Saturday, September 28, 2013

witnessing loss...and love

 Last week, I was asked to photograph a baby who was just a few hours old, but was only expected to live a few mere hours. Of course I said I would. I have done maybe 5 infant loss sessions, but this one was different. Usually when I photograph a loss, the infant had already passed away, whether it was in utero or shortly after birth (in which case I never made it by the time the baby passed away). This little one was still alive.
 His parents knew that their little one would soon pass away shortly after birth, as he had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18. Trisomy 18 is a genetic syndrome that is usually not compatible with life, unlike trisomy 21 which is downs syndrome. Many trisomy 18 babies never even make it to full term and survive, let alone be born alive. This little boy, who we will call "J" was born at 40+ weeks. He was a sweet little chucky boy, weighing in at over 8 pounds.
 I was very nervous for this shoot. I had not yet experienced a situation where a baby was born and the family just...waits. I didn't know how the family was responding to this situation, and how they would be when I was taking photographs. Finally I built up enough courage and headed to their hospital room. When I entered the room, mom was snuggling J in her arms. Looking at him, he looked so so so perfect. Looked just like any other baby. He was beautiful.
 I snapped away photos of him and his mommy, him and his daddy, and him and his 6 others brothers and sisters. There was so much love in that room. Everyone was rubbing J's head, rocking him, kissing him.
Then it hit me. They were not mourning the loss that was about to come, but they were celebrating the time that they had with him, right then and there. Taking in his little newborn noises, his scant amount of sweet newborn hair, his pink lips and tiny little noise. That little boy had nothing but pure love surrounding him. I'm only reminded of this even more as I sit down and edit these photos. I hope these will comfort this family in the years ahead.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

little ghost

Today we made these cute little adorable ghost. Total cost = $0 (we used stuff that was just laying around).

 It was a fun (and cheap) craft that we did with the boys for Halloween. I'm glad that I no longer have that huge piece of muslin I bought a few years ago laying around. The Christmas balls are plastic ones I bought from the dollar store last Christmas.

Cameron did the all the ghost's face :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My love affair with green smoothies

For almost a year now, I have been making green smoothies. I can't explain how much I just love them!
I found a recipe on pinterest and went shopping. I spent maybe $40 and had enough to snake about 30 smoothies. I cut up the fruit and veggies and put them in individual sandwhich bags and stuck them in the freezer. I also bought a quart of fresh squeezed OJ not from concentrate. At first, I used kale. It did not agree with my blender as I could not get it to puree to smooth. So I tried spinach and it was perfect.
The first things I noticed was how full the smoothies kept me with all the fiber. Also I started to notice my energy levels were spiking (hooray!). Another great thing I noticed was my mild depression and anxiety seemed to lessen as well. There truley are so many great things about these smoothies, and they are totally customizable!
Here is what a typical smoothie looks like for me:
2cups raw spinach
A few tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 banana
Handful of raspberries or strawberries
About 3/4 cup OJ
Half a peach or apple
Sometimes avocado
Baby carrots and cucumbers.
The fruit totally covers up the taste of the veggies. I make these at work and share with my co workers and its a big hit.
My routine is to buy in bulk, make about 30 sandwhich bags full and freeze. In the morning I just put everything in the blender and its time to go!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I have changed.

      “It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.
     Erma Bombeck

  I was just thinking today how much I have changed over the past say... 3 years. I'm not sure if it because I am maturing and aging, or if its because I have children who are getting older, or because I'm advancing in my healthcare career working with women. Maybe its just a combination of all. I think being a mother really tops the list, but working with other families and seeing different lifestyles and parenting styles has definitly opened my eyes to the dynamics of life and the world.
  I have changed in in ways such as: 
  • Im much less judgmental of others. I have in the past had a hard time accepting peoples views and beliefs that were not similar to my own. Being judgmental can really take a toll on your psyche. 
  • Im less envious of others. I believe that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Now i'm certainly not saying I got handed a bunch of lemons, but there are a few obstacles that I have had to overcome without support. Being self supportive from the age of 16 (me and my husband both) it can be easy to look at how much others have, and look over how much you yourself really does have.
  • Im more patient.
  •  More responsible financially.
  • Thinking more about my long term future. 
  • Exploring and challenging my creativity levels. 
  I have discovered, what I believe to be my true passion. I love OB healthcare, and not just the process. Not just the cute little babies and the wonderful families I meet. There is SO much more to it. There is supporting and showing love to the teenage girl who has been abused. The family who has had in the past traumatic birth experiences. The family who has endured the great pain of losing a baby. Watching that family come back with a rainbow baby. The woman that I just hold because she needs a shoulder to just cry on because she is sleep deprived and needs reassurance that she is doing a good job. Showing the mother on methadone compassion and understanding , who truly does care for her baby, but also has an addiction problem. The code 2's (emergency c-sections), holding your breath in hope while adrenaline is flowing through your veins like a raging river to help the team get the baby out. Hearing that baby take a breath and cry. Crying the whole way home because you know you have helped saved a life, if not two. Giving hope, and receiving hope.Thats just a touch on why I'm so in love with this field of healthcare.
Here is a song I LOVE by Tyler Stenson. You really should youtube this song and listen to it yourself!

I heard you say that you wish I stayed
An older version of me -- long before my change.
But, if we're not growing we are staying the same,
So I will welcome the change and stretch myself day to day.
We're entitled to change because we grow

Like blown up balloons.
Like the flare at the end of a spoon.
Like one note becoming a tune.
Like the city lights in the darkening blue--
The change is gonna happen real slow
But not a day goes by we don't grow.

If a seed can grow into a tree
And if that tree can grow leaves,
I ask, how is that different than me?
Because we both breathe and we come from the dirt
And that's where we will return
When both of our seasons fade.
We're entitled to change because we grow

Like one into two.
Like the eleventh hour turning to noon,
Then May slow fades into June,
Then you're a grownup in your childhood room--
The change is gonna happen real slow
But not a day goes by we don't grow.

If we're not growing, we are staying the same
So, I will welcome the change and stretch myself day to day.
We're entitled to change because we grow

Like a high tide caused by that moon.
Like a flower knowing Spring is coming soon.
Like wings inside a cocoon,
(Or anything else that is destine to bloom)--
Like our faith in the things we know to be true
Or like the courage found in the wine and the booze--
The change is gonna happen real slow
But not a day goes by we don't grow. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First day of school!

Today was big day for our family, the day our first born starts school! I still can't believe that I have a child who is now in school. Love it! I'm so excited for all the school related events, sports, festivities, etc. I'm excited for him to make new friends, learn new things, and grow.
 Today started out by laying down with him to wake him up in his bed. Before he was awake, I lay there with him, ran my fingers through his hair, and placed my hand on his little beating heart. As tears filled my eyes I kissed him and hoped that my baby will not change too fast before my eyes. It seems like just not so long ago we had a little bundle of joy wrapped up in a swaddling blanket.
 After Cameron woke up, we had some breakfast, got dressed, and daddy did his hair. Tony had taken the entire day off from work so he could focus on Cameron.
 We walked to the bus stop and of course I snapped photos like a crazy mamarazzi!

I have to say my heart did sink a little as I watched the bus drive away!