Babies & Toddlers, Personal

Kaedence is 1!

Kaedence is 1!

Woah. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.  My baby is 1!  I have so many emotions running through my head right now.  We have been so unimaginably blessed this year.  Becoming a mom to 2 little girls is by far the hardest thing I have EVER done.  I can’t believe how easy it was to have just 1, and I never knew how much free time I actually had until we had Kaedence and it was all gone!  I couldn’t imagine life any other way though and I am learning to embrace the craziness that is having 2 kids.

To say Kaedence is not an easy baby is an understatement.  She was colicky for at least the first 5 months of her life.  I felt so helpless when she would cry and all I could do was hold her.  Its true what they say, nothing lasts forever and even though when I was in the thick of it and I thought she would never stop crying, she did and when we had her tongue tie clipped at 5 months old the colick was almost instantly better.  She turned into a happy baby, but she still doesn’t sleep!  Even now at 1 year old she does not sleep through the night.  But I know sleep is developmental and one day she WILL sleep through the night and she won’t need me anymore.  So until then I will soak up all of the baby snuggles I get throughout the night.

Kaedence is such a great baby!  She is loving and is always giving hugs and kisses to everyone who will take them!  She LOVES her big sister Mikaela and I love seeing their relationship develop and hearing their giggles is amazing ❤ Kaedence knows what she wants and she wants it RIGHT now (she gets her patience from her momma).  If she doesn’t get it she does this high pitched scream, dubbed the dinosaur scream by my hubby, until she gets it (thats her red headed temper plus daddy’s temper).  The face she gives you after she gets what she wants is just hilarious, its a little smirk that says “yeah, I get what i want” This year is bittersweet as well though because all of her firsts are also my last as a mother as she is our last baby.   So while it’s exciting to see her roll, smile, laugh, crawl etc its also a little sad because shes growing up and I want to keep her as my baby forever.

I can still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  At our 36 weeks appointment we had an ultrasound and she was measuring very big at 8 pounds.  My OB was concerned that she would get too big and wanted to induce me at 39 weeks and I wanted to avoid that with all of my might.  I knew ultrasounds could be off by as much as +/- 2 pounds and I had faith that my body would not make a baby I was incapable of birthing (my OB laughed at that of course but I was right!).  So she stripped my membranes at my 37 week appointment but that didn’t work.  I started taking evening primrose pills (advice from my doula) and I was having random contractions for a few days straight but nothing consistent.  I spent a lot of time bouncing on my yoga ball and even took Mikaela to the mall to walk around.  Then on New Years Ever 2016 I had been having contractions about once an hour and after my husband and I watched the ball drop we decided to try an old wives tale.  It worked for us and within a half hour my contractions started coming every 20 minutes or so.  I fell asleep about 1230 and at 330 I could no longer sleep through my contractions.  I got up and went to the bathroom and while I was in there my contractions became a lot more intense and a lot closer together.  I woke my husband up at 430 and told him I was in labor.  I was using an app to time my contractions and they were still 8-10 minutes apart.  I called the on call line for my OB and I was sure they were going to tell me to continue to labor at home but since this was my second child they told me to head in to the hospital and they notified my OB that we were on our way in.  At this point we tried to call my mom (my dad was coming to stay with my oldest and my mom was in the room with me) and she was not answering (I mean it was 430 am after NYE).  So I called my sister who was spending the night at my moms and woke her up.  It took me a few tries to communicate to my groggy sister that I needed her to get my mom up and someone to come over to our house because I needed to go to the hospital NOW.  While I continued to labor my husband was in the kitchen making himself coffee and breakfast (can you believe this?) and he asked me if I wanted anything (he knew I would need energy to deliver her) and I told him “no, if I eat anything I’m going to puke”.  This was a stark contrast from Mikaela’s labor where I was starving and the hospital would not let me eat.  Anyways, my mom gets to my house and we are finally ready to leave.  We get to the hospital a littler after 5 am and head up to labor and delivery.  of course they put us in triage first and by this time my contractions are about 5 minutes apart.  I did NOT want to lay in the bed,  I prefer the yoga ball, but they have to monitor you for a few minutes before they give you a room.  At this point my OB is not at the hospital yet and so the on call doctor strolls into the triage room (which was the size of a large closet).  He is an older man and he asks me “what brings you in tonight?” (-_-) I answered “Labor”.  Then then continues to ask me all of the SAME questions I just had went over with the nurse.  My mom and husband thought I was going to snap because I was so annoyed with him.  He apparently did not believe that I was in labor or that I was that far along into labor but when he checked my dilation he said “oh yeah, you’re at 7 cm”.  I immediately asked if I could get off of the bed and I walked myself into the labor and delivery room.  Apparently I was super sassy and told the nurse she had 1 shot to get the IV i my arm because my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart at this point.  My doula arrived shortly after this and I labored with the help of her, my mom and my husband who took turns massaging my back and putting a cool rag on my forehead because I was so hot.  My OB came in about 7 and checked me and I was at a 9.  She gave me the option to break my water (my water didnt break for either of my labors) which would speed things up a lot or wait a bit.  I elected to wait a bit and 15 minutes later I felt the need to push.  Adrian (our doula) went to get the doctor and I was still a 9.5 but I was pushing anyways because my body was telling me to.  My water broke on the first push and gushed everywhere.  I kept pushing for about 15-20 minutes and at 7:37 am my baby girl was born! They laid her on my chest and she just screamed her little head off (this should have been our first indicator of her personality haha).  She laid on my chest for a while and I just snuggled her and then she nursed for a good half hour!  I remember the nurse and my doula saying how Kaedence was so tiny and just normal sized and then they got her on the scale and she weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces! The day after this is a blur.  I wanted to get out of bed and walk around less than 2 hours after having her and the woman cleaning our room made a comment that I didn’t even act like I’d just had a baby hahaha.  I was so fortunate to have been able to have both of my girls 100% all natural without ant pain medication and its all thanks to the awesome support people I had with me both times!

So if yours still here after reading all of that here are some of my favorite photos of Kaedence from this year!

A big thank you to my friend Danielle from Danielle Fantis Photography for doing our fresh 48, baptism, and family photos this year!  We love you so much ❤

kaedence photographs by erin blog-295

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kaedence 1st birthday chalkboard

For Clients, Personal

“Strong like Mom”-my battle with postpartum depression

A few weeks ago a friend (a fellow photographer!) of mine shared about her battle with postpartum depression and it really inspired me to share mine.  (In case you didn’t see her viral post, it can be found here.) May is ppd awareness month and I think its so important that we talk about it, because with a little more awareness a lot of moms can be helped.

This is not something that is easy for me and infact I have went back and forth probably about 20 times on whether or not to even post it.  It is hard to talk about something like this and the fact that I have so much anxiety about whether or not to even post it means that it is important.

Here is my story.  I had the perfect birth for me with my second child, who was born this past January.  It was exactly what I wanted, all natural, non-medicated and peaceful.  I was surrounded by the love and support of my husband, mother and our doula and my doctor was AMAZING.  I had a similar experience with my firstborn’s birth 3 years previously.  I had been so afraid to have the same issues nursing that I had experienced with Mikaela but Kaedence took to nursing right away, in fact she nursed for a half hour straight after she stopped screaming from being born (this should have been my first clue to her disposition).

Everything was going perfect for the first week or so.  And then my husband went back to work and started his spring semester of classes.  We had a lot of appointments for Kaedence and things started to get overwhelming.  The house was never clean, the laundry never ending and I felt like all I did was sit on the couch all day and nurse Kaedence.   I felt guilty of not spending the amount of time I had previously to Mikaela and I felt like a failure because she was watching TV almost all day.  Most days I couldn’t even fit in a shower, let alone cook an entire healthy meal.  I began to resent my husband and the time he got to spend out of the house.  Between work and school he was hardly ever home (Mondays and Wednesdays he had school from 8-10 am and then work straight and he didn’t get home until 1030, then Tuesdays and Thursdays he had school all day from 11 to 730.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday he would work either 12-10 or 3-1 am although he did get 1 day off besides tuesday/thursday) and I never got any time for myself.  Mikaela, being the 3 year old that she is, wanted all of my attention and began to act out when she didn’t get it.  There were many nights that I would break down crying because of the guilt and the feelings of failure that I was having.  My husband did everything he could to reassure me that I was doing a great job and that I was taking care of our 2 girls and that’s what mattered but I couldn’t see through my haze.

And then Kaedence became colicky.  She had an intolerance to dairy and we didn’t know it at the time.  So my wonderful baby started crying uncontrollably ALL THE TIME unless she was nursing.  So now I was spending even more time on the couch nursing and my feelings of guilt intensified.  Then they turned into anger.  Mikaela was just being a kid and I would snap at her for the smallest things.  Things that are age appropriate behavior.  I was yelling at her all of the time and losing my temper more than I’d like to admit.  My emotions were all over the place and if I wasn’t crying then I was mad or sad.

Then one night my mom came over after I had put the girls to bed.  She told me that she could see me losing my patience with Mikaela and that that wasn’t like me at all.  We had an argument fight because she kept telling me that her and my dad worked opposites when me and my siblings were young and that you have to do what you have to do.  I was so mad at her and I couldn’t see past my anger to realize what she was trying to tell me.  See, the thing is, most people don’t recognize anger as a symptom of postpartum depression, but it is.  What I needed was someone to say that the feelings I was having were valid and that it’s okay to have them.  Its okay to feel like a single mother because your husband isn’t home a lot and even though he is the WORLD’S BEST DAD, he can’t be in 2 places at once.

After the argument I had with my mom, I did some googling and ppd and anger came up and I found out that I wasn’t alone.  It was a relief to know that I wasn’t going crazy and I was so surprised to find out that what I was experiencing was normal and many women go through it.  Because the next day was a Sunday, I called the on-call nurse line for my OB and talked to a nurse.  I made this call while my husband was in our basement working on a project, because part of me was ashamed and I didn’t want him to know what I was feeling.  I told the nurse that I was just so angry all of the time and that the littlest things would set me off.  Through my tears she reassured me that they could help me and I just had to call my OB in the morning and make an appointment.  if I hadn’t had the argument with my mom then I might not have realized what was happening in time and things could have gotten much worse. At my appointment I felt embarrassed to even be there for what I perceived as a “non-medical” reason.  They had me take an assessment and my doctor told me that my case was actually pretty bad.  We chatted about my situation at home and even though I had a good support system (my mom and mother in law, among many others), I was still struggling even though I love my two girls more than life itself.  He started me on paxil and suggested I talk to a counselor.

I am not a person who takes pills for every little thing.  I prefer the all natural way and always try that before anything else.  But in this case, the medicine helped me.  After a few days where I was a little hazy I was beginning to feel better.  I felt like myself again, my patience returned, and I wasn’t yelling at Mikaela anymore.  Even though I’ve been taking medication for almost 2 months now, I just last week called to make an appointment to see a counselor. There is a stigma attached to postpartum depression and taking medication was something I could do at home, with only a few people knowing.  It gets more real when you see a counselor and it took me a while to come to grips with that, because of the stigma that I am a bad mother if I need help to do anything.  I was afraid to ask for help or to talk about my feelings, because that’s not something I am used to doing.  I am the type of person who doesn’t ask for help and wants to do it all on my own, but when you’re a new mom you NEED help.  Thats why its so important to start a conversation about postpartum depression.  If myself or those around me knew the sympoms of postpartum depression then we could have headed it off and someone could have seen the road I was heading down before I went down it.

SO what are the symptoms? and what can you do to help #endthesilence ? The symptoms below can often be confused with the baby blues but they last longer and are more intense:

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Excessive crying
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eating much more than normal
  • Loss of sleep
  • Sleeping too much
  • Panic attacks or anxiety
  • Fatigue or lack or energy

So what can you do to help?  For one, stop the silence.  Start a conversation.  Don’t make someone feel like they have to do it all.  Do you know a new mom? Then CALL HER and ASK how shes feeling, or if she needs help.  VISIT her and do some housework, ask how the baby is sleeping.  Let her take a nap.  Every little thing helps.

One day, about a month ago and well before I had even thought about writing this post, I was shopping at target and I saw a onsie that said “strong like mom”.  I knew it was perfect for my girls not only because of the issues I have been going through but because I want them to know that they are strong and they can get through anything.  The best way I can do that is to work my way through this and be strong for them.

Of course we had to do a photo shoot after I found a matching shirt for Mikaela as well.  Most days this is what my life looks like, all smiles and giggles.

and then of course, some days it looks like this. april-23

But thats okay.  Because motherhood is HARD.  Its the hardest and most rewarding thing I have done in my life.  And I have two AMAZING little girls to show for it.  I hope one day we will #endthesilence and break the stigma of postpartum depression.  It all starts with being #stronglikemom

If you or someone you know is struggling with ppd, please see a doctor!  Here are a few links to help you out as well ❤

http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/pregnancy-postpartum-mental-health/

http://www.1800ppdmoms.org

http://www.postpartumprogress.com

Family Photography, Personal

CHHS Seniors

For the past 3 years I have had the privilege of teaching science at Canton Harbor High School.   Canton Harbor isn’t like a “normal” high school, it is a drop out recovery school. Our students are aged 16-21 and are students who don’t fare well in a traditional high school setting.  Most of them have to deal with stuff that a lot of us don’t deal with until we are adults.  Some of them have to worry about where their next meal will come from or where they are sleeping tonight in addition to other issues like addiction.  One of these students is also a CANCER SURVIVOR.  Quite a few of them also have kids of their own already or are pregnant.

To say that they are not “typical” high schoolers is an understatement.  Due to the fact that they aren’t “typical”, they often fall behind or can’t function in a normal setting.  CHHS offers smaller class sizes and shorter classes that allow our students to flourish and achieve what they can’t in a normal setting. These kids have overcome all of the hurdles life has placed in front of them and they are GRADUATING this year!

As I took these photos I was overcome with so much joy to be able to document this tremendous milestone for my students.  Each of them is so unique and I am so proud of each and every one of these students for all of the hard work they have put in this year and I can’t wait to watch you all walk across the stage and graduate!!!!!!!  You all look so beautiful and handsome!

 

Personal, Specials

Our New Look

I have been thinking a lot about who I am and how this business represents me and my passion and I wanted a logo that encompassed that! So in March I started the process with Wild Hyacinth Design Studio and I couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out!

The first thing I had to do was create a pinterest board and come up with my ideas to send to her.  I wanted something simple, yet whimsical.  I mainly photograph babies, children and families and I love to do the cute set ups that kids have fun with (like the tea party minis from last year).  Lauren from WHDS took all of my ideas and incorporated my family in the design too.

I really had no clue what I wanted but knew all of the elements I wanted and WHDS put them all together beautifully.  First are the colors.  If you read my about me section, you will know I am also a science teacher.  I have always loved astronomy and the colors you see in pictures of far away galaxies.  I love bright colors to begin with and so I wanted my logo to be bright teal, electric purple and pink.  I also LOVE watercolor flowers and these remind me of my wedding.  Finally, the things that are most important to me, my girls.  Mikaela (my oldest) has always been called, by myself and everyone else, my princess.  SO the crown represents her.  Kaedence (my youngest) was very hard to conceive, it took us nearly a year of trying, and so I think of her as my unicorn baby because she is one of a kind and magical.  So the unicorn horn represents her.  Without further ado here is the new logo and the new watermark I will be using!

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I hope you love these as much as I do!  If you are in the market for a logo for your small business I HIGHLY suggest Lauren with Wild Hyacinth designs.  You can find her on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/WildHyacinthDS or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WildHyacinthDS/

In honor of my new look the website got a little makeover (I hope you like this too!) and we will also be having a special to celebrate!  All sessions will be 20% off but must be paid for and used by the end of 2017!  See the specials tab for more details!

Personal

Celebrating Baby #2

When my daughter turned 1 I knew I wanted another baby.  The plan was always to start trying when she was 6 months old and hopefully our children would only be 18 months apart.  As Mikaela grew I started to realize that I wanted a little more space in between kids.  So we started trying a year later than planned when she was 18 months old (LAST July 2015).

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have PCOS (or poly-cystic ovary syndrome….more on this in coming blog posts), and so it is harder for me to get pregnant than for most people.  Month after month of trying and nothing was happening.  But through the hard work and dedication of myself and my husband we were able to overcome my diagnosis and become healthier overall.  So after about 9 months of trying I am so excited to announce that there will be another baby joining our family in the new year!  Baby Throener #2 is due January 2017!  

We are so overjoyed with our new addition and Mikaela cannot be happier to be big sister! She will be just shy of turning 3 when her new baby brother or sister is born!  My husband even thought I knew a couple days beforehand because Mikaela was walking around our house (the day before I found out) saying “baby in belly” over and over. There is definitely something to be said for a child’s intuition.  She also keeps saying she is going to have a baby brother so we will see if she is right on that account as well in a couple months!

Of course the first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant (after I stopped staring at the positive test that I had been wanting for so long) was to buy Mikaela a special shirt on etsy!  When it came in the mail we went to the park for a special photo shoot!  Please see the photos below.  (Which I think are the cutest things ever but I may be a bit biased)

Also a big THANK YOU to my good friend Danielle of Danielle Fantis Photography for taking our family photo announcement (which many of you may have already seen yesterday on my personal facebook page).  Photo by Danielle and the sign was graphically designed by me and printed at costco.

View More: http://daniellefantisphotography.pass.us/announcement

Personal, Uncategorized

My First Post!

Hello!  Thank you for visiting my BRAND NEW website!  This is something I have been considering doing all year.  Seeing my photography business grow and realizing how much I LOVE photographing special moments for my clients, I decided to take a big leap and make a website to help grow my business!  This is one of the MANY changes coming to Photographs By Erin this year (keep reading for the rest)!

I have been working on this project for over a month now.  I started the project just wanting to revamp my prices for 2016 (which you can find here) and remake my contracts and release forms (still in the works….this project overtook the forms on the to-do list!).  It soon turned into much much more and I am so glad it did!

If you know me personally then you know that I am a perfectionist!  I have worked very hard to try to make sure that anything and everything you could need to know about Photographs By Erin (but if there’s something you don’t see please let me know!).  A little about the website. . .  it has everything you need to know about my business.  All of my best work from this past year along with a lot of info about the types of sessions I offer (I am not limited to those types of sessions, those are just the ones I normally do).  There is a “Meet The Photographer” page where you can learn a little more about me and my family, as well as sections for pricing, specials, and a testimonial page.  And of course a section for this blog!  Please take the time to browse it and let me know what you think!

I want to celebrate my new website so I have a few specials I am running for the remainder of the month of January (in addition to my newborn casting call special).

  • 15% off all full sessions booked in January (can take place any time in 2016)
  • $20 print credit (good all of 2016) for any past client who fills out my testimonial form (found here) to help me build up some testimonials to display

I saved the biggest surprise for last!  A new website needs a new logo!  I went through a couple but ended on the one below!  Isn’t it beautiful?!?!?

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Again THANK YOU so much for visiting my page today and please come back next week when I reveal my new referral and loyalty programs!