You and Me & Chasing Little G


Why You Need a Fresh 48 Session

Photography, MotherhoodSabra GilbertComment

Have you even heard of a Fresh 48 newborn session?

But I'm telling you guys, you need one! There are so many things that change about your baby and yourself just while you are in the hospital. So many things that need documented in those first few days. Things that you later will realize you were way too sleep deprived to actually remember, like how wrinkly they are and squishy. Or if you are like me, in too much pain and worrying about recovering to remember. To remember where you spent your first few days with your baby.

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While you can do newborn photos once you get home, I've always been a bigger fan of lifestyle photos. (As you could probably tell from our maternity shoot!) You can capture so much more with a lifestyle shoot than just pretty faces. A Fresh 48 newborn session in the hospital means that you can catch how actually tired and worn out you are in those first few days. I know that doesn't sound pretty, but it was real life.


Capturing Forgotten Memories

While I'll admit that the photo above isn't one of my all time favorites due to how crappy i feel like I look, it was real. The most effort I put in before this photo shoot was actually getting dressed for once while in the hospital! Though part of me even wishes that I hadn't. That I had stayed the way I had been most of my stay in the hospital. In the hospital gown and honestly, mostly topless learning to feed Gemma or doing skin to skin with her.

There is also just so much newborn newness that is already lost in the first couple of days. The first photo that I have of my daughter, she is a fluffed up little purple  thing. And already by day two when we took our photos, she's resembling more of a baby. Already learning to stretch out compared to the bunched up little baby I held the first day.  And then there is a difference waiting a week for newborn photos! So different already!


Even just the room where we spent our first few days with Gemma. It meant so much to have photos of us sitting in the hospital bed with her or of her in her hospital bassinet that I spent times pushing around the halls while I worked on figuring out how to walk again after c-section. I'll always have those memories now. Memories I know I would have forgotten in the fog of the first few days of being a mother.

All the Baby Details

By a week out of the hospital, all her little wrinkles were gone and so were the flakes of skin that we spent that entire week trying to rid her of. (What happens when little stinkers are a week late and no longer have the vernix protecting their skin in the womb!). She’s already re-gaining the weight that she had lost those first few days (though she wouldn’t be back up to birth weight for another week or so.)

So many things change so quickly. I like to remember all the little bands they had on her feet, how tiny her feet even were those first few days.


Capturing Baby Keepsakes

We also brought a few little goodies that we knew would be important for family members to see Gemma wrapped in right away. Handmade blankets and hats that all hold so much meaning for us. Simeon's mom had made a girl blanket 30-something years ago and then had all boys and found it for Gemma. My mom made a replica of the baby blanket/sleeping blankie I had when I was younger. And my best friend's grandmother made a sweet receiving blanket and hat for Gemma. These were things I wanted to remember right off the bat.

My little girl is turning 9 months in a few weeks. And man, the things that have changed by now are so numerous, I doubt I could write them all out in a post! She’s still a tiny squish, but her hair turned strawberry blonde! After being so, so dark in these photos! I’ll forever love this Fresh 48 Newborn session and plan to do them again and again and again!

Coming to Terms with My C-section

MotherhoodSabra GilbertComment

Wow. I really never thought I would have to write that title. I spent months insisting that everything would go the way I planned it and that medical intervention wouldn't be needed in my birth. No thank you, I was going to be fine on my own.

Oh how wrong I was.

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If you've already read my birth story, you know that I ended up with almost every intervention that there could be. I needed pitocin, which lead to needing an epidural, and when both of those didn't work. I ended with a cesarean section. Everything that I'd been terrified of having to use the entire pregnancy. Everything that was against my well thought out birth plan. The one that I took a 12 week birth class to be able to write out knowing the exact details of all my decisions.

But Gemma had other plans for me. And lucky for her, she was worth it. ;)

For the first few days after Gemma was born. I was perfectly fine with my birth. I guess I was maybe just blocking out how I really felt about it. Gemma was here, healthy and perfect. How could I be upset with the way she came into the world?

But then we got home. We settled into a routine and I finally got to think about everything that had happened. To finally realize the danger that Gemma and I had actually been in. And the lengths that had to be done to get us through Gemma's birth. To feel disappointed in the fact that I couldn't do it. I couldn't do what millions of women have done before me and bring my child into the world on my own. That I didn't get to be the first hands to touch my child. That I didn't get to see my child for minutes after she was born. I didn't get to hold her until longer after that. That I didn't get to nurse her until even longer after that and the first hour that was supposed to be our time, me and my Gemma, was eaten up by me being stuck in a bed while my husband was escorted to the recovery room with my daughter. I don't even know if my wishes for her chord to stop pulsing before being cut was honored. I was in pain, exhausted, and had no idea what questions to even ask after my surgery.

See, I hadn't even done any research into how to handle a cesarean section or what it really was, other than I didn't want it. I was clueless about what would help my recovery. In what I could or couldn't do. About what I needed. 

I panicked. I cried without knowing exactly what I was crying about.

I was jealous of the bond that my husband already had with our baby. I couldn't soothe her like he could since she loved bouncing and I could barely walk. He could jump up to her every cry. He could get up and change her outfit or diaper without even a wince of pain, unlike me.

I was terrified that our breastfeeding journey had been hurt by the pain medications I had to be on and the time that we had lost in the beginning.

I was terrified that Simeon would hate my scar and I refused to look at it. And I hated it myself.

Honestly, I hit a point where I wondered if I had postpartum depression, which scared me even more than everything else that was also happening. (Perhaps that's a post for another day).

And then I admitted how I felt about it to Simeon. That yes I was upset and didn't feel like I had actually given birth to our daughter. That I hated that he was able to do more with her and I was terrified that I couldn't do things with her because I'd drop her from being in pain. That I didn't get to hold her in that time.

Admitting your feelings is so much better than trying to hold them in and deal with them. It's always been something that I've struggled with. Even if Simeon and I have an argument, he has to pull what I'm actually upset about out of me. I usually try to say that I'm fine with everything even if I'm not.

But I always feel a million times better about things once I do.

I've recovered knowing that I grow stronger every day after my surgery. That I've actually had a faster recovery than most. I hold my baby and am comfortable in knowing that I can soothe her just fine on my own now. Simeon calls my c-section scar one of my battle scars from pregnancy along with my few stretch marks which makes us both laugh. And I've checked it out finally and am pleased that it isn't as dark as I was terrified it would be. 

I know that all my fears in the first few weeks have been solved and have been just fine. I wish I had spent more time enjoying my baby than being terrified of what was happening. But all I can  do now is sit here cuddled with her in my wrap loving her like crazy now and know that what happened doesn't make me any less her mother. She's a healthy little girl whose alive and in this world because of me. And in the end, that is really all that matters.