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A year removed..

At this time last year, I had just announced our second pregnancy, and I was so so so excited, scared and also exhausted. If you have followed this blog, that was pretty much the only thing I blogged here. A year ago, I told the story of our second pregnancy and subsequent loss at 13 weeks pregnant. I haven’t had a lot to say since then.

I have rejoiced with those who have had pregnancies and sweet, squishy babies. I have been honored when they wanted me to photograph them, but I took a huge step back from photographing and videoing births, both because I was sick/tired when I was pregnant and becuase I was upset after my misscarriage and didn’t want to carry that into a birthing room.

When the dry spell finally broke in November, with the second baby of one of my very first birth clients, the first person I ever used video on. I just love them and was honored to be there for them again. It was like deja-vu, but through the lens of what I have gone through since then, it was very different. My eyes could see things in a different way; a more cautious, grateful and solemn way. I can see miracles for what they are now, not as something created by a man and a woman. I saw Cohen’s birth and was amazed at how good our God is.

I visited a hospital maternity floor again last month, this time, photographing the only portraits that will ever be taken of a sweet angel named Samuel, who was born sleeping. I had never done this before, even though I had looked into it through Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) (an organization where photographers donate their time and talent to capture bereaved families of newborns, specifically stillbirths.) I have never been more grateful to have been through the story of my life as I was in that room. I was able to be strong for someone else when they needed it the most. I was able to give them a gift they might not have had otherwise. It wasn’t about me, or my camera, or even the perfect angle or lighting. It was about service.

I have learned that perspective is everything, and nothing makes your day to day issues seem like molehills like seeing a bereaved family mourn the loss of an infant child.

I have come a long way in the year since our loss. And though I still think of that sweet baby that would have been, and it never really has seemed like that was the life meant for us. A year removed and it doesn’t feel like someone is missing. I think the purpose of that experience has been shown to me, clear as day. And I am grateful for the way it has broken me down even further.

I have never felt so much like my life isn’t about me.
I have let go of insecurities that have held me back.
I don’t let my fears get in the way anymore.
I just go. I just do. I just trust in the process that is life.
I have faith that no matter the moment, no matter the place, no matter the situation; that I can and will be whoever Christ wants me to be in that moment, place, situation through his spirit in me.
I have peace that passes understanding and the strong desire to help others understand what that is and how to lay hold of it.

All that to say, I am back.
I’m blogging here again.
I am ready to share the sweetness that is my life and maybe along the way, I can let go of even more things that weigh me down in this life.

Maybe someone out there will be encouraged to let things go too?

I certainly pray for that.

xoxo,

allie

2013-10-15_0001.jpg

Meet Cohen. He is a miracle. Just like you.

Meet Samuel. He went ahead of us. I can’t wait to see him again.

Dawn - January 23, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Allie,
I have lost two babies and it never goes away. I love my children dearly but always will mourn a loss I can not explain to anyone unless they too have. Your writing is profound and touches me deeply. Welcome back and thank you for touching my heart. With love and sincere admiration, Dawn

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The Baby Plan!

So far over 10 families have graduated from The Baby Plan and two have gone for another round with baby #2! It has been an awesome thing for everyone involved.

The Baby Plan is a specially designed program for growing families – offering a discount on booking when you schedule a year of sessions at once. Typically a variety of Pregnancy Announcement (includes design for 5×7 card to print and share with your family/friends), Maternity, Newborn, 6 Months, One Year.

FIVE  sessions w/ digital files
Pregnancy Announcement (with 5×7 design), Maternity, Newborn, Six Months & One Year
$2499 — $147/ month for 17 months

FOUR sessions w/ digital files
Maternity, Newborn, Six Months & One Year
$2099 — $140/ month for 15 months

THREE sessions w/ digital files
Newborn, Six Months & One Year
$1575 — $131/ month for 12 months

TWO sessions w/ digital files
$1100 — $92/ month for 12 months

ONE session  w/ digital files- $575

ONE session with ordering session to buy products- $199

What is included?

Your choice of sessions ranging from pregnancy announcement, maternity, newborn (in-home), 3, 6, 9 & 12 months.
Digital galleries come with most collections – they house images in the cloud for download – you will be instructed on how to back these up.
Discounts on Birth or First 48 hours sessions. Just ask!
Wall Art assistance and discounts on wall art groupings.

 

Can I order products? How much?

Print collections start at $150.
Yes, Canvas Wall Art starts at $150 per piece.
Wall Collections starts at $550.

 

Do you have payment plans?

You will be billed in equal monthly amounts. They are listed above within the packages. If you prefer a different payment plan, please let me know!

 

Questions? email alliedbennett@gmail.com

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why my miscarriage was exactly what I needed..

Welp, this is definitely not something I thought I would ever utter. Not even under the most strange of circumstances, but now that my miscarriage is behind me and life has resumed back to normal (okay, it’s better than normal!) I have to admit that I needed to have the miscarriage.

For the last few years, I have been grateful and pretty perplexed as to why and how I was able to have such an easy go at pregnancy with Analeigh. We are talking, first try conception, very minimal complications that all resolved themselves, an avoided induction and a healthy baby girl that came 6 days early, on her own in 6 hours!  How did I get to be so blessed? Why have most of my friends and all of my sisters had miscarriages and complications? but not me?

When we got pregnant this last time, it was not as type A planned out at Analeigh was. It was more of a “let’s take our chances” situation and let’s just say Tim is a member of the elite one shot wonder club. Two weeks later… positive test. Another week later, slow death by morning sickness.. It all seemed so familiar and so normal for a healthy pregnancy. We began our planning and dreaming… and I imagined my life to become completely different as I became a mother of two.

Fast forward to our 5th anniversary, 10 weeks into the pregnancy, finding out that there was no embryo and that I likely was having a molar pregnancy or a blighted ovum.. it was rough to hear all of that, but to be honest.. I just kind of felt like it was my turn to take that hard road. Avoiding it until now was great, but now it was time to join the ranks of moms who have experienced loss. I found peace in knowing I wasn’t the first and won’t be the last mom to deal with this, and with the fact that I had knowledge and experience that would help me through the physical part of it.

Having a natural miscarriage at home was the most intense and craziest thing that I have ever experienced. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am strong and that God is with me. There was a lot of doubt trying to creep in during the experience, but I prayed through it and God answered my prayers to not need to go to the hospital. I am so grateful for that hard day and for how we chose to let it play out. Two weeks of waiting for it to happen and three hours of labor later… it was over and it was time to start moving on.

One of the very first decisions I made after finding out about the blighted ovum (what it wound up being) was that I didn’t want to become pregnant again anytime soon. The desire to be pregnant and have another baby fled from me like a bat out of hell. I was so ill during the 10 weeks before the miscarriage, I could barely function and when I was functioning, I was saying over and over again “ugh, blegh, ick. I feel so gross, i’m nauseated, I feel like trash.” It was awful. I was not prepared to deal with that again, not even if I did get a baby out of the deal.

The next huge realization was that maybe I didn’t even want another baby. (gasp!) I think the whole idea of it seemed right and perfect (and everyone else seemed to want more kids) but when I was seeing my life in 9 months and how much everything was going to change… it was intense and a little scary. I don’t have it all together, and there are days that I miss being a woman with a job and a life outside of motherhood. Why add to what we already have? (My husband is nodding, he has been saying this since before Ana was even born.) I think it is innate in women to want to procreate and mother, not matter the cost or the hardship or the battle. We are built to do it and who was I to fight that? Right? ugh… so wrong. I am open the the idea that one day we might get pregnant again and that maybe some day when we are all a little older and life is a little different that we might WANT another baby. But right now, content is the word of my life.

You see, having a miscarriage isn’t shameful. It isn’t something that was anyone’s fault. And it certainly isn’t something I will keep quiet about.

So many people have already asked me how I am feeling during the pregnancy (which leads me to wonder if the 10 lbs I have lost since then has been credited to morning sickness and not the endless hours of the elliptical and at hot yoga) but regardless, telling someone that you had a miscarriage is not as hard as it seems. The reactions are always so sorrowful and I wind up feeling like I need to give THEM a hug. But at least I can talk about it and not want to cry. That in itself is a blessing.

Since the miscarriage, I joined Anytime Fitness and lost 10 lbs doing cardio and strength training with a close friend who also experienced a miscarriage (we were due the same week.) And it is so nice to have someone who is right there with me through this. We are running a 5k on Mother’s Day, which I just realized was so ironic, and so perfect.

I also started doing Bikram Yoga at Full Circle Yoga and that is the most awesome workout for both mind and body – and before the miscarriage I don’t know if I would have been mentally tough enough to stick out 90 minutes of 99+ degree temps and holding poses that I have not done in a while.

I guess in a lot of ways the miscarriage gave me mental toughness, as well as the realization of how much I was taking for granted. I was over a healthy weight and not doing anything about it. It snapped me back into giving a crap about my body and what I put in it as well as how I use it to keep myself alive for the many years to come that I need to be here for Tim and Analeigh.

There are some recent developments that I cannot wait to tell you about that also would have never happened if I was still pregnant.

But that exciting news is for another blog post… so stay tuned!

 

xoxo,

 

allie

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

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out of the darkness.. into the light…

Two weeks ago – I snapped out of it.

I stopped wallowing in the pit of having a miscarriage.

Although, I felt strong throughout the entire process, I was still grieving the loss of what I thought my life was going to be for the last two and a half months and it was showing – I was eating like crap, sleeping like crap and I felt like crap. ( not to mention the neverending 4 week long miscarriage and all that it entails)

but two weeks ago.. it stopped, and I decided there was no more excuses for letting myself stay in that pit.

I went to Anytime Fitness in Belpre, I got a membership. (LOVE this gym, check it out)

I downloaded My Fitness Pal app on my phone and set it to 1500 calories a day.

and I prayed.. a lot.

I joined a Beth Moore bible study on Wisdoms at my church, and also joined one on Ruth at the church were my MOPS group meets.

I started taking Ana to weekly open gym at Gymniks Gymnastics on Friday mornings.

I recommitted my life to staying involved, and staying engaged with other people.

I bought tickets to take Ana to the circus and to see veggietales. I went and saw Third Day in concert and bought tickets to see Hillsong in August.

I decided there will be no more obsessing about if, when, why or how we will procreate again.

I accepted that if God’s plan is for Analeigh to be an only child, than His will be done.

Did I mention, I prayed, a lot?

I decided to loose 25 pounds and get stronger, physically and mentally.

After two weeks, I am already down 7. And it feels AMAZING.

I have more energy and feel more alive than I have in a long time.

And it’s all because I had a miscarriage.

 

Everything happens for a reason.

 

xoxo,

 

allie

 

also, we celebrated Easter. My favorite holiday because that is the day we brought Ana home from the hospital and straight to Easter dinner.. and every year we celebrate with an Easter nap at gramma and grampas… and this year’s nap had even more significance for me. I am so grateful.

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13 weeks…

I would have been 13 weeks pregnant, when I finally had my miscarriage. By my estimation, I was about 9.5 when my body started to realize there was no embryo- but a blighted ovum instead.  But, it took 3.5 more weeks for my body to expel the miscarriage. Lucky 13.. and on International Women’s Day too boot. If that is not irony I don’t know what is.

Week 13 is the first week of the 2nd trimester. I cannot believe that it took that long for everything to happen. I honestly thought that as sick as I was, that I was in the clear and would have a baby brother or sister for Ana in no time.

Honestly, I thought it was a boy and that we would name him Josiah.

That kinda hurts to say that out loud like that.. but I had trouble sleeping and I would wake up, go pee.. and think Josiah. This baby is Josiah.

I looked it up and Josiah means the fire of God. Which considering the circumstances, I feel like kind of fits.

I am having a weird time dealing with this whole ordeal.. for one because I feel like it has been going on FOREVER. It’s been a month since I started spotting, three weeks since the ultrasound, two weeks of what I thought miscarriage bleeding might be like and a week since the actual labor and miscarriage.. and I am still bleeding and cramping.

It is like it won’t ever end.

Also, I think I am having a weird time because I understand that there’s nothing to be guilty about… nothing to beat myself up over…

I even see the silver lining.. like going to Jamaica later this year with my best friend Natalia and having 4 nights at an all-inclusive resort and not being 7 months pregnant while doing it. (after shooting three weddings in one week)… I was a bit nervous about all of that to begin with.

I see that I got to take back on my clients that I had to let go when I found out I was expecting… and that I will get to go to their weddings and be there for them.

I see that my life isn’t going to drastically change (well, I do feel changed.. but not in the same way we were planning for)

But at the same time, I feel like I am grieving the excitement and anticipation.

I am grieving the loss of my home birth we were planning for September.

I am grieving the loss of my second chance to do things the way I didn’t do them with Analeigh.. like nursing from the get-go and co-sleeping without ‘first time mom’ guilt.

I am grieving the loss of the fear of having two children, if that makes any sense at all. It was a stress that I was looking forward to, and was completely frightened by at the same time.

I am struggling to figure out an appropriate way to move on… and I am hoping that when the bleeding and cramping subsides completely, I can come up with something..

but for now, I am stuck in miscarriage purgatory and I just want it to be over.

 

xoxo,

 

 

allie

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