2015 October Fall Mini Sessions

2015 Fall Mini Sessions in Leavenworth and Kansas City areas

As we turn the corner from September to October, my brain begins to consider all the great fall things: brisk walks, admiring fallen leaves as they swirl to the ground, baking a thousand yummy things (building up my tolerance to calories in preparation for the holidays, of course), picking apples, and fall mini sessions! I am super stoked to take these seasonal feelings and let it fuel my photography!!! Please send me an email at photo@silverdoves.com so we can book your mini session! You’ll find all the details below and you can always email to ask me questions!

Price: $250
Includes: 30 minute session + 10 high-resolution image files + 8×10 print
Availability: Sessions are available most evenings during October and some weekend times. This special pricing is available to anyone who books their session during the month of October and can be couples, families, kids or individuals! (Large families/groups may require additional fee)
Location: Basically anywhere! (Any location beyond 45 miles will require an additional travel fee)



Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

That’s Right!!! Tasty Tuesday is BACK! Is it back for a day? A week ? To stay? I don’t know. But my head is swimming with thoughts of fall baking recipes, so as long as I’m riding this wave, you can share it with me.

Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb

Do you have that one recipe that can instantly transport you back to a moment in time when you can smell it, feel it and live it again? For me that recipe is banana bread. If just for a moment, I am once again fourteen, wearing my favorite hoodie, embracing the first chilly gusts of fall weather, wondering if I’ll see my crush later when I go out with my friends. Who was my crush? I dare not tell. Back in those days I already had a growing love for baking (and eating… of course I could eat 50 muffins and lose weight when I was that age). I rotated between the few recipes I was familiar with: Crumb top apple pie, peanut butter cookies, and banana bread. The rest of the world may celebrate pumpkin spice as the flavor of the season, but for me it will always be banana bread.

Taking a bit of cinnamon banana muffins Untitled_0105

I’m not sure what recipe I used in those days, but for several years after leaving the nest I struggled to find one that really gave me what I was looking for. I wanted moist, buttery, flavorful banana bread that crumbles on your tongue and had just enough crust to make you work for it. I have a family friend to thank for this recipe, where I finally discovered the banana bread of my dreams. Every month or two you’ll find me opening up my recipe app on my phone and searching for “Mrs. Purchase’s Banana Bread.”

Penzeys Cinnamon Crumb Topping Banana Muffins Banana Muffins Slathered in Butter

Sometime last year I decided to make the bread into muffins because my loaf pan always ended up overcooking the crust and I wanted to package my treat up in a tiny bite of fall goodness. I added a brown sugar and cinnamon crumb topping and I will never go back to baking it as a loaf again. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s especially perfect paired up with a warm cup of coffee, which is also perfect (have I said perfect too much?) because today is International Coffee Day! So make these muffins, slather them in butter like I do, and sit down with a steaming cup of something bitter (well, except for some obligatory caramel and heavy cream) and celebrate.

Miles likes coffee. International Coffee Day


Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, crumbly banana muffins made with whole wheat flour and topped with a brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Try it hot and slathered with butter!
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, crumbly banana muffins made with whole wheat flour and topped with a brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Try it hot and slathered with butter!
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Crumb Topping
Servings: Muffins
  1. Combine 1 cup flour, sugar baking powder baking soda and salt.
  2. Add mashed banana, oil and milk.
  3. Best low until blended, the on high for 2 minutes
  4. Add eggs and remaining flour
  5. Beat until well blended
  6. Pour into greased or lined muffin pan
  7. Combine all ingredients for crumb mixture in a bowl and crumble with your fingers
  8. Top each muffin with crumb mixture.
  9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and cool for 10 minutes
Recipe Notes

If you want to make bread instead of muffins, you can pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake for 40+ minutes.


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Welcome Baby Zebulun – Newborn Lifestyle Session

My brother and his amazing wife, Jenna, welcomed their third little man into the family a couple months ago. I am immeasurably blessed by every opportunity I am given to document the meaningful moments in the lives of those I love. From the anticipation of new life I shared with them during Jenna’s maternity session to the thrum of new love that filled the house and surrounded their growing family when I took these pictures, every minute was joy. I am over the moon and past the stars and into another galaxy excited for them. Congrats to you all, I love you!

Welcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Photojournalism Welcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Posed NewbornWelcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - FamilyIt also worked out that I could attend Zeb’s baptism, so I, of course, brought my camera.

Welcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Baptism

Finn | 3 Months

Finn's 3 month old update

The first three months of Finn’s life have shot past me at lightning speed. I was so busy just keeping my two kids alive and making sure I remembered to feed them, I didn’t have time to notice how much Finn had grown! Then we visited my family and had a chance to meet the new cousin, who was just a few days old. It was then that we all took notice of the beefy baby Finn had become! He was less than three months old and already outgrowing all his clothes. Within this week I realized he had mastered head control and was turning into a massive, studly baby that could rival the heftiness of some one-year-olds! I was then forced to accept that he had long surpassed the newborn phase and was likely to pop the snaps off of his 3-month sized jammies. Because both my babies were big and born during opposite times of the year, all my boy clothes in his new size were sweaters and long-sleeve onesies. So we made a trip to Carter’s and purchased a slew of PJ’s and onsies for my summer baby. The 6-month PJ’s we got him will probably only fit him for another month because he’s so long. It’s crazy. He’s also wearing some 9 and 12 month clothes that I dug out from storage.

He just rolled over for the first time from tummy to back. In protest of tummy time, I am certain.

He really dislikes his car seat. If it’s nap time, he’ll fuss until he falls asleep but if he’s wide awake he will scream in anger until you pick him up and play with him, then he’s the calm, laid-back baby we all know and love.

His eyes have been the vague blue of a new baby until recently. I discovered streaks of brown leaking into his eyes and I find it beautiful! I’ve posted a closeup of his eye below so you can see how adorable it is.

Returning to the topic of Finn’s amazing sleep habits… he has slept 9 straight hours twice during the last three nights. I am scared to think this will become a regular thing, but I’m hoping. Not one single time did Miles sleep that long at once during the first two and a half years of his life. I almost don’t know what to do with myself. I can scarcely believe it. Ok. I’m done being in shock.

Finn is a talker. He loves to tell stories. I like to say he’s a preacher like his daddy. His coos are deep and insistent and match his gaze perfectly! I’m excited to see how our conversations will evolve.

Finn has been only moderately okay with a pacifier since its introduction and now that he’s learning to control his hands better I’ve discovered he prefers to suck on his fingers. Just today he’s abandoned his pacifier in favor of his two chubby little fingers during both naps. Oh gosh.

Overall he’s a very laid back little lad, but he’s especially happy when he can be carried around in the moby wrap or someone’s arms, or propped up so he can watch the world around him.

Speaking of propping up… he is insistent about trying to sit up and stand whenever we will allow it. I’ve heard that’s a no-no at this age, but he loves it so much that I’ll often let him stand up on those massively chunky legs of his and smile at me with pride.

Ok, that’s a good recap of this month and a peek into the personality of my baby boy #2. I love him more and more every day and it gives me immense joy to watch the light of his spirit glow brighter every morning.

Finn's Offical 3 Month Old Update Photos

Finn 3 Month Update - Instagram Finn 3 Month Update - Collage

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

Finn | 2 Months

Finn's 2 Month Update - Featured Image

This month seemed to speed by. It was characterized by growth spurts and the resolution of things that were confusing during that first month. He spit up less, he learned to latch better and seemed to grow more accustomed to the outside world. At his 2-month well visit (which actually occurred around 10 weeks) his growth was crazy! Here are the stats from that visit: Height: 25″ (%92) Weight: 14 lb. 14 oz. (%93) Head Circ:16.75″ (%95)

This month also brought Finn’s first laugh, a dislike of tummy time and and increased aversion to the car seat. I can’t seem to isotlate the developments during the past few months enough to remember exactly what happened during the 2 month period, so I’ll catch you up on everything in his three month update and just share pictures now, because I took a lot this month.

Finn's 2 Month Update - 3up Finn's 2 Month Update - With Big Brother Finn's 2 Month Update - My boy in Blue Finn's 2 Month Update - With Big Brother Finn's 2 Month Update - Instagram Images Finn's 2 Month Update - collage

Finn | 1 Month

Master Finn - One Months Update Photos

During the first month I was transported back to “new parent” status, terrified of each new thing that seemed different or unexplained and trying to do my best to relearn the process of taking care of a brand new baby. Finn’s belly button was different and he sneezed more and grunted more and had crazy projectile vomiting. The first month we tried to come up with strategies to improve what seemed to be some re-flux. If I laid him flat on his back he would often end up vomiting. He also developed a habit of snacking in short, frequent nursing sessions. He didn’t complain too much about it, but I was on high alert much of the time, wondering when the next eruption would hit.

There were a few scares during the first month with Miles getting a little too hands on in his pursuit of helping his baby brother, but over all he slipped easily into the role of big brother from the beginning.

We didn’t have a well-visit this month, but he had gained back his birth weight and then some by the time he was 2 weeks old. We took him to the kidney specialists at Children’s Mercy when he was about one month old to evaluate his eptopic kidney and they told us the ultrasound didn’t show anything that was cause for concern. We were told to bring him to his doctor any time he has a fever so they can check to see if it’s a kidney infection, but he should live a normal, healthy life. It was great to hear it from a specialist and we’re going to go in at 6 months for another ultrasound just to make sure things still seem good.

Finn started smiling a couple weeks after he was born and it’s cute to see how his smile matches his personality. He seemed to like tummy time at first, but it wasn’t long before that changed. He loves to talk and also started cooing sometime during his first month. He scares easily at loud sounds like public toilets flushing. His gaze has been pretty steady and deep since the beginning. I am amazed to stare into his eyes and see a brand new soul staring back at me. I can’t wait to learn more about him.

SLEEP! Finn has been an expert sleeper from day one. I don’t think he has ever woken up during the night and stayed awake. From the very beginning he would wake up, nurse and go immediately back to sleep. It is an amazing blessing. I’m going to try very hard not to constantly make comparisons between Finn and Miles. I love that they are different and I’m always noticing different things that are unique to each one, but I want to just focus on the person each one is becoming. I will say that I did not have the pleasure of these kind of sleep habits the first time around. We got used to waking up several times a night and eventually Miles learned to go back to sleep after nursing during the night, but not until he was about 4 months old. As you will see in the monthly segments that follow, this trend of great sleeping just gets better this time! Praise the LORD! Seriously.

Master Finn - One Months Update Photos

Master Finn - One Months Update Photos

In a Field with Flowers – Lizzy’s Maternity Session


When my very best friend came to visit a couple months ago, we made sure to document her second pregnancy with some sun-filled images in “the” field. It was all that used to separate us from each other during our childhood. We might live several states apart now, but we still get to share all the glorious bits of life as we experience them. It still feels like we’re just a field away anytime we need each other to help navigate each new turn of our lives. I’ve been blessed to have shared two pregnancies with my best friend (if a few months apart). Now that she’s just over a month away from her due date with her second, a precious little boy, I am humming with joy and excitement for her! She is a wonderful mom to Natalia and I can’t wait to see her rock the boy-mom thing!

Closeup of Daughter with Mom Mother and Daughter Maternity Photography Mother and Daughter Maternity Photography Mommy and daughterFlowers with Mommy  Denim Jacket and Long Flowy Skirt Sweet Closeup of Mom Hazy and Emotional Black and White Maternity PhotographyCloseup Black Tank Top Light and Airy Bump Pics Standing in a Road Close Up Belly Golden Hour Maternity Photo  Golden Hour Maternity PhotoHeart on the Belly Belly Heart  Holding Baby Tight in my Belly  Untitled_0027Pretty Belly with FlowersA Sweet Mom Moment   Dramatic Sunset Silhouette Maternity Photography

Belly Day | 41 Weeks

41 weeks pregnancy update postpartum and recovery

I didn’t make it to 40 weeks after all! I decided I wanted to take a photo with Finn that fit with my weekly belly update theme. I tried to make him look like a “belly” the way the cool people on Pinterest do it, but… FAIL!

I won’t say too much up here because I have already shared Finn’s “intro” blog entry as well as his birth story, so please check those out if you’re interested. I just thought it would be fun to update these categories to reflect the postpartum period!

The biggest thing for me has been the hormonal/personality shift that took place almost immediately after labor. I’m once again terrified of social interaction, have limp hair and prefer the flavor of butter over sugar. It’s so bizarre! While the shift was gradual during pregnancy, the old Brittany came crashing into me like a wave the moment Finn was born. I feel a little bit like Cinderella at midnight after the ball. Pregnancy almost seems like a dream, a blur. Being back to “myself” is both unfamiliar and yet totally comfortable. My pregnant self feels almost like some strange alter-ego, me in another dimension.

Ok, I think it’s time to back up out of that wormhole and get on with the “fun” stuff.

Baby’s Size| He was 9.0 lb at birth!

How far along | 1 week PP

Sleep | This baby has been sleeping surprisingly well!!! From the very start he has been waking up a few times at night to eat, but goes right back to sleep! Miles didn’t do that until at least 4 months old.

Clothes | I expect I’ll be wearing maternity clothes for awhile still, but it sure is nice to have shirts cover my belly again.

Cravings | One of the strangest things is returning to “myself” and remember how things really taste to me. Chick-fil-a tastes even better now and I officially hate mushrooms again.

Food Aversions |  Back to the usual! All of a sudden I am barely hungry. I could care less if you’re holding a donut or cupcake in your hand. However, I’m pretty sure my appetite is something that isn’t gone for good.

Symptoms | The usual soreness, but I’m recovering much quicker than I did with Miles and that’s a nice blessing. The biggest symptom for me has been hormonal. So many ups and downs!!! The worst is the paranoia. Being a mom brought back some of terror I used to feel as a “fraidy-cat” kid and during my pregnancy it would peek out now and again, but ever since labor I have been paranoid of everything! Each and every thing about Finn that seems different than Miles makes me wonder and worry. One little twinge of pain or weirdness and I worry I’m about to perish. I know it’s just hormones and it will fade. I keep thinking about that 6 week post-partum appointment because I am yearning to feel “normal” again and I’ve got it set in my head that I should be normal by then. Well, as normal as I ever was (not saying much).

Doctor’s Appointment | We’ll see after my postpartum appointment at the beginning of June! UPDATE: Doc gave me the all-clear at my appointment. As for feeling normal again… who knows! Haha

Movement | It’s funny to see Finn on the outside and notice that he kicks a lot still.

Belly Button | Postpartum deflated balloon button?!?! We seriously do not want to go there.

Gender | He’s officially a boy. No surprise there.

Best moment of the week | This one is pretty obvious, I should think. The best moment was welcoming Finn into the world, our home and our lives!

What I’m looking forward to | The six-week mark and feeling normal again. Once again getting comfortable in my skin, now that I’m the only one in my skin. That’s weird.

What I miss | I miss being more bubbly and I miss my big, healthy hair and I miss the routine that Miles and I had settled into. We had our “Monday” thing where we would take progress pictures and go to my prenatal appointment and get Chickfila. But now I’m excited to make a new routine and start a new life with two!!! :)

Just for fun I wanted to share all my progress photos from the pregnancy until now, starting at 17 weeks.

pregnancy progress from week 17 through 41

And finally, when I would set up to take my progress pictures each week, I would ask Miles to stand near my spot so I could get the focus right on my camera. After awhile I started to see the change in him and these photos often turned out pretty cute, so I decided to grab my favorites of just Miles and compile them for you. Some weeks are missing because he was either asleep or not cooperative, but it’s still really cute to see.

Miles growing up during my  second pregnancy Miles growing up during my  second pregnancy - Last two weeks

Finn’s Birth Story

Finns official going home shirt - birth story

As the day for Finn’s birth drew near, I tried to imagine how everything would unfold. I only had one other pregnancy/birth to reference, but I also knew that every experience is different, just as we are all unique souls. Like the title says, this was Finn’s story, not mine, so it was just a matter of waiting to see what God had in store for us.

With my first birth experience, everything happened just the way I thought it was supposed to, beginning with one distinct (yet weak) contraction and continuing to increase throughout the day in the three important areas: Strength, Frequency and Consistency. That time it led me to the hospital after over an hour of consistent contractions and was followed almost immediately by my water breaking. I got the epidural, took a nap and finished up a couple hours later. That is a very condensed version of what happened the first time, when I had Miles. You can read his full birth story here. This time, however, was anything but consistent…

The Birth Story Begins

Early Thursday morning (around 1:00 am) on April 30 I woke up to pee and began to feel what could be “real” contractions. The pregnancy had been full of strong Braxton Hicks contractions, so I wasn’t ready to declare labor officially on until they were strong, consistent and frequent. I was too nervous to go back to sleep (plus… I was 39 weeks pregnant, so sleep was a rare gift anyway), so I jumped on my computer and tried to finish the packing list for the hospital bag. As I sat there, the contractions seemed to increase in intensity and (kind of) in frequency. This persuaded me to begin to actually pack the hospital bag. As I was rushing around as calmly as possible (with my insides all a flutter), Steven woke up and asked if something was up. I explained that I was feeling painful contractions, but they weren’t very consistent. He turned over and fell instantly back into his blissful sleep (I’m not bitter). I kept myself busy packing and repacking items. Every once in awhile I would have a very strong, painful contraction and think to myself “I have to get everyone in the car and go the hospital this very second! What if I don’t make it!?!” Fifteen uneventful minutes later I would realize I was silly and it was a good thing I didn’t send the household into panic mode. This rollercoaster of indecision continues throughout my story, but by 6 or so in the morning we had convinced ourselves that this was a sure thing and it would probably be wise to locate ourselves somewhere closer to the hospital. We packed the kid in the car and headed to the city to wait it out at Stevens parents. The hour before we left I’d had contractions every 5 or so minutes for an hour (although the intensity still varied). During the first ten minutes we were driving on the road I didn’t have a contraction and I began, once again, to doubt myself. By this time, however, the decision had been made and Steven had called into work, so we didn’t turn back.

Once we arrived at Steven’s parents house, I tried to take a relaxing bath. Cue two-year-old who thinks all baths are about him. I like to be left alone when I’m in pain so I quickly exited the bath and secluded myself to a corner of the house for a short while. Soon after I abandoned my bath, Steven asked how things were going. By now I was getting kind of frustrated because the contractions were not consistent. Occasionally I would have extrememly painful ones, some even 3 minutes apart, but they didn’t really keep it up. During one particularly strong contraction I told Steven there is no way I wasn’t in labor, please please please let’s go to the hospital so I can get closer to getting my epidural. By now it was 8:30 and my Dr.’s office was going to open at 9, so we waited for half an hour. Steven called the office for me and explained my situation (by this time the contractions were all pretty strong and had been consistent for that half hour). They said since it was my second baby to head on over the hospital for evaluation! Ahhh! It was happening!!!

At The Hospital

When we arrived at the birthing center at Shawnee Mission, I was still freaking out inside because I didn’t know if this was the right decision and yet I was relieved because I was finally going to be at the hospital and I felt like that meant something, I guess. They put me in the triage room and hooked up all the monitors and told me I would need to wait for the on-call doctor to check my progress. Meanwhile, I was having continued, inconsistent contractions. Some were 4 minutes apart, some 8… some would make me want to scream (if I had any breath left in my body) and some were like “wait, did that just happen?” It was kind of nerve racking. Also, the doctor I was waiting for had to rush off to an emergency cesarean and I had to stay in triage for another 30-45 minutes. Steven went out to the car to grab our things and I remember worrying that if they checked me and it turned out I hadn’t progressed enough we would just have to haul it all back. The nurse who handled the triage decided to admit me before we had actually confirmed I should stay because it would mean we wouldn’t have to repeat a bunch of paperwork stuff, but I still wasn’t convinced. Eventually the doc checked and said I was at 4cm and 80% effaced (I think) and could either go home and walk it out, stay at the hospital and walk it out or stay and get my epidural and have my water broken. I really didn’t want them to have to break my water but I was not enjoying the contractions and planned to have an epidural anyway. When the doctor found out it was my second baby she assured me that breaking my water would do the trick and that I should be able to deliver soon after that. I agreed to stay and get the epidural because I was anxious to feel that relief that I felt during my first labor, but I was starting to panic because I felt like I was losing control, that maybe I had made the wrong decision and I should have waited for things to progress more naturally.

With panic in full swing, they moved us to the delivery room while my brain continued to freak out… what if I was trying to rush things? What if something went horribly wrong and it was my fault for not waiting because I didn’t want to feel the pain? Every moment I felt like I just wanted it to be over and yet I was terrified for what was to come. I hadn’t eaten since early in the morning and had to stop eating at this point. Things started to feel even more weird when the shifts changed and I got a new nurse who I didn’t like. I probably didn’t give her a fair chance because I was in pain, panicking and only half sane. She had an accent that bugged me and a “positive” attitude that didn’t fool me and I felt like she wasn’t really listening to me most of the time. It seemed to take forever for her and the person helping her to get up to date on my situation and birth plan and get all the info plugged into the computer (again!). I kept telling the staff that I wanted to get the epidural and wait a bit to see if my water would break on it’s own, and went over some of the things in my birth plan, but often they told me that it probably wouldn’t work out the way I’d like. That was also kind of annoying. Plus the nurse checked my cervix again and announced that I was 3 cm and 50-60% effaced which was like going backwards from when I had arrived.

Finally  the anesthesiologist arrived to give me my epidural. He was friendly and casual, but not very great at making me feel like I could trust him. At this point I was verging on paranoia, though and I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone or anything, not even (or especially not) myself. He tried to direct me into the right position for the epidural and he ran through a list of things to be absolutely terrified about so of course my thoughts were something like this “OMG OMG OMG What am I doing?!?! I can’t have a baby. Am I even here right now? It’s not too late to change my mind and leave, is it? It’s too late!!! I’m messing everything up. I’m going to die. Because I wanted to be comfortable. I’m so dumb” (Of course I didn’t really believe these things, it was the insanity and paranoia talking). After the first poke he asked me if it feels right (?!) and in the center or off to the left or right? Shouldn’t he know these things?! That did not help my confidence in his ability to do his job. I said it felt a little off center and he took out the needle and re-positioned, then it hurt so he re-positioned again. That time it felt off to the other side but I was just like whatever, I’m probably wrong. The third time did feel the best of them all and I didn’t trust my own judgement.

I spent the next while (not sure how long, maybe an hour or two?) trying to sleep. The nurse left me with instructions to let her know if I had any of the side effects they were worried about with the epidural (my paranoia wanted to say I had every single one somehow). She also told me she was going to change my blood pressure monitor to take readings less frequently. This was after she had just told me that they have to monitor it because the epidural could cause low blood pressure and a zillion resulting complications. So I spent my “nap” time waiting for the BP cuff to start taking it’s reading then asking Steven or my dad to go look at the screen (that was out of my view) to make sure I wasn’t dying. Also, I could still feel my contractions a bit (moderate pressure) and when I’d feel one that seemed extra strong, I would also make them go look and tell me the intensity. This whole time the contractions didn’t really get consistent. At  best they were 5-7 minutes apart and varying in strength. I tried to calm myself, but I felt completely unsure about everything for those few hours until they broke my water.


The Delivery

Ah… then they come in to break my water. It wasn’t nearly as traumatizing as I had worried it would be. It actually ended up being quite reassuring because after the water broke my contractions began to get in line, get consistent in strength and closer together. As they increased in intensity, I realized I could still feel them pretty strongly. The epidural had taken the edge off (and they kept having me push a button to give me a boost that didn’t seem to help), but as the contractions increased I was really starting to feel them. Breaking my water really did the trick. It wasn’t long before I was dilated to 7 or 8 and 80% effaced. At this point my nurse decided it we could try the “peanut ball” to open up my hips or something and move things along. Oh boy did it. It was also about this time that she remembered to empty my bladder. I think, in the end, that’s what really pushed me to delivery. After a contraction or two with the ball between my legs, she wanted to turn me to my other side and we would try it again. But as she began to lower my legs together I screamed because it hurt so bad and demanded that she not let me legs fall together (lol). She was prepared to leave the room and let the contraption do it’s trick, but instead decided to check me again and I was 10cm and 100% and the baby was on his way. She ran to push the “OMG THIS LADY IS GOING TO HAVE A BABY” button and told me to wait because the doctor was coming. At this point I was in so much pain I am convinced the epidural had been rendered useless. I told my nurse that I felt like I really had to push and couldn’t stop it. She made me breathe through it and blow out this stupid imaginary candle that was actually just her annoying finger. (Obviously I’m still working through my bitterness lol). After two contractions where I wanted nothing more in the world than to push that baby out but instead I had to blow out a candle (so different, but it’s kind of amazing how it worked) I asked “WHY can’t I push yet!?! What are we waiting for!??!” and she says (with a completely lost expression on her face) “The doctor’s not here.” Umm… aren’t you a medically trained professional?! I trust my body and it wants to push, so let it push! Don’t torture me, woman!!! Anyway. The doctor breezes in like an angel along with her entourage and tells me I can push!!! GLORY!!! I can’t remember if it took 3 or 4 big pushes, but then that baby was out of there!

A wave of euphoria washed over me as they set Finn gently on my chest. I was so connected to my baby in this moment! Being a mom already had primed me for that experience and, having the opportunity to feel what I am convinced was every bit of the final delivery process, I felt such joy to have my baby there with me. He struggled a bit to breathe and didn’t try to root around or anything because he had some amniotic fluid in his lungs. After a quick minute with him on my chest while they tried to get him to cry, the pediatrician took him over and gave him a deep suction to clear out his lungs. After that he was breathing better, but was still grunting a bit. She warned me that he might not try to nurse right away and he didn’t for a little while. Because they had to suction anyway, they went ahead and cleaned him up and wrapped him up at that point and Steven and my parents got a chance to hold him. Eventually we tried nursing and there was some adjusting to be done, but it was a good start. Miles and Steven’s parents came by and we introduced the brothers and I simply sat there in my euphoria, feeling like an absolute bad-ass. Also, I got to eat chickfila (Finally! Food!). It was glorious… and yet, almost bland because it paled in comparison to what had just happened.

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The rest of our stay was pretty good. The best part of the whole experience for me started the moment Finn was in my arms and continued throughout my recovery, which was quicker and easier than with my first. My hormones were a little out of whack and my paranoia kept rearing its ugly head throughout our stay and the week or two after (and still pops up in my life from time to time). There was a scare that maybe I had a blood clot in my calf and they were very good to check it out just in case, but found nothing. I’m pretty sure now that the pain was a result of the nurse dropping my leg during delivery and having it cramp up. This pushed our departure from the hospital a few hours, but eventually we took Finn and met back up with Miles and headed home as a family of four.

Those first few days brought moments I will forever treasure, like Miles meeting Finn for the first time and sitting peacefully in bed while Steven held Finn and we listened to opera music. The feeling of spring and stepping into the outside world again. Having my old “self” settle back into my body like an old friend who had been on vacation.

Additional Thoughts

The beginning of my labor was full of uncertainty and fear and, while I truly believe everything happened how it was meant to and I’ll treasure every bit of this story forever, I probably would have wished that I had relaxed a bit more, waited awhile longer before going to the hospital and probably wouldn’t have had the epidural. I believe I felt every bit of the delivery itself and the epidural barely took the edge off the contractions. For the risks involved, it wasn’t worth it. It definitely didn’t work the way my first one had with Miles and I’m not sure I’d risk it again with another baby someday. We’ll see. I especially would have tried to strengthen myself more in my faith and lessened that paranoia. I think a big part of that paranoia was a result of my hormones and chemicals in my brain/body, but I could have handled it better.

Once my water broke I was much more relaxed, like I could finally accept what was happening and I was excited about it instead of terrified.

This time my mom was able to be there during delivery and I’m so happy she was and that I got to have both her and my dad there earlier in the day while I was laboring. It eased my mind and made the day and the memories extra special.

My husband was/is amazing and always flexible and ready to help me in any capacity I needed.

The recovery was so amazing. I am actually kind of happy that I got to experience the delivery, even the pain. Also, the physical recovery was pretty easy and I took some motrin on day two, but I didn’t have any narcotics afterwards and that was nice.

During the week following the birth I had some pretty intense paranoia and I still get it sometimes when my hormones are off. I haven’t felt fear like that since I was a little girl who was terrified of things I didn’t need to be scared of. I just try to remind myself that my fear is unreasonable.

I hope I didn’t dump too many things that sound negative into this post, because it really was a beautiful experience in the end. I’ll forever hold every minute of it in my heart and experience all over again the joy of working so hard to bring my son into the world and the miracle of holding him to my chest for the first time.

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Welcome Master Finn

baby announcement Finn Cassidy Tarchala - modern hipster baby onsie and leg warmers

Here it is, his official birth announcement!

Finn Cassidy Tarchala, born April 30, 2015
Weight: 9.0 lb | Length: 21 inches

He was not quite a week old and just being his adorable self in these pictures. Finn and I both woke up early on the morning I took these photos, he was wide awake and happy and I was about to embark on my first day at home alone with both boys! It was a special moment with my new baby and with both my boys.

I did, however, have some realizations… realization #1: I need to work on my closeup baby photography skills (I’ve really only had a few to practice with, good thing I have lots of friends and family having babies soon!) #2: My baby fashion style has changed a bit since Miles was this tiny. He was also born just before the fall season, so he wore lots of adorable layered sweaters and stuff. Finn wears lots of onsies and that’s about it. But he looks so cute doing it and I am in love with the look of a onesie with just leg warmers or leggings worn under the shirt. I truly think it’s adorable, it also happens to be remarkably simple.

I also plan to post a birth story eventually, thank you for being patient with this new mother of two! I can’t believe that’s me!

Finn Tarchala in his modern hipster onsie and leg warmers Finn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Cassidy Newborn Photography    Finn Tarchala in his modern hipster onsie and leg warmersFinn Cassidy Newborn PhotographyFinn Tarchala in his modern hipster onsie and leg warmers     Miles and Finn