Temple’s First Birthday Party!

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We threw Temple a little brunch birthday party this past Monday and had so much fun hanging out with some dear friends and family! We had a breakfast bar with pancakes, sausage, and fruit, opened presents (which she was not super into just yet), and for the main event we let her dig into her yellow cake with yummy chocolate frosting and raspberries on top. She LOVED it. She was definitely a little hesitant at first but once she got a taste of it, she probably could have stayed there all day long. There were lots of tears when I took her out of the high chair and plopped her into the kitchen sink. A big thanks to my friend, Aaron, for snapping these photos of Temple! We will have so many laughs looking over these pictures for years to come. Commence cake eating!

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But first, undress the baby.

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Kingdom Choirs

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This project is near and dear to my heart and I would love for you to visit kingdomchoirs.com to read in detail who and what is Kingdom Choirs. Simply put, Isaac & Nathan are raising money to open a recording studio, but more than that, the vision and motivation behind it is to release the Kingdom of Heaven through worship.

We are seeing the Lord move already through Kingdom Choirs. Being obedient to Him and worshipping with our lives is contagious and it’s so exciting to see God move through this city. If you feel led to give to this project, visit their Indiegogo page HERE.

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Thank you for your support and prayers in advance! We are honored to serve God and bring the Kingdom alongside you!

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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/build-a-recording-studio-release-an-album#/story

Temple’s Birth Story

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I went in for my regular weekly check up at our midwife’s office on Tuesday afternoon, the 9th of September. At this point I was 39 weeks and 3 days along. It had been a pretty regular Tuesday morning before the appointment. It started out by meeting some friends to go walking around Phelps Grove Park. They were trying to help me “walk my baby out.” I would soon find out that this was not far away from happening. There was also some swinging involved to try to get the baby to drop lower! That definitely felt weird. After our walking and swinging and hanging out on the park benches I started to feel a little queasy and light-headed. I didn’t think much about it, other than I knew I was getting pretty tired which was probably pretty normal for carrying around a full-grown baby inside me. I went to my car and drank some water and rested for a minute. After running a few errands, I went home, ate a bunch of protein and drank as much water as I could stand. I knew my body needed a little boost of energy before I headed out the door again to go to my midwife appointment.

I got to Debbie’s (my midwife) office and sat down on the couch in her waiting room. I could hear crying coming from the appointment that was finishing up. Debbie came out of the room, greeted me, and told me that she was taking that lady to the hospital for her delivery. She told me that her apprentices would do my check-up for me and to call her if we had any questions during the appointment. We began the routine check-up and everything was looking good and normal until they checked my blood pressure. Crystal, the apprentice who was taking my blood pressure, instead of reading off the numbers like normal, just said, “No way.” This of course alarmed me. What? What is it? She told me it was 160/103 and that it was way higher than it should be. She said that we should wait a few minutes and take it again just incase it was a fluke.

I rested for a little while and we took it again. It was still just as high. She recommended that we call Debbie to let her know of my high blood pressure. As she was on the phone with her, I was beginning to realize that this was a pretty serious thing. Crystal got off of the phone with her and said that we would need to go to the hospital if my blood pressure didn’t go down very soon. I was so shocked that going to the hospital was even mentioned. I hadn’t prepared myself for that answer. I thought maybe they would give me orders to go home and lay down for the rest of the day or something, but I did not expect going to the hospital was the option. We continued checking my blood pressure over the next several minutes and it continued to stay high. Crystal said, “I’m so sorry this is happening, but I just want to tell you that this is probably what is going to happen…” She said they would have to take me to the hospital, that the doctors would probably want to keep me there, and that I would probably have a baby either that night or the next morning. Wow. She also told me that the lady who had her appointment before me, the one I heard crying, had to go to the hospital for the very same reason. It was kind of weird.

At this point I was holding it together pretty well. No tears, no panicking, at least not yet. They asked if I needed a moment to myself to call Isaac to let him know what was going on. I nodded my head. I called him and as soon as I heard his voice I lost it. The tears I didn’t know I had been holding back came bursting out. I told him that I had to go to the hospital because of my high blood pressure and that they were probably going to keep me there until the baby was born. He was so calm and collected. I asked him if he could meet me there and he said of course. He reminded me that Jesus is good and that there was nothing to worry about. I came out of the room with teary eyes and they gave me a hug. I got in the car with Shanay, the other apprentice, and we headed to the hospital.

We met Isaac toward the front entrance before I got checked in. It was a huge relief to have him there with me. We met Debbie at the desk and began the check-in process. They got me in a room and ordered an ultrasound and began checking my blood pressure every few minutes. We discussed our options and risks with the doctor and he explained that with the consistent high blood pressure, I needed to get the baby out of me as soon as possible in order to keep both of us healthy. When the decision was final to stay and have the baby at the hospital, I had another good cry. I was bummed that my birth plan wasn’t going how I had expected, and was also nervous about being induced and all that comes with that process. For about five months, ever since we decided to go with a midwife, I had prepared myself for a completely natural birth process that would happen all in the comfort of my own home. The shock of all of the sudden having to give birth at the hospital was pretty scary and unsettling in the moment.

They did a quick ultrasound and said she looked perfectly healthy and was in the right position to go ahead and start the labor process. Early on in the pregnancy, I had been diagnosed with a low-lying placenta, which could have been a problem when it came time to deliver, but the nurse told us that my placenta was way up high and was nowhere in danger of covering the cervix. It was such a relief to hear that good news and so wonderful to see my sweet baby girl’s face on the screen. I got dressed in a lovely hospital gown. They hooked me up to an IV and then walked me across the hallway into the delivery room.

We got settled in the room and started making a list of all the things we needed from home: baby clothes, clothes for me, car seat, etc. We hadn’t ever packed a bag since we planned on doing everything at home. Isaac ran home and got our things and in the mean time, our midwife and both apprentices made a rotation schedule to stay with us at the hospital. It was such a relief to have them stay with us the whole time. We also ordered some Chipotle and realized it could be my last meal until the baby came. It tasted so good! After they checked me to make a plan for induction, I was only dilated to a one. Good grief. They decided to give me a few rounds of Cytotec to ripen my cervix and hopefully that would put me into labor without having to use Pitocin. We were very clear with the doctors and nurses that I did not want to use Pitocin if at all possible. I really went into this pregnancy wanting to deliver naturally, without an epidural, and I knew that with Pitocin labor would’ve been, or at least could’ve been, much more painful and intense. The first round of Cytotec was administered, ouch (I think she also stripped my membranes at this point – like I said, ouch) and then we waited. I was told that I couldn’t be upright for the next four hours. Which also meant no potty breaks. Who in their right mind feels like its okay to tell a 39-week pregnant lady that they can’t pee for four hours? Insane. In the meantime they told me to try to sleep and get some rest before the main event. I laid my head down but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was going a million miles a minute just thinking of how the next several hours would go down. I distracted myself by flipping through all the TV channels. Also during this time we called both sets of parents to inform them on what all was happening. My parents then went to our house pick up Moses, our dog, so he could stay with them for the next several days while we were in the hospital and adjusting to life with a baby.

Those first four hours passed and I finally got to go to the bathroom! What a relief. They administered another round of Cytotec and said there was little to no progression from the first round. It was now 10:00pm and I was starting to get sleepy, but still enjoying conversation with the apprentices and Debbie who was checking in on me every so often. I think I dozed off during this four-hour increment for a little while. And so did Isaac sitting across the room in the recliner. The third round of Cytotec happened at 2:00am. They said I was slightly more dilated. I think maybe just a two or three at this point.

Then finally! Around 3:30am my water broke on it’s own. I was dead asleep and all of the sudden felt a warm gush. I sat up and said, “Um Isaac, I think my water just broke.” So we called a nurse in and she said, “yes you’re right!” It didn’t hurt at all. Warm water just kept coming in small waves every few seconds. It was a pretty weird feeling. My first contraction that came after my water broke felt like a severe menstrual cramp. This was the first little bit of pain I felt (other than being checked for dilation) and little did I know how much more was to come. I looked at Isaac and said, “whoa! I felt that contraction for sure! Whew!” Contractions were coming on steadily every three to four minutes for a while and the pain was increasing with each one that passed. I tried several different positions to see if anything was more comfortable. Comfortable. Right. I found that sitting on the medicine ball was pretty helpful through the first couple hours of contractions after my water broke.

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This is the part that gets a little fuzzy for me. I went through about eight hours of hard contractions from 3:30 in the morning until she arrived at 11:08. In the mean time, there were some memorable and wonderful moments: Isaac rubbed my back and was the sweetest husband ever and kept asking me how he could help, my midwife and her apprentices continually gave me advice on how to breathe through contractions and how to relax, our amazing nurse held the fetal monitor on my pointy belly (I was standing and leaning over onto the bed with my belly facing down toward the floor) because it kept sliding off, and my momma popped into the room while I was working through a contraction to tell me she loved me and that they were out in the lobby praying for me and cheering me on! Those eight hours seemed to be the longest eight hours in the history of ever. But with each contraction that passed, I kept reminding myself that we were that much closer to meeting our baby girl. It was as much a mental process as it was physical. Debbie said I was laboring beautifully and that was encouraging! I felt like I was making some crazy loud noises while I was working through the contractions, but Isaac informed me later on that I was actually pretty quiet. That’s a miracle in and of itself!

As I was on the side of the bed squatting and working through contraction upon contraction, my body suddenly felt the urge to push. I couldn’t stop it. I looked at Debbie, with panicked eyes I’m sure, and I barely squeaked under my breath, “pushing now!” She told me to relax as much as possible and just trust my body for whatever it needed to do. She calmly got the doctor. They got me up on the bed and checked me and said, “yep! Here she comes!” Lights! Camera! Action! It seemed like a dozen other nurses and doctors rushed into the room and started getting everything set up. They got me into the laying position and had me hold onto my legs. Isaac was holding one leg back and Debbie was holding the other. Thank goodness. I couldn’t have done it on my own. They gave me the go-ahead to start pushing and I just let my body push as it needed to with each contraction. Pretty soon Debbie said, “reach down and feel your baby’s head!” So I did, without even thinking twice! That’s kind of weird, I know, but it gave me a boost of happiness and energy. She really was almost out and I was so close to holding my baby and being done with all the pain.

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Pushing was somewhat a relief but also was probably the hardest part for me. Her big head wasn’t coming out very easily. I’ll spare you the gruesome details that will be burned in my brain forever, and I’ll just say that there was some stitching that had to be done later. After about a half hour or forty-five minutes, the doctor had me hold my breath and push as hard as I could for ten seconds at a time. After doing this a few times of doing that, she finally came out! I was so tired and I laid my head back and let my body rest for just a brief moment before I was greeted with my slimy, little, swollen, big-cheeked baby. She was so beautiful! I cried tears of relief and joy and Isaac I think may have had a couple little tears in his eyes, too.

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Our perfect baby girl was finally here. Praise the Lord! We welcomed Margaret Temple Neale into the world at 11:08 am. She weighed 8 lbs and 9 ounces. No wonder she wasn’t coming out so easily! I spent the next couple hours just holding her on my chest and studying her every detail. She latched on to nurse fairly quickly about ten minutes after she was born – a little champion eater. Both my parents and Isaac’s parents came into the delivery room after a couple hours had passed to meet her for the first time. There were more tears of joy and hugs and kisses exchanged.

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Haha!

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Our amazing midwife, Debbie, and her apprentices! Praise Jesus for these women! (The doctors were great, too!)

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Our hospital stay was pretty enjoyable for the most part. Isaac stayed in the other bed in our room and was the world’s best diaper changer while I was still too weak to get up and down those first couple days. We had lots of family and friends visit us and it was so wonderful to share that time with them! I lost a lot of blood and had to be put on an iron supplement and had to stay in the hospital for one day longer than anticipated, but in the grand scheme of things, it was an overall good experience. Like I said, it wasn’t the homebirth experience we had prepared and hoped for, but the Lord took care of us and I got to experience natural childbirth in the healthiest way possible for us at the time. Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow!

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We are so in love with you, our beautiful Margie T!

working together

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This wedding season as a photographer has brought on new things for us as a family. It’s been so much fun and also hard at times. Isaac has been my trusty second shooter and right-hand man this year for all of the weddings we’ve shot. Working together is something we have to, well, work at. It has its challenges when we each have different ideas of how things should go, or when I forget to clue him in on something that I thought he would magically already know about (sorry, babe). The hard times of miscommunication and misunderstanding in working together have brought us closer in our marriage and I’m thankful for that. Apart from the hard things, there are also a million good and fun things that come from working together, like feeling like we’re on a date because we’re kid free (usually), getting to take silly pictures of each other, talking about things we liked about the wedding (or didn’t like), eat wedding cake and fancy food, and the list goes on. I’m so thankful for this season of life and getting to do fun things like this together.
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At this particular wedding pictured, we had to bring Temple with us for the first part of the day, and then we handed her off to my brother and sister-in-law for the second part of the day. The tricky part about shooting weddings, which are usually long work days for the photographer, is that Temple is still on a pretty regular nursing schedule and needs to eat every few hours. As she gets older, we’ll be able to spread out feedings a little further apart and it will continue to get easier to be away from her for longer periods of time. But for this past year, both sets of grandparents and her Uncle Kyle and Aunt Kim, have been so gracious to babysit her during the weddings we’ve shot and bring her to me during breaks so I could nurse her. SO very thankful for each of them on those long work days!
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I document and write this mostly to be able to look back and remember how much fun we had together during this season of shooting weddings and different events. It’s a sweet season, for sure. I’m betting we’ll have many more days like these ahead. And maybe, as Temple gets older, she can be our third shooter/little helper. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
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margaret temple //eight months

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How in the world did eight whole months come and go so quickly? Then again, that’s what I’ve been wondering since day one after she was born. As you can tell with these pictures, its getting harder and harder to capture the “perfect shot.” We just barely made it happen with the last couple shoots. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me with months ten through twelve. Yikes! She also HAD to be holding her little chicken toy in order to lay still for just a few seconds while I shot frantically. Sitting still is just not in our vocabulary these days. There’s too much fun to be had and too many cabinets to open! During her eighth month she pulled up to standing in her crib for the first time and she also started crawling! So many big changes also brought on some rough nights of sleep, or lack there of, toward the end of the month. But we made it through this little sleep regression and are back on track with sleep – for the most part. Temple baby, stop growing so fast!