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Thoughts on scrapbooking my birth story

Thoughts on scrapbooking my birth story @
Actually, the words ‘birth story’ make my skin crawl a little bit and I can’t put my finger on why. My best guess is because in the last few months of pregnancy, I suddenly read so many birth stories and like anything else in the world, they run to extremes. Some were beautifully written and compassionate, no matter what did and did not go to plan. Others resembled a horror movie and some were devoid of all emotion entirely. For a while it became my answer to reality TV: pick a story and click and see if it would make me excited, nervous, or confused. Do I have any idea my mind thought that was a good idea? Not really. Not at all.

But of course I eventually got to a point where in theory I had my own story and for me, stories go in scrapbooks. What struck me when reading is how there are so many birth stories told all in one go, essentially a chronological narrative from the first twinge to meeting baby, and that often made for long and somewhat tedious stories that lost the best bits of storytelling. My aim is not to write one long piece of work under the birth story heading, but to break it up into different pieces, telling the story across a series of scrapbook pages, allowing for pace and reflection and a focus on the things I really want to remember rather than just a timeline of contractions. Though Wonder Boy really took his time to arrive, there is a lot of humour of those days that is dear to my heart. We were at a hospital on the Thames near Waterloo station and we kept singing Waterloo Sunset but couldn’t remember most of the words though I could usually tell you the lyrics to that backward and forward. At one point I needed to move and get some fresh air so we walked back and forth across Westminster Bridge, which was closed for the London Marathon. I had to stop every few steps to brace myself and the bridge was filled with spectators watching the race, so at one point I was convinced someone had just instagrammed a picture of me with the caption ‘someone is in labour at the marathon’. And even a few weeks later I was able to have a big laugh with the instructor of our birthing class, who had started one session by saying ‘If you meet someone and they say they were in labour for forty-eight hours, that’s not completely true’, explaining that bit about how the hours of early labour don’t really count and the active stages tend to be significantly quicker. I can’t debunk her quote entirely, but my discharge papers break down the active labour time and my total was forty-seven hours and forty-two minutes, so I guess I did my best to try to prove her wrong!

Thoughts on scrapbooking my birth story @
There is something else in my scrapbooking process that makes telling this story a bit of a different exercise and that is that I have no intention of actually writing it in order or all in one time span. I’m using my personal standard for scrapbook storytelling: I have a notebook where I jot random things down and another book where I draft longer pieces of writing if I want to get my thoughts in order before I start writing on the page. From there, I have ideas for a few different pages to help this story come together, and I use that to look at my photo library and see how the two can match up.

Thoughts on scrapbooking my birth story @
This page is the first under that heading and I wanted to start pretty simply as a bit of a warm up. Partly because scrapping less for the last few months makes me doubt myself as I paste pretty paper to other pretty paper, partly because I’m still adjusting to the work flow of creating a page with plenty of interruptions rather than a solid block of creative time, and partly because I don’t like diving into the most weighty writing first. I always find I tell the story better if I start simply and find my feet before I work on something that feels more important.

Most everything here is from my own collection, but I added in just a few little extras – some Doodlebug enamel dots, thin turquoise washi tape from the Amy Tangerine Plus One collection, and the gold mist and the chipboard ‘love’, hearts, and arrow are from Heidi Swapp’s line. And this page includes some pieces from the ‘Lovely’ Project Life edition, which coordinates with my line. From the top left, the turquoise hearts, pale pink with embossed hearts, aqua date, and white hello are all 3×4 cards in that kit, which includes cards with dry embossing and gold foil. (By the way, I’m continuing to update this post with shops that have the collection in stock.)

And a big yay from me to The Boy, who was with it enough after those forty-seven hours and forty-two minutes to snap these photos of Wonder Boy and I. They are something I never imagined in my photo library and definitely in that ‘what do you grab from a burning building’ category to me.

05 August 2014

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36 Comments for Thoughts on scrapbooking my birth story

  1. Madeline Says:

    Those photos are a treasure Shimelle. Love that page. Thank you for sharing this

  2. SP Says:

    Lovely page and gorgeous pics. I’ve never put my birth stories down on paper. The first one which was 58 hours and 59 minutes long, was so traumatic my mind has completely erased most of it. The 2nd was more pleasant, but I still don’t feel I could write it down as I feel bad for my daughter.

  3. Pam C Says:

    Oh, those first precious hours…thanks for sharing your stories with us.

  4. Tammie Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous layout. Thank you so much for a peek into this journey.
    Oh, and as my Shimelle pre-orders start trickling in, I am still in search of the Project Life kit…anyone know anywhere?

  5. Johanna Says:

    Love this layout!
    Will scrap lift it.
    I never scrapbooked my birth stories. I think I need to write them down for my kids to read when they are older. I just don’t think they will end up on a scrapbook page. At least not in the regular album.

  6. Jen Schow Says:

    How lovely. I am really enjoying seeing your work with your own line and can’t wait to get my hands on some of it!

  7. Natalie (QSOgirl) Says:

    I just recently went through my own “birth story”, so this post hit especially close to home for me— those photos are beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.

    I wrote down the nitty gritty details of both my daughter’s and now my son’s births in little notebooks that I used to record thoughts, feelings, details, and facts during my pregnancies. But those stories seem too personal (and too explicit, if you will) to put on a scrapbook page… at least now, when they are little. Just before my son was born this summer, I finished an album for my daughter (now 2+ yrs) that detailed her first month. In the beginning of that album, I included a little bit of hidden journaling that summarized her birth story (in fairly general terms)—that was all I was comfortable with!! If someday she wants to know more details, I will share them with her. So I completely understand and wholeheartedly agree with keeping details in a notebook to work from in later scrapbooking endeavors! I look forward to seeing how you share Wonder Boy’s birth story on your beautiful pages.

  8. Dawn Says:

    Thank you for sharing those gorgeous photos and your ways of telling such a special story. I have written both my sons birth stories but may now have to go back and check I got all the little details!

  9. Michelle Johnson Says:

    Thank you for sharing your sweet story, your lovely pictures, motherly thoughts and the exquisite layout.

  10. Andrea Says:

    Beautiful page! Thank you for sharing.
    I wrote down my daughters “birth story” but did nothing with it until she was 4yrs old. Then I just wrote it in snippets on PL cards, mixed in some photos and called it done. I do have a couple fun full layouts of contractions and her as a newly born little person. And by the way you are a trouper going through that many hours of labor! I thought I had a long labor at 36 hrs. :)

  11. Lisa Says:

    Beautiful writing and a beautiful page. I think you get credit for every single minute. When he gets old enough, you can lord it over him whenever you need to :-)

  12. April Lilli Says:

    Love this! This layout so reminds me of bonding with my son at the hospital. My favorite memory of all time!

  13. JillC Says:

    Thank you for sharing your process, your story and your lovely page! Your new line looks amazing and it’s fun to see how it worked for you!

    I scrapped my birth story. It was the second page I ever scrapped back in 2004 so you can imagine how not lovely it is! I won’t change it though :) I recorded it in a bit of detail so I hid my journaling, not for all to see!

    Thank you also for the update on our other 2peas friends!!

  14. Sandra Says:

    Absolutely perfect. Love everything about your layout Shimelle, and well done to The Boy for taking these shots! I too have a couple of photos taken immediately after the birth of my son. They are 2 of the most precious photos I can think of. The wedding shots can burn, but save those 2 baby photos!:)

  15. Donna B Says:

    Sweetie, you look so beautiful in those pictures, so happy about the wonderful baby you waited so long for. Love the LO and everything about it.

  16. Gela Says:

    Beautiful layout and very appropriate since it displays the two “products” you have given birth to. Congrats and enjoy the journey.

  17. Beth Says:

    Such a gorgeous page, I had to comment as I’m snuggling my 10 week old daughter and your page reminded me of those delicious few hours of skin to skin with her after the birth, I practically had to be dragged to the shower! Haha! I’m glad it seems you had that time too :-)

    Beth xx

  18. Crista Says:

    Lovely, lovely page Shimelle. I don’t know how else to say it except that your page allows the reader to breathe and absorb the tenderness of the moment. You scrapped it perfectly. And, you have nothing to doubt about your scrapping, you are so authentic, and it absolutely carries over into your pages. Keep on keeping on, and thank you for sharing with us!!

  19. Ruth Gauss Says:

    So beautiful from the photos to your thoughts in the journaling! So true and real. So nice of you to share! Thank you!

  20. Youngmi Says:

    Gorgeous page and lovely photos. Thanks for sharing your stories with us! And 47 hours?? You’re a warrior!

  21. Berta Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. Such sweet photos. After 3 cesarean sections after 3 long labors, I don’t remember a whole lot, but am blessed to have my 3 sons at the end of them all. Enjoy that sweet little boy.

  22. Wendy Jeffus Says:

    Beautiful story, beautifully written.

  23. Myrna Says:

    Thank you for inspiring me to scrap all the important things in life from that cup of coffee to my granddaughter fixing her hair. Your page here is wonderful and I thank you for letting me join you on this trip.

  24. Sabine Says:

    Thank you for sharing the thougts, your story and the beautiful layout. Great work as usual!

  25. kirsty A Says:

    Wow. I must admit I hate other women’s birth stories and I’ve only told my own to a tiny number of people. But this is still an privilege to share and that number is a story all on its own.

  26. CoCo Says:

    Love the page and the photo and the sentiments. I really need to get back to telling the simple stories because you really do forget as time goes by. Hugs to your little man :)

  27. Robin Gibson Says:

    Such a lovely page with beautiful photos & story. Kudos to The Boy, for hanging in there and snapping those amazing pics!
    And to the point of what to grab in a fire…I’ve been tempted to make a small book of my most precious lo’s (picture book,of them maybe?), and keep it in the backpack to grab in case of emergency, lol. Is that ridiculous?

  28. Martha Strickland Says:

    I do believe this is one of the most beautiful layouts you have ever done.

  29. Cathy Says:

    At the funeral of one of my husband’s elderly aunts, one of her daughters told me that one of the greatest gifts she had given them each was a written story about the day they were born. I realized then that I needed to add my childrens’ stories to each of their scrapbooks. Even though I have three children, each story is different and unique to them. I am so happy they seem to treasure it as I know your Wonder Boy will, too, some day.

  30. Darlene Says:

    Bless your heart, what a rough start Wonder Boy had. Precious photos, treasure this time!

  31. Sheryl Says:

    Beautiful layout, shows off the papers to perfection. Both my births were stressful in different ways and I don’t like to share them. I did a layout about my premature baby when he was in SCBU – and I used a “tubes & all” picture which still gives me the shivers.

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  33. Mary Bainbridge Says:

    Beautiful page and so lovely to have these photos

  34. Gab Says:

    What a special page

  35. Nicole Martel Says:

    This is such a beautiful, heartwarming layout. I’m so happy for you Shimelle!

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