Charlie – his birth story

This past Monday, our family became a family of 4! We have a little son!!

I don’t write personal blog posts like this on my website often, or at all, but I needed a place where it could be accessed by our friends and family who are so far away and for anyone who likes a good birth story to read 🙂

WARNING: For those of you who like to hear birth stories, keep reading on. For those of you who don’t, just keep scrolling!

At 36 weeks I went in for my appointment and asked to be checked because we were heading to Bellingham (6 hrs away) for almost 2 weeks and I wanted to make sure nothing was happening. At this appointment I was already dilated 1 & 1/2 centimeters. My midwife wasn’t concerned but did think that I wouldn’t make it to my due date which was January 23rd. So, we went on our trip, I missed my 37 week appointment, I shot a wedding (at 38 weeks) and tried to rest as much as possible so I wouldn’t kick-start my labor. We got back late the day before my 38 week appointment and as we went in that morning (Monday) I was shocked to learn that I hadn’t progressed… I thought that at least shooting the wedding or just being away from home would’ve been enough to at least progress me a little. But nope.

The week progressed and my Braxton Hicks kept going (I’ve always had a bunch and felt them as early as 18 weeks with this one). On Thursday they started to get as intense as the beginning of Rowen’s labor, but I didn’t really trust it because it would mean that I would deliver 11 days early. Really? I could never be that lucky. But I timed them and let my midwife know what was going on, and she happened to be nearby already so she stopped by to check me and to see what was going on. To my surprise, and pretty big disappointment, I hadn’t changed at all. So I just kept on my merry way and Friday was a lower-key day but then Saturday it really felt like my contractions were doing something, but because of Thursday’s disappointment I didn’t want Beth (my midwife) to come over and see that nothing had happened again. Again, when I thought I was in labor, my contractions fizzled out toward the evening so, nothing.

On Monday morning at my 39 week appointment we headed to her clinic for our regular check-up to see what was going on and we were beyond shocked. We had prayed together on the way there that our child will be born at the perfect appointed time by the Lord. The night before I had also made many requests known to the Lord about my heart concerning the arrival of our babe in prayer. So I laid there on the table in my midwife’s office, and she checked my progress yet again (that is if there was any). I was just praying for progress of at least 2cm–I needed something as my athletic mentality craves continuous progress toward a goal… My midwife looks up at me with a calm yet cheeky “oh you definitely progressed… you’re at a 5 right now…” and as she continued to check me and sweep my membrane I got to a 7 with very little effort. She said, “This should put you into labor this evening or at least within 24 hrs; your body is ready!” Jer and I were both so shocked. How is that even possible? With Row I dilated to 5cm before I went into active labor (which was already not normal) so I had this threshold in my head where I was supposed to reach without it hurting yet so to be past that at 7cm (which was what I jokingly prayed to God about) seemed wayyy too good to be true. (sorry ladies this is NOT a normal labor and delivery story). So then we left in awe and giddily picked up our last birth supplies, a few groceries, and then headed home to prepare the house for the for the arrival of our new baby. During the day I felt pressure perhaps but not even real contractions, and it had me second-guessing whether it was really going to happen today or tomorrow. At 5 PM I texted my aunts with “why is nothing happening yet?! I’m sitting at a seven!” And then within the hour my contractions started coming just like the Braxton Hicks I’d had but more regular. I really didn’t trust what was going on or I was still somewhat in denial. We were sitting at the dinner table eating and I’m swaying through a contraction and Jer says to me “I think you should start timing them”.. “oh, I guess so…” So we did and I showed my midwife, and she came right on over…;) She got here at 8 PM, checked me and I was sitting at 9 cm!  I was so shocked! 9cm!!? whhaatt? how?! I didn’t even feel like I was really in labor yet nor what labor feels at 9cm when my experience before was that I was dying with Rowen at 9 cm. So we hung out in the living room, my two friends arrived, my Doula came and Jer started filling up the birth tub. I had regular contractions and they were starting to increase in intensity but still nothing like with Rowen’s labor. We were chatting and talking and laughing–mostly in disbelief that this was even possible at 9 cm.

At 9 PM the tub was ready and I was able to get in and relax through the contractions as best I could–it takes so much pressure off! Beth checked me again and at 9:09pm she broke my water because I was sitting at 9.5 cm and ready to do this! (or get it over with) This amped up the contractions quickly and the pain settled in real nice and good and the contractions came pretty close together for about 45 minutes. Definitely more intense than with Rowen. And I have to say with how fast everything was going, my body was ready (cleeeaaarrrly) but mentally I struggled. I couldn’t quite relax myself the way I did with Row but did my best not to tense up with the power of each contraction – and I did wince more. Then the urge to push came. It started with little pushes toward the end of each contraction and Jer, who was applying pressure to my lower back, could feel it every time too. Beth checked me again to make sure I was ready to push and once I was cleared to go, I pushed for 2 min and he was born – like a crazy unstoppable force. One of my friends actually video taped the last 1.5 min of his birth and you can see my midwife tell me calmly to slow down or Ill blast the baby out… I managed to take a breath and then said “I cant!” and he was out! Thankfully the blast was calmed by the water and worked out just fine – haha. Before he even made it to my chest, Jer who was behind me holding my hands through the pushing yelled ” it’s a BOY!!” and then we both freaked out together and laughed in disbelief that we had a SON! Rowen happened to wake up right at the time of pushing and we got her up to see her baby brother. She was pretty surprised at all the commotion but handled it very well and then went back to bed happily. Also, having my friends there was a God-send as Rowen knew them and was totally fine with them taking care of her while I was preoccupied. And my mom who was hoping to make it to the birth got to skype in and “be there” for the whole thing! Thank you technology!

best moment EVER!

So our little guy (7lbs, 11oz, and 20.5in) arrived a week early, born right in our living room and in the birthing tub! (So so cool btw!)

The first few days after were a little rough. I had some pretty intense after-birth pains (like comparable with labor) and with very little sleep I felt like I was in full survival mode and was not able to enjoy my little boy as much as I had hoped. Jer had his big licensing exam scheduled for Thursday so he had to try and get some studying in and then take it with very minimal sleep (poor guy!) And our little miss was having some trouble trying to wrap her head around why mom is not available 24/7. She’s come up to me a few times while I was holding him or while nursing and says “all done”… which totally breaks my heart…BUT my mom arrived last night and all is well in her world – and ours! YAY for sleep! We feel much much better today.

His name: he is named after Jeremy’s grandpa Charles Mullavey. A wonderful, kind and loving father and grandfather, and great-grandfather who passed away nearly two years ago. (we really miss him!) And since our son is the first 4th generation male who will carry the Mullavey name, we thought it was very fitting. He will be affectionately known as “Charlie” : ) If this little guy grows up to be even half the man his great grandfather was we will be truly blessed! Charlie, you have some big shoes to fill.

Thank you all for your kind wishes, prayers, food, visits, encouragement, and love – we appreciate it so much!


All the above pictures were taken with my camera by my sweet doula Ellen and edited by me 🙂 THANK YOU!

PS: I’ll be back to blogging photography sessions shortly!







Rachel - 01/21/2017 - 2:14 pm

Charlie’s birth story is absolutely beautiful! And captured so so well on camera! The feeling of it all is captured so well 🙂 and those sweet moments of you, Jeremy and Rowen all getting to meet baby are just priceless!

Susan - 01/22/2017 - 2:53 pm

Congratulations again to you and your family. What a lovely story! How precious and special to have photos of those first moments! Love and hugs to you. xo

2016 – A Year in Review

We snuck out for a few pictures in the winter wonderland that is eastern Washington the other day. What a year 2016 has been… I hardly know where to begin!

  • I’ve been pregnant for the majority of the year (haha) so my growth in life has come literally as much as it has figuratively. The little peanut inside is more active than her/his sister – jabbing me with much more painful kicks and punches and it hasn’t slowed down at all. Makes me a little nervous to think of what kind of rambunctious little one we will have on our hands in a few weeks. (praying for sleep!)
  • Seeing all the growing my little Rowen has done in this year is astounding. They change SO MUCH – and SO FAST. I can hardly keep up! Especially now, nearing my due date – it is rather challenging.. she can run really fast! haha:) She’s pretty much talking in full sentences, singing songs and dancing her little tooshie off whenever she gets the feeling. She’s such a character and a half and we enjoy her so much! (except when she’s suuuuper clingy… 😉
  • We also bought our first home the year which is an ever changing and on going process of renovations and deeper roots and on going memories.
  • My husband finished nursing school. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. In all our marriage of 6.5 years one of us has been in school the entire time. We don’t even know how to be adults yet, haha. He’s been such a trooper and worked his butt off for us and we couldn’t be more thankful or appreciative of him. His new nurse job is already lined up (his start date is literally my due date…yikes!) and we can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring with a consistent schedule, no night shifts, and hopefully normal amounts of sleep (newborn dependent).
  • 2016 has been a whirlwind of sorts and I’m excited for 2017 as a new normal will set in!

On the business side of things… WOW! There is no way I can fully express my gratitude for all of you. God blessed me with so many amazing clients and new friendships (clients and fellow small business owners) this year that I am so so so grateful. (THANK YOU!!!) Not one of you is taken for granted. promise.

As an artist I know who I am and what I do will be ever changing, it just goes along with our normal human growth and its been a challenge of mine for 2016 to do it in an intentional way. I don’t want to miss anything. A dear friend of mine told me once that I shouldn’t worry about what will become of my photography (and all the things I had/was dreaming of) when my daughter was born. “Just have your daughter and the rest will come” she said. and she was so right. I changed… how I view things, understand thing, feelings toward persons/things, my hopes and dreams and what I wanted for my business — all of it. It’s been a good learning this year – 2016 – and even though the learning came in both positive and negative ways I wouldn’t change any of it, its now a part of who I am and what makes me an artist.

I have lots of exciting plans and ventures that I want to bring to all of you for this upcoming year! 2017 here we come!! And speaking of exciting plans – here’s one for you who actually took the time to read this blog post: Book any session with me before February 15th 2017 and get it for 25% off!!! (including weddings!) Just copy and paste this: “25% off coupon from the blog”  in the subject line and we’ll put it on the books! eeeeeep!!

So without further ado, here’s all of you wonderful people in my 2016 recap!

| all the beautiful families and baby loving’ |

| couples in love <3 |

| the most beautiful seniors |

| commercial sessions for Standard of Grace Shop! |
Lots of big oxox’s for all of you!

And Happy New Year!!




Janis’s Senior Session!

This week brought in all sorts of changes to our family… thus inspiring this lady’s senior session blog post! Meet Janis! She’s the beautiful college student that lived with us this past semester and fellow nursing classmate of my husband! They both graduated this past week (YAY!!) and we are so excited (and proud) and slowly letting it sink in… 🙂 But it also meant that our honorary family member moved out this week… *tears*:( We loved having her stay with us and she will be dearly missed!

I had the privilege of doing her senior session towards the beginning of the semester – and even though it drizzled on us half the time, I love how these turned out! She is truly a beautiful inside and out! Enjoy!



Chad & Sami Married!

On this cold and snowy Saturday, I’m taking you back to my first wedding of the summer! I had the privilege of shooting with my dear friend Jackie (Jackie Zurfluh Photography)! Who I love and admire so much!

You guys, they had donuts. Like beautiful yummy stacked donuts — instead of cake. I had too many to mention but it was the coolest thing ever, haha 🙂 I just love personal touches to a wedding – from the desert to Sami’s bouquet with one of her baby shoes woven into it, to the singing toasts and a old Chevy truck! They were surrounded by their loved ones as they said their ‘i dos’ on a warm summer day up at Sami’s family home. And even though it rained during their actual ‘i dos’, it held off for the rest of the day and it was beautiful!! Here are my favs from the day!!




I mean, don’t they just make your mouth start watering?!!! 😉


img_9435bimg_0260Then we drove to another location by the pond – in the chevy of course!



And these deer greeted us on our way out!

img_0559VENDORS: florals – Lori McMurtrey (friend of the family) | Bride’s Dress – Celestial Selections | Groom Suit – Mens Warehouse | Donuts – Krispy Kreme | Caterer – Longhorn BBQ | Venue – Pure Country Estates (bride’s family home)

Wishing you both all the happiness in the world!