Category Archives: Great Expectations

Ana + Chris | Beach Maternity Session

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There’s absolutely no doubt in our mind that when it comes to momentous occasions, professional portraits should be taken.  Photographs of such events are what we look back on, cherish, and pass down to future generations.

10 years ago, we photographed Ana and Chris’ wedding.  So when we found out they were expecting their first child, we were extremely honored to be a part of this next chapter in their lives.  This wonderful couple appreciates photography and what the images mean.  For that, we are forever thankful they consistently contact us!

Ana and Chris, congratulations on this amazing journey you are about to embark on.  We cannot wait to meet Christopher, Jr. and see the amazing parents you were destined to be.

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Life is a Truly Precious Thing…

 

As you may or may not know, one of our very own has gone through pregnancy loss.  Here is her story.  Feel free to share <3

 

It was Monday, December 19th, 2016. At any moment, my husband (Ed) and I would welcome our first child into this world. It was going to be a celebratory time that we had been anticipating for the past 40 weeks of my pregnancy. However, our story didn’t end the way we thought it would. On that particular day, Ed and I found out two things –

1.  Our precious little baby was a boy and…

2.  His heart had stopped beating

We were in the hospital as the doctor and ultrasound technician confirmed all of this information. In that very moment, our world came crashing down. Rather than the tears of joy I thought this day would bring, it was tears of sadness as we mourned the death of our son, Zayden. I was admitted to the hospital and spent the next couple of days preparing for the inevitable. I would have to deliver our precious child. The only difference was, he wouldn’t come home with us.

On December 21st at 10:52 PM, I delivered Zayden. Myself, Ed and our families got the opportunity to hold him. In all of my life, there has never been a moment when I wanted time to stop…until the nurse placed our son in my arms. It was on that day that we said “hello” and “goodbye” to the most perfect, curly brown haired baby boy we had ever laid our eyes on.

During my time in the hospital, everyone kept telling me how strong I was. Yet, deep down inside, I was at my lowest, darkest point. I was in shock. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I was broken. But above all, I felt at fault. For the past 9 months, my body was Zayden’s “home” and safe place. For anyone who is a parent, you know that all you ever want to do is protect your child from all harm, but in this particular tragedy, I couldn’t save our baby. There was nothing that myself or anyone could do to change the situation. I felt absolutely useless, and all I could think about was how I failed at protecting Zayden’s life. I repeatedly asked myself, “…what did I do wrong?!”

Others who have gone through pregnancy/infant loss have reached out to me, and they’ve reassured me that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. At first, I found no sense in that. How is it possible for a parent to loose a child and somehow feel “at ease” with it? How are my husband and I ever going to find peace in Zayden’s death? Today, as I sit here and write this, I’m finding that the comforting words of those who gave it were, in fact, right. As the days go by, I can confidently say that the pain really does seem to lessen, but it most certainly doesn’t go away. It never will. Everyone experiences grief and loss differently. For some, keeping their feelings to themselves is a way to go through their bereavement. While others find solace in talking to immediate family. For me, I’ve come to find that telling Zayden’s story to anyone and everyone that will listen is what gets me through the days…hours…minutes…seconds.

This photograph is another way I wanted to share our family’s grieving process…

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It was our last day at the hospital when the NICU nurses gave Ed and I a “memory box” filled with Zayden’s things. On the lid it says “I love you to the moon…and back again”. When the time came for us to decide how Zayden’s ashes would be guarded, it was without a doubt that we selected the moon that’s shown in this photo. The moment Ed and I saw it, we knew it was the perfect safe grounds for our son. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, yet I can’t even begin to describe how much that phrase truly means to Ed and I during this time in our lives. Not only will this image be a constant reminder of our first child, but it’s also the only portrait we will ever have as a family of 3.

Ignorantly, I always thought that once the first trimester of pregnancy was complete, nothing could go wrong. I wish I would have known something like this could happen. I almost feel that if I knew about stillbirth, there may have been something I could have done differently to avoid it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Stillbirth is something that happens more often than we think, and I want people to know that what happened to Zayden was no fault of my own or any doctor. Stillbirth is defined as “fetal death at or after 20 to 28 weeks of pregnancy”, and according to the National Stillbirth Society, 1 in 160 pregnancies throughout the United States result in stillbirths. That’s a staggering 26,000 cases per year. While there are tests and autopsy that can determine the cause of death, 1/3rd of all stillborn cases will never know the definite reason. Sadly, Ed and I are amongst that group.

After losing Zayden, I felt alone in the world – as if my husband and I were the only parents to have ever gone through this. I’ve come to realize that’s not true.

To anyone who is reading this and has experienced pregnancy loss, you must remember that you are not alone. Yes, you may be surrounded by family and friends who are willing to lend an open ear, but it’s comforting to speak with those who understand exactly what you are going through. If you are struggling with your grieving process, I want you to know that you are allowed to feel whatever emotions you have. You might question God. You might feel guilty. You might even want to stop whatever it is you’re doing and just scream at the top of your lungs to release all of your built up anger. However you are dealing with your loss, you must know that it’s OK. While I may not be a therapist or grief counselor, I am someone who has experienced this ugly reality and I am willing to help anyone anyway that I can! Let’s face it, our life is different now. There will never be a day that goes by that we won’t think of our child(ren), have that uncontrollable sobbing rush over us for whatever reason, or constantly ponder what “could have been”. Remember, the grieving process is exactly that – a process. It takes patience, time and care to get through each day. Don’t rush things and don’t let others expect things of you. Right now, you might feel less than strong. Just keep in mind that you wake up every day and deal with your loss the best way YOU know how. That, in and of itself, takes strength! I just hope that this post brings comfort and strength back into your heart. Even if it’s just a little bit.

I want to take this opportunity to thank a few people who went above and beyond for Ed and I. To Gardner Funeral Home, we sincerely appreciate you taking the utmost care of our sweet little boy. To Virtua Hospital, the impeccable service and care that you provide is without a doubt the best, and we couldn’t imagine being in the care of any other hospital. To the entire NICU staff, there aren’t enough words to describe how wonderful you all are, and the fact that you do your job with so much compassion leads me to believe that you are all truly special individuals. Finally, to my doctors and the entire staff at OB-GYN Care of Southern NJ, you’ve lent a shoulder to cry on when we needed it the most, and the fact that you go the extra mile for ALL of your patients shows that you are, without a doubt, true professionals.  More importantly, it proves that you are caring human beings.

I thank my lucky stars to be surrounded by the most amazing families and friends who have been with Ed and I every step of the way. We want you to know that you have helped lift us up during our darkest days, ultimately allowing us to see the brighter days ahead. While Zayden didn’t get the chance to spend time on Earth, I know he’s become our guardian angel instead. He will forever be our son and we will forever be his mom and dad.

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it – this will not be the end for Ed and I. They say that “after every storm, there is a rainbow”, and I can’t wait until these dark clouds break so that we can continue to grow our little family.

xo ~ Lindsey

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Family of 3 | Maternity Session

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The entire month of October just seemed to fly by!  And while it’s not over just yet, this time of the year is always full steam ahead.  Weddings, children portraits and maternity sessions always make our fall season so enjoyable.

This year, we got to see one of our favorite families as they anticipate the arrival of their son.  Kristin, Frank and Cianna have been a part of our family for years, and we are so happy to have photographed their latest maternity session.  This little family of 3 is going to make the most beautiful family of 4!

Here are some of our favorites from this super fun maternity session…

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Justina + Dan | Maternity Session

Your pregnancy is an incredible time in your life, and a having a maternity session would allow you and your partner to always remember this amazing moment.

Justina and Dan felt the exact same way.  Which is why at 8 months pregnant (yes, that’s right!), they knew it was the perfect time to come to our studio!  These “soon-to-be” first time parents are going to be absolutely amazing, while Jersey (their 1 year old Golden Doodle) can’t wait to be a “big sister”.   You’ll see just how much love Jersey has to give by checking out their Same Day Teaser HERE.

Let the countdown begin until we find out if it’s a boy or a girl!

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Justina and Dan were super prepared for the session!  They brought along a bunch of baby books, shoes and elephant nursery décor…

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But really, how incredible does this mama look??

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Alexis + Joe | Maternity

As photographers, we get to be a part of people’s lives – we share in the excitement of their engagement, shed tears of joy with them as they say their “I Do’s”, and embark in the next chapter of their lives when they announce the birth of their first child.  We build bonds with our clients, creating friendships to last a lifetime.

We’ve known Alexis and Joe for so many years now, that they have become part of our family.  When they asked us to photograph their maternity session, we felt sincerely grateful!

Alexis and Joe rocked this session like no other (as we knew they would)…

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Alexis looked absolutely beautiful.  Oh!  And did we forget to mention that these “soon-to-be parents” are expecting TWINS!?

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This photo totally cracks us up.  In between takes, Joe showed us his “Dirty Dancing” move!  He always knows how to put a smile on Alexis’ face.

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Blessed to be in Philly

The likelihood of overwhelming crowds wasn’t influential.  The panic ridden media hype wasn’t a deterrent.  The historic event of Pope Francis visiting Philadelphia was not to be missed.  It was, and will be, something to remember.

for weeks before the event, signs warned of the large crowds
for weeks before the event, signs warned of the large crowds
Even the entire Ben Franklin Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic
Even the entire Ben Franklin Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic
got our tickets to ride
got our tickets to ride

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walking up to street level at 9th and Locust Street

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all kinds of vendors hawking all kinds of wares
all kinds of vendors hawking all kinds of wares

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media coverage was intense
media coverage was intense
the immense crowds were orderly and patient
the immense crowds were orderly and patient
even the staff at Hotel Monaco took a break to photograph the historic event
even the staff at Hotel Monaco took a break to photograph the historic event
Pope Francis arrives at Independence Hall
Pope Francis arrives at Independence Hall

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Pope Francis up close. Very cool.
Pope Francis up close. Very cool.

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everyone wanted to get a photo of the pontiff
Everyone wanted to get a photo of the pontiff
The Pope speaks to the crowd and dignitaries at Independence Mall
The Pope speaks to the crowd and dignitaries at Independence Mall

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Thanks Caite, Jay, Natalie and all the amazing people at Hotel Monaco and Red Owl Tavern!

Melissa’s Maternity Session

We had the privilege of photographing Melissa and Adam’s GTKY session back in 2009, followed by their wedding day in 2010.  So when we got a Facebook message from Melissa just a few months ago, we were ecstatic to find out that they were expecting the birth of their first child.  It’s always an honor to document such momentous occasions in people’s lives, and THIS is most certainly one of them!

Melissa and Adam don’t know if they’re having a boy or a girl, since they plan on being surprised.  But regardless of the gender, one thing is for certain…the baby will be the biggest Philadelphia sports fan there ever was Winking smile  We can’t wait to meet him/her in just a few short weeks.

Here are just a few of our favorite images from Melissa’s pregnancy session…

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Stephanie and Brian are Expecting!

It’s been almost a year since we photographed Stephanie and Brian’s wedding, so when we received the exciting news that their family of 2 would soon become a family of 3, we couldn’t help but share in the excitement of their great expectation!  In just a few short weeks, these ‘soon-to-be’ parents will welcome their handsome little boy into the world.  Yes, you read that correctly – just a few. short. weeks.  Stephanie makes pregnancy look fabulous, doesn’t she?!  And let’s not forget to mention that she and Brian braved the 94 degree heat on this particular day.  Such dedicated models!!  😉

Steph and Brian – you two have had quite the amazing year!  First, your wedding.  Now, a baby.  You truly deserve all of this happiness (and then some) that is coming your way.  We can’t wait to meet your little guy.  Congratulations!

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Lena, Don and Soon-to-Be Baby Sofia

Let’s go back in time a bit..

Let’s go back 4 years ago, when we photographed Lena, Don and Soon-to-Be Baby Gianna.  That’s right.  That was FOUR YEARS AGO!  It’s as if someone hit the super high speed fast forward button.  And now, Little Miss Gianna will be a big sister.  Gianna (along with mom and dad, of course!) is so excited for Baby Sofia’s arrival, that she already has her “big sister duties” in mind.  And if you ask her what those duties are, prepare to laugh!

Lena, Don and Gianna – Congratulations on expanding your beautiful family and allowing us to document this occasion.  We can’t wait to meet Sofia!

 

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Lauren and Mike Await Baby Girl’s Arrival!

First, came love.  Next, came marriage.  Then, they welcomed Leah and Jake.  Now, it’s awaiting the arrival of the newest addition to their family!  A baby girl is on her way, and this family of four can not wait to become a family of five.  Want to see their first “family” portrait?!  Check out their ‘Same Day’ teaser image by clicking HERE.

Congratulations, Lauren, Mike, Leah and Jake.

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