Lucy’s Birth Story

It has been a whole year (cue the ugly tears) so I thought it was past time that I share Lucy’s Birth Story with you guys. Our journey to bringing our sweet girl into the world was a smooth one and I am thankful to share such a joyous moment of our lives with you all.

I went in for my 39 week check up with our doctor, Dr. Jonathon Snead with Alliance Women’s Healthcare. I was pretty sure he was going to tell me that I hadn’t made any progress and that our baby would come when he or she was ready. But, to my surprise, he said that I was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. All signs said that baby was ready to make her way into the world!

I had read a million books on how to have a baby naturally and thought that I would be hell-bent on waiting for her to make her arrival in her own time. But, our Doctor surprised us when he said that he would be out of town the following week. Just like that, we scheduled an induction for her due date. lucy 3

We arrived at Texas Health Resources Harris Methodist at Alliance at 6:30 in the morning on August 30th. Within the first hour, Dr. Snead came in and broke my water and then I was hooked up to the Pitocin to start contractions. Considering how determined I was to have a natural childbirth, I couldn’t help but laugh when it came to my birth plan.

Pretty much everything that I had planned was out the window before we even got to the hard part. I tried to do natural labor. I did heavy breathing for almost 5 hours before I got on all fours and told our nurses (Marta + Katrina’s, aka legit angels on Earth) that it was time for the CRNA to bring me that sweet relief.  I had come in at a 3 and made it to a 6 before getting the epidural.

Shortly after I got the epidural, I could tell that something was wrong. But, to be honest, I felt great so I was kind of curious as to what could be happening. I could see the panic on Russell’s face. He said, “Ang, you are as white a ghost.” I could feel my breaths getting shorter and shorter but I felt so relaxed that I assured him everything was fine. The nurses were worried too.

They called the CRNA back in and as they monitored the baby’s progress, the nurse anesthetist administered ephedrine to speed  up my heart rate. I had to wear an oxygen mask for awhile but within minutes, I was back to feeling like me, me in labor but me nonetheless. The epidural was perfect once we calmed it down a bit. I could feel my legs and still knew when I was having contractions but I didn’t feel the pain anymore. We spent the next 2 hours watching Thor Ragnarok and filling out our Baby Book.

At around 2 PM, I started to feel my contractions coming on, really strong. I could feel intense pressure. Considering that both of my nurses had assured me that induced labor can last for days (though the average was 15 hours), I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that our baby would make her way into the world a mere hours after being induced. So, when Marta checked me and exclaimed that I was 10 cm and ready to go, I almost didn’t believe her. After all this waiting, these long 10 months, I felt a rush of panic like “Wait, like now? We’re going to have her now?” I texted our friends and family and said “It’s go time” but again, I was so very wrong.

lucy 3I assumed that when you reached 10 cm, it was time to starting pushing that little munchkin out. But, that was not the case. Our nurses called the doctor and he told them to have me sit in a chair for awhile and try to get some rest. So, from 2PM to 5PM, we sat and waited. We watched movies and prayed and I moved from side to side in anticipation all afternoon.

I could hear the machines beeping with every contraction and the monitor was letting us hear baby’s heartbeat. When 5 o clock on the dot hit, I knew right away that it was time. I told my nurses that they would need to get the doctor in our room or I was just going to do it on my own. I could feel the pressure, so intense, and Jumangi was playing in the background. Kevin Hart and Jack Black’s voices were drowning out the all the extra noise floating around the room. Marta checked me and said, “Yep, we’re ready. Baby is crowning!”

Dr. Snead showed up as if from out of nowhere  and it was officially go time. Russ stood by with his camera ready to go and a cup full of ice. At 5:01, I started pushing. At 5:08, our little girl was born. I literally could not believe it. I had no clue what the gender of our baby was. I am a planner and I knew that if I found out the sex, I would overexert myself trying to plan out all the little details. So, I chose not to find out. But, Russ did know. He had known for 5 months and never once did he spill the beans. In fact, he brought along a bag full of pink onesies and bows for Lucy and an “L” necklace for me.

I was so shocked when they told me it was a girl. My entire pregnancy I had thought she was a boy. I had called her Beau for months. I had packed all boy clothes in our Hospital Bag. Heck, I had spent the better part of August walking around Target buying boy clothes. I even brought a “Welcome to the World Robert Beauhannon” sign to the hospital and I was so very wrong. I was so surprised. I couldn’t stop crying and neither could our sweet girl.

All the books I read said that skin to skin contact would calm the baby and that giving birth would be this magical experience of bonding. Our sweet little girl literally wouldn’t stop crying. She had all of us on edge. I kept waiting for that peaceful moment but she was not having it. The book did have one thing right though…I was so in love with that little girl from the first moment they laid her on my chest. Even with all the screaming,  I had never seen anything more beautiful. Her nose was squished, her hair was blacker than night and her fingers were made for one day tickling the ivories. She was nothing I could of expected and in a wonderfully weird way, that was peace I sought.

On August 30th, 2018 at 5:08 PM, we welcomed our daughter, Rebecca Loucille, into the world. Weighing in at 7 pounds even and 19 1/4 inches long, Lucy made us a Family of 3.  Her name is derived from the Bible, Rebekah being a pillar of strength for her family and Loucille was a play on both of our Grandmother’s middle name, “Lou”.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit about our sweet baby and her entrance into the world. If you are expecting and have questions or simply just want someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out! I would love to be able to offer advice or answer any questions you might have about this next big adventure.

Huge thank you to our Fresh 48 Photographer for capturing Lucy’s first day in the world! Photo Credit: Stefanie Rose Photography

Laurel Highlands Portrait Session |Norah Lucia |

Hands down, one of my favorite sessions, to date! Jaime of Lonigro Photography and her sweet husband, Tony, welcomed a baby girl this spring and because Jaime has been one of my biggest cheerleaders, constantly encouraging and influencing me to chase my dreams, I just knew that I had to gift this sweet couple their first family portrait session. In years past, Jaime has collaborated with me on a few shoots and I couldn’t think of a proper way to thank her so pictures with their new little love seemed like a good way to show my appreciation for all her hard work.

Ya’ll Meet Norah Lucia Lonigro! This gorgeous little babe made her way into the world 2 weeks early with a full head of hair and the prettiest blue eyes you ever did see.  Weighing in at 7 lbs 7 oz, this little angel made her way earthside on April 27th and changed the Lonigros’ hearts forever.

Just shy of her 1 month, Tony, Jaime and little Nori met me at Keystone State Park for a quick photo shoot near the beach area. Unlike our fall minis where everything was vibrant with oranges and reds, the spring in southwestern PA had to offer bright greens and pretty posies as a backdrop for this family session. Though it was midday and the humidity was about to spike, this crew made the most of our short time together.

Because Jaime is in the portrait photography business, she knows how to get the most from a session and trusted me when I directed them to a plethora of locations around the property. These guys are outdoorsy to say the least. In fact, I am kind of hoping we all get to vacation sometime together because we dream alike and love the wild outdoors! Plus, I have a feeling that Lucy and Norah would have a blast together!

Norah slept the entire shoot. Not even once did she give me a glimpse of her baby blues but she peacefully dreamt in the warm weather and both new Mom and Dad were thankful for a little quiet time! That newborn life can be rough but these guys seem to have such a graceful grasp on the hustle that comes with having a third wheel! Jaime looked stunning, rocking that new Mama glow, the most perfect color red dress and her hair was beyond on point. In fact, I had a hard time believing that she hadn’t been to a salon that morning because let me tell you, I did not look that good when Lucy was 4 weeks old. Tony is one lucky guy!

We ended the shoot by letting little miss Nori don an adorable gray turban bow and it was insanely cute. I am just so proud and so happy for this little family. I’ve known Tony since he was a kid playing midget football for my dad. He even brought photo evidence along. Seeing these two become parents and following their journey to parenthood has been nothing short of beautiful. I am so happy for the these guys and I wish you all the most congratulations. Soak it all in because it flys by fast! Kiss Norah for me and let her know that I am already dreaming up play dates!

Laurel Highlands Newborn Session | Meet Eliza |

Meet the newest member of the Tetkoski Crew, Eliza! This gang is no stranger to the blog. You might remember them from their first daughter’s (Ellie) Newborn Session or their Family Session with their sweet cousins while they were visiting in Texas. I was so happy to hear that their brand new addition arrived shortly before my arrival in Pennsylvania and that we would get a chance to meet this brand spanking new Family of 4!

At Day 15, Eliza is adjusting well. Like any second child, she is adapting to her new surroundings and all the hugs from her big sister. I arrived at the Tetkoski home and Ellie made sure to introduce me to her new baby and to show me that they would indeed be wearing matching dresses for their first photo shoot as a Family of 4.

While Mama fed Eliza, Daddy, Ellie and I headed out to their big and bright backyard for a few shots of Daddy with his firstborn. They have the most incredible backyard and loads of beautiful landscaping so this location would be a breeze for a backdrop.

One thing I love about coming home for Spring Minis in the Laurel Highlands is just how green everything is and their gorgeous backyard was no exception. Daddy kept joking that we were shooting in front of the weeds but I told him to just trust me. And, I am glad he did because this green against Daddy’s blue shirt, Mama’s glow and her ginger hair mixed in with two adorable babes made for some magical images!

Like any firstborn, Ellie sure does love her baby sister but she might be having a little trouble adjusting to sharing Mama with her new bestie. As we ran around the yard, I made sure to capture a few of Mama with her baby girl to allow Ellie some one on one time with her #1 Mama. They picked dandelions and blew wishes into the wind. Ellie was over the moon!

And, of course we had to get a few of Jesse with his sweet little love, Eliza. She seemed so very comfortable lying in Daddy’s arms. She kept smiling in her sleep and when she grabbed onto his finger, I was more than happy to capture such a sweet image of this baby doll and her Dad.

Because we had captured Ellie’s Newborn Portraits at their home as well, I made sure to recreate a few of the photos from that session. Above, that’s Carly’s Spring baby, Eliza, on the left and her Fall baby, Ellie, on the right. How sweet is that???

The humidity was getting the best of all of us and we decided so head indoors to Eliza could have the spotlight for a bit. At 15 days young, this sweet baby girl didn’t make a peep throughout her session. She just laid on her favorite blanket and gazed at the natural light streaming through their back door. It was the perfect spot to capture those blue eyes and keep little missy nice and warm! We captured her toes and her “guns” and even a few sweet moments with her big sister.

I have always said that my favorite part of this job is watching these little beans grow up and seeing this family expand brings my heart so much joy. Congratulations to the Tetkoski’s on their bundle of joy! I hope to see you guys for play dates soon!!

 

If you would like to book your unique Lifestyle Newborn Session or even a Fresh 48 contact Angelina at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I love capturing those first raw and real moments for families that reflect the miracle that is bringing a new baby home!

 

 

DFW Newborn Session: Meet Bridger Easton

Get ready to meet the most handsome baby boy! At just 30 days young, this tiny but mighty brute of a baby showed up with his Mama and Grandma for his Newborn Session and I can honestly say that I have never seen a one month old who was so active for his session. Ya’ll meet Mr. Personality, Bridger Easton!

You all might remember having seen his Mama’s Maternity Session at Grapevine Lake here on the blog. She was the goddess rocking the flower crown of delphiniums and flaunting her budding bump. If you missed it, check it out here. Seriously, one of my all time favorite Maternity Sessions. Amanda was poised and ready to meet her little man. Little did she know though, her baby boy would want to cook for a few more weeks!

Weighing in 7 pounds, 7 ounces, Bridger Easton made his way into the world during the wee hours of April 4th, 2019. He was born with a big and bold love for his Mama, the most handsome pout and a light dusting of brown hair.

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Grandma, Mom and Bridger arrived for little man’s Newborn Session on Day 30 and I can happily say, he rocked it. Donning a few simple outfits, we posed this little guy in a garden and in doors with a casual background. This session was all about focusing on Bridger’s perfect little details. I made sure to document everything from his toes to his nose and all the smirks in between.

As usual, these guys were a dream to work with. Mama made sure to come prepared and we had no hiccups with his session. Seeing that I love to capture the lifestyle inspired shots, or candid moments, I made sure to have Amanda jump in for a few photos with her little man. Thanks again to this sweet family. I look forward to seeing your little guy grow!

“Above all, love each other deeply.” Peter 4:8

If you would like to book your unique Newborn Portrait Session, inquire with Angelina at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I would love to chat about your bundle of joy and help capture those raw and reflective first moments as a family! Don’t forget that we also offer Fresh 48 Sessions here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex!

Laurel Highlands Mommy + Me Session |Tiffany + Isaac|

Gosh, it has been a whirlwind couple of weeks at the Norris household. We just got back from our annual Memorial Day trip to Pennsylvania to visit with our northern family and friends and to say that our trip was a rollercoaster of events and emotion is an understatement! My shoot calendar was full of Spring Mini Sessions and I have been working hard to make sure you get a glimpse at them all! First up, the most adorable Mommy + Me Session! Meet Tiffany and her baby boy, Isaac!

Tiffany’s Mama, Anne, reached out to me a few weeks before Mother’s Day in hopes of gifting a Mommy and Me Session to her sweet daughter and I was happy to oblige. We got the details worked out just in time for my arrival in the Laurel Highlands. Anne had informed me that Tiffany and her husband had spent a long time praying for their sweet boy and had continued to pray over him after his arrival. Baby Isaac arrived nearly 8 weeks before his due date. Weighing in at just a little over 3 pounds, Isaac would spend his first few weeks of life in the NICU.

As you can see, Tiffany was blessed with a blue eyed, spirited baby boy and though he was officially a premie, this little man has really made up for that in the past year! He is a little chunker with an adorable personality to match. After seeing him interact with his Mama, I can adequately guess that he is, in fact, a Mama’s Boy.  He was constantly loving on her throughout the shoot.

We had a few hiccups with timing because of the impending thunderstorms that plague this particular part of the country. In fact, when they showed up, it was pouring down rain so I told them to jump in their car and wait it out. Luckily for us, the storm only lasted 5 minutes and we began shooting right after. I crossed my fingers for a rainbow but alas, we would just have to shoot in the most perfect light instead. I promised Tiffany that the overcast skies would be beautiful and the captured moments reflect that delivery!

I had so much fun meeting this couple and their sweet boy and I hope to see them again soon. It is these families and their blessings that create the joy in what I do as a photographer and I am so happy that they thought of me to capture such a beautiful milestone! Oh and last, but certainly not least, If you see Isaac this weekend, make sure to wish him a Happy 1st Birthday! Maybe give him a hug from me too!

 

To book your unique Mommy + Me Session, email therustienailhead@gmail.com! I would love to help document your miracles and the revolution of Mamas out there living that candid motherhood rising life!

DFW Family Portrait Session: The Eidson Boys and their Mama

With Mother’s Day coming up in just a few short days, I knew that this session would be the perfect one to share in celebration. Kristi and her sweet boys, Jack and Miles, have been coming back every April for photos with The Rustie Nail and this year was no exception. Just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day, these guys put on their best shirts and biggest smiles so their Mama could document a memory of just how little or big they are!

 

Each year, Kristi and I discuss a different vision and try to bring that to life. One year, we took the boys to play in the mud with their Tonka trucks by the Trinity River and last year, we waded in the shores of Grapevine Lake. This year, we would tackle the Fort Worth Stockyards and then a more laidback shoot at Doc’s Record Store in Fort Worth.

 

We met early in the morning on Good Friday. Lucky for us, we beat the Easter crowd and had a good portion of the Stockyards to ourselves! Kristi and the boys danced their way down the cobblestone paved corridors and boys took turns riding mechanical bulls, gazing through store windows at the barrels full of candy and hugging on their sweet Mama.

 

We made our way around the old cow pens and took some time to just let the kids run amuck. Thankfully, Kristi is a boy mom and by that I mean, she doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She let them run and play, not worrying about if they would wrinkle their shirts or fall and skin their knees. She could have cared less so long as they were both smiling and happy. She seriously is the coolest Mom y’all. When faced with a scheduling conflict because of my daughter, Kristi suggested I bring her along and her family loved on sweet Lucy throughout the entire shoot.

 

Towards the end of our shoot at the Stockyards, I made sure to snap a few pictures of both the boys with their mom individually. Jack is her big boy. Strong and tall, he made sure to wrap her up in a big hug and spin her around the room. I am still in awe of how grown up Jack is. Miles, on the other hand, is all too happy to play the part of Mama’s baby. He was so content in his mother’s arms and it was the sweetest moment. Case in point, I watch her Snapchats sometimes and Miles can be seen serenading his Mama with the cutest little songs.

 

We moved onto our second location, Doc’s Record Store in Fort Worth, Texas and Kristi’s sweet sister, Claire, made an appearance in this set! The sisters tried on fur coats and danced around in the vintage backdrop. I was in love with that pink wall and the records hanging up behind them. The Sade and Killers shirts were an all too cool look as well. The boys even jumped in on the fun. Jack was rocking a Bowie shirt and Miles his Rolling Stone tee. Paired with their vans, these guys looked every bit the part of Funkytown locals.

 

One of my favorite parts about this hidden gem near Montgomery Plaza is that Doc’s has an amazing back alley full of graffitied artwork. I had mentioned this to Kristi during the planning stage and with that, she was sold. We headed back there and the boys were in awe of the local talent.

 

Both Jack and Miles killed their individual shoot times. They were perfect gentleman, even offering to push Lucy around in her stroller since she made an appearance for this shoot, and made sure to bring their A -game when it came time to pose for images. I mean, how cool are they rocking those shades and the rock n roll tee shirts? As usual, I had a blast with this gang and I look forward to seeing them again!

 

Travel Guide: New Orleans, Louisiana

A few weeks back, I took my first MOM-cation. This is big guys. I left my sweet baby at home with Russ and hit the road with my bestie for a weekend in the Big Easy and I have been dying to tell you all about it. Mainly because I have never eaten so good in my life but also because I am a firm believer in maintaining your own mental health. Though I missed our sweet girl terribly, I cannot accurately express how relaxing it was to just rest and laugh and stroll the streets of New Orleans with my friends.

This particular Travel Guide is not going to be a wrap up of a Hangover infused trip to a town notorious for debauchery.  This trip was all about walking the picturesque streets, savoring the fine foods and spending our nights glued to whatever street musician was up next in the lineup for the French Quarter Festival. So, get ready, this Travel Guide is a collection of my Top 10 Musts during a short stay in NOLA!

1. Make sure you experience the debauchery a bit and hit Bourbon Street. Day One, we made our way down to the Plymouth Rock of sin.

Did I head to Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane? You bet I did. How was it? Ehhhh, not a fan. Did we get a little crazy? Yes. I actually fell. Twice. I’ll own up to it. I know we got a good laugh about it. I’m a lightweight these days and thankfully my only Bourbon Street Battle scars were a few scratches. Overall, a win in my books. Our favorite Hidden Gem: The 21st Amendment. It was hands down, the best bar. Great drinks, amazing live music and the crowd wasn’t wild though we did run into our fair share of bachelorette parties.

2. Eat at Deanie’s! We had a few drinks on Bourbon and decided that it was best that we get some food in our stomachs before we went out on the town. We ordered New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Crawfish Etoufee and Fried Calamari. I honestly cannot tell you whether it was the french bread that we drowned in the BBQ sauce or the helpful locals dropping hints about where to head to next but this place will always be a NOLA staple for me.

3. The Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. We headed here before the night got wild and it was the perfect spot to get away from the drunkards on Bourbon and have an adult cocktail. The 25 seat Merry Go Round Bar is festive and classy in a way that hints at the nostalgia of being at a carnival or circus. We enjoyed the Pimm’s Cup, the Vieux Carre and the French 007.

4. Ahhh, the perfect breakfast. Cafe du Monde. God love the man (or woman?) who came up with the beignet! These powdered sugar covered fried treats paired with a classic chicory infused Cafe au Lait may or may not have magic powers. If they don’t cure your hangover, the sweet and crispy texture of the beignet will at least take your mind to a happy place! Words of advice: Don’t wear black, bring cash and try to hit this spot at an odd hour. Mornings are crazy so head there early or at the end of the night.

5. Immerse yourself in the culture that is New Orleans. We were spoiled because we happened to be visiting the Big Easy during the French Quarter Festival. Unlike Jazzfest, this particular festival is for the locals and NOLA goes all out for their own. Throughout the weekend, we were surrounded by a plethora of musicians, vendor booths for the all-star creole cuisine and too many local artists to count. We ventured into the crowd and made sure to experience a little bit of it all!

6. Head to Jackson’s Square and soak it all in. St. Louis Cathedral towers over this cultural  confluence and we got lucky and managed to catch the end of the Palm Sunday service. Besides attending a Mass, you could take gander at the local artists work outside the church, get your palms ready by the neighborhood clairvoyant or take a stroll towards the great Mississippi River for a glimpse pf the majestic riverboats!

7. Take a Witches Brew Tour. No lie, this was the #1 thing I wanted to do while in Louisiana and I am so happy that we did. I am a bit of a history nut so I was glad we got to squeeze in some time strolling the streets and learning a bit about the ghosts and voodoo queens! Our guide Doug was 1-dressed like William Wallace (FREEDOM!) and 2-was the best tour guide. He was funny, kind and made sure to leave room for plenty of drink stops and photo ops.

8. Two words. Chargrilled Oysters. My Gosh! How did I go my whole life without sampling these delicious morsels?! After much debate with the locals about Acme or Felix or Drago’s, we chose to head to Felix’s Oyster Bar. We may or may not have order 5 dozen different kinds. My personal favorite style was the Bienville (mushrooms and crawfish in some creamy sauce baked on top the oyster). TO DIE FOR. We also tried the alligator and all I can say is that the 30 minute wait was worth it.

9. This is my last restaurant recommendation and I am not lying when I say that this place is the #1 reason I will be heading back to New Orleans. Mr. B’s Bistro Sunday Jazz Brunch was the cherry on top of our trip to the Big Easy. We were celebrating our friend’s birthday and the service went above and beyond to make our meal extra special. The live music was endearing and I still haven’t stopped humming “La Vie en Rose”. The real winner though was the New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp served with fresh french bread. The waiter actually came out into the dining room and put a bib on me. It was messy but worth the struggle. I will be dreaming about this dish for awhile now.

10. Last but not least, please do yourself a favor and hop on the trolley and head to the Garden District. The trolley fee won’t break the bank at $1.50 and the views are simply stunning. Every home exuded southern charm with their black wrought iron fences, the vibrant lantana swaying in the breeze and the leftover Mardi Gras beads dangling from the cypress trees. We got a tip from our Witches Brew Tour Guide and managed to stumble across Anne Rice’s house and I fangirled a little bit.

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Well that concludes this Travel Guide and I hope this helps you plan your next big trip to the Magnolia state. Where would you like to see The Rustie Nail head to next? The beach, the mountains, an island, a cruise? Let me know in the comments!