A Miracle C-section Baby

When a couple approaches me to document the entire journey from bump to birth and newborn it is always exciting. But when I am chosen as a photographer to capture an absolute miracle baby, then it’s definitely a little more emotional and very very special to share in the journey. Min and Gui had a terrible car accident that left Min with injuries preventing her from having children. Yet somehow she miraculously fell pregnant and has been an absolute trooper carrying her baby boy to full term, despite a tremendous amount of discomfort caused by the plate and screws in her hips and spine, combined with the pressure from the baby. I have never heard this amazing lady complain, she is pure kindness and so full of gratitude (and can I just say had the cutest baby bump and absolutely rocked her maternity shoot). I am so grateful to have met these two beautiful people and to have been invited to document such a milestone in their lives. Little Hunter was delivered by Caesarean on Australia Day Morning and to complete an already amazing story, his Mum was born on Christmas Day and His Dad is a Valentine’s baby (well ok almost, one day short, but c’mon it’s still pretty cool). They also share three different nationalities between them and plan to teach him all three languages. This little boy is going to grow into one incredible human being! there is no doubt about that.

I hope you can feel the absolute joy in these images, it was an incredible experience for me as a photographer to be able to capture these special moments for Min & Gui to share with all their family and friends overseas who couldn’t be there in person to celebrate Hunter’s birthday.

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RanaJanuary 27, 2016 - 11:20 am

Absolutely stunning Minna. Love your work!

minnaJanuary 27, 2016 - 12:18 pm

Thank you so very much Rana :-) x

Michelle BosuaJanuary 27, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Stunning photos..

minnaJanuary 27, 2016 - 1:10 pm

Thank you so much :-)

BersweilerJanuary 27, 2016 - 5:30 pm

Magnifiques photos de mon petit neveu j’en ai pleuré de joie. C’est très pudique et plein d’amour. Félicitations

LouiseJanuary 29, 2016 - 2:52 am

Minna, these are stunning! Absolutely stunning.

minnaJanuary 29, 2016 - 2:55 am

Thank you :-)

minnaJanuary 29, 2016 - 2:55 am

Thank you so much Louise :-) x

You have permission to …

I am a huge fan of author Brené Brown and her work on vulnerability and authentic living. One of her ideas that I absolutely love is the suggestion to write yourself permission slips when you are about to go into situations that make you feel self-conscious, anxious or even excited. Before meeting Oprah, she wrote on a little note to herself:

‘You have permission to be giddy. You have permission to laugh. You have permission to ask for a picture. You have permission to be completely uncool.'”

She kept that note in her pocket and allowed herself to be vulnerable and true to herself. It is without a doubt this willingness to be totally transparent that has made the world fall in love with her incredible Ted-talks, books and art journalling programmes.

The other day I was challenged. I was listening in on a Skype-mentoring-call my husband was having with speaker and social media expert, Nick Bowditch. He suggested blogging often and only taking 10 minutes to write the first draft of the blog, spending only very small amounts of time proofing it afterwards. TEN MINUTES! I have a tendency to absolutely torture myself when I write. It is a tedious process of re-reading, re-wording, re-defining…. Re..aaaallly!!!! I mean, it is serious work for me. It means I don’t blog as often as I would like to. I also feel extremely vulnerable in the process of putting myself out there because the things that matter to me are things that expose me; my fears & passions, my curiosity & thoughts about life. It’s stuff other people might not agree with. Even worse they might read my stuff and think I’m silly or too honest, too sensitive or simply uncool. And I care because, well I AM sensitive! But all that aside I was intrigued by the idea of limiting my writing-time and embracing my vulnerability Brené-style.

SO, here’s my note:

“Minna you have permission to blog any thought you might have. You may write sentences that are not completely awesomely structured (like that one!). You have permission to put stuff out there even if there’s a hidden typo or a paragraph that makes no sense. You have permission to totally flop as a writer. You have permission to write. Just write.”

My time is up. Sometimes “good enough” is better than perfect. What are you going to give yourself permission to do today?

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NaomiJanuary 21, 2016 - 11:41 pm

Minna thank you! I love your writing and in such a busy/hectic life, it’s good to be able to ‘just write’ and not be perfect. Good on you!
Here’s mine;

Naomi, you have permission to learn. You have permission to take photos and improve on them, you have permission to step outside your comfort zone, listen to people’s advice and implement it! You have permission to get better and be proud that your improving. You have permission to feel GREAT when someone compliments your work and you have permission not to always doubt yourself! Move forward!

ShaeJanuary 22, 2016 - 12:04 am

This is awesome, and very well written I must say haha! I feel this way when it comes to calling my clients for followup sessions.. I freak out and then don’t end up calling them – but then I get really bummed when I see that they’ve booked a session with another photographer because I didn’t have the ‘balls’ to call them! I will give myself permission. Thank you! xx

minnaJanuary 22, 2016 - 3:20 am

Thank you so much Naomi. I love your permission-slip, keep putting yourself out there and celebrate the wins. Proud of you xx

minnaJanuary 22, 2016 - 3:25 am

Thank you so much Shae :-) Good for you, that is awesome to hear x Maybe think about the things you are worried about, i.e. it could be you’re worried you might stumble over your words or ramble or be too accommodating or whatever it might be. Before you get ready to make the phone-call write yourself a permission-slip that allows you to do or be those things “I have permission to ramble and stumble over my words”. Put it in your pocket and just make the call. Being gentle on yourself and allowing yourself to make the call without judging what you perceive to be your bad qualities will most likely calm you down and make you handle it much better, because you’re not spending time analysing the call in your head and beating yourself up if you do stumble at the beginning etc. I hope that made sense :-) x

A vow to myself

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about a sentence that has been repeated to me through an online course I’m doing with multi award-winning photographer and educator Jesh De Rox. It goes like this: “Everything we feel and experience is self-generated … it is possible to choose what we experience by practising conscious cultivation of the perception.” In other words we are completely in control of everything we feel, because even though we may not be able to control everything that happens to us we are 100% responsible for the way in which we react to it. Every minute of every day we choose the way we perceive the people we meet and the situations we encounter, most of us are just not conscious of the choices we make. We bring our past, our judgements, our hurt and core beliefs into every situation and label everyone and everything according to the way we view the world.

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Some people react to stressful situations with worry, over-thinking and a ton of what-if questions (ME!!!). Others employ a more relaxed approach and take on a let’s-wait-and-see-what-happens attitude (MY HUSBAND!!). When the two of us are in a stressful situation together we react to it in completely different ways. Neither is wrong or right. It just is! It simply is a result of years of building up coping mechanisms through our individual childhood experiences, as well as our genetic make-up and level of sensitivity. Every single person carries a different belief-system around with them that shapes the way they perceive the set of circumstances they are faced with, and because of that there are as many ways to view a situation as there are people in the world. The problems we face, the challenges we encounter, the stresses and worries of our lives are not the problem. The only problem we stand in front of is how we choose to react in each specific situation.

We are in charge of the feelings we feel.

You might say “I can’t help the way I feel,” but you can! Our feelings are a result of our thoughts and at any given moment we can bring awareness into our thinking and make a positive shift. Most of the time our thoughts run on auto pilot and of course we can’t be conscious of every single thought that runs through our mind, but we can use our feelings as a way of keeping an eye on our thoughts. Check in with yourself several times a day and ask yourself “how am I feeling?” If you are feeling good then you know your thoughts are on the right track. If you are feeling anxious and down then you need to bring attention to your mind and shift your thoughts. Yesterday I was driving with my 9-year-old to pick up our youngest from day-care. I was feeling tired and overwhelmed and became aware of this. We were driving in silence and I thought to myself “when will life calm down enough for me to have time and energy to connect better with the people close to me, when will there be time for ‘fun’?” Then I remembered the sentence “everything we feel and experience is self-generated” and I knew that I had the power to change my experience of that moment in an instant, simply by changing how I perceived it. Instead of looking at the drive as yet another thing to do in my stressful day, I could look at it as the opportunity for the perfect bonding-moment, ten minutes of pure, uninterrupted quality time with my daughter, a chance to relax and be light-hearted. I asked her “what would you do if you had a million dollars and you could spend it at your school in any way you wanted?” A silly conversation started which soon described swimming pools in every class room, lolly-machines on each table and a roller-coaster ride for each individual child from the school to their home. We then placed bets on who could guess the exact time it would take to drive to day-care. As my daughter’s guess looked to be most accurate I slowed the car right down to stop her from winning, which made us both burst out in laughter. She won and we were both huge smiles as we parked the car and went to pick up little Isabel.

Perhaps you’re thinking “sure, but how do I change my thoughts and the way I feel when I’m faced with a serious challenge?” It is not easy but it doesn’t change anything. Everything written above still stands! In my family we are currently faced with redundancy. We have just built a new house, have a big mortgage and my husband received the news that he had been made redundant 8 weeks before Christmas and with only a 4-week redundancy package. It was tough news. I reacted with my usual panic and worry and threw around a million what-if questions. I have come to realise that this is really just a record I play every time something goes wrong – big or small. My husband plays a different record. One that says “ok what can we do to fix this, how can we move forward and find solutions.” It really isn’t about the different situations or the severity of them. It is purely about your belief systems and the way they affect how you view things. If your core beliefs are that “things always go wrong, life is hard, there’s never enough time, what if I don’t succeed” then you are always going to react with worry and anxiety to any situation you are faced with that challenges you. On the other hand if your core beliefs are that “things always work out well, everything is happening for a reason, I will succeed and come out stronger and happier” then no situation will ever completely control you.

What are your core beliefs?

A way to find out is to notice every time you feel bad and listen to your self-talk. What are you telling yourself? I know I always tell myself that I don’t have enough time. But I do. I have started challenging that belief, coming up with arguments against it and proving it wrong.

I have made a vow to myself to really start listening to the things that come up when I feel anxious. What am I telling myself that really isn’t the truth. How can I challenge those thoughts and start to build a more positive belief system. How can I shift my thoughts in a positive direction when I notice I’m not feeling great. So far I have found the following steps to work the best when I need to make that shift:

  • Write out my feelings about a situation really fast in a diary. Don’t correct spelling etc. The text doesn’t have to be readable, just scribble as fast as you can and don’t over-think it. Just let it flow. Write out questions and you’ll find yourself writing out the answers to yourself.
  • Buy a meditation app that you can listen to. I have a gratitude meditation that really works wonders for me.
  • Write in a gratitude journal.
  • Put on music.
  • Go for a walk.

Another thing that works for me is to create. I love Macro Flower Photography and when I give myself permission to just play and create for no other reason than the enjoyment it gives me I always feel better. I just need to work on giving myself permission more often.

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What works for you? I would love to know what helps you shift negative feelings. Do you have any core beliefs that you know are not serving you? Make a vow with me today to change them.

 

Minna Burgess is a Brisbane photographer specialising in birth, newborn, baby and family photography. Contact her today to book a session, 0432 953 003, info@minnaburgess.com 

StephanieNovember 12, 2015 - 1:51 pm

His words are very Buddhist. I love it. Love the suggestions! What is the meditation app?

TheresaNovember 12, 2015 - 5:43 pm

This is wonderful, Minna! So exciting when we learn new things about ourselves, when we open to the awareness of new perspectives – AND – then apply them to our lives! Inspiring and thought-provoking! Mama T

minnaNovember 12, 2015 - 11:44 pm

Thank you so much Theresa. Really enjoying the course xxx

minnaNovember 12, 2015 - 11:45 pm

Stephanie if you search in the App Store for gratitude meditation it is one of the first ones. It is free and has a picture of a yellow sun on blue background :-)

When Third Stage Labour Doesn’t Go To Plan

Written by Minna Burgess, Brisbane birth and newborn photographer, as part of the Remarkable Mothers Series. 

Most of us don’t give much thought to the third stage of labour. The part where a woman delivers the placenta and membranes. We generally take that bit for granted and assume that once the baby is safely in our arms we are out of the woods. However, this isn’t always the case, as first-time Mum Melissa found out when giving birth to her daughter 3 years ago. I spoke to her about her difficult road to recovery after receiving surgery for a retained placenta, and the miraculous complication-free birth she had 2 years later with her second baby girl.

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Since early primary School Melissa knew she wanted to be a Mum of two before she turned 21. With the birth of her second daughter just five days after her 21st birthday it’s safe to say she made her dream a reality, but unfortunately bringing her first baby into the world wasn’t as straight forward as she had hoped.

“When birthing my eldest she came out blue and with the cord around her neck. I was told within ten minutes of her being in this world that I had a retained placenta and needed to go into surgery to have it removed,” she explains. “No one was telling me what was going on, I was trying to see over the doctors and nurses asking what was going on and not getting a reply. I felt quite distressed.”

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blog8Melissa lost three and a half litres of blood in surgery after having held her brand new baby girl for only a few very short minutes. “I had a balloon keeping my bladder in and tubes coming out of everywhere, she recalls. “I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed for six days and had to rely and the nurses to help me breastfeed my precious little girl.”

For the people closest to Melissa it was a big shock. “When they came to visit us they would go pale. My Mum even fainted when she saw me. I was told I would not naturally be able to have another child.”

Most new Mums are fortunate enough to remember how they felt in the first few hours after the birth. Those moments when everything has calmed down and it’s just you and your baby, getting to know each other. For Melissa it was different. She went into shock in surgery and has great difficulty recalling what happened. “There’s a gap till the next day when my Mum was visiting. I do remember looking at her sleeping and I felt overwhelmed that I had this little being who would be 100% dependent on me, in every way. I just kept crying and couldn’t explain at the time why,” she says. “The nurse sat next to me, hugged me, and said it was ‘normal’ and they were baby blues. I was terrified.”

Bringing her new baby home was challenging and scary but thankfully the baby blues didn’t turn into post-natal depression for Melissa.

“I was angry, scared, anxious but so in love with Ava. Nighttime was the worst, I didn’t cope very well the first few nights at all. We’d gone from Ava being in NICU and having someone’s eyes on her at all times to it being just me, and if I closed my eyes what would happen then? One night in my sleep deprived state when Ava wouldn’t stop crying, I’d fed her, changed her, walked her around for an hour, I could feel I was about to snap and wasn’t coping well and had to lay her down and walk away to breathe for a minute. When I had that minute to calm down and picked her back up she stopped crying and fell asleep,” Melissa recalls.

“Sometimes it felt like it was more than just baby blues. I was reassured by the home nurses that how I was feeling would pass and it did by the second week. Even through all the sadness and worry, I still had this deep need to care for her. We were able to connect and we have a very strong bond, but I still feel sad and anxious when I think about the first day of Ava’s life in this world being taken from me,” she says.

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When Melissa fell pregnant naturally two years later the doctors were concerned there would be complications and risks, but it turned out to be a completely different experience. “It was so nice to have Lara come out and be placed straight on my chest, crying the second she came out. I was so thankful and over-joyed to be able to nurture her, hold her and have that precious first time with her. There was no intervention by medical staff, we were just left to be in our own little euphoric bubble,” she says.

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“Both my girls make me unbelievably happy and I’m so grateful to have my two precious, healthy, happy babies in my life. I have learnt from this how fragile I am but also how strong I can be. I now believe I can do just about anything.”

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To read more about retained placenta click here

Minna Burgess is a birth, newborn, baby and family photographer based South West of Brisbane. Every month Minna donates a free photo session + images to a remarkable mother or family who has been through a difficult time. The Remarkable Mothers Blog Series aims to provide hope and inspiration to new Mums.

Contact Minna to book a photo session or to tell your story. info@minnaburgess.com (tel: 0432 953 003)

MellissaNovember 10, 2015 - 1:39 am

Thank you Minna,

It is beautiful!

Mell