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Little Ellie Miller // A Birth Story // Grand Rapids Birth Photography

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For those preparing to scroll through the ensuing images, please note this is an actual birth. It’s raw, it’s emotional. There’s some blood. But it’s so good. So so good.

I have been sitting down to put these words together all day. Not only was I witness to the miracle of a little one joining this world, but it happens to be the birth of one of my dearest friend’s daughters. And as a new mama myself, my emotions have gotten the better of me more than a few times as I edited the pictures and started putting this whole post together. So bear with me.

When Lynell and Dan announced they were expecting, my heart was bursting with excitement for them. I had watched them go from first dating, to getting engaged, was witness to their marriage and now a little one to complete their family. I, also being pregnant, really really loved having a friend to go through this special time with.  We got to commiserate over aches and pains, go shopping together for tiny babe clothes, and we even got to travel with our husbands to Europe together this past January for a little pre-baby getaway. Being pregnant with a friend is fun.

Lynell was there when Jeff and I brought our little Mayer into the world. Not only to document the day but as a support during the entire labor. I honestly couldn’t have done it without her. So it seemed only fitting that I would be there for her labor. And was so glad that I could be (there was some serious anxiety that she would go into labor when I was shooting a wedding or I was out of town. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect).

Lynell and Dan chose a homebirth for their birth plan. It was one I was familiar with as I also had a homebirth and loved the entire experience. I truly cannot sing enough praise for our midwife Yolanda at Birth Song Midwifery enough. She is skilled and patient and knows her stuff.

When I arrived at their house that Friday morning, I was still expecting Lynell to be having her contractions about 5 minutes apart, as when she texted me that morning. But as I got up the stairs I saw Lynell leaning completely on Dan, that pained look on her face, breathing calmly but hard. I knew it wouldn’t be much longer. That friend of mine was SO strong. So so strong. She kept her cool. She held it together. Dan was a complete support. When she would have a contraction I knew just exactly that pain she was feeling (it was only four months ago I had gone through the same thing). I felt for her. I am not going to lie…I was very happy to be on this side of the camera for this one.

A few hours later, Eleanor Kathryn Miller joined the world at 8 pounds 8 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. July 11, 2014. I cried. Lynell cried. We laughed and all cried some more. I tried to keep it together to photograph those moments.

I could write so much more. The emotions will never be enough with mere words. It’s why I photograph. It’s how I express. I hope you can feel how sweet and tender and powerful this time was. It’s a day I will never forget. Welcome to the world sweet Ellie. You are loved.

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The Snyder's // Family Session // Grand Rapids Family Photographer

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The Snyder’s // Fall 2013
I’m pretty sure family sessions don’t get better than this.
Aleigha, Stephanie + Jesse’s sweet daughter, has been in front of my camera before, and every time she is just a joy to hang out with.  Afterward, I had to go back and look at this session from 5 years ago to see just how much this little one has grown up!
Fun fact // Aleigha’s dad Jesse is my childhood friend Shannon’s little brother. When I used to hang out with Shannon, Jesse would pester us as only little brothers can.  Times have clearly changed and it’s so great to see him as such a loving dad and husband!
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The Snyder’s // Family Session // Grand Rapids Family Photographer

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The Snyder’s // Fall 2013
I’m pretty sure family sessions don’t get better than this.
Aleigha, Stephanie + Jesse’s sweet daughter, has been in front of my camera before, and every time she is just a joy to hang out with.  Afterward, I had to go back and look at this session from 5 years ago to see just how much this little one has grown up!
Fun fact // Aleigha’s dad Jesse is my childhood friend Shannon’s little brother. When I used to hang out with Shannon, Jesse would pester us as only little brothers can.  Times have clearly changed and it’s so great to see him as such a loving dad and husband!
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The Geerlings // Family Session // Grand Rapids Family Photographer

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The Geerlings // October 2013

If you’ve ever had family pictures taken, you know that it doesn’t all just magically happen. That the outfits don’t come together as perfectly as the Pinterest boards you’ve been pinning. That today is the one day they don’t get their afternoon naps. There is rushing, hair brushing, missing socks, hungry kids and sometimes colds.  The weather isn’t exactly as you imagined your field-frolicking session going.  Basically it comes down to you wishing that you hadn’t scheduled a session at all.

I totally get it.

But sessions like this one…with the Geerlings…this sweet family…oh how I love how it came together! The session had been on the calendar for months. And the day arrives and it’s cold. The boys both have a cold. Should we reschedule? Just go for it?

We went for it. These sweet boys put on a brave face. Giggled while watching ponies and horses.  Cuddled with their mom and dad.  Was it perfect with the weather and feeling under the weather? I would argue yes…I love the emotions, and the love this family shares. I love the realness of families and being together.  I have thought and shared this many times, but I would have loved to have images like these with my whole family of us growing up. Let’s celebrate us not all having it together.  Who’s with me?

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The Deau's // Family Session

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It’s almost getting hard to go back and count how many times I’ve photographed and co-conspired with Daisy.  6 years ago I first photographed her and Greg for their engagement session. 5 years ago their wedding. Shortly after, she started Pixel+Hank and each year we have collaborated for her look book for her Etsy shop.  Then she and Greg decided to multiply their awesomeness by bringing Essie into the world.  Maternity sessions, baby sessions and family sessions ensued.  Last week, a family session to celebrate Essie turning 2! Even though that was almost two months ago now.  Busy schedules we are blaming ;).

Smoke Bomb Disclaimer – No children were harmed in the making of this photo shoot.  Smoke bombs, while relatively harmless, get hot and no toddlers or clumsy photographers were allowed to touch or hold said product.

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