I cannot believe the time has come to celebrate my youngest daughter’s first birthday. It’s a little bit mind boggling to me because this past year flew by.
Freya is the sweetest little babe. She is goofy and has such a personality. She is an entertainer. She can wave, give high fives, hugs & kisses, walk, run, climb, clap, you name it. She babbles like crazy and her laugh is contagious! She can say mama, dada, bye bye, hi, hot, and many more. She loves playing with her big sisters; she wants to be a part of everything they're doing. She is such a good little sharer. She has 8 teeth. She LOVES food and feeding herself! Anything we eat, she wants to eat too. She even let’s me know when she wants more of mama’s milky by using sign language haha. She is so smart; she surprises me everyday! She has brought so much joy into our lives!
I felt as though it would be fitting to share her birth story because I literally just finished writing it today... took me one whole year to do it hahah!
My camera got passed around after her birth--the photos below were taken by my whole birth team and I.
Freya's Birth Story:
It was November 6th, my due date and also my mom’s birthday. The question of the day was, “Will Freya make her entrance today?” (side note: my daughter Lilith came on her due date all on her own--naturally, no inductions, interventions, etc, so we often wondered throughout my pregnancy with Freya if she would come on her due date just like big sister did.)
The day progressed just like any other day and there were no signs labor would be imminent. Around 1:40pm I headed to the bathroom for the zillionth time that day, and when I sat down on the toilet I heard and felt a “pop” inside of me. (My water broke with Lilith’s labor and it sounded exactly the same as this so I knew instantly what had happened.) I was so glad to be on the toilet too because water started trickling out hahah. So many thoughts and emotions rushed through me. I was nervous and excited at the same time…I was going to meet my third daughter soon!
After using the bathroom, I got a hold of my midwife Patrice (of Full Circle Midwifery). She told me to keep her posted and I did. Contractions started 30-45 minutes later. They were tolerable, very irregular, and had no distinct length or pattern. Things were moving slowly so I decided to take a nap with my girls to try to get my mind off of things. Trying to nap was impossible. I was just too excited and my mind would not stop racing. I think I got up from my “nap” around 4:30pm. Things were still moving slow so I hopped on my exercise ball to try to speed labor up.
Around 5:30-5:45ish everything changed. Out of nowhere contractions started happening every 2 minutes, lasting at least a minute long, and were very intense. I got a hold of Patrice and told her it was time to come. Since she and my other midwife Dorothy live over an hour from Manistee, they got in contact with Jennifer Cameron (CNM and owner of Transitions Women’s Wellness in Manistee) to have her come over first since she lives closer. I also got in contact with my sister to have her come over and watch my girls while I labored.
At this point I decided to move from the ball to the couch so I could relax better. I put my hypnobirthing training to work and breathed through every single contraction. I also repeated birth affirmations to myself in my head. (You’ll see in some of the photos below that I had birth affirmations up on the walls of my house.) Things started getting really intense and for a little bit I was somewhat worried that Freya was going to make her entrance before any midwives arrived haha. Shortly after, Jen arrived, which was such a relief! My sister arrived a half hour later and then shortly after that Patrice and Dorothy showed up. By that time I had moved to the bed.
Around 8:15pm I started feeling a little pushy and felt pressure in my butt. Once the push contractions really got going, the urge to get on my hands and knees swept over me, so that's what I did. I moved from the bed to the floor. I breathed through every single push, repeating over and over in my head that, “I can do this,” “I'm going to see my baby soon,” and “it's not pain, it's power.” At one point, Freya was too deep in my pelvis for a heartbeat to be heard. Even though I knew it wasn't much of a concern, it somewhat scared me, so I pushed even harder. I wanted her out ASAP haha!
All while I was pushing, David was doing light touch massage on my back, and let me tell you, it was amazing. He kept encouraging me and telling me I was doing great and it seriously was so perfect. At one point as I was pushing, I looked up and smiled. I was just so happy that I'd be meeting my baby so very soon. I pushed for approximately 45 minutes and at 9:03pm, Freya Jacey Burns was born. As soon as she was out, I had David get my sister and our two daughters from the other room so they could meet Freya. The girls were soooo tired but so excited to meet their little sister. It was seriously the sweetest moment ever.
David cut Freya’s cord shortly after I birthed the placenta. Soon after that I moved back up to the bed. Freya got her first diaper change as well as got measured and weighed. My squishy little nugget weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces; she is my biggest babe yet! No wonder I constantly felt her in my ribs and down in my pelvis while I was pregnant with her.
Being able to have a successful first home birth as well as a successful second VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), was the most amazing, rewarding, healing experience ever! Some may find the idea of having a home birth scary, but for me and my family it was the least scary, most calm and perfect birth ever. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Thank you again to my amazing birth team! You all rocked!
My partner David Burns & sister Felicia Marquand
Midwives Patrice Bobier & Dorothy Vandezande at Full Circle Midwifery
Midwife Jennifer Cameron at Transitions Women's Wellness Center
The photos below I took the morning after she was born. Big sisters Dia and Lilith needed some Freya cuddles.
It's that time of year again--time for my annual breastfeeding group photo!
The first week in August is World Breastfeeding Week and the whole month of August is Breastfeeding Awareness month, so I'd like to celebrate it by doing a group photo of mothers nursing their little ones.
This will be my 4th year doing this breastfeeding photo event and I couldn't be more excited!
Who: Nursing mamas and their babes
What: Breastfeeding group photo
When: Sunday August 5th (rain date is set for Monday August 6th) from approximately 8:15pm-9:15pm
Where: the deck/beach access area in between the 1st street and 5th Avenue piers (it's sort of near the Lion's Club Pavilion) in Manistee, Michigan
This event is completely FREE!
Wear what you'd like. I plan on wearing a dress or a skirt...something light, summery, and casual but comfortable and easy to nurse in. See previous year’s photos for ideas on what to wear.
Spread the word. Share with friends. Feel free to invite any nursing and/or pumping mothers to this event! The more mothers and babies, the better!
Must sign a model release for yourself and your nursling. Plus, if you participate, I'll send you the high-resolution digital file(s) of our group photo.
Here's a link to the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1730891777027433
Here's a map of where we'll be doing the photo. If you need help finding the area, follow the link below and get directions to this pinned location.
I am sooo so so excited to be sharing these images with you! As I write this post and upload these photos it’s like I’m reliving each moment I captured from this session and WOW! I have goosebumps and the corniest grin on my face right now.
Last year I met Bethany at a Breastfeeding Mamas Group Photo Event that I host once a year in August (this year will be the 4th year so keep your eyes peeled for more info regarding that very soon). So, when she got a hold of me to photograph her engagement and wedding, I was beyond thrilled!
Fast forward a few months to June. Bethany, her family, including their super cute black lab named Chinook, and I explored an area none of us have ever explored before, the Cooley Bridge Roadside Park in Wellston. If you have never been there before, please do yourself a favor and check it out!
Bethany and Brian are such a down to earth, sweet couple. I feel like we could’ve hung out/explored/took photos all night long. They had me squealing with joy during their whole session. It sounds creepy using the word “squeal” but I can’t think of a better word…it was like an “eeeeeek” of excitement haha. I could literally feel the love they have for each other just radiating from them. They are seriously so dang cute and perfect, I can’t get over it.
To say that I’m excited for their wedding this Fall is an understatement…I cannot wait!
Here are a few of my favorites from their session.
My oldest turned four the other day and I cannot believe it! it’s somewhat mind boggling to me because it does not seem like that many years have passed since she was born.
I remember her birth like it was yesterday. I remember hearing her first cries as the doctors took her out of me, and it was seriously the best. I remember exclaiming "HOLY SHIT!" when they held her up and I saw her perfection for the first time. I remember when they put her tiny little face against my face and her little hand reached for my face...ahhh it was seriously time stopping! Tears are streaming down my face as I type this haha. Her birth was huge for me because she made me a mama.
Dia is such a smart little girl. She knows her ABC’s. She is such a good counter. She is obsessed with the rainbow and can even tell you the colors in reverse order without pausing to think about it. She takes after my sister and loves to organize. She is such an artist, just look at all of the walls in my house, they're covered in crayon. She would literally paint all day if you let her. She loves video games just like her dad. In fact, just last night she played Diablo 3 with him (for the very first time) and kicked butt. She loves playing outside and going on adventures. Her favorite dinosaur is an Apatosaurus. She's (one of) my little muse(s). I could probably write for hours about how amazing she is but I won't do that just for your sake haha.
On her birthday we surprised her with a ton of balloons in the morning, she opened presents after lunch, ate rainbow cake and superman ice cream after dinner, then we headed to the beach for photos. She LOVES the beach so I figured it'd be the perfect place to explore and do her special photos.