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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A maternity shoot to remember


I love preserving moments through photos and words. I always have. In high school I took pictures of everyone and everything, creating a scrapbook that my friends and I still enjoy today.

I grew up to be that annoying mom who took pictures all the time. I have always subscribed to the idea that “you never  know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Some of my favourite photos are the maternity pictures I've had done over the years of my four pregnancies. I adore them because they capture the anticipation and happiness, as well as the beauty that only comes from carrying your child inside your  womb.

My last pregnancy was anything but textbook. I was given fatal maternal diagnoses of Complete placenta previa and accreta when I was pregnant with our first baby girl, Sadie. (I also had percreta, which was discovered after my C-Section.)

At 26 weeks I had a massive hemorrhage and was hospitalized. I continued to bleed heavily for two weeks. Thankfully, it just stopped—but the risk of allowing me to leave the hospital was too great, so I was told I'd be there until delivery.

It was a horribly depressing time for me and my family. We hadn't had time to prepare anything for the birth of our baby; no baby showers and no maternity pictures. With special permission from my doctors, my photographer Kendra Harrell was allowed to come to the hospital and take maternity photos.

It was a bittersweet day for me. I had no personal belongings at the hospital, so my best friends came and did my hair and makeup and brought me a dress to wear. Taking these photos was something I needed to do. I didn't know if I'd live to meet Sadie, but I wanted her to know she was so loved and that I treasured the time I was able to carry her. These photos would allow her to glimpse that joy. I also wrote her letters.

Thankfully, I will get to share these with her personally one day because we both won the fight for our lives that was her delivery. She was born March 8, 2017 weighing five pounds. She is now a very happy, extremely healthy nine-month-old. I still take pictures all the time and make scrapbooks for my family. They no longer complain (as much) because almost losing their mom gave them a new appreciation for having lasting memories of the moments we share that weave together to make a beautiful life.

When you look at a maternity shoot, you don’t get to see what it took for the mom, couple, or family, to get to that point in pregnancy; what struggles they have faced; the uncertainties that weigh heavily on their minds. When you look at my pictures, you would never guess that I prepared for it while in hospital—with help of such wonderful friends and support from the hospital. Our family will be forever indebted for the kindness shown to us. For that day we were able to let go of what was before us and enjoy the moment. That's the kind of power that life, love, and friendship has.

[Today's guest post by Amanda Solomon is part of our paid blogging program. Amanda is an editor and blogger at Life Defenders.]

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