Born at Ridgeview Hospital in Waconia, Minnesota | Terre's Birth Story

November 4th, 2018 | 7:53 pm

I’m writing this on November 5th, 2018, the day after sweet Terre’s birth, which happens to be the two year anniversary of my birth photography career. I spent most of yesterday with this incredible couple alongside my lovely doula partner Gina of The Sown Seed and I’ve spent most of today thinking about the lessons I’ve learned over the past two years and 50+ births. I have, of course, learned so much about birth, and the power and beauty of birthing people, and about photography, but I think I’ve learned the most about myself. Which brings me to this birth. This gallery is misleading. What you don’t see is the shoulder dystocia. You don’t see the room filling with hospital staff, mama’s knees being brought up to her ears, nurses pushing on her stomach while her midwife attempts to work that baby out of her, and so of course you don’t see any images of that maneuver, called McRoberts, not working. And you also don’t see mama’s midwife giving her a third degree episiotomy and then, later, stitching her back up again. You do see mama working hard to push her baby out, and you see her partner’s support and his waiting arms as he prepares to catch their baby, and you see the lovely golden hour moments they shared with their brand new babe. But you don’t see any pictures of that emergency situation. Why? Because I didn’t take any. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in the last two beautiful, birth-filled years is to trust myself. To trust my judgement and to decide when to document and when to step away. And I’ve learned that I’m entirely capable of remaining calm during an emergency and even being able to help during a scary time.

When I first started shooting births, I saw a lot of other birth photographers saying that one of their main goals was to be a fly on the wall, to be an invisible presence, to document without impacting their client’s day and so I, too, adopted that as my philosophy. But it didn’t feel quite right and after a few births I realized: that’s not me. I don’t want to be invisible; I want to help. I don’t want to not have an impact; I want to contribute to a lovely, calm, beautiful atmosphere for my clients. I don’t want to be a fly on the wall; I want to be supportive and caring and an asset beyond just capturing your day. And so that’s what I do: I document, and I fluff pillows, and I keep an eye out for chapped lips on thirsty mamas, and sometimes I put a hand on a shoulder and whisper reassuring words. And I’m so glad that’s who I am: not only someone who can capture your baby’s first birthday and all the emotions, moments big and small, and beauty that goes along with it but someone who is an active part of your birth team and is wholly there for you in all the ways I can be.

If you’re interested in booking a birth story session, chatting about your birth plans, or just talking about birth photography in general, I’d love to hear from you.

Interested in booking a birth story session? learn more!

Born in the Water at Methodist Hospital in the Twin Cities | Ethan's Birth Story

September 26th, 2018

Just an hour of arriving at the hospital, she delivered their baby in a fast and supported medication-free water birth. Ethan was bright eyed and so alert after his birth and he locked eyes with his mama as soon as he could.

Welcome to the world, Ethan! We’re so glad you’re here!

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER TO DOCUMENT YOUR LABOR AND DELIVERY EXPERIENCE IN MINNEAPOLIS, ST. PAUL, OR THE SURROUNDING AREAS IN MINNESOTA, LET'S TALK! I'M EXPERIENCED AT HOSPITAL, BIRTH CENTER, AND HOME BIRTHS, AND I'VE DOCUMENTED (AND BEEN THE DOULA AT!) VBACS, TWINS, SURROGACY, WATER, MEDICATED, EPIDURAL, SAME SEX, AND CESAREAN BIRTHS.

I'M HAPPY TO CAPTURE YOUR BIRTH AT THE FOLLOWING HOSPITALS:

Burnsville Ridges, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Maple Grove Hospital, Methodist Hospital, North Memorial Health Hospital, Regina Hospital in Hastings, Regions Hospital, Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, St. Johns Hospital, The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital (Fairview Riverside), The Mother Baby Center at Abbot Northwestern, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy Hospital, The Mother Baby Center at United, and Woodwinds.

I ALSO LOVE DOCUMENTING AT THESE BIRTH CENTERS:

Health Foundations Birth Center, Minnesota Birth Center (Minneapolis), Minnesota Birth Center (St. Paul), Roots Community Birth Center, and Willow Birth Center.

IN ADDITION TO HOSPITALS AND BIRTH CENTERS, I WOULD LOVE TO PHOTOGRAPH YOUR BIRTH AT HOME (ASSISTED HOMEBIRTH OR UNASSISTED/FREEBIRTH):

Dearborn Midwives, Geneabirth, Mandala Midwifery Care, Modern Midwifery, North Star Midwifery, Peacefully Born Traditional Midwifery, Twin Cities Midwifery, and more!

Real Postpartum: A Milk Bath Breastfeeding Session in the Woods of Northern Minnesota

Book an honest storytelling session at home with baby to document a fleeting and unique season in your life. The days are long, the nights are longer, and the baby you spent so much time waiting for is finally in your arms for you to kiss and memorize and adore.

This is an opportunity to practice authentic self-love. To honor your body exactly as it is — whether you’re newly postpartum or a few months or even years into your motherhood journey.

This intimate collection of images celebrates the new, the hectic, the gorgeous. Embrace this moment and preserve it with a documentary session so you can always remember this special time.

 
minneapolis breastfeeding milk bath photography
 

Real Postpartum captures the magical, sometimes mundane, and treasured moments of motherhood. Real Postpartum encapsulates love and motherhood and womanhood in all the little details you’ll always want to remember. But more importantly, it stands for strength and perseverance through challenges. Late nights, long days, rediscovery: the connection and love present is powerful, sometimes raw, and absolutely beautiful. These moments are how you spend your days and nights — the real story — and they’re ones you'll wish you had images of outside of your own mind. Memories fade as time passes. A glimpse down memory lane with the help of photographs easily brings back the emotions of the time. Preserve a bit of your relationship with your baby with a Real Postpartum session.

To book a session with your breastfed or bottle-fed babe, visit my Real Postpartum page. Mini-sessions are also available!

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT MY REAL POSTPARTUM PAGE. IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN BIRTH STORY SESSIONS, CLICK HERE.

Our Souls Were Singing at Roots Community Birth Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota | The Birth Story of Khalil

September 21st, 2018 | 10:49 pm

This was a quick birth! As I was rushing in the door almost exactly 30 minutes after I got the call, I heard mama’s birth roar and I rounded the corner into the birth suite with my camera in hand as she was lifting her baby to her chest. Big sister and mom’s mom (along with her wonderful doula) were by her side as she birthed her son and I’m so glad I got to be there to capture his first few hours. After mama delivered the placenta, she made her way to the bed with the help of her birth team. After a while, her daughter got to cut the cord and then they watched his newborn exam together. The whole time I was capturing moments for these lovely people, this song was playing on repeat in my head.

Welcome to the world, buddy! We’re so glad you’re here.

To book a Birth Story Session, contact me.

Real Postpartum: A Tandem Breastfeeding Milk Bath in St. Paul, Minnesota

What a treat it was to spend some time with this mama and her two sweet babes. Real Postpartum is an opportunity to preserve a glimpse into the intimate bond you share with your child. Breastfeeding is often such a big part of my birth clients’ lives and it was a natural progression for me to exploring it through photography. Real Postpartum is also an opportunity share your experience, normalize breastfeeding, and to help other women feel more confident about breastfeeding (representation matters!). Nurturing a baby creates such a unique bond between mother and child and it's a fleeting phase that soon flies by. Book a Real Postpartum Session to capture one of the many magical, sometimes mundane, and treasured moments of motherhood. Real Postpartum encapsulates love and motherhood in all the little details you’ll want to remember. But more importantly, it stands for strength and perseverance through challenges. Late nights, long days, rediscovery: the connection and love present is powerful, sometimes raw, and absolutely beautiful. These moments are how you spend your days and nights — the real story — and they’re ones you'll wish you had images of outside of your own mind. Memories fade as time passes. A glimpse down memory lane with the help of photographs easily brings back the emotions of the time. Preserve a bit of your relationship with your baby with a Real Postpartum session.


To book a session with your breastfed or bottle-fed babe, visit my Real Postpartum page. Mini-sessions are also available!

Book an honest storytelling session at home with baby to document a fleeting and unique season in your life. The days are long, the nights are longer, and the baby you spent so much time waiting for is finally in your arms for you to kiss and memorize and adore. 

This is an opportunity to practice authentic self-love. To honor your body exactly as it is -- swollen, naked and milk-stained; you're exhausted and thrilled and oh so in love. Feeling the hazy daze of new parenthood, no longer pregnant, learning and healing and growing; you're changed and on the cusp of something new. 

This intimate collection of images celebrates the new, the hectic, the gorgeous. Embrace this moment and preserve it with a documentary session so you can always remember this special time.  

Real Postpartum details: $500 / $350 with the purchase of a birth package | at home (milk bath add on an option) | up to two hours | up to 30 images

Contact me for more information or to book your session today!

Born at Home in Excelsior, Minnesota | Baby Boy's Birth Story

September 13th, 2018 | 12:17 am

Welcome to the world, buddy! We’re so glad you’re here!

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER TO DOCUMENT YOUR LABOR AND DELIVERY EXPERIENCE IN MINNEAPOLIS, ST. PAUL, OR THE SURROUNDING AREAS IN MINNESOTA, LET'S TALK! I'M EXPERIENCED AT HOSPITAL, BIRTH CENTER, AND HOME BIRTHS, AND I'VE DOCUMENTED (AND BEEN THE DOULA AT!) VBACS, TWINS, SURROGACY, WATER, MEDICATED, EPIDURAL, SAME SEX, AND CESAREAN BIRTHS.

I'M HAPPY TO CAPTURE YOUR BIRTH AT THE FOLLOWING HOSPITALS:

Burnsville Ridges, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Maple Grove Hospital, Methodist Hospital, North Memorial Health Hospital, Regina Hospital in Hastings, Regions Hospital, Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, St. Johns Hospital, The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital (Fairview Riverside), The Mother Baby Center at Abbot Northwestern, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy Hospital, The Mother Baby Center at United, and Woodwinds.

I ALSO LOVE DOCUMENTING AT THESE BIRTH CENTERS:

Health Foundations Birth Center, Minnesota Birth Center (Minneapolis), Minnesota Birth Center (St. Paul), Roots Community Birth Center, and Willow Birth Center.

IN ADDITION TO HOSPITALS AND BIRTH CENTERS, I ALSO LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING BIRTHS AT HOME (ASSISTED HOMEBIRTH OR UNASSISTED/FREEBIRTH):

Dearborn Midwives, Geneabirth, Mandala Midwifery Care, Modern Midwifery, North Star Midwifery, Peacefully Born Traditional Midwifery, Twin Cities Midwifery, and more!

A Fresh 48 Session in Minneapolis

Baby Rosie was born on August 24th, 2018 and I got to see her and her fantastic parents again two days later in their room on the NICU ward for a Fresh 48 session. I made sure to capture her sweet toes, the amazing lanugo that still covered most of her body, and the way her parents worked together with a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to feed her. If you're interested in documenting a bit of baby's first or second day of life, reach out!

A Breech Belly Birth in Minneapolis | Rosie's Birth Story

August 24th, 2018 | 9:19 am

My lovely clients had their baby via cesarean section on a rainy Thursday morning. A combination of factors led to the decision to go in and get baby and one of my favorite things about the day was seeing mama's face light up when she was told that her baby was out bum-first and again when she heard that first sweet cry. Due to the surgical nature of this birth, some of these images are a bit bloody and I considered adding a warning to the top of this post but I ultimately decided not to. Birth can be bloody. Life, especially the life of a woman, is occasionally bloody. I see beauty in these images and I hope you do too.

Welcome to the world, sweet girl! We're so glad you're here!

And Baby Makes Five at Roots Birth Center | The Birth of Brooklynn Jade

August 22nd, 2018 | 3:34 pm

When LaTrice's midwives discovered thick meconium in her amniotic fluid, the decision was made to call an ambulance so that baby Brooklynn would have access to a NICU if aspiration took place. Thankfully, this sweet babe was born without complications at the hospital after a quick ride from the birth center. I walked in the room after finding a spot to park and Brooklynn was born less than two minutes later much to the delight of her relieved parents. After ensuring that she was doing well, her big brother and her big sister were invited into the room to meet her. 

Welcome to the world, sweet girl! We're so glad you're here! 

Reserve your spot on my calendar today! Spots fill up quickly!

Born at Willow Birth Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Florence's Birth Story

When Marlena reached out to me about documenting her birth, I was thrilled. We go all the way back to middle school and, though we hadn't kept in touch beyond being friends on the internet, I was so happy to hear from her. I had a blast documenting her little family at our prenatal documentary session (we spent the session singing, dancing, laughing, and playing -- what fun!) and I'm looking forward to our upcoming postpartum documentary session. Bring on the sweet sister snuggles!

Marlena's guess date was July 30th and, when she hired me, I had plans to be out of town for the first half of July. I thought about her often on my trip though I knew she'd be in excellent hands with my associate photographer. When I got home on July 22nd, she still hadn't delivered that babe and I gladly went on-call for her. Fast forward two and a half weeks and the births of four of my other clients' babies, and it looked like Marlena was finally in labor!  And she was, but it was slowwww going. Three days later after many updates, I got a message from Liz, her amazing doula, letting me know that I could probably head over to the birth center if I wanted to. I DID want to! So off I went. That sweet baby was born less than an hour after I arrived and those short moments before her birth were some of the most joyful and connected moments I've had the privilege of documenting. 

Between her gleeful parents, their wonderful doula, and the incredible staff at the birth center, there was so much love and joy in the room when baby Florence was born. 

Welcome to the world, Florence Hope! We're so glad you're here! 

7:07 pm | August 12th, 2012

*all images shared with permission and gratitude

Book your birth session today!

I'M HAPPY TO CAPTURE YOUR BIRTH AT THE FOLLOWING HOSPITALS: 

Burnsville Ridges, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Maple Grove Hospital, Methodist Hospital, North Memorial Health Hospital, Regina Hospital in Hastings, Regions Hospital, Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, St. Johns Hospital, The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital (Fairview Riverside), The Mother Baby Center at Abbot Northwestern, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy Hospital, The Mother Baby Center at United, and Woodwinds.

I ALSO LOVE DOCUMENTING AT THESE BIRTH CENTERS: 

Health Foundations Birth Center, Minnesota Birth Center (Minneapolis), Minnesota Birth Center (St. Paul), Roots Community Birth Center, and Willow Birth Center.

IN ADDITION TO HOSPITALS AND BIRTH CENTERS, I ALSO LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING BIRTHS AT HOME (ASSISTED HOMEBIRTH OR UNASSISTED/FREEBIRTH):

Dearborn Midwives, Geneabirth, Mandala Midwifery Care, Modern Midwifery, North Star Midwifery, Peacefully Born Traditional Midwifery, Twin Cities Midwifery, and more!

First Glimpse Session | Kai's Birth Story in Photographs

Kai | August 11th, 2018 | 5:45 am

Many families in the Twin Cities are interested in documenting their baby's first day but don't know if they're ready to hire a birth photographer. If you're one of these families, my First Glimpse Session is an excellent option for you. I love telling your story even if your particular story doesn't begin until after the moment your baby arrives. There are so many lovely details you'll want to remember from your baby's first day like just how incredibly molded baby's head when he was born and the beginning of your breastfeeding relationship and the way you and your birth partner looked at each other in amazement after finally meeting your baby. I can help you preserve these moments

Your First Glimpse Session can also be scheduled during daylight hours, when siblings or grandparents are visiting, or anytime in the first 48 hours of baby's life. I happened to arrive at this particular First Glimpse session around the time that mama started pushing and was able to capture baby's moment of birth as well as a few supportive moments with papa while mama worked on delivering their babe. Many of my clients choose to use these photos for their printed birth announcement or send a few in a quick email to out of town friends and family showing off the newest member of the crew. Regardless of whether you decide to capture the time before, during, and after baby's delivery or just the sweet first moments after baby is born, I promise you'll cherish those moments forever.

Welcome to the world, Kai! We're so glad you're here! 

IN MINNEAPOLIS AND INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY? TALK TO MEREDITH TODAY.

"I can't believe we have a boy!" in Minneapolis | Rook Clayton's Birth Story in Photographs

Rook Clayton | August 7th, 2018 | 4:00 pm

Not only was Rook born on his big sister's birthday, he was born on the hour, just like his two sisters before him. His strong mama delivered him in one push after laboring down for a little while and his parents didn't clamp or cut his cord until a few hours after his birth so he could receive the full benefits of delayed cord clamping.

Welcome to the world, Rook! We're so glad you're here! 

A HANDFUL OF SNEAK PEEK IMAGES LIKE THESE ARE DELIVERED WITHIN 24 HOURS OF BABY'S BIRTH. YOUR PACKAGE ALSO INCLUDES COMPLIMENTARY PRENATAL AND POSTPARTUM DOCUMENTARY MINI-SESSIONS AND A FULL GALLERY OF IMAGES FROM YOUR BIRTH WITH A FULL PRINT RELEASE.

CONTACT ME TO LEARN MORE.

A Second-Time Mama Delivers in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Carson's Birth Story in Photos

Carson Barry | August 3rd, 2018 | 2:25 am

It doesn't happen often, but sometime we birth photographers need to send a backup photographer to a birth if life gets in the way. In this instance, the lovely Bryanna of Swaddle Shots had a long-standing trip booked and this mama didn't go into labor until the day she went out of town. That's where I came in. Bryanna made sure her client was covered and I got to witness this sweet couple's amazing connection. You're going to see Mama beaming at her husband moments after she birthed their baby. You're going to see Dad looking at his baby and his wife in awe. And you just might tear up like I teared up in my time with these wonderful people. I'm so honored to have been able to document the birth of their second babe. 

Welcome to the world, Carson! We're so glad you're here! 

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER TO DOCUMENT YOUR LABOR AND DELIVERY EXPERIENCE IN MINNEAPOLIS, ST. PAUL, OR THE SURROUNDING AREAS IN MINNESOTA, LET'S TALK! I'M EXPERIENCED AT HOSPITAL, BIRTH CENTER, AND HOME BIRTHS, AND I'VE DOCUMENTED (AND BEEN THE DOULA AT!) VBACS, TWINS, SURROGACY, WATER, MEDICATED, EPIDURAL, SAME SEX, AND CESAREAN BIRTHS.

My Absolute Favorite Birth Photographs of The Last Year | Twin Cities Birth Photographer

When I learned toward the end of 2016 that birth photography was a thing, I had no idea how my life here in the Twin Cities would change and how immensely fulfilled I would feel after I embraced this incredible subject and the unpredictable lifestyle that goes along with it. The joy, strength, and love that I felt and witnessed at each of these births (and so many more!) was life affirming, overwhelmingly wonderful, and supremely fulfilling. These are some of my favorite moments of my birth photography career over the last year and, honestly, some of the very best moments of my life. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

If you're looking for a Twin Cities birth photographer, visit this page and then contact me to get the ball rolling! I provide birth photography services in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs too! 

*all images shared with permission and gratitude*


15. This lovely mama was touring her hospital in Minneapolis when her water broke. They were admitted immediately but didn't meet their little girl until over a day later after a long, hard labor. Her birth partner was so incredibly supportive and I was thisclose to featuring him here but I wanted to showcase mama's strength and tenacity instead. (Ah, I just have to! See a bonus image of papa at the bottom of this page!)

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films best premier
 

14. This is postpartum: breastfeeding on cue, mesh undies, breasts brimming with milk, a lovely still-round belly, and settling in at home as the newest version of you. Prenatal and postpartum sessions are included in my Birth Story packages.

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films breastfeeding postpartum
 

13. I love the stillness of this moment. Mama is laboring down while papa watches the clock. Little did they know that they'd be meeting their sweet babe ohsovery soon! 

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12. Look at that cute little vernix-covered baby bum! This babe was placed on his mama's chest immediately after being delivered and then was covered by a blanket. If it wasn't for this quick shot, his parents might never have known just how cheesy he was and how lovely his cord was! 

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11. Sometimes birth happens really really really quickly. This baby was born less than 15 minutes after I arrived at the hospital, which was only minutes after mama, papa, and their fantastic doula arrived, and only 18 minutes after I was called in. What a timeline! Mama's labor was fast and intense, and don't you just adore that look of love and joy she's sharing with Papa? 

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10. Ohhhh my heart! When brand new babies lock eyes with their parents for the first time, I almost always shed a tear (read: sob.). I'm so glad this amazing couple got to experience their sweet babe's gaze just after her birth. 

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films award winning
 

9. I loooove capturing one last shot of the belly before baby arrives as a birth photographer in the Twin Cities. This one, mid-contraction, is a favorite.

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films st Paul Minnesota birth becomes her
 

8. Isn't that cord incredible? It's still pumping blood from the placenta at the moment of birth! And can you see dad's hand tightly gripping mama's as she powered through one last push? The best! 

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films best
 

7. All eyes on babe. Tear-filled, relieved, and overjoyed eyes. It is such a treasure to be able to preserve these emotions for my families.

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films award winning premier
 

6. This wonderful moment of stillness as mama rides out the waves at home in St. Paul is so peaceful. And...

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films waterbirth homebirth
 

5. ...This moment, which has a completely different feel, is yet another reminder of just how crazy and beautiful birth can be. And though you can't see much of her, I love knowing that mama's midwife is right there caring for mama and helping her work through her contractions.

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films midwife
 

4. This birth in St. Paul, which was the first birth of 2018 that I documented, was such a wonderful experience. A homebirth attended by midwives with an immensely supportive partner and an excited big brother waiting in the wings! I couldn't pick just one! 

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3. Birth photography isn't the only thing I do! I also offer Real Postpartum sessions to families in the Twin Cities, which feature mamas breastfeeding their babes. This session, which took place earlier this year with a past birth client of mine, remains a favorite. 

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films breastfeeding
Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films breastfeeding
Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films postpartum
 

2. Homebirth has such a special place in my heart and this mama rocked her birth at home. She was confident, trusting, and delivered her babe in a hands-off birth.

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films homebirth midwife
Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films waterbirth
Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films natural unmedicated
 

1. And last but certainly not least, we have this. This moment, where mama and baby are both learning how to breastfeed, where papa is examining an adorable foot, where the placenta is still connected to the baby it coexisted with for oh so long... This moment is everything and this moment is fleeting, over in an instant but not soon forgotten. And this moment, and every other moment shown here, and ohsovery many more, are why I love being a Twin Cities birth photographer.

Meredith Westin Photography- Minneapolis Birth Stories and Films-1.jpg

If you're looking for a birth photographer to document your labor and delivery experience in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or the surrounding areas in Minnesota, let's talk! I'm experienced at hospital, birth center, and home births, and I've documented (and been the doula at!) VBACs, twins, surrogacy, water, medicated, epidural, same sex, and cesarean births.

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A Homebirth Transfer in the Twin Cities | Evelyn's Birth Story

Evelyn Lucy | July 27th, 2018 | 10:46 am

In mama's words: "Little Evelyn Lucy surprised us at the end of labor. She decided during pushing to flip footling breech. And although her homebirth ended in a cesarean, I had the most amazing and intense birthing experience. I had my incredible husband around, two skilled and supportive midwives, and one of my best friends as my doula. I loved our birth and love our littlest lady even more."

Welcome to the world, Evelyn! We're so glad you're here! 

A HANDFUL OF SNEAK PEEK IMAGES LIKE THESE ARE DELIVERED WITHIN 24 HOURS OF BABY'S BIRTH. YOUR Package also includes COMPLIMENTARY PRENATAL AND POSTPARTUM DOCUMENTARY MINI-SESSIONS AND A FULL GALLERY OF IMAGES FROM YOUR BIRTH WITH A FULL PRINT RELEASE.

CONTACT ME TO LEARN MORE.

A Surrogate Pregnancy and Birth in Minnesota | The Birth Stories of Kai and Claire

May 20th, 2018 | 3: 36 am + 3:44 am

To learn more about Yelena, the babies' surrogate, visit her amazing website.

I’m a writer by trade. This means I usually pack a lot of information in as few inches of text as possible. Why? Short attention spans. But this post deserves inches galore in order to get a very specific point across: if you have the patience to get through these 1,200 words, you will have experienced just 1/1,000th of the patience and commitment needed to have a baby via surrogacy. Give me 5 minutes of your time and I’ll tell you about an amazing surrogacy journey years in the making.

Let me preface by saying that I can only speak to my part in this story. I was the baby oven. The couple’s journey was far longer with its own unique set of emotional, physical and financial challenges.

Becoming a surrogate was not an insta-decision. Ten years ago doctors said I may have trouble getting pregnant. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome and was morbidly obesity. Five years later and 150 pounds lighter, I got pregnant a month after we started trying. Having a child is unlike anything I’ve experienced (and I’ve experienced some amazing things), and it’s hard to really understand that until you’re holding your newborn child.

Fast-forward about four years. I saw a Facebook post about surrogacy and thought, “What if I could use my newfound health to help someone experience parenthood?” And from that moment, no one could talk me out of it.

Through a referral from a friend, I connected with a wonderful agency in Chicago that would help match me to a couple. When being matched, you definitely want to work with someone who feels “right” since you’re dedicating so much time to the process and putting your health at risk. I was looking for someone optimistic and easygoing. I picked Zach and Devin for these reasons and so many more.

When you choose a couple, many ‘what ifs’ follow: what if their clinic doesn’t accept me due to my medical history? What if the couple doesn’t want to work with me? What if we ultimately don’t click? What if the embryos don’t stick? It’s a leap of faith for all involved.

After our first Skype ‘date,’ I was extremely excited and hopeful they would choose me as their surrogate. Looking back now, I feel so lucky that Zach and Devin picked me. Once matched, I went through physical and psychological evaluations to make sure I was prepared for surrogacy. We got through the contractual paperwork fairly quickly (which is not always the case for other matches). Most importantly, we agreed on the primary issue: they will take the babies and I will not.

Once the paperwork was signed, I started giving myself shots to prepare for embryo transfer. I gave myself a shot every morning for one month – I am still surprised I had it in me to do that! Anyone who has ever gone through the in-vitro fertilization process understands all too well.

On September 26, 2017, the doctor in Chicago transferred two embryos – one boy and one girl. The eggs came from one donor (not me) and the sperm came from both fathers, meaning each father would have a biological child and the twins would technically be half-siblings because they have the same biological mother. The hardest part came next: the two-week wait to find out if I was pregnant. I did everything I could to provide these embryos with the most inviting uterus they have ever encountered. I peed on more pregnancy tests than I want to admit. With each pregnancy test, the positive line got darker and darker. We felt both hesitant and excited. It wasn’t until we saw two little gummy bears on the first ultrasound that it really sunk in that we were pregnant.

At first the weeks went by slowly. I was very sick until well into the second trimester. I couldn’t look at food without throwing up. I went through some pretty difficult things physically but I woke up every morning, stood in front of the mirror and told myself, “Just one more day.” When you are doing something for a greater purpose, you surprise yourself with how much you can handle. Zach and Devin were extremely supportive and loving toward me — a random stranger that decided to infiltrate their life during a very vulnerable time. I honestly could not have asked for more support from them and their family. They kept in constant contact throughout the pregnancy, drove five hours each way for many ultrasounds and included me in their baby shower.

Once we hit the third trimester, reality set in that two amazing humans were about to make their debut. Throughout the pregnancy, I made it clear that I wanted to have as natural of a birth as possible and Zach and Devin were supportive. I had my son at a birthing center and was unmedicated. Although twins pose many more challenges than a singleton, I still wanted to have a vaginal birth if the stars aligned. During my 35th week, the dads decided to travel to the Twin Cities and camp out so they could be present for the labor. The following week, a doctor recommended induction to make sure both babies could continue growing properly outside the womb. I knew that an induction could potentially mean using Pitocin and inevitably an epidural, so we decided to break my water first to see if we could get the labor started without meds.

After breaking my water, I went through about 10 hours of contractions until they slowed to a stop. Pitocin was our only choice to get things going and boy did it ever! My sister, doula, Zach and Devin helped me tremendously throughout the worst of it. Although I really wanted to have another unmedicated labor, the pain of the Pitocin-induced contractions was too much to bear. I got an epidural and let me just say, that option (when needed) is magical! Within a few hours, I was ready to give birth and was wheeled into the operating room (where twins are delivered due to the possibility of complications).

The dads and Meredith, our birth photographer, joined me. I am so incredibly happy that we decided to hire Meredith because these are moments we could not have captured on our own. The twins were born vaginally eight minutes apart in the early morning hours of May 20, 2018. Kai and Claire weighed 4lbs 8oz and 4lbs 10oz, respectively. Neither of them needed oxygen or a feeding tube – just a little time in the NICU to adjust to feedings and pass all necessary tests.

This process has been nothing short of amazing. As a surrogate, you go through a lot of ups and downs physically and emotionally. Sometimes you’re not quite sure if you can handle one more day. But the day you see the intended parents holding their newborn children… that day makes every second of hardship worth it. Getting to see Zach and Devin hold Kai and Claire those first moments will forever be a highlight of my life. There is truly no experience like it.
— Yelena, Claire and Kai's surrogate

Welcome to the world, Kai and Claire! We're oh so glad that you're here.

Interested in learning more? Contact Meredith!

Surrounded by Family and Friends at Roots Community Birth Center | The Birth Story of Robyn Quincia Zakiyah

June 11th, 2018 | 7:57 pm

Welcome to the world, Robyn! We're so glad you're here!

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHED? TALK TO MEREDITH TODAY.

I'M HAPPY TO CAPTURE YOUR BIRTH AT THE FOLLOWING HOSPITALS: 

Burnsville Ridges, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, Maple Grove Hospital, Methodist Hospital, North Memorial Health Hospital, Regina Hospital in Hastings, Regions Hospital, Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, St. Johns Hospital, The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital (Fairview Riverside), The Mother Baby Center at Abbot Northwestern, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy Hospital, The Mother Baby Center at United, and Woodwinds.

I ALSO LOVE DOCUMENTING AT THESE BIRTH CENTERS: 

Health Foundations Birth Center, Minnesota Birth Center (Minneapolis), Minnesota Birth Center (St. Paul), Roots Community Birth Center, and Willow Birth Center.

IN ADDITION TO HOSPITALS AND BIRTH CENTERS, I ALSO LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING BIRTHS AT HOME (ASSISTED HOMEBIRTH OR UNASSISTED/FREEBIRTH):

Dearborn Midwives, Geneabirth, Mandala Midwifery Care, Modern Midwifery, North Star Midwifery, Peacefully Born Traditional Midwifery, Twin Cities Midwifery, and more!