Leah and Bobby had prayed for a baby for a long time. After disappointment, loss and heartache they didn't know that God was going to bless them in a miracoulous way.Read More
I realized that I no longer had the desire to photograph for profit.
Over the last year, after much prayer and faith; God laid it on my heart a couple years ago to create a ministry that provides complimentary portrait sessions to families in need.
This decision did not come easy to me. (I mean it took me 2 years to finally take the leap)
I worried about what would happen to my current clients.
I worried about how to be fair to my fellow photographers.
And I worried about how to distinguish families that are truly in need.
The reoccurring theme that can be noticed in the above statement is: worry.Read More
Phoenix Newborn Photographer
Lillian has to be one of the sweetest babies I have ever met. She’s always full of smiles! Almost a year later, I haven’t seen this little girl without a smile on her face. She is always so happy! I can definitely say that is something she got from both of her parents, especially her mom. Regina is never negative, the glass is always half full and she always as a joke or two up her sleeve. Her laughter like Lillian’s is contagious. I met Lillian’s mom when we worked together at a local furniture company designing living rooms! This was before I finally decided to take the plunge and go full time with my business. I remember her looking at me saying “When I finally have a baby you are going to take their pictures”, and it totally happened.
But life wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine’s for Regina, when she was 20 weeks pregnant with Lillian she had the scare of a lifetime. She suffered from a spontaneous epiderma hematoma in her spine from C4-C7. Surgery was her only option, and with this surgery came risks, not only to Regina but baby Lillian who was still growing inside. Before surgery she was already starting to have trouble with losing feeling and it was starting to spread throughout her body. Regina had a partial laminectomy where a small bone sliver was removed and the hematoma was sucked out. Without this life saving surgery, she would have been paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors think that it was a combination of her excessive morning sickness causing the blood vessels to weaken with an explosive burst in blood pressure, and then moving the wrong way that caused the blood vessel to pop. There are less than 20 cases of this condition during pregnancy since 1865.
Today Regina and Lillian are doing amazingly well, they just pulled off some of the best Halloween costumes I have ever seen. The surgery left Regina with a three inch scar from the base of her head to the top of her shoulders. In Lillian’s newborn session she asked if there would be some way to incorporate it into a photo, as a reminder to both of them how strong they were through this process. When we saw the final product both of us had tears! All I have to say is thank goodness for modern day medicine! It saved two lives that day. And I am so grateful to have both of these beautiful girls in my life.
Newborn Photographer Phoenix
I met the Rivera family two years ago when I photographed their oldest son Peter when he was a newborn. I had just a taken a workshop and did a model call to try out my new techniques and several people referred this family to me.
Momma is a teacher and Dad is a local church pastor. These people have hearts of Gold. They have become some of my favorite people to see.
Fast forward two years, and not only has my skills grown in ability (Thank the Lord!) but Momma is pregnant with baby Norah. Ya'll I think all women are gorgeous but Hannah is stunning when she is pregnant. She literally glows. We got together for their family mini session right before the holidays and I still swoon over this session.
Finally Norah arrived! I saw her when she was only fourteen days new. She rocked her newborn session like a champ, and her big brother Peter was so excited to have a younger sister. Norah's parents asked for my simple neutral style with a hint of florals....... And the turn out was beautiful.
This makes me want to start using florals at more sessions!
Little Norah is precious, Congrats again Rivera Family!
Phoenix Newborn Photographer
Happy Birthday Tavish
To say that babies have their own agenda would be an understatement. To say that birth almost never goes as planned would also be completely true.
This mama was one of my last birth mama's before I took a break to go back and finish my nursing degree. And I was so blessed to be a part of her birth team. All women work incredibly hard to bring their babies into the world. But Bethany was one of the hardest working mamas that I have ever seen. It was an adventure but it certainly did not follow anything that she had hoped for. Bethany had dreamed of a beautiful home birth. But a series of unfortunate events changed her birth plans.
A couple days before Tavish was born, mom Bethany was driving to an ultrasound appointment when she was in a small fender bender. Small as in less than eight miles per hour and no vehicle damage. She called her midwife and followed all of her instructions. An ultrasound and non-stress test showed that Tavish and Mom were both fine and she was able to go about her day. Until that evening when mom started having terrible abdominal paid. She called the midwife who advised her to head on into the hospital for an evaluation. While in triage, Tavish's heart rate had a quiet few concerning drops. She almost had to have a c-section but Tavish decided to stay put. Labs, ultrasounds, and a few more tests determined something was wrong and it was time for an induction. The next two and half days were filled with persistence, frustration, encouragement, exhaustion and pain. Foley Bulbs and THREE IUPCs (A very painful intrauterine contraction monitor) as well as abdominal pain from the car accident that flared up with each contraction, pitocin, drug reactions, nausea, dry heaving, repositioning, slow dilation progression, oxygen. I'd like to say that was it, but there was so much more. But Bethany kept trekking on. She was persistent and refused to give up, she was going to have this baby damn it!
After 36+ hours of slow dilation progression, Bethany was finally at 10cm and allowed to push. She pushed for over three hours. After no progression a tough call was made, Bethany had started to get a fever and the risk of infection was too great. Tavish was showing she was done and the decision for a cesarean was made. Bethany had never been more disappointed, sad, angry, or ashamed in her life. But as Bethany said, "it was my pride or my baby, and my baby will always come first." It always amazes me what we as moms will do for our children.
Tavish Georgianne was born 1:10 am on 5/22/17, 7lbs 3oz, 20 3/4 long. She was sunny side up and turned the wrong way, as well as being wrapped in her cord twice. All was well. When she cried, we call cried. But Bethany's journey didn't end there. After Dad, Tavish and I went to the recovery room Bethany hemorrhaged and lost a lot of blood. Thankfully she had a very talented surgical team who had the skills and worked extremely hard to prevent a hysterectomy.
Because of Bethany's complication she had a five day hospital stay. During that extra five day stay Tavish was re admitted into the hospital because she seemed to be having seizure activity. She was taken immediately to the NICU for tests and monitoring but is doing ok. A shout out to the wonderful staff who kept Mom & Dad informed and allowed them to continue breastfeeding and caring for Tavish as much as possible. Finally Tavish and her momma get to go home!
While Bethany had plans of having a natural home birth and she ended up with three different induction methods, three sets of internal monitors, an epidural, and finally a cesarean. She still got the greatest gift of all time. Bethany shared an amazing piece of advice that a wise woman told her, You can grieve the loss of what you had planned, but You will never regret or forget the hard work and reward of the path that followed. Isn't that amazing and wise?! Each time I attend a birth I come away with more knowledge than when I went in. And this birth wasn't any different. Congrats Mainville Family! Sweet little Tavish is so lucky to have you!
When I first met Emma's mom it was for a last minute maternity session. When I mean last minute, I mean Emma's mom was two days away from her due date when she contacted me for a maternity session. She initially didn't want maternity photos because she didn't feel like they would be important. She felt uncomfortable and didn't feel very beautiful. (Side note: She's stunning!)
But her friend's convinced her that she would regret not getting photos done. And they were right! Three days before Emma made her appearance into the world, Emma's mom, dad and I were on the top of South Mountain taking some gorgeous maternity photos at sunset.
Arriving one day after her estimated due date, Emma came into the world with an entrance. What we all thought would be a petite little baby ended up being a whopping ten pound newborn!
When I came to the hospital for her fresh 48 session, I literally was in shock on how big she was. I love fresh 48 sessions because it is such an intimate moment of bonding between baby and their family. I met Emma's grandparents and saw their adorable bond with their first grand baby.
Emma's grandma was smitten with her. Her grandpa was afraid to hold her! The last time he had held a baby was when Emma's mama was a newborn. Emma's mom and dad could not get enough of this sweet little girl.
Three weeks after Emma was born I saw her in the studio for her newborn session. She has some challenges when she got home which is why we waited to do her session.
Because Emma was born in the winter time her mama asked for snowflakes to be used somewhere in her session. Her daddy went to Washington State University and we of course had to show off some Huskie gear.
Even though she was an "older" newborn, she handled her session like a champ. We stopped for extra feedings and snuggles but she loved being in front of the camera!
I am so blessed when clients choose me to photograph their story from start to finish. We really get to know each other and form a bond. Which makes photographing easier each time! Congratulations Schwartz family! You are truly blessed.
Phoenix Newborn Photographer - Mommy and Me Mini Sessions 2017 - What started out as a styled shoot with my idea of a mom and her sweet baby, quickly turned into meeting requests of women who wanted a magical session with their children in that field. Which then made me think, why not do mini sessions here?? And that's what happened....I plan to offer family sessions here in the fall! Keep your eyes open for session details and rates!Read More
I was so blessed to photograph this sweet girl a few weeks ago. I've known her family for years! I photographed her adorable cousin Claire a couple years ago. Little Aurora was so angelic for her newborn session....Read More
This year, I wanted to focus more on sharing the stories of the amazing families I photograph. I asked Vanessa to share her beautiful birth story with us. Her story touched me deeply, to say that I am blessed to have her in my life not only as a client but now as a friend is a bit of an understatement. This woman was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the way she loves and lives is truly inspiring. I hope you enjoy her precious story.Read More
My sweet friends the Grier family have an amazing story to share, I used Mama Grier if she would guest blog for me about her story and experience. What she wrote literally makes me fall in love with what I do even more. I am truly blessed to have amazing clients in general. But the Grier family touches my heart and soul.
"My husband and I have always wanted children, specifically 2 boys!! After 3 years of trying we were ecstatic to finally be pregnant. I was pregnant for 2 months when I lost our first baby. As sad as I was we decided to keep trying. We became pregnant again shortly after I miscarried and went on to have a beautiful baby boy; but because of my miscarriage I never thought about doing any type of keepsake, especially pictures. When our first son turned 1 we decided to try again, and again we had trouble. After years of not getting pregnant and going to fertility doctors and changing our way of living we became pregnant with our second one. Chyanne was literally the 3rd person to know!!!!! I knew I wanted her and only her to go on this journey with us no matter what the out come was. She had done some family pictures for us earlier that year and had taken such an interest in us that our pictures came out exactly how I wanted it. Our experience with Chyanne was incredible. She truly loves the people she works with, she puts her whole heart into taking beautiful photographs. She got to know me and my family and all the pictures she took for us was personal from then on.
Chyanne photographed our entire journey with my second pregnancy. She took us to a specific fro-yo place (my pregnancy craving) to take pictures for our announcements. It was perfect, it had plus signs all over the walls!!! Then she came to our home to reveal the gender. She was the only person invited to share such a fun experience with. We cut a cake with the inside color revealing the gender. Then we did our maternity pictures and they turned out better than I could have imagined. I am not the type of person to show my body off but I did open my mind up to it. Chyanne suggested a beautiful white chiffon dress that exposed my belly. The picture was taken at Lake Pleasant (our favorite hang out spot, and Chyanne's first time on a boat!!!) with me standing a little in the water. It is my favorite picture hands down. Just stunning. And lastly, she took our newborn pictures. Her studio is warm and welcoming. She truly has a way with newborns!! My 4 year old was completely comfortable. She made him feel included as well." - Mama Grier
Thanks again Mama Grier for sharing your journey! I look forward to photographing your family again soon!
I love having a friend as our studio stylist! Hannah is amazing and I recently asked her to share her fashion knowledge in a blog since Spring family minis are right around the corner! If you fall in love with the outfits that Hannah has put together, you can now have hannah style your family for your family session! Take it away hannah!
Dressing to impress is key when getting professional photos taken.
When going to pick out an outfit or sometimes outfits for the family it is important to remember "keep it simple and neutral"
You do not want everyone in matching outfits, rather you want to have the colors and styles coordinate. This is important so you don't end up with those 90's awkward family photos in the matching Levi's & button ups.
For example, if you love the idea of jeans have the guys wear jeans and shirts in similar color but one fella could have a patterned neutral while the other has a plain one. The ladies can wear a cute dress or skirt and blouse that coordinates with the colors chosen.
Remember that these family photos are meant to hang on your walls or being given out to family members. You are going to want them to be timeless and funky colors or themes may clash with the other decor in your home.
Always always always look for inspiration photos of what you are wanting your family photos to look like; BUT this is vitally important, remember you are not the family in those photos. Use them as inspiration for outfit choices & styles.
Show them to your photographer so he/she can see your vision & what you are desiring to capture.
If you are one of those people who NEEDS some color, not to worry; add a cute sweater or scarf which will add your pop of color in a photo. Color is not a bad thing but too many colors can clash in a photo so make sure to add pops of specific colors or patterns mixed with neutrals in order to get the look you are going for.
Since photos are meant to capture your personality as a family, it is encouraged you bring props to incorporate that uniqueness into a few photos. For example, if you love an instrument such as the guitar incorporate that into a few photos. Or if you want to capture your toddlers love for Disney bring her/his favorite toy and have them pose for a few shots. This allow you to capture special moments and times but also get some classic shots in as well.
Once you've chosen your outfits, the hard parts done. Now you get to relax and be your beautiful, wonderful selves while your photographer works their magic capturing your individual personalities & family dynamics in photos that you will treasure forever.
Is fashion or selecting outfits not your thing? Do not fret because the Baby Whisperer photography offers complimentary outfit help and can point you in the right direction. If you need additional help, you can hire a personal shopper for a small fee to find the perfect outfit choices for your family.
Remember dressing to impress is key when taking professional photos.
Scottsdale Newborn Photographer
A couple weeks ago one of the sweetest babies came in to visit me in the studio.
Sweet Baby Easton was my first baby of 2017 and he knocked his session out of the park. At four weeks old this sweet little bub did amazing at his newborn session. His parents were excited for their session in my studio.
I love seeing the new bond between first-time parents. Their excitement over their newest addition, how they fascinated by their baby's tiny features and my favorite is how parents still sit in awe over how that tiny human was something that they made. The gift of life is amazing. Easton had his mom and dad wrapped around his little finger.
I used lots of warm tones in Easton's session, his parent's decorated their house using warm neutrals. Easton's nursery had one of the most fun and creative themes I have heard to date. His nursery is monsters. At Easton's reveal session I was able to see his room up close and personal and I have to say it is one of the cutest nurseries I have ever seen. Monsters would seem like something so scary but these are his mom's own creation (think Monster's Inc. adorable) The splashes orange, green and blue really bring this room together.
Congrats again Kinsey and Brian! Easton is perfect!
Scottsdale newborn photographer
Scottsdale newborn photographer
Phoenix Baby Photographer
A year with Baby Lincoln
My first milestone session of 2017 was to celebrate Lincoln's first birthday. I can not believe how much this baby boy has grown! One year ago I was blessed to be there to witness this baby boy come into the world. His parent's waited anxiously for his arrival, the day Lincoln was adopted their dreams came true. They finally had a sweet baby to call their own. Lincoln's aunt gifted Lincoln's mom and dad with a hospital and newborn session. I remember the first time I saw this new family together, they were so incredibly happy. I had never seen two people so excited to change a poopy diaper!
A week after Lincoln was born I was able to snuggle him in the studio. Lincoln's nursery is a woodland theme.
I found a fox stuffy just for the occasion. Lincoln was a dream to photograph, he slept, he ate, he smiled and took photos like a champ.
At three months Lincoln came back into the studio. What a change to see! Those smiles melted my heart. His eyes were wide with wonder and he was so curious! We used the same fox from his newborn session to show how much Lincoln had grown.
One of my favorite images from last year was from his three-month milestone session. His eyes get me every time.
At Lincoln's six months session this chubby little boy was even more, smiley and sitting up completely by himself. He loved finding his toes and everything went into his mouth.
This drooling chubster had me smitten. I always looked forward to seeing him every three months. I loved watching him grow.
At his nine month session, his mom brought her baby doll cradle for him to sit in. We went from sitting to standing in what seemed to be a blink of an eye. We did lots of singing at this session, Lincoln loves the song "Bicycle Built for Two" and finds it hilarious when you sing it off-key.
The fox looked so small in his hands. Of course, it went into his mouth. He was cutting teeth and teething on everything he could grab his hands on.
For Lincoln's first birthday his mom and I had chatted about doing a woodland themed session.
A set up simple and neutral but also highlighting the cozy outdoors. And of course, we had to use "The Fox", which now looked incredibly small next to this toddler! What a better time for a camping set up?! Lincoln's mom brought in her grandpa's fly fishing basket and her grandma's little red chair.
I love how she always thought to incorporate family heirlooms into sessions.It always added that special personal touch. For this session, we did a cake smash and a bubble bath afterward.
These are some of my favorite photos of Lincoln to date. I haven't seen a baby this happy about water in my life. My studio looked a tsunami came and went. Messy but it was so worth it.
Happy Birthday sweet boy! It was an honor and privilege to witness you grow.
phoenix baby photographer
phoenix baby photographer
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement, not your greatest fear.”
The first time I met the G family it was in a crowded coffee shop. I usually meet with just mom, but this meeting was different. Dad and two big sisters were there along with mom. It was wonderful to meet the whole family! One of the first things Mom said to me was, “Just so you know, when my water breaks, my babies come extremely fast.” KEEP THIS IN MIND. Take note, this is also her third baby….
Early one night in mid-September I got a text from Jen saying that she was going to the hospital for strong contractions. I loaded up my gear and waited for the go. I was so worried I would miss the whole thing. I finally got the ok to come down.
When I got to the hospital she was 80% effaced and 5cm dilated with a bulging bag. In birth world talk, she was halfway to having a baby. We walked the halls, did stretches, breathed through contractions. When I say “we”, I really mean Jen with the help of her husband. After all of that, they decided to send Jen home because she was 37 weeks and 3 days and stalled at 5cm. You are probably thinking WHY? WHY? WHY? Mercy Gilbert was in near-completion of their Baby Friendly Certification. Basically what that means is birth professionals can not help patients progress with labor until they are at least 39 weeks. To say we were all frustrated would be a bit of an understatement.
Jen and I became fast friends over the course of her pregnancy and would quite often stay up until 2 am chatting with each other on Facebook.
Two nights later while on my way home I received a phone call at 8:30 pm from her.
Jen: “Are you asleep?”
Me: “Jen, it’s 8:30. You of all people should know I’m not asleep.”
Jen: “Good, because either I have lost all control of my bladder or my water just broke.”
I still to this day do not know how I shaved 15 minutes off of a normal 45-minute drive, but it happened.
Jen and I walked the halls for a while, and even took a selfie! After much walking, we all took a nap for a bit.
Then Jen got in the tub for a short minute. (Literally) When she got out of the tub you could tell the baby had made it’s way to the birth canal. At this point, Jen wanted an epidural. But she wouldn't be able to get one!
The nurse comes in to check and there is Maddy’s head. The nurse runs to the hall and screams for a doctor. A random doctor comes in, barely able to get gloves on. They didn’t have time to get the bed apart or the “stage” lights on. That is how FAST she came.
In less than 15 minutes, Maddy was here! From the time Jen got in the tub to the time she delivered was just under 15 minutes. Jen didn’t even push!
Ten minutes after Maddy was born, Jen’s OB/GYN, Dr. Guzman, arrived. I can’t say enough nice things about this man. He truly cares about his patients and it shows! He stayed and visited with the newest arrival, crying tears of joy with them. He hugged them. He laughed with them. He cared and it showed.
Next, the new big sisters came to meet their little sister. To say they were in love would be an understatement. Middle sister wouldn’t stop gently stroking Maddy’s head and kissing it. Adorable, right?
People often ask me why I love birth photography. THIS story is a prime example as to why I do what I do. I am the fly on the wall. I am the artist who captures those moments that are often forgotten, the parts of the story that we overlook in the heat of the moment, the tender moments of encouragement showed by husband while his wife is in labor, the sweet gentle kisses of a new big sister, the embrace of a proud doctor. THAT is the reason why I do birth photography.
Congratulations Gunty Family! I love you!!
Baby Zoey came to see me a few weeks ago for her newborn session, she was such a precious little girl to photograph. I met her parents in a tiny little Starbucks a couple months before her arrival.
We bonded over website designs and search engine optimization. These two made a website blog about all things Zoey! Isn't that amazing?! Not too many babies can say that they have a website about themselves. Check out Zoey's site here.
When it came to Zoey's photo shoot she was already a pro in front of the camera. She was full of smiles and snuggles. During Zoey’s session, her momma shared with me that Zoey's grandma made Zoey a special hat and blanket just for this photo shoot. So that special prop was at the top of the list of priorities for Zoey's prop setup.
Zoey had everyone wrapped around her little finger, especially her dad. Zoey slept the entire time and flew through her session. Her session was done in just under an hour and a half. Which is unheard of!
Zoey was so sweet. I consider it a privilege to photograph each baby that comes to our doors. Thank you so much Malone Family; for trusting me in capturing these memories of your sweet baby girl. I was so blessed to capture these peaceful and tender moments for your family. I can’t wait to see Zoey grow!
Before I go, one last fact about Zoey's session! In the family portrait above you can see that Mama has two rings on. One her wedding set and the other (on her pinkie) is a ring that they have set aside to give Zoey when she gets older! Isn't that amazing? Zoey will be able to look back at her newborn session and see that ring's presence years before she actually gets to wear it. Special sentimental details like this just warms my heart.
Newborn photographer phoenix
newborn photographer phoenix
This beautiful little girl came to see me a few Sundays ago. Her parents were given a gift certificate for a session with me! I love when I hear that loved ones want to give the gift of memories to their family. In my opinion, it is one of the best gifts to give. These are images that this family will have a lifetime.
We turned on some worship music and had a lovely session together. Jae Lynn's creamy porcelain-like skin was to die for. And those chubby cheeks, I just wanted to snuggle her all day! Mom and Dad came camera ready. I love when parents want to be present in their newborn session. This is such a special time in life, and it is so important to be a part of it.
Jae Lynn's momma was a natural in front of the camera. Jae Lynn was so relaxed and happy in her mama's arms. The way Jae Lynn's daddy looked at her melted my heart. You could tell that he was mesmerized by all of her little movements and sweet newborn sounds.
Of course, since this sweet little girl was born in fall we had to do a fall set up. This little pumpkin was as cute as could be! I mean those lips, aren't they adorable?! The knot basket is one of my favorite props to use and Jae Lynn was perfect for it! After a couple different basket set ups, I brought Jae Lynn over for some simpler shots. Her soft skin and luscious rolls were the highlights of these poses.
Jae Lynn is so beautifully dainty. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing this sweet little girl! I can't wait to see her again.
newborn photographer phoenix
newborn photographer phoenix
phoenix newborn photographer
10 things you should never say to a NICU Parent
Today I asked my sweet friend Keri (Avery and Ivan's Mom) to share a little insight on being a NICU parent. Although people often mean well and to encourage parents who are going through this kind of situation. Here are some things you shouldn't say.
10 Things You Should NEVER say to a NICU Parent
By: Keri Chavarria
I mostly did a smile and nod, but these are some of the answers I wish I would have given.
1. "What did you do?"
Moms who have their babies early are under a mountain of guilt. Many feel like failures because they did not carry the babies to term. Life happens. That question makes everything worse.
2. "Are they going to make it?"
I try to think positively, but you never know! Thank you for reminding me.
3. "You don't even look like you had a baby!"
Yes, not only am I walking around without my newborn twins, I don't even look like I just delivered them. Thank you again for the reminder.
4. "At least you can sleep while the boys are in the hospital!"
No, definitely not. I spend most of my time camped out in NICU and/or chained to a breast pump eight hours a day.
5. "Your boys will come home and it will be like nothing ever happened."
No. Just no.
6. "At least you didn't get to the third trimester and have to be uncomfortable."
I promise you I would have stayed 41 weeks huge for two years if it meant my boys did not have to stay in the NICU.
7. "At least you had an easy labor."
Oh, that's right. The terror I felt from one water breaking before 26 weeks combined with being in full labor for 40 hours before being allowed to push was super easy.
8. "It's like you have a free babysitter!"
9. "Oh! Your babies look like normal babies!"
Really? Did you expect to see a disfigured reptile?
10. "I wouldn't be able to leave MY baby at the hospital overnight alone."
Thank you, Keri, for guest blogging and sharing your photos! Check out the boys' newborn session to see how big they have grown!
phoenix newborn photographer
phoenix newborn photographer
phoenix newborn photographer
Phoenix Newborn Photographer
Avery and Ivan NICU Miracles
This sweet little miracles came to see me when they were 4 months old. After a three month NICU stay, it was an honor to be trusted with capturing these special moments for their parents, Keri and Chase. On February 21, 2016 these sweet little boys made their appearance into the world 14 weeks early. Ivan and Avery both weighed in at 1 pound 13 oz, despite being born early both boys surprised everyone by attempting to breathe on their own and crying. Avery even opened his eyes! Both boys would have a very long NICU journey ahead of them. But against all odds, the boys and their parents overcame complications, took down mountains and made it out of the land of uncertainty. They are all survivors.
During their journey, mom Keri shared her feelings often. Talk about an eye opener. The words below were some that I had to ask to share.
I have deliberately avoided writing down my feelings about this pregnancy and the NICU for 8 weeks now. I guess I naively thought that pushing those thoughts away would help me to power through it all. I was wrong. More accurately, there has been nothing in my twenty-five years of life that could have possibly prepared me for this.
There are so many things I wish I could have known sooner.
I wish I would have known that most days my hands are no longer recognizable from all of the hand washing.
Or, that people would say things that are meant to be nice, but really just cut to the core of my reality.
I wish I would have been warned about the number of tears I have and will shed. I needed to be told that it's okay to cry every time I leave my boys behind in the NICU.
I also needed someone to tell me that it is equally okay to feel something that closely resembles dread every time I drive to the hospital. It's difficult to get excited about visiting and develop a truly deep connection when I only get to "care" for my children with permission and assistance from staff. I don't feel like a mom. I feel like an outsider.
I wish I would have known about the intense feeling of helplessness that has manifested itself or that it would come and go during the most inconvenient of times.
I never realized that I would need to be told I was doing enough. Loving my sons, enough. That I was bathing them right. Pumping correctly. Sitting at their side the right amount of time. Giving my husband encouragement. Updating my friends and family.
And despite the compliments or reassuring smiles, it always seems to feel like we're treading the deep end. Some people compare the NICU to a rollercoaster. I call it the third ring of hell.
What I've come to realize through 5 weeks in Antepartum, 3 weeks thus far in the NICU, and the endless visits with doctors, specialists, and therapists is to love.
It's hard to do - that love thing - with all the beeping and coding. All the nurses running, charts clicking and specialists knocking. It's hard to see where you want to be when you look around and hardly know where you are.
I really do try to find love in the smallest of things, however, I often find myself feeling sorry for us.
It was on one of those days of feeling sorry for myself that I heard it. Every NICU parent knows that the quick feet of nurses running down the hallway and the hurried feet of the neonatologist are never good. For more than 20 minutes I listened to the frenzied activity. And then came the tears. A mom screamed, "NO." And I knew. The NICU fell silent save the beeps and alarms. So, during one of my pity parties a baby had died. And that just seemed like the unfairest of unfair things to happen to anyone. Ever.
An hour later, our sweet red-eyed NICU nurses welcomed another emergency transport. Another miracle. Another life to save. And the hum of the NICU continued, but not without all of us there knowing the NICU never makes promises.
The NICU club isn't for sissies, it's for fighters. I wish that I could promise the boys will be fine. I wish I could know with certainty that prematurity won't have lasting developmental effects or that I won't suffer from PTSD, but I can't. Every journey is different. Every baby, every hospital, every specialist, every outcome - they're all different.
When I look in the mirror, I see a survivor who needs a hug and probably more concealer but I also see a heart full of gratitude. I'm going to keep trying to dream big. I'm going to order those adorable 2T shirts that I know won't be worn for months, possibly even years. I'm going to trust my instinct and love these babies with all I've got. I'm going to take each day one at a time because every day is a blessing. ~ Keri C.
Beautifully written Keri. Thank you for being so transparent, and for allowing me to share your transparency with readers.
Keri and I both hope that this story shines a light on NICU journey's. While every NICU journey is different, each family deserves the same level of support. Set up a meal train, offer heartfelt encouragement and prayers, send cards filled with uplifting well wishes. But most importantly, lend an ear.
"For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” - Matthew 17:20
Phoenix Newborn Photographer
Welcome Baby Aryas
Catching up on my 2016 Blogs and I decided to share this sweet girl's session tonight. This beautiful girl holds a special place in my heart. Her mom and I have been good friends since I was in middle school! We met as lifeguards for the City of Phoenix and have been friends since. I was thrilled when Aryas's mom asked me to photograph her sweet baby girl. She was such a wonderful baby to photograph! I decided to try a new backdrop color from my normal light neutral tons and chose a soft pink. I love this teddy bear bonnet!
This beautiful girl holds a special place in my heart. Her mom and I have been good friends since I was in middle school! We met as lifeguards for the City of Phoenix and have been friends since. I was thrilled when Aryas's mom asked me to photograph her sweet baby girl. She was such a wonderful baby to photograph! I decided to try a new backdrop color from my normal light neutral tons and chose a soft pink. I love this teddy bear bonnet!
This beautiful girl holds a special place in my heart. Her mom and I have been good friends since I was in middle school! We met as lifeguards for the City of Phoenix and have been friends since. I was thrilled when Aryas's mom asked me to photograph her sweet baby girl. She was such a wonderful baby to photograph! I decided to try a new backdrop color from my normal light neutral tons and chose a soft pink. I love this teddy bear bonnet! Aryas was the perfect little model!
This baby girl was so squishy! Her chubby cheeks and loveable nature just made me want to snuggle her all day. I love photographing new families. Alisha and Jeff were adorable during Aryas's session. Seeing their love and excitement as they bond as new parents really made me happy. Aren't they cute?!
Check out those chubby cheeks! I can't help myself I just want to kiss them every time I see this image. Maybe I'm a little biased but her features are perfect. That button nose and those little lashes.
Aryas's was the perfect baby to use my knitted newborn romper from one of my favorite vendors, Devoted Knits. I had been hanging on to this piece for a while but couldn't ever find the baby that was the perfect size fit.
Congratulations Alisha and Jeff! Love you!
phoenix newborn photographers
phoenix newborn photographers
phoenix newborn photographers
Phoenix Newborn Photographer
Two Men and a Little Lady
I'm spending time reminiscing tonight, as I get caught up on blogs. Tonight, I'm sharing with you one of my favorite sessions of all time. Every newborn session is a favorite, but this special girl and her daddies hold a special place in my heart.
It is always a special time when I have a new family in my studio for their newborn session. I love seeing how these new and excited parents react to the cute poses and props. Or when they snap a couple behind the scene photos. And, occasionally you will hear an “awww” when the baby sneezes or grunts. This session was exactly like I described above but with a little bit more emotion. Her daddies waited a very long time to meet her. Normally it takes a baby 9 months arrive. It was at least a two-year process before Louise was born. That’s a long time to wait! But good things come to those who wait.
Louise came to see me at 6 days new with her two daddies that came all they way from Europe to see her born. Louise’s surrogate momma was also in the studio for her session. This was such a joyous occasion! And it was amazing to be part of it. The friendship that has developed between her surrogate mom, Trista and her two dads is inspirational and heart warming.
When I met with her daddies before she was born we talked about her nursery which is cream and pale pink. I wanted to integrate those colors in her session so it would match perfectly with her nursery! Her daddies also brought a bonnet that Louise’s great grandma had knitted for her. The bonnet was one of the most beautiful bonnets I had ever seen. And to know it was made with love especially for Louise filled my heart with joy.
Fun Fact: I am happy to say that this was the second time I was able to spend time with Louise and her daddies. I was blessed to be there to witness sweet Baby Louise being born. Isn’t that amazing?! This is why I love what I do! Want to read her birth story? Click HERE. I LOVE when families come back to visit me for their newborn sessions! Congratulations to Baby Louise and her two daddies! I hope that I am able to see her grow even though we are far away.