Baby Hazel Birth Story

Words really can’t express how incredible it was to document the birth story of Baby Hazel Joe on December 17th, 2017. I was overjoyed when my friends, Taylor and Bryse, agreed to let me document this special experience. I have always desired photograph a birth story and this was the perfect opportunity to do it with some people I love dearly.

Taylor labored and delivered like a CHAMP. I’ll never forget the way she held her composure or the way Bryse tended to her and reassured her the entire day. Or the way Taylor and Bryse were so excited to meet Hazel and just adored her every detail from the get-go.  My heart raced as I watched Taylor work so hard, remembering my own child’s delivery and experiencing things as a bystander that were different from my own.

I know this family couldn’t be more happy for their little answered prayer.

Sweet little Hazel Joe, you and that hair are loved beyond measure.

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Interested in having me help tell your babies’ birth story? Contact Me and let’s talk about your little one’s debut!

Evelyn’s Birth Story

Evelyn turned 8 months today (whaaaat! I know.) so I thought it a fitting excuse to finally post her birth story. I tried to cut a lot of the intimate/boring details, but it’s still a long one so if you don’t read it all – it’s really okay. 🙂

This day was wonderful and hard, a lot like many of the days I’ve experienced as a mom so far. But I’ve never felt the enabling power of the Atonement in my life as fully as I did then. And what a gift to have had that, on top of receiving the most incredible little girl as a daughter…

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It was a Thursday, three days before Evelyn’s due date. I woke up that morning to the sound of my parents’ dog, Indiana, barking her head off at some passerby outside. I quickly got out of bed to go get her and remember immediately feeling cramps, so much so that I stopped to rest.

I went about my day, but the contractions were getting stronger. Things started getting painful so I started timing contractions. I wanted to spend my early labor trying to relax in the tub and it helped somewhat until I got nauseous. We called the hospital to let them, and Brandi, my birth story photographer, know it was go-time. I knew I was entering completely on an empty stomach, not having kept anything down since dinner the night before, and that made me nervous for my energy levels.

We watched Sesame Street in the NICU waiting area while they prepared a room for us and I tried to keep my cool. Finally we received a room. Our nurse was great- the first of many amazing nurses and staff members. It was important that I let them know our gratitude so we had brought a Thank You Basket filled with goodies for nurses and staff. This was something we offered everyone and honestly, I think it helped keep my mind off the pain when I could focus on making sure everyone knew our gratitude and took a treat from the basket.

I hadn’t done my makeup- so I sneaked in a little makeup sesh before contractions got too unbearable. Then they got unbearable. I don’t know if you’ve heard this before but LABOR HURTS. I tried Nitrous Oxide to help my anxiety and ability to breath but it didn’t last for long. As Jordan says, this is the point when I started “Yelling Nicely” for people to do things: Get me chapstick, water, puke bags (I vomited 5 times by my epidural).

Back labor was hitting me really hard and those double hip compressions were my friend and if not for Jordan, I may not have survived those most painful contractions. He was my rock throughout the entire process and it brings me to tears to think of how much love he showed me that day, and every day still. I truly lucked out with this one. Here he is getting some of the tangles out from my 2 day-old braid. Who does that? Jordan. He does.

I was progressing pretty steadily. I knew exactly when I was ready for my epidural. I was so ready to get that sucker. I had never focused on breathing so much in my life when I went through those few contractions during the epidural insertion.

The epidural was AWESOME. When you go from feeling such intense pain to feeling virtually nothing at all- you really appreciate modern medicine. I was saying so many prayers of gratitude at this point. Jokes and laughter began flowing more easily. I was still very tired but so excited to meet Evelyn. We all were. I tried to take a nap but there was just too much going on.

The OB resident broke my water and I started pushing with coaching from my nurse. It turned out that there was meconium in the sac and this meant Evee would be checked out by the NICU staff immediately after birth. I will never forget how much love my mom, mother-in-law, Sheila, and my husband have for me when I think about how they held me while I pushed (for what would be 3 hours!) Seriously. If that doesn’t say true and unconditional love, I don’t know what does!

Thank heavens I could see the contractions on the monitor otherwise I really didn’t know when to push. The main sensations I had were intense hunger, thirst (I chewed on ice the whole time), breathlessness after pushing, having a dry throat (from the breathlessness) and a gratitude for the people around me and my Savior.

It helped me more than anything to know that whatever pain I was going through- the Savior has felt that pain for me and because of that, I knew I could succeed in giving birth to a healthy baby girl.

Before I knew it, my doctor and some staff came in and informed me that Evelyn’s fist was up by her face, making it difficult for her to pass through the birth canal. Of course this worried me but I knew that they were going to do everything they could from keeping me from getting a C-Section and I was going to give every human effort I possessed to get her there. In the end, they used a vacuum-assisted delivery which gave her a bruise on her scalp that went away within a few weeks.

I wanted my focal point to be Evee’s ultrasound, but I forgot to tell someone to pin it up for me until the last moments. So I settled with a “Safety First” document next to the bathroom. lol I studied that thing harder than I’ve ever studied anything before. But I still have no clue what it really said.

Things started getting real. My mom told me to push with all my might. It was not easy! 3 hours of intense pushing will exhaust you. By some miracle (I know many mothers are familiar with), Evelyn Cheryl was born. She was born at 12:05 am. One year to the date after Jordan’s dear Grandma Cheryl passed from her earthly life.

Evelyn’s first cry evoked the most tender feelings of my heart! It was so unreal that we could actually hear the voice of our baby. Immediately the tears started flowing. Looking up at Jordan, I could see tears in his eyes. He was fixated on her and I knew all the love and gratitude he was feeling in that very moment. As I saw her for the first time, I saw a head full of hair and said, “She has hair!” (Let it be known that I was very nervous she would be bald, like many of my nieces were at first.)

Because of the meconium, I wasn’t able to have her laid on my tummy immediately for skin-to-skin. She was whisked away to the warmer and examined by NICU. I kept peaking over at the warmer where Evee and Jordan were. I could see my dad taking pictures of her as the nurses worked. It felt like eternity until I could hold her. My heart truly goes out to all the women whose babies have complications or who have C-sections and aren’t able to hold their little ones right away. They finally came and placed her in my arms. She was so beautiful. As corny as it sounds, truly the child of my dreams!!

I remember feeling that she was so alert and calm for having just been born. Like, that was hard for me to deliver a baby, but can you imagine what these little babies have to go through?!

It touched me how she looked right at me and held eye contact. Even when Jordan held her, she looked right at him. I could feel that she already knew us. It was the best feeling ever to cuddle there together as a family for the first time. I felt so much love for this little baby and so much added love for Jordan. I will never forget that kind of peace and joy we felt together.

Brandi, our birth story photographer stayed a while to document our first moments together as a family. I am so grateful we found her and hired her! Having images of life’s most precious moments means the world to me; to come back and remember those feelings of love, sacrifice, miracles and support. Not only did she document the most monumental time in our lives, but she was a great friend to me and my family the entire day. I love that these images can help me remember the way I felt in these first moments of Evee’s life and how it changed our family forever.

Having a surgeon as a father sure makes you a celebrity at the hospital. I learned this when I had my kidney stone removal in December. lol It is always nice to hear the good stories and admiration people have for my father. He really is a great example of charity in the community. I already knew how amazing he is but these interactions always make me remember how proud I am to be his daughter!

Sheila and my dad hugged and kissed us and left as soon as things settled down. And my mom was ready to leave by about 2 am. I am so grateful things worked out so that they could be there to experience Evelyn’s birth.

I am so excited to spend our lives with baby Evee and watch her grow into the beautiful, good daughter of God she is. I hope that we do the best we can to raise her as such. And enjoy every beautiful moment as it is happening.

If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. This is a beautiful story to me and the photographs bring that to life so much more. I hope you’ve been touched by the story of Evelyn’s birth. It’s a day we’ll cherish for a long, long time.

The Majors

Celina + Vincent || Rexburg Wedding Videography

Celina and Vincent’s Rexburg wedding reception and ring ceremony was so much fun to film! From the Latin American music to the beautiful dresses, the delicious food to the little (and big) kids dancing, this reception was quite the blast. After that night I decided every and any kind of wedding celebration needs to have dancing! How else do you have so much fun?

View the highlights from this night at the La Hacienda event center in Rexburg, Idaho.

Hanna + Andrew || ‘First Look’ Temple Bridals

The moments a photographer lives for are the ones that make them cry!! There wasn’t a dry eye during Hanna and Andrew’s First Look, right before we documented their Twin Falls, Idaho temple bridals.

Since we were twelve, Hanna has been such a dear friend to me. And I am so glad she found a guy as great as Andrew! It’s truly freaky (in the best way possible) how amazing they are for each other. Together, they make the best team.

I am so excited for their wedding on Saturday and to have this part in celebrating their marriage! Enjoy their first look images and feel free to share.

Also – it’s totally okay to cry.

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 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography

Krysta + Paul || Park City Lifestyle Maternity Session

We were in downtown Park City, UT for this lifestyle maternity session with Paul and Krysta. They wore the perfect Adidas attire and man, did they look good! It was so fun to hear about little Cillian, see his ultrasound and catch up with these great friends. Despite the occasional grumblings, (ahem ahem..Paul) I think they had a lovely time. No doubt I did.

Let me tell you how Krysta and I met. We met each other in college at BYU-Idaho in 2013 while in a community choir called ‘From the Heart.’ We were both sopranos. And Krysta had an amazing singing voice. If it didn’t look so cheesy in a blog post – I’d put praise hands right here. I remember sitting next to her on a carpool to a performance and looking at her stunning engagement ring while listening to her and Paul’s proposal story. #dreamy

Fast forward a couple years and we’re target shooting with our gun-loving husbands, I’m asking for web and graphic design help because Krysta has skillls, and we’re taking scenic adventures with our friend Britte. I value our friendship so much. And I’m thrilled our babes will be just months apart! Krysta and Paul will make amazing parents.

Congratulations on your baby boy, guys. I cannot wait to meet him!

Follow along with Krysta on Instagram:

@shopbrickwall

 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography
 Lifestyle Maternity Session of pregnant couple in downtown Park City, UT by Idaho Lifestyle photographer Whitney Majors Photography

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Krysta + Paul’s Maternity Lifestyle Session video

“To My Little One” Adoption.org

This Winter, I have been a little absent from The Adoption Project scene! This is because I wanted to increase my video skill set. So I interned with Adoption.com’s marketing team.

The result of that internship is in this video.

I planned, directed, filmed and edited my heart out. Why? To inform women with unplanned pregnancies that there are people who will sincerely listen and help to make the best choice for both mom and baby (whether that be to parent or place for adoption).

This was not created without support from the Elevati team (including my manager, video specialist, fellow interns and many employees), volunteer actors, family and countless others. 

I hope you enjoy. Please watch in HD and please, please share! 

The Adoption Project Photobook

The Adoption Project Photobook

Last month I created a photobook of my experiences thus far in The Adoption Project. And today I want to share it with you!

It outlines an introduction, my parents’ international adoption process, the beginnings of the project, my take on the stories of- The Smiths, Sarah, and The Martins, brief quotes, what I’ve learned, some Vietnamese artifacts from my siblings and a brief statement about where I plan to take The Adoption Project.

The physical copy of the {first} printed photobook has been donated to the BYU-Idaho Photography Department and can be viewed among their other past student work on a shelf in the photo lab. It is my hope that other photographers in the department see it and become inspired to create documentaries like this.

In other news, I have been officially hired as an intern with adoption.com. This is a dream come true for me as I’ll be doing very similar things to what I have been doing with The Adoption Project {i.e. interviewing birthmothers and adoptive families + creating films and ads based on their experiences}. I am slightly nervous as I am with all new opportunities that arise – but I am more excited than anything. It’s going to be a grand adventure. I can’t wait to meet the most inspiring people, learn more about adoption and practice my craft as a storyteller, photographer and filmmaker.

I plan to continue The Adoption Project as I learn and grow in the adoption community so keep your eyes and ears out!

I would love to hear some feedback on the photobook or anything in general about this ongoing series. Thank you once more for your continued support. The Adoption Project would not have been made possible without some of the specific help of those mentioned on the last page of this photobook! Thank you and thank you and I love you.

Whitney

Love

Photo Credit: Lana Strathearn Photo Credit: Lana Strathearn

I’ve had some health and family priorities that have required my full attention so I have missed a few posts. Needless to say I have one last post that might sum up all the thoughts I’ve had. It being the start of the holiday season – my love for my family and service has been strengthened a great deal. I know there is nothing more important than our own testimonies than family in this life. Family can be made up of those born to the same two parents, adopted by those other than their birth parents, individuals who are joined by a marriage, or not. Family really is what you make it. Once you have found those special souls to love and be apart of your family – they are yours. No greater bonds can be had than with our family, besides that with our Heavely Father.

The Adoption Project has not only taught me specifically about adoption in all its aspects. It’s taught me a great deal about love.

Love exceeds blood. Love exceeds race. It triumphs over all mistakes and heartache and  sorrow. Love can mend hearts.

Love is most definitely an action more than it is a feeling. Love can teach us when we give it and receive it. Love can create miracles and save lives.

It is love that creates our families. It is love that motivates good works, especially in our homes.

My hope is that you have learned something about love and Heavenly Father’s plan of Happiness while viewing The Adoption Project. I pray as I continue this project that more families can find their loved ones and strengthen the family bonds they have.

Thank you once again for your constant support in The Adoption Project. I’d love to hear what thoughts you have about adoption in general or what you’ve learned about love through your experiences.

I am in the process of creating a photo book that will be viewable to the public soon. Visit back to see it!

The Birthmother Series

Photo Credit: Lana Strathearn Photo Credit: Lana Strathearn

Due to the whirlwind that was yesterday, our daily November post was not made.

So here it is now. Please forgive!

A social documentary photographer named Hillary Jones created an on-going series called The Birthmother Series. On her website, Hillary states that the project is “intended to change the societal views of what it means to be a birthmother.” This series, among a few others, is one that inspired The Adoption Project. We hope to change the societal views of adoption in general, including placing for adoption, adoptees and adoptive parents and so much more.

The Birthmother Series can be seen here or at http://hillarymjones.com/the-birthmother-series#0. Please let us know your thoughts on this series!