Kai Everett | Our Rainbow Baby | Newborn Session | Personal | VA Beach Newborn Photographer

Our sweet, sweet Kai Everett made his appearance into the world on Friday, April 17th, 2015… with a few unexpected events! My pregnancy with him was generally without any complications, other than a great deal of discomfort at the end due to his hefty size for his tiny little mama!! At 37 weeks, we were told that he was breech and that a C-section would be scheduled for April 16th due to the risks of a breech birth and the high unlikelihood of him flipping to a head down position due to his and my size.

Sure enough, just minutes before I was to receive meds for my scheduled C-section (and over 3 hours after checking in), an ultrasound showed that our little big guy had turned himself head down!! We cancelled the surgery and decided to go ahead with an induction, since we were already admitted into the hospital with IV’s and everything, and my loved ones were already present or on their way to meet the new baby!

A very, very slooow progression of labor ensued… with not much at all happening the whole day and night on Thursday, even with full doses of Pitocin, consistent contractions, and many walks around the labor and delivery ward with my portable monitor! Once the new shift and doctor came on board Friday morning, things finally got to progressing once my water was broken. A total of 23 hours later, at 3:27pm on Friday the 17th, Kai Everett was born weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches long!

Shortly after his birth, I had a little scare with some excruciating pain, which we quickly discovered was my uterus overreacting to a couple large clots that were then manually hemorrhaged with extreme force by my obstetrician. Unfortunately, with an epidural that had mostly run out by then, it was not so fun for mommy, to say the least!!! Morphine to the rescue once the situation was under control, and all was well! We are so grateful for skilled medical staff that were able to control the situation so quickly, even if it felt like an eternity in the moment!!

All the pains and complications were totally and completely worth it for our sweet and peaceful rainbow baby, Kai. Many of you know that I was born in Hawaii, so the Hawaiian name Kai meaning ocean or sea was a perfect fit for our little rainbow after the storm. He is such a blessing to our family and we have been enjoying him immensely for the past 13 days. On day 8, I captured a few shots of newborn Kai (with my push gift – my new lens – I might add)!

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Crochet newborn outfit courtesy of JustForBabyWithLove on Etsy!

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“I Love You to the Cowboy!” | Kamden’s 3rd Birthday | Personal

Dear Kamden,

Well, you haven’t slowed down one bit! From the moment you started kicking me from inside my belly, you’ve been on the go!! I wouldn’t have it any other way. You have such a spark for life, buddy. I have so much to learn from you! You’re never bored and so full of life and joy every day! Today we celebrate your 3rd birthday and what an exciting one, as you now understand birthdays and are so up for celebrating anything!

This morning, I surprised you with huge green punching balloons when you woke up, and you exclaimed, “Banoons! I wove banoons!!!” 🙂 Once we got downstairs, you discovered your “pwesents,” and exclaimed, “It’s my birthday now!!” You got your Thomas & Friends Cranky the Crane that you’ve talked about for months now, and “a ‘mote control dinosaur” as you’d say, because Mommy just couldn’t wait 8 more days till Christmas to give it to you! Let’s just say Santa and Mommy made a special deal.

You have grown to be such a sweet, respectful, thoughtful, fun, albeit still crazy little guy!! Sometimes you may not know what to do with your enormous amounts of energy, but I know that someday that will all channel into something great, and you will be so successful with all that drive!

The twos did end up being a little more challenging than I had imagined, but at the same time was more fun than I’ve ever had in my life!!! You have learned so much, and I feel that I’ve learned just as much. I wish I could capture your little sweet voice forever. When you wake up in the morning and I get my minute of snuggles before your energy kicks in and you softly say, “I wove you, Mommy.” My heart melts over and over.

I hope you never lose that huge spark for life that you have. I hope that you continue to blossom and learn and make new friends at your new preschool and beyond. I hope that when you have the chance to run, you continue to run free and giggle and yell, “Come on, let’s run! This is fun!!” I hope that you love your brother “Cheese Packy” as much as you somehow already are showing though Mommy’s only 5 months pregnant. You tried to play dinosaurs with him the other day, you talk to him and tell him you love him, and are constantly giving him kisses! I hope you will someday understand my intense love for you and remember that you and your brother are the greatest joys of my life. Far greater joy than I ever imagined!

Your daddy and I are so so proud of you, Kam Man. Love you to the moon and back. To infinity and beyond! And, as you would add, “Love you to the cowboy!!!” Happy 3rd Birthday!!!

Love,

Mommy

To see Kamden’s 2-year blog post, click here: Greatest Love I’ve Ever Known.

Our Five Year Wedding Anniversary | Celebrating in an Extra Special Way!!! | Personal

My hubby Karlton and I have been together for over 13 years, but this August we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary! This year we decided to celebrate in an extra special way, with the help of Michelle of Michelle Marsh Photography!! Michelle is a good pal of mine, and I couldn’t have asked for a better, sweeter, more talented photographer to do this special session for us! I really wanted some super romantic shots of the hubs and me, and I also had a couple other big ideas in mind as well!

The last five years have been wonderful as we’ve gotten married, bought our first home, both started new careers, and of course started our family with our Kam Man!!! The past year hasn’t always been an easy one, especially with the pregnancy loss we experienced in June. Nonetheless, our relationship has remained strong, and we really love the life we’ve built together. First, here are a few throwbacks from our 13 years together!

Please make sure to also scroll to the bottom for a very special video compilation of the AMAZING photo shoot that we had with Michelle. Please check it out to see why it is sooo special and meaningful to us both!!! 😉

Please make sure to click the Settings button below (the little gear) to switch to 1080p HD before viewing. Thanks!! Enjoy! 🙂

Invisible Grief | Choosing Happy Sorrow | A Story of Pregnancy Loss | Personal

** DISCLAIMER: This post may be an emotional trigger for those who have experienced loss, especially regarding miscarriage. **

As I sit here finally letting my emotions out, I realize that I haven’t cried like this… well, probably ever. Bear with me folks, this post contains a very personal and mature subject matter. The following experience definitely broke my heart a little bit…

Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love being a mommy. It has been my ultimate goal in life for as long as I can remember. More than anything else in the world, I knew that I wanted to be a mommy. I have always been drawn to children, working with them in one aspect or another in every single job that I’ve ever held. My precious boy, Kamden, means the world to me, as he was the one who made my dream come true 2 1/2 years ago. He fills my life with enormous amounts of joy and wonder!

What most of you do not know, is that I was a mommy again for a very short period of time, very recently. On May 15th, 2014, my husband and I found out that we were expecting once again. Expecting… a baby. I made little Kamden a shirt that said, “Big Brother, January 2014.” Yes, pregnancy brain had set in right away, because it should have said 2015! Haha. I actually had taken that day off from work, so I was home that morning at the same time as my husband (which with our opposite schedules, rarely happens). Kam and I made Karlton some coffee and brought it to him in bed, something that we often do on weekends to “wake Daddy up”. When my hubby woke up and noticed Kam’s shirt a couple of minutes later, his response was, “Kam, what does your shirt say? Kam… what does your shirt say?!” It was a joyful morning, we had a family hug, and we discussed how much we both wanted this and were so very happy.

Fast forward to just over four weeks later… the day before Father’s Day, 2014. Three days after seeing a heartbeat at our first ultrasound. Something started happening to me that I knew wasn’t supposed to happen when you’re pregnant, and well, pretty quickly I was very aware of what was going on. Being the weekend, a call to my doctor pretty much confirmed what I already knew. My second baby, at only 8 1/2 weeks gestation, was gone.

During my short pregnancy, there were definitely signs for me that something wasn’t quite right. I consider myself an optimistic person who rarely thinks about the worst case scenario. However, the whole time, I felt like I wasn’t getting as excited as I should be, and that I wasn’t that attached. Once I realized that my worst fear really was coming true and that I really was losing the pregnancy, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you for any loss. As much as my body and mind felt like I wasn’t attached, as it turns out… I was. The loss and sorrow is real. Very, very real.

Something interesting happens once you find out that you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss. All of the sudden you find out how many people have experienced the same thing. How heartbreakingly common it really is. You realize as well that it is a very real loss that is hardly talked about. An invisible, very painful, grief experienced by mothers and fathers everywhere.

Deciding to share about your experience is a hugely personal thing, and I absolutely honor each and every person’s choice on whether or not to share. I personally decided that I wanted to share about my experience, because not only did I feel alone in my heartache, but I also felt that there was a lot of joy that I wasn’t able to share. My first belly pics, the cute announcement, or the awesome gender reveal photo session that we had planned. While thinking about all this makes the situation that much more sad, as an optimist, I still want to share my joy. The truth is that there are so many beautiful tragedies in this crazy world we’re living in. So, in honor of my sweet tiny little angel baby, I share now with you all…

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So how does one support someone who’s going through something that is rarely ever talked about? What do you talk about with someone who has lost someone that they will never know, someone that they have no real pictures of to remember them by?

Sure, it’s difficult. Dealing with any type of grief or loss is not easy. I will tell you, though, that you just support them! Any way that you know how. Check in. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them if they need to talk. At times, I don’t know if I feel like talking about it. Most other times, I desperately want to talk about it. Give a warm hug. A smile. An “I’m thinking about you.” It won’t make it go away, but it will make the grief that much less invisible.

Just tonight I watched a special on the Oprah Winfrey Network where Robin Roberts spoke about how her mother taught her about choosing “happy sorrow” instead of “sad sorrow” when we are dealing with grief and that it helped her once her mother actually passed, to focus on all of the happy memories. In a way, this seems an impossible feat, but if I try, I can see the happy moments that occurred over the brief 4 1/2 weeks that we knew we were expecting. Like Kamden making the connection, moments after we told him he’d be a big brother and he said, “Baby sister in his belly?” How my hubby would text me back saying, “Love you three! ;)”. The numerous kisses that my belly received from my husband and my son in those few weeks. Although heartbreaking now, these were joyous moments for us that I’ll always remember and cherish. Joy that we know we will experience again.

I will try to choose happy sorrow… and for now, focus on this little face and soak up the joy that exudes from him every day!!

Kam man-1For those of you who enjoy musical connections, check out “Ten” by Yellowcard below…

“‘Honey, I’ve got real bad news’ and
Then there were just tears
And we would never be the same again
Since then I’ve often wondered
What you might have been like
How it would have felt to hold you,
Would you have my eyes?
Don’t you think we would’ve been best friends?”

– Yellowcard, “Ten”

 

The Not-So-Terrible Twos | Personal

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You hear it all the time, “Just wait till the terrible twos!!” Terrible twos, a popular phrase for the time period of monumental change that toddlers experience transitioning from babies to young children. Two-year-olds begin to have the desire to communicate complex thoughts like wanting a specific colored M&M when they successfully use the potty. “NO, not red. NO, NOT yellow! BLUE, Mommy!!!” Have there been extremely challenging days when my son Kamden is “very two” as I like to put it? Absolutely. Fall down on the floor, flailing arms and legs, scream, scream, SCREAM. No, don’t hold me. No, don’t comfort me! Definitely do not offer me anything at all… except for that one thing I’m screaming about… oh  wait, never mind – it’s too late, I don’t want it. I’m too upset now!! Have I had days where my patience is pushed so close to the final limit that I have to use my deep breathing techniques and try my best to think of a single – uh I mean, all of the wonderful qualities of my son? Yes, indeed.

I’m here to boldly say, however, that twos don’t have  to be so terrible. In fact, I dare to say that it is one of my absolute favorite ages!! What? Terrible twos my favorite age? I must have lost it, right? Well, it’s not just because my Kam man is a fantastic kid (he really is). In my opinion, every age is enjoyable in its own way, but I have always been fascinated by two-year-olds and their daily development at an astonishing rate!

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Kamden is now coming up with all kinds of sentences lately. It is the sentences that he comes up with on his own that just amaze me. Just this morning, “Wow! Yay! I so happy now!” (after rescuing his Lego man out of his empty potty – haha). It’s the total wide-eyed wonderment that he is filled with everytime he experiences anything new. It’s the excitement and love he shows me when we’ve been apart. “I yove you, Mommy. I meeessed  you!” The silly giggle that goes on and on when he finds something funny no matter how many times it’s been repeated.

A grandpa I spoke with at the park put it great: “Why do we lose that joy?

ConductorKam_FB-16My two-year-old is just full  of JOY. Sweet, innocent, pure joy. Every day. Living in the moment. Laughing out loud. Being silly, silly, silly. Fully enjoying a “deeelicious” cookie. Of course I am thrilled about watching him grow and experience new stages, but I really am loving these crazy, busy, fun-filled terrific  twos!! Just look at him.

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Getting the most out of the twos is about more than just optimism and gratitude, although that is essential (and something I live my life by). It is about connecting  with your little one. Getting down on their level, literally, physically, vocally, and often, showing your appreciation, your attention, direct communication, and your love for them. It is our job to teach these little people. Not just ABC’s and 1-2-3’s, but teach them that they’re so important, that they matter, that they mean the world to you. How to communicate respectfully, and most of all, how to treat others. Show them love the way that you would want their future spouse to treat them, and they will eventually seek out that type of true appreciation. It all begins at home.

I guarantee you that what you receive in return will be more joy than you will think you can handle!! Enough smiles to get you through those tough, no-nap, cranky pants days… and to still be smiling at the end of the day. They’re counting on you for those smiles. To fill those little love buckets so they’ll feel valued and they’ll truly know joy!!

Look all around. There is love, beauty, and joy everywhere around you. You just have to look! 🙂

KamJan2014_FB-16 Snow-520140205-IMG_7207 KamJan2014_FB-5 KamJan2014_FB-11 ConductorKam_FB-5Please support Nancy Wiley Photography by “liking” my page on Facebook, sharing this blog, or visiting nancywileyphotography.com. Thanks!!

I’ll Be Home for Christmas | Personal

Well, I have to say that this was one of the most exciting Christmases that I can remember! Not because of the gifts that I received, but because of my sweet two-year-old boy’s excitement over the whole holiday’s festivities!! Such cuteness in our house talking about, “Santa, p’esents!” and singing, “Jingle Bells” and “Oh, Ch’istmas tweeee!”

Kamden’s birthday is 8 days before Christmas, and this year we celebrated his birthday party a little early, so our son was definitely inundated with presents all throughout December! However, after Christmas Day, Kam Man finally stopped asking for “more p’esents!” Our little spoiled boy was spoiled to the max, for real!! I saw a post recently about Christmas being the one day when you get to say yes and give your kids everything they want, after a year of saying no all the time. Kamden may get a whole month of getting what he wants, but man it sure was a FUN month!!!!

This year our Christmas was made even sweeter by the arrival of Kamden’s tiny, sweet, incredibly peaceful baby cousin, Simone. What joy she has added to our family! Our once small family seems small no longer. Simone’s big sister, Jasmine, wore her tiara well this year, dancing in her princess gown, daintily giving her baby sister kisses, and graciously sharing her new toys with her cousin Kamden.

Hope you enjoy some of these images of our Christmas and the joy we all shared this holiday!! Now go kiss your special loved ones and appreciate them how they are in this very moment, because I am now totally reminiscing of my tiny baby two years ago on Christmas (who today jumped off the couch about 200 times and still took no nap – big boy)!!! Peace & love to you all!

Greatest Love I’ve Ever Known | Personal

Last night, I kissed goodnight to my one-year-old baby, and tonight I kissed goodnight to my big TWO-year-old birthday boy! As one of my 1st grade students put it, “He’s a big boy now. He’s not a baby anymore!” The past few weeks have honestly been a little rough for me thinking about this big transition. Don’t get me wrong, my Kamden has been very “two” for a while now, but hitting this new year mark is a big deal for Mommy!

Last year, I remember thinking that his first year was the toughest and best of my life. I was beyond ecstatic to have my first baby, something I had dreamt about and longed for all my life. Within days of Kamden Jack’s birth, I was googling, “high-needs baby” and quickly learning tricks to help soothe my very needy not-so-happy-to-be-an-infant baby boy. We learned a lot that first year, and I believe in my heart, that nurturing and tending to his specific needs allowed him to become a sweet, happy, silly, and confident little toddler.

This second year of his life though has definitely, by far, been the best!! You hear it all the time from parents, “you’ll love them more than anything,” and “it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.” I have to say, it is the greatest love I have ever known. There is absolutely nothing like bringing a life into the world, raising them the best that you know how, and then experiencing the payback in sweet little kisses, tight hugs (or “hucks” as Kam would call them), and those genuine, unprompted moments of affection and love that they start to show you.

My son has always been a very active one. From the womb to the living room, he has been non-stop (part of the reason I think he hated being an infant that couldn’t run yet)! So, does he always want to give kisses and “hucks”? Well, no… He’s a busy boy, and he is two after all. However, give him time, and although he’d almost always rather play hard than cuddle, I have learned that one benefit of my son’s intense activity is that he loves hard as well. My heart melts every time I hear him say, “I-you, Mommy. I-so-much!” When we have rough tantrummy days, he will still take the time every now and then to come up on my lap, look me in the eye, grin, and say, “Mommeeee” in the sweetest little voice in the world. The greatest love I’ve ever known… in a tiny, dark blond, brown-eyed, little two-year-old boy’s body… reminding me every day that everything is going to be alright. “I-you, Kam Man. I-so-much.” ❤