One Tree Photography » Seattle Maternity, Birth, Newborn, and Lifestyle Photography

There were so many things to love about photographing this Seattle area home birth! Here are just a few of my favorite elements:

Beautiful birthing spaces. Of course you can have a beautiful home birth in any kind of environment because birth itself is beautiful. But I love it when my clients ask me how to prepare their birth space for the best possible photos. Sarah and Kerry added beautiful twinkle lights around their birth tub and in the birth room, as well as pretty string lights over their bed. They thought about what blankets they wanted in photographs, and what meaningful items they’d want around them on birth day. And the result is images that show care and excitement as well as just being pretty. 🙂

Becoming Dad. Sarah and Kerry were expecting their first baby together, though this would be the third child in their family. It’s pretty cool to see a man not only watch the birth of his child, but actually CATCH his baby. These are important first moments.

Involved older siblings. You know I love births with older siblings present. Big sister, Eleanor got to announce the sex of the baby (a girl to everyone’s surprise!) and cut the cord, and Oliver got to put baby’s first hat on her head. With two grandmas present to help talk them through the process and hold them when things got exciting, Eleanor and Oliver were well prepared to watch their newest sibling’s birth.

Caul birth! It is very rare for a baby to be born completely in the caul (still wrapped in an in tact amniotic sac). I’ve seen a couple that came very close, but Ivy emerged from her mama completely in her sac. I love the photographs of Andrea, the midwife, peeling the sac away and the ones where Ivy is lying on her mama and you can see the clear membranes lying next to her. So COOL. Babies born in the caul are said to be very lucky and protected against drowning. Also, an en caul birth is a testament to a great midwife who allows birth to unfold naturally.

Here are some images from Ivy’s birth. I will add that the images right after birth show a purplish baby. Please know that this is absolutely normal for a freshly born baby.They come out kind of gray/purple and start to get more and more pink as the minutes go by. Even several hours after birth babies can still have hands and feet that are on the purple side. That’s just normal. I think it’s so interesting to see the colors baby turns as she transitions to life outside the womb, so I love showing those images in color.

And finally, at the bottom of the post you can see the slideshow telling Ivy’s birth story. Congratulations again, Sarah and Kerry!

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And here you can see Ivy’s birth story slideshow:

The Birth of Ivy from Jessica Peterson on Vimeo.

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Seattle often presents a challenge for wintertime family photography. I love to shoot outside, but there is a good portion of the year here when you have to be VERY flexible if you want an outdoor session. So when Kim and Donnie said they wanted their mid-December session to be at the Seattle library, I was thrilled. No monitoring hourly weather forecasts for us! And it had been forever since I had been to the library, so their choice of location sounded like a super fun adventure. I love shooting places I haven’t been before (or haven’t been in a long time). It helps keep me on my toes. Add in a two and a half year old and the common expectation that we be QUIET in a library, and we had quite the challenge ahead of us. But we were up to the task.

I’ve been photographing Grayson every six months since he was a week old. It is so fun to watch him grow and see all the new things he has learned and can do! On this day, in one of his favorite places, Grayson wanted to RUN. And run he did. Up slanting floors, through stacks of books, down colored corridors, that boy ran. Amazingly, we didn’t run into many other people! And maybe even more incredible, we were actually VERY quiet. (Yes, my inner rule-follower was cringing, but it is a BIG place and very empty on a Saturday morning.)

We did take some moments to enjoy the views, the architecture, and some books, as well as riding the elevator and escalator. And finally we ended outside with some hugs and laughs for mom and dad. Not a bad way to spend a winter morning in Seattle, right? I think the proof is in the images. Take a look at some of my favorites.

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She’s a girl! We’ll get to Lenora’s newborn photographs in just a sec, but first, some back story. Early one sunny Seattle morning in May, Mandy gave birth at home to her surprise baby girl, Lenora Rose. Like many first labors and births, it was a long, challenging process, but Mandy and Josh worked so beautifully together to bring their little one into the world. Some post-birth complications meant that Lenora dealt with some jaundice and Mandy’s own supply of breast milk wasn’t yet able to meet Lenora’s needs.  Several of you (my clients and friends) helped us to source donor breast milk and allowed little Lenora to gain weight and strength all while Mandy worked to increase her own supply. It makes me so happy to report to you that because of your help, and after resolving a tongue-tie issue, Mandy was able to transition off of the SNS/donor milk when Lenora was a little over a month old, and now, at almost nine months old, Lenora is a happy and healthy breast-fed baby. Mandy and Josh wanted to extend their thanks to each of you who helped them through this challenging time in their lives. It is so disheartening to know that your baby is not receiving all she needs from you, her mother. I’ve been there, too. And I know many of you out there have as well. But with the extra time you provided via the donor milk, Mandy was able to get her supply up to where it needed to be. What a gift! It is incredible what a community of women, mothers, can do for each other. So thank you all. Thank you for putting the word out there for a mother in need, and thank you for sharing your stories of similar experiences with Mandy and I. It really does help to know that you are not alone in your struggle. Thank you for doing those things for this family.

And back to Lenora’s newborn session! Like all of my friend’s babies, Lenora didn’t really want to cooperate so much with the lady with the camera. She was content to be in her parents’ arms. And she loved to eat. 🙂 And that was all fine, because look at the images we still captured!


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  • Mandy - These photos make my heart melt, Jessica! I learned so much from giving birth to this little girl. I learned that breastfeeding doesn’t always go as planned, and that sometimes it takes a village to help heal a mama and feed her baby. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of all the people who donated milk to us. Each one of you who donated milk encouraged me and bolstered my spirits with your generosity during one of the most challenging periods of my life. Lenora is thriving – all thanks to this amazing One Tree Photography village of open-hearted, generous mothers! I am forever grateful, and I hope to pay it forward someday.

One of my favorite places to do maternity photography is in my client’s own home. It doesn’t even matter what the home looks like (though a cute bungalow on Seattle’s Queen Anne hill never hurts), it’s just fun to at least start at home, and allows to do some more “bare” shots if desired. Often times we’ll combine shots at home with another beautiful location for a couple of really different looks during a maternity session. For Mandy, we started at home (both inside and out on the street in front) and then went a few blocks over to soak up some setting sun on the crown of Queen Anne.

I’ve known Mandy since she was something like seven years old. All grown up, Mandy is now an amazing, passionate teacher, a birth and breastfeeding advocate, and a doula when she can fit it in. (In fact, she was my doula for Wally’s birth!) When she told me that she and Josh were expecting their first baby, my screeches of joy caused quite the commotion in my house. I was SO excited for them. And even more so when she asked me to do maternity, birth, and newborn photos. It is such an honor to get to document these life transitions for a family. I know I’ve said it before, but there’s really nothing like the experience of expecting your first child. I wish I could go back and do it over again. But the next best thing would be to have photos like these to remember this time.

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Mandy is a foodie and really enjoys cooking/baking, so we had to do a barefoot and pregnant-ish shot in the kitchen just for fun.

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And we certainly couldn’t forget to include their fur baby, Crosby.

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Congratulations, Mandy and Josh! (And yes, this post is nine months overdue. I’m just trying to get back into blogging, so bear with me. There will be lots of anachronistic posts in the near future.)

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