Maternity Photography | Linda and Dietmar Bhömer

Maternity Photography_Gauteng_SamSchroderPhotography

“Beauty is how you feel inside an it reflects in your eyes…” – Sophia Loren

This maternity session gave me all the feels. I loved the couple, this is my second bump to baby journey with them, I loved the dress, I loved the venue and I love every single image!

Have you ever heard the saying;

“You are glowing”

while being pregnant? I could never quite get it. I could never see myself being “glowing” while being pregnant with any one of my daughters…I am however sure that every women glow in some sort of way, pregnant or not.

We have a light we carry around. It may some time be brighter than other times. We may not recognise it ourselves every day, but our husbands do, our children do, and most importantly our Creator do.

He is the one that put it there in the first place.

He will never let it be blown out even if it’s just a flickering at the best of times. Don’t allow anybody to try and smother it. They can’t!

“A Candle loses nothing by lighting another”

Let us keep our light’s glowing. Let us support other lights glowing and let us appreciate every single women glowing, like the “glowing mom to be” in these images.

xXx
Sam

 

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Birth Photography | Cara vd Walt

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“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley

Birth almost never go according to plan. Leanne had a totally different plan for her daughters birth but unlike my previous post her birth didn’t change from a planned natural delivery to a C-section. It changed in the way she planned her natural delivery to go. This mom was strong and courages! Her story reflects truth of not only the pretty parts of birth but also the very, very hard parts.

“We were very lucky because I fell pregnant only a month after I stopped with contraceptive. I had a very good pregnancy as I didn’t have any morning sickness. I did however suffer from hip and back pain.

So with an awesome pregnancy almost over, we “patiently” waited for Cara. I am saying “patiently” because Ristian and I are control freaks. So this “can’t plan for anything” was a huge adjustment for us but taught us that you can’t control everything and it’s difficult to plan ahead (it was good that we got used to it, especially with a new baby on the way 😊)

I wanted to give birth naturally,

not just because it’s the best for Cara, but I wanted to experience everything. I wanted to know what it felt like to push. I also liked the idea that God, and not a doctor, will decide when the right time is for her to come. In short, Cara chose her own birthday.

That being said, I didn’t think that it will give birth naturally. I thought in the back of my mind that the gynaecologist will say that Cara is too big or that she is bridge. You hear of so many stories where women want to give birth naturally but then something goes wrong and they have to get an emergency C-Section. We didn’t go for antenatal classes, because I thought it might end up being a C-Section anyway and then you don’t need to know how to push etc.

I have a low pain threshold, so I was very scared to go through the whole process. I therefore said that if I give birth naturally I must get an epidural!! Come hell or high water… But, again, you can’t plan ahead and the picture you have of what’s about to happen is far from what’s expected.

I therefore want to tell my story. The whole story, not just to pretty parts.

On Saturday the 9th of September 2017, I woke up at 5:00 with what felt like period pain. I was about 39 weeks pregnant. I went to the bathroom and when I came back I woke Ristian up and said to him that I think I might be having contractions. As we didn’t go for antenatal classes, we didn’t know what to expect. We only watched a lot of videos online of what might happen. So when we realised that the time has finally come, we couldn’t remember anything 😊. We had to Google the timing of the contractions. Ristian used his stopwatch and we started timing.

I am not sure when, but I did lose my mucus plug sometime during the morning. And it’s exactly what the name says… its very slimy.

We had plans with friends later the day and decided not to cancel as we didn’t know how quickly I will progress. They came over for a quick boerewors braai and by 14:00 I said to Ristian that my contractions are closer together and starting to get really sore. He said that he will see our friends out and that I should take a shower in the meantime and pack my last stuff for the hospital. Cara’s hospital bag was packed a month before ☺

It’s difficult to explain how a contraction feels, but if I have to say, it feels like very very bad period pains. I started to feel the pain in my lower back as well.

By 17:00 I could not stand while a had a contraction and had difficulty talking through one.

We greeted our animal kids and we were off to Olivedale Hospital. On the way there I started to get very emotional as I was scared of what’s about to happen. I prayed so much and knew God was with us to whole time.

We arrived and I were booked in immediately. I had to do a urine sample and undergo all the checks etc. They took my temperature, blood pressure and they had to see how far dilated I am. I was very nervous for this test because the stories I heard were shocking!! Before the midwife did the test, I told her that I am scared and she should be gentle on me. She instructed me to take a deep breath and open my legs so that my knees are flat on the bed (you almost look like a chicken flatty) and I must be honest, it was sore and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t as bad as expected. The contractions were much worse…

At around 18:00 I was only 1cm dilated.

Ristian looked at me and I said to him that this is going to be a long night. He made himself comfortable on the lazy chair next to me. They gave me my supper and then Ristian went to eat something and the midwife came in and started to explain everything to me and what I can expect.

She explained how to use the pain medication. I was very relieved that I could get some pain relief with every contraction. They gave me Entonox. This is a 50/50 mix of two gases – nitrous oxide and oxygen and is breathed in through a mask or mouthpiece.

She also showed me how to use the exercise ball. This however felt very uncomfortable and it didn’t do anything for me.

They also gave me a Pethidine injection for the pain.

The midwife informed me that my gynaecologist was not on call that weekend. I was a bit upset as I really wanted my gynea there because he was very supportive and had a relaxed atmosphere. But she assured me that the gynea on call was brilliant and she is awesome with natural birth.

It then began to sink in that I’m actually going to give birth naturally. I told the hospital staff numerous times that I really want an epidural, but they kept on saying that I wasn’t dilated far enough.

The contractions at this stage were almost unbearable.

I kept on using the Entonox just to get some relief. I must admit, I started to feel dizzy from the pain medication, but I just kept on using it.

At 23:00 the midwife checked again to see how far dilated I was and I was at 4cm. They said they are going to break my water and things might move quickly.

It wasn’t sore when they broke my water, just an uncomfortable pinch. They used a tool that looked like a knitting needle. Once they broke my water, there was water everywhere. After this, they moved me to the labor ward.

I kept on asking for the epidural and the staff finally said that I can get an epidural.

They called the anaesthesiologist and he was on his way.They checked again, and I dilated to 9cm in 30 minutes! The pain was unbearable at this stage and I kept on using the Entonox. The midwife said that because I dilated so quickly, I can’t get an epidural anymore…

They therefore cancelled the epidural and I was furious.

I think it’s just because I was in so much pain and I didn’t think I could pull through without it. I then had to wrap my head around the fact that I’m actually going to give birth without an epidural.

I started to feel very dizzy from the pain meds and my whole body was pins and needles. It felt like nothing worked anymore and the mask was almost permanently on my face. When the midwife checked on me, my eyes were seeing double. She told Ristian to keep the mask away from me and I’m not allowed to use it anymore ☹

In the meantime, Ristian contacted Sam and said she should come as soon as possible because I progressed very quickly. Luckily, she made it in time 😊

The gynae on call arrived and I knew that its going to happen now. She seemed very calm and collected and had a calming effect on me.

The midwife then explained how to push. She said that with every contraction, I need to pull up my legs and imagine I am diving into a swimming pool. I need to hold my breath and push hard for 10 seconds. They will do the counting. After 10 seconds and I can take a breath (as if I am coming up for air in the swimming pool) and then I need to dive in again and hold my breath for the next 10 seconds and push.

At first I did it wrong.

I didn’t hold my breath and breathed as they do in the movies 😊. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t actually listen to what the midwife said. I eventually got it right, but I was very tired and my legs felt like jelly. I couldn’t hold it up anymore, so Ristian and a nurse had to help me. In between Ristian kept on giving me water and Powerade and he also wiped my face. I was eventually so hot and sweaty, that he took a wet towel to cool me off. He was very supportive.

I pushed for almost an hour and Cara was still not out. I saw the look the gynae and midwife exchanged, and I realised that its now or never. Cara’s heartbeat started to change and she needed to come out as soon as possible. The gynae then also said to me that I really need to give it my all. Sam told me afterwards that Cara’s meconium (black poo) was in my amniotic fluid. Meaning that Cara started to stress as well.

They then gave me an injection in order to cut me (episiotomy) and also used a vacuum suction on Cara’s head to help her out.

I then gave one final push and felt extreme pain and then it was gone immediately.

Cara, my world, my beautiful baby daughter was on my chest. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe everything is over and she is okay. We made it!! I felt instant relieve!!

Ristian was next to me with a huge smile on his face. Our daughter is born 😊. He gave me a kiss and I knew we were safe. He was with me every step of the way and I will always be grateful for that. With Ristian next to me, Cara in my arms,

I felt LOVE!! Love and peace and joy!!

After I held Cara in my arms for a while, they asked Ristian to cut the umbilical cord and the nurse took Cara to weigh her followed by all the checks. Ristian stayed with Cara the whole time. They then injected me with something that helps the placenta to come out easily. I can remember telling them that I can’t push anymore, and they laughed. They said everything is over, I can just relax. They will pull out the placenta after which that they stitched me up (this wasn’t sore at all).

When they were done with me and Cara, I could finally breastfeed her. This was an amazing feeling! She latched immediately, and it was awesome watching my daughter while she gets in all the liquid gold.

We had wonderful family time talking about the whole experience while Cara slept in my arms. Sam continued to take awesome photos.

They then took Cara to the nursery so that I could get some rest. Ristian took all our bags to my hospital room. The midwife asked me to stand up and I should be careful because a lot of blood will spill out of me. I’m glad she warned me, but I still wasn’t prepared because when I stood up, A LOT of blood spilled on the floor.

I felt so embarrassed but also grateful that no one else was in the room with us. After she cleaned me up, she said I should walk to my room.

Half way there I felt very dizzy and I can remember I saw Ristian close by and then it went black. I fainted in the middle of the corridor on the way to my room. I woke up almost immediately and they helped me to my room. The midwife brought me tea and salt & vinegar popcorn 😊, I appreciated that a lot. I was exhausted. I could get some sleep for about 2 hours when they brought Cara for her next feed. It was such a special time because it was just us. Mother and daughter. I can’t describe the love you instantly feel for that precious little bundle in your arms. Your flesh and blood. It’s actually overwhelming 😊

The gynaecologist and midwife were awesome, and it was amazing how everything worked out perfectly 😊.

I never knew I had it in me and I praise God that He gave me the strength and that He showed me what I am capable of.

I thank Him that He was with us every second. I also realised that God will never put a mountain in front of you if He knows you cannot climb it. And sometimes God will put a Goliath in your life, for you to find the David within you.

“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Cara was born at 1:52 am, weighing 3.38kg and 53cm long.

I didn’t know how everything will go with Sam and if the hospital staff will allow her to take pictures while I give birth. Luckily the hospital didn’t have a problem at all and I felt so comfortable with Sam. On the one hand she was so discreet and on the other she stepped in when needed. She encouraged me along the way and afterwards she told me that she kept on praying for me and Cara because she could see I was struggling. That meant the world to me 😊 and now I can look back at awesome photos and a very special video of the birth of Cara.”

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Birth Photography | Moné Vermeulen

“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal” – Unknown

As we are preparing for the birth of our children, most of us have very set ideas or plans for these sacred moments. Most of us don’t like change and almost all of us hate it when things don’t go the way WE planned. But with life and specifically with birth, it doesn’t always go as we plan. Here is the birth story of baby Moné and all the plans mom Mia had for this life changing experience.

“I had this wonderful birthing plan: I wanted to go all natural with as little pain meds as possible, with a c-section only an option if either me or baby went into distress.

My contractions started Friday morning at 3am. I initially thought that it may be Braxton Hicks contractions, as it wasn’t painful at all and very sporadic. Luckily I had my final (39 week) check up at the gynecologist later that day, so I planned on asking her. A few hours later after having our morning coffee, my husband deliberated if he should go to work or not. My mucus plug came out as we were still discussing whether this was labor or not, and I gave the doctor a call asking if we should come in earlier. She said yes! So we started getting ready and were off to the doctor’s just after 7. I had not started dilating yet and she asked if I wanted to induce labor or let things play out naturally.

I opted for naturally, so we went home.

At home we had breakfast, and relaxed while watching series. My husband timed the contractions, and round about 3pm when they were 8 minutes apart he called the labor ward asking when we should come in. They said that we can start making our way there, as it was a half hour drive to the hospital. So we packed the last few things in my hospital bag and drove to the hospital. All the while timing the contractions.

At the hospital I was hooked up to machines to monitor baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. They were now 7 minutes apart and still bearable. I was examined and was still not dilated. We were again sent home and told to come back at 7pm.

At about 5pm the contractions started getting painful, but I waited it out until 7pm.

We had dinner at home, fed our cats and were off to the hospital for a second time at half past 8.

There I was again hooked up to the machines and examined, where the nurse found that I was only 1cm dilated. By that time the contractions were 5 minutes apart, so I was admitted. We called Sam and explained what was going on. As things were progressing very slowly, she told us to wait it out and keep her posted.

At 10pm I could not handle the pain anymore and asked for pain medication. It did not feel any different before and after the pain meds!! So I then later asked for laughing gas as well (which also made no difference in the intensity of the pain I felt).

I tried sleeping through the contractions, with little success.

I was examined by the nurse at 1am and was 2cm dilated, slowly showing progress. My doctor came and examined me at 5am and found that I was only 4cm dilated. I then asked for an epidural, after which they started with augmentation. The doctor found that my baby was posterior and not low enough, so that was why I was not dilating faster. I was again checked at 6am – 4.5cm, and again at 7am – 5cm. Sam then arrived a few minutes after 8am.

At around 9am I was examined again and the doctor found that I was still at 5cm, so no dilation in 4hours!! They broke my water and found that there was a bit of meconium in the water, which was a sign of an unhappy baby. We then made the choice to rather do a c-section, to spare myself and baby a traumatic natural birth.

I was prepped and wheeled into theater at 09:45, and our gorgeous baby girl was born at 09:57.

She was perfect! And even though I was in extreme pain throughout the surgery (I experienced all the side effects to the drugs administered), I was elated when they said we had a healthy 3.1kg baby girl. And all the while Sam was there capturing this life changing event.

Even though the birth did not in the slightest turn out the way I planned, everything worked out like it was supposed to. And now we are the proud parents of baby Moné Vermeulen.”

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Newborn Photography | Ammi

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“She’s the exclamation mark in the happiest sentence that I could ever possibly write.”

This post is long overdue as most of them are 😉 but I still love “bragging” with my clients beautiful moments. This newborn session was no different. Filled with beautiful moments and exclamation marks!

This tiny one was born at only 36 weeks. Luckily with no complications and only spent a few days in ICU. She is baby sister to a big, big brother and a little big brother whom both loved cuddling with her. Although I have to admit, little big brother a little less enthusiastic at first 😉

A newborn session filled with “cuteness overload”

Described by google as follows 😉

Cuteness overload is the state in which a character experiences the immense rush of emotion after seeing (or hearing) something very, very cute, often rendering him/her partly or wholly incapacitated. The sudden charge of feelings could create so effective an incapacitation that the character may have to be woken up by another character calling his/her name or by other means.

I 100% agree with google and some of these moments still leaves me “partly incapacitated”, what about you?

xXx
Sam

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Birth Photography | Lilly-Su Dreyer

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“It is time!”  and I knew I had to hurry…..

When you are a birth worker, these words are magical, not as much when there is a history of fast deliveries. Ranel birthed her first two babies in record time, we anticipated a 3rd fast delivery. The Dreyer family waited 9 months and a little bit, for this day! (This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24)

Heather (the midwife) was just in time, I however, missed this beautiful girls birth by seconds.

I was welcomed by a dad that was a little flustered, two wide eyed smiling brothers and “tannie Elanie”. They were all mesmerized by what just happened. The atmosphere was loaded with excitement, pretty pink balloons and a beautiful drawing. A drawing of lilies with the meaning of her name, by her mom to help welcome little Lilly-Su.

Lilly: elegant flower, innocence, purity, beauty, humility…Su: gracious Lilly ….Janel: God is gracious.

Ranel was holding her against her breast Johann was wiping tears of gratefulness from his eyes, touching and talking to his perfect little girl, while the two now big brothers was pouring warm water over their brand new baby sister to keep her warm. Priceless moments. Ranel held Lilly-Su ever so gently to float on her back, while Johann cut the umbilical cord, a home birth like they wanted.

A water birth like they imagined, in these moments every prayer were answered and every sacrifice worth it.

I enjoyed listening to the tales of Johann and the boys running up and down to fill the birth bath with water. How they couldn’t get that perfect temperature and had to through ice in to cool down the water. How relieved everyone was when Heather arrived. Just in time to get Ranel into the birthing pool and Lilly-Su safely in her mom’s waiting arms. I loved Lilly-Su’s first birthday party, complete with cupcakes and her family singing happy birthday. Truly a day to rejoice and be glad in.

I missed my very first birth. It saddened me a little bit, but I knew all was well and exactly as it should be because Lilly-Su was fashioned for greatness!

If you missed her Birth video here it is 🙂

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Birth Photography | James Garnett

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If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer

I couldn’t make this birth and was extremely grateful for my back up photographer Lerissa form Lerissa Kemp Photography to step in (This is one of the many things you have to consider when booking a birth photographer, make sure she has a support system in place 😉 ) Even thought these images are not mine, I still love to share birth stories. I feel that they empower woman in their diversity and hope that they could challenge some of those rigid ideas around birth.

One of the things I love most about birth photography is that like every child, every birth is different. Their stories are different, their beginnings are different. This is a story that started with the Absa Cape Epic Entry.

“When you meet your soulmate, and you plan your life according to all the things you love to do together, you think life can not get better. Life is all about planning. Planning things the way you want it to be.

And then life happens….

We thought we would live life and do most of the things before we have children and before we are too old. That was our plan….

As a wife of a keen cyclist (and a keen cyclist herself), what better gift to give your husband than an ABSA Cape Epic entry? I thought it was a good idea to TRY to enter but in the back of my mind thought, “what is the chance?”. Yet I was one of the lucky 9-second people who managed to get an entry for 2016! I was over-the-moon and super excited and happy. 

We started to prepare. We started to train harder than we have ever done before. We planned. We organised.

We trained, we ate, and we slept Epic.

In between we worked and somewhere in between life happened. Our focus was Epic, until one Friday afternoon, a month before the Epic, when my husband shared devastating news with me. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Our plans, hopes and dreams were shattered in minutes. All our hard work felt like a waste of time and energy.

As we got our minds around the disappointment, the fear and anxiety, my husband had a successful operation and has been cancer free ever since. The organiser of the Epic gracefully postponed our entry to 2017.  We were preparing for our new journey to  the ABSA Cape Epic 2017 when I discovered I was pregnant and the baby would be due on 24 December 2016.

The first thing that went through my mind was “what about the Epic?”!

I even tried to work out if I would manage to get fit and strong within a few weeks after having had the baby. I was making plans and trying to figure out a way because I still believed that there was a reason why I was one of the lucky 9-second people, but unfortunately we were left with the choice of entering or being refunded. We decided on the refund hoping to get another entry one day.

Two days after I have asked for my refund, I had a miscarriage.

I was devastated and was blaming myself for the miscarriage. Perhaps I am getting punished because I was disappointed that we won’t be able to do the Epic. So many thoughts and emotions crossed my mind.

My focus moved slightly away from the desperate need/want to do the ABSA Cape Epic and I have realised that events like this will always be there but having a baby doesn’t just happen. After all we have been married for more than 3 years with no luck. We have tried and planned and I started thinking that perhaps we were not meant to have children.

I’ve tried our last resort, the fertility lab. We had our first appointment where the doctor told us that we won’t be able to fall pregnant naturally or without any help. We had to think about all our options but our 2nd appointment never happened because I discovered I was pregnant.

Naturally! Without any help.

We were over the moon. Fear and anxiety was obviously a major thing and the first trimester was quite stressful for me. It turned out to be an awesome pregnancy without any issues or complications. I had a little bit of food aversion up until 16 weeks but otherwise I was healthy, and the little baby was healthy.

We have decided that we didn’t want to know the gender beforehand. We wanted a surprise. This was the best decision we have ever made and the anticipation and excitement of not knowing was wonderful. And oh, my word, what an awesome surprise it was!

My plan was to have a natural delivery but unfortunately things didn’t work out the way I have planned, which was okay because I have learned that life doesn’t always happen the way we plan it. Luckily, I was open minded about everything from the beginning and I was more than happy to do whatever was best for our little baby. 26 October, 38 weeks 4 days, was THE day.

I went for a nice relaxing pedicure that morning with my sister-in-law. I asked for pink toes because I teased and said I think I am expecting a little girl. From about 9am I started getting cramps which at that point in time I didn’t know was the start of my labour, in fact, it felt more like menstrual cramps and I could manage with it.

I expected severe pains from the word go as well as my water to break, just like in the movies.

I didn’t make much of it. After my pedicure I went to work. During my staff meeting my “menstrual cramps” started getting worse but I have put on a straight face and nobody noticed that I was experiencing some discomfort. At about 4pm I decided to go home, and I told Alasdair that I don’t think he should come home too late. I thought I will have a nice warm bath which will help with the “cramps”. And at that time, Alasdair came home. The bath didn’t help much. I contacted my doctor who advised that we should go to the hospital so that they could check me out. And that is when I contacted Sam to inform her that she should be on standby. Luckily my bags were packed. On the way to the hospital, in 17h30 rush hour traffic, my cramps got more intense and 3-4 minutes apart. We both realised that this is it, I am in labour. And yes, at the hospital they confirmed it, I was in active labour and I was about 4cm dilated, and no, I am not going back home. My doctor came at 9pm to check on me. And then she gave me the news.

My baby is not coming down ,

even though I am in full labour and I am dilating. On the examination both baby and I were still doing fine, and she said we could wait a while to see if baby will come down, but she was not very hopeful, and the possibility might be that baby can go into distress which is not what we want. And I obviously was not keen on the idea of being in labour for days. We’ve decided to opt for a caesarean while baby and I are still healthy and happy. After we made the call, things happened so quickly. So quick, that Lerissa, the photographer couldn’t make it in time to the hospital to capture the whole process. But at the end, the pictures afterwards speak a thousand words and will be treasured forever. Alasdair notified the family and they came immediately and waited in anticipation.

I was calm and relaxed and had a feeling of contentment. I was quite surprised that there was not a negative feeling of anxiety or nervousness. The time has come where we are going to meet our little BabyG. Our little surprise. My doctor and the staff were superb, and I knew I was in good hands, both of us were. A lot of pushing from the doctor, her assistant as well as the anaesthetist to push the baby down. And then, next moment, at 22h17pm the doctor pulled the baby out and lifted him in front of me… “It’s a boy!” she shouted.

A moment I will never forget. Tears of joy rolled down my face.

The family was super excited to meet BabyG and welcome him into the family. They didn’t mind waiting at 10pm after a long day of work to meet the new addition to the Garnett family. Lots of happiness, excitement, and adoration. A small family with a close bond and I never thought that a little baby can bring a family even closer together. Something special happened that night, something I can’t explain but I feel a warmth in my heart every time I look at the images from that night. This baby boy is so special and will be loved so much.

When that tiny little hand grabbed my finger

as if to say, “please mommy, don’t leave me, you are the only one I know, and I am not sure about this thing called world” and I looked at those fingers and saw pure perfection. I couldn’t believe that we made a tiny little human being. That little baby boy grew inside of me. He was growing for 9 months in my tummy. Pure perfection. I am in awe. I am content. This is pure love.

Even though I was the only person he knew, it was such an amazing sight when Alasdair took him, and he laid on his chest and he didn’t make a sound. He was happy and peaceful as if he knew this is his dad who is going to love him and take care of him. The bond between father and son started immediately.

A little baby boy climbed into our hearts and we will do our best to raise him to the best of our ability.”

Images By Lerissa Kemp Photography
Editing By Sam Schröder Photography
Music Slide Show By Sam Schröder Photography

 

Birth Photography | Troy Liebenberg

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“You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unimaginable” Christina Rasmussen.

Dreaming of the day we give birth to our own, looks different to everybody. I can however assure you that complications during pregnancy are not included in those dreams. Unfortunately to some it’s their reality. To Danyella and Ryan TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) became a devastating part of their reality.

” Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a serious disorder that occurs in identical twins and higher order multiples who share a placenta. This occurs when the blood vessels of the babies’ shared placenta are connected.

This results in one baby (this twin is referred to as the recipient) receiving more blood flow, while the other baby (this twin is referred to as the donor) receives too little. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome is also referred to as chronic inter-twin transfusion syndrome.”  – http://americanpregnancy.org/multiples/twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome/

Read Danyella’s story of heart ace, desperation, hope and the birth of a miracle baby.

“The Story of Chase and Troy…My Twin Boys

It all started during week 8 of my pregnancy, I went to my first check-up appointment with my gynaecologist after finding out we were pregnant. My mom booked me an appointment while I was still travelling in America so that I could be seen the very next day after our return from the USA without having to wait very long.

Lying on the bed, I was so excited to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The Dr took a few moments and there it was – the heartbeat. Probably the most incredible moment of my life at that point. It was so clear and crisp, beating so fast. That was my baby. After a few moments, the Dr said: “Okay, there’s one more thing I need to tell you”. Eagerly I waited, until he said: “There’s another heart beat!” What?! This can’t be – I am having twins? At this moment, a flood of emotions ran through me, I was excited, but weary, happy, but scared, thrilled but nervous. I started thinking of everything a baby needs and doubling that, including the financial aspect of it. Regardless of it all, I was super excited to phone up the family and let them know. Before I got to that point the Dr told me to dress myself and come meet him in his office for a quick chat. I thought this was normal protocol and did so. As I sat there, my Dr started preparing me for the pregnancy. He mentioned that there are things such as a phantom twin, the pregnancy is usually consisted high risk, I have what they call a mono di twin pregnancy, and it is one of the most high risk pregnancies.

It was all a lot to take in, but I didn’t want all that information to take away from the joy I was supposed to be feeling about the news I just received.

We were going to be blessed with TWO gorgeous human beings – both identical to one another – boy or girl – it didn’t matter, they were going to be our miracles.

Our next appointment was when it all began. It was our 12 week appointment and we were so excited. It was with a MFM – a Dr that has some very high tech scanning machinery that allows you to see very clearly what is going on with the pregnancy for precautionary measures. This appointment very quickly took a turn for the worst when the Dr mentioned that there was a size difference in our boys. One was clearly a lot smaller than the other, which gives rise to the concern of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. A term that was going to haunt us for the remainder of our pregnancy. Most of what I remember about this appointment was simply bursting into tears as the Dr read me right act on termination options, and suggesting it quite strongly. I remember rushing out of the Dr’s room mid conversation to take a breather in the corridor. It was such a difficult moment for us, but it was only the beginning.

We ended up going for more appointments, each with a 2 to 6 week gaps in between that seemed to take a lifetime to pass. Each appointment we went to, our little babies size difference grew bigger and bigger and the option of termination was stressed upon us even more. I researched everything there is to know about TTTS.

It didn’t look good. My options were limited.

During our 16 week check, the Dr gave us our last ultimatum. Termination or laser surgery. He mentioned that SA is very far behind in terms of the laser surgery and I should look at going overseas for it. Europe was his first suggestion, and Australia was his second. I didn’t know what to do with this information and began feeling very overwhelmed. SA has one Dr who can perform laser surgery on TTTS – I emailed him immediately while walking out of the Dr’s rooms and he came back to me also suggesting to go overseas as he has only had 8 out of 25 successful surgeries and my chances of both twins surviving was less than 30% as opposed to an 80 – 90 percent overseas. I then got home and started emailing all the hospitals around the world who offered laser surgery to ask for assistance. I had so many calls with nurses and Dr’s explaining my situation, many of which required me to understand all the medical terms around TTTS. I remember feeling so stressed out and concerned that as a pregnant woman going through all of this, I was left on my own to figure out everything there is to know about this surgery without any help from my Dr’s. It turned out that my medical reports that I was sending to Directors of hospitals around the world were incorrect and showed no evidence of TTTS. I went back to my SA Dr’s and they got very irritated with me for needing to change their reports. I was trying to figure this all out by myself and felt like I was drowning. I had numerous panic attacks. I remember sitting on my bathroom floor struggling to breathe while my fiancé held me asking me to take a deep breath. This was not the plan. I was always supposed to have an easy pregnancy. This doesn’t happen to me. Why is this happening to me? What am I supposed to learn from this? Why would God put me through this. How are you supposed to get stronger from this? I hate this. I had so many conflicting thoughts, I was distraught.

I eventually made contact with the Chicago Children’s Hospital in the USA who would perform the laser surgery for me. I needed to get documentation from my MFM regarding my pregnancy. I needed to see my gynaecologist for measurements of my amniotic fluid of both boys, I needed to get flight clearance. There was so much prep for getting me ready for my trip to America but I knew it was all worth it. I had an 80 to 90 percent chance of my boys surviving the surgery and all being well in the end.

Until I received the bill.

I needed to pay over R600 000 upfront before I could board my flight and attend my booked MRI appointments in the USA and my laser surgery thereafter. This killed me. It was a Thursday morning. I had battled during the week with time communication to and from the USA due to the time differences and I couldn’t waste any more time. I would need to sell my house to make this trip.

My fiancé sat me down and brought me back to earth. I couldn’t do it. It’s unrealistic. It’s impractical. I would need to spend weeks in America after the surgery in bed rest. I didn’t have the money for it, I would be alone and who knows how my work would take that news. I just couldn’t do it. This broke me into a million pieces. My last hope was gone. I remember feeling like a failure. My one job as a mom was to protect my babies, and 16 weeks in, I have already failed.

The next best bet would be to meet with the SA Dr who could perform the surgery. I went from an 80 to 90 percent chance of survival to a 30 percent chance of survival, but I had no other choice. We made contact with the Dr and he scheduled an emergency appointment for me in Cape Town at 9:30pm. I arranged flights from JHB to CT and we made a plan to clear our diaries to go see this Dr. We were silent the whole flight to CT and the day seemed to drag on. Eventually we walked into the Dr’s room, ready for our scan to see if we could start the surgery immediately.

He paused and looked at me.

“Before we continue I need to let you know that there is only one heartbeat and I am sorry to say that you have lost one of your babies”.

At this point I thought I was going to burst into tears again but there was nothing. I couldn’t feel anything, I went numb. He continued the check up and I just lay there. His words were a blur and I don’t remember much of what he said thereafter. This was a taste of what the following weeks were going to be like. I was numb. I went into a state of shock where I just couldn’t feel anything, I couldn’t cry, and I couldn’t mourn the loss of my son. The next 3 weeks I spent in bed. I didn’t eat, I couldn’t get up, my fiancé did everything he could to help me but I was a wreck. It was the worst time of my life. You supposed to cry, you supposed to be sad, but then you are supposed to be relieved that the other twin is alive and well. These were all these feelings that I was supposed to feel but there was nothing.

We had another appointment with an MFM who brought up termination again. I thought we were past all this but now it was different. Now, due to the passing of one twin, his body could break down and flow into the surviving twins supply and cause brain damage. When was the bad news going to end? On top of this, the surviving twin received all his nutrients from his brother so he may not survive because he needs to figure out how to obtain the nutrients himself.

There was so much to consider at this point, I reached a point in my pregnancy where I gave in. I gave into what God had planned for me and believed that I just needed to accept things as they are and needed to give this baby boy the best chance of survival. I needed to start eating properly again and I needed to start being happy and enjoying the gift of pregnancy. I fought with myself but I knew that I am strong willed and I can convince my brain to do this. From that day on, I made a decision to be strong and healthy for my boy.

It was then that we named our sons, Chase, the donor, my angel who passed away and Troy, our survivor, our soldier who fought through the worst odds and survived.

7 months later I gave birth to a miracle. Troy was health 3.2kg’s heavy and 50 cm tall. He had his scans and he was an over achiever.

I was a mommy. After everything, I learnt that I am blessed to have my boy, safe in this world and healthy. There is nothing wrong with him as the Dr’s feared and he is perfect in every way.

He is a miracle.

He is my Troy.”

Baby Troy’s Birth slideshow 🙂

 

I hope that you as you browse through these images, you find hope, believe in love and witness a miracle.

xXx
Sam

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Birth Photography | Stefas Squishies

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“Miracles sometimes comes in pairs” – Unknow

In life it’s more often than not required of us to wait for that perfect timing. A lesson that sure is one of the hardest things to accept. It is also one of the most beautiful moments at a birth, when at last it all falls into place.

The Steffas twins were born from waiting, praying, trying and some more waiting, trying and praying.

Mom Angelique recall’s the process, the lessons and the great joy that came with the birth of her Squishies.

“Everything happens for a reason… this has become our mantra throughout our marriage.

This year marks our 11 year journey together as a couple, our very own fairy tale. I won’t pretend that everything has been picture perfect, there have been some very tough days, filled with heartache and frustration, but in the end everything always turned out better than we could have imagined.

We had always had our hearts set on a honeymoon baby. We wanted to get our family started ASAP and live out this epic story about our lives, but clearly the Big Man upstairs knew that there would be some challenges that we would need to face first.

2012 was a big year for us, we just moved into the first home that we owned (all ours, HOORAY!), I started a new job and we became parents to the most adorable fur babies, all this in the space of 4 months. Five months later we got married and started our lives as husband and wife, then we were off to our amazing 5 week honeymoon and were convinced that this would be when we would start our journey as parents as well… but nothing happened.

We got back home and kept trying, determined to make this happen.

Fast forward a year and a bit, still not pregnant, we made the decision to put our home up for sale, and take on the gruelling task of building our dream home in a wonderful estate, knowing in our hearts that this is it.. this is where we would start and raise a family.

Well…let me tell you one thing, if you have this dream of what it would be like to watch your home evolve from a piece of land to this magnificent structure… here’s your wake up call 😊
It can be a long, tiring process; filled with delays and arguments and frustration. Definitely not a recipe for the romantic, stress free situation you would normally be in when trying to start a family.

Finally October 2016, after 22 of the most stressful and painful months we could possibly imagine, our home was finally finished and we could move in and start enjoying our lives, just in time for a Christmas lunch with the family. The best Christmas present we could have given ourselves…or so we thought.

A few weeks later we found ourselves in the doctors rooms awaiting the results of our blood tests.

Were we really finally pregnant? Or did the house ordeal affect me so bad that I’ve just stopped my period and gotten my body super confused?

“You’re pregnant”… words I had to ask the sister to repeat at least twice as I burst into tears of pure elation… it’s really happening, our fairy tale is finally taking place. We were so overjoyed, everything was falling into place!

You would think the story ends there, but there were more surprises in store for us. It appears that my husband and I had been praying for one thing that we hadn’t discussed with each other, but knew that we really wanted, two peas in a pod…

A few weeks later, we were 8 weeks pregnant and finally got to go for our first scan and…ITS TWINS! The best news we could have ever asked for.

We waited and prayed for so long and now we hear that we are going to be parents to two beautiful little souls.

(If you missed Nic and Angelique’s maternity session CLICK HERE)

The connection you feel from that first look at them is unreal, it should be impossible to feel so much love for someone that you haven’t met, for someone that hasn’t even developed arms and legs yet… two tiny little squishy blobs, waiting to grow and be part of this beautiful, crazy world. I knew from the first day I saw them that they would be my little prince and princess , our little squishies…mommy and daddy’s world ❤️

(Here is the birth of the Squishy Twins 😉 )

Reflecting on all the obstacles and challenges, we realized more than ever, that everything happens for a reason and it happens when the time is right. You might feel that you know what you need and when you need it, and the wait may break your heart. But there is someone that knows you a lot better than you do, and He will always do what is right for you. We have been blessed countless times and are now parents to the most precious pigeon pair (with the loudest personalities two little 6 month olds’ could have).”

Waiting on or for something is not really a thing we humans excel in. It is however definitely a thing that aids in creating the magic of purpose.

xXx
Sam

 

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Birth Photography | Nadia’s Birth

“Don’t give up on your dreams…… keep sleeping” – Unknown

Bianke and Hannes stopped sleeping with the birth of their daughter Nadia, but they had to learn to trust. Trust and not give up. They had to keep sleeping….

“After being diagnosed with Endometriosis Stage 3 I knew our struggle to have children was real…..

We got married on 27 August 2011, on the most beautiful sunny day, at Avianto. Everything was perfect, and I knew, I married my best friend. Someone that will be with me and support me no matter what challenges we face….

We wanted to get to know each other for a few years before starting a family. As we reached 3 years of married life, we both knew we wanted a baby….

After trying for almost a year there were no signs of a baby…

I decided to seek medical advice and my Gynae recommended that we go and see a fertility specialist. We did and he said that I might have Endometrioses. He recommended that we do a laparoscopy to see how severe it was. I was diagnosed with widely spread stage 3 Endometrioses. Our chances to conceive naturally without the help of IVF was 14%

I immediately started doing research and knew that our struggle to have children was real. The thought of not having children made me sick to my stomach and I knew it was something I would not be able to handle.

In 2015 we made the decision to start IVF.

Nine eggs were retrieved, five fertilized but only three was good enough to freeze. We decided to take a chance on two. After 2 weeks of waiting and praying the results came back negative.

I was not pregnant, I was devastated….How can both not work?

We had 1 Embryo left and I placed all my hope in my last Embie. A month after our pervious failed attempt, we decided to use our last one. Full of hope that this was definitely the one we went back for another round. But after the 2 week wait the results came back negative….again not pregnant….I cried uncontrollably….how could it not work again…I had so many questions going through my head. Both myself an my Husband went through a very emotional time but we were not ready to give up. After this full failed cycle we knew that we would go back again. My husband reassured me that even if he needs to max out all our credit cards, our dream for a baby is one we are not going to easily let go of…..

God spoke to me through Habakkuk 2:3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay

This verse carried me through our infertility journey, and I knew that there was a bigger plan for us….
My husband wanted to go back immediately after our failed cycle but I was not ready. I just wanted a month of no injections, no pain, no heartache, and no Doctors….who knew???

The month that we waited was the month our little miracle Nadia happened…..naturally….”

Here is there little miracle

“I hope that our story encourage others that share in the struggle. Know that there is hope and it’s not always what the doctors say….

Never give up, no matter how big or small and especially not if its a dream to become parents.

Bianke & Hannes Nortman
X”

 

 

Birth Photography | Samantha Graham

“We do not remember days, we remember moments”

The birth of your baby is one of the most life changing, pivotal days in your life. Definitely filled with moments to remember forever. Definitely worth getting a photographer for, specifically for that “moment of birth”. Right?

Wrong!!! Yes, you want a birth photographer at your baby’s birth, but to get permission from some hospitals and doctors allowing your photographer access can be a nightmare. I often get the question from prospective clients about access at hospitals, and I have to admit, I love capturing the whole thing but it’s not a deal breaker. There is so much more to your baby’s birth story than the actual moment of birth.

Here is Samantha’s birth story, we knew from the start that I wouldn’t be allowed in theatre. Normally I wouldn’t post the images the dad or staff captured on my website, because it’s not my work, but I decided to show you what is possible, even though I was not in theatre…..

I think we pretty much still “GOT” the birth 😉

Here is her birth video, you decide …..

 

A note from Michelle to her daughter Samantha;

“My liefste Samantha

Jy is al twee maande oud ! Dit voel nogsteeds onwerklik dat jy nou elke dag deel is van ons lewe!! Elke dag is net n blessing!

Jou geboorte storie :

Jou oorspronklike geboorte datum was die 10de aug, maar dr.laker het besluit om jou vroeer uit te haal omdat jy nie gegroei het soos jy moes nie. Ek is toe al die maandag hospitaal toe sodat hulle vir my steriods en magnesium kan inspuit om seker te maak jy is mooi gesond. Die drie dae voordat jy gekom het,het maar vir my baie lank gevoel en ek kon nie wag vir donderdag nie!!

Donderdag het finally aan gebreek! Pappa was al vroeg die oggend daar en ons het saam gewag in opwinding! Dit was die langste paar ure ooit!! Finally was dit ons beurt!

1uur was ek in die teater in. Ek was maar bietjie bang omdat alles so nuut was. Maar ekt geweet Liewe Jesus is by ons en dat alles perfek sal wees! Die nakootiseer het die spinaal gedoen, die inspuiting was bietjie seer, maar dit was glad nie so erg nie. Daarna moes ek gaan le en hulle het my begin prep. Die dokter het in gekom, toe was ek bang ek is nie heeltemal dood gespuit nie en dat as sy sny gaan ek dit voel, maar die volgende oomblik toe kyk sy vir my en se “knyp knyp” , ekt na haar gestaar en gese “huh?” , toe  haal sy n knyp tangetjie uit en se “ekt jou geknyp, het jy dit gevoel?”

Dankie tog ek het nie. Die dokters het gesels oor hulle vakansies en langnaweke terwyl ek en pappa baie anxious wag. 10min later (13:13) is jy gebore.

Wow wat n asemrowende gevoel! Die pediater, dr.angela colquhoun het vir ons die fotos geneem, sy het net aanhou se “aah, sy is so mooi!” ! Ek kon jou net so vinnig oor die lap sien, toe het die dokter jou gevat en pappa het langs jou gestaan en jou bekyk. Later op die fotos was dit vir my so special om te sien hoe hy saggies, met liefde aan jou koppie vat. Hy het toe jou umbilical cord gesny en hulle het jou bietjie in die broei kas gesit om warm te word. Na so 5min het hulle jou bo op my kom sit en ek kon bietjie na jou kyk. Die nakootiseer het toe n medisyne gespuit wat maak dat my baarmoeder weer terug trek, dit het my bietjie duislig gemaak. Ek was toe bang jy val van my af omdat ek jou nie meer so mooi kon vashou nie, die suster het jou toe weer in die broei kas gesit. Pappa het langs my gesit en my hand vashou en my verseker alles is oky.

Toe hulle my klaar toe gewerk het het ek vir so 10min in die recovery saal gele, jy en pappa was nog saam met my, pappa het jou vas ghou. Toe het hulle my saal toe gestoot en jy en pappa is na die baba kamer. Hulle het my gou kom was. Daarna het jy en pappa weer terug gekom en jy het so bietjie gevoed, wat amazing en special was, en ons het lekker skin to skin gedoen terwyl Sam (ja ook Sam, how cool!) vir ons stunning fotos geneem het.

Ouma tutti en oupa charles was eerste by ons. Dit was vir hulle so lekker om jou te ontmoet, en ek is so bly hulle kon hier wees. Oupa sam , ouma lorraine en jou ouma grootjie ella het toe ingekom. Hulle was so bewoe. Ons het toe ook vir die eerste keer vir ouma lorraine gese dat jou tweede naam raine gaan wees . Sy was heeltemal onkant gevang en so surprised. Dit was so special.

Daarna het ek so bietjie gerus en pappa het gou gery om boris en linka te voer. Maar hy was gou gou weer terug, haha. Jy het heeltemal jou pa se hart gesteel!!! Ekt so bietjie pyn gehad en vir die susters gevra vir iets. So, daai ietsie het my heeltemal deurmekaar gemaak, en die res van die dag is bietjie n blur, maar

Ouma lorraine, oupa sam, ouma ella, oom louis, oom stephen, tannie carien en tannie vicky het die aand kom kuier. Oom louis was heeltemal in awe met jou! Oom stephen was sommer afgeskrik omdat jy so klein was, hehe (nou dat jy bietjie grooter is, 2 maande, hou hy jou baie lekker vas) hulle het nie lank gebly nie omdat ek nie heeltemal by was nie, maar pappa het tot laat gebly en jou vas gehou terwyl mamma op haar trip was 😉

Die volgende dag het ek baie beter gevoel. Ekt vir die suster gevra om die kateter uit te haal sodat ek kan gaan stort. Die stort was maar bietjie moeilik, ek was maar seer. Note to future daughter – drink eers n pyn pil voordat jy gaan stort! Tannie jenny, vicky en lene het ook vir jou kom kuier vandag. (Oom ruan, danie en tannie karen het die saterdag vir jou kom kuier. Asook oom wynand)

Die vrydag aand in die hospitaal kon ek jou nog in die baba kamer gaan los dan sou hulle jou elke 3 ure bring om te voed. Ekt jou die aand gevat. Oh, by the way, daar was 9 babas gebore op die 3de aug 2017 in kloof hospitaal!!!! So… Toe ek jou vat toe is al 8 al opgeline en ekt jou in die que gesit, my hart het alklaar gebreuk! 2 ure later , (nadat  ek vir 2 ure luister na verskillende babas wat nou en dan huil ) het ek besluit, nee wat ek gaan my baba haal!! Haha ekt jou gaan haal en jy het die hele aand op my bors geslaap, selfde met die volgende paar aande in die hospitaal! Dit was so lekker en ekt geweet jy is veilig en gelukkig.

Die volgende paar dae im die hospitaal het maar vinnig verby gegaan en ek kon nie wag vir sondag om huis toe te gaan nie!!

Sondag was ons so 12uur by die huis. Al jou oumas en oupas was daar asook oom louis, oom stephen en tannie carien. Ons het almal lekker middag ete saam geeet en toe het almal gery en dit was net ons. Dit was so lekker om jou finally by die huis te he!!

Die eerste drie weke was pappa hier, en wow , dit was vreeslik lekker om saam as n gesin net deur elke dag te gaan en mekaar lief te he, en elke nou en dan vir jou te staar 😉 pappa het n nuwe favourite gekry, jy was instantly sy oogappel! Hy is regtig my mr.perfect! Hy help met ALLES! En nie omdat hy moet nie, omdat hy wil. As jy n geluid maak is pappa daar! As ek net dink dis tyd om jou doek te ruil is hy daar! Ek en pappa het actually gefight vir beurte om jou doek te ruil hahaha!!

Pappa was baie hartseer om weer terug te gaan DRC toe! Maar vandat pappa daar is video call ons elke aand, en oggend oor naweke! Jy kyk aandagtig na die skerm.

Vandar jy begin smile het op 6 weke het jy sommer baie hom gesmile. Toe jy 7 weke oud is die saterdag oggend toe pappa bel het jy die hele tyd vir hom gesmile!! Dit was so special, little daddy’s girl! Voor dit het jy maar net nou en dan vir my en oupa en ouma gesmile. Maar nie so baie na mekaar nie! Dit was regtig ongelooflik om te sien! En van daar af het jy altyd baie gesmile as hy met jou gesels.

Pappa kom nou weer oor 11 slaapies en ons kan seriously nie meer wag nie!!!

Ons lewe is soooo geseen met jou in dit xxx

Oh ja, nog n ding , ek neem te lekker fotos van jou! Oom louis het gejoke en gese eendag as jy groot is en jy vra vir al jou baba fotos , dan gaan ek se, ja hier is al die 12 000 baba fotos my kind, haha

Maar ek dink actually dit gaan meer as dit wees, haha

Ongelooflik, ontsettend baie baie lief vir jou!!!

Liefde
Mamma
Xox ”