I've always wanted to do a gender reveal session...it's been on my Photography Bucket List for quite a while. I wanted to do one when I found out my sister was pregnant with her first baby, but time just flew by and before we knew it, baby Sadie was here. I've had a couple of people ask me about doing one before, but none have ever gone through. I had even started building a Gender Reveal Pinata when I thought that for sure it was going to happen, but plans fell through and the pinata remained unfinished. I put it away, hoping that I would get to use it sometime in the future. 

Days went on, weeks flew by and no one contacted me about doing one again. I hadn't forgotten about the pinata or my dreams of doing a gender reveal session, but I just put it to the back of my head. If it was meant to be, then it would happen. 

On July 7th, I received a notification from my Facebook Page that Monica Coronado had sent me a message. I immediately opened it, as I do with most of my messages, and got the biggest smile on my face when I read what it said. 

I was so ecstatic when I received her message! I wanted to reply "OMG YES PLEASE LETS DO IT!" but I had to compose myself and remind myself to hope for the best but expect the worst...I didn't want to be disappointed again. So we talked for a bit on what the session would be, the cost, location, etc. She asked if I wanted to visit a ranch that her husband's family owned to see if the pictures would work out there. I agreed and the following day, we met up.

I was picked up at my house that day, just before the sun was going down. I was out of town so I couldn't go earlier, but it worked out fine. I got into the truck and was greeted by Monica and her lovely mom. We talked about how excited they were for the baby and all the different kinds of photos they wanted to do. I was so happy to be working for this family.

As Monica kept on talking about the different sessions she wanted to do, I automatically envisioned a baby girl. She wanted to do a birth session and in my mind, I saw a baby girl being born. She wanted to do newborn photos, and I saw a sweet baby girl posing with an adorable headband. I told them "It's going to be a girl! I just know it. That's all I keep seeing when you are talking about photos!"

They laughed, and Monica explained how she had been hoping for a girl. She even created a Pinterest board that was full of girlie stuff - clothes, photos, props, etc. All things girl! But everyone that she would talk to, family and strangers alike, would tell her that she was having a boy. Finally, after hearing this about a thousand times, she decided that it would be a boy as well. She got mad and deleted her Baby Girl Pinterest board and immediately began pinning for a boy. 

As we pulled into the property, I knew that it would be the perfect spot for photos. We walked around a bit, I took some photos with my phone and envisioned the different photos. It was decided that that is where the photos would take place. 

A couple of days later, she messaged me again, telling me that she wasn't going to find out the gender until weeks later. I was kind of bummed because I wanted to do the photos already, but patience is a virtue! Finally I got another message:

Of course! I was so excited. But then I remembered...oh no, the pinata isn't even close to being finished! I got to work on it a couple of days later, hoping that this time the session would go through. You just never know with babies though! So I finally finished my pinata, and I was very happy with how it looked. But then, I was nervous. What if when I put the confetti inside the pinata, it prematurely falls? What if it ruins the whole surprise? Millions of scenarios ran through my head and I got more nervous as the day got closer. 

That Friday, Monica got in touch with me about dropping the stuff for the pinata off. I was hoping everything went well at  her appointment and that she found out the sex of the baby - she did! It was officially happening. She handed me a bag full of pink and blue confetti, rose petals, balloons, etc. And finally, her mom handed me a sealed envelope with the sex of the baby. I was so excited! I asked if they knew the sex, or if they had peeked. Monica didn't, but her mom had found out at the appointment. We decided that the photos would happen the next morning, around 8 am...I couldn't wait to get inside of my house and open the results. 

I laid the stuff out on the table and looked at each thing. I remember them telling me that they only had a pair of shoes for a girl because they had ordered some cowboy boots online and they hadn't arrived yet. They were hoping they would come just in time, or they would buy some at the store as a last minute alternative. After taking several photos and uploading one on my Facebook, I finally opened the envelope. I was hoping it was a girl, but I knew that whatever it was, it would be great either way. I opened the envelope, read the results, and got to work on the pinata. I stuffed it with the right color confetti, did several test runs (I was so nervous it would fall, remember?) and finally decided that there was nothing else I could do to test it...I just had to wait til the morning and hope for the best.

I could hardly sleep that night! You know how when you are in school and it's the night before the first day of school? You're so excited to see your friends, nervous about new classes, nervous about your appearance and so on, that you can't sleep. That's exactly how I felt. I could only imagine how Monica was feeling.

I set my alarm for 7 AM but it wasn't necessary. I awoke long before it went off, anxious for the shoot. I text Monica that I was ready when she was and they picked me up. We then made the longest drive EVER to her family's ranch. 

It felt like the drive would never end! I was so excited and happy and nervous and a;ldsfa;dkf! And guess what? The boots had come in just in time! Monica said it was a sign that she was having a boy after all and we all kept talking about how excited we were and finally got to the ranch. 

Some of her family members were there to witness the reveal. I decided that I would hang up the pinata with her mom first...just in case something went wrong. I didn't want to ruin the surprise by having the contents spill all over the place. So we went to the perfect spot for photos and her mom hung it on a branch. It looked great! Nothing was falling out, there was no wind. How perfect! I took a photo of the pinata and uploaded it to my Facebook Page:

After assuring that nothing was going to fall out, we proceeded with the photos. We walked around the ranch and took several maternity photos. In one, Monica held up the two pairs of shoes, with the one that was raised higher being what she predicted the sex would be. In another, I had her write down on a chalkboard the sex of the baby.

After we did several more photos, it was finally time for the gender reveal. I asked her if she was ready and she said she was, so we all headed out to the location. She stood by the pinata after I set up my tripod and put my other camera to record (I wanted to capture the special moment).

She was so nervous! I was too, but I know it was nothing compared to what she must have been feeling. Finally, she counted down and pulled on the string. 

Watch the gender reveal video HERE

It's a girl! She stood there for a while, shocked, not knowing what to say. She was so happy! I told her family that if they wanted to, they could go congratulate her. Everyone was so overjoyed. Monica kept saying "I wasn't expecting a girl", laughing and crying at the same time.

I gave her a couple of minutes to compose herself and then we continued with the rest of the session. All in all, it went great. The pinata went off as expected, Monica was surprised and everyone was happy. Congratulations, Monica! You're going to be a great mom. And congratulations to her husband, Omar! I can't wait until our next session - the birth of their beautiful baby girl. 

That's a wrap! XOXO

Liliana Hinojosa

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