I love my youngest daughter but her birth was far from what I planned. The loss of my midwife/water birth left me disappointed. Her arrival ten weeks early filled me with fear and anxiety for her health. The c-section left my body bruised and broken. Her NICU stay was costly and prevented bonding in the way I dreamed. The fact that her older siblings couldn't see her for months was heartbreaking. Having her come home on an NG tube, unable to nurse just added insult to injury. Don't get me wrong, there were many lessons to be learned and many miracles seen, and bringing my daughter home in good health did much to heal my wounds but even after I felt burdened and scarred. I needed balm of gilead, but what could I do?
Last summer I made a friend at the pool. She had four kids and I was on my way to four. Her husband worked a lot like mine so she was often on her own as was I. Our oldest daughters were the same age and shared the same name. Peach was the same age as her twin daughters. She was fun to talk to and so even though I was insanely jealous of the fact that she was pulling off a bikini just months after her son was born, her family were perfect play date type friends and I was so stoked to meet them. Shortly after we met I found out she was a professional photographer, an excellent one, and I got a lot of joy out of following her photography blog, Jessica Vaughn Photography, especially her baby photos.
I'm not your sort of average professional photography client. An important fact about me is I'm a cheap little queen. As an example of this, two years ago when I lost the diamond out of my ring and my husband asked me which one I'd like to replace it with, I actually downsized the size of my diamond because of price rather then go for the upgrade diamond at twice the price which my husband offered me. So although I love professional photography my "frugal ways" make it something I could never afford. But I just couldn't shake my hurt and so I e-mailed Jessica and asked her if she could come out and photograph my daughter, giving me the newborn pictures I missed getting, and photograph my family, capturing the joyous meeting we originally failed to have. She agreed and so the Wednesday after Dr. J's kidney stone surgery we cleaned the tape off Cheetah's face and had some pictures taken. It was amazing. Watching Jessica lull my daughter to sleep was magic and the pictures she took pure perfection. The lifestyle pictures of the family were so painless and comfortable that Dr. J thought there couldn't possibly be anything good there because after all family photos should be painful right? Instead she took pictures that could grace the pages of Parent magazine, perhaps on a story of great ways to spend a rainy afternoon with the kids. I'm still a cheap, I still hate to spend money, but I feel eternally grateful for the opportunity I had to have these done. They are a heirloom I will treasure and the soothing they brought to my soul a gift beyond price. Thank you Jessica for so perfectly capturing the love and beauty of my family, moments I thought were lost to us forever.