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Daughter to Mother, Mother to Grandmother

My mom flies home today after 43 days with us: 24 pre-baby, and 20 post-baby! It’s very bittersweet. I’m finally starting to feel better physically, and therefore feeling more up to the challenge of taking care of Wesley on my own while Conner is at work, and also being able to get out of the house occasionally, but we all are going to miss her so so much!

My mom was one of the first people to speak to and comfort my son after his somewhat traumatic birth (which I REALLY do intend to write out VERY soon). I cannot tell you how special this is to me, and I’m sure to her as well.  The photos below… they bring tears to my eyes instantly. Thank you, Conner, for taking them! 

I hardly remember this moment because I was so beyond exhausted, but I DO remember my mom being there during my labor. She was a quiet figure in the periphery most of the time. I totally withdrew into myself to deal with labor, and spent a lot of time with my eyes closed, or tuning out what was around me, but I remember her coming into my consciousness at the moments I needed her most. She’d speak quietly into my ear and tell me I could do this, I was doing great. Apparently I kept asking over and over during the course of the 40 hours, “Is my mom here? Where’s mom?” and Conner would reassure me she was there.

A few days after giving birth I remembered, towards the end of my labor, when things were getting scary and chaotic, Conner said loudly next to me, “Wendy, you’re staying.” I asked him what that had been about and he told me the doctor said more people needed to leave. My mom hesitated because a few of the other people on my birth team hadn’t left yet, so Conner, knowing how much I needed her there and how much it meant to her to BE there, made sure she knew not to go. When he told me this piece I cried, and I’m crying now just thinking about it, about her wondering if she should go. I would have been devastated, DEVASTATED if she’d left. That's a perfect example of Conner looking out for what he knew I wanted and ensuring it happened even when I couldn't. 

During the very last moments before Wes was born I looked at my mom and saw she was crying. I think a lot of people in the room were scared but seeing my mom cry, which she doesn’t do often… I felt the full weight of a mother looking at her child and wishing she could take away the pain. To feel my mother’s love so thoroughly in the moment that I myself became a mother was a priceless experience. One she or I will never ever forget. 

I would NOT have been able to give birth the way I did without her and Conner and the rest of my amazing birth team. And giving birth to Wesley is by far the greatest accomplishment of my life, and she gets to share credit for helping that happen.

Mom: Thank you for spending weeks on end helping me get through the discomfort of being hugely pregnant and ready to give birth. For cleaning and cooking and making my life 100x easier. For being my companion even when I was grouchy and didn’t want one. For letting me cry and not judging my tears. For making me smile and feel supported and loved. For encouraging us when Wes was in the NICU, and when I had to go back to the ER. For walking through the darker days where postpartum depression threatened. For taking Wes in the mornings so I could get a few extra hours of sleep. For loving my son so purely and instantly. For being my mom when I needed you the most! I will never, ever be able to repay you. I love you! And I know you'll be back soon! :) 

I did a bad job of taking pictures with once we were home so most of these are from the NICU. 

Lastly I want to add a thank-you to my dad. Besides the 4 days he was here in Texas to meet Wesley, he's been alone at home without mom. In the 44 years they've been together, the longest they'd been apart prior to this was about 10 days. This was more than quadruple that. It's been a sacrifice for him too, and I want to recognize that.

This was the morning Dad was leaving and this photo... DAMN. It breaks my heart! I was just taking a photo of him looking at the post-its full of birth affirmations and congratulatory messages that my mom orchestrated and he teared up and said, "It's just so nice." I couldn't agree more. I love you Dad, and we all miss you! 

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My Self Portrait Project from 20 - 40 Weeks!

HOW IT BEGAN

This project began at 20 weeks when I wanted to take a pretty gender reveal picture, but it was a weekday and no one was available to come help me take it. So I drove to the snow and took one myself! After moving to Texas I realized I'd be spending a lot of time alone since I'm not working right now, and I wanted something more than mirror selfies to remember my pregnancy by. It was also a great (albeit small) creative outlet for me while not photographing clients. I didn't follow any sort of timeline, I just took photos as they came to me or as I pleased. I'm SO happy I did this little project and plan on continuing with it after Wesley makes his grand entrance earthside. :) 


20 WEEKS // 1.31.16

My Gender Reveal photos in Oregon at Odell Lake. It's a BOY!

My tripod broke while I was there so the first photo was taken with my camera sitting on a snow bank and the second was taken from the hood of my car! 


25 WEEKS // 2.4.17

After our move to Texas we made a trip to Austin to see friends and visit Inner Space Caverns! 


26 WEEKS // 2.13.17

Getting settled into the groove of stay-at-home-momness and nesting away in the nursery! This first image is still one of my very favorites. I've spent a lot of time on my own, inwardly focused on me and my baby, and I think this image captures that peaceful calm quite well. 


27 WEEKS // 2.15.17

More home life. :) 


28 WEEKS // 2.22.17

With early spring upon us in Texas and the amazing weather, I made a trip down to the Dallas Arboretum - one of my favorite places so far! I remember feeling absolutely HUGE this day! Haha! 


31 WEEKS // 3.20.17

Stopped on the side of the road in a few places after an appointment at my birth center. 


32 WEEKS // 3.27.17

Thoroughly enjoying the sun in my backyard, and an ice cold glass of chlorophyll!


33 WEEKS // 3.29.17 - 4.1.17

I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this first one, but showers and baths have been such an IMPERATIVE part of keeping me comfortable during my pregnancy, it wouldn't be an accurate depiction to leave these types of photos out. And to be honest, I don't feel shy about showing some skin now and again. Especially pregnant. :) 

Also a few more at-home images as well as my 29th birthday photo! 


34 WEEKS // 4.5.17

Went down to the lake next to our house for some pretty evening light.

4.10.17

This photo was taken the day after we'd been in the hospital after 15 hours of preterm labor. I ended up having to be sedated to stop the labor, but I spent the next 3 weeks in prodromal labor (a type of labor that happens prior to the onset of full active labor. It is often considered a type of “false-labor,” but this is a misnomer, because doctors and midwives will explain that the contractions are real but they start and stop). Baths, which I've taken every day for my entire pregnancy (sometimes more than once a day) became even more frequent during these weeks. 


36 WEEKS // 4.19.17 & 4.25.17

A simple bump shot and more shower therapy, haha! Wesley was posterior for much of my prodromal labor (probbaly what was causing it) and with my contractions came some back labor helped only by hanging my belly and sitting under the warm water. 


37 WEEKS // 4.26.17 & 5.2.17

This was a big milestone for us. I wasn't able to give birth in my birth center until I was 37 weeks, and I'd been on modified bedrest (I could be up for an hour with minimal activity and then I'd have to lay down for an hour - not sit, LAY - and so on) for 2 weeks prior to this. I was released from bedrest this week and officially allowed to give birth with my midwife in my birth center.

My mom also flew in from Oregon this week. She wasn't going to come until May 7th but came a week early because I'd been showing signs of going into labor early. Of course, because we thought he was coming early, now he's stayed put! Mom and I have thoroughly enjoyed our neighborhood pool which opened May 1st!


38 WEEKS // 5.7.17

My self portrait project has sort of made me look like a single mom, haha! But that's simply because 1) I'm alone a lot, and therefore taking photos of myself only is more feasible, and 2) Conner does not enjoy having his photo taken (and yet he married a photographer!). He didn't mind me capturing this moment between us, though. :) He's been the most amazing and supportive husband a girl could ask for, and my ability to do these fun things and focus on my pregnancy is 100% thanks to him and his hard work! 


39 WEEKS // 5.12.17

I came home one day to find 30+ birth affirmations written out and stuck on my wall by my mom. It was one of the sweetest things, so of course I had to get a photo with her in front of them!


40 WEEKS!!! Hello Due Date! // 5.17.17

That brings us to today! Wesley's due date! Even though first time moms typically do go over their due date, we didn't think we'd get here because of the early labor signs. But here we are! Although I'm quite ready for him to be born, I know it's best for him to stay in there and cook for the full 40 weeks, and I'm kind of proud to be here today. I must admit, though... now I REALLY want him to come! My dad, sister and brother-in-law are flying out in 8 days to meet this boy. It would be nice to actually have a baby to show them! :D 

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