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After months of waiting for my due date, January 29th came and went! I was miserable and so ready to meet this little person! I tried all of the natural ways of inducing labor and nothing worked! Squats, spicy food, getting busy! Nothing worked! So a week after my due date at 41 weeks, we headed into the hospital to be induced. I was fine with being induced since I was also induced with Addie at 41 weeks. Things went really smooth with her induction and we prayed for the same this time around!

Once my induction started, things went pretty good! I went from 2 cm to 4 cm within a couple of hours. They started pitocin and I dilated to 9 1/2 centimeters by the early night! Things seemed to be fine! I had an epidural and it was helping with the pain, but I still felt quite a bit. A lot more pain than I remembered with my girls, but I figured that was natural. After a few hours of being at 9.5 cm, my doctor and nurse realized that the last little bit of cervix wasn’t moving out of the way! Or that the baby’s head wasn’t coming down like it should! The baby was head down but he was sunny side up. Which basically meant that I could still push him out, but it would be a little bit harder! We continued to wait a little longer to see if baby would move down or if my cervix would move out of the way! Baby moved down but nothing happened with the last little bit of cervix! My nurses and doctor started asking me how big I thought the baby was. I had no idea. My belly was heavy but I had never asked my OB how big they estimated baby would be! We just assumed that the baby would be around 7 or 8lbs like our girls were.

My worst fear has always been having a c-section. I didn’t want a c-section. I had pushed and delivered my girls and I wanted to do the same this time. But after being in labor for 14 hours, I was exhausted and in so much pain even with the epidural. After chatting with my doctor, we decided that a c-section would more than likely have to happen then or later, so I chose to go ahead with it then! Being wheeled into the OR was so scary and I remember the doctors saying that they thought my epidural had come out. And I kept thinking that maybe that was why I felt so much pain with the epidural! I pretty much closed my eyes during the entire c-section until I heard them announce that it was a “big boy!” Due to him taking his first poop in the womb, they had warned us that he may or may not cry on his own. If he didn’t, they would wait to stimulate him once they checked his lungs! Amazingly, I heard him cry as soon as he was out and I saw Brian sitting near me holding him. Everything else is kind of a blur.

Things went downhill from there. Recovery was tough and probably the most pain I have ever felt in my life! We ended up in the hospital for the next 5 days! Keegan was amazing but I had some issues with blood pressure after my c-section that I’d never experienced before. We’re still monitoring it even now that I’m home! Apparently high blood pressure can be an issue after delivery even if it wasn’t during pregnancy!  This entire pregnancy and delivery was completely different and not what I expected at all! This little guy definitely made his own path into the world!

We are so happy and in love with him and it was all worth it!  Meet Keegan Grey! He weighed 9lbs 7oz at birth and was 22 inches long!

 

A few days before Christmas, I met with these guys in Durham, North Carolina for their American Tobacco engagement session! Amazingly, this was my first time having a photo session at the American Tobacco campus close to Christmas. Seeing all of the holiday decor was a real treat and added a little background sparkle for Travious and Mike’s portraits!

These two are engaged and as always, we’re super excited for them! I just adore how much fun these two have when they’re together! There were lots of laughter throughout our session and some very sweet kisses as well! They are so cute together.

We can’t wait to celebrate with these guys a little later in the year! Cheers to the soon to be newlyweds! 

When Brian and I were planning our wedding a few years ago, I knew that I wanted to do a first look session. Like most girls, I had dreamed of the moment that my future husband would see me for the first time on our wedding day! I imagined that I’d enter the room in a beautiful wedding gown and see him at the alter with tears streaming down his face. What I didn’t imagine was the time of day we’d get married, the fun cocktail hour events that would follow, where we’d get married or that it would be a room full of people watching as well. So when I actually met my future husband and started planning our wedding day, I knew that a few factors about our day would lead us to doing a first look session.

Location

The wedding venue that we chose was awesome for what we wanted our day to be. We wanted the option of having an indoor or outdoor ceremony. The country club had an indoor ballroom for the ceremony and/or reception, an outdoor patio beside the pool for cocktail hour and an outdoor pavilion that we could use for the ceremony. Being that our wedding was in August, we decided to have our ceremony and reception indoors with cocktail hour on the patio. But outside of the actual space, there weren’t a lot of pretty spaces around the venue to use for portraits. It was really just a parking lot and then a housing neighborhood! Not exactly what I wanted for us or our wedding party photos. For this reason, we added an extra 1-2 hours in our timeline so that we could drive to one of my favorite spots in downtown Raleigh with the wedding party and our photographers.

Just the two of you

Even though the wedding party was there to make sure that we made it to the exact spot, they all left us alone for a few minutes during our actual first look. Even though the photographers were there, it felt like it was just the two of us! It’s important that you have a moment with the just two of you on your wedding day. Once you reach the ceremony, there will be a lot of people around for the rest of the day.

Daylight

Depending on the time of day that you choose for your wedding ceremony, you may run out of daylight. Being that we’re primarily natural light photographers, we make it our goal to use natural light for most of the portraits. Especially the bride and groom, wedding party and sometimes the family portraits too! Our ceremony was set for 4 p.m., so we were fine on both sides for lighting. But if you’re planning a late ceremony, especially during the winter, you might want to consider a first look. We can always set up flash and other lights, but nothing replaces the look of outdoor photos during sunset.

Attending Cocktail Hour

Who doesn’t love cocktail hour? It’s the first time that all of the guest get to mingle and enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres. It’s also another reason we chose to do a first look. We knew that it was going to be hot on the patio during cocktail hour and so we brought in one of the Sweet Water Ice bikes along with a band to keep our family and friends cool and entertained. We also wanted to get out there and enjoy italian ices and listen to our uniquely organized band! We say unique organized because all three of the guys are from different bands. One is Brian’s childhood friend, one is our drummer from church and one is from the band Cameo. So if you’re planning something cool for cocktail hour or if you just want to mingle with your guest, we suggest taking as many portraits prior the ceremony as you can!

Here are a few photos from weddings where the bride and groom did a first look session last year!

McAllister and Cornell had their first look session outside of their family’s home. In addition to their first look, they also took all of their family portraits and wedding party photos prior to the ceremony. This allowed us lots of time after the ceremony for just the two of them in downtown Raleigh.

These guys had their first look session outside of the Rand Bryan House in Garner, NC. We found a spot to hide the groom while the bride walked. His reaction was priceless and we had a few minutes to spend on portraits of these guys during their first look. 

These two planned their wedding ceremony for 6 p.m. in November, which meant that it would be completely dark after the ceremony. For this reason, they planned a first look session in a nearby courtyard prior to the ceremony. It worked out great as they got to see each other, take bride and groom portraits as well as wedding party photos prior the ceremony.

Well my due date has officially arrived and gone! I had a feeling that might happen! I’m very thankful that all of our little ones have baked for at least 40 weeks! My oldest came exactly at 40 weeks and our youngest came at 41 weeks. I am still holding out hope that this little one decides to arrive before 41 weeks, but we will just have to see! Just in case you’re in the same boat with being pregnant, uncomfortable and just plain ready to have your baby, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been doing to help pass the time!

Cleaning

There’s no such thing as a house that is too clean! At least I hope not. And with 2 girls who are constantly on the move, I don’t think that’s possible for us. For the past 2 weeks, I have made it my goal to keep each room in decent shape. Not spotless! It takes a lot of energy, but I wanted to make sure that the house wasn’t a mess when it was “go time!”

Watching T.V.

I have binge watched quite a few shows lately! Including Bates Motel and The Fall on Netflix. Lifetime has also helped to pass some Saturday nights and HULU has been a lifesaver for the rest of the shows that I love!

Ordered Take Out

I’m not sure why I felt the need to eat all of my favorite foods over the weekend, but I did! I really wanted chinese food, pizza, oatmeal raisin cookies and Coldstones. I think it’s because once this little one does arrive, I know that it will be a while before we plan to be out and about a lot with him or her! Although I don’t think I’ll be able to stay cooped up in the house for too long!

Test Out Baby Equipment

This has probably been one of my favorite things to do, next to eating all of my favorite foods! We purchased most of our larger items pretty early on as I was overly anxious to have everything ready for baby! Everything was immediately put together and has been either sitting in it’s place or stored away. Over the last couple of weeks, I thought it would be a great to idea to test everything out to make sure that we know how to use it. This included pushing the stroller around the living room, taking off the seat and car seat to make sure we remembered how to do that. Trying out my breast pump. I nursed Addie, so I don’t know why that was necessary. But I figured at least I’d know that the pump turned on and worked. Washing all of the bottle pieces and trying on our diaper bag! It’s amazing how much time goes by while doing most of these silly little things!

So as we continue to wait on baby, we appreciate all of your messages and calls. It really means a lot to us. We are so excited to share the news with you when it happens.

Brian and I visited Asheville, North Carolina last spring for the very first time and fell in love with the beautiful scenery. Plus the fact that they have a Tupelo Honey in downtown Asheville made it even sweeter of a town. So when Nichelle and Rick reached out to us about photographing their fall wedding at the Crest Center Pavilion in Asheville, NC, I was stoked!

Nichelle and Rick are an amazingly sweet couple. When we arrived on their wedding day, Rick and his groomsmen were busy putting on the finishing touches and hanging out inside the hotel lobby. Nichelle and her ladies were in the bridal suite finishing up her hair and makeup. Nichelle chose the cutest wedding shoes from Blue by Betsey Johnson with a floor length lace wedding gown. We spent the first part of the day at the Crown Plaza Resort while they both finished prepping before heading over to the ceremony venue.

The Crest Center and Pavilion is an intimate wedding venue overlooking the mountains. The ceremony space created the perfect backdrop for these two as they exchanged their vows. The ceremony took place just before sunset and was beyond sweet.

Formal photographs, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing followed the ceremony. I love how these two chose decor and details that really showed their love for one another. Nichelle and Rick ended the night with a fun sparkler exit before hopping into a beautiful white antique car. Nichelle’s face was priceless when she saw the antique car waiting for them at the end of the exit.

How did you guys meet?

We met through mutal friends during social events.

Tell me about your proposal.

Rick surprised me and proposed via a poem on Thanksgiving Day at my Mother’s house. My whole family was there so it was very special.

What are you most excited about on your wedding day?

Marrying each other and spending the day with those we love the most.
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