Laboring Her Way

After two previous cesareans, Alycia wanted a VBAC. She wrote up a excellent birth plan, which her doctor whole-heartedly accepted. Her birth plan included (among other things) laboring in her own clothes, no IV, listening to her own music, and even bringing her own pillows! Alycia was supported by her husband Allen, friend & doula-in-training Susan, and friend & photographer me.

This is 1:50 A.M., not P.M.
This is about 9:00 A.M.
Alycia labored beautifully and calmly but as the night turned into day, the weight of it all began to take its toll. She had been having irregular contractions for four days, and consequently not slept good for four days. On top of being a wife, mother of two in the middle of the Christmas season, college student who just finished her finals the week before, new home owner moving in & unpacking, and being two weeks overdue, now she is in a place where she has never been before. She's never labored this far. She never been this exhausted. She's never had this bad of cramps! :) And then her precious baby girl, whom she is working so hard for, puts up one last fight! Alycia accepts the epidural, which leads to Pitocin, which leads to another c-section. But this one was different from the previous ones. The brand new baby was handed to Allen and Alycia as soon as possible and Alycia got to hold her baby right after she was born - something she missed out on with her other girls. Alycia was able to have those sweet moments with her baby and her husband which she so desired. This was another item included in the birth plan.
So what's the lesson from all this? Write up a birth plan!!! Cover all possibilities, all scenarios so that you already know what you want to happen. Most of us know that when you are in labor that's not the best time to be making decisions. Weigh your options, learn about procedures, and do some research! This is your birth, not the nurse's, not the doctor's. They are there to serve you, not the other way around! If you'd like a sample birth plan, email me.
I'm ending with my favorite image from this birth. Baby pics will be up soon!


Need a Tutor?

Did you get a new camera for Christmas and don't know how to use it? Or have you had your SLR for a while now and are still using Auto?? Let me fill your mind with all sorts of technical nonsense like ISO, aperture, shutter speed, the Zone System, etc. This will be a introduction on how to shoot in Manual mode and get proper exposure. We may also cover some basics of composition. Bring your SLR camera and all the lenses you have and your owner's manual (um, yeah, so I'm not going to know all the answers for every make & model of camera - sorry). This little photography class will be happening on Tuesday, most likely in the morning, but I need to finalize that tonight. So email me (jessbens at gmail dot com) if you are interested in coming and I will tell you when & where.


No Christmas Cards This Year

Yeah, this fall was c-r-a-z-y, and we were lucky to sneak this into the tail end of a family vacation. I think we will have to make a return trip to this awesome location in the spring/summer. I love it, but it is so trippy to look at as a whole, all the slanting & crooked lines.Later in the day, the kids remarked, "I like getting my picture taken, Mom!" Well, you could've fooled me!! They've been singing a different tune for at least the past six months, but I'm glad they're having a change of heart....


A Lot of People Go To College for Seven Years....

My handsome husband finally graduates!!! No, he's not a doctor, he majored in accounting.
Where's Waldo??



New email address!!!! Starting today, please contact me at jessbens{at}gmail{dot}com. I am letting my website go, since I have neglected it so much since starting this blog. I bet half of you have never even seen the website!! Also, I feel I am moving in different directions than what "withoutaplace" is offering me. I will still use the blog of course, but the bill is due for the website and I don't want to pay it :) so until further notice, until my creative endeavors come to further fruition, contact me through the gmail address. Thanks!


Drive Carefully. Come Back Soon.

JP & Davina are moving (well, JP has already moved!) and they fittingly requested the back of the iconic Las Vegas sign. JP is going to be opening a French Mediterranean restaurant in Minnesota which sounds delicious!!

Davina & JP also wanted shots that showed their desert surroundings. I did not realize it at the time, but this tree has GIANT thorns on it. Hello!!! This is not really a "park-friendly" tree. Or even people-friendly. How's that for desert vegetation, eh? I bet you won't find that in Minnesota.

So, is the moon (you know, that fuzzy white dot) cool here, or is it just plain distracting? Had I used a smaller f/stop, my results probably would've been better. But since I like to shoot wide open, sometimes I (gasp) forget when I need to stop down.

Using up the last of the daylight, I thought we'd have a little kissing fun. I love the look on JP's face on the left, and Davina's smile on the right.


My Talented Friends

Have I ever got talented friends! Today I will feature two of them. The first is Mary. Most of you have probably already met/heard about her.
Not only does Mary rock the celebrity hair & make-up world, she also rocks the blogging world. Right now, she's got some blog designs on sale for the holidays. She also does custom designs & custom cartoons like this likeness of herself here. Check out her work! She's also spreading the love with a blogger award and I am passing it on to you! (We all know I wouldn't have any reason to have a blog if people like yourself didn't read it!) Got a friend whose blog totally rocks? Pass it on!!
BTW if you need any hair or make-up help, leave a comment on Mary's Diary of a Makeup Artist blog. She's awesome about helping out those of us who are clue-less (ahem, myself!) She's got an excellent video on how to properly back-comb.

My next featured friend is Andrea. Andrea has recently started a company called Publish Me Mine for those of us who find paper scrapbooking overwhelming, too time-consuming, or just plain unfriendly to digital photography. Andrea has created color-coordinated unique layouts for photobooks and calendars. She is also offering a free monthly desktop design, that you can download and have something new & cute & yours to look at each month every time you turn on that computer of yours.

Visit Andrea's blog to download the desktop design. Leave her some love & tell her I sent you!



I love my clients who leave decision-making up to me. Of course, I ask for your opinion on some things and I do try to gear things toward your taste & style, but it's always a compliment to hear "oh, whatever you think, you always come up great ideas, you know what's best" comments coming my way. This family is always up for anything, although I don't think I asked them to do anything too crazy.

I'm totally diggin' these barn shots. I love the jeans & T's, plus the family is so rockin'!

Sure, Dave's a tough guy, but he sure is sweet with his family.


Holiday Photo Contest!!

How to Enter the Holiday Photo Contest:
Email your best image in jpeg format to Sherrill Graff at istmpnv{at}aol{dot}com. Include your name, names of the people in the photo or name of location (if it is a scenic shot). You also need to sign a release form. Contact Sherrill and she will email you a copy to "sign".

What You WIN:
Grand Prize: Stampin' Up Digital Studio and $50 in Stampin' Up product
First Prize: $50 in Stampin' Up product
Second Prize: $30 in Stampin' Up product

Images are due by December 31st. Winners will be announced on January 15th.

This does not have to be specifically a "Christmas" or "Holiday" photo. Send in anything you think is "scrapbook-worthy"! Your best image of your kids, your dog, the cabin, sledding, riding bikes, birthday party, sunset on the beach, etc. Don't forget! the best photos tell a story. What story does yours tell?


My attempt at getting something "photo contest worthy"! The girls & Sherrill and I were treated to a tour of Grandma Daisy's and lesson on how to make chocolates! My favorite chocolates ever are the coconut haystacks (which Beth says are one of their best-sellers) and a chocolate orange fudge (which I've only found at one fudge shop and sadly it wasn't Grandma Daisy's).

Some of the deliciousness sold at Grandma Daisy's.

Tastey treats, clockwise from bottom left on the table: Turtles, toffee, bowls of nuts & peppermint chunks, various flavors of fudge, one carmel apple, and I'm not sure what's in the basket or that plate wrapped up in the center.
Beth let the girls try their hand at dipping.
The Finished Product! A chocolate-dipped Oreo with peppermint chunks.




This is a Christmas present for Mom. (She already knows about it, so I guess if she chooses to peak at the blog that's up to her!) See, this stuff isn't just for kids!

Ok, Sibling-hood. We made John jump in a few shots. I think the way he is holding his sister is so sweet!


Happy Birthday Chad!

Chad is officially 30 today. He, his wife and I all went to kindergarten together. She contacted me a few weeks ago about doing this for his birthday present and she was so excited when she got the disc, she spilled the beans a few days early!!! So Chad has already seen all these, and I hear he loves them. Ladies, they always do. I haven't had a husband complain yet!!


jessica B photography

Specializing in Las Vegas birth photography and newborn photography. Jessica B is also available for weddings and portrait sessions.

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