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Entries in nyc newborn photographer (4)

Sunday
Jan012012

Jack newly born

I had one full day in the hospital with Jack, one day where reality was suspended and my job was to rest, recover, and bond with my brand new baby.

I loved that time in the hospital with Liam and I loved thst time with Jack also - it felt like sacred time, and that's what these photos, taken on the second day of his life, capture for me. Beauty, peace, love, perfection.

The first photo above was taken less than six hours after he was born when I was still bedridden. And why yes I did ask a nurse to pass me my camera bag!

So yeah, we had a baby! Jack decided to make his appearance 16 days before his due date and 9 days before our scheduled c-section.

I never went into labor on my own with Liam - sonograms showed him to be a big baby and I was induced about a week before his due date. As our OB had warned was a good possibility, labor did not progress much (after several hours of labor I was only about 4cm dilated) and when his heart rate started dipping a little, indicating that he was in fact too big to come out, the decision was made to do a c-section.

This time around, the baby was also looking to be big, and we were scheduled for a c-section on December 27th. Our OB did keep mentioning that if I went into labor before then, we would try for a VBAC, but I really didn't think it would happen - in my mind, we were having a c-section. That's what we had before, and that's what we would have again! And as I never went into labor on my own before, I seriously doubted I would this time, even though I knew there was really no logical basis for that assumption.

Well, it turns out there REALLY was no logical basis for that assumption, but when I started having mild but regular contractions at around 2pm on December 18th, I pulled out my childbirth books from 3 years ago, read about "false labor" and thought, well, it's quite possible that's what this is. I had literally finished my last piece of production work for a client about an hour earlier, and had been up really late the night before working on the Fitzpatrick calendar… so the first thing I did was take a nap! I was actually able to get a little bit of sleep between contractions and woke up feeling a little more prepared for whatever was to follow. And even though I was still in denial about really being in labor, I did at least pack my hospital bag!

My in-laws were supposed to come over to babysit that evening so we could go on a last date before the baby, so we cancelled that and had them on standby to come over, but my OB seemed to think we probably wouldn't go into the hospital until the next morning. He told me to have a couple of glasses of wine and to wait and see.

I don't know why but what stuck in my head was all the stories of people thinking they were in labor and turning up too early at the hospital, only to be sent home again. What I totally blanked out was all the stories from my mom friends of second births that went extremely quickly. However, when contractions suddenly started getting stronger and longer and more closely spaced as we approached 7pm I thought, hmmm, I think we're going to the hospital tonight! We told Keith's parents to come over.

And then my water broke. And contractions were quite strong. And I told Keith we had to leave for the hospital right away, and have his parents meet us there!

Yeah, you know how they tell you that usually it's not like the movies? Well, this was exactly like the movies. My water broke, and we were on a mad dash for the hospital. We threw Liam into the back seat, grabbed our stuff, and, well, I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how Keith kept his cool, but there was some horn honking and fast driving and all the while I was timing contractions on my iphone (yes of course there's an app for that!) and trying to come up with some sort of breathing technique to get through the contractions (we never went to any childbirth classes!) and calling my OB to see if we should in fact go to the emergency room entrance… which in the end we did. He met us there with a wheelchair but of course Keith had to stay in the car with Liam (who had fallen asleep amidst all the excitement - he had missed his nap earlier!) and wait for his parents to arrive while I got whisked up to the 6th floor!

Yes, it was quite dramatic.

Water broke at 7pm, we got to the hospital at 7.45pm. Apparently I was 9cm dilated and my OB told me we would try to push the baby out. Well, that I would. And honestly, my first reaction was "Push?!!! What happened to my c-section?!" but I got some pain relief, Keith arrived, and probably about 10 pushes later, one hour after we got to the hospital, my OB said "ok, on the next push you're going to have a baby" and then "reach down and grab your baby" and… Jack was here!!!!

It was truly an incredible experience, as was Liam's birth, but in an entirely different way. I was never REALLY scared, as it didn't feel like I was going to have the baby in the car, but it did get a little hairy, and I had been counting on those last 9 days to get some rest and prepare for having a newborn in our lives again.

And yet the whole experience was perfect, exactly how it was supposed to be, just by virtue of being how it was. And it turns out recovery is a lot easier than from a c-section so I'm glad my OB pushed for the VBAC (for example, I could never have taken these photos, the day after Jack was born, if I'd had a c-section). And thank goodness for a discussion on my mom's group e-mail list just a few days earlier on some of the things to expect during recovery when it ISN'T a c-section… this turned out to be really valuable information for me!

It is quite amazing how hard it is to imagine having another child and ever loving them as much as the first… and then they're here, and you just do. Jack looks a lot like Liam did when he was newborn so it's been sort of surreal. It feels almost like going back in time… and yet not, because there is Liam, in all his adorable and rambunctious and hilarious almost-three years old ways. And he is so so sweet with Jack!

The transition home has taken a little while, especially as we did not have things quite ready beforehand, and also, well, there's a lot you forget about having a newborn! But we're slowly falling into a rhythm and we're lucky to have a lot of help - my sister was here for a week, and my parents are here for a few months, plus Keith's family is around, so I really have nothing to complain about. One of the good things about having a second child is that I already have all my mom friends and support network in place too - with Liam, I didn't start meeting other moms with babies the same age until he was 6 weeks old. I've taken Liam out a few times just he and I and that has been a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to getting back into regular playdates over the next few weeks.

Today Jack is two weeks old. Already it's been quite a ride and I can't wait to see what the new year brings.

Happy 2012 to all!

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

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Friday
Aug132010

If you do nothing else, do this

I love newborns and I love newborn photo sessions!

If I could only do one type of photography, it would be newborn photography. Well, aside from photographing my son of course, and really, well, I love working with all babies and young children...

...but there is something really special about newborn photography.

And that's because there's something really special about newborns.

But here's the thing - as a first time parent, you don't have the perspective to realize it!

As a first time parent, you are anxious and exhausted. If you were the one giving birth, you're probably physically uncomfortable too, and really, you're just overwhelmed trying to figure out how to look after this tiny but often quite demanding and possibly angry little thing.

Time moves slowly. You look at your watch and only 3 minutes has passed when your baby is supposed to feed for 15! Loading the dishwasher is an amazing achievement because everything else is baby baby baby.

You can't wait until they're older so they can DO something, anything, a smile, some sort of interaction that doesn't require a diaper change!

Don't get me wrong, I loved the newborn stage, but really, I think a lot of that love was in retrospect.

And that's why you need photos!

You need absolutely gorgeous, heart-stopping photos because believe it or not, a year from now, you will want to relive every detail.

Well, the good ones anyway.

A lot of people hold back on newborn photography, spending less, buying fewer or smaller, or waiting, thinking they have plenty of time and a lot more photos to come. Which is true. Except that none of them will be as special as the newborn photos because no other period goes so quickly or is as hard to remember or as unique.

I SO WISH I had more newborn photos. Oh I have loads, but most of them are snapshots, including many attempted iphone self-portraits of me and the baby while he fell asleep feeding in the middle of the night. You need those too. But you also need the beautiful ones, the ones that are artwork that you will have in your home and soak up hungrily for the rest of your life.

So, my recommendation?

Splurge on newborn photography.

If you do nothing else, do this. You will never, ever regret it.

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

Friday
Jul232010

Meet Lilah

Working with a newborn is such a special experience. As the mother of an 18 month old, I have a completely different perspective than I had before or just after having a baby. Everyone tells you they grow and change so fast. It's such a cliche, but you really don't realize the truth of it until you experience it. It feels like they will be a baby forever (time doesn't always go quickly those first few weeks!) and then it's over in an instant.

And I'm sure that when I have an 18 YEAR old I'll have yet another perspective as well!

Lilah had her photo session when she was just under 2 weeks old and she was such a pleasure. I first met with her parents just before she was born. I love seeing the transformation a baby brings. It's such an exciting time. And already her parents look like pros, even though they said they felt far from it.

Welcome to the world, Lilah!

nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!

Saturday
Apr242010

Those first few weeks - Tribeca newborn photo session

It's hard for me to put into words how I feel about newborns. I think it's just the most incredible time in a family's life. If you were to say to me, "Alethea, I don't think we can hire a professional photographer more than once. When should we do it?" I would say without hesitation "newborn!"

I've been trying to figure out why this is, and I think it's because the newborn period is a magical, incredible, amazing time, but it's also exhausting and hard and really, you are not yourself. You become a normal person again, I promise! And when you do, you want beautiful photos to remind you of everything that was amazing about what ends up being a period of time when a minute can feel like a day and a day a year... and yet is so fleeting, and is over so quickly, fast fading in your memory into a sleep-deprived blur.

One of the things I loved about my photo session with Zia was how relaxed and serene and content her parents seemed. I suppose it's easy to forget those times too, when the baby falls asleep on top of you and all you have to do is just be.

We had one of those moments during our session - Zia fell asleep on her father's chest, and soon he nodded off too! I just soaked it all in. It's different experiencing a newborn when you know you're not the one who is going to be up all night with them!

I really do fall in love with each and every baby and child I photograph. By the time Zia started stirring and making funny faces, her parents were amused at how amused I was by their daughter. But who wouldn't love an adorable little face like this?!

It was also so much fun heading out into the neighborhood as promised with Zia sound asleep in her moses basket. One day Zia's parents will explain to her that they found her on a doorstep like in a Charles Dickens novel.

Zia slept through the entire excursion outdoors, which made for some beautiful family photos as her parents just hung out and enjoyed the beautiful day. I love when a little romance finds its way into a family session and it's more like engagement session + baby!

Zia and family - thank you for allowing me the privilege of photographing you in the first few weeks of Zia's life! She is beautiful and I can't wait to see her change and grow.

For more highlights from the session, see the slideshow (I really loved how this came out) or check out the gallery. And if you are expecting a baby soon, now is a great time to get in touch about your newborn session or enter the giveaway - maybe you'll win a session!

nyc baby, child and family photographer alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn and specializes in contemporary, natural light portraiture. view her portfolio of babieschildren or families or send her an e-mail here!