JACE'S BIRTH STORY @ SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital | Madison, WI

October 17, 2019  •  1 Comment

JACE'S BIRTH STORY @ SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital | Madison, WI

Hello everybody!!! I'm so excited to share my first Birth & Postpartum Blog post, to officially kick off my new direction of Full-Time Photography!  As you may have seen if you follow my facebook page, last month (September 2019) I "retired" from an almost 19 year nursing career at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, WI, the bulk of which I was a Labor & Delivery RN, and I LOVE helping mamas and babies and new families, it is my passion!  And for the past 7 years, I was working part-time as a nurse and had a photography business, AmyHeltPhotography LLC, as a "side hustle".  But last summer I decided to take my photography all the way, and what better way to mix my 2 passions than to do Birth Photography!  I have only been able to do it for family in the past, because I couldn't be "on call" in 2 places at the same time, but now I have more freedom to do just that, and weddings!  And I'm so pumped! 

So last summer I asked my coworker Kimberly if I could do her birth photography to help build my portfolio, and to my delight, she said she would love that!  I knew she was due in a couple months, and I've photographed her family in the past, with her 2 sweet boys Beckham and Sawyer, so I was excited to meet their 3rd baby as well!  

Well, as we all know, 3rd babies can come quite quickly, whenever they want to!  So although Kimberly had an induction scheduled for Oct. 18th, I knew anytime after 37 weeks that I might be getting a phone call.  So although I went out of town, only 90 min. away for a girls weekend, I drove separately "just in case!", but no call came all weekend.
The Monday after I got back, I went to a small group training session at the gym...and learned a very important lesson for a Birth Photographer...when you are on call you MUST have SOME sort of communication device with you AT ALL TIMES. (like say an apple watch & my camera gear in the car!)  My phone was in my car while I was at the gym, and my camera was at home 15 minutes away, and Kimberly went into full blown labor right then, Murphy's Law right?!  I got out to my car, had a voicemail and 2 texts from coworkers that Kimberly was in labor, and I shot home to get my gear!....mind you I was going in THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION of the hospital, which was killing me!...I grabbed my camera, flew back into Madison to St. Mary's (thinking at least I know where I'm going), parked in the visitor lot (which was so weird), ran across the SkyBridge like a crazy lady (smiling all the way), planned my route to run up to OB, realized I don't have a badge anymore, and had to take the long way around using the visitors elevators, got upstairs, only to realize I'd missed Jace's speedy entrance by only 10 minutes!  Luckily for Kimberly...our amazing coworker Chantel had my back, and captured pictures of Jaces birth for her before I arrived, for which I'm SO grateful, and I will edit those separately and make sure Kimberly has them.  But I was still able to capture Jace's new freshness, and snuggling and bonding time with family in those precious first few hours, and it was amazing! 

(Side Note...I am currently in the market for an apple watch, wink wink! 
So if you have any advice for me on what to get, please send it my way!) 

Kimberly is not only the amazing mama of 3 beautiful boys, but I had the pleasure of working along side her for many years, and I'm so honored to be sharing her birth story on my blog!  Labor is raw, it's real, and it's absolutely beautiful!...and it's what I saw everyday as an L&D nurse for so many years, and I feel so grateful and blessed to be able to portray that now through my photography. 
I can't wait to get out there and take more photos of mamas and babies!!!  Please message me asap if you're planning to have a baby and want to get on the calendar, no matter how early you are!


in her words


"My labor really started over the weekend while at work Saturday night. I was contracting throughout the night but was able to go home and get some sleep on Sunday. I woke up Sunday still contracting but didn’t think to much of it because I had been contracting on and off for weeks, and figured if I was able to sleep it wasn’t anything. I slept Sunday night (and it was actually a good night of sleep!) I woke up Monday and starting my morning off like any other making breakfast for my 2 boys, and picking up toys from the night before. Around 7:45am the contractions started to get a little more regular and uncomfortable. My husband had already left for work and I had our 2 boys at home, so I had no desire to drive to the hospital and have my husband waste a sick day, if they were just going to slow down and be nothing. So Instead I text my doctor, Dr. Thousand ( perk of working with her!), to see if she was in clinic that morning. The clinic is 5 min. from my house. I then called my father-in-law to see if he was home, luckily he and my mother-in-law were home. I got the boys ready as quickly as I could, and if anyone knows how easy it is to get a 20-month-old and 4 year-old ready, knows it wasn’t as fast as I wanted... I apparently was using some more colorful language during a contraction, that my 4 year old said “mommy if you are saying those words baby must be coming today.” When I got to my in laws they didn’t trust me driving the remaining two miles to the clinic, so my father in law drove me. I got to the clinic and had my cervix checked and was 4cm dilated. My previous deliveries were fairly quick so I figured I should just head up to St. Mary’s. My father-in-law drove me up there. I called my husband on the way to tell him to meet us there. Earlier my in-laws had asked how often I was contracting, and I just guessed every 6-8min, still irregular...well my father-in-law made it VERY clear I was contracting much more often, as you could see the worry on his face that I might birth in the car ( I still find this part hilarious). I got to the hospital and was 6cm dilated. That was at 9:18am. My husband arrived shortly after, and Dr. Bathke came in a little after 10:00am and broke my water, and as any mom knows, s*** gets real after that. I again was blessed with a fast labor and progressed to completely dilated and Baby Jace was born at 11:02am. I was lucky to have one of my friends and co-worker Brittany be my nurse (she has been there now for all 3 of my deliveries). As I look back on that morning I have to laugh at myself. You would think as a labor and delivery nurse I should have known I was in labor and not questioned it, yet for some reason I did.
I am so lucky to have had such a beautiful delivery and I am thankful to every person that was involved."


























Such beautiful pictures!! Congratulations Kimberly and family and beautiful work capturing all these lovely moments Amy. ♥️
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