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“blog at least once a week.” that is the rule these days if you want to keep up. well, guess what? i can’t. and i don’t. not just because i rarely have the time, but because it is an incredible challenge for me to pump out a storyline (to accompany my favorite shots) when it feels forced. when it’s not authentic. when it’s not personal. i don’t know why this is so hard for me, but it should come as no small surprise that when i sat down to blog this actually personal post about my own boys, i found myself overflowing. this was never intended to be a birth story…or a life story for that matter. it was intended to be a short and sweet little tale of two tiny brothers who are the best of friends. to accompany the sweet images i captured of them not too long ago. but this is not that post. that was too easy. and this…this was hard. while i promise you will see more images from this shoot following the story, you will also get to see many others, that help tell the whole story, from start to finish.
for as long as i can remember, i wanted to be a mom. so much so that i took on the role of “mini-mom” to my two younger sisters at a very young age. from changing their diapers, to making their lunches, to dressing them up for staged “photo shoots”, i did it all. so when the time came to finally have my very own babies, i was beside myself. my excitement however was temporarily squelched when i discovered that my husband, as much as he wanted a family, was not in quite so much a rush. after a lot of conversation and a lot of tears, i finally submitted to the fact that he was probably right. as anxious as i was to fulfill this lifelong dream of mine, we didn’t need to rush. we needed to wait. we needed to be a family. we needed to cherish this uninterrupted time we had to learn even more about each other. learn how to communicate…well. practice loving each other unconditionally. and, without a doubt, TRAVEL.
(2) photos by stefan wieland
so we did. we went everywhere. and it was perfect. and in retrospect it is exactly what we should have done. then, when the right time came two years later, i was really excited. never expecting that our journey would be a heart-wrenching test of patience, and will, and faith in all things greater than ourselves.
anyone who has ever experienced a miscarriage, (which turns out to be a lot more women than you might expect), knows what an impossibly emotional struggle it is. i can’t begin to describe the overwhelming sadness and fear that I felt. but i was fortunate, and grateful…to be surrounded by so much love, encouragement, and positive energy from my husband, my family, and my friends. so i got through it. stronger than i had been before. more aware than i had been before.
until it happened a second time.
then i felt broken. devastated. numb. i began to question everything. my dream of becoming a mother seemed a fading memory that i thought i might never live to see fulfilled. i was crushed. no amount of empathy or compassion could heal the pain i felt. then just like that, only one month later (and against every possible expectation i had), it happened. for real. it was hard not to be wary, and nervous, and terrified. but i swore to myself up and down that i would do everything in my power to sustain a healthy, growing baby. and that i would love it unconditionally, to the ends of the earth…if we ever got the chance to meet.
and we did.
(2) photos by taleah webb
nine, (ten) months later, i was as ready as i’d ever be to welcome a beautiful, much anticipated little boy. but i let him stay an extra week anyway, just for good measure! unfortunately, my birth experience was absolutely nothing like what my natural child-birthing classes had prepared me for. i went in ready to conquer the world, and instead was defeated beyond belief. i labored for twenty-five hours. without intervention or medication. i stalled in transition for several hours, (which if you’re not familiar, is the most excruciating stage of labor). i literally thought i wasn’t going to make it…this sounds ridiculous, but i remember telling my husband repeatedly that this might kill me.
when it seemed things were at their worst, there was suddenly a lot of commotion on the doctor’s end and i was informed that my baby was quickly going into stress, and i would need to have an emergency c-section. i could do nothing but cry. i had nothing left. i had given everything i had to give, and my body was failing me. all i knew in that moment was that i wanted desperately to hold my precious baby. feel his breath. kiss his head…and never, never let go.
the next fifteen minutes were a whirlwind. my mind was painfully present, but my body was completely checked out. i could not move a muscle, even to receive the spinal. the doctors literally had to move me, bend me, and prepare me for the operation. within minutes i felt nothing but the wrenching grip of the blood pressure monitor on my bicep. it was incredibly tight, and it was all i could focus on. but in a matter of minutes they told me it was all over. for a brief moment i waited to hear that first cry. it felt like an eternity…then, at long last, i heard the most relieving, wonderful sound in the world. and i felt like i could finally breathe for the first time in over a year. i looked up at my husband, whose hand had not left mine for hours. he had tears pouring down his face. every part of me wanted so much to join him in a good cry, but the tears wouldn’t come…why? i have always been extremely emotional, (like i cry at kleenex commercials), and i genuinely thought something was wrong with me. this was possibly the most emotional moment in my entire life; why couldn’t i cry? because i literally had nothing left. between the unbelievably long, hard labor, and the drugs from the spinal, my body was just done. but i got over it real fast. the doctors placed my son on my chest and instantly, that was all that mattered. and for a long time…that was all that mattered.
until we did it again…
the second round was much less dramatic. or scary. or challenging. only six short months later, we got pregnant about five seconds after we started trying, (much to our surprise)! while i was not necessarily prepared for the whirlwind that is “two under two”, i was still excited. and overjoyed.
photo by chelsea keeney
we decided to have a “gender reveal” party for our family and close friends. my every intuition, (up until that ultrasound), told me it was another boy. but the technician, who was instructed to keep it a secret, gave me every reason to believe it was a girl. so i did. and i got very excited! and when i cut into that gender reveal cake at our party later that day, i think every guest at the party could feel my astonishment that the filling was blue! such a whirlwind of emotions. for so long i had been mentally prepared for another boy, but for a brief moment she got my hopes up that we would have one of each, (since that’s what we had always “planned” for, and imagined). so many miniature tutus and sweet little hair bows had i coveted while shopping, and secretly hoped i would have a reason to buy one day. so i suddenly felt disappointed, (and guilty). but only for about sixty seconds…as soon as i allowed myself to let go of the disappointment and surprise, i was able to recognize what an amazing adventure lie ahead. the truth is, i already had one boy that i was madly in love with. so why did i need to have a girl? i didn’t. the gender was so much less important than i had made it out to be. what was important was that these tiny human beings we were blessed with were ours to love, nurture, (and do our absolute best not to screw up). and that was enough. i knew in my heart that these two brothers, so close in age, were going to be the best of friends. and they are. and i truly couldn’t ask for more. now, whenever i lament that i have no reason to buy adorable little “girlie” things, i just buy them for a friend. and i feel 100% better.
photo by chelsea keeney
for the sake of brevity, i will spare the details of my second labor and delivery. let’s just say it was far easier than the first, but equally fulfilling, and heart warming. it’s funny – when you get pregnant for the second time, you find yourself asking difficult, self-inflicting questions like, “how can i possibly love another person, baby, as much as i love my first child?” and it kills you that you even think it…but then, just like that, you fall madly in love all over again. and you realize that your love doesn’t have to divide…it grows. exponentially. and then you forgive yourself for ever even having those thoughts in the first place. and then later on, you witness the love they have for each other, and your heart explodes a little bit. every time.
so why, four years later, do i recount this story? well frankly, because when i sat down to blog my photo shoot of these adorable little punks, and tried to decide what would be the cutest or funniest anecdote to share about them, this is just what started to spill out. yes, it’s very personal. yes, it’s long-winded. but, it’s my story. it’s our story. and now i have it forever…not just my own recollection, but on-record so to speak. and now i’ve shared it with you! maybe some part of it touched you. or made you think of someone close to you. or simply warmed your heart. and for that i would share most anything.
many people throughout my life have teased me for being too “perfect”. i assure you, i am far from it. a perfectionist, i have been since always. but perfect, never. i am very human. i recall being brought to tears on many occasions over the last few years, watching commercials, videos, posts, anything i related to that struck a cord. made me feel understood. appreciated. valued. that made me feel like even when i was having the hardest day in the world, i was not alone. and somehow that made it easier. if even for a moment.
don’t get me wrong, these boys rock my world in the most amazing ways, and my husband does an unbelievable job of making me feel loved, needed, and appreciated. but i won’t lie…it’s hard. no one ever said parenting was easy. some days it feels like there are more tears than giggles, and that i’m screaming more than any human should ever scream. especially at tiny people. but every day gets a little easier, and a little more fun. and before i know it, that first year with two babies that felt like forever is long gone, and now the days are flying by. my boys are growing like weeds and surprising me in the most awesome ways, every day. and…it’s. all. been. worth. it. SO worth it. i love these two little munchkins with every ounce of my being and always will. no matter how hard it is to be the one “in charge”.
if all you take away from this is a little bit of encouragement, a tiny chuckle, a few happy tears, that’s ok. that’s what it’s meant for. it’s all about connection, and that’s what we’re here for. to do our best to reach out and let someone know that they are loved. and supported. even when things are really hard. especially when things are really hard. whatever their story may be.
in spite of the fact that my boys just skipped their nap, and instead did an ungodly amount of damage in the last couple hours i’ve spent writing, i am going to go remind them just how much they are loved. because they are. and they deserve to be reminded. forever.
now back to the SHORT and sweet tale of two little bros that are the best of friends. they are. there is no question about it. no matter how much fighting or screaming they do, there is no denying that they have a special bond that nothing and no one can break. and it warms my heart. they look out for each other, show care and concern for one another, and make each other giggle like no one else can.
and there you have it. bros and buds. forever.
being one of seven children, i can say with authority that the bond between siblings is like no other. every year i grow older, i feel closer and more connected to my brothers and sisters, and wouldn’t trade them for the world. even though that first year with two babies was incredibly trying at times, it was worth every second knowing that my boys now have each other. and hey, how else would i have gotten these awesome mom arms? 😉 it is amazing to watch them grow and learn together. teach each other things, (good and bad). this is the good stuff. i love listening to their conversations…the boys just pulled out their new doctor kit and i watched my two year old put the stethoscope in his ears, put it on his brother’s stomach and tell him, “um, i think your heart is coming out of your butt, i need to give you some medicine”. i will never get tired of this. now if only they could stay tiny forever…photos!! so at least i can remember. always.
i am a denver, wedding and lifestyle portrait photographer based out of golden, colorado. if my story touched you, please share it with someone you think might enjoy it!