Denver New Life Session {The Braun Family}

She just could not wait a day longer. This little peanut decided for herself that at 35 weeks, she was ready. Ready to meet her amazing parents and her adorable fur-sister. Ready to win the heart of anyone who meets her. And ultimately, ready for her closeup. 

This little lady really did not want to miss her session. For the first 90 minutes, she was wide awake - more than she had ever been in the short 14 days of her young life thus far. But eventually, it was just too much and she caved into a deep, peaceful sleep, allowing us to really nail this session. 

Congratulations Braun Family on your baby girl. She is precious and I look forward to watching you all grow on this journey as a family of three!

Denver Colorado New Life Session {Logan Richardson}

My favorite little family is back! If you didn't catch their emotional birth story, STOP right here, and go check it out HERE before you proceed! 

When Sammy and Brandon found out their sweet baby would be born cleft affected, they asked me one question: can we split his newborn session into two smaller sessions to capture both his birth smile and his forever smile? My response: absolutely yes, no hesitation at all. 

Sammy and I were in constant communication the days following Logan's birth. We knew that his first surgery would be scheduled within 10-14 days of birth. So, before he went in for his forever smile, I journeyed over to their home for some of my favorite new life photos with his birth smile. 

Logan, still affectionately called Squishy, was so sleepy, and just the perfect little snuggle bug. 

We waited about 8 weeks following his surgery to capture his amazing forever smile. And he certainly was striking poses left and right for me that day! This little guy is pretty amazing. He has since undergone a second surgery to correct his palate, and hopefully that will be the final surgery for many, many years for this little man. 

Littleton Park Maternity Session {Wieck Family}

Colorado School of Mines is a small engineering school nestled in the foothills of Golden, Colorado. So I am sure it was only a matter of time before I met Patrick and Michelle based on the number of friends we have in common. 

Michelle is just the sweetest, most kind-hearted soul and Patrick is the perfect compliment with his gentle nature and soft smile. We met at a local park in Littleton for a super early sunrise and then made our way back to their adorable home for a more intimate scene. I absolutely adore the nursery as it brings back such happy memories for Michelle from her time working with koalas in Australia! 

Since this session Patrick and Michelle have welcomed their sweet daughter Katherine into the world and she is every bit of cute I thought she would be! Congratulations you two!

Denver Lifestyle New Life Session {The Fasings}

World, meet Carson. Carson, meet the world.

This handsome fellow belongs to the beautiful Mike and Kory. When we met for their maternity session at Wash Park (see that beautiful session HERE), Kory informed me that she would love to do their little guys newborn session at home. No need to twist my arm here! Mike and Kory have impeccable style, and so not only are lifestyle newborn sessions my jam, I knew their home would be beautiful. And it is. It's warm, it's inviting, it and it just feels like home. 

So, within a few weeks after Carson was born (on Mike's birthday!!), I got to meet him. The cutest little man. He wasn't really happy about the photo shoot at first (I guess no one asked him for his opinion) but after some time, he finally gave in. :) 

Congratulations Mike and Kory on your greatest accomplishment yet. Carson is one lucky little dude to have you as his parents!



Denver Birth Story {Baby Richardson}

1 in 700.

That is the number of babies born cleft (lip, palate or both) affected every day. If you are like me, you may be stunned to learn how common this birth difference is. 

It was at a routine 20 week ultrasound that Sammy and Brandon first discovered their baby would fall into this statistic. And as with any unexpected news, there was confusion and many questions. What did this mean? What will happen to him/her? Why us, why our baby? What did we do wrong to cause this? 

We were overwhelmed with emotions of fear and grief but yet so grateful that our little one was still healthy. We felt angry, sad, heart broken and questioned if we would be strong enough for our baby. We also felt ashamed that we kept crying over this news when we should’ve been focusing on the fact that our baby was still healthy.
— Sammy

The guilt they both felt, that their baby would have to embark on a journey of multiple surgeries and months of healing, was immense. Thankfully, Brandon and Sammy were able to gain acceptance and peace through the help of many support groups. With copious amounts of encouragement, they were able to enjoy the journey to meeting Squishy without feeling alone or afraid of what was to come. Knowledge is powerful, and it certainly helped these parents feel prepared for their baby's birth day. They graciously offered up the following advice for parents that might receive the same diagnosis for their baby

1. Find support right away. Cleft Mom Support Group on Facebook is an excellent place to start. The more support you have around you of people that are either cleft affected adults or have cleft affected children the better. (Sammy suggests visiting for clear, accurate information as well.)

2. Allow yourself to go through all of the emotions. Be angry, sad or whatever you need to feel. This all part of coping and will allow you to process it and finally go back to enjoying your pregnancy. 

3. Remember the love. This is still the same baby you fell in love with and got excited about when you found out you were pregnant! The baby never changed, the only thing that changed is what you learned about your child. 

4. Document everything. Try to do everything you can to enjoy your pregnancy. Take photos of your bump every week. Buy those irresistible outfits and register for your shower. Decorate the nursery. Write a journal to your baby. Do everything you can to connect with your baby. It's okay to feel emotional about the diagnosis at any time but documenting these little moments will help you replace any sad emotions with happy ones.

5. Breastfeeding support. If you want to breastfeed, find hospitals and lactation consultants that will support you through your journey. It is possible, but not nearly as successful without the encouragement and support of those professionals around you. 

6. Everything will be okay. It may not seem like it at first, but it will be. Any anticipation and fear you may feel at first will subside the moment you meet your beautiful baby. 

Squishy was chosen to be born with a cleft. Chosen to show the world just how beautiful it is to have a cleft. Chosen to educate others on this 1 in 700 statistic. So without further ado, the beautiful birth of Squishy.

The days leading up to Sammy's due date, I was sure I was going to miss this birth. I was booked for a wedding on July 24, and all signs pointed to her having an early delivery. However, Squishy held tight for a few extra days and on the evening of July 26, I finally received the call. The Richardsons were heading to the hospital.

When I arrived, Sammy was in the bathtub. She was smiling, peacefully working through her contractions, and Brandon was by her side tending to her every need. She was focused and determined, yet still had some calm moments to Facetime with her family. :)

Then, transition. Contractions picked up quickly and intensely. Focus increased even as those moments of doubt started to creep in. Brandon was her rock during these tough hours, encouraging and supporting her in every way possible. Her sister was running in and out for ice chips upon request. Her mama eventually requested in for that maternal love and support. Everyone in the room was there for her. In this with her and Squishy 100%. 

And then, at just a little after 7:00 in the morning, Sammy and Brandon finally got to meet their baby. Brandon had requested to be the one to tell Sammy if Squishy were a boy or a girl, and he did just that. Logan Bauer Richardson was born right into the loving arms of his parents and a room full of happy tears. {Gosh I tear up just thinking about it!}

His smile? Absolute perfection. 

The moment I saw him for the first time was the single, most amazing moment of my life. I have never felt happier. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful Logan was and wondered why I ever felt worried.
— Sammy
People try to tell you what it’s like having a child but you truly don’t understand until you see that face and your heart explodes with love. The first moments of his life, I remember staring at him laying on Sammy’s chest and thinking that no matter what else happens around us, this is what it’s all about.
— Brandon

Thank you Sammy and Brandon for sharing your story with me and the world. You are incredible parents, and Logan is one lucky little guy to have such an amazing example of true love and strength!