Welcoming Roxy: 8.8.16

The two nights before Roxy was born, I had uncomfortable and inconsistent contractions all night long. By the time Monday morning, August 8th, rolled around, I was sure Roxy had settled in for a few more days even though just hours earlier I was convinced we would be at the hospital ready to welcome her at any moment.

I remembered a photo my mom had taken in a bubble bath with me in her belly the morning she went into labor, so I wanted a similar one. Jose took this for me the night before Roxy was born.

These were both taken by Jose, one after the other. Both with my Pentax 645nii – the first is Kodak Portra 400 and the second is Ilford HP5.

Photo by Jose Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Our boys took a bath soon after, and I wanted one last photo of them as just a pair of siblings before their sister arrived and made them a trio.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

I drove Max to speech and occupational therapy that next morning, and the car ride increased the number and intensity of my contractions (as it usually does anyway), but I still mostly brushed them off. I used one of the giant exercise balls in the OT gym to sit on and ease my discomfort, at which point I decided I should probably call my midwife and get her opinion. They agreed I should come in for an exam to see if I was in early labor.

Jose left work and picked up Max from therapy while I drove over there, and met me at the office where my dad then drove our car home and my mom drove our kiddos home (so much to coordinate when this is your third baby!).

After an hour waiting to be seen at the midwife’s office, my contractions got more intense and closer together. Jose was timing them and his app hilariously finally said “you need to go to the hospital right away!” 😉 At which point we left the office without ever being seen for the exam.

Luckily, all of my bags were already in Jose’s car, and I had my parents bring my packed camera bag because I knew I wanted to photograph our experience as long as I could (using film!) while I was in labor. I may or may not have been inspired by meeting Sally Mann earlier in the summer. 😉 Documenting this process was an awesome distraction to have in between contractions and really helped take my mind off the pain. In case you’re curious, I also felt compelled to listen to Weezer while laboring in the car — specifically the song “Thank God for Girls.” 😉 The first shots below are from right after we left the midwife’s office. I had to labor from the backseat because both of our cars have recalls on the passenger side airbag that I didn’t want to chance.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

We settled into our room around 12:30pm.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

I loaded film and did some metering between contractions so I could hand the camera off to Jose from time to time. Of course he had to capture my love for all the ice I could get my hands on. 🙂

Photo by Jose Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Our incredible midwife, Cara, monitored me for about three hours before they decided to admit me, just to be sure things were progressing.

Photo by Jose Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Jose Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

I felt great between contractions and my amazing husband helped keep the mood light, as he always does. It really helped ease the pain quite a bit. And that lovely shower behind us in the photo below? Also one of my favorite pain relievers. That hot, running water felt so good on my low back during contractions.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Jose found a decently comfy spot to relax in between my contractions as well. 🙂 My favorite place to work through them was on top of an exercise ball while holding onto Jose as he kneeled down in front of me. This man is by far the most amazing partner I could ever ask for, and laboring with him by my side was an absolute pleasure. Our whole labor was so quiet and intimate, with just him and I holding each other and working through every contraction that brought us one step closer to our baby girl.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

By the time I got to about 6cm, I decided I wanted an epidural. My first birth experience involved a long labor that ended in a c-section. For my second birth I went all-natural in an effort to reduce as many interventions as possible that could increase my chances for a repeat c-section — and I got the all-natural VBAC that I worked so hard for! This time around I gave myself permission to get an epidural if I wanted one, and after a while, it was obvious to me that I could keep going all-natural if I wanted to, but I was ready for pain relief so I could continue to fully enjoy the experience and hopefully have a less intense birth.

And I’m so glad that is what I opted for. I was able to relax and take short naps. And soon after I got the relief, my water broke and I felt the heavy pressure and need to push.

For some reason the epidural took much better on my right side than my left, but I was grateful because it left me just enough sensation to know how and when to push. I also knew based on my last experience that I needed to breathe into my contractions and push more gently, to help me have a not-so-difficult recovery after. And that’s exactly what I got thanks to Jose’s coaching, our incredible midwife, and the epidural that brought me just the right amount of relief.

Cara eased me through every push and every contraction. Jose held my hand and helped me find just the right amount of strength I needed to make it through to the end. And before I knew it, Roxy was on her way out and I pulled her up onto my chest in the most gentle and peaceful entrance into the world. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Jose captured our first photo together below (not film on this one — I stopped photographing with my film camera after I got my epidural and wanted to focus my energy on resting and then pushing).

Photo by Jose Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

I captured the below photos in our recovery room the next morning.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

The honesty of the next photo was really important to me, too. Just me and my girl after our first night together. Un-showered, same robe I labored in, belly still swollen, attached to an IV for extra fluids, film camera in hand, tired as can be, more in love than ever.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Jose brought the boys up to meet her that day, too, and it was the sweetest moment ever.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

And then, we brought her home.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Jose Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

The next day, we took her to her first doctor appointment.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

And every day since, we have continued to immensely love on her as we always will forever and ever and ever.

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

Photo by Lea Ciceraro - www.LoveMeSimply.com

XOXO

How and Why to Support Independent Artists & Photographers

www.LoveMeSimply.com - Lea Ciceraro

Aside from your wedding day or the birth of a child, it’s that time of the year again when you may be the most likely to hire a photographer. Everyone loves updated family photos, because a lot changes year to year and life is fragile. It’s definitely becoming increasingly popular to share your photo sessions online and/or put them onto cards being mailed out for the holidays. As you venture into your photo session (or maybe you already have), pretty please keep these thoughts and kind requests in mind!

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Film Mama Top 7 Favorites for “Sunshine!”

Last week I was so excited to find that my image was the top pick for film mama‘s “Back to School” themed photo of the week!

Nikon F100 | Fuji 400h (B&W conversion) | The FIND Lab

Photography by Lea Ciceraro

And this week I had the honor of being the guest judge for the new theme: Sunshine! YAY!

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Black & White Film Photography and Reflection

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life —
and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
-Georgia O’Keeffe

Lea Ciceraro | www.LoveMeSimply.com

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Vintage & Antiquing Addiction: My Love for Beggars & Choosers + Screaming for Vintage in Pittsboro, North Carolina… on 35mm Film!

I’m continuing with my series showing my love of Pittsboro on 35mm film. Last week I shared photos from the Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market, and I’ve been invited out to the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market today to shoot some more film — so keep an eye out for those photos in a couple of weeks!

But today right here on the blog, I’m moving on to sharing my images from my favorite store here in town! We moved to Pittsboro about 2.5 years ago and since I have a love of antiques and all things vintage, one of the first shops in town that I ever stepped foot in was Beggars & Choosers! I was instantly in love.

And then I met Pam, the owner, who is endlessly lovable. One of my favorite things she said to me once was, “If everyone is going to be talking about you anyway, you may as well give them something to talk about!” 🙂 Here are two photos of her on Halloween last year.

Portra 160 | Nikkormat | The FIND Lab

Lea Ciceraro | www.LoveMeSimply.com

 

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Joshua Tree on Black and White Film: Desert Adventures and a Luz Studios / Leah MacDonald / Encaustic Photography Workshop!

In March, I had the pleasure of attending a Luz Studios Desert Revival Workshop, hosted by two stellar artists/photographers who joined forces with the always amazing Leah MacDonald, to teach us the art of encaustics + photography in the form of a crazy inspiring retreat in the desert! I don’t know the last time I felt so alive and fulfilled and inspired, totally in my element doing the things that make me oh-so-happy. This post is a collection of my favorite black & white film images from the trip, either shot on my Rolleicord (if it’s square format) or my 35mm Nikkormat (thank you Photovision for the awesome developing and scanning!). My friend and colleague Rachel even took it upon herself to setup a desert sunrise maternity shoot, one of the images from which you’ll see below. She also took some incredible images of me throughout the trip that I’ll share soon! And I’ll upload my color film shots in a later post (my computer died recently and is holding my work hostage for the time being!)!

Oh, and did I mention that in August I’m hopping on a plane across the entire country to Canada to do a part II to this amazing workshop with the same group of incredible artists and instructors!? Ahhhh SO giddy! You still have a few days to snag your seat at the early bird pricing (which is in Canadian dollars, by the way, so cheaper for us U.S. folks!!). It’ll be so worth it. I promise! Join me for an amazing few days in the Canadian PNW!

Lea Ciceraro - Love Me Simply Photography - www.LoveMeSimply.com

 

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Why the Daily Photo Challenge / 365 Project / Photo-a-Day Assignment Isn’t For Everyone (and my issues with oversharing in an oversaturated digital world)

I know there are a lot of people who are really into these “projects.” I have friends who are. This is not a diss on you! I love seeing all of your lovely photos and I love when you commit to something and follow through (if it actually is meaningful to you to do so). And if you’re doing something like photographing your child every single day, I do see a lot of value in that because our precious babes grow up so quickly (side note: I’m participating in a film challenge that involves using just one roll in one sitting to photograph your child once a month and I’m so excited about the group of photographers also involved in this community– a manageable and fun learning experience)!

This post, however, is all about what I personally learned after intentionally setting out to take at least one photo per day myself for the last month.

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Engagement Photography in North Carolina | Coffee Shops + Baseball & Softball + Outdoor Adventures = LOVE

Exactly three months from today, two of the most beautiful souls, both inside and out, get married. In three months, John and Kourtney become a family, officially, in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

Photographing love, in every shape and form, is my absolute favorite. So much so, that I wrote my manifesto about what love means to me.

I met John and Kourtney in 2013, and shortly after, John asked me to secretly photograph his proposal to Kourtney at sunrise in December (BRRR!). It was such a special life moment to be a part of!!

Last Fall, I had the pleasure of shooting their engagement photos, and let me tell you, it was amazing!!! The three of us worked SO very hard to make sure it was so uniquely THEM, with a special meaning behind every bit of it. We spent three hours together and went to three different locations!

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show me your heart

Growing up, I was definitely one of those kids who easily gave in to peer pressure. And now I’m comfortable enough in my own skin to admit it. There’s nothing wrong with that since it didn’t lead me down any destructive paths. Everything I experienced growing up, shaped who I am today. I used to want to be one of the “cool” kids (whatever that means). Sometimes it meant trying to hang out with people who only dampened my spirit, and who actually weren’t even being true to themselves. Sometimes it meant dressing in clothes that didn’t speak to my own individuality. I wanted to fit in, and not be an outcast or made fun of. Luckily, my awesome mama frequently told me to ALWAYS BE NICE TO EVERYBODY. Can’t we all just get along and be ourselves? Can we all agree to forever keep the innocent childhood enthusiasm and passion that is so contagious (that’s me in the photo below, by the way)?

 

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Black & White Challenge

There’s been a nifty little photography challenge going around social media called “The Black and White Challenge.” When someone nominates you to participate, you’re supposed to post a black and white image once a day for 5 days, and nominate a new person each day to participate. I was nominated by a neighbor down the street, and two awesome photographers (and quite incredible women, to boot!!): As Ever Photography and Karen Renee Photography. I’m a bit of a black and white film junkie anyways, so I was more than happy to participate!

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