Details from the Adirondacks

Found these shots in my pile of draft posts and thought I’d go ahead and share! We went up to Lake George for our babymoon weekend September 2015 (I know, that was a while ago!) Here are a few of my favorite shots from that weekend. You’ll notice I was loving blur! I thought they’d make great background photos to place scripture or quotes over. The first shot is actually from the Adirondack Balloon Festival. Enjoy!

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To the Family Who Just Miscarried

Two years ago, my husband and I lost our first baby. I soon learned that miscarriages are very common. Because of this, I made a point to share our story and my journey through grief. Since then, I have had numerous people ask me how to go about helping someone they know who has miscarried. These are my thoughts in response to that question.

First of all, my heart hurts with your family. 

There are a few things that immediately come to mind when I think of what helped me grieve well.

First was when a friend reminded me that he (our baby) was never mine to have in the first place. He always belonged to his Creator. And His Creator has only love for him. As I dwelt on this thought, the Lord changed my whole perspective and I found a deep comfort in this truth.

The idea of my precious child dying tore me to pieces, but my heart was okay with him being held even tighter in his loving Creator’s hands. Proclaiming that he belonged to and was being held by my Good Shepherd was what brought my heart to finally say it was well with my soul.

Secondly, for me, I needed a body to grieve over. I needed a sort of funeral, burial or formal goodbye. Grieving that little life, especially without a body, was so hard. I didn’t miscarry naturally. I didn’t learn I had miscarried by seeing blood or going into labor. I had no symptoms of the loss.

We went to our first doctor’s appointment and there was no heartbeat to be found. Our little peanut’s measurements told us his heart had stopped about 2 weeks before the doctor’s appointment. Because he had already been in there, lifeless, for so long, my doctor wanted me to get a D&C if I didn’t go into labor within a week.  You can’t control when you go into labor and my husband hated the thought of me going into labor and miscarrying our child at home, alone while he was at work.

We decided a D&C was a good option so that we could be together when it happened. But after the D&C, I simply woke up with an empty-womb. I never got to say goodbye. For me, that closure never came until my family dog died and I had a physical body to grieve over. Another thing that I thought might help was burying an ultrasound photo.

After the D&C I was all over the place. I would feel I was grieving well. Then would have a sort of relapse and completely fall apart again.

My advice for those comforting the grieving parents (especially the mama). MANY people said things to me along the lines of, “Oh, you’re so young, you have time, you’ll have more babies. Don’t worry, you’re obviously fertile. You’ll get pregnant again. You’ll have another baby before you know it,” “You know it’s just nature’s way, something was probably wrong with the baby and this was best.” And these were just the worst things anyone could say to me. It was so hurtful, at the time. To me, it was shutting down that there was any reason for me to be grieving. It was like saying this specific child didn’t matter. It wasn’t a child, it was just a thing, a pregnancy. It’s called an “early pregnancy loss” but to me it was the loss of my first child.

I later realized it’s important to acknowledge BOTH the loss of the child and of the experience of pregnancy. Don’t invalidate the family’s experience in your efforts to have something comforting to say. Simply grieve with them, or allow them the space to grieve. Ask for practical ways to help. Maybe you could help by bringing over a meal or simply sitting and hanging out to bring a sense of community and normalcy in their difficult time.

My husband was very understanding and validating of my feelings on the pregnancy and our child. I wanted to talk about him all the time! About pregnancy and about my experience for the one month I did have him in my womb. It was sort of my way of acknowledging he was alive, and wanting others to see him as alive too. I later read this is very normal with a pregnancy loss. Really, it’s normal of any parent. We want to talk about our kids. And the fact that they were never visible to outsiders doesn’t change in our mama hearts that they are indeed our children.

So, as uncomfortable as it can be for other people, I’d encourage her (and your family) to still talk about the baby if that’s what she wants to do. And if she doesn’t, then don’t. But don’t be afraid to talk about him/her, because that can be a way to validate his/her life, your feelings, and process the grief. For me, that often meant writing more than talking. But I still talk about it and that pregnancy just like I would my second pregnancy with my son.

When it comes to scriptures that I went to, I honestly just leaned into the passages that had comforted me in rough times in my past. Especially Psalm 63 and 23.

Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” This was a verse that spoke to what I said in the first paragraph. It helped me to think his life had purposes only He knew.

One book that really helped me sit with God and keep my heart vulnerable with Him at the time was Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb (never finished the book but what I did read helped me). Another book I recently found that I wished I had at the time is Grieving the Child I Never Knew by Kathe Wunnenberg. It’s a devotional, and has really great questions for each devotion that are labeled “steps toward healing.” The questions are really, really great.

A few articles that were affirming for me:

Sharing the Silent Grief of Miscarriage

What It’s Like to Have an Early Pregnancy Loss

Don’t Worry You Won’t Remind Me

We Lost a Child and Gained Something Greater

You can read through the writings I’ve posted about my experience with miscarrying our first baby.

To those grieving, take your time, don’t hide from the pain. Lean into the discomfort, walk through this with one breath at a time. Let God be your comfort.

If you ever need someone to talk to or want to talk about your baby with, I’d love to be available to you. Either head on over to the Contact Me page and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Much love, Jesse

Black and White

Simple and to the point, here’s my most recent photo assignment. A collection of photos in black and white.

 

Radisson Community Nature Walk

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet with Amanda in person again. She lives in a beautiful community with nature trails and ponds all around. We walked and shot, went through the photos straight out of camera and talked through post-processing. She taught me about a few tools in Lightroom I had never used before – and I suspect I’ll be using them A LOT now! So helpful.

I’m enjoying this internship and seeing improvements in my work. I don’t have a set vision for what I want to do with my photography or degree post-graduation, but I’m looking forward to seeing if that changes in the next few months.

Robert Treman State Park

JD and I had labor day off so we decided to take a hike. Robert Treman State Park is a lovely place to hike. The are many waterfalls (none of which I photographed, a few of which I swam in) that were wonderful to cool off in along the way. I was about 21 weeks when we took this hike and was definitely feeling slower. It was a hot day and the water felt fantastic. So refreshing. Here are my favorite images captured that day.
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Last time we were here there was a large cairn that people had been adding to. This time, the stack was no where to be found. So, while I ventured around the area with my camera JD put together a new one.

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Images from September 7, 2015

Decay

So, this is my last semester of college (YAY!). In order to graduate in December I needed to find an internship to give me some experience (and credit, of course). Most students in my department intern with a local radio station, but that didn’t interest me one bit. So, long story short, Amanda Bellucco took me under her wing. She has been so supportive of my work and open to helping me in any way she can. Her encouragement has really spurred me on.

A lot of our internship is virtual for the moment, so she sent some photo assignments my way. Today I set out to capture the essence of decay. At first I thought I’d trek down to the cemetery, but I never quite made it there. I saw glimpses of decay, things that were still partially alive though parts of them had already dried up with summer. And these were the snippets that captured my attention most.

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In the below photo, I was struck by how each bud was in its own stage of life. The one in the center looked completely dried up, while just below it was a bloom just beginning to fade from its prime.

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This last image doesn’t show much decay, but I liked it.

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Like what you see? Prints of these photos are available on my Society6 page. 

Salt Springs State Park


I’m getting back into the swing of things. It takes practice, relearning how to process photos and how I want the images to appear. I feel the tension of seeing an image and perceiving that it doesn’t convey the emotion I first felt/imagined when capturing it. But I’m seeking progress, not perfection.

So, here. Enjoy these little moments that caught my eye at Salt Springs State Park. Salt Springs State Park is near Montrose, PA. My oh my, it was a lovely place for a Saturday morning hike!

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Our Growing Family Update

14-16 Weeks

Well, I think baby’s definitely growing! Today we heard the heartbeat for the second time. And oh my, what a wonderful sound. I thought I felt some baby flutters last night and I felt a similar feeling again today. So, we’ve been a bit giddy today. Everything feels pretty surreal to me right now!

How Our Dog’s Death Brought Me Closure

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He’s gone. They inserted the needle and he faded away. I held him like a baby, rocked him and kissed his forehead.

I was able to hold my baby today. I cradled him, rocked him, told him how grateful I am for the time we had together. I let go of his warm, limp body and Justin laid him on the table.

Even in his death, he served his purpose and helped me heal. Spencer, Our Healing Helper. He helped mama heal from the death of her brother, and he helped me heal from the death of my baby.

After we made it into the exam room. He made his rounds, from mom to me to dad to Justin to me to mom to dad to Justin to me to mom to me to mom. He looked me in the eyes, laid his head in my hands, and rested there as I kissed his temple and told him how much I loved him and how amazing he had been all his life. I told him how much I would miss him. And I told him to give my baby a kiss for me. He looked me in the eyes, with the light spirit he had used to comfort me with for years. He looked me in the eyes and he told me he was okay, he was ready, he loved the life he had lived, he loved us, farewell love. He was okay. He was content with our decision. He was ready, he didn’t fight it. He welcomed it. He rested on the table, looked us in the eyes, and drifted away.

Everything came full circle. We passed the building where we found and adopted Spencer on our way home. The movie Blended came on – it’s the movie I watched for the first time the day we found out we lost our Peanut. I saw the scene where she sang the little girl to sleep. And my heart did not crack open to spill blood. I was okay. We’ll be okay.

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Spencer was loved by so many people, and it’s sad he’ll no longer greet everyone that enters our home. But man, what a life he lived.

Spencer’s death came at just the right time. I was ready for closure, and his death was just that.

Grieving an unborn child is mysterious. There was no body to grieve over, no ceremony, no sense of closure. Grieving Spencer gave me a body to grieve over. As I grieved him, I felt as though my baby was there too. I felt my baby go from life to lifeless, right before my eyes. He was there, and then he was gone. And he was gone. Closure.

Ever since this day of healing closure, I have been much more stable. I no longer lose myself to grief. I feel stronger. I feel healthier. I feel grateful.

Now Available on Society6!

IMG_0717-1I’m happy to announce that I have begun the journey of selling fine art prints of my photography! This is something I’ve been encouraged to try for years and am finally taking steps to make it happen.

Click the “Buy Prints” page above to support my endeavor!

My first step is selling on Society 6, and I may try selling at a few festivals this summer. I’m also working on opening an Etsy shop to sell fine art photo prints and products as well as my handmade, crocheted goods! Exciting stuff happening over here!

‘Til next time my friends, Jesse