Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Richie and Stefanie are getting hitched!

When ever I photograph a wedding, I offer a complimentary consultation before we ever take a single picture. During this time, I always learn how the couple met and their details of the big day. But the most important question I ask is to the groom... "So, how did you ask her to marry you?"

Note, I do not ask the bride for two big reasons, first because I love to see how the bride's face lights up as her groom re-tells the story of how he asked her and second I love to give the groom the opportunity to explain how he led up to the decision to actually ask her. So may times we get caught up in all of planning that we forget to recall why we made this decision in the first place.

When I sat down with Stefanie and Richie to hear how he asked her, my heart melted. Richie had planned to ask her on their anniversary. He had already purchased the ring, had it tucked away in a safe spot in their closet, and told everyone to be aware that it was coming. Richie is a country music artist and is pursuing a career in the industry. He and Stefanie had gone to a location that could have been a potential place for him to play at. The owner's wife inquired if Stefanie was Richie's wife? Richie laughed and poked fun at the idea, but said no.

Later that evening afer returning from the night out, Stefanie approached the subject again. She explained to Richie that she would love to be his wife one day. Richie left the room and returned with a ring. That's when he asked her.

He said to me, "I never thought I would ever get married. I was content just being on my own. I was going to pursue my music and do my own thing. Then she came into my life."

It was the sweetest thing I thought I had ever heard.

Richie and Stefanie are getting married at First Baptist Church at Jacksonville Beach on March 27th, 2010. There reception will follow at The Majestic Room. There engagement session pictures were taken in St. Augustine, Florida.

Click on photos for larger images. www.jhalsteadphotography.blogspot.com)

Rich and Stef

Rich and Stef

Rich and Stef

Rich and Stef

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Life gives us amazing miracles

I have been blessed to have had 6 children in my life, one of which, I never had the opportunity to hold in my arms. I feel like this is one reason why I can empathize and sympathize with other women and families that I photograph. I know the joys of carrying a baby and the pains of delivery. I understand the grief of a loss and I appreciate the good and the rough days of parenting or potty training.

When Stephanie told me her incredible story, my heart ached for her. I met her two months after I had just lost my unborn child and she had just had her first child. She explained to me that prior to having her son, she had lost a child as well. The pregnancy resulted in damaging the whole right side of her reproductive area. The doctor explained that she may never have children at all and if she did, it would be a miracle if she or the baby made it past 6 or 7 months.

She soon found out she was having her first son. She was only able to carry him until 7 1/2 months. Her placenta had been detached from the lining walls and she had begun to hemorrhage. Via emergency c-section, he arrived weighing just under 4 pounds. He was a miracle.

The doctor advised her to not have any more children. It could threaten her own life and the baby as well. Once finding out she was pregnant with her second child, she was faced with a horrific decision of whether or not to have the child. This pregnancy brought even more challenges: gestational diabetes, work, full time school, and the demands of a toddler.

She and the baby were seen by the doctor on Friday and schedule for a c-section on Monday pending the results of her amniocentesis test. She arrived Monday morning to learn that her fluid levels were too low and she was being admitted to deliver right then.

Alida Mikell was born 5 lbs 10oz at 5:35pm. Mom and baby are doing great! She named her after a character from one of her beloved childhood books. Because of the emergency c-section, I was unable to enter the delivery room, but the hospital was gracious enough to allow me into the nursery during her bath and blood work. Dad was so proud! They now have a son and a daughter! There are photos here from her maternity session and her delivery.

Proud Papa

Happy momma

Already a thumb sucker

Fresh piggies

Cover me back up... NOW!

Cute cheeks