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Mae’s Birth Story

Sorry if this is considered “over-sharing” but so many friends have asked about Mae’s birth so I thought it may be worth a post. Here it goes, for those who are interested…

She was only two days late but I remember feeling like she was never going to come. I realize the impossibility of that statement and I realized it then but still.

I went into labor around 4:30am on Friday January 17th. I downloaded an app to track my contractions and they were getting progressively stronger so I knew Mae was on her way. I let Dave sleep as long as he could before telling him what was happening since I knew he was in for a long day!

I was already scheduled for my weekly exam that morning so I called, told them I was having contractions so they said to come on in. We grabbed our hospital bag (just in case) and the yoga ball and away we went.

When they checked me at 9am, I was about 3.5cm dilated and my contractions were about five minutes apart. The doc said I could choose to go home or go to the hospital. Home was about twenty minutes away and the hospital was about two so I picked the hospital. Our original plan was to labor at home as long as possible but twenty minutes home to labor more then need to drive twenty back didn’t sound like a good plan.

Within the 15 minutes it took us to get to the hospital, get hooked up to a monitor and get checked I went from 3.5 to 5cm and the contractions were beginning to pick up steam. At the time, I was glad because I’d heard stories of people being sent home if they weren’t in active labor. Again, home and back was not something I wanted to do. I was also relieved that they had a room open as it was a full moon the night before and their 12 rooms have been known to fill up fast!

Since leaving the dr’s office I’d been keeping my doula, Bonnie, posted on how things were going. Thankfully she arrived just as the contractions became more painful.

Around noon, I was admitted to Room 5. Bonnie, Dave and I got to work. Since I had chosen not to receive any interventions (pitocin, pain meds, epidural etc…) it was actually very quiet and peaceful in our room. I did have a short visit from my mom and dad but I was quick to kick them out because I needed to stay focused and visitors made that difficult.

I spent the next couple of hours on the yoga ball with Bonnie and Dave massaging, coaching and just providing the encouragement I needed. As things progressed, I moved into the hospital bed where I just rocked back and forth for what seemed like an eternity. I do not know how I would have ever made it through that day without Dave’s support and Bonnie’s gentle affirmations. I remember watching the sky outside change colors as the contractions became more intense. I could tell by the light that it must have been around 5:30.

At about 6pm and 7cm, things were getting very uncomfortable so when the doctor stopped in I asked him how much longer he thought we had left. His guess was five hours. After laboring 13 hours, I knew I did not have 5 left in me. Thankfully he was wrong and  I was right. I started feeling very nauseous (in addition to the labor pains) and truly felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I told Bonnie and Dave that if I wasn’t ready to push soon I wanted the epidural. I think they probably laughed. I was 8.5cm dilated by that point. So the epidural was out of the question.

It wasn’t long after that when the nurses changed shifts and things started moving pretty fast. I had an incredible nurse named Jade who I will never forget. She got there around 7pm and I told her I had to start pushing or else (not sure what my alternate plan was). She informed me I was at 9.5cm, did a little magic, called it 10 and we started pushing.

The rest is unfortunately really fuzzy but I do remember the dr showing up about half way through, the nurses telling me to reach down and feel Mae’s head, holding my breath, pushing with everything I had in me and feeling her wiggle out.

It was 8:11pm and Mae arrived weighing 7 pounds and eleven ounces and measuring 19 inches long.

I must’ve gone into some sort of shock after that because the next thing I can remember is seeing her dressed, somewhat cleaned up and glossy eyed from the ointment they used. Thankfully, Dave was by my side the entire time so he was able to cut the cord, get some video and have full recollection of those first few moments.

My initial plan was to hold off on family visiting until after Mae’s first feeding but we didn’t manage to do that right away so we let them come on in. My dear friend Kat was there to document those first moments. In hindsight, I wish I’d had her there sooner for Mae’s birth since I don’t have any memory of my first 15 minutes with her. I’ll probably regret that forever.

On the topic of regret, another huge one I have is having so many visitors the next day. I think 16 people came and some stayed most of the day. This is in addition to the doctors, nurses, the hearing test lady, social security rep, pediatrician, lactation consultant, hospital photographer and lab tech. It was very overwhelming and I don’t think I got to spend any time with Mae in my arms until almost 3pm. I still get pretty emotional every time I think about it. If I had it to do all over again, I would only allow two visitors at a time in short blocks. It was just too much.

The next morning we made sure it was just the three of us. It was sweet but short as they discharged us fairly early. I remember holding her and crying heavy tears as we left Room 5. I was forever changed in that room. I have never been more grateful and humbled by anything in my life and I’ve continued to feel the weight of that every day since.


sarah - you are my hero!March 6, 2014 – 2:11 am

Kathy Cornett - I enjoyed the share!March 6, 2014 – 2:12 am

melissa - Gorgeous post! Hubby and I are trying to get pregnant. looking forward to my own experience! 🙂March 6, 2014 – 4:53 am

Erika - I just had my baby girl on feb 24…..this post made me weep for sure. I totally relate to and understand your regret with visitors. As sweet and wonderful as people are…it was just too much. And, I also just balled my eyes out in that we were discharged early too.

This was beautifully written…and I relate to it so so much. So glad both you and baby Mae are doing well.March 6, 2014 – 7:27 am

Alisia Thompson - SO SO SO beautiful! Thanks for sharing your birthstory, I am in total awe of your natural birth! I love how peaceful you look in these pictures 🙂March 6, 2014 – 2:59 pm

courtney - beautiful! Motherhood is amazing. Welcome to the club! Proud to have you! xxooMarch 6, 2014 – 9:27 pm

Britney - So beautiful. There will always moments you will wish you had on film but just know that being truly present is the most important of all 🙂 This coming from someone who who give her right arm to have photographs of Nora being born in car!March 17, 2014 – 9:22 pm

Anna - Sweet story! Proud of you for makin it through drug free. P.s. I also had Jade, twice…not for the delivery but right before and then after…she was awesome!!! You never forget the nurses there! 🙂March 18, 2014 – 2:26 pm

You’re Almost Here


To my sweet Mae,

I am having a hard time believing that you’re almost here. All of the days, hours and minutes I have spent dreaming, planning and preparing for you are almost over and somehow it seems more surreal than ever.

You are truly a miracle. Your dad and I are so thankful that God has demonstrated His perfect love and kindness in choosing us to care for you. We know that you are His child, created according to His perfect plan. Our prayer is that He will give us the daily wisdom we need to raise you according to His ways and that you will soon come to know how deeply cherished you are and that you will never ever be alone.

I have loved you from the very first beat of your heart. You have already turned my entire world around and changed who I am from the inside out. Just knowing you has broken me and shown me more about love than I knew possible. I long for the moment that I can finally see your precious face, breath you in and hold you close.

I am convinced you will look just like daddy. He is so enamored by you already. Every day he leans down to my belly and whispers how much he loves you. I can’t wait for the first time he gets to cradle you up in his arms, it is the very best place in the whole world, I promise.

We have so many fun things planned for you. Your first trip to the beach, your first bike ride…Daddy wants to teach you everything there is to know about music and I can’t wait to get a camera in your hands and see the world  through your eyes.

My precious daughter, I love you more than words can say.  I am anxiously awaiting your arrival and I am ready for our adventures together to begin.

Love Always, Mommy








Laura - Beautiful, Jessica! Mae is already so loved and blessed to have you as her parents. This is going to be so special for her to look back on someday 🙂January 14, 2014 – 5:34 pm

shea christine - the sweetest words..January 14, 2014 – 6:32 pm

Mary - You just made my eyes water. You’re going to be fantastic. Those first moments are some of my most precious memories.January 14, 2014 – 11:41 pm

caroline - Wow, Jessica, so beautifully written. Love to see you taking the time to document everything. It will be so meaningful to her later and already says the tupe of parents you’ll be. Cannot wait to see photos of her!January 15, 2014 – 5:16 am

LittleBabyC’s Shower

This day was undoubtedly one of the best I’ve ever had.

I am still in awe of the kindness and generosity that was shown to me and #littlebabyc by some of my closest girlfriends.

Everything was truly perfect.

I should have expected nothing less from the collaboration of my darling hostesses Sarah Tucker, Halle Frey & Mary Beasley (see last pic). Mary’s famous hospitality combined with Halle’s impeccable taste for florals and design perfectly accented each of Sarah’s brilliantly thoughtful touches.

How did I get so lucky?

Every detail was so beautifully planned out, I could hardly believe my eyes.

We were greeted at the door by hand-made floral wristlets and hair clips, escorted to the sparkling fruit juice and prosecco bar where custom gold-foil napkins and wooden drink stirrers accented the yummy concoction table. Outside, there was a perfume bar that Sarah dreamed up with several of my favorite fragrances. One of my favorite elements was a table stocked with pens and wooden blocks for guests to write a note, prayer or scripture for my sweet baby girl to read someday. Then, in the backyard, one long table was set for everyone to enjoy Mary’s fabulous cooking among more of Halle’s incredible arrangements. It was every girl’s dream.

The very best part was that I got to spend a few hours celebrating #littlebabyc with some of the people I love the most. Friends and family traveled from all over to be there and it was all nearly more than I could bear. I felt like the luckiest momma-to-be there ever was.

I just wish it could have lasted forever.

But thanks to some talented friends, I have these priceless photographs that I will treasure and someday share with my daughter as I tell her all about it.

Special thanks to:
Event Design & Coordination – Sarah Tucker Events
Florals – Halle Frey
Host & Chef – Mary Beasley
Hair – Kelsey Kocavik
Shower photos – Kat Braman
Make-up & Maternity Photos – Shannon Griffin
Paper goods – Heather Davis // Paper Please
Photobooth – Sideshow Booth

To see more photos from the shower, check out hashtag #littlebabyc on instagram.



Diana Lupu - it truly was the perfect day! The pics came out amazing and baby C totally stole the show. LOVE you both so very much!!!! xoxJanuary 8, 2014 – 4:05 am

The Summer Isles - Mediterranean Wedding Inspiration in Olive, Patina, and Jade - Hey Wedding Lady - […] Wed | Olive Wreath – Photography by Kat Braman, Coordinated by Sarah Tucker Events via Little Baby Sea | Wine Cellar Ceremony – Photography by  Austin Gros, Ceremony Venue Sand Rock Farm Bed and […]February 28, 2014 – 12:02 pm

Little Baby Mae’s Mid-Century Modern Organic Neutral Nursery » Little Baby Sea - […] The letters and mirror are Anthropologie. I’m probably not capable of decorating a whole room without something originating there. The dried crown is a Flower & Fringe piece worn at my baby shower. […]March 23, 2014 – 1:18 pm

Seven Years

014Cornett-Album-SelectPhoto by Adam Barnes

Seven years ago today. Amazing how time flies…

But what I find even more amazing, is how my love for my husband has grown in these past seven years.

Throughout each year of our relationship, God has used Dave to show me new things about myself and how I’m designed. I’ve learned the true meaning of marriage and come to recognize what a precious gift my husband is.

Looking back, I would have never guessed the path our lives would take or anticipated the twists and turns along the way but I know that each one has brought us to where we are today and for that I am eternally grateful.

One of my favorite writers recently shared this thought, “True Love isn’t found, it’s carved” and I literally could not agree more.

I’m tempted to sit here and list out a hundred ways that Dave does a great job loving and serving me but that isn’t why I love him. I love him because he is a living, breathing, loving best friend that God specifically chose to carve me into who I am created to be.

On Friday evening, we drove out to the beach, laid on a towel in the sand wrapped up in each-others arms and I couldn’t help but weep at the beauty and wonder of it all. Here we are, seven years in, more in love than ever and awaiting a new adventure that is sure to be full of immense joy among immeasurable challenges. I could not be more excited.

It’s the unfolding of our love story, and thanks to a perfect God, it is so much greater than I ever could have imagined.

Shannon - This is so beautiful. Happy seven years and here is to seventy more!December 30, 2013 – 12:13 pm

Martin Drummond - Beautifully written.

Thank you.December 30, 2013 – 12:16 pm

Kat Braman - I love your heart. I feel so incredibly blessed to have both you and Dave as friends and I can’t wait to see you two love on your little girl. Happy Anniversary!December 30, 2013 – 2:24 pm

sarah - you and dave are so inspiring! can’t wait to see the ways you’ll inspire me when you become a mama (: happy anniversary!!December 31, 2013 – 12:49 pm

Traveling Italy: Pregnant

Positano via Jessica Lorren01

As far back as I can remember, I have loved traveling. Maybe not the backseat-of-the-van Dramamine-fogged family road trip kind but definitely the kind involving amazing food, scenery and new adventures. It always seems as if the memories created during traveling have a way of outlasting the ones I make in my every day life. Not sure why that is, but it’s one of the reasons I love it so much. It’s also another reason why Dave and I chose to wait seven years to start a family.

I am often amazed that my career has given us the opportunity to see so many incredible places. This past summer, I was invited to photograph my third wedding in Italy which happened to fall on my 30th birthday. With that in mind, and knowing that #littlebabyc would soon make traveling a whole different ballgame, Dave and I decided to tack sometime onto the front and back of the trip to venture around our favorite country. I will be posting some of my favorite photographs from each part of our trip on my photography blog, starting today with Sorrento.

I feel the need to preface the rest of this post by saying that I am truly head-over-heels, under a spell, in love with Italy. However, going in the middle of summer, during their busy season, pregnant was not ideal. I had no idea what I was in for. So my purpose for writing this is to give other mammas-to-be a heads-up on what to expect if they find themselves making a trip such as this one while pregnant.

1. The heat. I have never been so hot in my life. This is coming from someone who has lived all her life in South Florida. I am not sure if it was actually any hotter there but combining pregnancy with crowds, inadequate air conditioning and different cultural beliefs on personal hygiene; and it was nearly unbearable. Dave and I found ourselves spending the hottest parts of the days in our hotel room cooling off or taking turns watching our stuff/swimming just to beat the heat. So mamma’s, make sure you pack accordingly and stay hydrated!

2. The Food. The importance of eating in Italy cannot be understated. However, some of Italy’s finest fare ranks pretty high on the do-not-eat list for preggos. Finding a sandwich without  fresh mozzarella or prosciutto was a daily challenge. You’ll also want to be prepared to avoid the temptations of Italy’s favorite beverages espresso and wine. On a positive note, no doctor of mine said anything about gelato…

3. The Walking. Plan to do a lot of it. Pack comfortable shoes, even if they’re ugly. Public transportation is not pleasant and renting your own transportation could get you killed. So you’ll walk, in the heat. Again, hydration is key.

4. The Public Restrooms. Hard to find, hard to use. Plan to wait in line and while and keep hand sanitizer with you at all times.

5. The Flight. My broken tailbone may be more to blame for this than my pregnancy but those international flights were not fun. The seats felt like torture chambers and the airline food was terrible, it is very likely worth the first-class upgrade if you can swing it.

6. The Flu. The unthinkable, truly unbearable pregnant flu. Even if you are a good girl and take your prenatals every day, it can strike anytime and evidently anywhere. Be sure to pack doctor-approved medications or remedies just in case the flu finds you on your trip. Tracking down these items in another country, especially in remote parts can be quite a challenge.

Most importantly, listen to your bodies cues, take it slow, rest when you need to and have fun!!

Don’t forget to stay tuned on the photography blog for images from Venice, Positano and Capri! Fine Art prints are also available for purchase here.

Little Baby Mae’s Mid-Century Modern Organic Neutral Nursery » Little Baby Sea - […] it home it took me five days to even read it. The prints hanging above are snaps from our trip to Italy while I was pregnant with […]March 23, 2014 – 1:17 pm