THEN THERE WERE FOUR

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,marry me,my family — admin at 2:55 pm on Monday, November 25, 2013

A week ago tomorrow – I met a miracle for the first time.

I woke up on Monday the 18th of November and just didn’t feel right. I was crampy and cranky and had a weird headache. I texted my parents and Samm and Bridget (our birth photographer) to let them know that something was happening – most likely. Samm said – NO! Tell him to wait – I have so much to do this week before I come. I told her I would do my best.

I took a nap that afternoon with Fitzy – which I never do. When I woke up – I knew something was brewing. My body hates naps – no matter how exhausted I am. We had dinner with our friend Mara Monday night – and I told her to be on call for watching Fitzy in the morning – cus I thought something might happen.

We went to bed. Fitzy called out for me around 1 and I laid back down with him – but couldn’t get comfortable. I was up every hour – tossing and turning. Around 5 – I went to the bathroom – and then again at 5:30 – this time – I knew that my water was breaking. Fitzy was already awake and ready for the day – crazy kid! I called Mara (our dear friend who is house sitting next door) and asked her to come stay with Fitzy. I kissed Fitzy and reminded him that we would be back for him and Grammy (my mom) was on the way. I cried. I hopped in the shower and made sure I had everything I needed – and we headed out the door. Like Fitzy – Enoch decided to come on a windy night – just starting the process two hours later (and making his appearance two hours earlier).

I had texted Bridget telling her that it looked like it would be happening today. I called Samm and my mom – letting them know that waiting another week was NOT an option. My mom called into work and headed over. Samm texted her boss and waited and waited for a response – and then got on the road. We texted Jared’s parents – who are in the Bahamas on vacation – and let them know that he wasn’t waiting for them to come home.

With Fitzy – I didn’t feel contractions until they put me on Pitocin – but this time – I felt them all morning. In all honestly – I was feeling them very irregularly all day on Monday – but knew it wasn’t anything consistent. Once we got to the hospital – they were about 10 minutes apart. The same nurse – Laura – that helped with Fitzy’s delivery – was working! She checked me and my water broke – for sure! I was 3 cm already! Johna came to encourage and support and coach – both of us. We walked the hallway and I sat on the birthing ball for a few minutes. When Laura checked me again – I was 5 cm. The contractions were getting more intense and moving along much faster than with Fitzy. When she checked me again – I was 6 to 7 cm. Bridget was on her way – I was praying she would make it – because I was pretty positive that Samm wouldn’t!

Contractions got really intense and really close together – with almost no break in between. Contractions – while they are painful – are the easy part for me. It’s interesting how some women have the urge to push but need to wait. I would rather have contractions all day than push. But the time was quickly approaching. Bridget walked into the room at about 11:30 – I said a quick hey in between contractions – and went back to work. Knowing that she was there – I was ready anytime.

I couldn’t focus. I was a wreck. I kept telling Johna that I didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t ready. Life was supposed to be different. I knew that I might get emotional – but at that moment – I felt everything from the past four months. Mostly fear. Fear of the unknown. Once this baby came out – life would change. And it’s changed so much and I’ve barely – or felt like I’ve barely – kept up. It’s fitting to me that Enoch’s birth was quick but very painful. The change in our life this summer was quick and so painful. Bringing this new life into the world was going to change OUR lives. I was afraid of how. Jared kept telling me that I was doing great. Johna whispered in my ear – you can do this. You have faith. You have to hold onto that. I know this isn’t how you want things – but you will do it. And it will be great. Or something to that effect.

At the end – the contractions were so intense that I would pull Johna down on top of me and hold on to her. Focus and rational had left me. At one moment I remember trying to get out of my own head – to focus. I prayed for the names on my list of women who want babies. I prayed that I would be thankful for this moment – because so many of them want it. That they would someday experience THIS pain instead of the pain in their hearts right now. And then his head was out. And then he was lying on the table – looking around the room – not making a sound. He was beautiful and peaceful and amazing and more than I ever thought he would be.

I was a hot mess during pushing – a crazy hot mess. I expected Dr. Becker to shake his finger at me and say – now Danielle – was all that really needed? But he didn’t. The nurses were awesome. I’m so thankful that Johna was able to be there. I called Samm to let her know that she wasn’t going to make it. She cried. I cried. We all cried. For so many reasons.

Enoch was born on Tuesday – November 19th of 2013 at 12:03 PM. He weighed 7 lbs 7 ounces and was 20 inches long! Fitzy weighed 7 lbs and 7.7 ounces. I couldn’t believe they were almost the same exact weight! Again – 7 is the number of completion and perfection – how AWESOME is that!! Enoch resembles Fitzy at some angles but definitely has his own look. He has light brown hair – a tiny bit – with a widow’s peak. His hands and feet are gigantic – just like Fitzy.

Bridget stayed until my mom came with Fitzy – capturing the first moment my boys met.

(side note – I don’t care if you book me or Bridget or some other awesome photographer – but if you are pregnant – I URGE you to consider (and do) birth pictures)

Fitzy looked at Enoch and said – Oh! I missed you baby ick! I love you baby ick! Oh!

It was beautiful.

Enoch (I’ve taken to calling him Enny. We tried Nick – but it’s just not fitting for him) is a dream. He is content and sweet. Fitzy holds him with the boppy pillow and is so proud that he does it himself. When Enoch cries – Fitzy comes over and says – it’s okay baby ick – and rubs his little head. The sweetest.

He hasn’t even been here a week and I feel like I’ve known him my whole life. Even now – I tell him about how we knew he would be born. How God named him. How the plan for his life is beautiful and amazing and most likely painful – because pain is what molds us. Teaches us. Heals us.

Bridget took that shot for us. It’s on his birth announcement – because it’s beautiful. I never thought that I would hold one baby in my arms – let alone two. I’m still in shock and so thankful that God chose us to be the ones that help guide Fitzgerald and Enoch through this crazy life.

Of course – I HAD to bring my camera.

That face!

His first day home – Fitzy is just so proud and such a big helper! Yesterday – Enoch peed all over the ottoman and his clothes while my sister was changing him – Fitzy fell on the floor laughing. He loves looking at his little toes and his little ears. He’s also amazing at communicating what he needs or wants. He said to me – momma – please give baby ick to daddy – I need you. So I did – and we cuddled. And I cried.

Because my heart is overwhelmed. With so many beautiful things.

WAITING FOR ENOCH

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,my family — admin at 12:15 pm on Monday, November 18, 2013

My dear friend and fellow photographer – Megan – took some AMAZING photos for us to remember our pregnancy with little Enoch!

I LOVE that shot on the left!

And the one on the right – SO MUCH!

As most of you know – the past few months have been really really REALLY hard for our family. Seeing that smile on my husband’s face – makes my heart burst.

Fitzy was NOT into having his picture taken – AT ALL! I had some visions of the three of us – but it didn’t work out – such is life with a toddler!

Megan got some GREAT shots though! I’m already running out of wall space in our house – I have NO idea how I’m going to display everything!

SO GORGEOUS!

OH MY HEART!

I absolutely ADORE being pregnant – I’m so thankful to have these photos to remember such an amazing time in my life!

That shot on the left – OH MY WORD! MY FAVORITE!

AND AGAIN – these are just amazing!

One last try with Fitzy!

Megan – thank you SO much for being a fantastic photographer and an equally fantastic friend!

LOVE STILL HOPES ALL THINGS

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,my family,portraits — admin at 2:20 pm on Sunday, November 17, 2013

It’s still tattooed on my arm. When I glance down – I can still see it. Right now. And yet. Again. I lose hope. Hopefully not all – but sometimes – a lot. It seems like all.

I wrote briefly about what happened this summer – and while someday I know that I can write more about it – it’s still not time yet. It’s still too fresh and too painful. Too close. I’ve watched my best friend – my husband – the father of my children – break. The hardest thing for me to deal with – you might have guessed it already – is control. Or lack of. I can’t control it. I can’t make him better. I can’t make choices for him. I can’t. Not that I won’t. Because I would. But – I can’t.

As I write this – I am 38 weeks and some days pregnant. I cannot believe that it’s almost over. I laid down with Fitzy for his nap the other day and studied his face. Tried to take pictures – but nothing I took captured the contours of his face the way I saw them. Now – I get that I’m extremely emotional right now – but I really couldn’t get a shot of his face exactly the way I was seeing it. It made me cry. Which isn’t hard at all anymore. But I just laid there – and took in those moments – our last few moments where it’s just him. And me. Even typing it now – it makes me tear up. Will he remember these times? I hope he knows how much I love him. How his little soul has carved such a deep place in my heart. How he is my favorite and will be even when Enoch is here in our arms – my two favorite boys.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready for another change. These past four months have been the absolute hardest of my entire life. I’ve cried more than I ever thought possible. I’ve exhausted my words. I’ve waited for God to swoop in and fix everything. Truthfully – I’ve waited to wake up. I’ve waited for Jared to wake up in the morning and be the man I knew. To look at me with those sea green eyes of his – the way he used to. And everything will be like it should be. I can’t believe that we are almost due – because I feel like I was just learning that we were pregnant. The past four months – while the days have been hard – have FLOWN by.

And you’ve seen this many times on our blogs – but here it is again. A promise. Because it helps explain – everything.

You will get pregnant again. And even though you will default in your minds that you will probably miscarry – oh no. You will have a healthy child – possibly twins! It will be huge and massive BUT you must keep it to yourselves and announce at the END of the first trimester. 

(It will be huge and massive. I didn’t know what that meant – and I still don’t – not quite. But huge and massive. I feel like it’s huge and massive that I’ve made it. That we’ve made it. And while I know I lean toward the dramatic – let me tell you – it’s been hard. Massively hard. Hugely hard. And it’s not over. It’s just starting.)

This is a promise from God and you will rename the son Enoch. God is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. You need to tuck this word on your hearts and cover it. The Enoch tattoo was intended as a remembrance BUT in God’s time was a prophetic act as to your next son’s name being branded. 

(This is a PROMISE from God. He is NOT done with you. He’s just starting. This is just the beginning? Crap. I don’t know if I’ve written about my box before – but I have one. It used to be neatly wrapped in layers of duct tape. LAYERS. To keep God in. To keep me comfortable. Then my jaw pain started. And a few layers came off and I got on my face before God and prayed. Which was huge – because only crazy Christians do that. And I told satan to leave me alone – which was massive – because only crazy Christians do that. I memorized Psalm 46 and recited it all the time. Again – crazy. And then I got comfortable in life – and the box stayed in it’s corner. Then we miscarried. And that box came back out. But God – I took a few layers off – why. Why would this happen to us. And I got angry and put a few more layers on. Took them off – tried to stick them back on again. By this time – that box wasn’t pretty – frayed and sticky. God’s light peeking through the cracks – but I didn’t want to know what He has in store for me. Because it might scare me. Most likely will scare me. And ask me to give up some things I love. Some things I can’t live without. Okay – can but won’t. Don’t want to. Then we got pregnant – so surprisingly – and the layers came off and I let God in a little deeper. He did answer my prayer for a baby after all – I owed Him that much. Sure God – I can let you in a little deeper – get a little crazier. And here I am – with that stupid box. Still wrapped up. Because even after all this – I’m afraid of what God has for us – things that I know will be amazing – even if eventually – but scary and out of my control.)

It will be a massive testimony and will restore relationships, friendships, and family ties in ways you never thought possible. It’s going to be mammoth. It will be full circle. Both of your families will be remarkably astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. BUT you MUST NOT announce it until the end of the 1st trimester. Not even to close friends or family. YOU MUST WAIT!

(Again – that word – MASSIVE. MAMMOTH. Both of your families will be astounded at what God will do through you in this next pregnancy. It will restore relationships – friendships – family ties – in ways you never thought possible. Check. Check. And check. Friendships have been repaired – friendships that I thought were beyond any sort of repair. Family relationships have been healed. Because I was in a time of absolute need? Because I was hurting – we were hurting – and really in the end – why were we having issues in the first place? Remarkably astounded. God has given me remarkable strength and grace. Strength and grace to deal with mania and depression and what comes with each of those. Things I never imagined I would encounter. Ever. Strength to be a fantastic momma to an amazing little boy. Strength to carry a miracle – a promised child of  God. Strength to stand by my husband when I wanted to run. And hide. For a long time. Grace. Forgiveness. A love that runs much deeper than romantic love. Deeper than – kiss you on the way out the door – love. Deeper than – XOXO – written on the bathroom mirror. Love that fights. Love that is ugly and beautiful at the same time. Love that makes you sob on the bathroom floor. Love that makes you pray harder than ever. Love that writes YOU CAN DO IT on the bathroom mirror. Love that fights. That screams. Love that makes you angry. Love that keeps your family together. Love that means far more than anything you could have imagined when you said your vows. Love that only Jesus can teach. Love that I was – and still am – incapable of on my own. I don’t know what I imagined those words could have meant – what God will do through this next pregnancy – but I didn’t imagine this. THIS is why I keep that box sealed up. Because it’s been scary and out of my control. And I’ve begged God. Why this. Why now. Why us. Why. Just why.)

I honestly feel stronger about this than the word I gave you for Fitzy! You can’t even tell me when you first find out – I will already know. You can’t tell ANYONE! BELIEVE IT! RECEIVE IT! ACT! God is good and will be massively glorified through it. Save these messages for confirmation and documentation. Not for me – but so that we can honor Christ Jesus & God’s ridiculous faithfulness. He is good. He is really REALLY good!

(I am holding onto those words. That God is good. REALLY really good. I know that God is good. But it’s really really REALLY hard for me to say that THIS is good. So I don’t. Because while I believe that God is good – I don’t believe that everything that happens in life is good. Because – we live in a sinful world. Not the perfect world that God intended at the beginning. And we can hope for good and hold onto good. But some things that happen – just suck. After the summer and fall we’ve had – I couldn’t take another thing. Not. One. Then I got a rash – I thought it was just chafing from a little extra poundage. Nope. Turns out – it was shingles. SHINGLES. Seriously. And since it’s in a very sensitive spot – it needs to clear up before Enoch comes in order to deliver. Seriously. The pain. The absolute ridiculousness of the situation. How on EARTH is getting shingles at 37 weeks pregnant while my life is already a hot mess – good. How. But – I do know that God is good. That – I will not let go. Because. I won’t. I can’t.)

And because LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS – I’m holding onto hope – even if it’s just a little tiny bit. Because sometimes – it just is.

And because LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS and little Fitzgerald was and is the hope of my heart – more than I could have ever imagined a child being – here’s a few pictures of his sweet little face to look at. And see. That miracles happen.

LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. Even when life is more ugly than you ever imagined – LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.

And even when you can’t imagine anything in your life to say thank you for – there is. Even if it’s just the chance to get up tomorrow and start a new day. Even if it’s just that you have breath in your lungs. Even if it’s just the chance to fight. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS.

For me – it’s just that my husband is still here. Which isn’t just a just.

It’s that he’s still here. It’s that there are glimmers of who he was. Who he will be again. It’s that little face with those sweet brown eyes. That he calls me momma and I call him my son. That in what could be a few short days or a few short weeks – another little boy will hold my heart.

And for all of us – it’s that God LOVES you. And that LOVE – hopes everything.

*S* FAMILY

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 3:06 pm on Friday, November 15, 2013

If you frequent this blog – you’ve seen this family – A LOT!

Little *G* – such a sweetheart!

OH MY WORD!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE those shots!

And those ones! PERFECTION!

Oh Star – that mule is such an attention hog!

The only time I have ever photographed Dustin & Nicole together – is while she was pregnant! They NEEDED some shots!

And speaking of attention hogs -

That would be my child in their family pictures!

Fitzy was IN LOVE with baby *G* – he couldn’t get enough!

Nicole has become so much more than a client – she is a GREAT friend and confidante. I am so thankful that what started as – will you take my picture – turned into a great friendship! I LOVE you guys!

SISTERS

Filed under: family,friends,just because,love,portraits — admin at 11:59 am on Friday, November 8, 2013

I’ve been taking pictures of Taylor and McKenzie for years now! They contacted me for a SISTER session – but didn’t think it would happen before my maternity leave. Thankfully – I had an opening that week!

SERIOUSLY – gorgeous!

They might be my favorite people to photograph!

I couldn’t decide – so you get to see both!

If only you could see behind the scenes! Taylor could NOT keep it together at this point. The corn just made her laugh! it’s one of those things that once you see the end result – it’s awesome – but sometimes the concept is so silly!

Thank you SO much for asking me to photograph you! You guys are AWESOME!

MOLLY – MANSFIELD CLASS OF 2014

Filed under: portraits,seniors — admin at 1:42 pm on Thursday, November 7, 2013

Molly was AWESOME to photograph!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE those shots!

LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Molly – thank you SO much for asking me to take your senior pictures! Have a GREAT year!

*M* FAMILY

Filed under: family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 10:55 am on Saturday, November 2, 2013

I took family photos for Sadie last year – I couldn’t believe it was time again already!

GORGEOUS!

SO FUN!

Thank you SO much for asking me to capture your family! I love seeing you each year in front of my lens!

SISTERS

Filed under: . babies . babies . babies .,babes,family,just because,kiddos,love,portraits — admin at 12:30 pm on Friday, November 1, 2013

There are few things better than meeting one of the babies on my “list”. For those of you that don’t know – I keep a running list of women that want to have a baby. Their names move to a different column when they get pregnant and then another when they have the baby. There are over 80 names on the “list”. *E* – the little guy in this session – is one of those babies that we prayed for.

Sisters. Cousins. Family.

*A* did NOT want his picture taken – but I won him over in the end!

He reminds me SO much of Fitzy!

OH MY!

SERIOUSLY – look at him! Such a miracle!

How on earth can a SEVEN month old have better hair than me – not fair! At all!

Thank you SO much for asking me to photograph you again! I had a GREAT time with you all! I still have your sunglasses!