August 2010

of course, i will share more from arden’s first birthday later, but i wanted to share this now, to show how happy and cute she was all day yesterday.  i realize she didn’t know it was her birthday, but i assume that by the time lunch – the 2nd special meal of the day – rolled around, and people were handing her unexpected gifts and showering her with smiles and ‘awwwws’ all day long, she had to have known something fun was going on.  plus, her mama was so giddy all day (despite being a bit emotional), so there was lots of dancing and silly singing.  i think my good spirits rubbed off on her!


*written around 10 p.m. on august 5th, 2010:

as arden’s birthday approaches (tomorrow!), i couldn’t help but be bombarded all day today by a flood of memories of last august 5th.  boy, was that a looooong day!  (the thumbs-up photo below was taken right after we started the pitocin drip at 8 a.m. after 12 hours of broken water and not one single contraction.  needless to say, i didn’t stay this perky for long….)

jason was so wonderful and attentive throughout the whole ordeal, just as i had hoped he would be.  i remember him telling my mom at one point, when i was in the throws of pain-induced hallucinations and painstakingly controlled breathing, ‘i wish i could do more for her, but at this point, she seems to be in her zone and i don’t think i can help much anymore….’  very observant, dear!  but i remember thinking, ‘you are doing a perfect job, jason, especially with that cold rag on my head.  and i will tell you this later, when i have recovered my ability to speak.’

this is my favorite photo from that day (before arden was born, of course!), and i have to thank my mother-in-law for taking it even though i was busy ignoring her at the time!  it will forever remind me that i did not go through labor alone.

it was at about this time, 10 o’clock, that i was preparing to receive an epidural, after 25 hours of labor, 14 of which were painful, and 5 of which were very, VERY painful.  for multiple reasons, i had craved an all-natural, completely unmedicated birth.  but once the hopes of laboring at home while slowly sipping chicken broth and listening to my relaxing i-tunes mix had long vanished, and the dreaded c-section seemed imminent, i said ‘BRING THAT SUCKA ON!’  oh, the sweet relief!  and a couple of hours later, at 1:11 a.m., our perfect baby, arden marie, was delivered into the world.  she was chubby and pink and alert but calm, and we were HAPPY….and exhausted.

here’s jason getting ‘prepped’ for surgery, and me post-surgery, freezing, thirsty, shaky and fighting to stay awake to spend time with arden.  no one told me that our entry into parenthood would look so incredibly sexy!  

it’s funny how after all the preparation, the excitement, the anticipation, the childbirth classes, the stretching, the yoga, the non-stop walking, the eggplant parmesan with extra basil and oregano (that i credit for breaking my water!) and all of the other crazy and amazing things that happened over the 41 weeks we waited for arden, nothing could have prepared me for the ecstatic clarity of knowing that i had finally arrived; it had finally happened; the day for which i had waited for almost 31 years was here: i was a MOM.

arden, our dear little love monster, you have made your daddy and me the proudest parents in the world, and we ADORE you with all of our hearts.  we can’t wait to see what fun you bring us in your 2nd year!

arden then:

and now:

what a difference a year makes!

oh, speaking of preparation, i wanted to share these photos of our childbirth classmates.  despite this 11-week course being an educational endeavor, it was also laid-back and lots of fun.  we both enjoyed meeting and bonding with our fellow moms-and-dads-to-be.  and even though i ended up having a c-section, the information and confidence i gained during this course was invaluable, and jason appreciated it, too.  at our reunion last october, it was quite apparent that although we each had our own unique birth stories (as all moms and dads do), we all came away with perfect, beautiful bundles, and nothing could be better than that. 

babies in the bellies:

and at the reunion:

happy 1-year birthdays to all the bradley babies!

to find out more about the bradley method of natural childbirth, please visit  our teacher in memphis was sarah stockwell (on far right in photo above).  i highly recommend her!

this was one of my favorite photography sessions to date, not only because finn and ryan are two gorgeous little boys, but also because it gave me an opportunity to reunite with my friend and college roommate, whom i hadn’t seen in 4 years.  together, amanda and i lived and studied in italy, traveled through europe (ever heard me mention my ‘one crazy night in munich?’  yeah….only amanda knows – and will EVER know – the complete story of that night!), suffered through long interior design studios and exhausting teachers and projects, shared a fabulous melrose place-like apartment (my first!), played pool and drank lots of beer with vern at the thirsty tiger in baton rouge, watched hours of cooking shows (amanda taught me a lot about cooking, including basics like how to slice a pepper and how to saute breaded chicken) and dated chefs/best friends who were equally (but i promise, just slightly) mentally unstable.  YIKES.  needless to say, we have made some fun memories together!

i was overjoyed when she and her husband, tim, planned a quick trip to memphis to hang out and have their boys photographed.  the 7 of us spent a chaotic 24 hours together, eating brunch at arcade, blowing bubbles with the kids in our backyard, eating dinner at central BBQ and the next morning, feeding ducks at the park and exploring the botanic gardens.  we were hot and sweaty the entire time, but we managed to keep the kids happy and the adults had a fabulous time catching up.  i happily snapped photos throughout their entire stay, hence all the wardrobe changes you’ll notice in these photos! 

our main goal was to capture several nice shots of 4-month-old ryan, since amanda and tim have admittedly slacked on capturing every breath of his existence like they did with finn.  this little cutie has the brightest blue eyes i’ve ever seen on a baby, and his sweet smile is so contagious.  i giggled uncontrollably while snapping these pictures:

2 1/2-year-old finn was acting shy at first, but he started to open up over the course of our visit, especially while waiting in line at central BBQ.  the shots of him in the striped shirt are some of my favorites;  i took them while he was busy laughing at and counting the pigeons on the roof of the restaurant.  what a smart, sweet boy!

amanda and tim, you have a BEAUTIFUL family, and i’m so glad i finally got to meet the boys.  thanks for traveling to memphis, and for putting up with the insane memphis heat!  we are daydreaming about our trip to little rock to pay back the visit soon. 

kiss those 2 little redheads for me!