General Photography

My Miscarriage Story

Did you know that today (October 15th) is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?

In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan said, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”

Research studies vary, but it has been reported that anywhere from 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. But that number is likely double, since most miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when many women don't even realize that they are pregnant yet. So if you really think about it, miscarriage is almost as common as pregnancy. And yet, there is a stigma with miscarriage. It's a silent and lonely grief. You feel like a failure because you feel like your body has let you down. You feel like you must have done something wrong for this to happen. You are scared because you don't know if your miscarriage is a fluke or indicative of a bigger problem. I know because it happened to me. 

Almost 6 years ago to the day, I learned that we were pregnant with our second child. With one healthy pregnancy under my belt, I was confident there was little to nothing to worry about. Our daughter Madeline, a sweet, smart, energetic toddler, had entered the world exactly on her due date and at almost ten pounds. Hers was a trouble-free pregnancy. Growing a child was something I could do well, or so I thought. Because I had such a good pregnancy the first time, and got pregnant so easily this time, I told everyone. Immediately. I didn't want to have to go through the annoying ritual of hiding it for 12 weeks this time. 

But this pregnancy was different right off the bat. I had no symptoms. Zero. Whereas with my first pregnancy I had sore, tender breasts and was sick as a dog almost immediately. But my friends and family kept telling me that every pregnancy is different, so I tried to believe that everything was fine. But I knew something was wrong. A few weeks later my husband Aaron and I had our first doctors appointment to confirm the pregnancy. During the ultrasound, the tech saw two embryos! We were having twins! But she said that one was looking small and wanted the doctor to take a more in depth look. So she asked us to go back to the waiting room until the doctor was free. So for the next 15 minutes, Aaron and I laughed at the thought of having two babies and all that would entail -- two cribs, two car seats, a new car that could fit all 3 of our kids! And I started to think, "That's why I didn't have any symptoms...because this pregnancy really was different...there were two babies in there, not just one!" 

When the doctor brought us in for the second ultrasound, she told us that we had what looked like a "vanishing twin"--which occurs when a twin or multiple disappears in the uterus during pregnancy as a result of a miscarriage of one twin or multiple. So we were down one baby. She told us that the other baby looked very small, about 5 weeks old (I was 8 weeks pregnant). Then she dealt the final blow and told us that because the baby was so small, she couldn't see a heartbeat and that this most likely meant that I would miscarry in the coming days. Then she sent us home. 

The next day I was in a meeting at work when I started to bleed. I went to the bathroom in the middle of the meeting and passed some tissue/clots. I thought that this might be the baby, but I couldn't tell and I didn't know what to do (because it didn't occur to me to ask my doctor what happens if I miscarry in the toilet)...so I flushed the toilet. And I definitely remember thinking, "I wonder if I just flushed my baby down the toilet." And then I tried to compose myself and I went back to my meeting. Can you imagine? When we say that women are strong and fierce and brave, this is why. In the face of extreme loss and grief...we fix our mascara and walk back into the meeting.

On the way home from work I called Aaron and asked him to meet me at the ER. I was bleeding a lot at that point and just didn't know what to do and didn't know what to expect. I was scared. The next few hours (or days, if I'm being honest) were a blur. I remember bleeding on the floor in the hospital room. I remember the doctor giving me an exam to confirm the miscarriage, but I don't remember if he had to do a D&C. I remember walking to the bathroom and taking a seat on the floor in my hospital gown in front of the nurse's station because I was about to faint. I remember calling my mom on the way home and just sobbing. I remember feeling empty and alone even though I was surrounded by people who loved me. And I remember wondering if I would ever get over the grief and be happy again. 

When I was in the ER, the doctor told me that I could start trying to get pregnant after my next period. When I went my doctor for a follow up visit a few days later, I asked her when I could start trying again and she said 3-4 months. Confused, I told her what the ER doctor had said and she responded with, "Technically, he's right...but we like you to wait so that we can get a better sense of your cycles again." I was PISSED. The only thing in the world I wanted was to know if I could have another child. And the other way to know that was to try. So for them to give me different medical guidelines for administrative purposes (at least that's how I viewed it) was too much. This practice was also unaware that my visit was a miscarriage follow up visit and treated it like I had passed a kidney stone and not a baby...so I left that appointment and immediately found a new, midwifery-based practice. It was the best decision I made!

About 2 weeks later I got my period, and 2 weeks after that I found out I was pregnant again. <3  Six years later I of course still wonder what might have been, but then I also look at my sweet Nora (who's now five) and realize I wouldn't have her if I hadn't have had my miscarriage. She's my rainbow baby. She's my miracle. 

Do you have a miscarriage story? If so, share it and let other women who are going through it know that they're not alone.

xoxo, Nicole

Emily Fee - Charlotte's Motherhood Blogger

A year ago, when I first moved to Charlotte, I did some research on local mommy bloggers (after all, their audience is my target market!) and came across Emily Fee, Charlotte’s Motherhood Blogger. She’s real, honest, and FUNNY. She’s refreshingly open about her kids, her career, and her life. Oh, and did I mention that she’s gorgeous and has a killer fashion sense? I love following her on IG because she makes me laugh on the daily with her hilarious mom/wife/girl boss stories.

It was while following one of these hilarious stories that I saw that she was on the hunt for a photographer. She needed to take some pics of a few outfits for a fashion collaboration with Brickyard Buffalo and she was “sick of taking selfies”. (Her words, not mine! 😂) Doing fashion/product photoshoots is not usually my jam, but motherhood photography IS my jam, so of course I wanted to help out Charlotte’s Motherhood Blogger!

We met up at Camp North End, which is this very cool space in downtown Charlotte with an industrial warehouse vibe. Emily brought her two adorable kids, Colette and Wesley, with her to the shoot. I didn’t know it at the time, but her husband had been traveling for over a week for work. She never mentioned it, never asked to reschedule when things were less hectic. She just showed up EARLY, looking flawless and cool as a cucumber!

What I loved so much about this shoot is that it was real life. A mom, working to look stunning for a fashion collaboration photoshoot, while chasing after one kid with the other clutching on to her leg. A businesswoman, trying to talk to me about our respective businesses while simultaneously getting Elmo up on her phone and redirecting her kids to someplace not directly in my shot. 😂It was such a fun session and I can’t wait to collaborate with her again! If you are interested in fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle and want to follow a funny, sassy, and down-to-earth mom, wife, and entrepreneur, Emily Fee is your gal!!

Here are some of my favorite shots from our session — the final images… and some real-to-life outtakes. ❤️

My Why | Charlotte Motherhood Photographer

When I picked this topic out of my blog jar, my initial reaction was, "Oy, what a way to start off my blogging mission!" But it is also a very apropos question at this point in my career -- while I’m in the middle of rebranding my business (more on that later!) and still trying to rebuild my client base after moving to a new market.

I've always loved taking pictures, but becoming a mother gave me this profound desire to document EVERYTHING. I know, so cliché, right? But it's true!! When my first daughter came into the world, every little face she made was camera-worthy to me. (And that's still true, six years later. <3) So I got out my nice camera (usually reserved for parties and travel) and started snapping.

But having this sweet child also gave me intense anxiety thinking about a future I eventually wouldn't be in. I distinctly remember driving down the highway after she was born and all of a sudden being very aware of my own mortality. What would she do if I was no longer around? Would she remember me? How would she remember this time? So, I started snapping even MORE pics.

And then I started thinking, "How am I going to remember all of this??" My memory is crap. I mean, it's BAD. Capturing these fleeting moments -- however big or small -- ensures that I'll always remember the details. They are snapshots frozen in time that, when woven together, will tell the story of our family.

I wanted to become a professional photographer because I knew I wasn’t the only mother to have these same thoughts, and I wanted other moms to have beautiful images to remind them of this special time in their own lives. I wanted to help them tell their family’s story. Life moves fast, and it seems to move at warp speed once you have children, so it's important to capture life’s little moments (with mom in them!) as they happen. And not just on a smart phone...but on a beautiful print that you can look at each day and remember just how blessed you are.

(The gallery below is ME, practicing what I preach, and getting in the picture with my family. :) Taken by my wonderfully talented friend @CottonCopperStudio.)

My Blog Jar! | Charlotte Motherhood Photographer

I think we can all agree that I need to blog more, right? You can literally see the cobwebs growing on my website and Facebook page. And why not try to blog more? The advantages are clear for a photographer -- I can showcase your work, potential clients can get to know a bit more about me personally, and SEO loves a good blog! But it can be difficult to consistently come up with new content -- especially for a perfectionist and procrastinator like myself. So I was recently researching topic ideas to get the creative juices flowing and I came across a great recommendation -- a blog jar! All it involves is writing topic ideas on individual pieces of paper and placing them into a jar. From there, you just pull a piece of paper out and start writing! I fell in love with this idea for several reasons:

No more excuses!
The blog jar is sitting on my desk right next to my computer. So as I work, there it is...a visible reminder of a task that needs to get done!

Consistency is key
I can't really say "I don't know what to write about" when I have a jar full of ideas, right? And if I have a jar full of ideas, my writing will be more consistent. And if I'm more consistent, then the visitors to my site will be more consistent too, as they'll know when to expect new content. And lastly, Google loves consistency!

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow
What a wonderful oxymoron that perfectly explains this blog jar idea! In order to have a more succcessful blog...I need to prepare just a little bit! I also tend to overthink my writing and abandon it (it's that perfectionism poking through again!). Picking a topic out of a jar and writing it out immediately will allow me to write more freely and keep me inspired.

I can add to it!
I have post-it notes all over the house now, so that if I have an idea for a blog post I can jot it down quickly and add it to the jar. It will be a never-ending source of creativity and inspiration!

What kind of content would you like to see on my blog?

2018 in Review | Charlotte Motherhood Photographer

In a word, 2018 was a year of change. We moved from RI, away from most of our family and friends, and put down new roots in Charlotte. I also decided that this would be the perfect time to quit my job in Corporate America and pursue my dream of becoming a full-time photographer, because, why not have all the change happen at once?? Our girls started new schools. They made new friends. I made new mom friends (who have been such a blessing in helping us get acclimated and involved in our new community). I made new photographer friends (which has been so fun and helped me grow immensely as a photographer!). And...I made new clients! It was a slow roll at first...slower than I thought it would be...but eventually they came. One by one. Trusting me with their special moments. I am so honored that they chose me and thankful that they helped make my 2018 the success that it was. To my 2018 clients, THANK YOU! I hope to see you again in 2019! (And bring your friends!)