*While I am home on maternity leave, I'm posting some sessions from this past year that are near and dear to my heart! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for photos of our sweet boy and updates on my return from leave! My newsletter subscribers are also the first to hear about important news so don't forget to sign up! I'll be back soon!*
Sweet Baby Everett is raising his hand in the picture above saying, "Yep! That's me! I'm a miracle baby!" Newborn photography is always a special honor for me, but it was an especially huge honor to get to document this little guy's safe arrival home. You may recall me blogging about his Fresh 48 hospital photography session a few weeks ago... When I showed up at Natalie and Jay's home for Everett's newborn session, I couldn't get over how quickly he had changed in just the two short weeks it had been since he had been released from Fairfax hospital!!
Baby Everett is a precious miracle to his parents who prayed and prayed to be blessed with a child for many years. For any of you who may have faced infertility or be facing it right now, you can relate to the struggles that Natalie and Jay faced. I asked Natalie to share their story with you today:
"I was diagnosed with PCOS in high school. Part of this disease (some would argue the biggest part) is the inability to naturally ovulate. I never really cared about the infertility part because the weight gain, facial hair, and mood swings were enough to deal with at the ripe ole age of 16. Fast forward to meeting the love of my life and wanting nothing more than to have a baby with him and my concern with the other PCOS symptoms took a back seat.
We tried for a year solo basically knowing it wasn't going to happen. My OBGYN sent me to Dr. Levens at Shady Grove Fertility. He was amazing and so knowledgeable about PCOS. He gave us a "protocol" which included ovulation induction. I would take pills to help produce an egg follicle. I would go into his office what seemed like every other day (really third, 5, 7, 9 of Girl times) for blood work and an ultrasound until I got word that I had developed a follicle. On that day I would go home and inject myself with hormones to trigger ovulation.
I just knew the first month was going to result in a pregnancy. And then it didn't. And neither did the second, third, or fourth month. Meanwhile I was jacked up on hormones and a total lunatic. By the fourth month my husband and I decided to take a month off before I wound up in jail for flying off the handle at anything, everything, and everyone.
After our break I went back to Shady Grove to restart our "protocol." Since I had not started my cycle they did a blood test to make sure I wasn't pregnant. Imagine my surprise when my sweet amazing nurse called to tell me I was 7 weeks pregnant. After calling her a liar and crying, my husband and I called almost everybody we knew. We planned out our future. Cancelled our travel plans for the month before we would become parents. The following week we went in for an ultrasound and saw a strong heartbeat. The following week we went back and the heartbeat was gone. We were devastated and I didn't think I would ever want to try again. But we did.
The first month did not result in a pregnancy and I wasn't disappointed. I was pissed. I now knew my body knew what it was supposed to do but it couldn't rally and do me a solid after such devastation?!
Before the next cycle my nurse told me to stay positive. Mmm hmmm....right. But what did I have to lose by being positive? I started off that month of pills, shots, blood work, and ultrasounds by bringing the staff Duck Donuts; somewhat of a peace offering to the fertility gods for being a raging B word the month before. I finally let myself imagine what life with a baby would look like.
The day I was supposed to go in for the blood test after my two week wait was the morning we had 3 feet of snow in our driveway so I couldn't make my appointment. I got the last dollar Store pregnancy test out of my night stand and took it. As I waited the two minutes I thought to myself "it would be awesome if this is positive so I don't have to help shovel snow." I might have even thought of saying it was positive if it wasn't. Maybe. It was positive!!! What?!?! A baby and no shoveling?
The pregnancy was confirmed by Shady Grove with something more reliable than a dollar store pregnancy test. It was the most nerve racking 39 weeks of my life. Every movement worried me, every non-movement worried me. I had a team of doctors reassuring me weekly (literally) that he was developing perfectly and was healthy. Weekly visits and ultrasounds are an awesome benefit of being "high risk."
I was getting my hair done on the Sunday starting my 39th week. I just didn't feel well and was convinced I was getting the flu. Nope. I was in active labor and contractions were 2.5 minutes apart. We rushed to the hospital and I was hooked up to the machines. Every contraction was stopping his heart so I was rushed into an emergency C-Section. He was finally here and was healthy as can be...and was immediately grounded for a month for terrifying me in the last minutes of pregnancy. Everett Gary is truly our miracle baby.
I barely remember going through those two years and, in reality, my story isn't that different from thousands of other women. And I have no delusions that my story is as bad as it gets because it's far from it. Infertility is hard. And it sucks. But, as cliche as it sounds, a positive attitude makes all the difference."
As someone who has also faced big hurdles in our parenting journey, I could completely relate to the feeling of FINALLY bringing home a sweet baby and having your arms and heart be joyously filled. I admire Natalie and Jason's positivity during a time of major adversity!
One thing that I really love doing during in-home newborn sessions, is incorporating items that are special to the family and their story into their gallery. The 'miracle baby' blanket was an obvious choice for this little guy, but so was the really cool "Dr. Nut" crate. I don't usually use props like baskets/crates, etc. but this special item was a family heirloom from Jay's grandfather who had once owned a soda pop company called Dr. Nut. The resulting image was a really special one for their family and told such a neat story of the history of his ancestors. I would give anything just to try that soda!! I bet it was delicious!
Since baby Everett has made his arrival into the world, he has continued to fill his parents, family, and friends' hearts with so much love...and we are all so entertained with his adorable expressions and personality.
I'm so lucky to call these clients friends now and am so very happy for them! I can't wait to see what the future holds for this little miracle! I know his future is a bright one!