Charlottesville, Virginia Birth Photographer
I would love to able to shoot more birth photography!
Go to the end of the post for a touching slideshow of this amazing day!
Last Thursday I was blessed to witness the birth of Nicolette Grace Marie.
The miracle of birth never gets old, and I hope to be able to capture moments like these again someday.
I asked my friend Belinda to narrate this blog post as a way of encouraging others with fertility problems. If it touches just one couple, that will be enough.
When the time is right, I, the Lord will make it happen. Isaiah 60:20
Introducing Padurean Party of 7! A journey 9 years in the making now celebrates as a family of seven! Had you told me back in 2008 that this would be our story, I would’ve smiled and had a socially appropriate response but been dying on the inside. Holding in so much sorrow and pain and all that comes along with an unknown future of IF and wondering if we would ever get the chance to become parents. We had bought a 5 bedroom house to fill with children. We had big dreams of what life would look like as a family. Which seemed crazy as when we first married, children were far from on the radar. Justin would be happy with one and I was more then happy with none. However, one day it all changed. It’s hard to put into words. But I finally understood that whole ‘biological clock ticking’ thing. It’s like I woke up and the alarm was sounding off.
Naive. We started trying in April 2008. And just how we had been taught in school, I got pregnant quickly. We shouted it from the rooftops. Shared the news with everyone pretty much from the moment those two pink lines showed up. I mean … What. Could. Go. Wrong? The test was positive. At our 12 week ultrasound we quickly learned the rate of miscarriage is at least at 50% and we were in that statistic. Shocked would’ve been an understatement. I had morning sickness, weight gain and no bleeding. But there was no baby! Trying to process it all we learned of what is known as a blighted ovum. You test positive for pregnancy, you can have all the symptoms, but the sac is empty. I required a D&C and during the week leading up to it I prayed for a miracle. That maybe the ultrasound was just off. But the morning of the surgery was the moment when everything became a haze as it seemed like some cruel joke. Why would HE gift us a pregnancy but make it nearly ‘fake’?! We prayed. We begged. We pleaded. We bartered. Over the next 4 years.
In 2009 while Justin was deployed we went through foster parent training and prayers were answer quickly when we welcomed Herson. He was one of six children that we fostered from 2009 – 2012. We later adopted him and he was our first silver lining through the dark journey to becoming parents. In 2010 we decided to persue a second opinion from outside the OB. We quickly learned just how much of a miracle pregnancy is. That there is only a 20% chance of a young healthy couple to concieve on their own each month with tracking. We fell into the category of ‘male factor’ but within low normal range. With high hopes that we’d be pregnant fast with some assistance, we started our assisted conception journey in April 2010. April 2010 IUI failed cycle, May 2010 IVF failed cycle, June 2010 IVF failed cycle. Devastated and not understanding ‘why’ and questioning everything, we decided that we’d take a break. Maybe we weren’t suppose to add to our family.
In August 2010 we were thrilled to find out that as we prepared for another IVF cycle that I was actually pregnant! Hope and faith were restored, as maybe it was all in His timing, when it was meant to be and you just need to relax a moment — all kind of in a very sarcastic thought. We. Had. A. Heartbeat. And a beautiful baby at our first scan. Perfect! Two weeks later our perfect baby hadn’t grown in the last three days and there was no heartbeat. As we were moved into the REs actual office I sat there staring out the window with tears streaming down as everything was explained on why they think miscarriages happen and what should happen next. It was time to re-evaluate things. Look at life and see what we really wanted to put ourselves through emotionally and physically. We took the rest of 2010 off from trying.
From January – July 2011 we endured 4 failed assisted conception cycles. Month after month we road the roller coaster of emotions and trying to conceive. August – November 2011 were some very dark moments as bitterness and anger set in. I had truly felt as if I wasn’t worthy of answered prayers and for some reason was being punished. I questioned everything, and felt so broken. Although we were male factor it was my body that was broken. It was my body that failed us month after month. In December of 2011 just before Justin deployed we opted to consult with a new reproductive endocrinologist office. After the initial meeting and reviewing our history and failed cycles we decided to give a shared risk program a try. We made a commitment to our marriage that if it didn’t work by the end of the program that we’d move on. We moved forward quickly with assisted conception cycle #6 (IVF #4) and were in shock to get the call that the test were negative. We weren’t pregnant Yet. Again!
Justin deployed from December 2011 – April of 2012. We were unsure of what our future would hold as far as growing our family. We decided together that since we had frozen embryos, that we would continue to move forward while Justin was deployed. In January 2012 we had an assisted conception cycle #7 that was an FET and we FINALLY got our positive test. And in October 2012 we welcomed Elianna and John Paul! We were happy. Fulfilled. We moved on from filling the 5 bedroom house and took our three silver linings as answered prayers.
Fast forward to 2016 when Justin made a career change and was at the WV State Police Academy. To our surprise we saw two pink lines when he was home on his weekend visit. With very guarded hearts we kept our pregnancy to just family and a few friends. And in March 2017 we welcomed Isaiah. Our sweet surprise! He was named after the book of Isaiah as so many of the scriptures spoke to our own personal journey. God. Had. Answered. We were the proud parents of 4! Although we no longer lived in our 5 bedroom house, we would’ve filled it.
But God had plans bigger then we could’ve imagined. And on November 30, 2017 we welcomed our second surprise Nicolette Grace Marie.
By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Nicolette Grace Marie’s birth story.
At 40 weeks and 3 days with an induction scheduled at 11am I woke to contractions around 6am. Knowing my alarm would be going off soon I went ahead and dozed back off. Waking around 615 to what I thought was another contraction I figured I’d get up and start getting ready. At just around 7am I told Justin that I thought maybe we should wake everyone and head out earlier then expected. We had at least a 2 1/2 drive ahead of us and in honesty the fear of delivering in the car with 3 Littles in the back started to sink in.
We arrived at the hospital at just around 9:45am and 7cm! SHOCKED and elated as the other two deliveries had been induced.
Dr. C, Justin and myself all agreed that we’d let the labor naturally progress on its own and see where things went.
Around 1:15pm I went to turn and switch sides and it was suspected that my water broke on its own!
Dr. C came in to check things and by 1:27pm I was pushing. At 1:50pm our surprise was held up and I was able to announce that it was a girl!
Happy Birthday Nicolette!
Infertility is a battle wound that never truly goes away. The dark days start to turn to gray and there are days that do have sunshine and rainbows. Actually, the good days start to far out weigh the bad days. I don’t have the anger or bitterness like I once had. And no doubt God has answered our prayers 5x over. We have been given what we call our silver linings (5 amazing children) and no doubt I don’t take that/them for granted. I know many women, men and marriages that are still looking for that answered prayer in one child. And in time I’m learning to give myself grace as I heal from past wounds of our journey. That I am worthy. And that HE gives me grace ….