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. πŸ™‚


Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Truthfully I didn’t know we had a day for this until I woke up today and saw photos and posts circulating around. I’m glad we do. I’m glad people are talking about it more. I hope those who experience such a deep loss know they are not alone in their grief. Here’s some of experience.

A little over two years ago we lost our little one right after we announced we were pregnant. Right around 12 weeks. It’s a pain I still feel even all this time later, and with our girl due so soon, and it will never leave me for good. It hurts when people ask if this is our first kid because I never really know how to honestly answer – I usually just say “yes.” Because saying no would lead into a conversation that sometimes I don’t feel emotionally able to go into with a stranger.

I posted the section below to Facebook a month after it happened to start the process of sharing about it, hoping it would help (it did, for me. Don’t expect your friends to process their loss the same way though – everybody grieves differently). I’m thinking about deleting my Facebook soon so I wanted to make sure I never lose this, so thought I’d repost it here. This was the hardest and deepest thing we ever have had to go through. I remember at the ER, after they hand you papers with facts about miscarriage and an emotionless Dr. mumbling “It’s nothing that you did” – I went outside to the noisy parking garage and hid behind a pillar and just allowed myself to cry harder and louder than I ever have in my life. It felt like part of your life being stolen from you – a very important part.


June 18th, 2011

“A month ago yesterday my friend Julie sat for about 9 hours with me in the ER in Nashville, while I was traveling. It was the hardest, saddest day of my whole life.


Nobody really talks about miscarriage. It wasn’t until after ours that friends and relatives came comforted us with their own stories of loss, and we totally never knew. I just wonder, why doesn’t anyone talk about this? Isn’t it in times of hurt and loss and brokenheartedness that we need our friends the most? I feel so blessed to have had that myself in amazing friends, and the best family anyone could ever ask for. But I never knew what miscarriage was like, how difficult and painful and emotional a thing it is, and if I would have known, I would have wanted to pour out so much love on our friends and family members who’ve gone through this.


So, I guess we’re going to talk about this.

Like I said, 9 hours of ER time. May 17th, I was almost 12 weeks along at this point when I knew something was wrong and Julie took me to the ER. (Thanks Julie for being a constant friend. You are amazing and your presence that day was ordained by the Lord.) It was especially difficult to make that decision alone to go to the ER, without Josh there.

I saw our baby for the first time that day as they took the ultrasounds. I was so happy, convinced everything was fine. But then they didn’t find a heartbeat. It was really hard news to hear. I cried with all of my soul.


My mom was able to get off work the next day and drove to Nashville and back – ended up being 16 hours of driving for her that day! Our friends Wendy and Ott helped us get a buddy seat plane ticket and Josh flew out a few hours after we booked the flight that night. It all worked out so perfectly and what a relief it was to be with Josh again, and with my family.


The pain came the next day. It was hard. It was labor. I felt so many times I would pass out. I almost blacked out at one point and thought I might die at that moment. This happened 2 days in a row – the second day was much worse.. 4-5 hours each night curled up in agony. My sweet husband comforting me the whole time.


The next day was my birthday. Despite how sad it could have been, I got to see some of my best friends on that day – Cory, Kristy and little Owen, and Tyler and Christine. We laughed so much together and got to go to church in the park.


As it turned out, not everything passed and I had to have the surgery the day after my birthday. The surgery was fine. They knock you out totally which was kind of a huge relief – I wasn’t sure I could handle much more pain.


(And all of those details to say if I had to do this over again – I would just do the surgery without having to try and do it all naturally. Might as well, because the chances are good that surgery will be required anyway. I know a lot of people disagree with me, but I don’t care at all. I know what we went through and I’d really like to not be judged by people who haven’t gone through this.)


God’s timing to me through this whole situation was the hugest comfort to me. The biggest thing being that for some reason we couldn’t for the life of us book a May 21st wedding. I can’t tell you how many brides / couples we met with and emails we responded to that just simply never contacted us back. It was so strange… but obviously the Lord was working this all out before we even knew, since on May 21st I was curled up, unable to move.


Huge blessings were that I got to spend so much time with my family, that Josh was able to fly out and be with me so we could endure it together, and that I was able to spend so much time with close friends back home. I love you all SO MUCH. Another encouragement is even knowing that we are able to get pregnant! Which is awesome!


The physical healing was quick but the emotional healing still continues. Pray for us. Some days are still really hard. I think since this all happened while I was traveling, we weren’t able to process much of it at the time but it’s been really difficult lately. So thankful Josh and I have each other. I love my husband so much and I know we’re closer now having been through this than ever.”

Of course we are joyful and thankful that we are expecting again! But this will never replace the occasional feeling of grief, when I think about our little one that was due December 4th of 2011, how they would have been turning two soon. How different life would be! It’s weird to think that joy and grief can exist in a person at the same time but they can, and one doesn’t cancel out the other. So think of your friends who have experienced a deep loss and give them a hug, even for no reason, let them know you never forgot about them and ask them how they’re doing. I think healing can exist without the support of good friends but it’s certainly much harder. πŸ™‚


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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

House, life, Phoenix

home again

feels so good to be home again. the air is cooler, people are outside more, it just feels good. I realize this isn’t the most eloquent thing I’ve ever penned, but I’m just really happy to be back in our own space, greeting ready for the coming seasons. just a few phone photos. πŸ™‚










life, photography, Travels

I always pronounce Tucson as “tuck son” in my head, so I remember how to spell it.

Last weekend, we drove to Tucson, AZ for a wedding (you can see a preview of that wedding here). I’m trying to challenge myself to take more photos of our life, rather than only taking them for clients. I don’t mean to totally neglect our real life, but usually I just rely on my cell phone camera, but I’m trying to change that!

While we were in Tucson we got to meet up with one of Josh’s old friends from when he was in the Army (yeah, you read that right. Josh was in the Army a lifetime ago! It’s a little hard to believe sometimes.) They haven’t hung out in like ten years or more, and it was awesome for me to get to hear stories of when Josh was a little punk kid in the army. We went to this little pub called Bison Witches. They had maybe the best sandwiches of our who lives!

It’s really interesting walking around Tucson, it’s pretty different from Phoenix. We kept thinking it was like the Portland or Olympia of Arizona. Tucson is colorful with loads of character… & characters. (The Hotel Congress shot at the top is one I had to get – I heard something like they caught John Dillinger there? Is that true? I could google it but I’ll just wait for someone to confirm or correct me I guess. Haha.)

We yelped a coffee spot and found Crave coffee bar. It was perfect, sometimes it’s hard to find a place that doesn’t make their drinks way too sweet.

No coffees were pictured here, I realize this. Once we got the coffees we were just too eager to drink them up. I didn’t even instagram them, so you KNOW we needed it. Just kidding. typical instagram coffee joke, but the joke’s on me.

Heading back to Phoenix. I love the desert…. as long as the air conditioning works.

Finally arrived back home. Sadie didn’t seem too excited to see us, I think she just loves Billie and Jeff so much for hanging out with her while we were gone! (Thanks guys!!)

We’re about to leave this week for a MONTH on the road for three different weddings in three different states, and a few more shoots while we’re at it. I’m so excited and a little terrified of being gone for so long, and doing so much digital workflow on the road. Just gotta make it happen, right? We’ve spent the past couple of weeks upgrading our computers / software so that everything is nice & reliable & faster. πŸ™‚

It’s hard to believe that when we get back home it’s going to be OCTOBER. How has this year gone by so fast? We’ve been here almost a year and that blows my mind. I still tell people we just moved here… I guess I should stop saying that. Haha! We’re not so new to Phoenix anymore. Thank goodness. It’s hard to break into a new city, friends, and church! I’m so grateful that we have all of that.

So in honor of September / October I made a little fall playlist on Spotify if you care to listen. The music is a little more fitting for this colder, drearier, spookier season. πŸ™‚ Click here to listen!

Happy nearly-autumn!

House, life, Phoenix

It’s finally almost ready!

Almost a year ago, we came down here to Phoenix for one day only to look at houses. The house we found happened to be the first one we looked at. We’re in love with our house, although we had so many changes we’ve had to make to fix it up to our dream house! Worth it!

I took this photo of Josh in the pool the day we came to look at the house. Not only did it look super rough, it’s a seriously old pool from the 60’s and needed a lot of work to get it up to working order.

Almost one year later, it is finally almost ready! It’s nearly done filling now (it takes over a day of two hoses running water into it to fill). Last night when the water level was lower, we took some photos to remember this. I can’t believe this is really finally happening!

And not going to lie.. I was also eager for a chance to process more photos with the VSCO Film Pack 02 before implementing it into my workflow. πŸ™‚

We’re planning on swimming by tonight. πŸ™‚ Perfect timing, since it’s been around 115 degrees lately.

The pool has been a priority for us because swimming is a perfect low-impact exercise for us asthmatic folks! I’m so excited to take this step to getting my health back, and being able to get in shape without major asthma episodes. Plus, come on, swimming is the MOST fun.

Now, to tame that jungle of a back yard so we can have some mega pool parties.