Waiting for Our First Baby | Jacksonville Beach Maternity Photos | Jacksonville Birth Photographer


As a birth photographer here in Jacksonville, most of my photography is done in birth centers, hospitals, and cozy corners of family homes. But every once in a while, a family decides to add on a maternity session, and show off that beautiful baby bump in the sunshine!

I was thrilled to be Joy and Ryan's photographer for their beach maternity session. In this blog, they share their story about finding out they were pregnant, how they told their friends and family, and how they are preparing to be parents for the first time!

A Jacksonville Beach couple poses for a maternity photo as they approach the birth of their baby.

What was it like finding out you were pregnant?

"Exciting and a little intimidating. We had been trying for a couple of months, but I didn’t think that this month was it. I went to get a flu shot at a walk in clinic (my insurance wouldn’t cover it straight from a pharmacy), and they asked if I was or could be pregnant. I said well, technically I am like half a day late and it’s possible, so they had me take a pregnancy test. While I was waiting in the room, I heard them talking down the hall that they thought it looked positive and then they came in and told me."

Dallas Arthur is a labor and delivery photographer in Jacksonville, Florida.
First time parents snuggle up on the beach for a session with their Jacksonville maternity photographer, Dallas Arthur.

"They said I’d have to get my flu shot from my OB, so I left and realized I had almost 8 hours until Ryan would be home from work. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I had been planning to do some Christmas shopping, which I did, but now everything had the context of 'You’re going to be an aunt!' or 'You’re going to be a grandpa!' 

A first time dad kisses the belly of his wife, as they enter their final weeks of pregnancy before their first baby is born. They are having their baby at Baptist Hospital.

"I got a set of booties and a pacifier that says 'I [heart] Daddy' while I was out, and wrapped them up like a Christmas present, with a picture of the pregnancy test. When Ryan got home I told him I got him a present while he was out, and let him open it to find out. He was a little disbelieving and then really excited!"

A pregnant mom poses for her maternity photo session at a beach in Jacksonville, Florida. She is pregnant with her first baby.

How did you tell your friends and family? What were their reactions?

"We found out I was pregnant just after Thanksgiving, so we decided to wait to tell our family until we were up to visit (in WI & IA) in person for Christmas. We got both our parents “Merry Christmas Grandma & Grandpa” cards with a picture of the first ultrasound inside. My mom was confused at first and thought we gave them the wrong card (my grandparents live close to them), but then they were overjoyed and very attentive to what I ate and drank, and made sure I got enough sleep (which I definitely did)."

Jacksonville offers a variety of birth centers, VBAC friendly hospitals, and home birth options. We have midwives available to deliver babies at any of these options.

"Ryan’s mom started crying immediately, and there were hugs and congratulations all around (his whole family was together when we told them). We told most of our other friends and relatives over the phone or FaceTime, and I think at that time, most every one else was even more excited than we were. (We were/are excited, but we were still wrapping our heads around the fact that there is going to be a baby and we are going to be parents – I think we’re still working on that!)"

Many first time parents like to hire a birth photographer because they want to capture those first few moments as a family.

How has your pregnancy been so far? What has been your favorite part and most challenging part?

"My pregnancy has been a lot less challenging than I thought it would be.  My first trimester, I was much more fatigued, and I was frustrated by the dietary restrictions, and now, towards the end of my third trimester, I am feeling more stretched out and physically uncomfortable, but for the most part, I expected it to be a lot worse. I have not had morning sickness, aversions, or cravings, and my feet just started swelling (at 37 weeks).  My favorite part has been seeing the baby on the ultrasounds and hearing its heartbeat at each doctor visit."

Dallas Arthur is a maternity, birth, fresh 48, and newborn photographer in Northeast Florida.

Are you finding out the sex of the baby? Why or why not?

"No. Before I was pregnant, Ryan thought he would want to know and I thought I didn’t. Once I got pregnant, we kind of switched, but had not really decided for sure by the time came that could find out. We ultimately decided not to find out, and while we both think that the baby is a girl, we will be happy either way, and it will fun to be surprised."

Mom rests at the beach while she poses for a photo. She is pregnant with her first baby and in her third trimester.

What is your baby's nickname? How did you come up with it?

"Sprout! I’m not exactly sure how we came up with it, but we had been trying to decide for a couple weeks how we were going to refer to the baby. I think I read in a pregnancy article, or on the app, that baby had sprouted something or that our little sprout was growing – something like that, and so I suggested Sprout to Ryan as a nickname and it stuck."

A pregnant mom in a long, blue maternity dress poses with her baby bump in the dunes at Jacksonville Beach during a maternity photography shoot.
A young couple smiles at the camera during their pregnancy photography session at a beach in Jacksonville.

What are your feelings about pregnancy/birth/parenthood as you approach your due date?

"I’m not quite to the 'Get this thing out' stage, but I have been much less comfortable over the past week or so – If I’m standing, I want to sit, if I’m sitting, I want to stretch out or lay down, and its more of a how much and how long will my back be sore rather than if it will be. 

Staring out at the ocean, an expecting mom holds her baby bump between her hands. She is in her third trimester and is excited about her baby's birth.

I’m nervous about the actual delivery, but less so after doing the hospital tour. We’ve been doing birthing classes and online, and sometimes they make me less worried, and sometimes more. I have a birth plan envisioned and written down, but the only thing I would really like to avoid is a C-section (and an unhealthy baby). I plan to start without pain meds, but evaluate as things progress, and if natural methods aren’t working for me, then I’m open to medical interventions."


"As far as parenthood goes, I think we’re doing all we can to be 'ready,' but we’ll just have to learn as we go and as we get to know our baby better, things will get easier.  The day-to-day process is foreign to me, so I don’t really know how or what to be worried about, so I’m just going to lean on more experienced parents – and my mom – and hope for the best."

A Jacksonville Beach couple poses for a maternity session at the beach with Dallas Arthur Photography. Dallas specializes in birth photography.

Congratulations, Joy and Ryan! You are going to be amazing parents to baby Sprout, and I hope your birth is smooth, safe, and sacred. I am so excited to meet your little baby in a few weeks for his or her newborn session!



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