Well, if ever there was a good reason for a blog drought, it's probably having a baby! This is going to be a long one...
So, after having my maternity photo shoot, I continued to shoot weddings up until about three weeks before my end of July due date.  I also shot quite a few engagement, family, and misc. other sessions, all in the works to be either blogged or published in the next few weeks/months.  I didn't take a maternity leave really--I stopped shooting weddings after 36 weeks, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided I would be too bored not doing anything at all for weeks before baby's arrival.
Being the punctual person that I am, I assumed that the baby would be a bit early, or perhaps even arrive on his due date as scheduled.  All along people told me that it often doesn't work that way with first babies, but this was MY first baby, and any baby of mine must be punctual, right?  No such luck.  My mother flew into town on the 23rd expecting to meet her grandson by the 25th at the latest.
July 25th came and went.  I scheduled my induction for the 29th because the 1st (a week over my due date) wasn't available.  So we set the date for five days in the future and I knew I'd probably go into labor on my own by then!
**HERE'S WHERE THE TMI PART OF THE BLOG BEGINS--If you don't like birth stories or agonizing tales of woe, please kindly skip to the "WEDDINGS" section and enjoy your stay on this blog!**
My doctor decided to insert a Foley Balloon on Thursday night to prepare me for the induction on Friday morning.  Having it placed was quite painful, despite information indicating otherwise.  It's job is to dilate the cervix to 3-4cm so when you begin an induction with pitocin, you're not starting from scratch.
We were up early that day and headed to the hospital!  We were excited and nervous--here's a little video we shot on the way:

I showed up for my induction bright and early at 7am on Friday morning, excited to think that by dinnertime I'd be holding a baby!  We got going with the pitocin and quickly established a nice, regular contraction pattern.
Around noon, the hospital doctor came in to remove the Foley Balloon and to check and see if water-breaking would be possible.  He stated that I was 3cm (good), but the baby was at a -2 station (not good).  For the birth-lingo challenged, that means the baby was still floating up high, nowhere near down low enough to get out OR to have my water broken.
We decided to continue with pitocin in the hope that when my doctor arrived later that day, he would see some progress with either the baby dropping or dilation.  He showed up at about 5:30pm and checked--ZERO progress on either front.  So he gave me the option to continue with pitocin and hope for a change (not likely) or to go home and come back Monday to try again.  I think he was hoping I'd go in to labor on my own.
I spent an agonizing weekend depressed, disappointed, fat, and hot, and FINALLY Monday morning came!  We went back to the hospital for round two, assuming that there MUST have been additional dilation with the extra few days.  I was now a week overdue and would be induced at that point anyway. 
Here's the somewhat more subdued and skeptical video we shot that morning:

Again we checked in, started pitocin, and waited. And waited.  When I was checked, not only was the baby still up high, but my cervix had CLOSED again.  Something I had been told couldn't even happen!!!
Because I wanted to avoid a c section at all costs, I asked what my options were. My doctor suggested a second foley balloon, sending me home, and coming back for induction number THREE on Tuesday morning.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE I WOULD BE SENT HOME AGAIN!!!  Who fails their induction twice??  This was not my plan.  But I accepted that if I wanted to avoid a c section or another full day on pitocin, I would just have to suck it up.  So I did.
If you saw or spoke to me on Tuesday night, I truly apologize for anything I might have done.  I can't be held responsible though--I was truly inconsolable.
There is no video from Tuesday morning.  Trust me, you wouldn't have wanted to see it anyway.
So back to the hospital on Tuesday, August 2, knowing that there was NO WAY we'd be leaving this time without a baby!  I was no longer quite so excited though with the drama of the previous two runs.  I even slept great the night before.  We didn't shoot a video.  It was just getting redundant.  So we...yup, you guessed it, got hooked up to the IV, started pitocin, and waited.
This time though when I had the second balloon removed, I was 4cm...PROGRESS!  The doctor also thought the baby was up high but he was able to break the water, and we were rolling!  I got the epidural a few hours later and waited. And waited.  And waited.
When I was checked at about 3:00pm...not much progress.  My doctor would be arriving at around 6:30 to see what was up.  By the time he came, I was running a fever of 101 and the baby's heart rate was up.  I had also made absolutely no progress from the 4cm and baby hadn't dropped.  Basically the game was up--I was having a c-section.
I can truly say I have never been more scared to do anything in my life but at that point, I was just unable to continue to protest and with the fever and baby not looking as good it wouldn't have been safe anyway.  The anesthesiologist (bless her heart) pumped me full of the good stuff and off I went to the OR!  I kind of dozed in and out through the process, and then they held the baby up, screaming with a FULL head of black hair (where did that come from???)  Jeff watched the whole procedure--turns out he's kind of fascinated by all that gory stuff and the doctor didn't seem to mind at all.
And then our baby was here:
Locke Wilder Norwood, 8lbs, 15oz, 20.5", Tuesday August 2, 2011 at 8:44pm
Here's a little photo Michael shot of him:


And our new family!


You might be wondering about his name! Yes, he is Locke!  Not like this:


More like this (from a project I've been working on for years photographing locks--you can see what I've done so far HERE:


And we might even let you get away with this:


His middle name, Wilder, we chose just because we love it :)
He is so cute with all that hair (which can already be styled into a little faux-hawk). His choices right now are that or Justin Bieber, so we're going with faux-hawk.  I haven't photographed him myself yet while I've been recovering, but I probably will do that later today or tomorrow.  Things have been both wonderful and incredibly hard since having him here (more on that later), but this is for sure--we will never be the same.
My favorite thing so far is getting to see my amazing husband be a dad.  I thank God for him many many times per day.  Here's a video my mom shot of him not long after he was born:

He is so wonderful with Locke, I haven't once seen him not do or help with something, or take charge.  In a week where I've probably cried more than the baby (he's an excellent baby who rarely cries and I'm a weepy hormonal mess), he has totally been incredible. For me things get better every day--I even slept for 3.5 hours last night.  Locke is a gorgeous baby and fits perfectly into our family.  I expect that the next few days and weeks will be hard but rewarding, and I can't wait to raise and teach him about our world!

I did manage to snag a few photos at the hospital (how lucky am I??)



I will say this about having a c-section--your baby comes out looking gorgeous! No conehead on this guy and not a mark on him. 


I do have to thank our family that came to support us, especially my mom who arrive almost two weeks early hoping to see her first grandson's arrival. Jeff's family who stayed and cooked, and helped us through the first few days.  And also all the hospital peeps, especially my first nurse Sue.  
Anyway, thanks for caring and reading along--this isn't the end, just the beginning :)