I sat down to post the annual Year in Review slideshow, but instead, I'm finding my mind is still swirling from what happened yesterday. I need to explain to you just how grateful my heart is on this first day of 2012. As some of you may have seen on my Facebook page, I spent the very last day of 2011 worried sick over my baby sister in the hospital. She had been complaining of a pain in her leg since her trip to New York earlier in Dec. and she called me early yesterday morning saying she had just blacked out in her hallway. My first thought was a blood clot...and then immediately, the fear of a pulmonary embolism. [I want to pause right here and thank someone very special--she will know who she is--for unknowingly giving me a key bit of knowledge about this very dangerous condition and possibly helping to save my sister's life. Thank you and my heart was very much with you during this holiday season.] 

My first words were, "We're going to the hospital..NOW!"

As she was going through the barrage of tests with so many unanswered questions and the very real fear that my sister could die, all I could think was how desperately I wanted the gift of another year with my sister. Just the day before, she and I watched this and marveled over his courage and peaceful outlook on life and death. While we were waiting in the hospital, we read this and this, pleased with how many of those we had done and vowing to check off the rest this year. 

Turns out, she did indeed have a blood clot in her leg, but thank goodness her lungs were clear!!! She has started treatment, but now we have to figure out why the clot formed so we can keep it from happening again. She is so young and a very healthy, non-smoking young woman...this kind of thing just doesn't make sense for her. As I'm writing this, I am actually glad to share this story with you in the hopes that should you or someone you know experience symptoms of DVT or a pulmonary embolism, you'll know to get immediate medical attention.

2011 was one of the busiest years I can recall in a long time and I know that busy=blessed. I had the privilege of meeting and/or working with hundreds families and photographers from all over the world. (It's funny how small my world has become thanks to Facebook ;-). However, to be honest right now, when I think back over the year as a whole, it's pretty much a blur to me--the only thing I can really remember is yesterday.

But I feel it's important to always acknowledge and thank the people who allow me into their lives and trust me photograph their most important family moments. I want to remind them how beautiful they special their connections are...what a gift their families are. So, like I've done every year since 2007, I pulled just one image from each session to create the 2011 Year in Review... 

(Google Reader users: you'll need to click THIS LINK to see). 

My sister, my mom, and I all had separate plans for New Year's Eve yesterday, but all of our families ended up at my house last night. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful up an impromptu batch of homemade chili, all of us watching the 360º of fireworks in the horizon at midnight, listening to "Auld Lang Syne" on the iPod, toasting in paper cups, ringing in 2012 together. Grateful.

[p.s. Clients: I sent out the details on the 2011 Pinkle's Pic of the Year contest to you all. If you had a session with me in 2011 of any kind and did not get this info, let me know ASAP so I can get you up to speed.]

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April 25, 2011

austin_birth_homebirth_photography.jpgLast fall, I was extremely honored to be asked by one of my photography idols to photograph the birth of her second baby. Her work has always grabbed my heart: it's so pure, and honest, and emotive, and beautiful. To be honest, I had to pinch myself when I saw her e-mail (she's probably blushing now ;-). And then when I learned it would be a homebirth (sigh), I had to pinch myself again.

I got the first notice that this might be the day at about 4 a.m. (so it goes for midwives and birth photographers). I could NOT sleep and I paced around for more word. By 8 a.m., I had heard nothing and I started to get a little nervous. With second-time moms, it's my biggest fear that I'm going to miss the birth and then with a homebirth, it can be a little tough because you definitely don't want to get there too early and disrupt the labor process.

But by about 10 a.m, I was so anxious, I pulled a crazy stalker move and I had to do a little drive-by. Oh, I was SO embarrassed to happen upon her and her hubby out for a walk in the cool air!!! (I'm dedicated. What can I say?) After talking to her for about 7-10 minutes I began to think that today might not actually be the day. I mean, here was this beautiful, radiant woman talking to me in complete sentences like it was no big deal and she never once had to stop for a contraction. So, I drove home.

No sooner had I walked in the door, I got a text from dad, "things are picking up here." Followed a few minutes by, "she would like you to come over."

Boy, I FLEW back to her house (I may or may not have breezed through a few "burnt orange" lights along the way). I could hear her outside of the house before I even got through the door...I pulled my camera out because I was so afraid to miss it.

The scene when I walked into the house took my breath away. Christmas lights twinkled and an excited "big brother to be" was hanging out with his grandparents. The birth tub was tucked away in a space that would become the baby's room. Soft music, warm steamy water, and a song coming from deep within mom that was somehow both primal and perfectly in tune. How I wish I had recorded that sound. It was amazing. The light was incredible (I should have known a birth by a fellow photographer would be picture perfect) and it illuminated this mobile of tiny, handmade paper cranes from her friends all over the country (world?). The peaceful energy of the room...the entire house...was both calming and exhilarating. Everyone was happy. No one was afraid. I do not exaggerate. *This* is birth.


[Google Reader and RSS fans, you'll need to click on this link to see the full slideshow]

All the way home that afternoon, I kept seeing the pictures in my head and humming a tune that my good friend, Lyndsay, used on the slideshow for the birth of our daughter. That tune has always been very dear to me and I've felt a bit protective over it. But this entire time, I couldn't get it out of my head. It belonged to this birth, too. Thank you, Lynds, for sharing this song with us.

And thank you to this beautiful family for inviting us into their home to witness such a personal and incredible event and then for allowing me to share it with you all on here.
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December 19, 2010

I can't imagine a better way to spend this Sunday. Welcome to the world, little Jove. There were many people who were very excited to meet you...especially your big brother. As you can see, you've made it to the "Friend Wall" as his new best friend. Such a beautiful entrance this afternoon. Congratulations on this precious bundle!

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