YOU GUYS...Novita is FIVE YEARS OLD THIS MONTH!!!
(Even my business baby is growing up fast 😪🤯)
I don’t know if you can relate, but I’ve never been great at celebrating. I don’t know if it’s an overachiever thing, or a mom thing, or a woman thing…or just, me.
I’ve always got about a million projects going at once, and it seems like every time I finish one, I never really take a moment to enjoy what I’ve created. It’s just head-down, on to the next thing.
I do this with both big things and little things. Like, I haven’t had a birthday party in like 25 years (I’m currently planning one for my 36th next month…because it’s about time I celebrate my life while I’m still here!)
Real talk - life has been super hard the past several years…including every year that Novita has been in business. As soon as things start to calm down, it seems another round of chaos ensues. And when you’re dealing with chronic chaos, it can be hard to celebrate anything.
I *almost* didn’t even acknowledge the fact that Novita turns 5 this month, and definitely didn’t think I had it in me to recognize it and celebrate it publicly.
But then I remembered something I promised myself recently -- no more letting years fly by, one blending into the next, without taking time to slow down and enjoy every milestone and change of season along the way.
SOOOO, while I’m not doing the super big 5-year anniversary bash that I envisioned when I started this whole thing, I AM going to keep the promise to myself to sit back, look at all that I’ve (we’ve) accomplished in the past 5 years, and share it with everyone who’s supported me along the way.
I thought it would be super fun to first share my top 5 favorite moments from the births I’ve attended in the past 5 years. And at the end, I've got a super fun announcement about what's coming next. 😁
Start the countdown!
The "I did it" moments are always the best in every birth.
And like many of the moms I work with, Anna wanted photos to remember what she hoped to be a redemptive birth, after her first did not go as planned.
This birth went much smoother, and even though it was pretty wild at the end, Anna was able to hold her new baby boy right away, feeling all the feels of what she had just accomplished.
"I had a huge surge of relief that I was done. I had done it and I now I could relax with my son. All I can remember saying is “I did it. I did it.” And “I get to be done” It was a special moment for me looking around the room surrounded by these amazing people who were all there for me while we smiled and shared that joy. That moment will live in my memory forever."
Theo's birth will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only because his mom is a freaking rockstar, and his dad is a superhero (as he one-arm lifted Anna out of the tub during a shoulder dystocia) - but because I had the honor of capturing the beginning of what would be a very short time with Theo. He gained his angel wings just short of 7 months after joining us earthside.
All births are an honor to capture. But this one... this one just hits different. 💜
VBACs are always special (If you’re not familiar with that term, it means “vaginal birth after cesarean”).
There’s something so redemptive and empowering them. When a mom plans for a VBAC, there are often lots of thoughts and emotions she fights with - worries about her body "failing", worries that she isn't strong, capable, *insert untruth here* enough to deliver her baby vaginally.
So this moment definitely makes it into my top 5 - the moment my client and good friend, Harmony, found out that her cervix was completely dilated and she was going to get to push her baby out vaginally! Her first labor ended in a c-section, and she had never made it this far before.
She put on a badass rock playlist, and used several different upright positions (even with an epidural) to deliver her baby like a champ! I will never forget the look on her face (And she’ll always get to see it - since she has the photo to remember it by!)
Guys, I’m not exaggerating when I say that this family is the sweetest, closest, most supportive family I’ve ever met in my life. Their bond is undeniable and unbreakable.
When the plans they had been dreaming of for months took a dramatic turn, they rallied together to support each other and make the best of the cards they had been dealt.
A major part of their plan was that the oldest sister was going to “catch” the new baby. When they had to transfer to the hospital, the medical team was not on board with this plan. It took lots of advocating and convincing, and a little bit of compromise, but in the end, big sis got to catch, just like they planned!!
Not only was this just a freaking cool moment to photograph, but this is definitely one of my top 5 favorite moments because of the story and the family behind this image. Soooooo good 😍
I love a good redemptive birth story.
Every birth story is unique and important and powerful. But man, sometimes it tugs at the heart when things just don’t go as planned. After recovering from a very heavy medical diagnosis just months before getting pregnant with her first, she was excited to finally meet him.
I was with her for 26 hours of that delivery. It was long and sooo so challenging. I was super proud of her and excited for her to meet her new baby, but it was hard to watch her go through something so physically and emotionally difficult.
But as often happens, the birth of baby number 2 went soooooo much smoother - and quicker. By A LOT (like, a full day). Getting to witness and capture this moment definitely makes it to the top of my list.
There is so much more here than just the relief and joy that comes when a baby is finally born. This is all of that, plus the reclaiming of her power over her own body. SHE DID IT.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE.....
Moment #1 - the moment that started it all 😍
There’s a good reason this is my top favorite moment from the past 5 years…because this is the moment that started it all. My very first birth. And there were so many great parts.
It was the first birth, besides my own, that I had ever witnessed. I was HOOKED.
It was my first experience as not only a birth photographer, but a doula - something I had wanted to do since my first baby was born in 2008.
It was an unassisted homebirth - something I’m passionate about and so honored to have been a part of. It showed me what birth can look like, and just how important birth choice is.
It was for someone who was a total stranger at the beginning of her pregnancy, but became one of my best friends by this time.
Baby Z - he’s one of my favorite humans to this day, with a smile that will melt your heart, the biggest hugs (from such a small dude), and the warmest, goofiest personality ever. I just love him.
SO THAT'S IT! My top 5 favorite moments from the last 5 years as a birth photographer. I'm so honored to get to do this work. It's challenging, and exhausting at times. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.
The more I do this work, the more I realize just how important these photos are. Not only for the families who get to re-live their birth experience over and over again, as if no time has passed, but also for showing the world just how important and powerful birth is.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
I’ve spent the last 5 years enjoying the birth space more than anything. I absolutely love capturing these stories.
Something that’s been tugging on my heart lately, though, is how present I’m able to be for my own family. Running a business is a lot of work under the best circumstances. Something you may not already know about me is that one of my children has extremely high needs and takes a lot of my resources - time, money, energy, and heart. Both of my children are neurodiverse, and as a neurodiverse single mama -- man…sometimes it’s just A LOT.
Birth work is also a lot. It’s hard being on call. It’s hard not being able to tell my kiddos when I’ll be called to work, or when I’ll be home when I’m called to a birth. Coordinating 24/7 on-call childcare is a nightmare, and there’s always the risk of missing birthdays, sporting events, recitals, or leaving a sick kiddo with someone else while I go to tend to another family.
This work has my heart though, so I’m going to continue to do it. But in a much more intentional way. What does that mean? It means that I’ll be taking on fewer births throughout the year.
It also means that I’m going to be leaning into doing more family photography work - the kind of sessions that can be scheduled, and don’t go on for hours and hours. The kind where I can tell my kiddos when I’ll be home, and that won’t zap my energy for 1-2 days afterward. (again, not ungrateful. This is just reality!)
Soooo, if you’re reading this, you’re the first to know about something I’ve been working extremely hard on the past couple months - and I’m almost ready to launch it
INTRODUCING: THE NOVITA FAMILY AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
The ambassador program was created so that I can show the world more of my storytelling style outside of the birth space.
Storytelling photography is so important to me. I care much more about what makes your family unique in this season, and capturing that. Real life is beautiful. Un-posed. Un-staged. I could care less about your outfits or the scenery behind you.
Is it still art? Absolutely. But even better - it's your family's story, illustrated
If you’re someone who believes that real life is beautiful and photos should be fun (and you’ve got some time over the next year to hang out with me), then you might be a great fit for the ambassador program. And since you heard about it here first, you can be one of the first to apply.
I am just so grateful for all of the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve been a part of since I started this whole thing back in September of 2018. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years will bring!