McKenna Pendergrass Photography » Southern California Newborn + Family Photographer

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  • Welcome to my blog!

    It's so great to have you here! Feel free to browse around, and leave a comment or like a post if you see something you enjoy. You can even pin photos to Pinterest, like me on Facebook, or view my website.

    For those of you that aren't familiar with McKenna Pendergrass Photography... I am a wife and mother to a beautiful little boy (don't worry, you'll see plenty of him!). I live in sunny Southern California, and do business throughout Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. I have always loved working with kids, and considered a specialty in newborns and families for some time, but it wasn't until my son was born that I decided to make the switch. And I'm so glad that I did! I love DIY projects, being barefoot, and reading.

{Life Unscripted} Emelia’s Birth Story

This wasn’t the blog post that I had planned for after our daughter was born… but sometimes things don’t go the way you planned.

Let me start at the beginning.

We’ve known from the beginning that we want a big family, so when we found out that we were pregnant again we were so excited!  It had taken longer than I thought it would, but that’s just the first example in this story of how God’s timing is so much better than ours.  Caleb was the perfect age for a new baby!  He’d really started to love babies, whether it be our friend’s newborns or my clients that come in for photos… and when we started to explain that there was a baby in my tummy, he really understood so much!  I know it wouldn’t have been the same if I’d gotten pregnant sooner.

 I chose a doctor and hospital that was a 45 minute drive form our house.  No biggie.  I had 26hrs of labor with Caleb, and it took an hour to get to the hospital then (I decided we should leave during rush hour! Ha!), so I figured it would be no problem at all.  I LOVED the doctors and the hospital that I had chosen to deliver our precious girl.  We also decided to work with a doula since I wanted to do things 100% naturally this time to avoid the complications that I had after my son was born (I’m just going to tell you now that Amber is amazing, and I’m pretty sure I won’t have more kids unless she can be there!  Haha!  Check out her website here.).  We even had someone wanting to do birth photography for us, and I was pretty excited about that!  Appointments went well.  Baby and mama were both happy and healthy.

I loved getting to know my baby girl during my pregnancy and I could tell that she was already so different from her brother.  I was greatly looking forward to having her in my arms and getting to know her even better.  Her daddy and big brother were pretty stinkin’ excited too.

As her due date get closer, I started to get nervous… almost scared at times. I had no idea what I was doing when Caleb was born, and I was very prepared this time (or at least as much as one can be) but still… but really I don’t think you ever get over that, no matter how many kids you have.  The anticipation that I had far outweighed any anxiety though!  And to be honest, I was kinda just done!!  Every mama can relate to that, the last month of pregnancy kinda just sucks, but this pregnancy was so much harder than my first.  I was tired, in pain, and definitely ready to meet out baby girl.

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There wasn’t a point that I can say I definitely started labor.  I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions daily for months.  Sunday the 17th (Emma’s due date) they definitely took a turn though, and I was having contractions almost every 10mins all day.  They were still going at the same pace on Monday.  I had a doctor’s appointment that day, and the doctor said that I should be meeting our baby girl soon!  We were getting so excited!  That evening contractions sped up a bit… 7min apart for an hour, then about 3-5min apart while we walked the mall, and back to 10-12min apart once I was resting.  They progressed that way all night, and I got little sleep.  By Tuesday morning the contractions hadn’t gotten any more regular, but they were starting to hurt so I called Amber to come over.  Turns out baby’s head was pushing against by pubic bone, but Amber knew how to fix that.  She helped me through couple hours of contractions, and I was comfortable enough to take a cat nap.  I don’t remember how close contractions were at this point, but none of us thought I was going anywhere fast.  Amber considered going home, I considered trying to sleep, but we ultimately decided that she should stay and I would get up and walk to try and get things moving…  And moving they got!!

Things are a little blurry for me from here on out… I walked circles in our kitchen for about 15-20min and contractions started hitting hard and fast… apparently they put me through transition at lightening speed because I suddenly out of nowhere felt the need to push!  It was very obvious that we weren’t going to make it to Upland (HA!!), and we quickly decided that we’d try and make it to the hospital, just in case.  Well, long story short we didn’t make it to the hospital and miss Emelia Faye was born at 11:10 in the back of poor Amber’s car!!  Moments later the ambulance was there (Everything was fine but we called just in case.  Better to be safe than sorry, you know?). I’m pretty sure I traumatized the poor young fellow that was checking to make sure I was ok!  Haha!  All was well though, baby was absolutely beautiful, and I felt great!   But yeah, needless to say, all we have from this part of the day are cell phone shots because obviously our birth photographer didn’t make it.  Lol.

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We got to the hospital and were checked out.  They let us know that Emma was 10lb 2oz and 21in long.  She was a while 5oz bigger than her brother was!!  We were both in great shape, and I didn’t even tear.  Much to my disappointment, the doctor on call decided that she needed to go to NICU “just in case”  because she’d been born in the car, and we didn’t get the antibiotic for the Group B I had tested positive for.  Thankfully Caleb was able to come see her first.  He was so excited and so sweet with her!  It made my heart happy.  The NICU was traumatizing for both of us, especially since everyone else could see that Emma was totally fine.  Thank God for the smart, brave, and kind-hearted doctor that was in charge of NICU, who looked at our unique situation and decided to send us home early!   I owe so much to him, and I can’t even begin to express my thanks.

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(the next two photos are from EnM Media

View More: http://enmmedia.pass.us/welcomebabyemilia
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Now we’re home!!  It’s been an adjustment, but Emelia really is such a mellow baby, and Caleb tries hard to be a good big brother.   We have amazing family and friends that have blessed us with meals and gifts for the baby.  I still can’t believe that we have TWO KIDS!  God has blessed us beyond measure, and I can’t wait to see where He takes us next.

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Catherine Story -

Holy moly! This is a wild story! I am so happy everyone is doing well . So bummed I didn’t get to meet her at SAn Antonio. You’ll have to have another one j/k she is gorgeous like her momma.

Sarah Johnson -

Well……what can I say….it happens;)

Karen Cromer Druckenmiller -

Congratulations on your beautiful, healthy family….

Liz Ruiz NeSmith -

I seriously teared up. You are so blessed. I love how much Caleb adores her. From experience with my two, he will be her hero and best friend. Along with other titles congrats McKenna!

Oak Glen Maternity + Family Photographer {the Lemus Family}

This family is just too much fun!  And apparently Gloria and I have really good timing with our pregnancies, because her 2nd and my 1st are only a week apart, and our due dates for these babies are only 3wks apart! Haha.  It’s been so much fun watching their little ones grow up (see snippets from their other sessions here, here, and here), and I can’t wait to meet this newest little addition soon!!

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Tell us your story:  We have been together for almost 10 years, and we just celebrated our 6th year wedding anniversary. We have two wonderful kids, Omar and Lili, and a little boy on the way :)

How did you find out that you were pregnant?  What was your reaction? We wanted to have a third baby, but we were going to wait a little longer. So we both were very surprise to find out we were expecting! Sometimes you make plans, but God knows when the best time to bless you with a child is ;)

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How has your pregnancy treated you so far?  So far so good. But I have gotten lucky with all three of my pregnancies. No morning sickness, no major pains or aches. I still have the month of August to get through though…

How are your kids reacting to the pregnancy?  The kids are loving it! From the beginning Omar, my oldest, was very excited, and he just knew he was going to have a baby brother. Lili, on the other hand, was a little indifferent to the baby, but as my belly began to grow, so did her love for the baby. Now she hugs and kisses the baby all day, cuddles with the belly, and plays with it too :)

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What is your favorite family tradition? We started to go camping last summer, and the kids loved it. This year we have gone camping to the beach and the mountains multiple times.  We love seeing how the simple things in life can bring such joy to our little ones.

What is your favorite thing to do as a family?  Morning cuddles are the my favorite! but going to the park and chasing the kids barefoot on the grass is high on their list, as well as story time, tickles, making pancakes on the weekend, and just being together :)

If you could describe your family in 3 words, what would they be? Loving, happy, and funny :)

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Apple Valley Family Photographer {the McMican Family)

I love that so many people are having babies!!  It makes me happy to see my friends becoming the amazing, loving parents that I always knew they would be.  =)

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Tell us your story:  On May 11th were blessed beyond measure. Our sweet daughter Abigail (Abby) Grace was born. AND she was created more perfect than I could have ever imagined. She is full of smiles/ silly faces/ & a fascination for this world around her.

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How did you choose your baby’s name?  It was one of the first names Ry looked at the day we found out we were pregnant. He was sure we would be having a little girl that day. And when Ry found out that it meant “father’s joy” he was sold!

Who do you think your little one looks like most?  Definitely Ry!

What is your favorite part about having your baby here with you?  Just chilling & sharing our days with her. She makes us laugh/smile all throughout the day. I find myself calling over Ry to check out every look and move she makes. Ha.

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Any tips for making your hospital stay more comfortable?  Was there anything that you did to prepare your for delivery, or that you felt helped you during labor?  I did lots of reading/asking questions before my labor. I had a pretty good idea about what we wanted & how it should go. But, we definitely knew that we were not in control of how it went so our main goal was simply to have a healthy baby girl. Thankfully everything went smoothly & close to plan. Things that helped most during my labor were: showers, walking, my birthing ball, and sitting upright during labor.

What things have helped you adjust to parenthood the most?  Anything you can’t live without?  Well Ry of course! He has been a wonderful teammate and I could live/do this without him.

Favorite baby related funny story:  Well the first time Abby tooted (pretty loudly) was a crack up for us all.

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Victorville Baby Photographer {Logan}

Logan is 6 months old!  He’s such a charmer and a little sweetheart.  I can’t wait to see him again at his 12mo session!

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How has your life changed in the last 6mo?  The biggest change is just getting used to not sleeping!!

What new things is your baby up to?  New skills, likes or dislikes, quirks?  Logan is sitting up on his own! And so far he hates food!

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What is your favorite thing about being a parent?  Right now my favorite thing is when Logan gets bashful! It’s adorable!

What advice do you have for parents of a 6mo?  Be prepared for something new almost daily!! It seems like Logan does new things all the time now!!

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Apple Valley First Birthday Cake Smash Photographer {Logan + Austin}

Two of my favorite twins just turned ONE!!  I can’t believe the last year has gone by SO FAST and so many of my baby plan babies are growing up!

Just in case you forget how tiny these two started out, make sure you also check out their newborn and 6mo sessions!

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How has your life changed in the last year?   Who knew a heart already so full of joy and love could be even more full. Besides all the new baby experiences this past year that we didn’t get to have with our first two children, life is just busier. At noon I scratch my head and wonder what we did all morning. Sometimes it truly is that I feed, change, and bed the kids all day. I’m learning to take things moment by moment because just when it seems we get into a routine, something changes ;)

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What new things is your baby up to?  New skills, likes or dislikes, quirks?  Logan is standing and starting too “walk” around things. Austin hasn’t got the standing figured out yet so he just get mad because he can’t. They are teething like crazy – both are getting molars. Though this isn’t a skill – it sure is a slobbery mess. We are working on words and some sign language to cut down on the frustrated screaming. They love to swing and explore.

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What is your favorite thing about being a parent?  I am loving the baby stage and all the changes the boys go through. I love seeing them figure things out. Though the more they figure out the busies I seem to become ;)

What advice do you have for parents of a 1 year old?  Enjoy it all! Unless something has a deadline, don’t stress about it not getting done. Simplify so you can enjoy and play.

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Shelley Witt Wagner -

Love these boys!! Great photos!