Lily Kate’s Newborn Photos

Y’all, it was fun for me to plan these photos.  Girl photos of my own!!  I had a bunch of ideas and inspiration, and as usually happens, new ideas sprang up during the actual shooting and I went with them.  I just gave you the secret of my entire creative process by the way.  Start with a plan, move forward with it, and then expect new inspiration to come up and move forward with that.  Anyway, the enormous advantage of living with the newborn you are going to photograph is that you can shoot over consecutive days and in random moments when she falls into one of those deep newborn sleeps which are perfect for a newborn shoot.  Because I shot photos over three or four different days, I got way more fantastic photos than I usually do in a typical newborn session.  #perks  They also feature quite a range of color temperatures due to the different times of day that they were shot.  If you notice that kind of thing.  I decided I was too sleep deprived to do too much editing.

Anyway, I had fun creating these photos and I hope you enjoy looking at them!

The printed blankets are from Little Unicorn
Headbands (except red bow) from Muffin Tops and TuTus
Solid swaddles are from Custom Photo Props
Plaid scarf is something I had; similar
Fur is from Custom Photo Props
Nest I made myself from this inspiration


These next two are of Lily and her quilt made by my Granny.


These are my favorite!  All her little expressions!  The purple flower with her in a couple of these is a dried Calla Lilly <3

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Lily Kate’s Birth Story

Who loves a good birth story?  If you don’t but you do want to scroll through some pretty pictures, I won’t be offended.  😉

Lily was my second VBA2C, and my first out of hospital birth.  Believe it or not, I’d been working towards an out of hospital birth with my midwife Donnellyn Dominguez for the past five years.  Ransom’s birth took place in a hospital since it is Donnellyn’s policy that a mom have a successful in-hospital birth after two c-sections.  His birth was crazy and amazing, you can read about it here.  So here we were finally after all these years, ready for our out of hospital birth, and I was wondering how it would go.  Ransom’s birth really took me by surprise with it’s ~ahem~ swiftness, and I was almost worried that if Lily wasn’t as fast that I’d be in the opposite mental space wondering what was taking so long!  So I told the birth team that I really wanted them to talk to me and not be afraid to get in my face encouraging me, reminding me why I was doing this, and telling me that I was doing a good job.  Then we waited.

At 36 weeks, Lily had given us a bit of a scare when I had light contractions for six hours and was instructed to stay home, laying down, in bed on the evening of my baby shower.  That was a low point.  After that we were focused on me making it to 37 weeks so we could do out of hospital, and then once we passed that point, it was any time!  I wasn’t concerned about going too far past my due date, because my due date was on the full ‘supermoon,’ which tends to pull women into labor.  In fact I was basically counting on having her on Monday or Tuesday, so when I got ready to lay down for my nap on the Friday before and felt a trickle, I was surprised!  I went into the bathroom to see what was going on.  I really wasn’t convinced that it was my water breaking and not just a very liquidy display of mucus plug.  When my water broke with Shep, it had been a big unmistakable gush.  This was different, and I wasn’t sure about it.  Birth is such a lovely subject isn’t it?  Ha!  Like a good girl, I texted my midwives and they told me to come in so they could do a swab to see what was going on.  The birth center is an hour away, and it took us almost an hour to round ourselves up and get out the door.  I had our babysitter Susannah  (or Oos-Nana as Ransom calls her) on standby for just such an occurrence, because she isn’t very far away, so she came and drove us.  Jake was getting his haircut, also at least an hour away from the birth center, so he literally got up and left mid-haircut to meet us there!  As a result, he now has neatly trimmed sides and a long mop on top :-).

Well of course once we got there, they indeed confirmed that my water had broken, and though contractions hadn’t started, I was dilated 3cm.  They told us to go to dinner nearby and then go walk around and see if that would get things going.  Well friends.  We went to dinner, we went to Target, we went to World Market.  And not much was happening besides the occasional trickle of amniotic fluid which had me feeling gross and wet and changing pads in public restrooms.  We finally headed back to the birth center and walked around there, but still nothing.  Now remember, we had all the kids with us this whole time.  Since Ransom’s birth had been so fast, my plan for Lily’s birth had been for them to be at the birth center in the waiting room with Susannah while I was in labor so that they could be there to meet Lily right away.  And so that the birth photographer could capture it.  At this point in the evening my blood pressure was higher than it should’ve been and labor still hadn’t started, so they told us to send the kids home and then tucked us in bed at the birth center to wait.  And what do you know, as soon as the kids were gone, my blood pressure dropped!  I was cranky at this point.  The amniotic fluid had not stopped with its off and on trickle that whole time (a good 6 or 7 hours at this point), I was getting tired because it was after 10 pm, my bestie couldn’t find someone to watch her kids so she could be there, and the biggie – Donnellyn was out of town for a family celebration and was going to miss my birth.  She was devastated.  I was devastated, but I knew I couldn’t stay in that mental space because I had a big night ahead of me – in theory anyway.  What was taking so long?!  When they broke my water with Ransom, contractions started twenty minutes later!

After they tucked us into bed to rest, someone came in every 30 minutes to check my vitals, and after about 45 minutes, not only had my blood pressure gone back down to where it needed to be, but I finally had my first contraction.  And it was a good one for a first contraction.  But then ten minutes went by before I had another one.  They continued to come in every 30 minutes to check my vitals for maybe the next hour, during which I had approximately six contractions.  And don’t get me wrong, they were good hard contractions that Jake was coaching me through, they just weren’t very close together.  Then during what ended up being the last vitals check, I had a contraction while she was there.  It was hard and reasonably long, but I was silent and still and breathing through it.  When it was done and she finished doing her monitoring, she said, “Ok well we’re just out here, text us if things get going, I’ll be back in 30 minutes!”

Y’all, I am not lying to you, five minutes later I had several hard long contractions back to back, and then threw up.  I was in transition.  I moaned for Jake to text the girls, and laid there with my head by the bowl.  One of the huge perks to this birth experience for me was that although I had obviously brought a whole bag of my own oils, they already had a diffuser going in the birth room, and this lovely vomit bowl had a paper towel resting inside that had a few drops of spearmint sprinkled on it.  Oh lovely spearmint!  When the birth team came in, someone asked me if I wanted them to take away the bowl and I managed to breath out a, “Noooo” between moaning through my contraction, because that sweet spearmint was helping me so much!  Ha!  I really couldn’t smell the vomit over the spearmint.  Again, birth.  So glamorous.

Well the birth team could see that things were moving pretty darn fast so I could hear them scrambling around trying to get ready.  I also managed to breathe out, “Photographerrrr” to Jake and he texted the birth photographer.  At this point my body spontaneously started pushing without me, and they were telling me to breathe out through my mouth to slow it down.  This was the first time that had happened to me!  In both Shepherd’s and Ransom’s births, I had been told to push and definitely felt in control of the pushing.  There was no control this time, it was crazy.  The human body is so amazing.  Well this show was obviously on the road and I was still in the bed, but we had planned a water birth. I was also still wearing the Depends they had given me since I was still leaking lovely amniotic fluid this whole time.  Jake tried to ask me if I could take them off, and I’m pretty sure I hollered at him to rip them off of me, which he did, since Depends are basically adult Pull-Ups.  That’s love folks.  I’m sure there were all kinds of ways he imagined ripping panties off of me when we were dating, but I’m betting that this was not one of them.  Just sayin.

This was where the birth team got in my face like I had asked!  I didn’t see how on earth I could move from the bed to the tub, and they almost had to drag me to a seated and then standing position to get me up.  She said something like, “Ok Beth we need to get you into the tub now before this baby is born.  You want a water birth don’t you?”  To which I replied, “I don’t know!!”  She was like, “You do, let’s go, you can do this!”  I’m glad she did!  Somehow we made it the three feet from the bed to the tub and I climbed in.  A couple more contractions and I could feel her starting to crown.  They kept telling me to breathe out and I did my best.  Girlfriend was coming like a freight train!  About this time I started hearing camera clicks and someone said to Teagan the photographer, “Congratulations on making it! We almost didn’t make it and we were in the next room.  She’s having the baby on the next contraction.”  And they were right!  I was on my knees hanging onto the edge of the tub and Jake’s arm, and someone told me they would push her forward through my legs so I could catch her when she came out.  And at 1:28 am, seven minutes after I got into the tub, there she was!

I’m going to be honest with you here, my first thought upon the birth of my daughter was actually, “Oh my gosh I feel so much better,” which was followed closely by, “Oh look my baby!”  Just keepin it real.  After a few minutes of snuggling her in the tub, we got out to deliver the placenta on the bed.  Another perk of out of hospital for me was seeing my placenta and hearing them tell me about it.  Because I really am that crunchy and nerdy.  I’ll spare you the photos.  After that we got into the herb bath and the boys who had come back by this time, got to come in and and check her out.  They were sooo excited.  I loved getting to share the sweet moments when she was new and fresh, getting measured and weighed with them.  I’m so glad I finally got my out of hospital birth!!

{All photos by Denton Birth Photography}

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Goodbye Beth Dreyer Photography! | An Announcement

It has been nearly a decade that I’ve been a professional photographer.  I can’t even believe it.  I have loved {almost} every minute of it.  Being a business owner has grown me in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I was 22, pregnant with my first baby and getting my DBA.  I am so grateful for the entire experience!  Not everyone gets to pursue their dream job on their own terms, and I feel extremely blessed to have been one of those few.  But the time has come for me to close the doors of Beth Dreyer Photography.

As I was pondering my maternity leave a few months ago, I knew I would not be able to do fall mini sessions this year at 8 months pregnant.  Some women can do it and I say more power to em!  But for myself I knew it would not be a good idea.  It has always been my practice to work in the afternoons while my kids either napped or had quiet time, but this pregnancy mama has NAPPED almost every day throughout every trimester.  So while I was originally planning on picking up again this next spring with Beth Dreyer Photography, the thought that came into my mind was, “But ummm, I’m going to have four kids then!  And we homeschool!  I’m not going to be able to give up napping!!!”  Ha!  Again, there are moms that do it, but in my heart I knew that for me, my season has shifted.  This season is about kiddos and homeschooling and if I am going to give time to something else, I want to give it to helping people pursue a more natural and organic lifestyle.  I always wondered if this ‘retirement’ would happen, and in fact I wondered passively if it would happen when I had my fourth child!  It was never a solid exit plan, but when I got here, I realized that God had been preparing me for this moment.

I have loved being a professional photographer.  I have loved pursuing that passion for the past decade, and have loved being able to bless brides and grooms and families and my own family with my passion.  But I feel fulfilled in that passion for now.  I’m ready to lay it down and move on to the next thing.  Photography will always be a part of my life, and I look forward to pursuing it in different ways in the future, but now I’m looking forward to a new phase in my life!

To all of the families that I have worked with through the years, thank you so much for entrusting your memories to me, it has been such an honor to capture them with you.  I have loved watching your babies grow, documenting their milestones, being a part of intimate family moments, and being a part of the temper tantrums that come along with trying to photograph them.  I’m sure you’ve all heard me tell you not to worry, that my own kids were always my most difficult subjects, and I wasn’t lying to you!  Thank you for trusting me with your messy, lovely, beautiful, raw, and real moments.  I’ve cherished them right along with you.

I am still planning on using this blog to write about life, and oils, food, and other things as to mood strikes.  It’s not going away, and neither are all of the thousands of client photos it contains.  Stay tuned in five or six weeks for my sweet Lily Kate’s newborn photos!

I am also writing over on my new blog Freedom is Messy about our unschooling journey if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

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Amelia Newborn

Sweet Amelia was about three weeks old for her first photo shoot and just as cute as she could be!  Her big brother is SO in love with her, and was so excited to be photographed holding his little sissy.  This sweet family had a big first few weeks with their baby girl – right after she was born, their hot water heater flooded their house!!  Talk about not a good time!  I imagine that staring at their sweet little bundle of joy softened the blow a bit.  Enjoy these photos of Amelia and her family!


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Abagail Newborn | Dallas Newborn Photography

Abagail is the third sister in her family, and I’ve had the privelage of photographing all three of them as newborns!  You can see biggest sister Betsy’s newborn photos here, and middle sister Lillian’s here.  Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any baby fever that occurs as a result of looking at all three of these sessions.

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