Mourning into Joy 

I have the honour of being a part of a series called mourning into joy stories started by Sharon McKeeman (@sharonmckeeman on instagram #mourningintojoystories). As I began to write, I realized that there was more I wanted to share than a few sentences on instagram hence this blog post. I feel like sharing my own process might help someone out there.

*Disclaimer, this post is super raw and real and deals a lot with loss, mess and mental illness. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, please feel free to avoid this post!*

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2017. We’ve now entered the 7th year since we lost our daughter Eisley. In some ways it definitely feels like it’s been years, and in others it feel as though it was just yesterday. Here is a bit of our journey and my own honest process through loss.

At 13 weeks pregnant I bled, they found a blood clot which ultimately killed 2/3 of my placenta by week 19. And so began our journey with our Eisley-girl. Nearly every day for months we were told that we would lose her (due to the lack of nourishment to her body). That we should abort her and get on with our lives. But she fought, she held on longer than they’d ever expected. So much longer that the day before she passed away they shared with us that they’d deemed her “viable” and they would deliver her the next Friday. While her potential death had been lingering in it minds for months, it was still a complete shock to our systems when she passed away. It felt unbelievable – she’d held on for so long (7 months). We were so close. We had prayed and believed with everything in us. Many around the world prayed for her. And yet there we were, suddenly thrown into a world of loss: deciding how to birth her (we choose induction and she came 3 days later), preparing to meet her only to say goodbye, planning arrangements for her body, a memorial service to honour her life… and then the years of grief that have followed since.

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At first, I felt peace. Along with many, many things and I let myself feel through them all. I thought I was grieving “well”, to be honest. And then year after year I noticed my heart growing harder, I realized my prayer life had died along with our sweet girl. I didn’t even know how to pray and even how to believe for the best anymore. I denied these things, of course. Until the ache and bitterness inside me seeped out. Into my marriage, my family, my friends. My dreams and desires had changed, even my beliefs shifted. 2015 was my toughest year – I found myself depressed beyond what I’d ever imagined. My marriage was falling apart due to distance I’d created. I felt angry and bitter at everything, especially with God.

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I found myself living defensively, afraid to be broken again – believing I couldn’t possibly live through anymore brokenness and I’d do my best to control all things to avoid this. Having control seemed like the place to be. It seemed safer than giving anyone or God the reigns, that much was certain. So I clenched my fists and held on. But what I found instead was I felt out of control trying to maintain control. I was always angry (still struggle with this bad habit), always defensive and overly protective, always building new walls, all while trying to appear as though I had it all together. Trying to show loss hadn’t broken me beyond repair, that God was still on the throne of my life, that having two healthy pregnancies after Eisley had “redeemed” many things. Yet beneath the hardened shell was a broken Jami who didn’t even know if she believed in God anymore, and she certainly didn’t believe the sayings she’d heard others speak over her to cover her grieving and broken heart. Beneath it all was a girl who felt she’d scarred her marriage, her children and her own life beyond repair. A girl who felt all hope was lost and constantly wondered how she’d carry on.
I hit rock bottom March 2015. I entered the new year pregnant yet lost the baby at 8 weeks. Less than a month later, our daughter Everly (almost 1) was hospitalized with RSV and it triggered memories of loss and I imagined the worst case scenario possible during the scary times with her. Though she was only in for 4 days and recovered well it triggered grief I’d shoved away and it all felt too much to handle. And to be completely honest, the best option I saw was to leave this world of pain and heartache. I walked my husband and family through hell on that terrible night in March, when I felt I couldn’t continue living the way I was.

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But Jesus met me in my brokeness. When I felt all hope was lost. He met me and I didn’t feel hopeless even though I didn’t know what was next. My husband and I started counseling. I got on medication for depression and anxiety. And we fought: for life, for restoration, for hope, for dreams.
By the time 2016 came I still felt broken though healing was happening. Ted had to move away to Alaska to provide for us as a family and I suddenly was thrown into parenting alone and actually two of my worst fears were combined: I felt so alone. And I felt judged and misunderstood by those around me.
It was unfair to place expectations on others to look after me, especially when I wasn’t honest with where I was really at emotionally/mentally. But I did. And guess what? I was wounded and expectations weren’t met. And I felt utterly alone – so alone in fact it felt physically painful.
And He met me again. Jesus, without any amount of phony sayings to get me through suffering, He just met me in my broken mess. I picture it like this: I’m sitting on the ground with huge glass mirrors shattered all around me. No one wants to come close because of the mess and the fear of being hurt themselves, but here comes this guy I’d rejected so much in the past few years. He didn’t care about the mess, the chance of being wounded… He cared about ME. In fact so much that He joined me in the thick of the mess and brokenness.

“In brokenness I see your face, the colour of your eyes and the taste of your ways.”

(I wrote this years ago and it’s so very true. I realized how close He really was. He’s in my suffering with me.)

Finals-14(September 17, 2013. Eisley’s 3rd birthday, and pregnant with our second daughter, Everly)

Suffering is so complex. And I still have my doubts, I still have questions, and still have no full answers but one thing I do believe with everything within me is that He meets me here. In this mess, in the suffering. He doesn’t shun me for asking the hard questions or for having doubt. He can handle me at my worst and is unashamed of me. He is not disappointed with me. He’s WITH me in my suffering.
Whatever you are going through currently or still processing from years and maybe decades past, HE is with you in your suffering. And anyone who tells you that you must have blind faith, and accept that He “gives and takes away”. Let it go. It isn’t true. He is a good and loving Father and He didn’t do “this” to you. (Seriously, go and watch the sermon on Job by Greg Boyd called Twisted Scripture – it wrecked me in the best way!)
People may not be able to handle you at your worst, but Jesus sure can. Go to Him, He will walk beside you until you find your feet and even then He stays put, helping you as you walk through this journey of loss, heartache and pain.

Through every ebb and flow of grief’s waves. Through every memory that still stings, through every present ache that exists.

He is with you, carrying you, holding you, crying with you…

He will be with you always.

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He can turn your mourning into joy.

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Since the loss of our Eisley-girl, we have since welcomed two healthy pregnancies and babies into our family. While they do not take the place of our sweet girl or perfectly redeem what we’ve walked through, their precious lives have helped in our healing process. We are so grateful for who they are, and how much they’ve impacted our family!

Shailo Valour (5) – We were terrified during his pregnancy yet felt so strongly that he was everything we named him, Shailo (Shiloh) – God’s gift, a place of peace and rest and worship in a time of battle and Valour (Valor) meaning courage in the face of fear/battle, brave. He has truly, even from the womb, been our brave little gift from God in the midst of fear/anxiety/battle. Seriously, our lives are so much more full, exciting and adventurous with Shailo Valour in our lives.

And Everly Selah (almost 3) –  I remember crying out to Him one evening and journaling my heart out. There was a part of me that felt we would have another daughter someday, and I decided on that evening her name would be a reflection (of who He is to us, to her and who she is to Him) and a declaration that would mean “Forever Amen”. I knew that I wanted her name to declare that He is forever sovereign, good, loving, caring, worthy, etc, etc, etc… amen. We wanted to declare that even though we’ve walked through the darkest valley (for us) He is still all of the beautiful things we believed He was. Despite our suffering and loss, He was still good and caring. We were still His and He was still our Father who loved us. I decided I wanted our next girl’s name to mean forever… so I decided on Ever and added ‘ly’ to fit with our Eisley-girl’s name. Though she ins’t here with us on Earth, I still, very much so, wanted her to be apart of our family. Even when it comes to names. 

We are now 30 weeks pregnant with our 3rd son, and we are hopeful and believing he will be joining us come early March! 

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Amsterdam Maternity Shoot.

We really wanted to do a maternity photoshoot before we left Amsterdam. So literally 2 days before we left, we attempted one. unfortunately both boys fell asleep on our walk into the city and when they woke, they were SO cranky and not loving the cold weather. So here are a few shots of mostly me at 29 weeks pregnant.
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AmsterdamMaternity-7The first pair of shoes I ever purchased for her and they are from Amsterdam, even better!
AmsterdamMaternity-2AmsterdamMaternity-4AmsterdamMaternity-5AmsterdamMaternity-8Chase refused to get out of the stroller due to the cold. And Shailo was clearly not a fan either :)
AmsterdamMaternity-9Hilarious one of Shailo :)AmsterdamMaternity_feet

That’s it from our quick maternity shoot in Amsterdam. Kind of makes me laugh, but I sure am thankful we did them! We are taking my “official” maternity photos next week at 37 weeks like I did with Shailo. Even though I am not MUCH bigger than these shown here, I will post them… for memouries sake ;)

Preparing for Baby E.S.

I thought I’d do a much overdue post about our little lady…
babyes_4Our sweet girl is a little less than 25 days away from being in our arms! I am officially scheduled to have her (via C-section) February 28th, 7:30 am!

(these photos of E.S we’re taken at an appointment in Amsterdam right before we left)
babyes_6 We are currently living with relatives until we know what our next step is. It is challenging for me personally because at this point in pregnancy I usually end up redoing an entire room or two; finishing a nursery or painting a room, etc. I’ve taken on a few projects some of them are just things like sorting through all of the girls clothes we’ve been given or have thrifted. My mom has been an incredible help with that process :)babyes_7 More sorting.. I can’t even tell you how excited her little outfits make me. HOLY MOLY. babyes_8 I’ve also been researching and reading up on Cloth diapering which is a new territory for us. I’ve always wanted to do this and have never attempted it. This time around, here we go!BabyES A lifesaver for my “nesting” has been these fun little sewing projects when I have the energy and time (usually while Shailo is sleeping) to do them! I am currently in the process of making burp clothes, boppy covers, changing pads, wet bags, etc… I went with my favourite colour pallet when it comes to little girlies… coral pink, teals, pinks, etc.
babyes_3Probably my favourite project is making E.S. jersey knot headbands! I have sewn 16 so far, some for her, some for two different friends girlies too!
Below are some belly photos to play catch up:1560701_10151911087506989_2115162841_n I took one photo a week with Chaseyboy and Shailo and my 4th pregnancy, I think I’ve taken maybe 8 “nice” photos total. ;)1003078_10151944920801989_796009728_n

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1460969_10151952912611989_2038424609_nBelly meets steering wheel – 34 weeks pregnant.1497099_10151955359921989_716307619_n35 week photo, about as good as it got that week :)

This is a real, honest look into my current state of dress and mind and everything hahaha. A TOTAL MESS. 10748_10151961126781989_87012934_nFunny photo of Shai and momma aka “the whale” ;)
1012540_10151965187851989_1088837523_nI spent a couple hours in the hospital on Sunday, monitoring baby. I was in the most pain I’ve been in besides active labor with Chase. I think for my body it’s just 4 pregnancies, 4 years in a row and this pregnancy is my first which I carry up and down instead of side-to-side. So new stretching on this belly and body, My incision from the previous C-sections has given me pain and problems this pregnancy as E.S. grows. My legs go numb often throughout the day due to pressure and her having “dropped”. It’s normal pregnancy stuff, but the 4th time around I just feel it more. My body is worn out. She’s worth every ache and pain and restless night!

Having her heart monitored brought up a lot of painful memouries of my time (in that same hospital) with Eisley. I don’t want to spend the next few weeks feeling anxious but I see myself already down that path. I’m trying to stay positive and focus of the good things. Please pray for peace of mind for me?

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Above is my next project before she arrives! Craigslist $20 glider to transform into a beauty: to paint and recover it!

Thank you for stopping by!

Boy, girl, boy…?! (a gender reveal)

You’ve asked and here it FINALLY is… our gender reveal photoshoot!

finals_FB-2Sneak peek … (also, one of my faves of the day)
finals_FBGIRL!!!finals_FB-7finals_FB-4finals_FB-5finals_FB-6finals_FB-8finals_FB-9 finals_FB-10 finals_FB-11finals_FB-12finals_FB-14 finals_FB-15 finals_FB-16finals_FB-18finals_FB-19I’m beyond thrilled. finals_FB-21 finals_FB-22 finals_FB-23 Such a Chaseyboy face hahafinals_FB-26 finals_FB-27 finals_FB-28 finals_FB-30 Baby sister E.S.D (you know me, the name is gunna stay a secret til she’s here) is coming March 1, 2014!!finals_FB-31

Our pregnancy with Chase – having him be a surprise until birth was such a treasure for me, and I guess a sort of “bucket list” check off for me. Our pregnancy with Eisley is when I decided if we’re gunna learn the gender, I wanted to do it in a super fun way. We had the Pink or Blue party where we cut into a cake and learned she was a girl! With Shailo I accidently learned during an ultrasound – but we shared with close family and friends at our Mustache or Bows party. This time around, I wanted to do things a little differently, I learned around 12.5 weeks which was super hard for me for a few reasons. We learned “It’s a girl” and then within 5 minutes we learned that she had her organs growing outside of her body. At 16 weeks, we went back in and our specialist said that her organs were back inside! I felt like I could breath a little easier after that – although, honestly it’s still very hard for me to be pregnant. And to learn it’s a girl, I feel even more vulnerable somehow. I’ll blog more about that soon.

Thanks for popping by! Hope you’re excited as we are ;)

Pregnancy after loss: Where my feet may fail and fear surrounds me.

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Above: Little Baby Davis #4, making his/her first appearance on the blog :)

I thought it would be a little easier this time around. Being pregnant after loss and after having had another healthy pregnancy. I think at first, I felt it was easier. Maybe it was because even though we had tried for this baby, we didn’t really have much time to sit and process being pregnant again. If that makes sense. Our summer was a whirlwind. It flew by and here we are entering out second week of September already.

The truth is, it’s not easier this time around. And walking through another pregnancy after loss, I’ve come to realize and accept that it will never be easier. Our pregnancies will never feel safe again. I was reflecting on my first pregnancy with Chase and how unafraid I felt. I truly loved being pregnant. I miss that so very much. I am so thankful that at least one of our pregnancies was blissful. We hadn’t yet lost our innocence to what could happen.

The thing about fear for me, is that it’s paralyzing, debilitating. I struggle with major insomnia this pregnancy, and I feel it’s due to this fear. I also struggle with wanting to connect with this little one, even thought naturally I do. I want to, I just throw my guard up as if it would be easier if something were to happen. Which I know that it wouldn’t be any easier. My heart, though afraid of the risk, loves this little one so much already.

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Last month Ted introduced me to this song called Oceans by Hillsong. It’s been on repeat every day since. I just absolutely love it. The bridge is so perfect, I resonates in me.

 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,

Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,

and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Saviour.

When we lost Eisley, though the pain was beyond anything I have ever experienced, I feel my faith was made stronger. I remember when we lost her I felt like everything around me had shattered and there I stood, broken and confused …but there He stood with me. The picture I get it me standing in a room of darkness and broken glass and Him beside me. I felt for the first time, that I trust Him. Even though my daughter was taken from me, I trusted Him with everything in me. I knew He knew what was best for her even if it was painful for us.

I still feel this way and please, do not mistaken my fear in this pregnancy with lack of faith. I think it breaks my heart further when people speak words over me about my faith, etc. I have the faith and I also have this fear. I have trust in Him, but I also know that trust in Him doesn’t make me immune to suffering and pain. I accept this, I know this and I love Him. He is FOREVER good, even in my fear, even in my pain and in my weakness.

I guess I just wanted to get on my blog again (I miss blogging) and declare that even though – like this song states – my feet may fail me and fear surrounds me, I trust You, Father.

 

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I trust you with this little one, even if it means heartache in the end.

I feel He gave me this word this morning, the first word I’ve felt in a while:

“Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This is the right road. Walk down this road.” You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, “Good riddance!”

God will provide rain for the seeds you sow. The grain that grows will be abundant. Your cattle will range far and wide. Oblivious to war and earthquake, the oxen and donkeys you use for hauling and plowing will be fed well near running brooks that flow freely from mountains and hills. Better yet, on the Day God heals his people of the wounds and bruises from the time of punishment, moonlight will flare into sunlight, and sunlight, like a whole week of sunshine at once, will flood the land.” Isaiah 30:20-26

 

The 3rd year anniversaries of our Eisley-girl’s death and birth are coming up next weekend. While I can’t  believe it’s been 3 years, I also feel like it’s been a lifetime since we met her and said our goodbyes which breaks my heart. “But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home and it’s all you’ll ever know…”

the birth of seth tyrus maxwell, part two.

Be sure to read the first part of this incredible birth story, here.
Where was I? Oh yes, this incredible, and surprisingly big, baby boy was born.8lbs 14oz 21 14/in … and with a set of healthy lungs!Precious moments with his momma. It was so amazing to watch him just watching her face.Daddy stood by as they did a newborn screening and footprints. 

Big brother Anthem meeting him for the first time. <3
I’m pretty sure he loved him. :)

Such an honour to know such a beautiful family. What a memorable day, the birthday of Seth Tyrus Maxwell.

the birth of seth tyrus maxwell, part one.

October of 2011, I was incredibly honoured when I was asked to photograph my dear friend, Brittany’s birth of her second born son (due this past spring.) Here is my side of one of the most beautiful things I was a part of this year. I am so very excited to share some of the photos I captured from the incredible birth of Seth Tyrus. (My friend had hoped for a home birth but was unable to work insurance issues out. Thankfully she was still able to have a natural birth with a midwife – like she’d hoped!)I received the call at 6:30am Saturday, April 28. The anticipation was over, the day had come for Brittany and Taylor to meet their second son. Her water had broke and they were on their way to the hospital. As things began to progress, Brittany and Taylor updated their family of the news. He was coming! Today was the day!  And what a beautiful day it was; Blue skies and Colorado sunshine to welcome in their sweet baby boy. They walked the halls to help (and at this time, I felt I should let them have their time to talk and process.)When they returned, her midwife arrived and they began to check her progress. Things were speeding up. Having had a quick first labor with their son Anthem Tate, the midwife felt she would most likely have another quick labor. I could see fear and anxiety flicker across my sweet friend’s expression every once and a while. What would this labor be like for her? I prayed quietly as I documented their story.
As quickly as things were progressing, the labor and delivery nurse began preparing for the little one’s birth.The contractions became stronger and her pain became more and more evident.
Her hubby, Taylor stuck by her side and comforted her as she needed it. I could see many emotions in his eyes throughout the birth process but mostly that of pride: pride watching his bride, so strong, sweet and beautiful, as she selflessly birthed their second born.
Her doula, Bethany, documenting the stages of her labor (she is also a friend of mine, I just recently photographed the birth story of her baby girl.)

About 4/4.5 hours in she went into the jacuzzi tub for comfort. This is the part where I prayed my heart out while she labored away. I could sense her fear rising up again.She was so strong, she just needed to believe that for herself too. Taylor stood by her side, affirming her. Bethany and her midwife Julie, also did the same. Her midwife stood, swaying back and forth with her, helping her fight through the contractions. Things began to speed up rather quickly from this moment on out. Her contractions falling closer and closer behind. The time was near. Everyone could feel it. Especially this sweet momma. (If you look at the clock in the photo – to get an idea of just how fast things progressed, she had him about 30 mins later.)There is such an incredible helplessness you feel as you watch a loved one in labor, in such pain. At this point Taylor just simple held her as the waves of labor swept over her. It moved me to tears.
As the time to push drew nearer, Britt closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Taylor never left her side. Bethany touched a cool rag to her forehead for comfort. I prayed and captured these incredibly emotional moments before her son was born.
Perhaps my favourite photo. What an incredible strength. In both of them.I thought it was so beautiful, that in her pain, she reached up and literally clung to her husband, her rock. She clung to him with each push until finally, Seth was born. I don’t even had words. Just tears. Such a beautiful moment and moments to follow. My sweet, strong friend Brittany was incredible.Seth Tyrus Maxwell

April 28, 2012 1:26 pm

8lbs 14oz 21 1/4in

You are an incredibly lucky little boy to have such an incredible, selfless momma and a strong, loving daddy! (Part two to follow…)

Thank you to Brittany and Taylor for allowing me to be a part of your beautiful, miraculous day!

a {different} beautiful dream.

It’s a moment I will never forget, probably because it was one that would either scar a person for life, or move them to tears. It was the very first time I witnessed a birth, at the young age of 13. I was watching the kiddos of my mom’s friend while she labored away in their home. My mom was there and as the time of their daughter’s birth neared, they asked me if I would like to be in the room. I decided I did and I have never regretted that decision since. It was beautiful and I knew at the moment, that was what I hoped for some day. I always knew I wanted a family (being the eldest, I always did), but now I knew how I wanted to birth my children. In the peace of our home.

Years later, I was 24 weeks pregnant, I had a wonderful midwife and a beautiful birth story all planned out.  But they were telling me that I was Group B Strep positive and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have the home birth I had always dreamt of (I later learned, you actually can be GBS + and still have a home birth, but thankfully He knew what we needed at the time). I was crushed. I mean, devesated. I balled and balled. Ted, who was never fully at peace with the idea of a home birth, finally felt peace and knew this was the best decision for us. Then, at almost 42 weeks they told me the likelihood of me having to have a c-section was great. Many factors that weren’t adding up. I felt like the biggest failure, frustrated with my body for being unable to have my baby naturally.

I won’t go into detail Chase’s birth story, if you’re really curious – just click here as I have written his birth story online once before. To sum it up, 42 hours of labor, 3.5 hours of pushing, making it all the way to 10cm only to have him get stuck and unable to fit and come out. I had him by c-section, totally exhausted and drugged up and unable to remember anything or hold him until a day later.

My perspective has greatly changed since we’ve lost Eisley. I have since realized, through our own life experience, that any birth story that is able to bring the baby to your arms, alive, is the really best birth story there is.

Words can’t express how incredibly thankful I am that I was able to have Eisley naturally (vaginally) 73 hours of labor later I met our sweet girl face to face. It wasn’t what I had dreamt when I thought of having a baby but I am so very thankful that I was able to hold my daughter, to see her precious face before we said goodbye, and because of that, I wouldn’t trade any of those 73 hours in for anything. (we just recently had the 2nd anniversaries or her death -september 14th and her birthday – september 17th. Blog post about those precious anniversaries, soon.)

I decided to schedule a c-section with Shailo. There was really no question in my mind. I knew I couldn’t go through another long labor that would potentially result in a c-section, again. And also, I felt a natural birth was too traumatic from going through what we had with Eisley just shy of 14 months before. So, in regards to a c-section, even though it was a dream lost – I was able to have two beautiful boys due to them. So very thankful we live in a day and age that it is possible.

I kind of digress, but I wanted to share a bit of my heart behind what I’m about what I am really blogging about. When I was pregnant with Chase, Eisley and Shailo I enjoyed looking through photographs of birth stories – home births, c-section births, hospital births… I was constantly moved to tears by them. In my pregnancy with Shailo I really felt that God gave me an incredible dream. I wanted to be a birth photographer. I wanted to capture “that moment” for another. You know, that one moment when the mother first meets their baby face to face. The moment when they birth their baby and he/she is placed on their chest. The incredible emotion, the overwhelming love… that moment. That specific moment was one that I was unable to have but I wanted to capture that for someone else.

And, the story beforehand and those precious moments afterwards. But especially the moment the momma (and daddy) first sees their little one.

The question, “How could you photograph…”that moment”… something you’ve never experienced yourself?” started to plague my mind. And while that makes total sense in a way, I had to battle that. I honestly think there will always be this yearning in my heart. Wondering what “that” moment would be like. And even without the experience of a home birth or a completely natural, un-medicated birth, I feel that yearning so strong that I am able to truly capture the moments I would believe to be beautiful – as if it were my birth story. What would I want captured?

Another thing that began to draw out insecurity from within me was knowing that I wasn’t a professional photographer, so how could I just jump right in. My wonderful hubby jumped on board with my dream and wanted to help me in any way possible. So he has been teaching me. :) I have a lot to learn but I can already see a change in the work that I do. And also, I don’t want to be a professional photographer, maybe not ever, right now I just know I want to understand the camera and how to best captures those moments for someone else.

So how do I begin?

I knew that I wanted to start with friends, but even with close friends… how do you ask something like that? “Hi, I’d like to photograph your birth story, what do ya think?” The first thought of many is most likely – “I don’t want …down there… photographed!” haha. Thankfully, I was spared that awkward conversation and just 3 weeks after I shared this dream with Ted (October 2011), a friend of mine called me. She asked if I would consider photographing the birth of their son, Seth. I literally got goosebumps and tears filled my eyes. I was honoured to shoot my first birth in April.

During the birth of my friend Brittany’s son, I was asked to shoot my second birth by another dear friend, Bethany. She was Brittany’s doula and a long time friend and inspiration of mine. The amazing thing is that when I had shared with Ted about my dream, I had told Ted that I wanted to ask Bethany when they got pregnant with their next baby. And not too long later, they shared they were pregnant with baby #7! On September 15th, just a few weeks ago, I shot my second birth – the beautiful birth of their 4th daughter; Lilyana Elaine.

I hope to share both birth stories here soon. Today I will be posting the birth story of Seth Tyrus Maxwell (with permission.)

I am hoping for more wonderful opportunities like the two I’ve had this year. So very thankful for this dream I believe He’s given me and can’t wait to see how He will use this and bless others with it! Possible overseas someday? We shall see!

I just wanted to share a little bit about the story behind this dream that I believe God’s birthed in me (pun intended ;)) Thanks for stopping by!

“Time Crunch” {a maternity photo shoot}

post edited on 12-31-2011 to show never before seen photos from this day. The photos with the chalkboard sharing his name :)

(that’s all of the “new” ones above :))

This maternity shoot has been a long time in coming. In fact, it’s about 7 weeks “late” according to my plan (haha, “plan” ;)).

I was beginning to lose hope that this photo shoot would happen. Ted is so insanely busy with work and school and other photo shoots that finding time for our maternity one was close to impossible. I almost gave up completely because at this point in pregnancy my hands, feet and face (more specifically my nose) begin to swell and I start feeling far from cute pregnant . ;) But I knew I’d be so disappointed with myself for not getting at least a few good photographs of my pregnancy with S.

So we set another date (first was rained out), picked Ted up from work last Saturday and decided to try and knock it out. By the time we got his gear ready, his clothes changed and downtown we had less than an hour of sunlight left. At first I was super bummed because (if you follow my pinterest boards you know) I had a million and one ideas I wanted to try. I decided to just let them go and to go with the time we had and whatever shots we got, we got. The main objective was to capture our pregnancy with Boy S, so as long as we got one or two good belly shots, we were set.

All that to say, here are most of our maternity shots. I’m calling them our “time crunch” shots due to the fact that I’m full term and that we had a race against time with the sun. This wasn’t my “plan” but I have to say I am completely in love with these photos, even though there are few. {In love}. Ted shot a lot of candid shots while I was talking with Chase about posing for photos and they turned out to be some of my favourite photos of he and I to date.

(Side note: All of these photos were taken by Ted but had to be edited by me because he’s too busy right now. I am impatient and wanted to post them before we had S so I wasn’t posting maternity shots after he’s born :))

Some of my favourite shots I can’t show because I used a chalkboard and instead of writing ‘Boy S’ I wrote his name. So I’ll have to share those AFTER I have S and announce his name (less than 3 weeks!)

These two are candids. The first is a perfect picture of what it was like to get Chase to pose :)

Below are some of my favourite photos of Chase and I … {ever}

Ted shot these while I was talking to Chase about being nice and sweet and posing for pictures with S. When we uploaded these I teared up in awe at how precious these photos turned out to be. Unplanned, unposed and beautiful.

I feel like these are so perfect in timing. How precious and dear to my heart these photos will always be. The last few weeks as {just} Chasey-boy with momma and daddy. I just absolutely adore them.

Well, now that we’ve got a few shots of the belly… time for you to come Boy S ;)

Hospital gown; Help me decide?

Hey! I am choosing a hospital gown from Annie & Isabel and would love your opinion. First though, you can read more about Annie & Isabel and the story behind the name here. Selena and Anna have incredible hearts and I just love what they are doing in creating such beautiful, unique gowns for woman. (I mean, seriously, have you ever had to wear an hospitals hospital gown?) I love and appreciate their hearts in wanting woman to look and feel, not only beautiful, but {hope}.

On a  more personal level this gown means something special to me as well. Sometime during bedrest with our Eisley-girl was when I first heard from “Annie & Isabel”. They wrote me often via Twitter to encourage, love and speak hope to me and this continued long after we lost Eisley (even still). I knew that whenever I would get pregnant again, I would be honoured to wear one of their gowns. I also feel like it’s my a kind of way of really being able to thank them for their love and support to me during my darkest season. And, yes, it will be so nice to not wear an open backed gown ever again :)

So how can you help? Well, I am torn between 3 beautiful gowns. One is simple pretty, another is more creative pretty and another is funky pretty. But I love all 3 of them….Please vote and help me decide? Which one do you think is more JAMI? You can click on the photo or link below each photo to see each gown in more detail.

 

01:: The Isabel

02:: The Susan

03:: The Anita

I’m going to combine the votes from facebook, twitter and here and go with that :) Thanks for your help!

If you know anyone who is expecting or spending time in the hospital, maybe send them to their site or buy them one of these beautiful gowns as a gift! They have a few more pretty choices, so go check them out!