Category Archives: Maternity

Journeys can have unexpected twists and turns.  My path into motherhood had plenty of those and was one of patience, endurance, and finally relinquishing.  We did follow doctor’s orders and finally came in to be induced after 3 weeks of delay.  We were trying to allow my body to go into labor on its own, to have the natural birth we spent so long preparing for.  But as we found, forcing a flower to bloom does not work if it is not ready, and so this was the case with my body. The doctors gave us two days of a more gentle induction to get things going, and it started, although very slowly… That is where the patience came in.

The beginning of the third day proved to be a turning point. The pressure was on by the ‘authorities’ of labor and delivery to break my water artificially.  We felt uneasy about it as the baby was still pretty high up, but finally allowed this to happen for a few various reasons.  I was allowed to labor out of bed, moving around and finding my rhythm. When the pain started to become unbearable, as contractions came on stronger and more frequent, my husband and mother were there to help me through the pain. Yet, my body was still resisting opening, I was hardly budging. I only progressed to 5cm after more than 48 hours of labor, it was so discouraging. I wanted to do this on my own, but induced contractions can be quite intense, this was my endurance phase. I was doing pretty good dealing with the waves of pain, but after so many hours, it was clear I needed help, and a bit of rest.

Seven or so hours after rupturing my water, pain relief had arrived. The exhaustion set in and I was ready to rest for a bit. But little did I know only a couple of hours of rest was on the agenda for me.  Baby’s heart rate dropped twice while I was sleeping. I was moved to correct it.  Although, just a matter of minutes after that move, it dropped again and would not came back up. I was woken up by my favorite nurse telling me, “we’re taking the baby.”  I was so disoriented and confused. She clarified, “You are going in for an emergency c-section now.” I got one last glimpse of my worried husband before being swiftly taken away into the operating room.  Within minutes baby was out and crying. My beloved husband was not allowed to be in the room at the moment of our sons birth. I felt so alone, confused, violated, and heartbroken. Baby was not even shown to me. He was moved to the corner of the room and all I could hear was his screams.

After the surgery my husband was allowed in and able to see our precious son.  The drugs coursing through my blood kept me disoriented and unable to move much.  There was no way I could hold our baby safely.  That first golden hour after birth to bond skin to skin with my boy would be missed, like so many other things for my son and I that evening. The birth I had worked so hard towards was taken away from us without consent. The last step of relinquishing to the birth I received is still an inner struggle…  It’s not an easy journey, yet I know so many other women share my experience. One of disappointment mixed with the love we have for our newly born child.  Questions are still fresh in my mind, ‘what if’ we did this or avoided that… I feel the choices we made at the moment were right for us under the circumstances. Some things I just have to admit are out of our control.

Our son had arrived in the late hours of July 15th, 2015. He was a healthy 7 lbs 3 oz and 20.5 inches long. He was perfect in every way. No indication as to why the heart rate drops. He surprised the whole operating team with his instant cries on arrival. He was so alert, curious and had wisdom in his eyes according to his father. My husband looked at the boy we called “Will” for the first time and realized that the name we had chosen for him months before, and had kept a secret, was indeed the right one for him.  Justice William Reign.

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As month 9 drew to a close, anticipating the birth of my first born is way more filled with nerves and difficult than I ever expected.   Mind constantly thinking about questions and worrying about baby, body with limited movement and increased discomfort, and pressure from doctors as a series of diagnosis were thrust upon me, limiting my natural birth options.  I was first asked to induce at 37 weeks along. Ultimately baby and I were doing well as proven by tests done bi-weekly on us, these allowed us to delay an induction for another 3 weeks, and I was even able to get rid of one of my diagnosis to my surprise!?  This was certainly an emotional time filled with difficult decisions. I am happy we delayed for so long and grateful for the extra time baby was able to develop while in the protection of my womb.

I was also fortunate enough to have a kind neighbor allow me to swim in her pool a few times towards the end, what a relief the water was.  One evening my husband and I played around with his little point and shoot underwater camera and he captured these magical images of me swimming. I think I have a budding photographer on my hands!

 

 

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I have worked with expecting moms and newborn babies for over 8 years now, and although I always wanted to experience the joy of carrying a child of my own, I came to terms it was not in the cards for me.  The dream of becoming a mother in the “traditional” sense had long but disappeared after my divorce 5 years ago.  I never conceived in that marriage, even after trying for years, and was convinced that I was infertile.

I did not let the dream of motherhood disappear entirely. I took on the joy and challenge of parenthood through being a foster parent in 2011.  The ups and downs can be heartbreaking as parenting children with difficult pasts challenge even the most resilient of parents.  My daughter Marissa came into my life through foster care, and at 15 years old, one can imagine that the challenges and bounties have not stopped. But the story gets so much sweeter, because now I have a new partner in life to help me through this rocky road.

Last year I married the most precious man I’ve ever met.  His spirit shines for me each day, he is so gentle, loving and compassionate to each member in our household.  He accepts Marissa with all his heart and parents her like the father I wish I had.  I cannot thank God enough for the bounty of having him in my life.  But, the blessings do not stop with him, for after our recent marriage in September, it did not take long before we found out the news that we were expecting a child!

 I could not believe it at first. Even when two tests confirmed the pregnancy, I had a hard time accepting that I could carry a child.  Yet, I have gladly been proven wrong. Now six months later, I am carrying a healthy miracle baby boy. He is active and makes his presence known every day through my growing figure as well as his stronger and stronger kicks.  I never thought I would be given the opportunity to carry a precious soul inside my body, and as difficult as some days are, I know I am blessed with such a beautiful gift each and every day. As our little boy gets bigger, my emotions grow and the reality of a new soul becoming part of our life becomes more and more real. Time has passed so quickly, and I know a new beginning is closer than I realize.

My dreams of becoming a birth mother are now a growing reality. We are expecting our little miracle in July, and with his birthdate approaching in the next few months, it means that I will be taking some necessary time off from my business. And I’m going to shop for a diaper bag that suits me. I anticipate May being the last month I can take clients until the end of summer. If things go well, and I can still bend and work with my littlest clients, I will try to extend my photography time.  But I anticipate a return in the fall, and of course many pictures of our little guy in the meantime.

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Nearly 6 years ago I remember taking a little road trip to photograph this family for the first time, it was a maternity session for Kaia.  It is amazing how fast time passes, children grow and families expand.  I was so thrilled to find out they were expecting their second, another precious girl, and invited me back to capture the first moments of their newest little one’s life.  Our session was lucky enough to coincide with the almond blossoms, which made a beautiful backdrop for an even more stunning expectant mom. And take a look at Kaia, she loves the camera, and it loves her too!

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I love doing maternity sessions, meeting first time parents right before they welcome a new member of the family into their lives. It’s really a special moment to capture. This beautiful couple already has a pack of furry family that could not wait to be part of the pictures.  Of course Daisy, their Great Dane, stole the show with her size and personality.  Just by doing a little exploring near their home, we found some amazing valley scenery as the backdrop to their images.  It was so beautiful out there that I look forward to exploring this area more in the spring.

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This gorgeous momma is expecting her third baby.  I met her when she was expecting Tatum, her second, 5 years ago.  In that time we have become great friends and I have been able to watch her children grow up to be beautiful individuals.  I am excited to help her welcome her precious boy into the world.  Congratulations my beautiful friend!

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It was a real gift to photograph this beautiful expectant mother, and honor her heritage all at the same time.  The Cambodian Temple offered a sacred location enabling me to create images unique to her. I love when I am able to capture moments this special. I look forward to meeting their baby boy in November, and capturing some equally amazing images with him!

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I have been a busy gal these last few weeks, with my own girls, preparing for all the festivities, and of course with all the precious children I have been photographing.   I have not had time to put together the sneak peeks for each of my last five photo sessions of the year.   I will be getting to them as soon as I can, but in the meantime, here is one sweet image from each of them. Enjoy!

 

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