For the last 29 years, October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This short 31 days we have to bring awareness to the fact that 1 in every 4 pregnancies ends in loss is SO important to me.
I could speak for pages about the different mama's I've encountered and their stories of hope and healing, but I'm going to take today, the first of the month, to share Ashlee and Joe's story. At least my part of it.
I actually met Ashlee's sister through some mini's we had been working on this spring. She had briefly told me she wanted to surprise her sister with a maternity session. I didn't know the full story but I adored Amanda and was happy to offer to help.
Amanda had her Mommy & Me session on April 29 and brought her sister Ashlee along to help reign in the kids. I felt quickly like I joined in their family. Their closeness reminded me so much of my sisters.
Through speaking with them, I found out that Ashlee and Joe had actually been through several rounds of IVF treatments in order to conceive. This was their third round. Their first round was successful and they were ecstatic to find out they were having boy -girl twins.
Unfortunately, Mason and Caroline were born on February 9th at only 19 weeks.
As Ashlee has said, 'I'm not a quitter. I wasn't giving up."
Round two of IVF was unsuccessful but the third found them pregnant with a little girl.
Amanda got ahold of me that weekend to say that Ashlee had been admitted into the hospital and they were trying to stop her labor. She asked if I was available to come and take pictures.
At first, I didn't understand. When I did, I cried. Lord, I bawled and begged for help. I saw this beautiful pregnancy mama just the day before, and now to know that her soul was aching... made mine ache.
I whole heartedly agreed to come and help in whatever way I could.
Georgia Kate was born on May 1st, 2017, at 22 weeks. And oh, please believe me when I say that she was completely beautiful. There was such a feeling of love in the room that day.
I got to see Ashlee again for a project I'm working on called The Faces of Grief. Together with a group of mom's we sat down and talked about our experiences and how we carry our grief everyday.
I was able to get some more shots of Ashlee and it was, again, such a time of healing for everyone. I have never in my life met a woman and mother who is so strong and carries her broken heart with such grace.
There is an AMAZING organization that has organized a Rock and Walk scheduled for October 21st here in Clayton, NC. If you are interested, please click HERE and learn some more about this beautiful event.
Below, are the pictures from my time with Ashlee and Joe. Please be aware that some images might be graphic for some viewers.
For Mason, Caroline and Georgia. May your wings fly you high.