Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Baby Kaden

I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas and spent lots of time loving on your family and friends. Looking back on this past year, it's so hard not to be thankful for the multitude of ways God has blessed us. There have surely been hard times and lots of sadness, but through it all, God has been so faithful and loved us still. I'm so blessed to have you all in my life and to have such amazing clients.

As many of you know, I was scheduled to have a c-section on December 20 because the baby has been breech this whole time, but that didn't happen. When I arrived at the hospital before the break of day, they put me on some monitors to watch the baby's heart rate, and the nurse said, "Oh yeah, this baby is definitely breech." They had to put the heart monitors extremely high on my belly because of his breech position. They were a little tight, and Kaden obviously didn't appreciate that, so he started jumping around. I was watching a movie to distract myself from the needles in my future, so I didn't pay much attention to the movements. A resident came in to do one last ultrasound to verify Kaden's position shortly before I was supposed to have my epidural. And much to our utter surprise, at the very last minute, he flipped! this whole time he was heads up, and he turned heads down right before he was supposed to be born!

I've gotten a lot of mixed reactions when I've recounted this story. Some people say something like, "Praise the Lord for this miracle," or "that's awesome that you'll be able to have him naturally." In my heart, though, I was kinda disappointed because the prospect of having a baby and not having labor seemed pretty enticing. Especially since we'd be able to have a baby sooner :).

So we talked and talked and talked.... and prayed and prayed and prayed....

And then we decided not to do the c-section that day because we couldn't ignore what had just happened. I mean, what are the odds that he'd be breech the ENTIRE time and then flip into perfect birthing position right before the c-section? The nurses said they had never seen that happen before with such timing. I was convinced it was an act of God.

A few days later, I was not even close to going into labor, and my dr. decided to do some testing because my baby was getting pretty big. He wanted to make sure that the baby would have a chance to be born naturally if I was going to wait.... because I am kinda small and he was measuring into the 9.5 pound range. After lots of scans and tests and ultrasounds, my dr. called me and said, "He's not gonna fit. He's not gonna fit in a MAJOR way. I'll see you on Friday for your c-section."

So at 5:30 in the morning on December 26, Jon and I headed to the hospital for my second scheduled c-section. By the grace of God, I had an amazing peace that morning and the prep went quickly and almost painlessly. My dr. began the surgery at 7:30am and at 7:44am, our beautiful baby boy, Kaden, was born! He was about 7 and a half pounds... a far cry from the chunker the ultrasound and tests had predicted ;). Incredible doesn't even come close to describing it. Life really is a miracle and I'm so blessed to have been able to have a part in such a beautiful process.

And now for just a few quick pics of that first day that Jon and I shot (mostly all by Jon... I was still a little loopy on pain medication :) ).

Me with my baby right shortly after surgery

My dad as grandpa for the first time

uncle josh

uncle tyler

Jon's dad with his new grandbaby

My Jon and Kaden. Jon took COMPLETELY amazing care of me while I was in the hospital and he was by my side pretty much 24/7... calming my worries and keeping me sane. He changed every single one of those diapers for me, and didn't complain about it once. What a natural. He's a pretty amazing daddy already :)
I love these two guys.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Football Love

I'm not usually one to be perusing espn.com for high school foortball stories, but this article is totally worth the read. Thanks Brad for posting it!

There are some games where cheering for the other side feels better than winning.

by Rick Reilly

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Update on baby Kaden and some new engagement photos

I LOVED hanging out with Ty and Kizo for their engagement session at Lafayette Square earlier this fall! We had rescheduled so many times because of rain, so I was pumped when we finally got a date with no precipitation! Here are a few of my faves:


Aren't they just the cutest?!?!? I think they could both be models :).


Even though it was a bit overcast when we started, then sun came out every once in a while and we took full advantage of it.





Ty and Kizo are both from Brazil and have been studying here in St. Louis for the last several years. In about a year, they'll be returning home for good, and Ty's car - this lovely red mustang - will not be making the voyage home with her. I guess driving all the way to Brazil might be a little bit of a trip :). So we made sure to take a few pics by the 'stang before the shoot was over :).

And since several of you have asked about an update on baby Kaden, so here ya go! :)

I was scheduled for a c-section for this morning at 8 am, so our day started out this morning around 4:30am or so. Jon and I got all ready to go and arrived at the hospital right on time at 6am. We were both so excited we could hardly stand it and I couldn't believe I'd actually be holding my baby in just a few hours!

After check-in, they started my IV and put the monitors on the baby. "Oh yeah, he's definitely breech," the nurse told me as she positioned the baby monitor high on my stomach. "You don't get a heart beat up that high unless the baby is breech." Jon and I chuckled a little to each other. Kaden had been breech pretty much the entire pregnancy, which is the reason we scheduled the c-section in the first place. Silly little guy... he just didn't want to be upside down!

About a half-hour passed and we turned on the TV to distract us. TNT sure does show some great movies in the morning! We watched a little bit of "A Knight's Tale" and I think Kaden really liked the movie... he was moving all over the place while we sat there relaxing. I saw the monitors on my belly bouncing up and down like crazy! Then a resident came in after a bit to do an ultrasound that my dr. requested just before the epidural.

I think I was rude to the resident when she told me the news. "This baby is head down," she said as Jon and I both looked at her in disbelief. I seriously thought she was joking, but alas, it was no joke. In just a few minutes... at the last possible minute... he rotated! The odds of that were slim to none; in fact the nurses told us they had never seen that happen before at this late hour! We talked with our dr. and he said he'd go ahead and do the c-section if we were totally set on it, but we also had the option of waiting for things to progress naturally since he was heads down now. After lots more questions and prayer and talking, Jon and came to the conclusion that it was no coincidence that he moved when he did. Maybe he just needs a little more time to develop... or maybe God was telling us we needed to opt to not have surgery. Whatever the case, we couldn't get past the fact that he turned for a reason, so we decided to cancel the c-section and go home. They wanted to monitor the baby for a while longer just to confirm everything was ok and Kaden was still responsive, so after 5 hours in the hospital, the nurses disconnected the IV and sent me home.

In the end, my gut feeling is that I'll probably still end up having a c-section... after all, I am only 5 feet tall and this baby is pretty large (if you've seen me this month, you know what I mean :) ). But I still think we made the right decision to wait because, wow, it wasn't just some random movement that occurred today. It was a little disappointing to come home today without a baby in our arms, but I have a feeling we'll be there soon enough :).

So I'm still pregnant. Large and in charge. Double chinned and bigger than ever. It's awesome :). And now we wait...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Marvelous Monday :: guess who's coming to town...

As we have gotten closer to the Christmas season, my anticipation has been growing by the minute. Because, you know, I've been carrying around a baby for about nine months now. Our little guy Kaden was due to be born on Dec 28, but because of his position (he's a double footling breech), my doctor suggested that we schedule a c-section. I was a little (well, A LOT) nervous about scheduling a surgery, but after some thought and a lot of prayer, it was pretty obvious that this was the right choice for us.

SOOOO... I'm having a baby on Saturday!!!

That's in five days. FIVE!!!! Can you believe it??

For all my clients, thanks so much for all your kind emails and card wishing us luck! I really do have the best clients ever :). I will be working most of this week (in between washing baby clothes and such, of course), and maternity leave will begin on December 20 and run through the beginning of March. If you need something, though, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email or give me a call. I may not be able to respond super quickly, but I will do my best to get back to you or have my trusty assistant get back with you in a reasonable amount of time.

And what's a blog entry without some photos!? I took some photos today of Kaden's room that we just finished

As you can see, we have a bit of a dilemma... there is no closet in the room :(. I bought some shelves to try to remedy the problem but we'll see if that actually works :) If anyone has any suggestions about storage in a closet-less room, I'm all ears :).

And check out those letters above the crib!
My friend and 2007 bride Jessica actually MADE them for me! If you look closely, you can see that she painted the letters with the same pattern that's on the bedding.. monkey and all! Jessica rocks :).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Look who's getting married :).


Jess and Adam are getting married next fall and I had the pleasure of shooting some engagement photos for them. We met up on a chilly day this fall at Tower Grove Park, but these two worked it out amidst the weather. Here are a few of my favorites.





One of my favorites. I was all up in their business to grab that shot :).






My fave. Jess, you're beautiful.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where, oh where have I been...

Soooo... Yeah, I know. I am a bad blogger.

I've been editing and shooting like there's no tomorrow and my poor blog has suffered from bloggity neglect. But no more, my friends, no more. Very soon, I'll be rolling out some sessions with some amazing clients that I'm so excited about posting! In the meantime, though, here are seven things I've been up to (other than editing and shooting, of course):

1. I've spent some time listening to the lyrics of that Jason Mraz song that's on the radio way way way too much (I'm Yours). Have you listened to the lyrics ever? Gosh, that song is a little silly. The last verse says, "I've been spending way to much time looking at my tongue in the mirror/ and bending over backward just to try to see it clearer/ but my breath fogged up the glass/ so I drew a new face and I laughed." Nonsense, I tell you.

2. Eating. And, on a related note, I now have two chins. And my feet have pretty much disappeared too. Awesome.

3. I skipped Black Friday, but indulged in Cyber Monday.

4. Not cleaning.

5. Falling in love with gumdrops, mint m&m's and twizzlers. Those bits of sugary goodness are seriously amazing.... and quite possibly related to my aforementioned afflictions in #2.

6. Getting confused about the position of my baby. I was pretty sure he's been breech this whole time, and my dr. concurred. Then, I visited another dr. and he said he didn't think the baby was breech. So basically, all this time when we've thought we were talking to the baby's head, we've probably been talking to his rump. Poor kid... he probably already things his parents are nuts.

7. Trying to keep Stella trained. That dog trainer we sent her to for a week was un-be-freakin-lievable. I, on the other hand, pretty much suck.

Keep your eyeballs peeled.... photos coming soon!