Our Fresh 48 + Birth Story | Modesto, CA


We were so fortunate that my talented friend and Sacramento based photographer, Becca Cuellar of Becca Cuellar Photography drove to Modesto to photograph our Fresh 48 Newborn Photography Session. We quickly dubbed it a Fresh 12, as the session happened within the first 12 hours of our daughter, Gwyneth Joy, joining us at the hospital.

Fresh 48 Newborn Session

Our Birth Story

The day of her birth started out like many others that previous month and I did not have any feeling she would arrive that day. I was able to spend time editing, went to a relaxing lunch with my husband and then picked up our other two children, Will (4) and Emmy (2) from preschool. Will started golf lessons and we spent the late afternoon at the country club with friends while he had his first lesson. Once we were ready to leave, I told my husband I had a feeling I was going into labor soon. The previous afternoon, I had my 39 week appointment and was dilated 1cm. My OBGYN had discussed swabbing my membranes if I made it to that particular appointment and I agreed to the procedure. She shared it could induce labor within 72 hours, and at 39 weeks pregnant—I was ready to have this baby.

When we arrived home, our new neighbors were moving in across the street and our kids wanted to say hello. While we were chatting, I could tell I was having regular contractions, although could not tell how far apart. I joked with them that I thought she may be coming tonight. I knew I needed to start timing the contractions because I wanted to ensure we made it to the hospital in time. We had planned to deliver in Modesto, which is around a half hour drive, and my last birth experience with Emmy had gone quicker than I anticipated, and I believed this birth would likely be the same.

Once we settled back at home it was 5:45pm. My husband started making our kid’s dinner and I started gathering our things while I simultaneously began timing the contractions. I was shocked to see within the first 20 minutes of timing them, they were already 4 minutes apart. My mom had been texting me daily about being available to help with our kids, so I reached out to her to let her know it was time. Once my mom was on her way, we decided we would likely need to make a quick exit to make it to the hospital in time. We told the kids the plan, (we had been prepping them for weeks at this point!) and gave them lots of love. I will always remember Will walking me to the car and kissing me good-bye.

Hospital Experience

We telephoned Labor and Delivery while we were on our way, as I had already decided with my OBGYN that once my contractions were 5 minutes or less apart it would be best to head to the hospital. We arrived around 7:30pm and checked in to one of their last observation rooms. My contractions at this point were becoming more intense, although were still manageable. The nurse that met with us to begin the process of admitting let us know there was only one delivery room left at this point. When she checked me for dilation, I was surprised when she told me I was 6cm.

I had decided on our drive to the hospital that I wanted to have an unmedicated birth. I had wanted an epidural with my previous daughter’s birth, although I progressed too quickly and was unable to get one in time. I realized after her birth that the recovery and my overall post-birth experience was more positive than when I had an epidural with my first birth. Prior to being moved to the delivery room, our midwife let me know that once my water broke, I would likely have her quickly. She recommended breaking my water herself once in the delivery room as I was 9cm and would likely not progress until my water broke.

Once in the delivery room, my contractions had become increasingly more intense and had really started to second guess the whole “unmedicated birth” experience. My midwife told me I could wait for an epidural and I decided I had already made it this far without and opted to have her break my water. During most of my labor experience, I had this playlist on in the background. I had my husband skipping through the more upbeat songs, and as my labor progressed it went from nicely asking to change the song to almost yelling, “change the song!”, which the nurses found hilarious.

Once our midwife broke my water, I felt so much relief. I can remember thinking the worst had passed. And then within minutes I felt the need to push, which was followed by the most intense pain. I can remember squeezing my husband’s hand so hard and not wanting him to let go. The midwife and nurse told me I was holding back through my pushes, and that I needed a couple of good ones. At one point, I can remember asking how many more pushes, and the midwife told me “one good one.” I will never forget the song that was playing when she arrived: Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day.” I randomly listen to it now and can’t help but smile and/or tear up.

I can remembering feeling so emotional as she lay on my chest. I couldn’t believe she was finally here. It was such a whirlwind of an evening and it seemed so surreal that we finally met one of the most important people in our lives.

We were able to spend a good hour with her generally uninterrupted by the nurses before they took her measurements and moved us to the maternity wing. We continued to listen to the playlist, send photos to our family and friends and remark over all of her features. Gwyneth Joy, was born on October 12th, 2022 at 9:55pm, weighing 7lbs 3oz and was 20.25″ long.

Our Fresh 48

I had texted Becca on the way to the hospital and kept her updated on the birth and recovery. We had known in the process of planning for the photography session that the stars would need to align, as I had discharged in 24 hours following the birth of Emmy. The next morning, we were told we would likely discharge in 18 hours, and since we were only allowed one extra visitor per day, Becca would be it.

I was overjoyed to see Becca in person again to photograph the three of us in the hospital. Becca made the experience so relaxing and enjoyable. It was wonderful to chat with her about the birth experience, discuss our previous hospital experiences and our kids now. The time spent during this session was full of smiles, laughs and genuine comfort.

I was so tearful viewing this gallery of Gwyneth as a fresh newborn. The images feel so raw and captured so many details of this experience I never want to forget. These are images I will cherish forever and I am so grateful such a dear friend and talented photographer was able to capture our Fresh 48.

  1. Mary Koller says:

    Wow, that was so beautiful! I bet you tear up every time you see the photos. Love this!! 🤍

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