Expecting Baby Todd | Self Portrait Maternity Session | Madison Photographer
Before I begin I’ll share a little side story. The tattoo on my arm reads “viva la adi” – which translates to “live on Adi/Adriana”. I got this tattoo as a reminder that even through tough times I can persevere. It was also a way for me to remember that I am a strong human woman. These were constant affirmations that I held on to in the last several months….
Chris + I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year until we decided that it was just not going to happen. I was heartbroken – mostly because I continued to battle a roller coaster of emotions as I tried to understand what was happening with my body. There are times when you take your health for granted until you realize things are not working as they should. We moved from being ok with the idea of never having children, to being upset that we got another negative pregnancy test, to days when I brought up what country I’d like to adopt from. It was a lot of up and down and crying and being ok with what was… But finally my doctor found the culprit. A pituitary tumor that was messing with my hormones. I am thankful that it is manageable – but even more, we are extremely lucky that it only took a year and half to have been discovered and regulated. I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
And so on January 20th we finally got a positive pregnancy test. Hurray!!!! I wish I could tell you we were ecstatic and jumping with joy. Instead I cried and stuffed my face with nachos. We were in complete shock. I really don’t think there’s any amount of readiness that can prepare you for that type of life changing news. We were extremely happy but then it hit us – we. are. going. to. bring. a. human. into. this. world… We were overwhelmed. I think the first week we purchased all organic – grass fed – non GMO – free range – no MSG – healthy foods. It was a lot. We put away all scented candles and I stopped using cosmetic products with parabens and fragrances. We lived on Google. Constantly researching what was best. We would search every ache and pain in hopes that it was normal symptoms and not the sudden end to a little tiny thing living inside of me… And on February 14th we finally saw the heartbeat in the first ultrasound. We could finally breathe. It was a sigh of relief. Again, we are one of the lucky ones.
We took it week by week and looked forward to every doctors appointment. We couldn’t wait to hear the heartbeat again. It was magical. We would look at each other in complete amazement knowing that we created a life. It’s been great having Chris at every single doctor’s appointment. He has been beyond supportive. He is also my reminder that I need to slow down and take care of myself. Sometimes I feel like I am super woman – but then I remember that I am only a human woman. Even with a degree in child development I continued to overwhelm myself with article after article, trying to find peer reviewed studies that provided the best methods to create a healthy human baby. It was a lot.
Finally I decided to slow down… It felt good. Along with steering away from constantly reading and researching articles I also scaled back on photography work. I started turning away wedding photography clients. I decided to put a hold on lifestyle sessions (thanks to everyone for being so understanding.) I took a limited amount of work this year which was the best decision I could have made. Even with having Chris photographing weddings with me, my body started to feel the discomforts of pregnancy. I actually didn’t start to really feel pregnant until Chris and I went to Oregon for our Babymoon. Suddenly my tiny bump felt like a real pregnant belly.
We started feeling baby kicks. Then I started outgrowing 90% of my clothes. Suddenly I realized time was passing by and I still had not set up maternity pictures. I felt super overwhelmed trying to schedule a session. It was then that I decided that I would photograph my own maternity pictures. Using a tripod, my iPhone with the Nikon app, and a very smart camera (D750 that I use at every wedding/session) I made it happen! When I first picked up a camera at the age of 15 I used it as a barrier to hide my introverted anxiety. Although I’m proud to have graduated to an “outgoing introvert” I still have a difficult time being in front of the camera. A self-portrait shoot was exactly what felt right for me.
I waited until we had most of the baby’s nursery set up. What once was our office has been transformed into our little babes room. It is filled with the most beautiful natural light (which we will block out during sleep time with some black out shades :)). We stayed with neutrals and organic colors and textures – like the rest of our home. We love how perfect our Davinci mini crib that we won through a Madison Mom’s Blog Instagram giveaway fits into the room.
We decided to not find out the sex of the baby. This decision didn’t have an impact on decorating the nursery as we would steer clear of gender “norms” regardless. Somehow I have convinced Chris that neutrals are the way to go for our entire home 🙂 We have slowly purchased items for the nursery making sure everything is safe and ready for baby’s arrival. I think our dogs have approved of the rug we chose…
This past Sunday Chris went for a bike ride (#crossiscoming) so I decided I would use that time to take some pictures. I squeezed my wedding rings onto my swollen fingers and finally shaved my legs, haha! I wore the same shawl that kept me warm on our wedding day. The entire time I was photographing felt like such a mindful experience. It was just baby and me. I felt my belly as baby kicked and squirmed. I used a self-timer to put away my phone which I was using as a trigger. At times baby would give me a good kick and I couldn’t help but react to how good it felt knowing this little baby was putting all of it’s trust in me. My strong body and our constant love is all it really needs.
Through the entire hour I photographed I took time to reflect on how our life was changing. I’m sure people say your life changes once you have a baby but I have to disagree. Life is always changing – sometimes it changes more drastically. I have seen my body change. I never knew my body could be this strong. Strong enough to create and grow a life. I didn’t know my heart could love something so tiny. I never knew I could be so excited to meet someone.
We are beyond grateful to be given this experience. There is no certainty to anything and this we know. We continue to prepare for the arrival of our baby – hoping that everything will go smoothly. We hope for a healthy baby. We cannot wait to meet our little one this September. And I know our friends and family can’t wait either. Thanks to everyone for being so loving and supportive through these last couple of years. Little Baby Todd is coming into a world filled with lots of love and kindness.
I know Buster will eventually warm up to the idea of having a little baby brother/sister 🙂