Our son, Axton Jeremiah Morgan, was born in our home on February 17th, 2021.
Here is his birth story. (yes, the home birth was planned)!
Five days before our due date, on a Friday(February 13th), I started getting contractions for several hours that didn’t get intense or get any shorter than 15 minutes apart… They were the fun contractions that had me wondering if it was time yet! Then over the weekend and next few days I had more contractions like that, but never felt like I was in labor.. On that Monday, the 16th, I had just started to get the “I’m over being pregnant” feeling... I was fearful and worried about being able to handle the pain, knowing we were doing a home birth, that was totally opposite of what I had for Oaklynn- in the hospital with an epidural and being induced, this time around felt like the fear of the unknown, since it was going to be a totally different experience.
Well, my midwife, Christina, came for a routine appointment on Tuesday, contractions still were on and off, nothing major yet.. But I cried it out the day before and even during my appointment, feeling the fears creeping in and taking over my mind. I listened to Christina as she calmed me down with realistic expectations and encouraging words. I called my doula, Lenna, and she also spoke really great words of encouragement to me, and reminded me that I CAN do this. I went over my affirmations and prayed over my labor and felt like I could finally surrender it to the Lord, trusting the process, and trusting everything will be ok.
Later that night, around 11:00pm as we were going to sleep and turning off our episode of Ultimate Survivor ... I laid down with VERY intense cramping. I tried to fall asleep because that was the advice from my midwife and doula, if it was late at night… but I could not get comfortable enough to relax laying down through the cramping/contraction. The cramping contractions did not let up and wouldn’t give me a break in between it felt like. I finally texted Lenna around 11:30 and she called to see what was going on then said I should just try to go back to sleep if I can. I couldn’t, so I got in the shower and worked through the contractions for about half an hour... and the feeling hit me, “this might be it”. I remember smiling but also feeling emotional but just ready. Hoping that this was it. Got out of the shower and tried to lay down but could NOT. Taylor went into his own nesting mode back while I was in the shower, then he took a little nap in case this was going to be it. I walked the house, trying to relax and breathe through the contractions that were now feeling less like cramps and more like back and full stomach contractions that were increasing in intensity. I began to over analyze, telling myself this isn’t it, called Lenna and told her not to come yet, they weren’t too bad yet.. I just remember thinking there’s no way it could be happening so fast and so intensely, there should be more of a warm up phase. I just had some cramping an hour ago, it isn’t time to tell Christina or Lenna to come yet. Then just before 1am I walked into our room and woke Taylor up. I said, “Ok, get up! This is NOT a drill! I need your help to get through these contractions.” I went on my knees at the foot of our bed and tried to breathe and relax through them, while Taylor tried to comfort me, but they were starting to take my breath away and I was working pretty hard through them. I texted Lenna that I couldn’t sleep and had to walk or be on my knees... Taylor talked to her on the phone and said she should come. Taylor started our contraction timer and they were about 2-4 minutes apart, lasting a minute long.. It was SO intense already! The app was saying “head to the hospital”! I turned on the office for a little bit but soon couldn't even focus on that anymore either.
But I was still in denial… Taylor texted Christina just to update her, but I didn’t want everyone here too early! She called and said “well it sounds like you’re working pretty hard through your contractions, not like what you texted me, so I am going to get ready to head over, and I will wait outside if you really don’t want me inside yet”. After we hung up and I knew everyone was coming I think I felt better because even though I was in denial, I also knew that these contractions were super super hard. Everyone got here around 2am and it was literally night and day different experiencing my contractions with Lenna’s counter pressure versus without it!! After she was there I was asking if this was normal for me not to have as much pain.. I was expecting SO MUCH worse. It was hard and super intense, but I had built it up so much in my head and had gotten so worried leading up to it that it was kind of nice to realize my fears were worse than the reality (especially with Lenna’s help… like seriously I could not have done it without her there... and only at this stage in labor). I was moving positions from hands and knees to standing and leaning over my birthing ball while Lenna squeezed the heck out of my hips (her poor wrists and hands)!!!
But I just remember it being so peaceful and just waiting and working together with everyone who cared so much about us!
At about 3am we called my mom and asked her to come so that if Oaklynn woke up she would be here to help. Oaklynn did wake up and came in and was totally fine just being there, she kept comforting me and laying down with Taylor on the bed. It was adorable and I love that she got to feel welcome and be a part of those moments…
Later when things started to get more intense and I felt so much pressure from his head, I asked to get in the tub and they were worried I wouldn’t make it in time, but they started filling it anyway. I got in, my contractions slowed wayyy down... Oaklynn got in her swim diaper and came in with me and splashed around, she loved it! Taylor played the office episode where Dwight and Michael have a watermelon baby they are practicing for Jan's baby… and we all got a good laugh out of that! I needed that laugh!
After about 45 minutes my midwife suggested that I get out and see if things pick back up. After a few minutes of quiet rest sitting, sipping on some mama chia seed, Christina asked if it would be ok if LeeAnn (her assistant) prayed for me... I wanted to cry, I was so thankful to have someone pray out loud over me.. it was such a beautiful and peaceful moment I will never forget...
I didn’t want to be checked, because I was so nervous that after all of that work I would hardly be dilated… so we waited a little and I rested snuggling with Taylor on the bed, while sweet Lenna helped with more counter pressure. Laying down was the most uncomfortable and hard to work through! Once I was done resting and feeling too uncomfortable, Christina suggested checking me and not telling me how far dilated I was if it was bad news… so I finallyyy agreed!
But it was good news! I was already 7cm and my cervix was really loose/effaced! She said it seemed like his head was acynclitic (tilted to one side), and suggested I do some hip opening poses to get him to move into the right position. So I got in the shower, while Lenna and Taylor took turns holding the shower head with hot water running on my back while doing the hip openers on both sides for 15 minutes each and feeding me little bits of oatmeal The hot water was so nice and so relaxing. After that she suggested the polar bear pose (hands and face down, butt up in the air)... I decided to put headphones in and listen to some worship music. The position got really uncomfortable, but was a nice rest for and was relaxing and peaceful.
I remember telling myself it was ok, and that I was doing this and that he was ok and just listening to the words of the music and thinking thoughts of peace over me while worshipping. Trying to embrace the contractions and breathe him down.
After 30 minutes of that, they suggested I lay on my side hugging the body pillow to help him move into the right position. Well I felt like I needed to use the restroom, so I said I could do their suggestion after that. But once I was on the toilet, I literally just felt like I wanted to stay there through the contractions because they got so intense and started to feel like his head was coming down. At this point my water still had not broken, and I still had not lost any mucus plug…. Which was concerning to me, but my midwife did not seem concerned so I tried not to think about it. After a little while I finally lost the mucus plug and I think this was the time where I started getting shaky from how intense these contractions felt… I started to cry and say I couldn’t do it anymore, but everyone reaffirmed me that I could and that he was so close to being here. I was tired of sitting on the toilet and stood at the foot of the bed, hanging onto Taylor’s neck with all my weight.
Headphones went back in, these contractions were just boom back to back to back … so intense!!
I knew this was getting close and I think this is when I went into transition, feeling ready to push. I started pushing and finally my water broke! I kept pushing for maybe 20 minutes on hands and knees/standing hanging onto Taylor.. Then I felt so weak that I couldn’t push and support myself, so I laid against Taylor, both of us sitting at the foot of the bed, and Christina helped coach me through pushes. For some reason I couldn’t figure out the right area to push… I think because I was so tired, and with Oaklynn I was numb from the epidural so I didn't know how it should feel? After she helped me figure it out I was making so much more progress and they said they could see his head coming! I was sooo wiped out and ready to be done, but she kept coaching me through the pushes so that I didn’t push too much and only with the contractions. My legs were cramping SO bad, poor Lenna was massaging them as best she could. But I felt like I couldn’t even push because my legs were so dang tight!!! I think I pushed for a total of 30-45 minutes. Oh my goodness the ring of fire was SO bad, but only lasted a short time, THANK GOD… and as soon as I felt his head come out and then shoulders, it was like a huge sigh of relief and just accomplishment. She handed him to me but I felt too weak to grab him, so Taylor helped, and we held him close, right away we asked for Oaklynn to come in. She was there within the first few seconds of us holding him! It was the sweetest!
We were immediately all together for the first time, and it was so magical and beautiful. I remember her kissing him and saying how cute he was and wanting to hold him. I remember everything being so calm and peaceful in the room and in the house. He was born at 11:51am, weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long. I delivered the placenta, everything went smoothly. All three girls were awesome at cleaning and making it look like I did not even just have a baby in the house! We sat on the bed together and took some photos, ate some food that my mom brought from the Habit, and just enjoyed those first hours together. It all seemed so surreal and amazing that all that hard work was so worth the prize and so beautiful to feel strong and empowered... just that feeling of heck yes I did it!!! I am so thankful that we had a home birth. I am so thankful for Lenna. I am so thankful for Lee-ann. I am so thankful for Christina. I am so thankful for my mom who helped us during labor with Oakylnn and the house and food. And Taylor's mom who stayed over the first night to help with Oaklynn and everything else!
Right afterwards, I felt like I was done having kids and could never go through that again… but we will see. After some time
(4 months now) I am already thinking maybe I’m able to do that again, I feel so strong looking back at that time and remembering the pain, but also the joy and the love and realizing I actually did it.
Taylor weighing our boy!
My midwife, Christina Sanders (every home birthing mama needs Christina)!!
...Alright mama, you have to plan your outfit first!!! Most of the time you can find something super easily for the kids and your guy to coordinate with your outfit! You want to love what you are wearing and feel your best! They don't have those same problems when it comes to what they wear, usually!
Pay attention to things that make your kids smile the week leading up to the session! For example: if your two year old thinks it's hilarious when you quack like a duck (lame example, I know)... but then you can go into the session with a sure-fire way to get those natural giggles and smiles and give the kid some quacks! The last thing you want is to start your session with is a shy kid who won't want to "smile for the photo" on command... so don't command it, be fun and be silly with them! Let your photographer know of any of these secret tips to get your kids to smile!
Remember that it isn't important to look at the camera for every photo... the snuggly ones are just as cute and make for a good variety in your gallery!
Remember to get individuals with each of your kids!!! These ones are so special!
Keep it light and keep it silly! Don't take it too seriously, trust your photographer, and go with the flow! If your kids want to play the first half of the session, then PLAY!
Your photographer can capture some great candids while they are warming up.
Sneak in some of just the two of you....where your family all started!
Bring the right kind of treats/snacks! Nothing that turns their mouths colors, stains, nothing too messy. Good snacks are: raisins, fruit snacks, string cheese (handed over bit by bit). Or any of their favorite snacks as long as they don't leave a stain or change their tongue blue!
Choose a location and outfits that best fit your family and your personalities!
Cherish these memories and have a great time with your family!
I also give all of my clients guides to help prep even more with more tips like these!
Well this gorgeous wedding has been sitting in my drafts waiting to be finished for... well, let's just say it is now their 2 year wedding anniversary! Happy Anniversary to my brother and his beautiful wife, Baitiare. We love you guys!
Their wedding was SO much fun and I am glad that we not only got to celebrate with them, and we got watch Oaklynn as one of their flower girls, but we also got to document their day. I took their photos and Taylor did their video!
It was a blast, their day could not have been any more beautiful.
Baitiare has such elegant and beautiful taste and it definitely shows in all of her decorations and the dresses and just everything! Baitiare's family was so much fun! The party was unreal, I mean it is always a party with her awesome family!
Someone even ripped their pants on the dance floor (our youngest brother, of course).. but that's how much fun everyone was having! I will leave you to it, letting the photos of it all speak for themselves!
I have enjoyed reliving it through these pictures that I finally
am getting around to posting!! Happy anniversary Billy and Baitiare!
Romantic beach engagement sessions are absolutely one of my favorites! Nicole and Collin met me at Solana Beach for their session- and we had SO much fun! Nicole and Collin met at a Las Vegas trip, where they were not looking for love- and still found it! Collin proposed to Nicole right here on this beach, HOW freaking romantic is that!? To have your engagement session at the same place you got engaged!?
These two were down to have a good time, and so easy going and had fun with my prompts- making my job so EASY! I love the photos we got from this session and can't wait to see all of their wedding plans come to life in October! Thanks again Nicole and Collin for exploring the ocean with me! I hope to work with you again in the future! I wish you all the best in your journey together! <3 -Karissa
Lilly and Henry are such adorable and active little kids! We had so much fun chasing them around while we snuck in these amazing pictures of their adorable family! I absolutely LOVE Lani's boho style dress, especially with these colors in that sunset glow! I love all the sweet snuggles and kisses in these photos! Thank you Hacinas family for letting me capture these memories of you! I had so much fun, as always!