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.

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#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. 

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#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.

Grapevine Lake Maternity Portrait Session

Ya’ll, I have been dying to share this session with you! I was holding out for this sweet girl to become a Mama but her baby boy is proving to be a bit stubborn. To celebrate this little guy’s pending arrival and this Mama hitting her 40 week mark, I am going to share a little behind the scenes from this sweet Maternity Portrait Session.

I met Amanda awhile back through mutual friends and was so excited to hear from her when she reached out about booking this session. In fact, the location we chose for her shoot has a funny background story about our friendship. Grapevine Lake was the sight of Amanda’s first kayaking lesson. After a bout of choppy water and more than a few hours of paddling back to shore, Amanda decided that it would be her last kayak lesson with me. Needless to say, I was pumped that I got to take her back and make a happier memory on the lake!

At 34 weeks pregnant, Amanda, her sweet Mama, Gwen, and her first baby, a pup by the name of Sadie, joined me for a fun portrait session to capture her last few weeks before her Baby Boy makes his arrival.

Amanda had 2 requests….a flower crown and that Sadie be in the photos with her. After all, Sadie was her first baby! I was happy to oblige so I reached out to my sweet friend Brittni Williamson of B. Marie’s Flowers for help with the flower crown. Needless to say, Britt outdid herself as usual and the crown was just perfect! I loved the delphinium and the mix of greenery with the sweetheart white roses and the seeded eucalyptus. The incorporation of this bohemian element was the cherry on the sundae!

This Mama is a rockstar. She waded into murky waters, wandered around the prickly bushes surrounding the lake and even dared to follow me to edge of more than one cliff to find that perfect lighting! Although anxious about the arrival of her baby boy, Amanda was calm, cool and collected during her shoot. She was the picture of grace.

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to photograph this special time in Amanda’s life. Having just become mother myself, I felt more than equipped to capture all those special glances at the bump, those belly rubs and the glow that was exuding from this sweet girl.

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Congratulations Amanda! I cannot wait to meet your sweet boy! Let him know that we are all anxiously awaiting his arrival and now that you are 40 weeks, he can feel free to join us whenever he’s ready!

To book your Maternity Portrait Session,  email therustienailhead@gmail.com to discuss pricing, packaging and details! And for all your floral needs, head to www.bmariesflowers.com and let my girl Britt know who sent ya! I promise Britt will bring your vision to life!

Baby Henschel: It’s a BOY!

GUYS!!! My best friend is having a BABY!!! What seems like forever ago, this girl, my girl, Emily freaking Henschel sent us (baby’s aunts/BFFS4LYFE) the best group text ever, a teeny weeny sonogram photo letting us know that he or she would be making their arrival this coming spring. After years of prayers and wishes, these 2 are finally about to become a 3.

Emily and I go wayyyy back. Like elementary school days. And man oh man has it been a ride. As soon as she said she was preggo, I planned a trip home so I could take these photos. This is seriously like dream come true stuff right here. Never in my life did I think that I would the one documenting their baby announcement but wow. Look at my best friend. She is seriously glowing guys. No lie, I cried big , wet soppy tears through most of the editing. I’m just so stupid happy for these guys.

We met at Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve because these fools got married at Saint Vincent and it only seemed right to continue the celebration in our hometown! It was a dreary, wet and cold day and of course, the pregnant lady was in search of a restroom, so we decided to move fast. From the beautiful red barn near the front entrance to a garden area above the fields, we were racing our way all over the property trying to soak up the last little bit of sunlight. The result was these might just be my most favorite collection of images.

“For this child , we have prayed.” 1 Samuel 1.27

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane. Funny but true story. We got engaged on the same day and didn’t even know it was happening. She was in PA, I was in TX and our beaus hadn’t told each other their plans so neither of us knew for a few days!! Somehow we even managed to go dress shopping a few weeks later! But then, the best thing happened, we got to stands beside each other on our wedding days and that is something that I am forever thankful for. Emmy has been my rock for close to 15 years now and I can’t tell you the joy it brings me to see her wish of becoming a mother come true. She even lets me rub her belly guys!!

Chad, on the other hand, is one tough cookie. As 1 Assistant Fire Chief of Pleasant Unity Fire Department, Chad is a man who bravely faces any and all obstacles head on. He’s a guy who loves riding ATVS and hanging out with this buddies at the firehouse. I never would have expected him to be joyful about taking photos. Heck, my husband hates having his portrait taken and I still force him to do Christmas cards year after year. But I gotta say, Chad wasn’t just a trooper, he was pumped. Probably being able to relax around me helped but Chad was so excited. He could have cared less about the photos. He is just so excited to bring this baby into the world and you can see it all over his face. I don’t think I have ever seen him smile so much! I look forward to seeing Chad be this little baby’s father!

What’s left to say other than CONGRATULATIONS EMILY & CHAD! I am so pumped to meet this little nugget and just love on them! Now, please send me weekly fruit size updates and belly pics. 🙂

 

SURPRISE REVEAL/BOOM: The results of the gender reveal are in and the Henschel’s will welcome a Baby BOY in April of 2018!!! These 2 celebrated with friends and family over the weekend!