Amanda Maree Photography » Amanda Maree Photography - Brisbane Newborn Photographer

It’s always such a privilege when you are chosen to photograph someone’s family and even more so when it is someone you have known for many years. I was so excited when Gen got in touch after she found out she was expecting and couldn’t wait to meet her little one when he or she arrived. After much long awaited anticipation…..the gorgeous Master Liam arrived and soon enough he was in the studio giving me snuggles. Now he wasn’t super excited about sleeping much but we had a few words…which he thought was pretty funny….and then he dosed off into blissful slumber!

Newborn Baby Boy in blude bonnet on blue blanket smiling

When I’m chatting to mumma’s and papa’s about their little one’s and their upcoming sessions I ask a variety of questions in order to ensure families get exactly what they want from their session. Liam’s mumma and papa had a few different idea’s between the two of them about Liam’s session so we all worked together to create lots of special set ups with their little love. Liam’s mumma wanted bright primary colours and Liam’s papa wanted soft pastel blue’s and green’s. I’m sure you will agree we managed to incorporate all of that and more!

Newborn baby boy in wooden trench bowel in green wrap on green fur Newborn baby boy curled up in brown wooden round crate with green map and lion toy Newborn baby boy laying on his stomach on green knitted blanket with green bonnet on Newborn baby boy snuggled up in oval wooden bowl with blue wrap and blue blanket on ground Newborn baby boy in cane basket with green knittted blanket and wraps with green bonnet Newborn baby boy in oval wooden bowl with blue wrap and bonnet and bear

Gen and Graham, thank you so much for choosing me to share in your gorgeous little man and for the opportunity to capture some memories to last you a lifetime of when your love was small.

Newborn baby boy snuggled up in mothers arms with father kissing his head all smiling

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Dear Unsettled Bubba…..

It’s every photographers dream that a newborn sleeps their entire session, that they are calm & relaxed, and happy to be posed into every position and every gorgeous prop. I’m sure its every parents hope that it happens that way too! But in reality, it often doesn’t, and nothing makes me sadder than when parents get upset because their little one wont settle. I’m not just a newborn photographer….I’m also a mumma as well, and I’ll have you know that my little one barely even blinked his eyes shut during his entire newborn session. I felt dreadful and I kept apologizing to the poor photographer. I felt like a failure 🙁 I think I even may have mentioned he was a naughty baby….eeeep! No baby is ever naughty. Period. But seriously, it got me to thinking, I never want a family to feel like that when they are in my studio.

I always remember the most important concept I was explained as the mother of a newborn and I try to share this with my new families. It is the concept of The Fourth Trimester. It made perfect sense. For the past 9 months your little one has been held constantly, they have been kept safe and warm in a nice dark home, they have been fed constantly, rocked and shushed by the gentle tone of your voice and pulsing of your heart. And now, life is the exact opposite. They are naked, in a strangers home, being asked to sleep without you lovingly curled around them, and honestly, its not what they want at all!! Of course my studio is the best fourth trimester I can manage. It is warm and cosy, babies are swaddled and comforted, they are always fed whenever they ask, and there is peaceful shushing and a beating heart. But I’m not their mumma, and sometimes, they just plain don’t want to hang out with me, and that’s ok too!

Unsettled baby wrapped in pink blanket on teal fur with flower headband

Newborn sessions are scheduled in the first 14 days of your little ones journey earth side. It is done this way for many reasons. Its when little ones are generally their sleepiest, curliest and tiniest. It is those moments and those details that you want to remember, that are gone in the blink of an eye. But that is also the time in both you and your little ones lives that you are your most vulnerable, something that is of utmost importance to me.

Please don’t ever feel bad if your little one is unsettled, it is just their way of communicating their needs. I like to think my experiences as a NICU nurse, as a newborn photographer and as a mumma will help you both feel safe and comforted and loved. But sometimes even my magic tricks don’t work. Sometimes we try other things, and sometimes, we reschedule a session if a little one doesn’t feel like being photographed that day. While my focus is capturing moments of your sweet new baby, my biggest priority will always be their comfort. Nothing fills my heart more though, than when a couple comment on how comfortable they feel during their session and it’s even more flattering when I peep out of the studio door to find both mum and dad snoozing peacefully on the couch!!!

Baby girl tucked in bed yawning

During your session we will always work together to make sure your little ones transition earth side is as calm and safe as possible, including their time in the studio….And hopefully, capture some beautiful moments along the way.

Baby boy in blue dosing off to sleep

So unsettled baby…never fear….you will always find comfort with me…….

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I can’t believe this divine boy just celebrated his first birthday!! On the anniversary of our session Khalads gorgeous mumma got in touch with me and offered to share Khalads story and the journey of his beautiful big sisters that came before him. Below, in her own words, is their brave journey. Celena…thank you for your strength and courage, and for sharing your gorgeous family with me.

Rainbow baby born after loss

In May 2008 we found out that we were expecting again. Our first born was four years old (would be five) so the gap was going to work in our favour. Little did we know that we were going to need that gap as we found out we were expecting twins. Everything went very well. I had little or no morning sickness (yes I was very lucky), I would only get sick if smells set me off. I remember sitting in the OB’s office having a scan at 11 weeks and him saying ‘if there are two heartbeats still now everything should be fine. If something happened then it would be because something is wrong’. How true this would be.
At our 20 week scan we found out that we were having twin girls. That was fun to get our head around as I was pretty sure they were boys. We organised another scan for 30 weeks and then another at 34. At the 30 week scan the girls only had 100gms between them and they both looked healthy.
Fast forward to the 34 week scan. The sonographer asked me very casually when I would be seeing my OB again. I joked ‘well actually straight after here.’ He stopped the ultrasound early. Then came the words that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. ‘I’m really sorry, one of the twins heart isn’t beating’ My heart broke into a million pieces. The tears started. I had to try and get my husband on the phone to ask to come in and get me. He worked in a call centre so this was not easy to do. Now the next thing that I remember very clearly (and may seem odd but it is how my mind works), is sitting out the back of the sonographers office and the receptionist came in to see how I was coping. Asks the usual ‘Are you ok?’ and I replied with ‘No but I will be’ The next question out of my mouth made a big difference to how I dealt with the coming weeks ‘Does this happen a lot?’ ‘Not a lot but yes it does happen and not only with twins with singles as well’ ‘At least I had two’
Down in the OBs office I was told that he could deliver me that day if I wanted to but if I could wait then it would give the other twin the best chance of not going to Special care. I said I’m already coming home without one of my girls I wasn’t going to come home with neither of them. Regular monitoring was organised through the assessment unit at the hospital. This had its own set of challenges which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Ever. Having to explain yourself when you haven’t even come to terms with the death of an unborn baby taught me very quickly to stand up for myself and not explain myself if reading my file could do it for me.
Going back in for my scan at 35 weeks was nerve-wracking to say the least. We had names picked out already for the girls and were going to wait until they were born to decide which one was which. After everything else happening we decided to do it now. Maya Rose was due to be earth bound with us and Lily Iris was going to be our forever butterfly girl. Maya was growing well and not in any danger. However she was laying across my belly instead of head down so the decision was made to deliver the girls the following Monday by c-section. The OB tried to warn me that Maya would probably go to the special care nursery if only for a little while. I said very emphatically that she would not be. He tried again to explain that she may need a little help. I repeated that she wasn’t bloody going. Shaking his head he did in all honesty try.
The team that my OB selected to help on the day were amazing. A couple of them had been through similar circumstances to me and let me know. In some ways finding out beforehand that Lily wasn’t going to come home made it a little easier. I couldn’t imagine what would have happened without the prior warning.
Into the world came a screaming petite Maya weighing in at a healthy 2.6kg (5pd11) considering she was a month early. Lily weighed in at 1.8kg. One very amazing bereavement support midwife scrubbed in and took great care of Lily for us. Prior to going to theatre we had a conversation about what we would like to dress her in. I said anything but very pastel. When we got back to my room Trish was there with photos, handprints and footprints. She also took the time to explain to Morgan where Lily was and show him the photos. Morgan would make sure that everyone got to see the photos of Lily and the prints.
Wondering if Maya went to the nursery? She didn’t. She continued to surprise everyone (except me) with even the paediatrician surprised at how well she was doing. We were discharged when Maya was 5 days old after she had spent the night in the isolette and under lights to help with jaundice.

Teal green butterfly surrounding newborn after loss of sibling

“My brave butterfly…your body may have died but your fighting spirit will forever be a part of me. For as I carried you in my womb through your life, I will carry you in my heart through mine”….we wanted to capture Khalad’s beautiful angel sister Lily in his session, what better way than her special spirit in a butterfly.

I have since had my rainbow* baby who has just celebrated his first birthday. A pregnancy after loss brings with it so many emotions. You spend nearly the entire time on tender hooks. Particularly around the gestation that something went pear shaped in the previous pregnancy. I’m very fortunate to have been part of the Pregnancy After Loss Clinic (PALC) through the hospital. Seeing the same midwife and OB at the appointments helps with continuity, add to this they know your history. So a phone call not knowing whether you are having a moment or not was dealt with in a way that I didn’t feel like I was over reacting. The people associated with PALC are worth their weight in gold.

I must say a huge gigantic thank you to Liana, Trish and Dr Rockstar. Also to the beautiful Amanda Maree Photography for my gorgeous photos and using your creative genius for good.

*A Rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with the aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of colour, energy and hope.

Below are some images from Khalads stunning session. I do love a creative challenge and this family gave me that with the

direction of bright and orange. Happy 1st Birthday Khalad, you were a joy to photograph as were your lovely family.

Newborn baby boy snuggled up in orange

Newborn baby boy in basket wrapped in mustard coloured blanket and bonnet

Newborn baby boy in wrapped in green nest

khalad36

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On the 12th March 2014 I met one of the most loving and beautiful couples I have ever had the privilege of knowing….more importantly, I met their divine daughter Ada Grace. I was the first pair of hands the obstetrician handed her to and I spent most of her short time by her side.  Sadly, after one week and a very brave fight, Ada grew her angel wings. In that teeny tiny week….sweet Ada changed me as a person, she changed me as a mother, she changed me as a nurse. I know she has made me better in her short time. It is with beautiful bravery that her sweet mumma and papa share her story……

They barely had a chance to say hello, when it became time to say goodbye.  Josh and Aimee Collins knew from the 19-week scan their daughter was probably going to die from an as-yet undetermined degenerative condition. Instead of taking the available option of termination, the brave couple decided they really wanted to meet her. “We don’t really know what was wrong, we may never know what was wrong with her,” Mr Collins said. They went through the full 40-week pregnancy, knowing the precious first child they were awaiting wouldn’t be able to stay with them long. “They gave us the option of terminating, but that was never really an option for us,” Mr Collins said. “We took the approach we wanted to meet her. It was really important to meet her. “I feel sorry for people who have stillborns as they don’t have time to prepare themselves. We managed to get a good 20 weeks before she was born as a chance to readjust our expectation, and that of our family too. “It would have been so much harder not knowing.” When Ada Elizabeth Grace Collins was born at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital on March 12 last year, she was beautiful. From birth, Ada was hooked up to a ventilator, and the couple only had one week to share with their daughter. But this provided them with a lifetime of memories to cope with the devastating heartache of allowing the life-support to be turned off, when it was time for her to go.

Critically ill baby girl in the NICU

“On our last night, the amazing pediatrician at the Mater came and told us there was nothing much more they could do,” Mr Collins said. “They had tried everything and she was not going to get better and we discussed reducing the level of care the next day. “We knew it was going to be a hell of a night, knowing the next day we would withdraw care. But half an hour later Ada extubated herself, she took the tube out herself. “We got to take her up to our room at Mater and have a little night with her together.” Ada died knowing only love in her short life.

Heartfelt Image of heart broken family

In the year since losing Ada….Aimee and Josh have been living life to the fullest in her honour. In August last year they opened their Alexandra Headland gastropub ‘Black Bunny Kitchen’, inspired by Ada. They chose this special name as when Ada was born she was given lots of bunnies, so it only seemed fitting that they include her in their newest family venture. Then on 21st August 2015 their lives changed again, when sweet Elizah Poppy Grace was welcomed earthside. A beautiful rainbow after the ravages of the storm.

Rainbow baby born after loss

Of course, I could think of nothing more special than capturing Elizah and creating some special memories for this gorgeous family. But a traditional studio session was not to be. Due to a number of issues, they couldn’t make it down to my Brisbane studio from their home on the Sunshine Coast, so with the help of my beautiful friend, another one of Ada’s nurses, Steph, we took the studio to them!! A four hour round trip…lots of poop, pee and vomit, mostly from Elizah, it was a day filled with love and laughs.

 

Studio on the road

We spent the day with the sweetest little princess who gave us lots of cuddles, and let us capture some gorgeous images for her mumma and papa. Ada was definitely with us on the day and I feel so blessed to be able to include her in Elizah’s session. One of my beautiful vendors heard Ada and Elizah’s story and gifted the most divine little ‘Black Bunny’ to not only photograph with Elizah but for her to keep in memory of her sister and in celebration of ‘Black Bunny Kitchen’.

Baby girl in pink with black bunny

Aimee also shared a special moment with us that we had to include in Elizah’s session…..

The day Ada passed away,  the Mater Chaplin hung around to say a prayer and she had typed up a booklet with the poem “a Symbol of hope” (about the butterfly). We ended up reciting this at Ada’s funeral and had 6 butterflies to release. Josh’s butterfly didn’t fly away when Josh opened his box, and mine brushed my hair and flew away. Josh’s one just stayed put on the box, and so I went to get it and it flew from the box onto the rose petals surrounding Ada’s grave. It stayed there for a awhile before my nephew ran over and then it just kept fluttering around and landing on the grass as it was chased by the kids.  Yesterday I took Elizah outside for a second to get some air and a splash of sunlight and there was a blue moon butterfly fluttering around. I was just pacing the decking while cradling Elizah & the butterfly landed on her and stayed there for a few minutes before flying away again!! It was so magical!!

Beautiful baby girl with butterflies after loss

“My brave butterfly…your body may have died but your fighting spirit will forever be a part of me. For as I carried you in my womb through your life, I will carry you in my heart through mine”.

Aimee and Josh….thank you for trusting in me to care for your beautiful Ada, and for choosing me to create memories with your darling Elizah. I feel completely blessed to watch your family grow and to be a part of both of your daughters lives. Thank you to Steph for sharing in Ada’s journey with me as my colleague, for helping Elizah’s session happen and just for being you. Thank you to my amazing Heartfelt colleague Stewart Ross for sharing his stunning images of Ada. Thank you to Love That Prop for making Arthur the cutest Black Bunny, I know Elizah will love him for forever!

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Premature twins in the neonatal intensive care unit

As a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, I have the immense privilege of caring for teeny tiny miracles on a daily basis. Every now and then a family comes along that I feel like I have known forever. Similar personalities, similar lives, I’m not entirely sure what it is, but some families you just connect with. Caring for someones most treasured possession brings about the most intense relationship you can ever imagine. You are each reliant on each other…parents, baby and nurse. Most days I am in awe of just how lucky I am to do what I do. When that family asks you to document their journey, well, there is nothing better.

Premature twins in the neonatal intensive care unit

When Kara and Brenton decided to start a family they had no idea they were about to embark on such a journey. From the very first positive test to the discovery of not one but two little growing bubba’s, things have been a whirlwind. Kara’s pregnancy was a complete dream….in fact, the cliche breezy pregnancy, when at a mere 24+4 weeks things changed. Pains that unfortunately progressed to labour meant that Kara was airlifted to Brisbane. On the cusp of viability, Kara’s two teeny girls clung to life inside the womb and she was put on strict bed rest on the antenatal ward. All of this only further complicated by the distance between their home and Brenton’s job, and Kara all the way in Brisbane. Thankfully, the girls stayed inside and cooked a little longer but then at 26+4 weeks they made their grand entrance.

Premature twins in the neonatal intensive care unti

Ellie Rose was born at a teeny 863grams and Layla Savannah at 928grams. Both, while tiny, were fighters!!!

Premature Twins in the neonatal intensive care unit

 

Their journey through the NICU and then Special Care was not without its battles and both girls fought like the tiny perfect miracles that they are. After a humongous 61 days at The Mater, it was time for the twins to start their journey home. Another 25 days back in St Vincent’s Hospital and the girls were finally strong enough to go home to the mummy and daddy. Since that day they have both come along in leaps and bounds, growing into gorgeous healthy chubby little princesses. Now life is busy as a mumma to two but Kara and Brenton wouldn’t have it any other way.

The girls have just celebrated their 6 month half birthdays and what better way to celebrate than with a mini shoot in the studio. They packed up the car and traveled all the way down here to spend some time with me and it filled my heart with joy! It was so nice to see the girls looking so healthy and luscious from the teeny tiny girls I had photographed not that long ago in the NICU. They had other ideas about sleeping for us, but we still had lots of fun and I’m so grateful that Kara and Brenton chose me to capture some more beautiful memories for them.

 

Premature twins now six months old

Premature twins now six months old

Premature twins now six months old

Premature twins now six months old

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