San Diego Birth Photography: Hazel's Birth Story

As I look back on the last two days, it's really no surprise that as soon as I hit "publish" on this blog.. I'm going to go take a really long nap. Claire and I had been texting back and forth these last few weeks as she kept me in the loop with any contractions she was having. I photographed her first baby's birth a couple of years ago and so I definitely wanted to be there for the second! The only tricky part was Claire and her family had moved down to San Diego and so instead of driving to LA like last time, I'd have a longer journey. Claire knew my schedule of weddings and other things and so we'd laugh that she'd probably go into labor while I was totally busy.

I had an early wedding on Sunday, so I was washing my face at 4:35am and I got the text from Claire, "Looks like labor has begun. I don't think you'll be here for her grand arrival. Make it a great wedding, and come by after if you can."

My heart sank.

I totally wanted to be there! But there was nothing I could do so I hit the road to pick up Mieke and head down to our wedding. Luckily, we were going to be in San Juan Capistrano for the wedding so we'd be close enough to visit Claire after we were finished. Throughout the wedding, Claire and I kept in touch and it seemed like her contractions had slowed down.. it seemed like it wasn't the day after all! I finished up the wedding and drove Mieke home. A soon as I dropped her off, I got a text saying that her contractions were about 10 minutes apart. I told her that I'd get gas and some dinner and wait for "the text"!

However, I decided to crash my friend's wedding on the way home and while I was dancing with the *hottest* groomsman of all time (oh, p.s., I'm married to him) I saw my phone light up on the table.

The time had come!

The groom handed me a centerpiece and I dashed home to backup my wedding images, put on some yoga pants, pack MY birth bag (snacks, water bottles, phone charger, fuzzy/grippy socks), and hit the road yet again. After a fairly uneventful drive down to Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, I had finally arrived. Claire was already hooked up to a monitor and we settled in for the long haul! I'm definitely in love with Claire's mom and sister (Joelle) so we had a really fun time watching Tangled, timing contractions, and wondering what Ben & Claire would name their daughter when she arrived. Rebecca made the short list. Not because of me, but I'm still proud :)

It was a long night and I curled up on the floor for a nap, which explains the large gap in clock photos haha and at about 7:15 I decided to make a coffee run for the group. Claire was only at 8cm and it had taken a while to get there so I figured I had time to run to the Starbucks across the road. As I was sugaring up Joelle's coffee, I got a text that she was at 10cm.. goodness. I had only been gone for 10 minutes!

I loaded the coffee and bag of goodies into my car and made it back to the hospital. And, bragging, I didn't spill any of my 4 venti beverages and I awkward chicken-power walked-glided all the way back to labor and delivery. There was a wave of "jealous" "where's mine?!" and "Ooo Starbucks!" as I dashed through the waiting room from random people also waiting for babies :) I skidded into the room and was immediately stripped of my caffeine and breakfast with a, "Thank goodness you're here! She's about ready to push!"

Geez. I felt like an idiot.

But we got it all! Whew!!! And she's just too cute!

And it definitely took over an hour.. but she finally got her name: Hazel Miriam Leong. Miriam is Claire's grandma's name (on her mom's side) which explains the hugging photo of Claire and her mom towards the end.



This is Ben's "We're having a baby!" face :)











 Ben and his finger-toe shoes.. some things never change.













We did it!















She didn't enjoy getting her hair washed one bit. The nurse and I tried to explain that she would eventually learn to love having her hair washed by others.. but she would have none of it.







What?! Me in a photo? Yup. You best believe I got my snuggle on with this little sweetness before I headed home! (I was in such a rush coming back from Starbucks that I had my sunglasses on my head the whole time!)



The new little family of FOUR! (I still can't believe it)



Anyway! So that about sums up my Sunday and Monday.. 485+ miles, 3 Starbucks venti chai lattes, 2 weddings, and one adorable baby.


Kaiser Panorama City: Aria's Birth Story

Taking a step back from my usual field, I ventured into the amazing realm of Birth Photography. This is the second time I've had the unique opportunity to capture a new life coming into the world and, once again, it's changed me! I remember thinking about the first time I heard about birth photography and I was unsure how I would feel about having a photographer capturing "that moment", personally. I thought that it would be too invasive or annoying during such a stressful, vulnerable time.. but I was so wrong. I love this. Not only is this life changing moment documented in a stunning way, but the family is off the hook. Dad can actually be involved in the delivery and any Grandmas that are fortunate enough to be around don't have to worry about taking pictures. Blaze & Cari have been good friends of mine since I started dating my husband over 7 years ago. We were fortunate enough to attend each other's weddings and continue to make time for dinner together even though we're all so busy! So when Cari told me she was pregnant, we decided to document her pregnancy on a weekly basis. Starting from Week 6, I saw her almost every week to photograph her growing belly! I'll share these images soon, I promise.

I'm so happy that Cari decided to have me document Aria's Birth Story. I arrived at Kaiser in Panorama City at about 7am on March 29, 2013 and Aria made her grand entrance at 12:34pm the same day! She was so calm and hardly cried. She just looked around at everyone and took it all in.. hopefully this is a preview of the next few months ahead for my sweet friends! I was so honored to watch them become parents and I'm really excited to share the images with you all today:



























Copyright © 2013

Becca Rillo Photography | 661.310.6909 |

Melody | Birth Photography | Los Angeles Wedding Photographer Becca Rillo

I was honored to be at Melody's birth. Claire is a dear friend of mine and was brave enough to have me photographing the most painful and vulnerable moment of her life. I witnessed her sweet daughter coming into the world and was able to capture the look on both Claire and Ben's faces as they became parents. It touched my heart in such a special way, and Claire will tell you that I was one of the people tearing up (fine...crying, I was crying) the most right after Melody was born!

Take a look for yourself!


Stunning. Emotional. Personal. Beautiful. I’d like to tell your story, as it happens, in a completely non-intrusive way. I only work with available light so that means no harsh flash to distract mom or the newborn. I love  feeling just how powerful the birth of a human being I’ve never met can be, and I promise you will too.

If you are pregnant or if you know anyone who might be interested in having this incredible, once in a lifetime moment captured by a professional.. please e-mail me:

Copyright © 2011 by Becca Rillo Los Angeles Wedding Photographer, Becca Rillo

Tell your love story without ever having to say a word.

Becca Rillo Photography | 661.310.6909 |