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Tuesday
Jun252013

Birth Photography Mission

The first time I photographed a birth, I was overwhelmed by the emotion of the event.  I was working as a photographer with a women’s health and natural birth clinic outside of Antigua, Guatemala.  It was beautiful and transformative.  I remember thinking what an extraordinary thing it is to be a woman. 

 

Then while working as a hospital newborn photographer in Atlanta last year, I was struck by the difference in the birth stories that I heard.  Each mom seemed to have had an individual experience that was challenging and special in its own way. 

 

Now I am in graduate school studying photography and I find myself again returning to document birth.  I am developing my master’s project around birth culture in the U.S. and how women are giving birth today.  I hope to represent a full spectrum of experiences, like giving birth with the support of a doula.

 

I wanted to ask the Lumina community if any moms would be willing to let me photograph your baby’s birth as part of my project.  I recognize how personal birth is, and so I would be grateful to be a part of your journey.  If you would be open to sharing your birth story with me, I would be happy to create a disk of images for you and your family.  I am available to make pictures until July 14, before I leave Atlanta.   

 

I would love the opportunity to talk to you.  I can be reached at 770-547-4934 or by email at jess.a.suarez@gmail.com.  (Please check out my Guatemala birth photos at http://jessicasuarezphotography.com/guatemala-birth-stories/

Tuesday
Jun182013

"Be Encouraged"

Am I doing this right? This question crossed my mind in various forms multiple times a day when I became a new mother.

Am I feeding her enough? Am I feeding her too much? Is she sleeping too long? Did I give her enough tummy time today? Is that a hiccup or is she gasping for air? Why is her nose running? Should I call her doctor? Should I take her to the ER?

Am I doing this right? I couldn’t understand how some people made motherhood look so easy. It wasn’t easy for me. I felt that I must be doing something wrong.  I would often think back to my motherhood role models; my grandmother, my mother, and Claire Huxtable. They each cooked three meals a day, laundry was always washed, folded, and neatly put away, and they made time to sew, knit, and lead the school PTA. What was wrong with me? I just wasn’t finding motherhood as easy as they seemed to. Am I doing this right? 

As it turned out, I was doing it right! More than just doing it right, I was actually doing a really good job! I kept my daughter well fed, rested, happy, and healthy. I just needed some encouragement and support to help me realize those things.

The Encouraged Moms support group is a group that will help mothers who had similar experiences as mine. It’s a group that provides the opportunity to share experiences, build relationships, and become empowered.

As a new mother you don’t have to do it alone. There is support in the Encouraged Moms group to reassure you; and remember that yes you are doing this right, and you’re doing a good job, too.

Written by Tiffany D. Davis, Encouraged Moms Support Group Creator

Tuesday
Jun042013

Scheduling My Maternity Photo Shoot

As specialists in maternity and First Year portrait photography, the question that gets put to us here at Saldivia-Jones Photography on a daily basis is, “When do I need to schedule my maternity portrait shoot?” When is the best time to have maternity portraits made?  There is no single answer to this question; however, for every individual there is a right answer. 

On our website, we suggest that 28 to 32 weeks is best for most women, but even that is a wide margin. From your sixth to your eighth month, your body, belly and energy levels will change tremendously.  During this time, your baby is growing rapidly in preparation for his or her new life.  The many summer-saults your little one might perform will dictate when we photograph you. 

From a photographic perspective, we must balance the size of your beautiful belly with the position of your baby. We list 28 to 32 weeks specifically because within that time frame we generally reach that balance: It’s very obvious that your pregnant, but your baby is still riding high on your torso, creating that soft gravid curvature that makes our portraits “pop.”

“But wait Lena, I’m having twins.  I’m only 24 weeks and I feel huge!”

Great! We’ll want to schedule you closer to 26 weeks. Twins or triplets demand that your maternity portraits are made earlier in your pregnancy, not just due to the size of your belly, but also so you have the necessary reserve of energy to stand through an hour-long photo shoot.

“I’m 36 weeks and I just discovered your work. Is it too late to schedule a portrait session?” 

Are you having your first or second (or third) baby?  “First” baby bellies tend to be higher and smaller than second and third babies. Add to that a wide range of poses and lighting setups that minimize any baby drop (we’ll get to that in a second), and the answer is no, it’s not too late!  But let’s get you in ASAP! 

“You know, I want to get these portraits made, but I just don’t feel like my belly is big enough!”

Indeed! You absolutely know your body and your comfort level better than we do, but keep in mind that size isn’t everything.  Position on your body and curvature count a lot more than size; and if you look at the proofs with us and you feel like your belly could use a little more “umph,” just say the word.  Using her deft touch with Photoshop, Lena can usually “pop that bump” on many of our poses.

Once you reach the last month of your pregnancy, your baby is normally turning head-down and this turn into vertex position normally pulls your belly out and downward. This change makes maternity portraiture more challenging, but doable if you’ve just got to have portraits made.

Remember, the earlier we schedule your portrait session, the more energy and stamina you’ll have throughout the shoot. Carrying a baby is a lot of work, and we want your shoot to be fun and uplifting, so coming in during your 7th month generally guarantees you’ve got the gas to pose, flex and “work it” for the hour-long shoot.  

Remember, each pregnancy is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and with time the elegant portraits you make with Saldivia-Jones Photography will gain value as you return to them again and again to see the heady moments before you welcomed your new baby into the world. If you’re thinking of having these portraits made, call sooner rather than later. We’re happy to set up a consultation with you where we can discuss, among other things, the best time to schedule your maternity portrait session.

By Stephen and Lena Saldivia-Jones

Please click here to view our portfolio and learn more about maternity and First Year portraits.

Tuesday
Mar122013

Honey! Bee Healthy

When your care provider suggests you only ingest clear liquids during labor and birth, you now have a fun and flavorful option!  Earlier this week I had the privilege of interviewing Grant Giddens, the owner of Atlanta Bee Company and Hotlanta Honey.  Atlanta Bee Company is a local honey manufacturer currently operating from 14 acres in Dahlonega, Georgia, and expanding soon to the Montaluce Wine Vineyards.

 

The topic of our conversation was honey sticks.  A honey stick, also known as a honey straw, is a great pick-me-up for pregnant and laboring women.  Each stick contains a teaspoon of instant energy replacement.  Grant says, “They are one of the only sugars that will be absorbed immediately into the human body.  You could almost live off honey if it had more protein.”  They do not currently offer vegan options, but they do have several yummy flavors to choose from, including orange blossom (their top-selling stick) and wildflower.  YUM!

Have you seen these sticks but were not sure how to break into the clear tube?  Click this link and Alice, the owner of Your Doula Biz, will give you a visual explanation of the proper way to eat a honey stick.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvAF-nSGcrQ

 

Remember when packing for your birth to order some honey sticks from YourBirthBag.com (starting at 10 for $2.00) or from Atlanta Bee Company (25-pack for $4.75).  And if you’re going to be out and about, pop a couple sticks in your bag for a healthy energy boost!

Please note:  Infants should not eat honey because of possible botulism, but there is no risk of harm to your fetus.

Wednesday
Feb202013

Mirena and Pregnancy

Mirena and Pregnancy

As you learn about your birth control options, it is important to understand the efficacy and safety of a product before deciding if it is right for you. Mirena is one option, used by many of the estimated 150 million women who have switched to intrauterine device (IUDs).

Mirena, a hormonal IUD, is recommended for women who have already had a child and want to prevent pregnancy for up to five years. Mirena is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, but also can come with serious side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Mirena in 2000, and it is manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Using Mirena

Mirena is a T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the uterus by a physician. Once the device is in place, women are protected against pregnancy for up to five years. Many women enjoy this long-term birth control option, because they don’t have to worry about taking a pill every day.

After childbirth, women must wait at least six weeks before beginning to use Mirena. If a woman decides she wants to become pregnant again, the device can be removed by a health care provider at any time.

In clinical trials, eight out of 10 women who wanted to become pregnant were able to get pregnant within a year of having Mirena removed.

Breast-Feeding with Mirena

Women using Mirena may breastfeed, as no adverse effects in breast-feeding performance were found in trials. There were isolated cases of decreased milk production, but no instances of negative influence on infant growth, health or development.

Bayer recommends that women tell their health care providers if they do plan on breast-feeding while using Mirena, as it does increase the risk of uterine perforation (puncture). (Mirena users who are not breast-feeding have also experienced perforation, which can result in damage to the bladder, pelvis or blood vessels.)

Pregnancy with Mirena

In rare instances, women can become pregnant while using Mirena. These pregnancies are very dangerous and typically do not survive. They can lead to infertility and even put a woman's life at risk.

Half of Mirena pregnancies are ectopic, meaning the egg is fertilized outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies require immediate medical attention, including surgery.

Other pregnancies that occur during Mirena use may end in a septic abortion, which occurs when a serious uterine infection results in septic shock, terminating the pregnancy and endangering the life of the woman.

About 6 percent of Mirena users experience spontaneous device expulsion, which means the device comes out on its own. In these cases, women can become pregnant.

Whether or not you are already a mother or plan to become a mother in the future, take time to consider carefully if Mirena's convenience is worth the risk.

 

Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Drugwatch.com, specializing in breaking news about prescription drugs, medical devices and consumer safety.

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