be doable.

Keep in mind though it is an investment, what they do they are very good at.  They are on call 24/7 for their clients so you are paying for them to be there day or night to take those photos and be a huge part of your life no matter what is going on in theirs.

Will it be weird?

My answer is no, for a few reasons.

  • If you find a photographer you like you will enjoy having them there.  It shouldn’t feel weird.

I suggest looking around and really finding a photographer you jive with.  They are going to be there for an intimate moment and if you are going to invest make sure you are comfortable with your photographer just as much as their photography style.

  • You are so focused on meeting your baby that you are not really aware of the people in the room.

This goes for all the nurses, the doctor, everyone!  If this is your first pregnancy just know, nothing else will matter to you but getting your baby into the world safely.  Any embarrassment, shyness it all disappears I promise. 

  • You do not have to have any angles you don’t want!.

So you only want pictures taken from above, you can have that. Don’t want anyone in the action zone, you don’t have to. These are your photographs.  Any good photographer will ask you what you want and what you are comfortable with.

Basically, it is TOTALLY worth it…

Yes, in my opinion it is worth every penny!

There are so many wonderful photographers out there for every personality, birth plan and momma.

We used Stacey from Cincy Birth Photography. If you are in the Cincinnati area she’s your girl!!

She is also a doula which is a popular combo in the birthing community.  These photographers not only capture your moments on camera but some of them are trained to help you through labor.  How cool is that?!

We loved having Stacey in both roles.  Not only did we have someone capturing the whole event on camera but I also had someone there advocating for me.  She was there to help me through labor, be my voice, reassure my husband through the process and take amazing photos!

We absolutely love having photos like this to cherish forever.

You also have someone else in the room who will remember little details.

When Stacey posted our sneak peak on Facebook she posted the sweetest caption of something that was said between Alex and I.  I honestly do not remember this whole conversation.. I was a little busy.  But these are the words that went with this photo:

“Did you ever think you’d be having a baby with your prom date?” she whispered to him between contractions. (I may or may not have shed a few happy tears for this sweet couple).

What these amazing people capture is SO MUCH MORE than pictures!  This quote is now part of this photograph.  A small moment we may have forgot had Stacey had not been there with us.  Having her there was everything for this day, the time before baby and after.

Is it something my partner and I want or is it just on trend?

It is a newer thing but it is one I am glad I am on board with.  This is the question you now have to answer:

Do you want once in a life time photos of your baby’s birth?

I do not for one second regret the money we spent to have these photos.  I would not have these precious moments on film if not for Stacey!  For that we are forever grateful.

If you used a birth photographer, how was your experience?  Are you glad that you chose to have someone capture your baby’s birth? Let me know if the comments!

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3 Easy Steps to Have a Fit Pregnancy

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Pregnancy can be a hard topic.  Every mom to be has their own picture of what pregnancy will look and feel like but they also have an idea of how they want to experience it.

With my first I had the mind set of magical belly rubs from family, eating whatever I wanted (because I had earned it), glowing, just all of the stuff you hear about pregnancy.  Well, after the half way point I started to regret some of that mind set.

You see I didn’t gain a ton of weight in my first trimester and everyone commented on it.

“You don’t even look pregnant.”, “When are you going to start showing?” and”Eat whatever you want, you’re pregnant.”

The list went on!  And after a terrible battle with infertility all I wanted was to look pregnant!  So I ate.  I also convinced myself that being a teacher and the walking I did at work was enough exercise.  BOY WAS I WRONG!

Fitness is Everything

Before I touch on anything I want to stress this, fitness is everything when you are pregnant!  You need strength for every aspect of growing that tiny human.  From start to finish you will never regret having the extra energy, muscle or strength.

As I mentioned above in my story of my first, I did not work out.  I didn’t even take the time to fit in a walk.  When we saw that positive with number 2 I already knew what I wanted this pregnancy to look like.  I wanted to feel better, look better and have the strength throughout pregnancy and in labor.  I wanted a fit pregnancy.  I wanted to make fitness apart of the journey this time around.

I had no idea how much of a difference this choice was going to make for my pregnancy, body, baby and my overall well being.  It really is everything.

But… (insert struggle here)

If I have to guess some of you are now thinking of the “BUT.” You are reading this and thinking of all the reasons this post isn’t for you and there are so many of them aren’t there:

Mama, I get it!

It’s not a walk in the park everyday.  I’m not going to lie to you.  It’s hard!  But stay with me, keep reading you can do this!  You can overcome all the ‘buts,’ and have a strong pregnancy.  I am an average mama, who had no real fitness background, if I can do this, You Can!

Getting Started

I am going to share with you what worked for me.  I hope that this will work for some of you as well.  I want to start out by saying, this is not an ad.  I am going to share with you the program I used but I want you to know there are so many workouts that would also work, this is just what worked for me.

When I first found out that I was pregnant I stumbled upon a pin on Pintrest for a pregnancy workout.  When I clicked it, it lead me to a 14 day FREE trial of a program you could buy.  Well I am a stay at home mom and we pinch pennies some weeks, free is my language.  So I downloaded the workout and committed to doing it each day.

The workouts were simple, 20 minutes long on the harder ones.  They were also super flexible.  You could do 2-4 rounds of the move based on your fitness level and the amount of time you had.

What I learned in those 14 days was this, I could do this.

  • 20 minutes a day wasn’t hard.
  • Owning one pair of dumbbells wasn’t hard.
  • Feeling better afterwards definitely wasn’t hard.

Getting started was easy.  So take that first step, find a program and start.

How to Stay Fit in Pregnancy in 3 Steps

Sticking with anything can be hard without a plan and if you want to make fitness apart of your pregnancy it has to be intentional.  Follow these simple steps:

1. Have a Plan

2. Make a schedule

3. Stick with it

Simple enough.  Too simple you say, Nope!  Like Nike says “Just Do IT!”

1. Have a Plan

I suggest working with a program that doesn’t involve a lot of equipment and is easy to follow. The program I do requires lighter dumbbells, a yoga ball and a heavier set of dumbbells for later in the program. 

These are the two purchases I made and it was cheap and easy. I never workout more than 40 mins during the program I’m on and there is a schedule to follow that’s flexible.  I have a spot for my few items and I download my workouts on my phone so everything is easy peasy when it comes time.

2. Make a Schedule

This step is HUGE!  Especially if you are already a mom to a toddler or you work. Make. A. Schedule.  We can make time for almost anything but make excuses for fitness.  Fitness should be priority one. Make a simple schedule and find someone to hold you accountable.  Here is mine.

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout 1-3 resistance based
  • Tuesday, Thursday : cardio (a long walk if weather is nice or a quick cardio from 14 day trial)
  • Saturday” Make up day (things happen, make time for any you missed)

Each workout is about 20-30 mins.  I usually do mine at night, with my toddler watching haha.

3. Stick with it

Once you find a pregnancy fitness program, find support. Once I joined Fit Mom-To Be, I found out they have an awesome Facebook group where moms post their successes and struggles.  Even if you don’t know anyone else pregnant you can find support.  Finding accountability will help you stick with it. 

Being a mom is hard, being pregnant is hard and if you are trying to do both it can seem impossible.  It’s not.  Just take it day by day. Sticking with it doesn’t mean being ‘perfect.’  Sticking with it means making the time to do what you can!

  • If you exhausted get up, get dressed and make it through the first round.  Often times this is all I need to make it through the rest of the workout.
  • If you’re busy, make the time for 2 rounds instead of 4.

You can be flexible and still be successful.  The key is to stick with it.  Don’t make excuses, make it a priority.

Mama, I promise this will be something you are so proud of.  Those 20-30 minutes have become something I take so much pride in, it’s something I find joy in and is something I want all mamas to feel.  You’ve got this!!

Did you workout while you were pregnant?  I would love to hear about your journey, comment below!

 

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12 Reason You Should Wait to Find Out the Gender

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So you just told everyone that you are pregnant or maybe you are coming up on your 20 week anatomy scan. I can almost guarantee you’ve heard the phrase, ” Congratulations!  What are you having?”  Am I right?

When I first got pregnant we had struggled so long to get pregnant that I decided I didn’t care what the sex was and we opted to wait to find out the gender.  I know, I know you think I am crazy but hear me out.  There are so many wonderful reasons to wait to find out the gender of the baby until the moment they are born. So here they are.

12 Reasons to NOT Find Out the Gender of Your Baby

Reason #1 No Expectations

There are so many expectations for new parents. Maybe everyone in your family has felt a certain way during their pregnancy or  everyone just ‘knows,’ you’re going to have a girl first.  Taking the gender of the baby off the table until the day of can be a bit freeing.

There is no expectations for what the baby will be.  But more importantly it takes any expectations off of your unborn child (at least of a little while). You can hold off the ‘Johnny is going to be the best quarterback on the team,’ or ‘If it’s a girl you’re going to name her after aunt Bertha, right?’.  These comments can be so overwhelming as a new parent.

Reason #2 You Get to Pick Two Names

If you don’t already have names picked out, waiting to find out what you’re having gives you the opportunity to pick a boy and a girl name that you love.

When my husband and I decided to wait on finding out the gender I was excited that we got to sit down and really spend time thinking of a name we wanted for both sexes. It made the the experience sweeter.  Dreaming up names for a girl or a boy not knowing which name you will use until the day of.

Reason #3 It Drives People Crazy

Okay, this one of my favorites, it drives people crazy that they can’t know the gender!  I know it’s bad but come on!  Everyone has so many opinions and you get so much unwanted advice, it really is nice to have this one thing that no one can take from you.

I secretly loved when people asked with their preconceived notions and I could shut them down with “we’re not finding out.”  I just enjoyed this one thing about MY pregnancy that no one could make a comment about.

Reason #4 The 20 Week Scan is So Much More Than Gender

So many moms, especially first time moms may not know this.  If it wasn’t for my obsessive researching I may not have either.  The scan where you normally find out the gender is actual to locate so many other things than sexual organs.

This scan also is for the doctor to make sure your baby has all the chambers of its heart, a kidney, a liver, to measure the spine, etc.  SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS! When you leave gender out of it, it’s amazing how excited you get over a kidney and knowing baby has all the right organs.

Reason #5 People Buy You More Gifts After Baby is Born

This one may seem selfish but I mean it in a sweet way.  Since people couldn’t bombard you with gender specific gifts at your shower (at least for us) right after baby was born people went and bought more clothes and small items that were gender specific.

I was a nice little welcome for baby to have a few pieces of gender specific items without having only tutus and bow ties.

Reason #6 The Gift You Do Get at the Shower Are Necessary

To piggy back off reason 5, the gifts you do receive at your shower are useful and necessary. We actual had people approach us because they didn’t know what to buy because they didn’t know they gender… huh?  As new parents you need so many things and when people are asked to buy stuff you need and not just the ‘cute,’ stuff you seem to get stuff that is necessary.

Reason #7 Gender Neutral Gear is Great for Baby 2

If you plan to have more than one child having baby gear that is gender neutral is awesome!  At least for the first couple of months you have clothes that would work for a girl or a boy.  For us that has been great.  When our first outgrew things we would pack it up and save it.  Of course you could do this knowing the gender as well but if you end up with the opposite gender the second time then you have clothes you won’t use.

Having gear that works for both genders has been amazing and saved us a ton of money!

Reason #8 There is No Chance the Scan Was Wrong

I think we all know someone who knows someone, who had a scan and the gender was WRONG!  Can you imagine?  You think you’re having _____ and it’s ______! By waiting to find out you don’t risk the scan being wrong because you find out in the moment.  I know it doesn’t happen often but it gave me piece of mind knowing they would just tell me when baby was born.

Reason #9 In Labor Not Knowing the Gender is Great Motivation

When you’re in labor and pushing any motivation is welcomed.  Not knowing what gender our baby was or what their name would be was AMAZING motivation for me to give it my all.  I wanted to give ‘one more push,’ each time because I was so excited to find out what we were having.

Reason #10 It Helps You Stay On Budget

When you are buying things that you need and not things that are just cute you stay on budget.  When I went out shopping for baby I knew what we needed for baby.  Not that I didn’t buy some cute stuff but staying gender neutral kept my eye on the prize and on budget. I bought what I knew we needed to have and things that would last instead of buying something strictly because it was ‘so cute.’

Reason #11 It’s the Best Surprise

I know there are only two options but mama when you are pushing for hours or after you have major surgery and you find out what your little one is, and what their name is… It is the best surprise EVER.  There is no party or gift like not knowing what your baby is one moment and knowing the next.  There are few things left in life that we can be surprised by.  This one is one I wish everyone could experience.

Reason #12 There is Nothing Else Like It

If none of the reasons above convinced you not to find out the gender, then listen to this one.

There is nothing else in the world like the doctor telling you “it’s a _____,” and not knowing beforehand.

There is absolutely nothing like looking at your partner and knowing which name you are going to use.

There is nothing like spending the hours after the birth talking about how you feel knowing it’s a girl or a boy.  If you are looking for one of the rare beauties in life, this is one of them.

Not finding out the gender

There is no right choice.  this was ours and we loved every second and are so excited to do it again.  If you chose or are choosing to not find out the gender I would love to hear you reasons in the comments.

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How to Survive Morning Sicknesses

Morning sickness

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When I took a test to see if I was pregnant I had my suspicions. We had to use fertility treatments so there is always that doubt.  But there were a few clues that I was getting the answer we were waiting on.

My suspicion started one night while I was watching How to Train a Dragon 2 (by myself I might add). One of the small dragons threw up, which lead me to throw up.  Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather feel crumby all day then to throw up and I threw up over a cartoon throwing up.  So we tested the next day and we were pregnant with #2!  We were so excited especially me because my first pregnancy was AMAZING!  I had some food aversion but no sickness, not really any pains and basically a simple pregnancy and delivery.

Lesson 1 as a second time mom, no two pregnancies are the same apparently.  I have been sick almost everyday for 11 weeks.  I have gone through some terrible days and on top of being sick I still have my son who needs me each day at home.

So how have I survived up to this point?  Lots of trial and error!!!  Here is the list of foods, drinks and tricks that have helped me get to week 11 somewhat in tact.

So mama if you are feeling crumby try these simply tricks.

Being prepared

Whether you have some nausea or you are sick everyday like me you need to be prepared for feeling your worst! Especially, if you have a little one(s) at home counting on you.

Items that I keep near are plastic grocery bags, mints, napkins and a small snack.  At home I have a little area in almost all the rooms just in case I feel sick.  I keep mints under my bathroom sink, in the kitchen and in my bedside table.

When I am on the go I keep mints, plastic bags and a snack in my car and in my diaper bag.  This way I am never in a place where I’m unprepared.  Morning sickness doesn’t care if you on the highway or in the middle of the grocery store it’s better to be prepared then not.

Finding foods to eat

There have been days where I can’t keep anything down at all!  And for the first 9 weeks I couldn’t stand the taste of water (which I am normally drink all day).  So, it took so trial and error to find foods and drinks that helped me get the nutrients and energy I needed.

These are some foods that helped me through the days where everything looked gross or made me want to run to the bathroom.

  • Popsicles:  I found this awesome brand called Outshine they have real fruit and no sugar added.  I would eat these to get some calories and to stay hydrated.  While trying to find food to eat I read that popsicles are better than saltines because they have more nutrients.  I assume there is some truth to that but either way I felt better eating frozen fruit that bland crackers.
  • Chickenbroth: On bad days it’s important to keep your sodium replenished. Broth was easy to get down, it had flavor and I was getting some liquid in my system as well.  You can buy broth already made. I opted to use bullion cubes this way I could control the taste and amount of sodium I was getting.
  • Bananas: Some days I couldn’t eat these but on days I could I tried to eat at least one.  They are packed full of nutrients and are bland enough to look appetizing.
  • Triscuits:  These crackers come in so many flavors but they are also 100% whole grain wheat made with simple ingredients.  When I needed a snack with a crunch and some saltiness there were my go to.

Also, because water was a no go for a while I had to look for other ways to stay hydrated. I found a few options that helped until I could keep water down (which thank God I can now)

  • SpindriftsparklingwaterThese waters are made with real fruits.  They have a few different flavors and the fact that they are carbonated helped settle my stomach on those really  rough days.  My favorite flavor was blackberry. Yum!

  • Ginger ale: This is one you have probably heard before but if you are a fan of ginger ale it really does help with the nausea.  This is by far my favorite one. 

 

 

 

 

  • I did get to the point where I didn’t want ginger ale so I searched for other ginger flavored drinks.  Which lead me to find some awesome ginger teas.
  • Ginger Teas:  I am lucky enough to have an awesome coffee shop in my town that is a small business with the best teas. So here I found a ginger peach tea that has been a life saver on days where I need a little caffeine and something to settle my morning sickness.  If you are every in Cincinnati definitely check out Coffee Emporium!  But if you are too far to come to Cincinnati you can always check out your own local tea shop or grocery store there are so many ginger options that are awesome.

Get moving!!!

This may seem like a contradiction but I mean it, move as  much as you can.  Of course there are days where I am too weak to get up and workout or do anything.  But on the days where you have even a little energy get up and move your body.

I have been doing these awesome 20 minute workouts from Michelle Marie Fit Pregnancy Program.  

The days where I can move even a little I tend to feel a better afterwards.  When you are laying on the couch because you don’t feel well it can take a toll on your body, which is already going through so much.  It’s better to move those muscles when you have the energy trust me.

I aim to get my workout in four times a week and with Fit Mom To Be’s AWESOME workouts I can break a sweat in as little as 15 mins.  If you want to check out these workouts she has a great 14 Day Free Trial workout program you can try!!

—–>>> 14 Day Free Trial 

Heading into the second Trimester

As week 12 is quickly approaching I can only hope and pray that the nausea will ease up soon.  If you are going through morning sickness and nausea too, I feel for you and I hope these tips help give you some relief.

What has worked for you when it comes to having morning sickness?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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Lots of Love,

Lena

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