baby noelle | newborn photos

Can we talk about the sheer joy you get while holding a perfectly new little newborn in your arms?

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What comes next in the series…one adorable baby boy…two (identical twin!) adorable baby boys….

If you guessed three adorable baby boys – you are incorrect – and I think Nikevia and Julian are breathing a sigh of relief that their 4th child was not in fact triplets, but instead one beautiful baby girl, sweet Noelle!

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When Nikevia contacted me about doing a newborn shoot for her daughter, I felt like I was counting down the days till her arrival just as much as she was. Her and I went to school together and not only did she excel at everything – sports, academics, heck she was even our homecoming queen – she is honestly the nicest person on the planet and someone I am lucky to have stayed in touch with over the years. Spending time at her and her husband’s house taking photos of their family was such a fun experience…and also a challenge! Do you know how hard it is to try to get a photo of three little boys three and under all smiling and looking at the camera? Throw a newborn into the mix, and its darn right impossible! Despite the challenge, I was able to capture some real candid family moments, and I hope they treasure these photos for a lifetime!

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Fun fact: Somehow between juggling 4 kids under 4, Nikevia owns an incredible business called Cinnamommy. If you are local to western Maryland, you need these in your life!

Asia & Autumn | Mommy and Me

What do you get when you combine a 2-year-old, matching twirly pink dresses, and a secret garden? This fairytale Mommy and Me session!

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

I had the absolute pleasure of shooting a Mommy and Me session for Asia & Autumn this past weekend! They are such an energetic pair full of love, laughter, and playfulness and when you combine their cheery personalities with gorgeous matching pink tulle ballgowns, you get a photoshoot that dreams are made of! I went to school with Asia and when she contacted me for a Mommy and Me session, I was overjoyed! We originally had plans for a spring shoot but rain caused us to postpone. Finally this past Saturday on the day of our shoot, we lucked out with a 70 degree summer day. It was absolutely the perfect weather to explore the magical gardens of Surreybrooke. The endless gardens on the property were blooming with beauty, and sweet little Autumn loved to walk around the paths to see what she could discover! Whenever I have the chance to take photos of children, I can’t help but smile as I catch a glimpse of the world through their eyes. Autumn loved watering the flowers, chasing the kitty that walked around the property, and having a tea party with her mommy. Enjoy these photos from our magical morning!

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Fun fact: Asia didn’t show Autumn her dress until the day of the shoot. When Autumn saw her dress she couldn’t wait to put on her pretty princess dress. She spent most of the time at the gardens twirling around in her dress and anytime her flower tiara fell off she wanted it back on immediately! #princessautumn

Thank you Asia for allowing me to capture you and Autumn’s special bond. Now time to schedule a playdate between Autumn and Lucy ❤

Kiersten & Jesse | Engaged

Taking photos of these two lovebirds was such an honor – the horses and goats were an added bonus!

Sometimes you see two people interact with one another and the world just kind of stops and then starts back up again revolving around them. Kiersten and Jesse are two of those people. Them being together just makes sense. That perfect mix of playful and serious – they truly bring out the best in each other. This weekend, I had the privilege of shooting their engagement photos.

When Kiersten invited me to her family’s farm, I had no idea what to expect and when I arrived, I was floored. The land was lush and green, goats greeted me, and there were beautiful horses in the distance. It was a phenomenal setting to capture the love these two share and I hope you can feel the same happiness I did.

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Fun fact: When Kiersten was young she spent hours filling a bucket with yellow petals from these Forsythia bushes and then threw them around like confetti all around the yard.

Gorgeous couple, right? I wish them both a beautiful wedding and the most incredible life together!

Bello Bambini

Twice as much to love – my beautiful cousin is having TWIN BOYS!

This past weekend I had the honor of attending my beautiful cousin Daneda’s baby shower for her TWIN BOYS! The thought of her being a mother brings happy tears to my eyes, and I know that she will not only have her hands full, but her heart will be even more full. Daneda’s mother (my Aunt) planned the most beautiful baby shower *side note: the nicest I have ever attended* for her daughter and her soon-to-be arriving grandsons, and I had to share some of the exquisite details with you. The venue was a log cabin out in the woods which she completely transformed with such care for every detail. In addition to the decorating, she cooked a delicious five course meal for the guests. Being surrounded by Daneda’s guests (much of it my own family) brought such joy to my heart. These two babies are going to be surrounded by LOVE!

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During the dinner, a very pregnant Daneda and I ventured off into the woods for a quick mini session. Even though I was a bit nervous that I might put her into labor with all of the walking, I wanted to make sure I captured my stunning cousin in all of her soon-to-be motherhood beauty.

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She is absolutely glowing ❤

I cannot wait to meet those two very lucky baby boys!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

The Biggest, the Loudest, the Craziest Party Ever!

A pink-rainbow-Troll-tastic recap of Lucy’s 2nd birthday party!

GUYS…Lucy is TWO – how is that even possible?! These past two years have been nothing short of amazing with our little girl in our lives. She is silly, loving, and so very smart! She sure does keep us on our toes. I am lucky that her birthday fell while on my maternity leave because it has given me actual time to plan a fun party for her!

It was a no brainer this year when deciding on a theme for Lucy’s 2nd birthday party. This girl can practically recite the movie Trolls word for word, not to mention her love for belting out all of the songs. We used Trolls as the main inspiration for the party and that went hand-in-hand with incorporating a whole lot of pink and rainbows as well!

We had such a great time celebrating and I wanted to share some of the pink-rainbow-Troll-tastic party details with all of you!

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Can we all drool over those cake images for a second? Keri at The Farmers Daughter Bake Shop baked up the a cake that was MADE for this theme! It was overflowing with rainbow-y goodness inside and out and tasted absolutely delicious! For the rest of the food for the party, I tried to think of as many rainbow treats as possible, hence the fruit skewers, Rainbow Goldfish, Rainbow Chips Deluxe, and the pretty (but not that great tasting) rainbow popcorn. Though the Million Dollar Dip I made had nothing to do with rainbows, it was a huge hit and I highly recommend it for your next party or get together. We used Wegman’s catering for the sandwich platters and they did not disappoint! Their menu options were much better than the traditional go-to Costco sandwich trays and the same price point!

A shout out to a few other vendors we used: I found the perfect customized banner and cake topper at ShopSwayDesigns. The favor baskets I put together included awesome sound and light bubble guns (a must for bubble obsessed toddlers like Lucy) and wouldn’t have been complete without the adorable Trolls headbands made by BlackBoneBows. For Lucy’s outfit, I found a sweet and affordable rainbow tutu.

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

 

Little Man

Choo Choo – all aboard the Conor express!

I cannot believe Conor is already 7 weeks old! The time is flying by and we are loving this new life with our little man.

This past month has been BUSY! In between bottles, naps, and diapers, Bryan and I have officially set up Conor’s nursery. We decided to do a train theme to celebrate our town’s history. We live a few miles from the C&O Canal and train tracks and the town itself is known for being the “Home of the Railroaders”. In addition to setting up the nursery, I decided I would take Conor’s newborn photos myself! With Lucy’s newborn shoot, we used the incredible Annette of  Stadkind Photography, but this time around I wanted to take on the challenge myself (but we SO look forward to having her take family photos of us this spring).

I used Conor’s train nursery theme as inspiration for his shoot. Below you will see his nursery, lifestyle photos, and some up close and personal portraits of our little man!

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Photo overload! I just cannot get enough of him ❤ I hope you enjoyed these photos. A huge thank you to my brother for taking the photos with me in them.

As to keep up with tradition – our photo wall in the morning room has been updated as well! I love seeing our family photo wall finally complete.

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

Crib & Dresser: Baby Cache Harbor – Navy Mist (BabiesRUs)

Glider: KACY Collection Madison Glider – Ash (BabiesRUs)

Accessories:

Personalized Hat (Etsy seller: All Aboard Whistle)

Swaddle (Etsy seller: Sweet Lullapie)

Bedding: All Aboard Crib Bedding (Crate and Kids)

Paint: Cathedral Gray  (Behr)

 

Conor’s Birth Story: Emergency vs. Scheduled C-Section

Our son has arrived! This is our birth story and an article for expectant mothers to hopefully help ease any fears about having a scheduled c-section.

He has arrived! Our family is complete.

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Introducing Conor Bryan Whitfield, 7 lbs. 5 oz. of adorable, squishy, squirmy, baby boy!

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Our sweet little sleepy baby boy has been in our lives now for exactly three weeks.  Today, February 16, is technically his due date but due to complications from Lucy’s birth we knew that any future child would need to be born via c-section at 37 weeks. What did this mean for us? Three BONUS weeks with our son in our lives!

I now want to talk about Conor’s birth story and address expectant mothers who may be going through the same thing I did. Knowing that my baby had to be born at 37 weeks via c-section, I had many fears and uncertainties, especially after Lucy’s birth which was a very traumatic failed induction turned emergency c-section [Lucy’s Birth Story]. I remember looking online for answers, only to be utterly terrified at some of the horror stories I found. Bryan tried to ban me from googling everything, but Jennifer the worry wart was in full force. Many questions swirled in my head: would my incisions from my previous delivery rupture, how would a scheduled c-section differ from my emergency c-section, would he be fully developed, is he really ready to come out,  would I recover well, what else might go wrong?

But this is a happy article.

This is the article I wish I would have read before giving birth to my son to ease my mind. While every birth is different, I want to share my personal story and the answers to all of the questions I had about having a scheduled c-section at 37 weeks.

Would I rupture?:

The main reason why I was told that I would need to deliver any future kids via c-section at 37 weeks was the risk of a uterine rupture. With Lucy’s birth, the emergency c-section consisted of two cuts internally instead of the typical one (called a T cut). This meant that if I would go into labor on my own with a future pregnancy, that there was the potential that the contractions would cause my uterus to rupture which could have been deadly for both the baby and myself.

Thankfully, I did not end up going into labor on my own. The original plan was going to be to wait about 5 days longer than 37 weeks to let his lungs develop more, but due to an unforeseen liver condition that arose during my 36 week mark, we ended up scheduling the c-section at exactly 37 weeks.

What would a scheduled c-section be like?:

Comparing this scheduled c-section to my last failed induction turned emergency c-section is like comparing apples to oranges. It was so completely different in the most positive way imaginable.

Like last time, it was nice walking into the hospital not in labor. It created a calm, laid back experience. The biggest difference was not having to go through the induction process first. With Lucy, I spent 2 days getting pumped with Cervidil and Pitocin and had nothing to eat and very little sleep. This was the recipe for failure. It meant that even if the c-section would have gone smoothly (which it didn’t) I would be two days behind on sleep, weak from the little food, and completely swollen due to all of the water and medications being pumped into me for two days straight. Enough about that first experience though, like i said this time it was a HAPPY story.

The scheduled c-section could not have gone any better. It started with me getting checked in, and then getting hooked up to the fetal monitor and IV. My early morning 7:30 AM surgery ended up getting pushed until 9:00 AM due to an emergency birth coming in before me that required the surgical team. This was fine with me because Bryan and I were able to relax a bit – this meant Bryan getting a nice breakfast and coffee and me watching I Love Lucy. It was then time to go into surgery. The team of nurses, my doctor, and the anesthesiologist were all incredible and put me at ease. The only minor freak out moment I had was when they prepped me for surgery. Unlike with my induction, I had to be in the surgery room without Bryan when they administered my spinal tap (numbing medication). Between the numbing of my entire lower body, and not having Bryan by my side I soooorrt of had a panic attack. BUT, as I said the team was amazing and they helped me through it by forcing me to talk about something completely irrelevant and taking my mind off of the situation. I ended up talking about Bryan and I’s trip to Boston BEFORE we started dating, so that ended up being the topic of the entire c-section. Who knew talking about gelato in Little Italy could take your mind off of being cut open?!

Once Bryan was able to come in, we were able to hold hands and I was instantly reassured. A few non-painful tugs here and there, and all of a sudden I could hear the most wonderful sound in the world, the sound of my sweet son crying and a declaration that it was 9:46 AM. Unlike last time, I was alert the rest of the time we were in the surgery room. I got to cry my happy tears. I got to listen to the NICU team check baby. I got to listen to the surgical team talking about how smoothly everything went. I got to talk to Bryan as he held our baby next to my head. I was able to see the first moments of my son’s life. It was the experience I wish I would have had the first time.

Is he really ready to come out at 37 weeks and will he be fully developed?:

The answer, thank God, for us was yes. I know there are many babies born at 37 weeks that may require a few days in the NICU due to lung development or other complications, but Conor was completely healthy. We required no time in the NICU, and it was only shortly after the surgery that I was able to have skin to skin contact with him and nurse him. He is a great sleeper and eater, and is constantly meeting his developmental and weight goals at his follow-up check ups. We are extremely blessed.

How would recovery be?:

I am officially three weeks out from having my c-section today and I can say recovery has been incredible. There has been little pain and I have been able to carefully get back into the normal routines of life. I am trying to be as careful as possible to not over-do it because I find that on days that I pick up Lucy or try to clean too much I feel worse. Overall, I cannot complain though. My body is healing, my mental state is positive, and my little boy allows me to get the sleep I need at night.

What else may go wrong?:

Ah, the question I had after one week postpartum. It almost seemed like everything was too good to be true and we kept finding ourselves saying things like “for now” when we talked about how great a sleeper he was. Like I said, Conor is a healthy baby, a great sleeper, and a great eater. I am able to carry out a routine during the day with him that leaves both him and I relaxed at the end of the day. On top of that, Lucy has completely adapted to her new brother – which was something I really feared. Before having him, I felt like I was almost betraying her. I felt like I was cutting off the special one-on-one time with her as an only child. If anything, it only makes me put even more of an effort into carving out special mommy/daughter time and including her in the day-to-day activities with her new brother. She loves giving him his pacifier, kissing and tickling his feet, and attempting to feed him his bottle. On top of that, Bryan has been a phenomenal Daddy to Lucy these past three weeks (and of course for all time). He has completely taken over some of the things I usually had done in the past while I recover and Lucy couldn’t be more excited about all of the extra-special time with him.

So instead of worrying about what else could go wrong, I have decided to embrace the fact that everything is going well and live in the moment. There is no sense in worrying or dreading the possible issues that may or may not arise during these first few months. Yes, it is an adjustment for all of us – but with Bryan by my side I know we will get through it all and time will continue to go by too fast. Before we know it, Conor will be as big as Lucy and we will miss the time when they were so little.

And there you have it, Conor’s birth story! I am hoping this article was able to reassure anyone with an upcoming scheduled c-section that they can go very smoothly, and soon enough you too will have your sweet bundle of baby in your arms!

To close, here is a photo collage of our hospital experience and first few days of Conor’s life:

love & lots of whit – jen xo