Top 10 COVID-19 Resource Guide for Pregnancy, Childbirth and PostPartum Mothers

Times are tough. These days, none of us really know how to navigate the waters but for Pregnant Moms right now, this is scary. We are being told that we may have to deliver alone, we are worried about our children’s health (and our own) and we are constantly adapting to new policies and learning to accept the changes being made for us. There has been too much disappointment for Mamas that are being forced to cancel their baby showers and go it alone at appointments.

I am currently 7 months pregnant with our second child and I cannot begin to tell you all the fears and worries that have crossed my mind during this shelter in place. I was beginning to feel a bit lost and then I remembered something that my sister in law told me when she was going through her infertility journey. She said that a friend had told her “If you cannot control your own situation, I want to encourage you to try and help someone else.” So, this is my attempt to help other Pregnant Mamas out there who are dealing with all the “what-ifs” right now. The following list is compiled of ten resources that I hope will aid Moms in finding some sort of relief during this time.

#1 The Natural Mama Book

This was my Go-To Guide during my first pregnancy. A friend recommended the book and although I had a feeling that I would not be taking the all-natural birth route, it was nice to have all the information. In reality, you never know what is going to happen when babies decide to make their way into the world. My birth plan most definitely involved wanting an epidural or some kind of medical relief but this book prepared me for the possibility of delivering without any interventions. I also loved this book because it had a week by week guide to pregnancy (and was pretty spot on). My favorite part of this guide was the positive affirmations laced throughout the text. Those excerpts were just the boost of confidence I needed to get through each trimester.

mama natural

#2 LouLou and Company

Do yourself a favor and splurge on this one baby item. Head to the LouLou and Company website and get yourself a knotted Newborn gown. Styled for both boy and girl babies, this is all we dressed our first baby in for the first few weeks of life and I promise you this purchase is worth every penny!

The gowns are super soft, designed to dress baby from the bottom up and have little cuff fold overs to prevent those tiny scratches. Dads will love the knot at the bottom for middle of the night diaper changes and Moms will love that Dads are letting them get a few extra minutes of sleep. The founder/creator of Lou Lou, Karen, was a NICU nurse and is a mom of 4 who designed these gowns with moms and babies in mind so each detail has been meticulously designed for comfort and ease! I love all their products but this gown is my go-to for that 4th trimester!

lou lou and company gown

#3 Join your local Hospital Facebook Group

I delivered our first child at a North Texas Health Resource Hospital and I found that the Texas Health Moms Facebook Group has been a huge support system. Whether I needed consultation on lacatation, recommendations for registry items, fitness routines or simply questions about sleep patterns, this community provided answers and resources that Could not be rivaled. In fact, I have found the best advice to come from other Moms that are in the same stage of life and this group was a game changer for me.

#4 Dive into the magic that is Kati Terek’s Birth Story Blog.

Her Birth Story chronicles autobiographical encounters of real live birth stories from courageous women who chose to spill the tea on their experiences! Some of these birth stories are fairy tale-come to life retellings, some are harder versions to swallow but all of them are a beautiful ode to the process of bringing new life into the world. Each story has a different purpose. For some women, informing others is transformative. For others, simply to unburden the trauma or stress is therapeutic. The “Her Birth Story” platform’s purpose is to spread awareness and help Mamas prepare for everything from that first positive test to the tender days of newborn life.

Admittedly, Kati Terek says that her birth experiences were, although beautiful, quite scarring and she wanted an outlet. If you are a first time Mama and you want to read up on real birth stories instead of diving into YouTube videos, this Blog is your go to! And, did I mention that Kati is a talented birth, Fresh 48 and Newborn Photographer who loves nothing more than to capture those raw and real first moments with your bundle of joy. If you are a Pittsburgh native, Kati is your girl to go to for documenting those first moments. She captured her own Fresh 48 photos when her little guy made his appearance in the spring of 2019 and was kind enough to let me show them off below! Check it out! Her rates can be found at www.londynnkate.photography/.

#5 Sign up for Diaper Delivery Mamas.

A few I love and have used, Amazon, Hello Bello or Honest Company will deliver both wipes and diapers for every stage (even split sizes for Mamas with kids in diapers at different stages). Save your selves the time and energy (and cash) by ordering a Diapery Delivery service! Every month, they just show up. No carrying the boxes out of the store or having to remember when to go grab them at a PickUp. Trust me, this is worth it.

#6 Use your Natural Birthing Technique Experts!

A sweet friend of mine, Hannah Laboon, is a certified doula and has made her self available for questions from you Mamas that are worried about having to deliver alone due to new hospital visitor policies or how to conquer Home Birth, Natural Birth and all those crunchy Mama ideals!

She has sent me so many positive affirmations, information on prenatal yoga classes that are live streaming (@mamatotoretreat), support groups focused in coping skills (@forwardwellnesscounseling) and placenta encapsulation benefit details! She recently said “We [as women] are divine, feminine oracles of the universe” and hopes to help you come to terms with that truth! Find her on Instagram at @hannapropaganda or reach out on email at hannahschultz@ymail.com. She wants Mamas to know that they can reach out for support simply because she is a woman wanting to help, honor and support other women. Her goal is to provide pressure free communication and be a pillar of support in the birthing community. 

doula

#7 A Quicklist of Postpartum Items that will make your life so much easier when you bring that sweet new baby home!

Every Mama and each baby has different needs but I know that these items are the ones we will have ready to go when our second baby makes his way into the world!

#8 Tips for Taking your Own Newborn Photography!

Having a baby during a pandemic doesn’t make your birth any less special, it just kind of puts a meter on the amount of joy you are supposed to feel and that isn’t fair! New moms are having to cancel their baby showers, forego perusing the aisles of Buy Buy Baby and worst of all, are being forced to cancel their Newborn Sessions.

I cherished my Fresh 48 session with our firstborn and it has made me terribly sad thinking that I won’t get to have this experience with our little guy this summer so trust me when I say, I feel you! Those first few weeks with your babe is time you simply don’t get back. Once that baby leaves your belly, they just keep on growing and capturing those first details are such a sweet reminder of those crazy newborn days and the abundant amount of joy you feel when you bring that baby home.

Well, I found a solution for all you Mamas out there who are bummed about missing out on this milestone. Sabrina Gebhardt Photography, out of Fort Worth, Texas, has come up with a beautiful guide for Spring and Summer Mamas being forced to forego Newborn Photos. Check out her Photos below and you will see exactly why I am recommending you read her Guide! Her guide gives you tips and tricks for how to take your own Newborn Portraits. All you need is a squishy babe and some sort of camera and yes, your phone will do! sabrina-gebhardt-fort-worth-texas-documentary-at-home-family-photographer_2104-1022x1024**Photo Credit: Sabrina Gebhardt Photography*

#9 Meal Train

Oh Mamas, there is nothing worse than worrying about what’s for dinner or how you are going to concoct something when your new baby is having a fussy day. If your family or friends are looking for ways to help you/sneak a peek at your new baby through a window or door, please suggest meal train. Meal Train is an American crowdsourced platform designed with the intention to help schedule and organize home-made meal giving for those in need.

How does it work? Someone sets up the account (dietary restrictions can be included) and then that person sends out the invites to your loved ones who can then schedule a day to provide a meal and drop it off. Everyone who signs up can see what you are bringing and what day and time you will be there so no one overlaps! Dare I say this is a Must Have service for those first few weeks!

meal train

#10 For many families dealing with COVID-19 repercussions, Financial Resources cannot come soon enough.

This pandemic has stolen livelihoods and replaced any sense of security with fears about where their next meal is coming from or how their mortgage will be paid. If you are one of those people, please let me know. There won’t be any questions asked. You can simply email me at therustienailhead@gmail.com with the COVID BABY subject line and I will do my best to provide you with the help you need.

It would be my pleasure to unburden the load of worry from your shoulders. If I can help in any way, I will. I can try to provide you with information on how to sign up for WIC, where to find a food bank, how to seek religious/mental health counseling, safe shelter, gas for your car or diapers for your little ones. Whatever I can do, I promise that I will advocate for you. It takes a village and I will do my best to provide you with the information you need to build up that village for your family.

 

Cover Photo Courtesy of @StefanieRosePhotography 

 

DFW Maternity Session: The Clark Family

This session is just too sweet. Meet Stephen, Elizabeth and soon to be Baby Clark. This sweet couple met with me just weeks before their due date so we could document their last few moments as a twosome.

Having just celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary, these two are still basking in that newlywed glow. Adding a baby to the mix Has just made their smiles brighter.

We were supposed to meet at the Dallas Arboretum for a day of walking around the park but to our dismay, the park was closing early on the day we had chosen. So, we rallied and improvised. I met the Clark Family at the Filter Building on White Rock Lake directly across from the Arboretum.

Though we wouldn’t have as many florals, I promised these guys a variety of backdrops and I am happy to say that we managed to capture a lot of different settings for them. But who cares about the background when Ms Elizabeth was rocking that baby bump?!? Seriously? Could she be more beautiful. I have to admit I was a bit envious when I saw her rocking high heels at 36 weeks!

We worked our way down to the lake and managed to pass this gorgeous tree. I couldn’t not stop for a few photos in front of this massive piece of art. The light shone down on them and these two had no problem posing lovingly beneath its hearth.

They made little requests here and there but other than that, these guys were so easy to work with. I should have expected their laidback nature seeing that they have not found out their baby’s gender! Which I love so much! You only get so many surprises in life and these guys have embraced that mindset with an effortless grace. Though you can tell Elizabeth is getting a bit antsy about finding out whether a baby boy or girl is joining their tribe, this couple seems ready to welcome their bundle of joy.

Word on the street is that Baby Clark will be making his or her arrival any day, literally, any day, like today or tomorrow so join me in congratulating this happy duo soon-to-be trio as they navigate the most exhausting and exhilarating journey by bringing their sweet baby into the world. Best Wishes and Baby Bliss to the Clark Family! We will be praying for a healthy and happy delivery!

 

If you would like to book your unique Maternity Session in either Southwestern Pennsylvania or in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, shoot me (Angelina) an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Coming this October: Baby Capaccioli

You read it right! Now that the cat is officially out of the bag, I can share this adorable pregnancy announcement. My good friends, Gian Marc and Emily, are expecting their first child this October! For those of you who don’t know them, get ready to meet the sweetest couple in the world. Or should I say Trio?

The Capacciolis are an easy gang to please. When it came time to pick a location for their big announcement shoot, they left it up to me so I choose the Fort Worth Water Gardens.  The clean lines make for an exquisite downtown backdrop. Surrounded by brick buildings and glass towers, this place is a peaceful corner for Texans to enjoy an afternoon listening to the water rushing over the expertly engineered falls.

They arrived shortly before sunset and we immediately headed down into the largest water feature. Though an architectural feat, the massive steps down into the falls were a little daunting. They had joked upon arrival that surely I wouldn’t make them go down into the thick of it. Hahaha

Once we were on the biggest platform, I realized how loud the water was! I could barely hear them nor could they hear me. This was going to be a challenge because I usually shout out poses and direction while I shoot. Since that wouldn’t be happening, I told them to just go love on each other. After a few sweet kisses and snuggles in front of the waterfalls, Emily busted out Baby Capaccioli’s first picture, their latest sonogram!

DEZmondCAPACCIOLI-23

This urban sanctuary is divided into 3 refreshing pools; the quiet, the active and the aerating. We visited all 3 that day but while walking around, I asked Em to write a little something on a chalkboard. The picture above is Emily doing just that. We laughed as they fought over who had better handwriting. It was cute to see them so excited about just writing their news down, let alone sharing it with the world. That’s what I love about these two. They live and love in the little moments.

I met Gian Marc 2 days after I moved to Texas, FIVE YEARS AGO!!! His family owns Piccolo Mondo Italian Restaurant, a staple here in Dallas-Fort Worth, and they hired me just days after arriving here. Over the years, this place has become a home. A home filled with amazing friends, like Gian Marc and Emily. Little known fact, Russ and I got engaged on the same day as these guys. I was so caught up in the fact that Gian Marc was about to propose to Emily that I had no idea Russ was about to bend the knee. To boot, Gian Marc had been in on it the whole time.

It’s so fun knowing that our lives are coming into fruition in a weird sort of unison. We’ve got to celebrate our engagements, our marriages and now, I am photographing their announcement that they are bringing a Bambino/a into the Capaccioli gang! Thank you guys. It was an honor to say the least. Life is good y’all!

 

Gender Reveal: It’s a…

During my last visit back to Pennsylvania, I managed to sneak in a little time with a few of my favorite people, the Robb family. This fun trio has been featured on our Blog before. Last fall, I had the pleasure of snapping a few pictures of their little guy, Ben. Check out his session here. This go around was a little different. I found out a few weeks before my arrival that this wild and crazy bunch would be growing by two feet. Yep, they would be adding another Robb to the brood. I was jumping for joy at the idea of them bringing another little guy or girl into the picture and even more thrilled when they asked me to take their family portraits. I was under the impression that we were going to be taking Maternity photos. Little did know, they had a surprise for me. This portrait session would double as a gender reveal! I was so touched and beyond excited when I found out I’d be among the first to know what they were expecting.

After a few snafus with the location choice and timing, we managed to meet at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe, PA. I’ve known Derek and Lizzy since we were kids and I wanted to keep our roots intact to the locale of the shoot. With that in mind, I began to dream up some ideas of how to announce their bundle of joy in a fun way. When Derek and I were kids, we spent many a summer night hanging out by those tracks above the Loyalhanna and I knew it’d be the perfect location for their shoot. The graffiti below the bridge and the train tracks following alongside the lush fields of green created the clean backdrop for these photos. We started about an hour before sunset, making our way from the tracks to the bridge that towers over this creek.

This was a totally different shoot than their first for many reasons. Since the last I saw him, Ben has a grown a foot and gained an adult vocabulary. It freaked me out at first. How could he have grown up so much in the short 4 months since I last saw him? He is so smart and kind. Loaded with his mother’s sweet demeanor and his daddy’s gangsta sense of style, this kid is bound to be a lady killer. Honestly, who doesn’t wanna love on him when he is rocking those sweet glasses? He is going to make for a very cool older brother.

Speaking of his soon-to-be younger sibling…these guys are happy to announce, in the most adorable way, that they are expecting…a baby boy! Due a few days after his big brother’s birthday, we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the newest Baby Robb!

Thank you guys so much for letting me play a small part in your announcement and I look forward to meeting the newest munchkin! See you guys soon!

If you are looking for a photographer to help you document your next big announcement, shoot Angelina an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. Whether you are expecting your first or third baby or just recently got engaged, Angelina is sure to make your Session a personalized and unique experience! For inquiries about pricing and packaging for Portrait Sessions, send your questions our way! 🙂

Maternity Shoot: Baby Bolish

Meet Kelly and Kendrick! Days away from the arrival of their first born baby, these two lovebirds asked me take a few photos of them before their baby boy, Kaison makes his debut. This shoot, in particular, will always have a special place in my heart. See, Kendrick and I had the privilege to grow up together. We were bus buddies in elementary school, neighbors almost all our lives and somehow managed to get ourselves into trouble more times than I can count over these last 20 years. It’s been a wild ride to say the least. About a year ago, Kendrick met Kelly. I literally could not imagine a better ride-or-die chick for my childhood friend. From the minute I met her, I knew Kenny’s hunt was over. He had found this beautiful soul who could put up with his crap, someone that he would happily share his life with. To boot, Kelly and I are pretty much soulmates. So you can imagine how much I love that Kendrick choose to spend his life with someone that I instantly had a connection with. They recently tied the knot and I could not happier for them.

On top of celebrating their nuptials, Daddy’s new hunting buddy should be making his appearance any day now. About a month ago, I flew home over Memorial Day weekend to attend Kelly’s baby shower and snap a few maternity pictures before they officially become a family of 3. Her shower theme matched Kaison’s nursery; all things wildlife, from bears to foxes to deer so we had to incorporate a little bit of that into the shoot, hence the cute little fox. We waited until after the shower before Kelly and I set out into the fields near St Vincent Grove. This sweet mama graciously trekked her way through the tall grass, in the pouring rain, to snag the most adorable pictures.  Dressed in a coral and white floral dress, this mama bear rocked her bump through the mud looking as relaxed and beautiful as ever.

After taking a few shots of Kelly, we headed to her grandfather’s house. His backyard was the perfect spot to watch the sun go down and capture this sweet family in all their glory. Her grandfather’s backyard had sweeping views of the Laurel Highlands and the most perfect lighting. What I love most about this shoot is that one day Kaison will be able to look back and see how stupid in love his parents were. They were loving on each other and kissing and laughing. I gave no direction. Their natural poses were much better than any advice I could have given them. These guys reek of affection, their love is the infectious kind, the kind you can’t help but see and smile at. Seriously, it was an honor and a privilege to photograph this time in their lives and I can’t wait to get that sweet baby on the other side of my lens. Keep snappchatting me all the baby goodness guys! 1800 miles stands between me and snuggling your sweet boy but I cannot wait to meet him. Congratulations to the Newlyweds and Best Wishes as you bring your son into the world.

Are you expecting? For information on pricing, packages and how to book your Maternity Session or Family Portrait Session, shoot us an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. All inquiries welcome! Follow our work on Instagram @therustienail for everyday updates and sneak peeks for Special Portrait Session dates!