IVLEEN & CHAN: A ROMANTIC MATERNITY SESSION
You know that fire in your soul kind of love? This couple undeniably had a love connection like no other. I was able to capture them so beautifully.
A Behind the scenes look
into a portrait session
Want to see what goes on behind the scenes in my studio. Come take a peek!
PERSONAL: WHY I DECIDED TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER
Here my personal story on how I fell into my career as a professional photographer.
June 8, 2018
“Some people only dream of Angels. I held mine in my arms.”
When I was little I had everything planned out, as most little girls do! I dreamed of marrying my prince charming and then having 2 or maybe 3 kids. I did meet my prince charming (Jordan); we fell in love, got married, and 4 years later had a beautiful daughter Gabriella Grace (January 16, 2013 – Saskatoon). She is truly the light of our lives and we thank God for her every day! I loved being pregnant – I looked great, felt great, had a relatively easy delivery – everything went perfectly. My life “plan” was unfolding nicely. I was eager for our little family to grow and for my “Fairy Tale” to continue.
We moved to Vancouver for a year for my husband to complete training and were thrilled to become pregnant again. At 26 weeks along, I went into the hospital with some pain and they checked me out and everything seemed fine with our baby – but about 4 hours later as they were monitoring me, her heart rate slowed very suddenly and she passed away in utero very quickly. We had lost our daughter Annabelle Catherine (May 31, 2015 – Vancouver) and I had to experience the most painful and difficult thing an expecting parent can imagine – an extremely difficult and painful 20 hour induced vaginal labour complicated by a massive post-partum hemorrhage. Delivering a baby is hard. Delivering a stillborn baby is unimaginable. When they are born there is no crying, no rejoicing, no relief, nothing to trump all of the pain. We weren’t even able to grieve in the moment of delivery as I lost an estimated 4 L of blood (over 80% of my blood volume) and went into DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation – blood no longer able to clot). I received 11 transfusions and went to the OR where I finally stabilized. They didn’t think I was going to make it, though. Undoubtably, this stillbirth was a very long physical and emotional recovery for us all. It was difficult being so far from our families back in Saskatchewan, it was difficult to deal with my physical recovery while we were trying to grieve, it was difficult to deal with my post-partum body with no baby to show, it was difficult to run into people who only knew I had been pregnant and then asked if I had delivered the baby. Somehow, our daughter Gabby helped us to see past all of these challenges, though, and we survived. The autopsy results we had from Annabelle had showed that there was nothing to indicate that this should happen again in future pregnancies and we had to trust in that.
We were so fortunate to be coming back to Regina (where Jordan had accepted a job) and where both of our families were. After going through a stillbirth, it takes a lot of courage and emotional strength to want to become pregnant again and then a ton of support, as well, throughout the pregnancy. We felt we were ready, though, and when we learned we were pregnant in early 2016, we were over the moon! It was a very emotional pregnancy for both of us with a lot of worries but we were feeling confident as we approached our due date. However, we lost our son Zachary Elijah (August 12, 2016 – Regina) at 31 weeks. I didn’t feel any movement one day and I went to the hospital here in Regina and they confirmed he too had passed away in utero. Because of my previous traumatic vaginal delivery and hemorrhage, we made a difficult decision with the doctors to do a C-section this time to have a more controlled environment. Although the delivery went smoother, the C-section recovery at home without a new baby was so hard. And every day I see this scar it reminds me of one of the babies we didn’t get to bring home. We couldn’t comprehend how this could have happened to us again. We had already made the decision that this pregnancy was going to be our last – physically my body couldn’t handle another pregnancy and emotionally we were unable to go through something like this ever again. The hardest part after Zachary passed away was finding peace knowing that our family of 3 was complete.
With both of our losses (Annabelle in Vancouver and then Zachary in Regina), we were so fortunate to have NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep) photography done at the hospital. This was something I never knew existed, and honestly not something that I even really wanted at first, but I couldn’t imagine if we didn’t have these precious keepsakes. We cherish these photographs and look at them often. The work that these very special photographers do to remember and honour these babies is invaluable. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
When you suffer a perinatal loss of any sort, you don’t just lose a baby – you lose a lifetime of hopes and dreams and what could have been. One of the hardest parts of this incredibly challenging journey for us has been the impact we know this will have on our one daughter here on earth. She is old enough to understand what happened. She talks about and prays for her brother and sister in Heaven almost daily. She blows kisses to them when we drive by the cemetery. When a stranger at a grocery store asks if she has any brothers or sister she says she has both but they are in Heaven. When she draws a picture of our family she often includes Annabelle and Zachary. She knows that Mommy and Daddy cannot have any more babies. She is such a smart, loving and just amazing little girl but it breaks our hearts that she will grow up without her brother and sister here with her. It doesn’t seem fair.
Needless to say, my “Fairy Tale” didn’t unfold as I had dreamed. Life happens and it isn’t necessarily what you expect. But life does go on. You don’t ever get over it but somehow you get through it. And no matter what you think, you are never alone in the journey. And somehow, somewhere, someone is going though something similar or maybe even something worse. But it definitely isn’t always easy. It is hard to drive past the cemetery every day and remember the 2 children we planned funerals for and had to bury. It is hard to see pregnant woman all around and want to celebrate them. It causes too much anxiety for me to go to a baby shower, so I don’t. It upsets me when I reflect back on the 2 years I was pregnant or recovering and sacrificed so much – yet have nothing to show for everything I went through. It is uncomfortable when I get asked the question (almost daily) – Is Gabby your only child? When are you having another?
“A Mother is not defined by the number of children you can see but by the love she has in her heart.” God make me a mommy 3 times but for some reason I only got to take care of one of my babies. He had bigger plans for our 2 sweet angels and we have to believe that. Our daughter Gabriella reminds us that one day we will be united with them again.
Love, prayers, and blessings to you all!
Jennifer Catherine, Jordan Zachary, Gabriella Grace, Angel Annabelle Catherine, Angel Zachary Elijah