4th Trimester Bodies

If you're my Facebook friend, you might have seen the new profile picture I put up yesterday.
 I think this might be my most liked photo--other than a newborn baby or Lucy news. I guess I just wear my hair up too much ;) I did not post anything else about the photo, but I did on IG. There is no way to click on a link on IG ( besides in your bio), so I thought I would explain the picture here.
If you're on Facebook, you might  have seen recently some articles floating around that talking about the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. The latest, that brought over 10,000 new fans to the Facebook page was on Upworthy:
A few from Huffpost:
If you go to the 4th trimester Bodies web site, you can read the entire reason behind the project and a good background to the photographer behind it.
" The project exists because women are judged too crudely on the way we look and are often told we don’t measure up. Because no real person can compete with the tools in Photoshop and glossy magazine covers. And because motherhood is sacred and should be celebrated. This project exists because sometimes babies are born too soon. Because sometimes babies die. Because sometimes the best laid birth plans and the reality of our births are two very different things. And because sometimes they are everything we dreamed just the same. Because regardless of how our babies get here we should be proud and, regardless of how we choose to feed them, we should be able to feed them where we choose whenever they are hungry. This project exists because women and men and society need it. Because our sons and daughters deserve more. Because we deserve more. Because we are beautiful – stretches, stripes, scars and all"-- Ashlee Wells Jackson
Ashlee's story brings me to tears & she is completing this project--which will be a series of books-- along with being a mother & running a photography studio full time. There was a quote by Jacob Needleman in church Sunday that made me think of the project "human beings were built to give. To put it in the most extreme form, we’re built to love and serve something greater than ourselves, whether it’s other people, something you call God, or whether it’s justice. Until we are finding our way to give, there will be no happiness or meaning."
I actually was chosen for a scholarship position for a shoot in Atlanta. She is currently traveling around the world with Laura, shooting moms, getting stories, and gearing up to publish the first book. I had read about the project last year sometime, and had been following along on Facebook. I saw that Nashville was on the schedule, but not until 2015, and totally assumed it would be impossible by then to buy a shoot before it sells out. This was something I wanted to be a part of--for me and for other women. So I decided to send an email about my babies, my body, and my story to try to get a scholarship shoot. I got an email back that I was chosen! Luke just happened to be off on Friday so we took a little day trip with the kids and had a great time! I might have been sick to my stomach the entire week before and nervous as I've ever been, but the minute we got there we felt so comfortable with Ashlee.
We started with some light make-up and curlers in the hair, then took a few head shots, had an interview on camera, and then took some pictures with the girls. After the shoot was over, Luke and I got into more and more and more detail about the births-- he said I gave a very mild story on the video. But when's the last time you sat in front of a camera and talked about yourself? While we were talking, Ashlee uploaded the photos onto her computer, picked her favorite shots, I looked them over & we decided on our favorite. There is absolutely no photo shopping done to any of her pictures. As soon as we decided on the one we were most comfortable with, she added the black & white( not sure of the technical term), and by the time we had left and gotten to eat Mexican and head home, it was up on her site.
So, here's my picture! I didn't post it on IG because I was hoping that people would go to the website or Facebook page and see what it's all about, and not just comment or 'like' my photo.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ella in this picture. I love how Lucy is looking at her. I just love it. And I can't wait to blow it up and hang it in our bathroom. We've had 2 screw in the wall where we had a picture before we moved, and didn't know what to put there.
So , just in case you see another story floating around ( Oprah's 'O' Magazine in May) on Facebook or twitter and think that baby looks familiar, it might just be who you think it is! We had an amazing experience, and I can't wait until the book comes out as well. She has said that what's online right now is just a teaser as to what will actually be in the book. The plan was to self-publish, but as of now are talking to publishers.
So go check out her website & the Facebook page. Check out my tiny contribution to the project of my story & the photo { that I LOVE} of me & the girls! I can't wait to see where the project goes & am thrilled I was able to be a part in helping others.


February 3rd

Just 3 years ago, after 53 days in the NICU, we brought Lucy home from the hospital. I try to remember that day each year. I think it is important to remember all that we've been blessed with and how far Lucy has come. We haven't faced too many obstacles along with way, but if you would have talked to me while my baby was living at Baptist Hospital, my fears were all over the place. Would she have issues learning? Would she be able to walk? Will the holes in her heart close up? Will she ever make it a day without forgetting to breathe? What therapies will she need? Will she have brain issues from oxygen? Will she have vision issues from oxygen? Will she know I'm her mommy? What disabilities will she have? Will she ever be able to breastfeed? Will she have a g tube? What If she gets RSV? Will her ultrasounds come back showing a brain bleed? Will she hate me when she gets older if she gets made fun of for her disabilities? Will she wear a helmet? Any fear you can think someone will have about their baby, I thought it. If you know Lucy now, you know she is amazing........and she tries my patience every day especially since she is 16 3 now. I remember every prayer I said over this baby in the hospital and at home--mostly about all those fears running through my head. I'm so proud of her !
Looking back at my baby:
Lucy's half of the room while we roomed in the night before we brought her home, and Luke fixing our 'bed'. Lucy slept the night away, I pumped, worried, and did not sleep =)

 After 53 days at the hospital, & 19 days before her due date she was ready to go home!
Last time through those doors!

Home together!
First day at home, slept the day away just like in the hospital! She slept the majority of the next few weeks.

1 year later! If you can't eat cake on your birthday, you celebrate on the day you came home!

2 years later =)

All grown up, walking, running, talking, eating, counting, singing, dancing,laughing, acting 16, and sledding for the first time! 3 years after discharge.