The Birth of Avery - Portland Birth Photographer

This birth story gives me all the feels, the strength and power of our bodies is a never-ending magical journey. Several days of prodromal labor lead to exhaustion and high emotions, part of my role as a doula is to hold space for all emotions. With feelings of unknown, defeat and just negative energy we set out for Target, we roamed the dollar section, looked at baby clothes and just let the Target oxytocin vibes flow. Each aisle brought a contraction a little stronger and closer together, no I am totally not kidding! haha! 

We headed back to their home where we watched Coco and just let the evening take us in. Surges continued and I decided to head home and sort out my childcare for the next day as I knew we were headed in the right direction. Shortly I received a text that contractions had increased and continued to grow in strength so I headed back over. 

It was go time.

Into the evening contractions continued and closer they surged through her body. We connected with her midwife and the team headed over. We filled her tub, warmed it with boiling pots of water. Tiffany made her way to the tub and felt at ease as she stepped in. Often it can feel as if labor slows upon entering water, she was able to completely relax between contractions as Adam and I swapped washcloths and hand squeezing duties. Tiffany progressed beautifully and truly found her rhythm. 

Within a few hours of her birth teams arrival she felt a bit pushy, with each breathe her body brought baby down. The natural ejection reflex took over and with each contraction she came closer to meeting her new little love. 

Avery joined us around 4:45am, she was just absolutely beautiful- ready to eat and snuggle with her family.   

Welcome Home Little Love

What a beautiful in home session this was, I sat and listened to their birth story while mama fed her new little love in the comfort of her living room. 

She told me she just wanted to photograph them doing life and I loved every piece of that request. She also let me know that these are the final days with their beloved Boxer, she wished to celebrate his life and honor his memory with photos of his curiosity of the new addition. This session was everything and I hope you all enjoy. 

Portland Maternity Photographer

A couple weeks ago I had a creative chat with my mother, I wanted to do a full on creative maternity session, to team up with a local makeup artist and market some all inclusive packages together. I had a vision of lace and lots of dye and my mother is a huge Goodwill bins shopper and well you can get just about anything and everything at the bins if you set your mind to it. She pulled some vintage lace table cloths, different textures, colors and sizes and brought them over to my house. Two patterns stood out to me, I bleached everything she brought to me to try and match color and just started in on cutting a gown. I actually don't work off of patterns so I just did some draping on a DIY mannequin. I knew I wanted a dramatic train with a pooling skirt, the patterns of lace were absolutely perfect and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect material to work with. When the gown was finished I was blown away, I couldn't wait to see this on my beautiful friend. 

Model: Kirstyn Lundquist of Sweetmint Photography

MUA: Jessica Smith 

Floral Crown: Flowers by Alana

Birth Photography Voucher Giveaway

Oh myyyyy! In celebration of my very first International publication and to ring in the New Year with new babies ❤ I'm giving away a $1,000 Birth Story Voucher for any of my three photography or film packages. 

(Doula package or regular sessions outside of birth are not eligible) 

To enter follow the link and fill out the form

Bonus points for all the love follow @jessiephotodoula on IG (

"Like" this fb page to see our winner announced February 1st, 2018. Entries must be received by January 31st.

Fine print: must be redeemed within 2018, remaining amount due after voucher is due upon booking. Must be 30 miles from zip code 97030.


Welcomed VBAC

What an incredible mama, she had been working toward a VBAC in healing from her previous birth story. As she approached 42 weeks, her plans looked like they were going to change to a family centered cesarean. The day I arrived for her scheduled Cesarean I walked into a gorgeous laboring mama soaking in the labor tub. She spoke softly, spoke lovingly and ultimately welcomed every wave that came over her. 

Her body knew what to do, she had been here before, each surge she felt baby descend and her body opening. Her doula beautifully choreographed a labor dance that was calming for her. Her provider visited, his support and warmth filled the room I will most definitely be referring to this provider at Salmon Creek! 

At 8 cm mama requested some rest an received her epidural while she progressed to complete and labored down. The rest of the family arrived where we laughed and talked about how excited we were to see this little new love's face. Big brother was really excited and very curious to the birth process, he asked lots of questions and was such a great little doula in training. 

The urge to push was near, mama utilized a labor bar to work with each wave and she received her baby boy into her own arms and on her terms. Thank you for having me for this journey, truly an honor :-) 

"we've prayed for you for so long"

What an incredible birth journey to be a part of. I met these two through mutual friends, they had interviewed me and invited me to be a part of their birth team. 6 years of waiting and love went into bringing this sweet girl earthside. Watching her mother birth with such strength, empowerment and informed birth decisions was just beautiful. I was brought to tears as everyone could feel the overwhelming amount of support in the room. Thank you for having me part of your story, I am so honored! 

Welcome Graham

The natural light coming in was just magic, his eyes wide awake but so sparkly and full of wonder. I had a beautiful session while mama and papa were able to take some self care time.

Maternity Session in the NW

B and I reconnected after motherhood found us. We grew up in the same town, attended the same schools and were band nerds together in high school. Our rekindling of our friendship was thanks to a local mom group where we had many play-dates together. I was so excited to hear she was expecting another little one to join our tribe. We celebrated by heading out on an adventure heading toward the gorge. I hope you all enjoy :-)

Birth of a Birth Photographer

 Maternity Photos by Sweetmint Photography & Birth Photos by Rae Snyder 

April 8, 2016

It's been ages and I have been telling myself that I need to jump on the blog bandwagon! What a better way to jump back aboard than to share my own birth story in welcoming sweet little Cece earthside. With my first birth experience I felt I was completely prepared, I knew the risks, interventions and planned to have a natural hospital birth. I did not have a doula, I took a hospital based education course and had a solid birth plan. My pregnancy ended with an induction due to hitting that 42 week mark. Though I felt I was ready I never pictured myself actually having those interventions. Maxed on pitocin (slow progression) and a fluctuating infant heart rate I opted for an epidural at 8cm and pushed/birthed my son fast causing second degree tearing. Though my birth experience was beautiful I felt as though I really was not prepared, I did not know ALL of my options. I went with the flow, I didn't ask questions. My postpartum healing was slow, I struggled with breastfeeding and I dealt with postpartum depression. I knew I was head over heels in love with this beautiful boy but I could not understand why I felt as I had this funk I couldn't get out of. Through my experience I felt a calling and found empowerment through talking with a mama in a local group I had been a part of. We talked about labor support, a doula training was coming to Portland and she suggested I check it out. I did and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to soak in as much information as I could and dive into birth work. I have been through two workshops now (sponsored a second workshop) and I have supported women in birth and postpartum for three years. 

I knew that for my second birth I wanted to have a homebirth, I knew that was the place for me. I feel safe, I feel happy and I feel loved here in my home. In August 2015 we found out that we were expecting again. I connected with an ND in my area, Jill Edwards at Vibrant Family Medicine (SHE IS JUST THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST). Each month my visits were an hour or more, we addressed my well being along with my health. We built upon our birth team at each visit, I wrote down questions, researched my options (doula courses definitely supported my education) and felt confident in our birth preferences.

As we approached my estimated due date I admit feeling a little deflated watching that April 1st date come and go, that is where my birth trauma lies. I had an underlying fear that my body just didn't know how to be "On time." I always came back to my birth affirmations, I can do this and my body knows how to birth just as the women before me have given birth. Affirmations written by friends and family were also an enormous sense of support, I hung them beautifully in my birth space and made sure to read them daily. I nested, decorated my birth space with lights (vaccumed and cleaned like a crazy person hah!) and practiced labor supporting stretches and exercises (Miles circuit & spinning babies along with breathe awareness and yoga).

Early morning, 3:00am on April 8th I woke to the tightness of a contraction. Having never felt my own body in spontaneous labor I hopped out of bed with excitement. My husband who had been sleeping in the living room due to my late term pregnancy thunderous snoring was hanging out in our living room playing video games... yes we are a house of gamers haha!!

I came out to tell him he should get to bed soon as I had a feeling we are in a for a long day. Since contractions were slow, 20 minutes apart I decided to sneak back to bed. Few and far between I would wake up from contractions but I was really able to keep myself comfortable enough to get back to sleep quickly. 5:00am came and we decided to call my mother to come over as my two and a half year old would be waking up soon. We left our plans to keep my toddler home during the birth open ended, he absolutely loves visits from his grandmother and is extremely preoccupied which allowed me to feel as though I could freely labor without a toddler lovingly hanging all over me. I communicated that plans could change with his presence during labor but felt pretty certain I wanted him near.

My mother arrived around 8:00am, my contractions slowed to 25 minutes apart. I ate a full breakfast, eggs, toast, apple juice and even cooked for the family (Mamas duties never end right ;-) ) Though my contractions were slow I knew today was the day. I lit my birth candle and posted to facebook- sounds so silly but reading the comments and seeing the flames of other women, mothers and friends that were replied made me feel so supported and united. 

I checked in with my midwife, we planned that she would come over when contractions were stronger, closer and longer. Because I felt comfortable at home I was able to rest well, eat when I needed and nap. I took several naps between contractions. Around 2:00pm contractions picked up slightly, they were around 10 minutes apart. I asked that my husband start setting up the birth pool so that I could labor if in it if I needed to. My son though occupied would come over to me occasionally during a contraction and ask what is wrong in his own way, "Oh no, what happened?" was the usual. We told him that baby sister is on her way, my mother continued to keep him entertained, reading home birth children's books and explaining sister is almost here!

My birth photographer made her way to our house, Rae documented my first birth and I was so pleased to have her capture our second! Contractions really picked up around 5:30pm, 4-5 minutes apart. We connected with our midwife and birth team as it was go time. I rocked on the birth ball, laid in childs position. I listened and allowed my body to give me cues to bring my baby down. When Jill arrived she brought in her team; Emily, and Mia, both are incredible women and so supportive. The team set up shop, listened to baby, provided counter pressure and offered suggestions for positioning. I kept waiting for the pain to get worse, I truly believe that allowing my body to progress and surrendering to the process allowed me to keep calm and experience an enjoyable labor! 

At around 7:45pm I felt like transition was near, I wanted to get into the water and prepare to meet our sweet girl! Once I got into the water I felt so much comfort and relief. My husband gave me cold wash rags and held my hands, he was so supportive and loving (Yes, even while holding a video camera in his hands hahaha!). During transition I was able to really use the breaks between contractions to fully relax, I consciously told myself to release and relax every muscle in between. Shortly after I felt pressure, the kind of rectal pressure which told me to push. Jill asked to check my cervix to make sure my cervical lip (Scarring from my first birth) had cleared. At that point I had already felt a strong urge to push and felt her starting to crown! I turned over with the help of my midwives and pushed through 2 or 3 contractions. 

At 8:18pm here she was!!!! In absolute perfection, I  welcomed my baby girl earthside and yelled, "I DID IT!" In her sweet compact chunkiness I loved on her and enjoyed all the beauty of immediate skin to skin. Cecelia Rose was here! My son (who was out for a walk with my mother during pushing) came in to see his baby sister, he loved on her and loved on me. The cord was left intact and we allowed the cord to completely stop pulsating before clamping and cutting the cord.

Cece had a little excesss fluid in her lungs due to the speed of birth, our midwives provided her with oxygen. She was quite grunty and wasn't improving her oxygen intake. Though her Stats were great we had the conversation of transferring her to the hospital just to make sure she wasn't experiencing a greater issue than just some excess fluid. We were all very calm and extremely confident that she was just perfect but we wanted to have her checked just in case. We easily transferred her to the wonderful Randalls Children's Hospital in Portland. She had an xray where they confirmed our suspicion of excess fluid and it should clear up quickly. We were all thankful for the support of the hospital. 

Cece received oxygen until the hospital providers were comfortable releasing us to go home. Our sweet baby girl weighed 8lbs, was 19" and perfect. She nursed immediately in the hospital and continued to improve her breathing while skin to skin on my chest. Overall my birth experience was just amazing, I felt my voice was heard from all of the providers I worked with. Wow, I am blessed.