I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Leah Severson of Leah Severson Portraits and learn a little more about her. She serves the Indianapolis community from her studio in Westfield and is an amazing photographer! Here is a little more about her and some examples of her beautiful newborn work. If you are looking for someone to take fabulous photos of your family at any stage, you can’t go wrong with Leah! As a doula, I'm often asked for names of various services for new families and I always feel very confident passing on her info.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I have a degree in journalism and worked in television news for about 12 years, including locally at WTHR.
How did you develop an interest in photography?
My love for photography was born when I had my first baby. I took thousands of pictures of her - and that was back when I had to buy film and pay to have it developed. My little hobby nearly bankrupted us! But as my skill grew, others started asking me to take pictures of their babies and children. My hobby eventually started paying for itself, and then it grew to the point where I was able to quit my job and open a studio.
What type of photography do you offer now?
I currently offer maternity and baby photography, children's photography, family portraits, senior portraits, and boudoir photography.
What are your favorite parts of maternity and newborn shoots?
My favorite part of my maternity shoots is just seeing the interaction between mom and dad. It's such a sweet time. And the newborn shoots? That's easy! I get to hold the babies! My babies are nearly grown-ups now, so it's wonderful to get to love on those little ones.
Keep watch for more Spotlights on area businesses!
I am passionate about positive birth experiences and helping women achieve them in my work as a doula. A positive birth can look so different than you expect it to too! Birth is often normal and straight forward but it can be unpredictable. That doesn’t need to mean negative. GentleBirth is the childbirth education course that I am privileged to be bringing to Indianapolis this spring and it’s all about planning — and having — a positive birth no matter what. Here are 6 reasons to plan a GentleBirth:
1) It has a proven hypnosis component. As we’ve seen for years now with other childbirth preparation programs, and even some surgical procedures, hypnosis works. GentleBirth is at it’s most basic, a hypnosis based program.
2) It’s based on brain science. GentleBirth, if you do the daily work, helps you literally rewire your brain. Our thoughts are pattern based and those patterns are ingrained. It is easier for our brains to think along our normal thought patterns. It takes effort and practice to break our brains out of those ruts. GentleBirth gives you the tools to do that.
3) It helps eliminate fear. The messages we get from our culture reinforce the idea that childbirth is hard and painful. That’s it’s something to be feared and avoided. Those are messages you need to counteract! Birth is normal and something our bodies are built for but sometimes our brains need a little encouragement to remember that. GentleBirth provides that encouragement.
4) It fills your toolbox! I am so excited to be part of sharing a program that promotes doulas, teaches hypnosis, mindfulness, and CBT as well as hands on tools like acupressure and TENS machines as well as all the more common positioning, massage, and ball use.
5) The App. The app has everything you need. The daily brain training, the guidebook, the workshop schedules, everything you need. There’s no more putting it off because you can’t find what you need right then. It’s in your phone.
6) Finally, it’s modern and understands your busy life. The GentleBirth classes are a one weekend commitment. That’s it. It was developed that way on purpose. We know you and your partner are both running all which way with the demands of your lives and finding time that matches up over several weeks is hard. This is a one weekend commitment. Everything else is on your app. Your practice is all laid out for you and parts can be done in as little as 5 minutes at a time.
GentleBirth gives you the tools you need for a natural, normal birth AND the tools to transition from that, if necessary, and still have a positive birth. You and your baby are worth it! If you are interested in finding out more, come by one of our meet ups or contact me through Facebook or the contact page. See you soon!
Looking for a comprehensive childbirth class? Thinking about a VBAC?
As a follow up to my recent blog about VBACs, I wanted to write a counterpart about c-sections. I think VBACs are awesome and an important option for women to have but they aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay. There are very legitimate reasons for you to choose a repeat, scheduled cesarean.
1). Positioning. Your baby is in a position that makes it difficult or impossible to have a normal birth. There are lots of techniques you can try to get baby into a better position, (check out SpinningBabies!) but they sometimes don't work. Not everyone wants or is comfortable with a home birth and if your baby is breech, or a variation of that, there are no in-hospital options for a purposeful breech birth here in Indianapolis. This might have been the reason for your first c-section as well.
2). Health concerns. If you have high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or uncontrolled diabetes (gestational, Type 1, or Type 2) it may be that a scheduled c-section is in the best interest of both you and your baby. This may require an open conversation with your care provider and even a second opinion if that helps you make a decision. If induction is necessary, it can slightly increase the risks associated with VBAC and depending on the fragility of your health, the combination may truly not be in your or your baby’s best interest.
3). Placenta location or abnormalities. Sometimes, the placenta can be too near the cervix to safely birth your baby normally. Sometimes it can even be covering the cervix. If that’s the case, the placenta would come out before the baby and that’s not okay. In rare cases, the placenta can be imbedded too deeply into the tissue of the uterus and needs special care to be surgically removed. Both of these circumstances require extra monitoring and a surgical, often early, birth. It’s also true that the placenta can be located such that it can make a cesarean difficult as well.
4). Personal history. Sometimes survivors of abuse find birth to be empowering and a healing experience. But other women with similar history find it to be very triggering and a scary time. If you find yourself as part of that second group of women a c-section, where you feel more in control and avoid associating those experiences with your baby may be a really good option.
5). You want one. If scheduling a c-section helps you feel in control of what’s happening to you, makes it easier on your family, or if you just truly don’t want to labor again, that’s okay. This is your baby, your body, your choice and you don’t need to justify those choices to anyone just like the women who choose VBAC.
Our bodies, for the most part, are meant to bring our children into the world, whatever way they come. In addition, there are a myriad of other things to consider here too. If a repeat cesarean is really not your first choice, look around and make sure you have all the facts before your decision. If you do decide, or need, to schedule a cesarean birth, a doula can still be part of and helpful during that experience, offering support before, during (sometimes even in the OR), and after the birth of your baby and postpartum doulas offer support at home for however long you need them during your recovery time. Birth is deeply personal and the birth of your children are days you’ll never forget. Make them positive!
If you first baby was a cesarean (or your second or third) and you are expecting again, you might find yourself faced with the decision to plan for a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC) or schedule a repeat cesarean. For many women, whatever your choice, it’s an easy decision. For others, it might take more thought. Often a repeat cesarean is the default but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 reasons to plan a VBAC.
If you do choose to plan a VBAC, pick your care provider and place of birth carefully. Hire a doula like me! ETA: I serve Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and the North Idaho area ;). Find a support group like ICAN. Know you aren’t alone and go for it!
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin