My son’s birth was a SLOW process. We used to joke about how he was just so comfy in there and didn’t want to leave his mama…given how much of a “mama’s boy” he is now, that might have been true. He was a week “overdue” and I had a limited amount of time I could be away from work afterward, so we scheduled an induction when we knew my doctor would be available. We went to the hospital around 9pm the night before so they could start a slow-drip Pitocin. There was little to no progress overnight, so they increased the dose the next morning. Our sweet photographer woke up early and drove all the way to San Antonio from Houston to be with us. I was so relieved when she arrived and though, “Ok, NOW he can come any time.” I thought he would come quickly, but he did not. Around 9am the doctor broke my water…and we waited. Around 11am I was ready for an epidural, but there was some confusion with the doctors, and I wasn’t able to get one until an hour and a half later! Around 2pm, I was at a 6…and we waited. Finally, at 4:24pm, our sweet Easton Levi entered the world…crying like an angry old man! I laid back in bed thinking, “Oh man, we got a grumpy one,” and prepared myself for the months of crying ahead. I couldn’t have been more wrong, though. He has been the best and most easy-going baby I can imagine. It turns out his face and nose had gotten badly bruised during his journey, so I think angry crying was justified. Everyone in the room guessed his weight, but none of us even got close…he was 9lbs, 4oz! I treasured our skin-to-skin time. After the doctors and nurses left the room, he stopped breathing. As calmly and forcefully as I could, I told my husband to go get the nurse…I couldn’t explain what was going on, but I knew something wasn’t right. They came in, whisked my baby away, and got him back to breathing. After that, he was able to meet his grandparents and big sister!
How Many Children Do You Have?
I have two children: one girl and one boy, 15 months apart
What are your must birth items?
A loving and supportive husband! And in my case, a book or crossword puzzle and pencil…something to help pass the time.
For after birth: a perineal bottle (to spray water up to your areas instead of using toilet paper), Dermoplast spray, Tucks pads, and newborn diapers to make ice packs.
Tell us about the first days of bringing your baby home, the ups and the downs
For three days after we brought our baby home, we had family and friends visiting each day. One person would hold the baby while the other played with my daughter. We moved a couple chairs into our bedroom, which also had lots of fun kid toys, and I was able to lie in bed and relax even with everyone there, and it was wonderful. I remember the first day we didn’t have anyone come and our daughter seemed to realize that this new little guy wasn’t going away like all the other people. That’s when she really started showing interest in him and became the best big sister. All of that really helped us transition from being a family of 3 to a family of 4, and I am grateful to everyone who came to hold and play with my kids during that time.
Did you bottle or breastfeed, what is your advice for new mothers?
I exclusively breastfed for the first four weeks and then began pumping because I had gone back to work. I had a hard time producing with both kids, so I liked pumping better because I could see how much I was giving, how much he was drinking and was aware if there was ever an issue, which gave me much more peace of mind. At four months, I decided to change my diet to start losing weight, which I do not recommend to new moms, because I lost my milk, too. After that, we fed formula exclusively until our son was a little over a year old. My advice to new mothers would be to give yourself some grace. If you’re having trouble producing, it’s ok to supplement or switch to formula all together. I remember when my first baby was born and I spent most of the Christmas holiday crying alone in a bedroom trying to feed my daughter but never being able to produce enough to satisfy her. If that’s you, it’s ok. You are not a failure. You are doing a great job. The most important thing is that your hungry baby gets food, regardless of if it’s in a breast or a bottle.
What are some of your most cherished memories of motherhood?
My son’s head on my chest as he slept. He could fall asleep in any position as long as he was touching me somehow. My most favorites were the first few weeks at home, just resting and relaxing together, bonding and enjoying being together.
What most surprised you about this birth?
The regret I feel about inducing. I often wonder, for various reasons, if my son’s lungs weren’t yet fully developed, and I wish I’d had let him go longer (because I think the doctors were actually a week off on my expected due date anyway) to see if he’d been better.
What has been your greatest challenge in motherhood?
Patience! I am a linear person and fast-moving. I have to be conscientious of the fact that kids move more slowly and in a more round-about way. For example, if I say, “Go to your room, it’s time for bed,” and my daughter runs the opposite way, I might think she’s disobeying. In reality, she’s going to get her puppy from the other room so she can take him to bed with her. I have to practice patience daily.
Has your style changed since becoming a mom?
My style hasn’t really changed except that I now value pockets more. If I have pockets, I have a place to put my car key and phone and, thereby, have two free hands to carry a baby and hold a toddler’s hand.
If you get any “me time”, how do you wind down or spend it?
I take a hot bath so I can shave my legs!
How has having a birth changed your relationship?
My husband is one-of-a-kind. He is the kind of person who is more intrigued by birth than disgusted by it. He thought it was “so cool” when our babies were literally coming out of my body. After having my second kid, I was feeling insecure about my flabby body. I’d also gotten four little stretch marks, my hips were wider, and on and on…basically, things were different and I didn’t know how to feel about them. One day, after I got out of the shower and was getting ready, my husband looked at me and kept looking, which made me feel more insecure, wondering what he was thinking, did he see the gross me I saw, could he even like me anymore after all he’d seen and with what my body had become? He then so sweetly and matter-of-factly said, “I love those little stretch marks! I love them. I absolutely love them!” I can’t say that birth has changed our relationship in any huge ways, except that we have to communicate more and better, but there are little things like this that remind me what a good man I have and how much he values me and our family. When many men would want perfection, mine saw beauty in imperfection.
Looking back to your first days of parents, what would you tell yourself?
If I could have, I would have taken as much time off of work as possible. If I’d have had an option, I would have told myself that it would be so much more worthwhile to have that bonding experience and adjust to new life together.
What is your greatest joy in being a mother?
My greatest joy in being a mother is seeing my kids grow into kind human beings. I love it when my daughter will take my hand and walk with me, or when she says something encouraging and I realize that she’s been hearing those things from us, so we must be doing something right. I love it when my son laughs his unique laugh and smiles with a smile brighter than the sun.
If you could give your child(ren) one piece of advice what would it be?
I don’t know if I have a piece of advice, but I would encourage them. I would tell them that they are good enough, they are kind, they are fun, they are safe, they are loved, they are good helpers, they are smart. I would say, “you can do it” and “I believe in you.” I would have them know that the world is a better place simply because they are in it, and that everything about them, their good, their bad, their unique, makes them who they are, and I love who they are.
Tell us about your session and what the images mean to you.
Kelly Richman of Lifetime of Clicks Photography is Katy, Texas, is amazing! I am quite picky about photography, so I searched and searched for a birth photographer. We met Kelly in person to discuss what we were looking for and scheduled maternity, birth, and newborn photos with her. She was kind, fun, personable, and made taking pictures so easy. She is passionate about what she does, has a gentle spirit, is reliable, and is patient with moms and babies alike. I absolutely loved every session we had with her and was sad when we moved away and had to find someone new (I still haven’t found someone to compare with her, and we’ve been here for over two years now!). When we found out we were expecting our second child, I sent Kelly a message thinking, “Oh, we’re too far away…she wouldn’t want to come do our birth pictures…how would we even make that work out logistically?” To my surprise, she was more than willing to be our photographer! She didn’t even seem to mind that it meant she’d have to travel the 3+ hours from Katy to San Antonio to capture our special day! We coordinated during the pregnancy, talking about what-if scenarios and made sure we had a plan. When we decided to induce, that made things a little easier. I thought it would happen quickly, so Kelly woke up at 4am to make sure she arrived in time! I felt so bad that she got there so early and had to wait all day as our little guy took his own sweet time (he wasn’t born until 4:24pm), but she was so gracious and patient. She sat and talked with us, and it was easy and natural. She even stayed several hours after our baby was born to get pictures of him with the grandparents and big sister…pictures she knew were so important to me. For all the extra time, effort, and travel, she didn’t even charge the additional amounts that she could (and probably should) have, which also meant a lot to me because we were a single income family and doing birth photos in and of itself was quite a stretch for us financially. With our first baby, I wasn’t sure if taking birth photos would be worth the investment, but after seeing the moments and emotions Kelly captured before, during, and after birth, I became convinced that they are so worthwhile! Plus, not only did we have amazing pictures of the most amazing moments that we can cherish forever, but my husband was able to support me and enjoy our new baby instead of trying to snap photos that would end up looking terrible anyway (because hospital lighting is truly terrible). We would like to have more kids in the future, and I sure hope Kelly is available because she will be my first call!
Kelly, here. I’m the founder and photographer behind Lifetime of Clicks Photography. Photography has been a love of mine from a very young age, but it wasn’t until I had two boys of my own and went through some scary moments after birth, that I realized how important these moments are. These moments that pass so fast, moments that you can never get back. I truly enjoy telling your story by capturing all of the raw and honest memories to last a lifetime. Serving Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and surrounding communities. Thanks for being here; I praise you for taking time to do this for your family. You’ll never regret having photos because, as the quote goes, “SOMEDAY THEY WILL BE ALL THAT’S LEFT” xoxo, Kelly