This post has been a long time coming. I always said to myself that when I have a baby, I’d do ALL THE THINGS: I’d do 3-4 maternity photos (because I’m a photographer), I’d document my birth at the hospital, I’d post a super cute baby announcement photo of E wearing the cutest little outfit, and every single day I would break out my camera and snap totally cute spur of the moment images of him. Then reality came and boy did no one tell me I wouldn’t be doing ANY of that! I also said I would blog about him every month and talk about his milestone in every post but here we are 6 months later…and I have not done one single photography related blog post, much less something about him. But I always loved reading about the personal life of the photographers/bloggers I follow that makes me feel a genuine connection with them so I wanted to share our little journey with you.
We decided we wanted to start a family mid 2016. I found out I was first pregnant in December 2016 and was elated! I texted my friend Julie who was also trying with me at the same time and who was already pregnant with her beautiful boy. I was so excited that we would be having kids together and they would be so close in age!
That same week on a Saturday morning Ashley Rae and I traded head shots at a cute coffee shop.
I remember afterwards we were sitting there talking and I told her the news that I was pregnant and we were both crying. About 20 minutes into our conversation I just got this huge feeling that something was wrong. I told Ashley that I didn’t want to go to our 2nd location and that I wasn’t feeling well and needed to leave. I immediately went to the nearest pharmacy and got a pregnancy test, took it then and there and got the devastating news when it read “Not Pregnant”. Those two words would haunt me for the next year. That was December 2016. During this ordeal, I found out that SO MANY of my friends have had at least one miscarriage. That it happens way more often than anyone really ever talks about. I don’t think that it’s anything taboo or shameful, and that if more people talked about their experiences, we’d all feel a little less alone. Hearing about my friends experiences made me feel better about mine and gave me a little bit of hope.
Over the next year, we kept trying and I kept dreading seeing those two words. I would mentally prepare myself and get “pre-depressed” just in case the results were negative. And for 9 months I kept seeing those two words. NOT PREGNANT. NOT PREGNANT. NOT PREGNANT. Each and every single time, it got harder and harder.
Finally in August of 2017 I decided to explore my options and to go see a fertility doctor just to get some answers and see what our options were. I went to meet with Dr. Craig on a Wednesday, August 30th. We made some plans for me to go in and get some additional testing done and to eventually start with IUI and if that didn’t work, we’d explore IVF. 3 days later, on a lark I thought “eh why not take a pregnancy test just in case”. I had like 50 of those little test strips and at this point I was so used to not seeing a second line that I was almost numb to it. I would test every day just so I didn’t have to wonder and get my hopes up. But when I FINALLY saw that second pink line, I was in complete disbelief.
I got the positive at almost 2am and for the next few days, I kept retaking and retaking because I didn’t want to get excited and have another miscarriage. (Chemical pregnancy sounds so scientific. A loss is still a loss) I felt such a trill as the line got darker and darker on each test. I went to the doctor and got blood drawn so they could measure the HCG in my blood. I had to go back the next day as well and if the numbers went up, then it confirmed the pregnancy test! I was indeed pregnant!
We had plans the next two week after that, we had to travel to San Diego for a friends wedding then fly directly to Hong Kong then to Vietnam for a week on vacation. I couldn’t do an ultrasound until I got back and that was what I really wanted the most. To see in black and white the little blob that was my baby. So for the next week and a half I was filled with anxiety. I couldn’t enjoy our vacation and had to be extra careful with what I was eating. I also got a little sick during that vacation. I was so excited at the wedding surrounded by all my friends. I wanted to tell all of them the news! But at that time I was only 6 weeks and I didn’t know if it would stick. It’s so hard being so excited for something and not being able to tell many people.
We flew from Vietnam back to Hong Kong, then began the long trip to LA. I got an ear infection during that time (I don’t know when) but when we arrived in LAX, the airline lost my luggage with my progesterone supplements I was supposed to be taking every day, on top of that, after being in an airplane for 15 hours, we then had to drive 6+ hours home. It was super rough.
The day after I came back, I had a 9am appointment with the doctor for my very first ultrasound. I was so nervous I could hardly sleep that night. I was also so anxious! I didn’t know what to expect and felt so much relief when the tech told me everything looked good and this little blob was my baby!
For the next 10 months everything went as smoothly as it could. I think I had a pretty smooth pregnancy minus the horrible sinus headaches during my 2nd trimester. I was consumed with dread before and during every ultrasound though. I always dreaded the minutes they would spend looking at his heart of if they were quiet for too long. I don’t know what I would have done if they had told me that something was wrong with my baby. But thank the lord we had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby! We found out we were having a boy at the 19 week ultrasound and let’s be honest…he wanted us to see he was a boy! lol
I did get gestational diabetes so that was a little hard watching the carbs I was eating. Plus I was craving sushi and postinos so bad! I was still working and shooting weddings up until my 36-37th week I believe. Also, those many many maternity photo shoots I thought I would always do? Yeah no, I only ended up doing the one and I waited so long that I felt huge and didn’t feel very pretty. Definitely not enough to be in front of a camera but I still wanted to document that milestone. My bff Ashley took those for me and I am forever grateful to her!
Pregnancy for me was…meh. It wasn’t amazing and it wasn’t completely horrible. I’ve heard great stories and horror stories and my experience lays firmly somewhere in the middle. I can only hope my next one goes just as smoothly.
I was scheduled to be induced at 39 weeks on May 3rd. Little man decided otherwise and my water broke on May 2nd. I was admitted into the hospital that Wednesday night and was dilated 1cm. They gave me drugs for the induction ever 4-6 hours and by the next day on the 3rd…I was still only dilated to 2cms. Needless to say this was super slow going. They finally gave me pitocin on that night and I also got an epidural. I’m a wimp when it comes to pain so bring on the drugs was what I said. It felt so weird not being able to move my legs or the lower half of my body. The nurses would come in every hour or so and turn me to help move the labor along. In the wee hours of that Friday morning around 3-4am, they had set me sitting up and so I slept like that and I got this pain in my neck that hurt so bad. Wing had to constantly massage or keep pressure at the base of my neck because it was unbearable. I also felt intense pressure and pain! WTF! Wasn’t an epidural supposed to help out with all of this? Why could I still feel everything? It got so bad that the anesthesiologist had to come back in an give me a stronger dose of epidural. It helped…for a little bit. Then finally after being in the hospital and in labor for 39 hours, they told me it was time to start pushing.
Because of the pain in my neck, I couldn’t bare down like they wanted me to. And I felt like I got yelled at a little bit. I also wondered why they couldn’t sit me up a little bit more like they do in the movies? I was pretty much laying down and they wanted me to do a crunch and try to push out this child at the same time?? I pushed for 2.5 hours and wanted to give up so many times. They never really tell you that your doctor doesn’t stay in your room the whole time you’re in labor. At least my doctor didn’t. She was in and out for those 2.5 hours and it was just me, wing, and the one nurse for most of that time telling me to push. Even with the epidural I could feel everything. I remember telling myself I am never doing this again. What was I thinking, I could die at any moment (I was a little dramatic in my head at this point) and I was cursing all the people who told me painless epidural stories in my head. And by the time he came out at 8:25am, I was exhausted. But then they put him in my arms and everything just fell to the wayside and everything was totally and completely worth it.
Easton was a little jaundiced so we spent the next two days in the hospital and we couldn’t wait to get the heck out of dodge and bring him home. But we were finally able to bring him home on May 6 and life has never been the same or been better.
I’ll end this post here and continue on with Easton’s first 6 months of life in the next post since I wasn’t able to do a month by month update, I’ll have to consolidate. I hope those of you who read my story and have had the same experiences know that you are not alone. After the darkest storms, will come a rainbow. You just have to believe.