A Beautiful Beginning: Kennedy Rose’s Birth Story.

A diagnosis of preeclampsia half way through her third trimester meant Jenny was to be induced by 37wks for not only the health of her but also the safety of the baby. A few days before her scheduled induction her HBP and protein in urine were too concerning to wait. With an almost complete 12 hr cervidil induction to ease her in, she had a spontaneous water break. So the good news was that baby girl was ready to come out too. With her body progressing on its own, she thankfully avoided pitocin and only received fluids. I was very impressed with how quickly she was moving along with it being her first delivery and after dinner headed in because her doula, Molly, had said she was contracting close together and stopped talking through which typically dictates about 6cm. I walked into some wonderfully deep moaning and swaying. Those moans got deeper, louder and longer which just made me grin and my heart skip a beat. It’s just so beautiful and empowering watching a mama work through the pain so gracefully. Like an old pro, she pushed so well that she pulled Kennedy up onto her chest after just an hr. A 6#11oz. and 19.5″ a beautifully healthy little gal laid there all kind of alert as the midwives inspected Jenny’s placenta that told a completely different story. The damage from high blood pressure wasn’t even the concern, it was the very rare velamentous cord insertion! Long story short, her cord was attached to the placenta in the wrong location and multiple scenarios could have and should have happened, all leading to infant fatality, ON TOP of the preeclampsia concern. But like her midwife said, someone up above was looking out that day because the odds were stacked against Kennedy. So can I get an AMEN!?!

Baby girl stayed sweetly skin to skin the first hour plus before nursing. But as soon as they moved her from Jenny, she finally started to show off those big girl lungs. Those cries! I love it!! Great work Mommy and you too, Kenny! I love an active husband during labor! I’m glad that I was able to capture some of his wincing so Jenny could see how he hurt right along side her as she lived in labor land. Adorable. Congrats all around! Thanks for having me!

Love, Melanie.

A beautiful beginning: Hudson William and Emerson Sovann’s birth story.

A long road of infertility and heartache leaves Rotha and David in a place where their joy and grief collide. Experiencing a pain that no parents should ever have to face. These babies were seven years in the making, but Rotha will say the story started last February when she lost her grandmother. A few months passed and she knew her Grandmother had a hand in finally blessing her womb with not one but two little babies! With a bittersweet due date almost exactly on Grandmother’s birthday! Months passed and excitement built as the babies were growing so healthy. Then at a regularly scheduled ultrasound a few wks ago, almost exactly one year after losing her Grandmother, Rotha immediately knew something wasn’t right by the reactions of the technician. At 32 wks gestation, for an unknown reason, Hudson’s heart just stopped beating. From perfectly healthy kicking that morning to an angel in the blink of an eye. 🙁 Because Emerson was doing so well in her own sac, Dr. Knipper wanted her to continue to grow as strong as possible for life outside the womb. For the next two weeks, Rotha bravely swallowed back the agony and tears as she continued to carry and love both her babies. A reality that turned into an impossible nightmare that she woke up to each day as she resided on bedrest in the hospital.

Rotha originally contacted me to shoot this birth but I wasn’t allowed in the OR so we didn’t follow through. Then a very sweet mutual friend reached out to give me the news last month and asked me to be present as these gamut of emotions would eventually unfold. Dr Knipper and the Good Sam staff generously bent the rules to allow me to be present during the cesarean as they knew Emerson would be whisked to the NICU and the few moments the twins would share outside the womb as a family of 4 would happen only in the OR. Not only were they gracious in allowing me to be in the room, they pulled down the drape to give me the chance to really get all the good stuff happening! So thankful for the kind hearts of that staff and the empathy they shared to let me capture every second I could of these sweet babies together! I’m certain Emerson will be forever grateful for the moments captured as her teeny hand grasped her brother’s.

Both babies came out footling breach, which was a sight to see! Emerson is a tiny fighter but at only 34ish weeks at 3lbs 3oz and 17″ she could only hang out with us for a few minutes before David and I followed her to the NICU. When we left her, she was stable without additional support, so David wanted to be with Hudson and Rotha so the family could meet their new angel and baptize him. You’ll notice I’m not going to share much of sweet Hudson, as the state of his 2lb 14oz and 13″ fragile body succumbed in the womb after 2 plus weeks of being an angel. Rotha and David truly believe he “took one for the team” and gave up his life so she could thrive. His first selfless and protective actions as a big brother.

I know personally, that what once was will always be if we speak of them often and proudly. Hudson will always be near and I hope you never forget the weight of his delicate body as he laid on your chest. Thank you for inviting me into such a private and sacred moment in your lives. I will never forget the way your babies and your story has touched my life. As always, I pray for peace to surpass all understanding and strength as you balance and navigate your way through such extreme emotions in the days that lie ahead. Much love to the Brauntz and Penn families.

***Warning: There are some surgery images that may be considered graphic. I find them all beautiful but I see this type of thing on the regular so I know others may be squeamish.

Love, Melanie

The Brauntzes. » LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY - May 25, 2017 - 10:58 am

[…] much to think about. If you follow my birth photography blog, then you’ll most definitely remember the recent birth of Emerson and Hudson. […]

Kristy Johnson - May 23, 2017 - 11:00 pm

Was thinking of you all today and wondering how Miss Emerson is doing….. reading this again and looking at the pictures brings back so many memories of a delivery I’ll never forget. Hope you are doing well, David and Rotha…. Still sending thoughts and prayers for peace and healing 💜💙

Amy Clyde - April 12, 2017 - 2:58 am

What beautiful pictures! You captured those precious moments in such a way it feels like I was right their with them…as I have tears running down my face! My thoughts and prayers for Rotha And David! I can’t even imagine what they must have been feeling at that moment!

» LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY - March 22, 2017 - 5:45 pm

[…] To see more of this sweet birth and angelversary, click HERE. […]

brittany - March 14, 2017 - 12:50 pm

absolutely beautiful, mel. the picture of the twins holding hands is the most heartwarming and heartbreaking pictures i have ever seen. i am praying for this family. thank you for sharing.

Erin Bryant - March 13, 2017 - 2:48 am

Beautiful photos of a beautiful family. I’m continuing to keep them in my prayers.

Karen Stevens - March 12, 2017 - 8:25 pm

These turned out beautifully!!! It was my honor to assist in this making of memories for this family❤

Kristy Johnson - March 12, 2017 - 6:56 pm

❤❤❤ Such a blessing to be a part of this. Hope we work together more! Xoxo

Lois Brauntz - March 12, 2017 - 5:11 pm

Melanie,. Thank you so much for portraying the joyous and heartbreaking birthday of Hudson and Emerson with such beauty and dignity. The memories that you have created will be a comfort to all of us. You were truly an angel among us..!

Luci - March 12, 2017 - 12:52 am

My heart goes out to this family. These pictures are so beautiful and tell such a beautiful story of a heroic little boy and his love for his sister and their brave parents. Once again mel… God gives you these souls to take care of and you delivered for Him and them! They will serve as life long memories of their sweet boy. Prayers to all. Xo

Linda Collins - March 11, 2017 - 8:23 pm

Beautifully written and the pictures are amazing. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

Greg Brauntz - March 11, 2017 - 5:40 pm

I can’t seem to find the right combination of words to express my sincere gratitude for not only your talent of photography, but also your ability to elequently tell a story that brings one closer to understanding what Love, Life, and Family mean. I was unable to stand by my brothers side for this moment, and you gave that back to me. For that I’ll be forever grateful. You are an angel and your work shows it. Thank You!

JennyBZ - March 11, 2017 - 2:52 pm

I can’t find the words. This, tho: “what once was will always be if we speak of them often and proudly”.
Such good work you do Mel. Bless you. xx

Ceil D. - March 11, 2017 - 2:24 pm

You’ve surpassed all your most beautiful work! What a fine and beautiful piece of work this is! Brava!


Happy birthday to both sweet babies and happy angelversary to big brother. <3 More coming soon of these special twins.


Love, Melanie.

Patrick Hines - March 15, 2017 - 10:47 pm

Sweet girl, sweet boy. You both found your way to heaven – one here with your parents, one a little further but full of love and joy too! Things happen exactly as they are meant to happen, I hope your parents know and believe this. Bless you both for sharing your lives with all of us.

Rosemary Anderson - March 13, 2017 - 5:33 pm

What a beautiful testament to life, love and family. Thank you for letting me see this. Love to you all.

Denise Tracy - March 11, 2017 - 7:46 am

Tears of extreme happiness and heartbreak flowed reading this and seeing all of the photos of our long-time friends’ family. Even tho I thought that I was prepared it so cut into my heart to view this birth which should have been total happiness for this long awaited family. Hudson will be in your hearts forever and next to Emerson’s side always. Our love and prayers to all of you especially David and Rotha. May Emerson bring a lifetime of double joy to you both. I’m sure Melanie’s photos will be a blessing to you for a lifetime as The Good Lord placed her and her talent at your side. Beautifully done, Melanie. xoxxxooo Denise

JennyBZ - March 10, 2017 - 7:27 pm

Oh their little hands on each other.
These are beautiful Mel. So much love and prayers for the family.

A Beautiful Beginning: Asher Ronen’s Birth Story.

Around two weeks prior to estimated due dates I start to get anxious. Will I have a babysitter, will I be able to go to events planned, will I be getting up in the middle of the night to rush to a delivery? The logistics behind birth photography are kind of a nightmare, especially now that I have 4 kids. But births like threepeat BB mama and warrior, Erin, reminds me to stay in the game even though it’s riddled with anxiety and exhaustion. The raw emotion followed by the bliss. It’s a high I will never find elsewhere unless I’m the one laboring. And documenting those sweet love filled moments like Erin so beautiful in her freshly postpartum state gazing at her husband skin to skin with their new babe. LOVE!

At just about 42 weeks, LAST Monday, Erin tried to evacuate this baby out of her. She didn’t want an induction but when it’s your third baby and you’re knocking on the door of two weeks “late,” you’re not tryin to stay pregs forever. Assuming it would be a day time birth I had to line up 3 sitters to cover my time before Adam was home. Hours ticked away but unfortunately Erin’s cervix did not. Soon it was dinner time. Then bed time. Then a text came at the 22nd hr of induction that no progress had been made besides utter exhaustion so Dr Bowen sent her home. (I love that man. Errybody loves that man.) A few day’s later they did a Non Stress which was great and measured the babe at 9.7lbs (and our US tech is always on the money!) and set another induction for the following Monday but with prayers she’d go sooner!

Nearly 43 weeks, Erin checked in bNorth at 6am with an open mind for God’s perfect alignment. She said she had tried it her way and failed so let His will be done. They tried an artificial water break this time which meant she wasn’t leaving without baby in arms and officially on the hospital’s clock. A few hours later contractions induced by the pit had her rocking and rolling during some hydrotherapy. Mark and I chatted and I told him that after all the stress of waiting for this birth I WAS NOT MISSING IT. So once my sitter arrived I went ahead on the road even though he hadn’t asked me to. And whaddya know? Ten min later it was about to be my turn at the drive thru window to get a sandwich and he says, “She feels pushy.” Ducked right out of that line and floored it in true Mothership mode in under 20min. You guys. There were NO spots in that damn hospital lot. None. I circled. I begged for someone to pull out. No one listened and I had to sprint with cameras slapping against both hips, backpack of lenses bouncing on my back. I made it to the room to see her bottom up with a head the size of a tennis ball crowning. Enough time to lean on my knees and not die from lack of breath and muscle cramps. Alas! I made it! When I stopped panting to see the room all laughing at me, I took the only available space at Erin’s ankles, which is not ideal as I try to avoid the not so modest money shot. Erin is actually a nurse at bNorth in the Mom/Baby unit so she was totally cool with my position.

The control this BA mama had. I mean his very large, practically 3mth sized head, was fully crowned to eyebrows for minutes. She didn’t let out but a soft moan. She didn’t tense or rock or even move! She just let her body do it’s thing as the rest of us watched in complete awe. Dr Bowen eased him out bit by bit and we were shocked at his very short umbilical cord! You’ll see in the images that she couldn’t even get him near her chest! Eventually they laid together in bliss that she was finally no longer pregnant and his hands rested near her necklace reading “Fearless.” No doubt, 100% accurate. Little butter ball was 9.12lb and  21 1/4 inches and so calm. Things progressed naturally with the recovery until Erin started complaining her cramps were unbearable. Then she couldn’t even hold Asher because she was crippling in pain. He went skin to skin with Mark while we watched Erin turn white and her BP drop from 120/75 to 60/40. The most amazing nurse that ever was, Kate, alerted staff and the room quickly filled.

A Dr assessed via ultrasound that Erin’s uterus wasn’t able to clamp down for what could have been multiple reasons such as, 3rd pregnancy and big baby. Instead of hemorrhaging, her body was developing multiple very large clots. She was still alert enough to communicate and yelled she wanted to push, which was alarming since she had already delivered the baby and placenta over an hour prior. I stood near the foot of the bed watching as she pushed this explosion of clots and blood out. I’ve never seen anything like it and it was so much that we actually jumped and gasped, “oh my God!” The nurse weighed the blood loss in at 1850cc. Now let me put this in perspective for you. With delivery she didn’t even lose 100cc. That means in one moment she expelled 62ish ounces of blood! WHAT. Once she was stabilized again and comfortable on morphine, we were able to get close again. As you’ll also see in the slideshow her Fearless necklace had flipped in the chaos and ironically now read, “REST” as she laid loopy and barely awake.  She said she had it made in prep for this birth and once he was here, she’d claim rest over herself. Well, that was one way force yourself to do it!! Shoot, girl!! Since it had then been hours since the birth and she hadn’t made it to breastfeeding, the superhero nurses, used Erin’s draaaained body for her and fed Asher. I just loved watching that. Her coworkers and friends now part of her village.

Welcome Asher, you sure did live up to your name of “blessed and happy.”

***Some images are a bit more graphic in nature than I usually share but Erin was all, share it all! I don’t care! 🙂 So if you’re not a birth junkie, you may want to look away as the rest of us find it incredible beautiful what our bodies can do!!***

Asher. » LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY - February 28, 2017 - 4:27 pm

[…] To see Asher’s powerful birth, click HERE. […]

JennyBZ - February 22, 2017 - 11:55 pm

Oh my goodnesssssss. What an absolutely beautiful big baby boy! And I lovvvvve his name! Man, the tears started falling when I read about her turning white and they still haven’t stopped. His sweet little toes on her belly. Him laying, all curled on her chest under her shirt. Omg I am in love w every single image. Beautiful beautiful job, Mel. And good work, mama!