Lauren Guilford Photography » Blog

I can imagine for most people getting a phone call in the middle of the night would cause sheer panic. For me it usually means one thing, it’s baby time! It’s actually a little bizarre when I stop and think about it – to wake up at odd hours and rush out of my apartment (my poor roommate;)).

It may leave me feeling like a zombie the next day, but it’s the best wake up call to receive.

Here’s a bit of baby Elle’s birth story…

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I can so vividly remember hanging out in our bedrooms, playing with dolls, and talking for hours about what our lives would be like when we were “all grown up.” As we grew older we traded out dolls for make-up, and continued to dream of what life would be like 5, 10, 15 years down the road. What it would be like to get engaged, to get married, to have kids of our own.

I couldn’t have been more thankful for the phone call I got Thanksgiving Day a little over a year ago…Desiree was pregnant! Thrilled for her and her hubby, I started thinking about how fun it would be to see one of my childhood best friends go through this journey. To be honest, I desperately wanted to be there when she delivered her baby. In my mind I couldn’t imagine not being there! Of course I wanted to get beautiful images for them, but even more so I wanted to be her doula and help her, and Rich, bring baby Claira into this world.

Being first time parents, they weren’t quite sure what to expect or how they wanted things to be when the big day came. Luckily (after patiently waiting), they let me know they wanted me to be there as their doula and photographer. I mean, they really had no chance in saying no anyways  ;)

Desiree was so amazing throughout her entire labor and delivery. I was beaming with pride. As if I didn’t already love her with all my heart, my love and respect for her grew tenfold.

Here are some images from Claira’s birth!

Los Angeles Birth Photographer - laurenguilford.com

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From the moment I met Danielle, I knew she was going to be a close friend of mine. There was this immediate connection and sense of ease when talking to her. I can’t quite remember all that we talked about the first time we got together, but I would bet I shared my whole life story with her. Partially because I talk too much, but mainly because it felt like I had already been friends with her for years. She was a few months away from delivering her baby at that time, and I remember thinking that I just HAD to do a birth story for her. Lucky me, I got my wish  :)

I asked Danielle if she would share a little bit of her birth experience, here is what she had to say –

“I must start by saying that Levi is our miracle, our angel baby, our long awaited gift from God.  While our birth story is not unlike many you hear, it is our treasure and one we hold very close.  We are honored to share a glimpse of our story, in word and in image, with the desire that all who come across it find hope.  After experiencing a loss early on in our marriage we hoped for the day our first child would enter our lives earth side.  From even our years dating, we envisioned a large family.  For years we “tried” to conceive.  Cycle after cycle, year after year, the hope we once had started to dwindle.  The ache set in and what was once a longing, turned into doubt.  Deep down we still knew in our hearts that this was not the end for us, that we had been called to be parents, but the pursuit of that calling would now look a bit differently.  It was late Fall of 2013, during the busiest time of the year for our business when I began to feel ill.  I chalked it up to stress and thought nothing of it.  One day Kevin came to me and shared a dream he had the night before, of himself as a father.  His Grandfather, the man who raised him, came to him in the dream.  He handed Kevin his child and said, “Its your turn now son, his name is Levi.” Then he turned and walked away.  Kevin explains his feeling in that moment as fear, pride, and contentment all at once.  It was the day following that dream, two pregnancy tests confirmed we were, in fact, expecting!  I was in a state of complete shock!!!  We have an incredibly embarrassing home video documenting my dramatic realization that the test were Positive.  And so it began…  The pregnancy was threatened early on. So early on that we had to choose to walk completely by Faith that this life was ours to carry for as long as we were allowed.  We chose to birth with a team of midwives at the Del Mar Birth Center, and moved forward with an undisturbed pregnancy. This means that we chose to decline any ultrasounds, with the exception of one in the beginning to determine date and viability, and would wait to find out the gender until the time our child was born .  We surrendered ourselves to the natural birth process and like most expecting parents we had a vision of what our birth story would look like.  We attended birthing classes (Birthing from Within) that affirmed the natural birthing process we desired and prepared us for the inevitable twists and turns we’d encounter.  Even still we never imagined our birth story any other way then in the comfort of the birth center, birthing intimately with just each other and the birthing staff.  We didn’t even envision a photographer being present until a week or so prior to delivery.  The day came, eleven days following my estimated due date. From the moment I KNEW I was in labor, it was 5.5 hours until Levi was in our arms.  I remember the entire process so vividly and if you want to hear more about it I’d be happy to share it with you.  But I’ll give you a few key moments that are embedded in my memory.  I remember walking into the hallway of the birth center, standing with my midwife mid contraction, looking over and seeing Lauren standing beside me with the most gentle smile.  I remember the midwives breaking my bag of waters shortly after arriving and being told we would have to transfer to the hospital because of meconium. I remember closing my eyes as we entered the hospital as to not be intimidated by my surroundings. I remember the long yet urgent journey through the hospital hallway to my room in triage with Kevin by my side. I remember the celebration of Levi being born healthy and the rush of loved ones entering the room as he was placed on my chest for the first time to nurse. Through all this, I remember Lauren by my side with that same gentle smile. I fondly recall all the moments she would set her camera aside to hold my outstretched hand, join with me in a laugh, and share with me in a cry as we had both experienced the miracle of life in its complete fullness.”

I’m so glad I got to be there to document this process for Danielle and Kevin! Here’s a look at Levi’s birth…

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Over the summer I got to be this wonderful mama’s doula as she brought her second baby into this world! When she had her daughter a few years ago she ended up having to have a c-section when the doctors learned the baby was breach during labor. After doing lots of research about her options with birth she was determined to have a more positive birth experience this time around – and hopefully that would mean getting to birth her baby boy vaginally.

I was so amazed at her strength and determination (and am still so very proud of her). In the end, she was able to get the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) she had hoped and planned for…and little Max was born en-caul (still in amniotic sac)! It was such an honor to help Urszula throughout her labor and delivery!

While I was primarily her doula, I was able to do a bit of a birth story for her…here are some images from Max’s arrival!

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One of the things I love about shooting film is the way it forces me to slow down…allowing me to be intentional and wholly present with my clients. And in those relaxed moments where I’m changing out rolls of film, more often than not I find a curious little kiddo wandering over to me trying to figure out what I’m up to. I love giving them little tasks to help me…holding onto my new roll of film while I grab the the one I just shot on, having them push close my camera back, etc.

I’ll never forget how much Sienna not only wanted to help, but so eagerly wanted to look through my camera and see what I was doing. So, while mama nursed Harrison, I took the prism off of my Contax and pointed my camera around letting her see our surroundings through the lens. She LOVED it! It was so sweet how much it captivated her (especially since she’s only 2). Meanwhile her sweet little spirit won my heart over (and so did her baby brother and parents)!

This little guy is a chunky boy now – 6 months old – and just as sweet! Here are some of my favorites from his newborn session.

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