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  • roanoke memorial ben's birth

  • ben’s birth.

    roanoke memorial hospital was the place where sarah delivered baby boy ben with her best friend as her labor nurse.

    what a joy to see all their faces when the baby arrived.

    roanoke memorial hospital, ben's birth, laura swift photography

    roanoke memorial hospital, ben's birth, laura swift photography

    roanoke memorial hospital, ben's birth, laura swift photography

     

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA and surrounding area.

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.
    follow me on facebook and instagram
    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.
    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

  • motherhood achievement crown

  • Motherhood: a crowning achievement.    a personal photo project.

    this crown of achievement photo project is on display at the Blacksburg Library for July and August, 2017 which makes me so happy!  here is the story.

    I’m the birth photographer with a nurse’s heart. In 2006, I found my heart drawn back to the room I know so intimately: the delivery room.  Except this time, retired after 25 years as a labor and delivery nurse. I am thoroughly enjoying being back in the labor and delivery room as the family’s photographer capturing life as it happens with a camera. I have met many young mamas and seen many births.

    crown, achievement, motherhood, victory

    I had a vision about these moms…

    In Roman times, crowns were given for a satisfying achievement and gratifying victories. I felt like that described motherhood perfectly: a crown of achievement.

    A mother, just by being herself, is empowering, training up, and teaching the next generation. It’s important work and there is nothing else like it.

    I contacted All the former clients. I had been a part of their journey to become moms as I had photographed either their pregnancy, their birth, or their newborn. Those responding totaled 24 moms and I photographed them all within 14 days!

    I took away all props to be able to fully focus and see each mother. I wanted them to feel pretty in whatever they were wearing for the photo. Each morning on my walk I would gather different greenery for the head pieces to be made that day. Some days a storm had happened and new foliage fell from the very tops of the trees. These branches were gathered as well as ferns for every headpiece. I also included various flora and fauna from the woods around my home.

    Clients would come to my home and choose what to wear from a rack of clothing set up in my bedroom.  Leaving the house and walking down the wooded path, we arrived at the tent. Sitting down, we began to talk about motherhood and what it was like for each of them.

    I clicked the shutter of my camera while they were talking, their eyes big with excitement and lots of honest answers about their achievements, triumphs, and accomplishments as a mom. I heard lots of crowning achievement stories shared from the heart. It was a beautiful and special time with each of them.

    It was thrilling for me to listen to their motherhood journey and respond by cheering each mom on in the daily achievements of motherhood. As moms, just by being ourselves, we impact the next generation. Wear your crowns proudly. The project was inspired by a 1910 wedding dress in the family and a dream about 24 moms and a Scripture verse about crowns.   Here is a slideshow video of the  moms that participated in the project.

    i encourage everyone to have a personal creative project.  i learned so much about myself and it feels so good to start and finish something. i feel proud.  i admit it.   first time for:  shooting for a square image,  putting the subject in the middle of the frame, and only using a 50mm camera lens.  talking to 24 moms while photographing them when i normally shoot in a documentary style was agonizing for me.  i finished the project in 14 days.  honestly, i was burned out after editing and delivering all the images, but i took a week off from shooting and recovered.  stretch yourself.  get a personal project.  come on.  it’s worth it. Special thanks to Jennifer Thoreson for sharing her creative process and Creative Live’s fine art women’s portraits by Jennifer Thoreson workshop.

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

  • her birth. her words.

  • her birth.  her words.  birth stories.  i am so happy when clients write their birth story for the baby book and then agree to share it on my blog. fun fact – this was my second birth for that day at carillion hospital in radford,va and i made it to both!

    hospital birth, birth stories. her birth. her words.

    I have been meaning to write Declan’s birth story since he was just a few weeks old, and now he is about to turn 6 months this week. I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly, it feels like I was just getting my maternity photos taken and making sure his room was ready. I remember wondering when he would come and what his birth would be like. Would it be everything I had been hoping and planning for or would he surprise us and change every aspect of our birth plan?

    Pre-labor pains began two weeks before he was born. I would have very irregular mild contractions for a day, then they would go away for a day or two. There were so many times that I got excited that “this was it” only for them to stop an hour or so later. In my last prenatal appointment on November 9. I brought up that I had been having more regular contraction that week, but none closer than 15 min apart. They asked me to rate the pain level of the contractions and remember telling them they were a 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. Thinking back to that now, I laugh. I think a 2 would have been a more appropriate rating, but I was young and naive back then. The Midwife checked me, and while she felt his head really low in my pelvis, my cervix was still really high and she was unable to even reach it, which likely meant I was not dilated at all. So I went back home a little disappointed that he would like not be coming on or before his due date of November 12 (my birthday).

    hospital birth, her birth. her words. birth stories

    I was woken up around 3:30 AM on Thursday the 10th by some contractions. Nothing really stronger than they had been before, but this was the first time I had ever been woken up by them. I got up and walked around some and drank some water to see if I could get them to go away so I could get some sleep. I had to go to work that day, and needed to get sleep. After being up for a bit with no change in my situation, I finally decided to wake Brian up because I was freezing and wanted him to build me a fire. I was finally able to get back to sleep around 5:30 AM, and slept for about two hours. When I woke up again and was still having contractions, I decided to call into work and let them know that while I didn’t think anything was actually happening today, I didn’t want to do the 45 min drive to work that day. I also told Brian that it felt a little different this morning, and that he should probably work from home, just in case. He thought I was overreacting, but stayed home anyway.

    hospital birth, birth stories, her birth. her words

    Throughout the day the contractions varied from every five minutes to every 15 minutes, and wouldn’t stay consistent. I texted my mom and my Doula, Shalene ,to give them the heads up, but stressed that this was likely just false labor again since the contractions wouldn’t stay consistent. I spent most of day walking around the house aimlessly and bouncing on my exercise ball. A little after midday, Contractions started to become more regular coming every 5-8 mins and lasting 45-60 seconds. It was at this point that I texted my mom to tell her not to text me anymore and asked Brian to handle coordination with my mom and Shalene, so I could focus on being in “labor land”. The thing that sticks out in my mind most when I think about my time laboring at home is Brian’s response to me when I asked him to do this. With a straight face he looked up at me from his computer and said “You really think you are in labor? I expected it to be more dramatic than this.” I sadly don’t remember my response, but I am sure it was some slightly snarky remark about him not really doing much.

    Around 5 o’clock I realized that I was going to the hospital at some point that night and they weren’t gonna let me eat, so in the middle of contractions coming every 5-7 min, we loaded into the car and made a trip to the grocery store for some chicken noodle soup. I continued to have contractions throughout the grocery store having to stop every few minutes until they passed. While checking out, the check-out lady asked when I was due, and I told her not due till Saturday, but that I was currently in labor. The look on her face was priceless.

    hospital birth, birth stories, her birth. her words

    We finally text Shalene and told her she should probably come to the house around 8pm or so. Looking back, I think my body was waiting for her to be there, because once she got there and watched me for a few contractions, I started uncontrollably shaking and contractions started coming faster and harder. Once she saw this she suggested we head to the hospital. The ride to the hospital was a hard one. We only live about 10 minutes from the hospital but it felt like it took forever and I had at least three contractions on the 10 minute drive. My biggest fear was that I would get to the hospital and I would only he 3-4 cm dilated since I seemed so far from labor just the day before. Thankfully when they checked me I was 7 cm dilated and 95% effaced. They also commented on how low he was in the birth canal.

    Things seem to escalate pretty quickly from that point and it all feels like a blur. The two things that I do remember from that time involve my OBGYN. First, I remember looking over in the middle intense contractions to see him sitting comfortably on the couch just watching me. At the time this made me quite angry, and I thought he should be doing something at that time and I felt discouraged that I wasn’t close enough to delivery for him to be getting ready, The second was when he told me that I need to reach down and pull out my baby. It was such an amazing experience to be able to bring him up to my chest myself and I still get teary eyed every time I think about it. I am so happy that we made the decision to do birth photography, as it is the only way that I am able to remember any other parts of that time since it all happened so fast. I checked into the hospital around 9:30 or 10PM and Declan was born at 11:24PM.

    hospital birth, birth stories, her birth. her words,

    I didn’t get hold him for very long after he was born because he was not oxygenating very well and was kind of a purpley- blue color. I don’t remember noticing it the day of, but looking back at the photos, he was definitely not the right color. Brian went with Declan (although he was not named at that point) over to the warming lights to work on him while I got stitched up. Shalene, Dr. Roberts, and I were laughing and having a great time, and didn’t even realize how serious things were over on the other side of the room. He was not breathing well on his own and was having to be on CPAP. After 10-15 minutes, they decided that needed to take him from our room to work on getting him to breathe better and do some x-rays. Brian went with him to the sick nursery. I am so glad I had Shalene there with me to be my support and company while Brian was away.

    Having a doula for my birth was probably the single best decision we made when planning for Declan’s arrival. Because of her we were able to prepare for an unmedicated birth with pain coping techniques (although using ice in your hand as a stand in for labor pain is hilarious to me now) and with the amount of back pain I was having, I may have had more trouble getting through the end of labor without all the amazing counter pressure she was giving me. I think I was the first client to give birth practically on top of her and I appreciate all the support and encouragement she gave me. I still think “melt” whenever I am very tense and need to relax my body.

    hospital birth, her birth. her words. birth stories

    Brian finally came back to the room about an hour later. It’s kind of a weird feeling to have just gone through such an intense and quick moving labor then all of a sudden be sitting in the room just my husband, my doula, and my birth photographer, without my new baby. It was quiet, weirdly calm, and we just waited to hear from the doctor. We finally got news that our boy was not going to be able to stay with us that night. They had found that the upper left lobe of his lung was collapsed and that he had a pneumothorax (small hole in his lung). Though they found these things, and nothing had really been done yet, he was already breathing better on his own and I would be able to try breastfeeding in a little bit. I was finally able to go to him and see him around 2:30 AM. Thankfully he recovered fully without needing any additional interventions and was even able to come home on schedule.

    hospital birth, birth stories, her birth. her words.

    We didn’t get the normal “family photos” right after his birth like you normally do when you have a birth photographer since we had a lot going on, but Laura was kind enough to come back the next day to take them for us.

    We were so excited to take him home, and I cherish that first month that we were able to be at home together full time. The sleepless existence we lived was challenging at times, but with the help of family and friends, we made it through. The turning point that I think all parents can relate to, is when he started to smile. All of the sleep-depriving, diaper-messing, and nipple-chomping is easily forgiven with a flash of a heart-melting smile.

    hospital birth

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA and surrounding area.

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

  • strong family supported birth

  • hospital birth, strong supported birth

    strong family supported birth is so beautiful to watch. family support was so strong during this hospital birth, i was mesmerized watching them work together.

    they had done this before and everyone knew their role.

    i saw strength in this mom that she didn’t know she had,

    i was amazed at how easily she received support and encouragement,

    and how well this family communicated with their birth team.

    this mom had the quiet, strong support of a loving, praying, attentive husband,

    a grammie who coached her through each contraction while grandpa babysat the other kids at home, and a cheer-leading sister that encouraged her using face time.

    family togetherness.

    hospital birth, family supported birth,

    hospital birth

    hospital birth

    hospital birth

    hospital birth

    support, hospital birth

    hospital birth

    hospital birth

    hospital birth, support

    hospital birth, family supported birth

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA and surrounding area.

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

     

  • water birth. water born.

  • water birth.  while photographing and watching my first water birth, i fell in love.

    water birth. birthing pool. home birth

    the week of  thanksgiving, baby boy b. came quietly into the world in the wee hours of a very cold morning.

    here is the dictionary definition of a water birth:  “a water birth means at least part of your labor, delivery, or both happen while you’re in a birth pool filled with warm water.  it can take place in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home.  a doctor, nurse-midwife, or midwife helps you through it.”

    this water birth occurred in a home in the same room with the wood stove.  music played in the background. battery powered candles lined the window sills surrounding the birth pool.  it was lightly snowing outside. she had her team of husband, midwife, RN assistant to the midwife, and myself as birth photographer and 3 excited kids trying to sleep.

    this water birth was meaningful to me in so many ways and on many levels. i witnessed family and team. i felt and saw respect and intimacy in relationship, the natural process of birth, pure, raw, and emotional.  i am changed because of it. i am softer, more aware, more sympathetic, and more caring. i am not afraid to feel these emotions. i think as a former labor and delivery nurse, i kept my heart guarded to be able to function and respond, but as a birth photographer i can let that guard down and feel the emotions in the room. i am more me than ever and i like it.

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool.

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool.

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool.

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool.

    water birth. home birth. birthing pool.

    if you are interested in reading more about water births, here are two articles i enjoyed reading today on this topic. Planning a birth  and  what to expect

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA and surrounding area.

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

     

     

  • colored wall maternity session

  • right away, i knew the colored wall would be the perfect location for the rented maternity dress.

    the story of the rented maternity dress begins.   i rented a light blue, patterned maternity dress and gave myself the challenge of seeing how many different locations i could find, along with a different pregnant mom for each location in one week. this is the first pregnant mom of four models wearing the rented dress.

    colored wall, rented maternity dress, maternity,

    i connected with nicole through a local mom’s group when i was asking about pregnant models for this project.  we met for the first time in the very crowded bakery and chatted about the photo session.  bundled up to keep warm, we walked to the end of the large parking lot.  leaving the parking lot, we started walking along the wooded path to the colored wall. carrying my gear, large reflector, and a chair, we looked funny but no one was standing close to laugh at us.  looking around it was a fun challenge to use what was available to us.  the large green wooden door was not exactly the right shade of green for the dress, but we made it work.  i noticed a white garage door which made a perfect backdrop as well as the pile of leaves under a nearby tree.  it was truly an adventure to see what we could discover in that location.

    colored wall, rented maternity dress, maternity

    this dress is from mama bump rentals.  i will happily rent another dress.  customer service was 5 stars for me.

    my normal style is earth toned long flowing gowns, so this blue print dress was awesome for a winter photo session. side note:  nicole is the one who suggested i write about the adventures of the rented maternity dress.  i took her advice.

    colored wall, rented maternity dress, maternity,

    the rest of the story. nicole has delivered a beautiful son.  i was able to go and photograph him at 5 days old.  new friendships are awesome.  ~laura

    colored wall, rented maternity dress, maternity

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA and surrounding area.

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

     

     

  • two moving through labor as one

  • two moving through labor as one.  they were connected and touching, holding and encouraging each other throughout the labor and delivery of their son.

    labor, two moving as one, birth

    the way they moved together during contractions was like the ebb and flow of the ocean waves, and even more like the rhythmic crescendos in a beautiful symphony. musical and magical.

    labor, two as one, birth

    i love being invited into that intimate place called the birthing room where i feel love all around me. i am always watching for signs of it and this it what is can look like during birth.

    labor, two as one, birth

    love sounds like encouragement whispered in the ear.

    labor, two as one, birth

    love looks like a hand placed in the small of her back and  love may feel like the squeeze of a hand that will never loosen its grip.

    love often tastes like the salty sweat of hard work and  but my favorite sign of love is the smell of  that new baby.

    labor, two as one, birth

    i am always pleasantly surprised and amazed at how different love looks during each birth.

    labor, two as one, birth

    it is beautiful and it always changes me.  ~laura

    labor, two as one, birth

    birth has always held my heart.  before i was a birth photographer i was a labor and delivery nurse for 25 years.  if i could help take away any fear during childbirth, then my day had been spent well and i felt satisfied.  birth is such a beautiful experience in so many ways, but seeing that baby’s face after nine months in hiding is why i bring my camera to each birth.  that first meeting of parents and baby, all those emotions waiting to come out.

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA and surrounding area.

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

     

     

     

  • motherhood. crowning victories

  • Motherhood: Crowning Victories.    a personal photo project.

    I’m the birth photographer with a nurse’s heart. In 2006, I found my heart drawn back to the room I know so intimately: the delivery room.  Except this time, retired after 25 years as a labor and delivery nurse. I am thoroughly enjoying being back in the labor and delivery room as the family’s photographer capturing life as it happens with a camera. I have met many young mamas and seen many births.

    crowning victories, motherhood

    I had a vision about these moms…

    In Roman times, crowns were given for a satisfying achievement and gratifying victories. I felt like that described motherhood perfectly: Crown of victory.

    A mother, just by being herself, is empowering, training up, and teaching the next generation. It’s important work and there is nothing else like it.

    I contacted All the former clients. I had been a part of their journey to become moms as I had photographed either their pregnancy, their birth, or their newborn. Those responding totaled 24 moms and I photographed them all within 14 days!

    I took away all props to be able to fully focus and see each mother. I wanted them to feel pretty in whatever they were wearing for the photo. Each morning on my walk I would gather different greenery for the head pieces to be made that day. Some days a storm had happened and new foliage fell from the very tops of the trees. These branches were gathered as well as ferns for every headpiece. I also included various flora and fauna from the woods around my home.

    Clients would come to my home and choose what to wear from a rack of clothing set up in my bedroom.  Leaving the house and walking down the wooded path, we arrived at the tent. Sitting down, we began to talk about motherhood and what it was like for each of them.

    I clicked the shutter of my camera while they were talking, their eyes big with excitement and lots of honest answers about their achievements, triumphs, and accomplishments as a mom. I heard lots of crowning victory stories shared from the heart. It was a beautiful and special time with each of them.

    It was thrilling for me to listen to their motherhood journey and respond by cheering each mom on in the daily victories of motherhood. As moms, just by being ourselves, we impact the next generation. Wear your crowns proudly. The project was inspired by a 1910 wedding dress in the family and a dream about 24 moms and a Scripture verse about crowns.   Here is a slideshow video of the  moms that participated in the project.

    Special thanks to Jennifer Thoreson for sharing her creative process and Creative Live’s fine art women’s portraits by Jennifer Thoreson workshop.

    i encourage everyone to have a personal creative project.  i learned so much about myself and it feels so good to start and finish something. i feel proud.  i admit it.   first time for:  shooting for a square image,  putting the subject in the middle of the frame, and only using a 50mm camera lens.  talking to 24 moms while photographing them when i normally shoot in a documentary style was agonizing for me.  i finished the project in 14 days.  honestly, i was burned out after editing and delivering all the images, but i took a week off from shooting and recovered.  stretch yourself.  get a personal project.  come on.  it’s worth it.

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

  • red. naming red-headed babies?

  • red.  what will we name our baby if it is born with red hair?

    this was a real conversation between my son and his wife when looking at their baby for the first time.  well, it’s how i remember it!  they have two blonde headed boys and then two red headed girls.  there was excitement in the air to meet this baby number 5.  boy or girl.  red hair, blonde hair, or no hair!  haha.

    baby names, red, baby,

    watch the video to see the conversation about naming a red headed baby.

     

    More about Laura’s birth photography in Christiansburg, VA

    a former labor and delivery nurse of 25 years, I am now working as a hospital/home birth documentary photographer in southwest Virginia and loving it.  being back in the birthing room feels like coming home.  quiet, calm, and confident in the birthing room, I can anticipate the events and therefore, I am an excellent choice for photographing the birth of your baby.

    follow me on facebook and instagram

    for birth photography information, contact laura@lauraswiftphotography.com or my contact page.

    read about  my journey to become a birth photographer. feel free to share this with a friend.  ~laura

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