HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!!!!

It's the time of year again when mailboxes are filled with love from family and friends. And I just have to say that receiving and sending cards is one of my most favorite traditions. It can be a challenge to choose which picture and which card to use and so for that reason I just love how TinyPrints and Shutterfly have their website set up. They have a really convenient feature to browse all the card designs with your own photo, so that you can see what each design would look like and narrow down your selection in a much more efficient way. Just take a look at this screen shot of their site with my family's portrait (take by Duston Todd) ... Using this feature made finding my card so easy and so fast.

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My family loves to include a few highlights from each year on our card so I love how I'm able to change the back options and add text with a cute background.

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TinyPrints really gets cards, even down to the little details like envelope liners. Having this extra pop of color as the envelopes are opened truly makes an understated impact. I love personally addressing my cards and also use a custom address stamp that I got from TinyPrints a few years ago, but if you don't like writing out your address by hand, they have an option to print your address on the envelopes.

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I love how cute and easy doing Christmas cards can really be! And since I love it so much I have partnered up with Shutterfly and TinyPrints to offer one lucky follower a $50 credit to TinyPrints!! All you have to do is comment on this post and share it for an entry (can also enter on instagram @caroleebeckhamphoto). Giveaway is now open and winner will be announced on Wednesday of next week: December 13th. GOOD LUCK! and Merry Christmas Card Making!

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Catherine's Maternity Session

This sweet momma is a dear dear friend of mine. I love how clients can become family. We first met when she was pregnant with her first and she hired me to photograph his birth. Since then we have stayed closely connected and I have seen her grow into a beautiful photographer herself. Now she is growing another baby and I am unbelievably honored to document this stage of her life once more.

A Maternity Session Among the Poppies

Utah is an incredibly beautiful place and there are so many breathtaking vistas and cozy little spots for portrait photography. In Alpine there is an area, right up against the mountains, where years and years ago the homesteaders planted some poppies. These poppies grow wild now in and around the sweetest grove of trees and are only in bloom for a short period of time in May of each year.

Photographing Alicia in these beautiful poppies and with the gorgeous mountains as a backdrop was so ideal. She is due to have her baby any day now and I am so looking forward to capturing the special occasion.

Highschool Photography

American Heritage is an amazing k-12 private school, located directly across from the Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple in American Fork, Utah. These are just a few of the incredible high-school students that attend this school and that I had the pleasure of teaching photography to this past year. I took these portraits with the contax 645 on black and white triX 400 film.

The Little Prince

My oldest has always loved to be read to. His comprehension and ability to sit for long periods and listen to beautiful stores amazes me. About this time last year (when he was only 4 years old) I read The Little Prince to him. He loved it and I loved sharing it with him. After seeing the newer film on Netflix, he told me that he wanted to be the Little Prince for Halloween. And so I decided to go ahead and make it a family themed costume. My husband was the Pilot, I dressed as the Rose, my daughter was the Fox and our baby a Sheep, with Emerson as the Little Prince. It wasn't easy putting these costumes together but I couldn't have been happier with how they all ended up. On Halloween, before venturing out for trick-or-treating, we stopped by a small little park near our home and I shot two rolls of Portra 120. Here are a few of my favorites from those two rolls. (film dev & scanned by the FIND lab, shot with a Contax645)

The Story of Liberty Abigail

All images shared here were taken by Jalene Taylor.

To see the video of Liberty's birth, filmed by Nate Pickett, go here.

Two weeks before my little girl's birth date my body was already preparing to push her out into the world. Knowing that I was almost dilated to a 3 and basically 90% effaced wasn't necessarily a good thing. I carried her front and heavy and at 40 weeks pregnant measured closer to 42. This pregnancy was an extremely uncomfortable one for me. She carried low, throwing my hips out constantly and requiring weekly visits to the chiropractor just to be able to move without constant pain. Towards the end I really waddled and felt every pressure possible. Emotionally I was all over the place too. I assumed that I would carry her to her due date of September 17th simply because I carried my Emerson full term (plus one day), but with earlier contractions and progress two weeks out, I had hopes that natural labor would happen earlier. But her due date came, and she was still cozy inside of me.

She carried the full 40 weeks and it didn't matter what I tried to get labor to start, it didn't seem to want to. On Emerson's due date I mowed our lawn and that was the final straw, which started labor. On Liberty's due date instead of mowing the lawn, I had a visit from my midwife. She checked me and went ahead with stripping my membranes. There weren't many left to strip and she followed with some evening primrose oil right on my cervix. At that point I laid down to rest and to let the evening primrose oil work it's magic. Britton ended up taking Emerson out with him on an errand and then upon their return, both Emerson and Britton joined me in my napping state. For that entire afternoon our home was in a restful slumber. Once awake from our afternoon siesta, we ate a snack and then headed out for a walk. We live close to a hill with a decent incline and decided that walking up that hill (which was something I had already done multiples times a day for multiple days) might actually work this time. With Emerson on his new balance bike, we headed out. During the walk I started to feel contractions. By the time I finished up the hill, they were close to 7 minutes apart. But as soon as we came home and started making dinner, they stopped.

We ate a yummy meal with fresh veggies from our garden, put Emerson to bed and then watched Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe on Netflix. The night before Emerson was born Britton and I also watched a comedy sketch and so decided to do the same. It was hard to laugh at everything he said because throughout the show I was having random contractions. Sometimes they were 5-7 minutes apart, but mostly they were about 15 minutes apart. Since labor seemed to be close, but not quite close enough we headed to bed to try and get some needed rest. At around 2:30am I woke to some serious pain. Contractions were stronger and more frequent. Britton downloaded an app for the iPad and started keeping track of their intensity and duration. Seeing that they were now averaging 4-5 minutes apart and about a minute in length, I contacted Melody (our midwife) and let her know. 

At that time I also called Alisha Stamper and the photographer, Jalene Taylor. If I had an MVP award to give out for the individual who was heaven-sent at my birth it would go to Alisha Stamper. Thank heavens for best friends who bring the spirit of womanhood, Heavenly Mother, and the Divine Goddess (whatever you want to call it) into a sacred space. Alisha is strong, capable and inspired. She was present at Emerson’s birth and she volunteered herself to help with this birth. I am eternally grateful for her friendship and attention. She came right when I needed her and supported me like no one else could have. There is something so powerful and unifying through the birth process and being surrounded by women who have such beautiful inner strength is an experience for which there are no words.

Two weeks prior to Liberty’s birth, Alisha was also at my home, helping me prepare for the very moment that she was now present for. She hosted a sacred evening for me, filled with support and love from women who I admire and respect. An evening of food, prayers, beautiful words, henna, and reminders of how we are all connected in this divine journey of womanhood and mothering. I have attended and even hosted Mother’s Blessings before, but this was the first one that I have had done for me and it was a singular experience. The spirit of our Heavenly Mother penetrated every facet of that evening. My emotions were hard to contain. The women who came surrounded me with love and support and wished upon me and my baby the most beautiful of wishes: Peace, patience, strength, understanding and the ability to trust this whole incredible process. This evening was integral to the success of my labor with my little Liberty. I wore on my wrist two reminders of this powerful and life-changing evening, bracelets that connected me to my sisters. 

As the contractions surged up and down, Alisha lit the birth candle, which was given to me at the blessing way, and it burned throughout the duration of labor. She was right there to help me breathe down and open up to welcome my baby into this world. This birth was such a powerful and spiritual experience. In those moments, surrounded by love and friendship, I felt a deeper connection to all those who have come before me in my family line; my mother, my grandmothers, my great grandmothers and every woman dating back to Mother Eve. Here I was preparing to bring my own daughter into this world and she would do the same and continue the life cycle. Women connected to each other through this birthing process of life. It’s a ritual of water and blood, like so many other necessary spiritual rituals and it is hard and beautiful and powerful and real.

In the dark of the morning, Alisha supported me. Melody came and helped to ensure that the birth was safe and secure. Jalene came and documented these singular moments and not long after they were all there, Nate Pickett came to film the fleeting moments of labor and delivery.  And through each surge, my sweet little boy slept, unaware that his long-awaited arrival of baby sister was going to welcome him when he woke. All the while, my companion, lover, best friend and biggest support stayed there with me. 

You are never as vulnerable as you are when in labor, but the openness and vulnerability is empowering. The miracle of life overshadows the fact that you’re in front of people in a way that you would never be on a normal day. Welcoming a new child into the world is a singular experience. This labor was already feeling very different than my first. Each child is a vessel for a unique and special soul. Their birth is their own and as a mother it is my responsibility to do everything in my power to welcome that child into a peaceful space, to help them make their transition into this mortal world. 

Shortly after Melody arrived (about 3:30am) she checked my progress and I was not quite dilated to a 5. Learning that, I couldn’t help but feel a little discouraged. With my first I labored all night and progressed very slowly. I was determined to not experience the same kind of slow labor. And so with each new contraction, I visualized being open and really willed my body to bring my child out. I wanted to birth her so terribly. At the realization of this deep desire, my emotions could not contain themselves and tears flowed freely. With this conviction, my labor progressed much more quickly than even I anticipated it would. I felt every pressure, every surge, every contraction: Every. Single. Thing. A couple of hours later, Melody checked me again and found that I was progressing well. She was able to also stretch me ever so slightly while I contracted and so I embraced the painful stretching to allow my body to open even more. I remember thinking, as a contraction hit me hard: “only 30 more seconds, only 20 more seconds.” There was something so refreshing knowing that even though it hurt, it wasn’t forever and that I could do it. I was connected to my sisters, to all the women who came before, to the great purpose of my life through the pain of these moments and I could do exactly what I needed to do.

So often, when I share that I birth at home without pain medication, I’m told that I’m brave. Others assume that I must have a high pain tolerance.  While being brave might be the case, the fact is that I have very low pain tolerance. What I am though is completely determined. When I set my mind on something there isn’t any going back. And the reality is that labor is only a brief moment in this experience of life. It’s a moment that I am so glad I get to feel every second of.

The tub was set up and I hopped in. I still do not understand how exactly the water helps with the pain, but it does. There’s something about being in a big bowl of water that assists with relaxation. There are other techniques that also helped me deal with the increasing surges. Alisha suggested that I visualize and so we did. We went to Paris and the Loire Valley. I remember thinking about the soft foggy light blanketing the fields and rolling valleys, in and out of the elaborate chateaus. The light there is unlike any other light that I’ve ever experienced. Thinking about this soft peaceful light strengthened and relaxed me and I opened even more.

With my own waters still intact, I continued to surge and prepare to meet my baby. The sun slowly rose and my little boy woke from his nightly slumber. He was uncertain, seeing me in the tub, hearing my moans and the sounds of labor. My sister came and took care of him, feeding him breakfast and getting a show on to distract him. He mostly stayed downstairs and away from me, but was home for the whole thing. This was a huge help since he woke at 7:30 and by then I was nearing transition and really getting ready to meet my little girl.

At this point my memory becomes somewhat blurred together. I don’t remember seeing much because it was easier to push through the motions of labor with my eyes closed. I breathed hard and deep and my body shook. The surges came right on top of each other. There wasn’t much of a break or any time to recover before another one hit and I was overcome with the intensity of it all. I relied completely on those supporting me, holding me, helping me. And then came the instruction: PUSH. I honestly feared that I would have a bowel movement right there in the tub and was mostly concerned about that. It felt like that was what was going to come out of me. But the reality was that everything I felt my body telling me to do was to birth my baby. And so with the love, support and encouragement of those present I pushed. My sweet husband stayed right behind me, holding me, supporting me, helping me, and whispering his confidence in my ability to do this hard thing as I pushed. The ring of fire came and stayed. She slowly crowned and I stretched to make room for the rest of what was to come. And then her head was out, or so I remember being told, along with the instruction to “stop pushing” because the cord was wrapped once around her neck. I honestly couldn’t stop the urge to keep on pushing and so Melody worked fast and my body kept on doing what it was made to do. At 8:34 am my little girl was born into this world and was brought from the water up to my chest, into my arms and next to my heart.

I looked at my husband and remember saying, “I did it.” I DID IT. And that is how my little angel, Liberty Abigail Beckham was brought into this world. She was surrounded by love, power, and strength and infused with the spirit of womanhood and all things godly. Her candle burned the entire time and we felt the presence of God, Heavenly Mother and their angels.

I was helped out of the tub and onto the birth stool to wait for the afterbirth to come, still holding my baby and amazed at what I had just experienced. She was perfect, her nose so little, and her lips perfectly kissy. She looked like my Emerson in some ways but was her own little person too and very different from her brother. I kissed her head, her face, and her nose. It felt amazing to have her out of my body and in my arms. There’s no other feeling like it.

The placenta came and I was then moved to the bed. Liberty’s cord was cut and she was weighed by her daddy, 7lbs 5 oz and 20.5” in length. She had a little help with some oxygen right after her birth, but besides that she was in great shape. Emerson came up and met his sister and he’s been smitten ever since. He is the most attentive and doting big brother. An endless source of kindness with constant affirmations for her, telling her how precious and beautiful she is. And thankfully I did not tear. My recovery has been incredible and even though I am tired, I am whole and very happy. 

I have a son and now a daughter. What started 5 years ago as two has now become four and my heart is very happy.

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An extra special thanks to my dear friend, Alisha Stamper. As well as my completely competent midwife and friend, Melody Pendleton Dicken.

Liberty's waterbirth homebirth

So I haven't been very active on this blog for several months simply because I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in September. I have been so very busy and have a lot of things in store for this year. I can't wait to share them all with you. But for now, please enjoy this birthstory video of my sweet little girl's birthday. Filmed by Nate Pickett at my home.

The Gillrie Family

I've been friends with Julie for a really long time! We are former college roommates and I photographed her wedding (back when I photographed weddings)... just to name a few things. I have LOVED seeing her family grow. She has some of the most beautiful kids ever. It's sad that she lives in California, cause I rarely get to see her. So I was completely thrilled to be able to update their family photos this month when they came into town for a visit. Hopefully it won't be another couple of years before I will get to see her again!

That time when I became a mother...

So I am currently 6 weeks away from my little girl's due date. I couldn't be more excited to welcome another child into my home. Preparing for her arrival, I have contemplated my sweet little Emerson's birth and decided to go back and re-read his story. He turns 3 on Tuesday (tomorrow!) and so I thought that I would share his story once again here in this space.

Polaroid by Alisha Stamper

written: august 7, 2011

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting at my computer for the first time in what seems like forever. It’s time to write down the feelings in my heart before these feelings fade into new feelings and experiences. I don’t know if there are words to adequately express exactly how I feel at this moment- but I will attempt to do my emotions justice. I am still on a euphoric high from all of the events of the past few days. My whole world smells of newborn and I’m so in love with everything that has to do with my little boy. He’s perfect in every way and I couldn’t be a happier mom.

Thursday was his due date. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t anxious to get him here. I really just wanted to have him out of my body already, to meet him, to kiss him, to get to love him. 40 weeks inside is a long time and I was getting super impatient! It seemed that every other mom around me, who was due basically at the same time, had already had their baby. I wondered if he’d ever come out- or if he was content to just stay in there forever. I was beginning to have my doubts. But, regardless of when I wanted him to come, I was forcing myself to be patient and reminding myself that he would come when he was ready. It was his birthday, after all. Britton and I had done oodles of preparation throughout the pregnancy and we wanted, more than anything, a completely natural, unmedicated birth free of any interventions. That meant no induction. He was going to be born at home and it was going to happen when he was ready for it to happen. So when Thursday rolled around and there wasn’t any serious signs of labor I was even more anxious and ready. I decided to stay as active as I had been up to that point. All week long I had been going for morning walks, averaging 45mins. The fresh air was nice and the sunshine felt so good. Thursday was no different. I woke early and went for a 30 minute walk. I spent the rest of the day around the house finishing up the laundry, the cleaning, prepping, working on my computer etc... (Earlier in the week my desktop harddrive had decided that it wanted to crash and so we had just installed a new harddrive and I needed to download software/updates- not the most enjoyable thing to have happen, but fortunately I have a computer wiz for a husband and he fixed it all up for me. I’m such a lucky girl).

With evening approaching and still no real signs of labor, I decided to just continue about doing what I could to stay active and to keep my mind on other things. Our landlord had just brought over the lawn mower and so, at 9 months pregnant, on my child’s due date and at 3pm in the afternoon, I ventured outside to mow the lawn. Call me crazy, but it really needed to be done and I had the biggest desire to do it. So I mowed. And then, right after I finished, a storm rolled in. I showered up and then sat down and thought “tonight could be the night... tonight really could be it.” Not long after, I began to get very uncomfortable. I sent Britton a text wondering when he was going to be home from work. I needed him here. I just knew that I was really going to need him. By the time he got home I was rolled over on a birth ball in the living room, trying to relax. Things were starting. I made dinner, we ate and then Melody (our midwife) came over to check on me. I had been keeping in touch with her throughout the day, sending her questions and updates. One thing that had concerned me was that I had a continual flow of mucus tinged with blood throughout the day. I had to check just to make sure that that was ok. She listened to his heart tones, said that things seemed great, made up some hotpacks, put them in the oven and then left- telling me to let her know whenever I was ready for her to come back.

All this time, Britton was moving around the house like an excited little boy, getting all the final things ready, so excited for a grand adventure. He was very ready and very excited. He called over his long-time fried, Dan, to see if he could help him move the couch from our bedroom. They got the birth tub situated. And then Britton and I decided to enjoy some quality couple time. We sat down and turned on our tv... one last time, just us two. We watched a standup comedian on Netflix. I really didn’t have any particular desire to watch one thing, I just wanted something to make me laugh as the contractions increased. Afterwards, I was so tired and we decided to try and get some rest. By this time the contractions were roughly 6 minutes apart and lasted anywhere from 30-45 seconds. We laid down and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, it was really hard to get a good amount of rest. We would need it later too... but it wasn’t meant to be. Melody came back around 1:30am and Britton helped her finish getting the tub ready. She really knows her stuff and the whole process was down to a science. It was obvious that she was set to do exactly what we had entrusted her to do. It felt great to know that she was there to support and to help bring our baby into this world. Reflecting now, upon it all, I am even more convinced that she was the right person to help with the care and delivery of our baby boy. At around 3am I ended up calling my mom, and Alisha (Stamper) and Christine (Olson). They all headed on over and got there around 4am. Alisha and Christine were so good to just drop everything and come be my support team. Together we are part of a tight-knit group of photographers, we refer to ourselves as F/8. I really strongly value these women and my relationships with them. I knew that I wanted my labor and delivery documented and I feel so fortunate to have such awesome friends willing to do so! Having my mom here was also super special to me. She kept us all fed and cared for.

Anyway, I continued to labor, so excited that I was going to meet my son before the day was through...

Images by Christine Olson

We all were quite tired though and so after a couple of hours, everyone laid down for some needed rest. This little amount of rest really helped, although it was hard to sleep through the contractions. The whole time I had Britton by my side. He was such an invaluable support. He made a huge difference in every way. I honestly couldn’t have done what I did without him right there. I am incredibly blessed and such a lucky woman. (For the record we have documented proof of the lapse of time. Britton set up our brand new HD camcorder and took some time-lapsed footage). Things continued to progress and the morning came. Labor was hard and painful and to be perfectly honest, I progressed much slower than I wanted to. That was one of the more difficult parts about the whole thing. Our birth plan dictated that there were to be minimal checks and Melody was great about honoring that request, but hours into labor, there were things that we needed to know- just to gauge the progress and to move forward. It wasn’t fun hearing that 12 hours of contractions had only put me to a 5. But I pushed through it and tried to focus even more on my hypnobirthing relaxation techniques and visualizations. I knew that my cervix could open more and wondered if my aversion to the pain and discomfort was holding me back. So I focused more and moved into the birth tub. Labor picked up from there and before I knew it I was at a 7... then an 8 and then a 9. By this point, Britton had moved into the tub with me and Melody had shown him how he could reach up and feel our baby’s head. While up there, they actually helped try to stretch me during my contractions. This was a painful addition to the throbbing of my uterine muscles, but it seemed to be making a difference.

Britton was such a solid support. I know that I’ve written that multiple times already but I really can’t say it enough. He helped me breathe through all of the contractions with coaching and counter-pressure. The team of midwives that Melody had at the birth made a significant difference too. One that especially was great was a woman from Canada named Terri. She was staying down at the Birth Suites in Pleasant Grove, while waiting for her Canadian certifications to come through. Since they’re government employees there things take a bit longer. She was right with me through the hardest part of labor as well and had read the birth plan which I had given Melody. She was definitely on the same page and really contributed to the overall progress and positive experience of my labor.

Time passed and then it seemed that I hit the wall. I was exhausted in every way. I was so tired of feeling the contractions, so tired of breathing them down, so tired and I honestly thought that I couldn’t do it any longer. I didn’t really have any other option though- I had to finish and I wanted to finish and I needed to meet my baby.

My little boy was so low and engaged for so long that, as Melody checked his heart tones, she found that they were starting to drop. This was a concern to her and so she told me that it was time to step up the game and to get my baby out. All along I had envisioned that I would have this calm water birth where my baby would basically roll out of me and into the water, but this wasn’t to be. The exact reason why would later be seen since all things happen for a reason. At this point though, I was still in the birth tub. I had changed positions a few times- had moved to the side of the tub to be able to use more of my legs to push against. When that didn’t work, I moved onto my hands and knees, which also didn’t work and so I was back to the side of the tub trying with all my might to push my baby out. At one point I opened my eyes and felt light headed so they gave me oxygen and continually reminded me to breathe deep and in through my nose. I was focusing with all the energy I had left. I had to just breathe my baby out. I knew that there was so much power in my breath and in my body. I was basically on auto-pilot and in the birth zone. But regardless of what I tried, Melody’s instincts knew that that wasn’t going to cut it and so she had me get out of the tub and onto the birth stool. At that point she told me that I was holding things back and I knew she was right. I had to embrace the pain and focus more deeply on meeting my baby. This focus took every ounce of energy I had left and I honestly can say that I felt empowered by all of the love and support in the room. I was now on the birth stool, breathing with the oxygen, focusing with all my might and trying as hard as I could to get my baby out to meet me. This was when things really started to get crazy...

Polaroid by Alisha Stamper

Images by Christine Olson

This was when things really started to get crazy...

And honestly, this part is all kind of a blur to me but I remember saying outloud and to myself “baby come out!” Throughout labor, as I would breathe, I focused on the word “out” and so the reiteration of this word helped me once more to truly believe that he was coming to me and that he was going to be ok. Things were stressful and hectic as it drew near to the time when my son needed to enter this world, but I can say that amidst the stress I felt total peace.

Melody was positioned right next to Britton. They were ready to catch my baby. His heart-rate was dropping and it was time. At this point, Melody said to me “You’ve got to get this baby out in the next push. I really don’t want to give you an episiomoty!” And that’s when my last ounce of strength kicked in. Episiomoty was a dangerous word. I didn’t want it and Melody knew that and so I breathed deep and felt the overwhelming burning that comes from the crowning of a baby on his way out. It burned hot, like a total ring of fire, and I let out a cry and pushed with every single ounce of energy in me. His head came out and then I took a deep breath and the rest of him followed.

Britton was right there, hands out to meet our son. Melody was there too. I was in shock and awe with what I had just experienced and felt. Seconds after though, there was a little bit of panic (this is the reason why- in hindsight- moving out of the tub was necessary). As my chord untwisted it actually tore. This rarely happens and required immediate action. As soon as it was noticed, the chord was clamped and cut. Sadly, this was not part of our plan. We had studied and knew the benefits of leaving the chord attached until all the blood and nutrients had passed over to the baby, but with a torn chord and blood squirting out- blood loss was more of a concern. All of this was a big blur to me though. I was just sitting there, breathing, holding my new baby and he was more than perfect. He let out a little cry and I was instantly overcome with more love than ever before. I had my husband right there with me and now my son and I felt so blessed. My system was in shock with the hormonal overload. (Just as an update- our midwife was extra cautious in the days following Emerson's birth, making sure he didn't loose too much blood and that all his vitals were where they should be. They were. He's a perfectly healthy baby).

My placenta just dropped out of me and I moved up onto my bed. For the first hour or so of our son’s life, it was just me, him and Britton- bonding, loving, learning, connecting. It felt so good to hold my baby close. So incredibly good. I fed him a little bit and had some amazing skin-on-skin connecting time. It was surreal and amazing, like heaven had descended into my bedroom and gifted me this amazing experience. I couldn’t believe that I had just done what I’d done. I remember looking at my baby’s face and knowing that I’d do it again to just hold him (but that it was honestly the most painful thing I had yet to experience in this life!). I was so overcome with love for him and for my amazing husband. Gratitude filled me completely.

Minutes prior the room had been swarming with activity and now it was just Britton, me and our baby. When I was ready, the midwives came back in to check me out and to weigh/measure our son. He weighed 6lbs and 12oz and was 20 inches long. Britton actually was the one to weigh him. He had beautiful kissy lips and long fingers. He was so alert and happy. It was awesome.

Unfortunately, I tore a little bit (a slight 2nd degree tear) and so I needed some stitches. Melody stitched me up, and while she did so Terry continued to check out my baby’s vitals. He was constantly kept close to me though and I held his hand while I was being stitched. It hurt like crazy, but my baby was close and so I bore it happily.

Reflecting now upon this singular experience, I am so grateful for every single sensation that I felt. For everything thing that I experienced. It was empowering. I’m amazed that I struggled through 20 hours of labor, but knowing that I did it feels so good. We have decided to name our son Emerson Locke Beckham. I am so in love with my sweet little Emers. He’s a peaceful, alert, and happy baby. I am so blessed and so very happy.

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Utah Newborn: Samantha, 6 days old

I love brand new babies. They smell heavenly (who else loves the new baby smell?!). They are prefect and so precious. Photographing them is such a special treat. In my opinion, the best accessory to a newborn shoot is not a bow or a toy, but instead their natural space with mom and dad. So all of my newborn sessions are family sessions too. Congrats to this beautiful family on the birth of their little angel!

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all images shot with portra400, on-location in utah

Rachel Clark Styling

There's so much I can say about this girl, but I don't even know where to begin. She's flawless. Her styling abilities are amazing. She's the best girl for the job and my go-to for any shoot that I need hair and makeup. She's the nicest person ever and completely stunning. Just take a look and see!

All images taken with Portra400 or TriX400.

Missy Reber: Team BeachBody

Missy Reber is a force to be reckoned with! She is motivating and hard working. Not many people have the gift of easily inspiring and motivating others the way that she does. Want to stick to a program? Create and keep your fitness goals? Then all you need to do is jump on one of her teams or join one of her challenge groups and you'll be amazed at how she changes your world in just a matter of weeks.

hair and makeup done by: Rachel Clark Styling

Austin & Katie

These two are really good together. It's so exciting to meet a girl perfectly suited for someone you've known for a long time, and as my brother-in-law, I've known Austin a long time. He lucked out with Katie and I'm thrilled to have her join our family.

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All images taken with Portra400 or TriX400

All images taken with Portra400 or TriX400

The Ransom Family

The best time to plant a tree is 10-years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today. I have a similar philosophy regarding family photos, especially multi-generational ones. When a family is all together, that is the time for a session. It's not something to post-pone or delay. I was honored to spend an afternoon with this lovely family and am excited to share these images with you.

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Announcing: Becoming

The first time I was pregnant, things didn't end well. At 11 weeks I had some spotting. We still hadn't heard a heartbeat by that point and when we went in to listen for one, there wasn't one to be found. An ultrasound followed, done by a lovely midwife at her home with an older machine. The results were there, but not confirmable. So two days of unanticipated anxiety came and went before being able to have another ultrasound to confirm. It was an internal ultrasound at that point. If you have never had one, let me just say that they are not very comfortable things to have. At that point what we dreaded was our reality. There was no baby. I had what was known as a blighted ovum, essentially an "empty sack"... and so now I was waiting again... Waiting to miscarry instead of waiting to hear my baby's heartbeat. Waiting and waiting and waiting. Hardly anyone knew we were expecting so I guess it was easy to not have to share the sad news with the world. But looking back, I really wish that more people had known. My support group was essentially non-existent through my miscarriage. It was one of the most challenging experiences of my adult life.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy.... Inspired by my sister-in-law, I had decided to embark on a personal project that chronicled the growth of my baby. I wanted to have a positive pregnancy. I wanted to have positive experiences and wanted to heal from the trial of my miscarriage. And so I started documenting the growth of my baby in relation to fruits and vegetables. This was fun and exciting, but also proved to be a challenge. It was not easy taking photos every single week for 40 weeks. I am so very glad that I did it though. I have such beautiful documentation of my pregnancy and love that I have images to share with my son about his journey to our family.

And now... I have another announcement. We are expecting again. Conceiving this time around was no small task. It has been an emotional journey for sure. Months and months of trying just to fail again and again. But finally, we have crossed into the 12th week of my third pregnancy and baby is doing well. Some may wonder why I have waited till now to make any type of formal announcement, especially because of my first pregnancy experience. The truth is that I have shared the news personally and individually with many. I have definitely not been as alone with this pregnancy as I was with my first. I have been loved and cared for by my community, my neighbors, my family and friends. This pregnancy has been full of sickness, exhaustion, and more sickness. I have been forced to rest, to take it easy and to relax. Dinners have been provided and support given. I am so very grateful. And through it all I have begun to embark on another journey of documentation.

Will there be another series of photos similar to my last pregnancy? Yes there will be. The approach I have taken for this pregnancy is different though. Any woman who is at the stage of life where she is striving to conceive is on a journey to become a mother. BECOMING is what this series of photos will be all about. I want to share with you the emotional journey of becoming a mother again. I hope you will be patient with me as I share images that are real and raw and sensitive.

I want to dedicate all of these images to every woman out there, the mothers in us all.

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Brittany, One Charming Party

Brittany maintains the lovely site, One Charming Party. It is an incredible site full of amazing party resources. Have an upcoming child's birthday? Hop on over to her shop to get everything you need to perfectly execute the greatest theme party.

It was such a delight for me to photograph Brittany. I love her style and the colors and props she brought to the shoot made it so much fun!

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Hair and makeup done by Rachel Clark.

Hair and makeup done by Rachel Clark.