Imogen, Josh, life

Imogen Quay Rhodes meets The World

Now that it’s been almost two weeks (!) since we first heard Imogen’s little gargly cries and we stopped getting any decent sleep, I wanted to record the process of her birth before my brain gets all crazy and I forget those beautiful little details. Luckily we have some photos to go along with the story – don’t worry, no blood or gross goopy stuff or anything.

imogen-birth-1248 imogen-birth-1259Sunday, November 17th. I was 39 weeks to the day. It was a full moon. Leading up to this day I had a feeling that the full moon was gonna pull the little squirt right outta me, but as I was getting ready for bed that night at like 7pm (I was exxxxxhausted) I knew nothing was going to happen that night. I told Josh that I didn’t feel any different and so he left to go to a show.

It was almost right after he left, around 7:30pm. I had decided to watch X-Files in bed and make myself a PB&J. Clearly I had a classy night ahead of me. Just trying to keep up my enviable lifestyle! Anyway… I started feeling real contractions. It was only mildly alarming, so I decided to get up, move around, chug a ton of water, all things my midwives had suggested I do in case it’s false labor. The contractions began intensifying and I told Josh maybe to be on the alert.

11:30pm my water began to break. It wasn’t like the movies, it was not like a huge woosh or anything. Just a trickle here and there. I jumped in the shower and tried to calm down. It’s really quite an intense moment when you realize that after nine – ten months of waiting… tonight’s the night that you’re going to start trying to get this kid into the world. Intense pain is imminent. Knowing life will forever change past that point. It was a lot of things to suddenly process. Josh got home, and we began going down our lists of things for each of us to pack, running around like little chickens without heads. Pausing to give each other panicked excited smiles.

12:15am on Monday morning, we checked into the hospital. Because I was GBS+ I was admitted after they confirmed my water had broken, and started me on antibiotics. I was pretty excited about the giant jacuzzi tub… which I never got to use.

We stayed awake all through the night and the entire day of Monday. I couldn’t bear to be in the bed, so most of that time was spent walking, sitting on a birth ball, getting through contractions, drinking a lot of water, eating here and there, listening to her heartbeat on the monitors occasionally, and dealing with the pain getting much, much worse. As the pain became to intense to move or speak, I pretty much spent the rest of the day sitting on the birthing ball, leaning over the corner of the bed. Josh stayed by my side and offered back pressure when I needed it. Oh man. The lower back pain. Not easily forgotten.

*I will say a note on wardrobe: One of my midwives, Jocelyn, recommended that I wear one of those cheap miniskirts from H&M for labor – for accesibility, comfort, modesty, etc. And it was the best decision I made to follow through with that advice. It made everything that would have been difficult even with PJ shorts so much easier.

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Later Monday evening they checked my dialation: 3 cm. It had been 24 hours since labor began and we were coming up on being almost 24 hours since my water had broken. I began to ask about ways to deal with the pain and so they gave me something wonderful through an IV drip so I could rest. I don’t even remember the line between being awake and being asleep, it was that instant. I was exhuasted. I couldn’t even stay awake as they were talking to me and I knew I was snoring… hah. Again they checked me and I was still not quite to 4cm. It was time to start talking about pitocin, so I could have this baby before infection set in. I opted for an epidural which I’m still praising the Lord about. My initial goal was to try a natural birth, but as I was running on empty after 30 hours of labor and only being at 3cm, the epidural was a wonderful tool to have.

Labor continued through the night. Because of the epidural both Josh and I got to rest here and there that night into Tuesday morning. I could feel contractions still, and the pressure and tightening, but it really just took the edge off, made the pain manageable, and allowed me to rest, which I desperately needed. We had a couple of scares as Imogen’s heartrate was dropping, but I’m so thankful for my midwives and nurses who never panicked or showed any sign of panic in their faces or voices. Everything felt so under control and I’m so grateful to them for that!

So, because my time lines are a little warbled from being so sleepy, I think it was shortly after 4am on Tuesday when my nurse came in to check me one more time. I heard the excitement in her voice even before she announced “Oh! 9.5!! I’m going to go get Lisa!” (my midwife on duty).

From then it felt like things moved very quickly.


The nurse began instructing me to try a “practice push” to see if I could feel how I was pushing (epidural still in effect!). Lisa came in. Josh by my side encouraging me. They kept instructing me to push. To be honest, I thought I was still practice pushing when Lisa was like, “feel her head!” I couldn’t believe this was the real thing – she was almost there. I heard the excitement in Josh’s voice. A couple of more pushes and it happened so fast – she was here. I heard little gargles and crying, Josh and Lisa had grabbed her and were lifting her up and set her on me. I think Josh and I lost it. It felt so unreal and so significant. We have a daughter.

Imogen was the teensiest little thing.

Born November 19th, 2013 at 4:53am. 6 pounds, 11 ounces. 19 inches long.

We were immediately in love.

We spent the next couple of days at the hospital and it seemed like forever. She had to fight off a little bit of jaundice before we could leave.

imogen-birth-1339 imogen-birth-1353Her first diaper change, and her papa feeds her for the first time.

imogen-birth-1350This is my favorite photo from the hospital days – Josh looks tired and so proud.

imogen-birth-1363Squishiest little face. Only a day old.

imogen-birth-1407 imogen-birth-1409 imogen-birth-1430When you have a baby and you have a camera it’s really hard to separate the two. I even want this squishy little cry-face burned into my brain. (She was one week old in these photos.)

imogen-birth-1418And then you just give in and go full all-out cheesy mom and put a candy can in her hand while she pairs it with a sly finger-to-the-mouth. I’m pretty sure she knew what she was doing here.

imogen-birth-1432 imogen-birth-1437 imogen-birth-1434 imogen-birth-1462Imogen and Sadie are buds already. It’s funny how huge Sadie suddenly looks comparatively.

Imogen is two weeks old tomorrow! It’s been the hardest two weeks of our lives.. and that might be a huge understatement. But we’re trying to absorb the smallness of her, the little features, the new expressions, how she studies the world when she opens her eyes, the way she looks at us, how hilarious the sound of her little sharts are, how tiny her fingers are, and the smell – oh the perfect beautiful newborn smell. And she’s ours. And how amazing and strange it is to love someone so deeply that you only just met. Especially since they don’t let you sleep like, at all. 🙂

Imogen, Josh, life, Phoenix


Yesterday we decided to take a day trip to Sedona on the fly. Neither of us have been, so basically we had no idea how congested and touristy it would be, and how you have to have a rec pass to even park on the side of the road and picnic. It was a little crazy! As different of an experience as it turned out to be than what we imagined, it was still so lovely driving into Sedona. It really takes your breath away when those giant, red-striped rocks come into view. It got down to the 60’s (!!!) in the shade, and we saw signs of a coming fall in the leaves, which is something I’ve been longing for. We did get to stop once for some roadside cider (but am I the only one who thinks it’s weird when cider is served ice-cold? I wonder if that’s how people drink cider in AZ, from my two cider-purchasing experiences here. I might be wrong.). But regardless of my aversion to cold cider we were really glad to get away (I left my phone at home, what!) and see someplace new and beautiful. The photos can’t possibly do Sedona justice.

sedona-september-web-9227 sedona-september-web-9228 sedona-september-web-9233sedona-september-web-9239It’s hard to get over all the dirt and the rocks being so red.

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So nice seeing actual signs of fall. I felt kind of nerdy taking these two photos but to me it was the first real evidence of autumn!

We turned around and headed back to Phoenix after a couple hours of driving around Sedona and taking photos. We had brought a picnic lunch to enjoy in a park somewhere, but because there were LINES of cars just waiting to get into the park (!!) we ended up scarfing down our food in a random gravel lot down the highway. Hah! Rookie mistake right? It was still nice and peaceful.

Somewhere just north of Phoenix the sun was setting so perfectly so we pulled over to take photos, because I’ve really been wanting some maternity photos with cacti. Kinda corny, but since we’re moving soon I thought it would be great to have something to have so we can show Imogen what her birthplace looked like. It’s been such a special time living here in Arizona, I never pictured myself living here but we’ve loved it.

And you can’t beat our sunsets.

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These are probably my favorite of our baby-on-the-way photos so far. Josh is really getting to be such a great photographer too and he’s so patient with me when I get super bossy about how the photos should look. Hah. 🙂

And it’s true, I haven’t painted my nails in like 4 weeks but who cares. Life isn’t always magazine perfect and that’s how we like it.

I’m 32 weeks today! 8 more weeks hopefully! It’s getting more and more real. xo


Imogen, Josh, life, Phoenix

Second Thoughts


I realize that my last post on pregnancy probably sounded like a downer to a lot of you. Sorry about that. I think there are a lot of steps involved in this whole process of learning you’re going to be a mom and preparing for motherhood, even if it was planned for! That’s probably what took me by surprise the most. I had a hard time focusing too much on what was happening to me, rather than what was happening with our kid, because I couldn’t see or feel her yet. Until, one night right before I fell asleep (at 20 weeks), I felt her flutter around.

At 21 weeks, we got to see our kid for the first time. We found out we were having a girl. She smiled right at us, right as the ultrasound tech was taking a photo. Our hearts were changed, and I couldn’t stop staring at this photo (if it’s hard to see, no worries – it’s a close-up of her little face.) The next day I flew out to Denver for an engagement session and on the plane ride there, I had this photo pulled up on my phone and I’m pretty sure I just stared at it most of the time. I don’t have words for that kind of joy.


Finding out we were having a girl was kind of a shock – we were sure it was going to be a boy. We were set on a boy’s name. We had some girl’s names in mind, but none of them felt right.

Week 22- Josh felt her move for the first time! I realized I could feel her move from the outside and I grabbed his hand and pulled it over to feel her. One of my favorite moments.

Week 23 – I think the sentimentality caught up to me and I realized I had no photos of me pregnant. We had just left Phoenix to drive to Seattle, and I made Josh pull over and take some photos. The light was pretty harsh and I’m wearing roadtrip clothes and I’m by a barbed wire fence but maybe those are all reasons why I like them.

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We journeyed up to WA and back, making up for lost time with pregnancy photos (sorry, my instagram feed). Now I’m at 26 weeks (and 2 days!) and I’m wondering if the whole pregnancy will just rush by like I’m feeling it has already.

Last week we settled on a name for realsies. Here’s a little bit behind our choice:

81a682fe052111e3873d22000aaa0773_7Imogen (everyone has asked how to pronounce it so here it is: Say it like “Emma-Jen.”) got her first name because of the photographer Imogen Cunningham. I remember learning about her in school and Chuck (our professor) commenting something like, how interesting it was for her to basically have the word “image” in her name, and to become such a wonderful photographer. I’ve loved the name since. I’m not hoping she becomes a photographer by naming her this. I just simply like the name and it was such a relief to find something Josh and I both agreed on. 🙂 It’s so hard!

Quay (say it like it looks. “kway”) is a family name that goes back at LEAST to my great-great-grandmother. My great-grandmother was Ada Quay, her daughter was Lyda Quay. My aunt is Linda Quay. My cousin Lauren also used the name for her daughter, Helen Quay! We both love the idea of using a family name with deep roots. It’s so special to us. There might even be more Quays in there but I can’t say for sure. 🙂

Here are some snapshots I took today to remember this season.

pregnant-week-26-5667I’ve never had a skincare regimen until now. I know, I’m 30. Basically I splashed water on my face every day and maybe a little coconut oil during the winter. But you may have heard from your pregnant friends that these nine months really do a number on your face, so I asked my MUA friend Sara for advice because she’s the best. This stuff I got at target and it smells lovely, and it’s mostly organic. It does feel like kind of a treat taking care of my skin every morning and night, rather than a chore.

pregnant-week-26-5669Super typical. What can I say, my creative juices are at an all-time low! But it’s kind of weird seeing your toes eclipsed by your growing self.

pregnant-week-26-5690Our friend Rebecca Green did the most beautiful portrait of our family for our 4th Anniversary. I cried when I opened it. It’s the most special thing we both own. We immediately gave it a home on the wall and I love getting to see it always. She’s so amazingly talented, you guys! We’ve chosen to keep this one thing private for ourselves, but it’s the hardest thing ever for me to not share her talent with everyone. So Josh said I could post this photo, this little peek at it. Becca, we love it SO MUCH! You’re just incredible! Everyone, please go look at her work!


Me + Imogen today at 26 weeks. Black and white is so much more forgiving of the energy I clearly don’t have to pick up clothes, trash, or half-packed moving boxes.

And a pregnancy apparel note: those scrunchy-side tops used to be so appalling to me, but they’re my best friend now. They’re so much more flattering than just buying oversized, loose-fitting tent tops.

Anyway, that was a lot, but I needed to update this thing. Thanks for reading along. 🙂

Josh, life, Phoenix

Date day!

Sometimes, you just have to be intentional about your time together. We planned yesterday as a Date Day, and I loved my time with Josh!

Started off with lattes and breakfast at Lux.


We stopped by the library and TOTALLY SCORED with movies and CDs for the week. Our library is so great. We also got free passes to the Phoenix Art Museum, and headed there afterwards…. buttttttt it was closed. Oh well! Decided to head out instead to the Chinese Cultural Center we kept seeing signs for.

Our GPS took us in a huge circle trying to find the Chinese cultural center, but it ended up being a really sweet drive through downtown neighborhoods. Yesterday was perfect outside!


When we got to the Chinese cultural center, it ended up just being a shopping center with asian-style buildings. What? Oh well, picked up some treats for ourselves and for some special guests coming this weekend! 😉

We stopped at some antique shops and poked around. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and we used to do this alot when we first started dating.

We visited two new antique malls: Antiques on Camelback, and Zinnias on Melrose.


We’d packed a lunch and drove up to Squaw Peak to eat. Yesterday was actually pretty hot. I’m so glad for the shaded picnic areas there.


We had some almonds and pistachios we threw out for all these cute little chipmunks. They were super brave and came so close to us. SO CUTE.


I’m so glad we took the day for ourselves. 🙂

Josh, Mealz

Birthday birthday birthday!!!

Yesterday was Josh’s birthday!! Big deal!!!!!

Josh’s absolute favorite cake is angel food cake. It’s devilishly (see what I did there?) hard to make. After a couple of birthdays of total failures at making it from scratch I decided to just try the boxed mix this year and see how it went. The boxed mix ended up being perfect. I’m okay with that. 🙂

So I dropped Josh off for work yesterday and got crackin’ on birthday surprises!!



The birthday boy!


Made these candy pretzel rods. I’m kind of obsessed with chocolate covered things since I made those cake pops.




And there’s that angel food cake I told you about! It really was delicious, thank you Betty Crocker. Topped it in strawberries and whipped cream. oh my!


I made a couple of luminaries printing photos and text onto vellum and wrapping them around jars. Unfortunately our printer ran out of ink and I only got a couple done in time, but I still like the way they turned out. 32!




You can’t have a party without balloons right? Anyway… here’s the birthday boy before friends arrived. 🙂


Happy birthday to JOSH!!!! He’s the very best part of my life, my best friend, and someone who inspires me daily. I’m so thankful he was born!! I’m crazy in love with you deary!! Happy 32 years on earth. 🙂