“But God…” – Learning to Rely on His Perfect Timing

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted three kids.  I come from a family of three kids, as does my husband.  But my husband has been in more of the mindset of, “Do you remember how the kids behaved today?? Do you REALLY want to add another one to the mix?”  And I’ll be honest, after those days I thought, “yeah… we are done.”

Even my oldest made a comment to her Nana, when asked if Mama should have another baby, that Mama would go crazy if we had another!  (I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff!)

This summer after my many subtle hints (read: not so subtle), my husband finally agreed that he wanted to add another rugrat to the mix.

-Backtracking just a bit-

With my oldest, it took over two years to get pregnant.  In the process, we actually discovered I had endometriosis and a week after the diagnosis I had surgery and about three months later I was pregnant!  Praise the Lord!

img_6374-copyOur first blessing, Genesis Faith043 Photo Credit: A Click Photography

It really is amazing to me how many women struggle with infertility.  I have photographed more than my fair share of women who struggled to get pregnant and sadly, each year it feels like this number continues to grow.  I hold a special place in my heart for those that struggled, and are still struggling to conceive.

When we decided we were ready to have another, it took a year to get pregnant with Olivia.  Aside from the morning sickness, the pregnancy was smooth sailing until after our 20 week ultrasound.  About a week after, I received a phone call from the doctor’s office saying that there was something wrong with Olivia’s heart.  She had what they call an Ecogenic Intracardiac Focus (EIF).  We were told very little from the nurse at that point other than we needed another ultrasound.

The fear that envelops you after a call like that… it’s consuming. 

At this point we still did not have a name for Olivia.  But two weeks later, on our way to our appointment we finally figured out her name:

Olivia Grace 

That middle name held so much importance to us at that moment…

At the ultrasound we got a closer look at Olivia’s heart.  We also found out that an EIF could be an indicator of down syndrome.

ultrasoundYou can see the four chambers of her heart in this photo and the white spot is the EIF

Once we had our ultrasound, the Dr. felt that everything was fine but if we wanted to do the quad screening, we needed to get it done ASAP.  My husband and I immediately agreed that we would not partake in this testing.  Even if our baby was born with any sort of birth defect, we would never abort the baby so it really was unnecessary testing.

Even though we were released from maternal fetal medicine, there is still that voice in the back of our heads saying, “what if….” In some ways, those next few weeks flew by… in others, time went so slow.

When Olivia arrived on Oct 29, 2014, we were INCREDIBLY thankful that she was perfect and healthy!  She was an answer to prayer!

img_9544-copy334Photo Credit: A Click Photography

So back to the beginning of this post… my husband was finally on board with having another and a month later, we were PREGNANT!  We were both shocked because we had a difficult time getting pregnant with our two previous cuties!  My husband thought he had finally perfected the process and was disappointed that he got it correct so quickly!

Now, something you need to know about my husband, he can’t keep a secret to save his life.  In fact, with our first, he told about everyone in our church but ended it with saying, “but don’t tell anyone yet.  You’re the only one who knows!”  No joke, about the whole church knew but no one said anything… So, in true fashion with this third pregnancy he began to tell everyone.

Now, anyone who has ever been pregnant knows this… they (I don’t know who “they” are, but they) say you shouldn’t start sharing this news until you hit the second trimester.  You are more likely to miscarry in the first trimester and if you lose the baby, you’re going to have to tell everyone about it.  I was so mad at my husband because we didn’t have a clue how far along we were and he was pretty much shouting it from the rooftops.

In the afternoon of August 12th (right before we left on vacation) I had my first prenatal appointment.  I’d been down this road before so my husband stayed behind since he was working.  Immediately after going back the nurse let me know that their was blood in my urine.  She also said they might not want to do an ultrasound because they weren’t sure how far along I was and there might not be a heartbeat simply because I’m not far enough along.  Normally they would do blood tests to check out the HCG levels but I was heading out on vacation that evening so that would be pointless because I couldn’t return for more blood work in two days.  After the Dr. came back they decided they’d go ahead and do an ultrasound to check for an ectopic pregnancy (which can be life threatening). The Dr. made me aware that we were NOT checking for a heart beat and we were NOT checking to measure how far along I was.  IF we were able to get either of those, that would just be icing on the cake.

The nurse sat me in a row of chairs to wait for the ultrasound tech.  This row of chairs brought me to tears because this is where my husband and I sat when we waited for the results of our 20 week ultrasound with Olivia.  At that point we didn’t know anything was wrong but the tech came back and said she needed to check a few more things.  But again, we did not have a clue that they saw anything wrong with Olivia’s heart.

I went back and forth in my head while I waited.  I bled with both of my previous pregnancies and everything was fine, so this would be fine.  But the fear kept trickling in….

Finally the tech took me back and not only did she locate the baby in the correct place (not an ectopic pregnancy), she got the heartbeat and the baby was measuring 6 weeks 4 days!

ultrasound-baby-3Our cutie

I followed back up with the Dr. prior to leaving.  She let me know that the baby looked good and the heart beat was within the normal limits.

But…

I hate that word.  I’ve already been on a roller coaster of emotions yet here is another one where the world seems to plummet from beneath me.  She went on to say that the sac was implanted lower than usual in the uterus.  She said, “Does this mean that you are at any higher risk of miscarrying than normal?  No.”  But because we were leaving on vacation that evening she did let me know a few things to do should I miscarry while on vacation.

I had been keeping my husband informed of what was going on throughout the appointment but on the way home I called him to fill in the gaps.  I gotta tell you, when I got home, I literally felt like I had run a race.  I was physically and emotionally exhausted.  But I held on to the fact that we had a precious, healthy baby growing inside me.

Fast forward about 15 hours, I woke up at about 5 in the morning drenched in blood.  We had lost our baby.  There really are no words to describe the loss you feel in a moment like that.  It is absolutely gut-wrenching.

Prior to this, couples would share their stories of infertility and loss.  And I was genuine when I said how sorry I was and how I can’t even imagine going through what they went through.

People, I’m here to tell you…  It is unimaginable.  And while my husband was devastated, there is something about a woman losing life inside of them.  You already have that connection with your precious baby and in a moment, that little one is gone.

One thing I’ve discovered through all of this that I hadn’t really given a second thought to before, it is SO important to share these things with others.  Regardless of what society says about not sharing about your pregnancy in the first trimester, heaven forbid something happen to your child, it is vital that you have friends and family who know what you are going through.  People who can lend an ear, offer a shoulder to cry on, bring a meal, and lift you up in prayer.  And you never know when someone else is walking the same road as you.  I am so thankful that my husband had been sharing that we were pregnant with others because we had people surrounding us during one of our most difficult journeys.

In the midst of grieving the loss of our little one (although, do you ever stop grieving??) I met up with a client for coffee.  I had noticed a tattoo on her wrist prior to my miscarriage but at this meeting I felt led to ask her about it.  She shared with me that she had miscarried and she got the tattoo “in remembrance” (not that you ever need reminding of a loss like this) of her little ones she miscarried.  At that moment I broke down because I had been talking to my husband about getting one in the exact same spot.  She wrapped her arms around me.  And in that moment, I felt as though we were bonded… we were both a part of a club we didn’t want to be a part of, yet we were.  And we both understood the loss of the other.  I’ll always remember that moment.

287-nail-fixedMy tattoo in remembrance of our little love. 

Photo credit: A Click Photography

Since my husband and I have gotten the go ahead to try again, we have yet to be blessed with another one.  I’m trying to be okay with that, but I’ll admit, every month that goes by, it’s painful.  Patience has never been my strong suit.

In writing this, I was reminded of a devotional by Joyce Myers that I posted on my facebook page back in 2012:

But God…

There is a little phrase in the Bible that I get excited about every time I come across it. It is just two little words, but it is found throughout the Bible and is probably one of the most powerful two-word phrases in it. It is simply this: But God . . .

As we go through the Bible, we constantly read disastrous reports of the terrible things the devil had planned for God’s people. Then we come to this little phrase, But God . . ., and the next thing we read about is a victory. In the above scripture, the fact is mentioned that we are all sinners, a condition that deserves punishment and death. The phrase But God . . . interrupts the process. God’s love is brought into the situation and changes everything.

While we were sinners, Christ died for us, and by doing so, proved His love for us. He proved that His love interrupts the devastation of sin. When God called me into the ministry, people told me, “Joyce, a group of us have been talking, and we feel that there is no way you are ever going to be able to do what you say God has told you that you are going to do. We don’t feel your personality is suitable for such a job.” I still remember how awful I felt when they said those things to me.

I was hurt and discouraged . . . but God had called me, and He qualified me. What others thought was not even usable, God saw value in. He helped me, and He will do the same thing for you.

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2007 by Joyce Meyer

I am choosing to turn the “But” that the doctor told me back in August into “But God”.  I’m choosing to be grateful for our two beautiful children and our third that is in Heaven.  I’m choosing JOY.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18

“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, I highly recommend this book by Kathe Wunnenberg called “Grieving the Child I Never Knew.”

greiving

 

****Update****

Last year after my miscarriage I had wanted to eventually write a blog post about it.  One day (four months later) I woke up with the words above.  But unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant.

Photo Credit: Sparrow and Lace Photography

On September 9th, I gave birth to our third baby Madison Hope Bingaman.

Photo Credit: Ashlee Zimmerman Photography

Photo credit: Ashlee Zimmerman Photography Photo credit: Ashlee Zimmerman Photography

I do have to admit something and maybe it’s just me but perhaps others who have miscarried have felt the same way… After Madison arrived there was a feeling of absolute joy that she was finally here.  But… at the same time there was a hint of sorrow for the little one we never did get to meet.  But almost immediately after that thought the realization sunk in that if we hadn’t miscarried, we wouldn’t have Madison with us.

I may not ever understand why something like this happens but I am thankful for a God who knows the plans He has for me and has me in the palm of His hand.

XO, Katie

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Longing for a baby on Mother’s Day…

I can remember sitting in church on Mother’s Day in 2011.  Mothers were being celebrated for all that they do and I sat with my head hanging and tears falling because I so desperately wanted to be a Mom and yet I still wasn’t.  My husband and I prayed and prayed for a child and, honestly, I was losing faith.

Today is a day of celebrating mothers yet I am so certain that there are many of you who sit today with tears streaming down your face because your womb is empty… and today is just another reminder of it.

…I know you’re hurting

I remember that pain so well.  I so wish I could give each and every one of you a hug.  My heart bleeds for you.

I am so incredibly thankful that a doctor was able to figure out what was going on with me.  A week after I was diagnosed, I had surgery.  And we had our Genesis Faith on March 3, 2012. (Genesis’ name holds great meaning to us.  She was our beginning and we had Faith that we would be blessed with a child.)   And on October 29, 2014 we were blessed again with our Olivia Grace.

…But… for so many of you, your stories of infertility are not as short-lived as mine.  Please know that today you are not forgotten.  I am thinking of you and praying for you…

…praying for your miracle baby…

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”  Psalm 37:4

❤ ❤ ❤

All my love,

Katie

 

A little cup of encouragement…

I saw a post a couple of days ago about “fauxtographers” where the photographer discussed the rise of these inexperienced photographers: people who just decide one day they want to be a photographer with absolutely no knowledge of their camera outside the “auto” mode, no knowledge of photoshop, etc.  The photographer went on to say that he used to be one.  I had to chuckle because I had been tossing the idea around in my head about a blog post, not about fauxtographers, but rather about not giving up on your passion.

We all start somewhere. 

I started my business after my oldest daughter Genesis was born on March 3, 2012.  Prior to having Genesis, I had worked at two large photography companies, photographing well over 3,000 sessions.  Before that, I received my degree: a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography and computer digital imagery.

All this being said, the last four years has been a huge period of growth for me.

Here are just a few examples: 2016-05-06_0002 copyFall 2012 vs Fall 2015

2016-05-06_0003 copyFall 2012 vs Fall 2015

2016-05-06_0005 copyAugust 2012 vs February 2016

2016-05-06_0006 copyMay 2012 vs April 2016

2016-05-06_0007 March 2013 vs June 2015

2016-05-06_0008 copy August 2012 vs Fall 2015

2016-05-06_0004 copyMay 2012 vs April 2016 (these two are brother and sister ❤ )

I am still learning and growing in my profession.  But I wanted to take a few minutes to offer up some encouragement to any up and coming photographers. If you love what you do, don’t give up.  Take each experience as a learning opportunity.  I am seriously my own worst critic!  Even after this growth, I still think to myself after a session: “I should have done this pose” or “I should have turned her a little bit more this way”.  This is how you learn.

If I can be an encouragement to you, feel free to reach out to me.  And remember, as creatives, there is no right or wrong.  (This is still something I struggle with!)

And a huge thanks to all of my clients over the years who have stuck with me as I’ve grown.  I appreciate each and every one of you!

❤ ❤ ❤

Katie

 

A bittersweet day…

Today there is an appointment on my calendar that I won’t be able to make… Not because I don’t want to be there but because she was called home to Jesus on Easter Sunday… just one week before our scheduled session.

I was so looking forward to seeing her again, photographing her with her pigtails/pony tail, capturing those big beautiful eyes…

The week leading up to Easter Sunday I had been keeping an eye on the weather to make sure it would be a good temperature for her and planning what poses I would do.  I was even debating buying a new lens I’ve been wanting to get for over a year just so I could capture the very best photos for her and her parents.

On Sunday, when I heard what had happened, I broke down.  Why couldn’t I have rearranged my schedule, I wish I would’ve known this was going to happen…

…If only… if only…

Today, the day of our appointment, I’m now going to a different location but I’m going with the same little girl on my mind and with my camera in my hand…

You see, I’m meeting up with a couple hundred people… people’s whose lives have been impacted by this little life and we are going to celebrate her and show her parents what an inspiration they have been to us and how much we love and support them.

Today, one little girl may be absent but she will never be forgotten…

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Magic Hour Photographer {Central Pa}

I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted as a Magic Hour Photographer.  This foundation provides photo sessions to families that have a family member dealing with cancer absolutely free of charge.

magic-hour-photographer-badge

Many of you know I lost my niece, Hannah, to a brain tumor in 2013 when she was just 13 months old.  I’m so thankful that I was able to photograph her for her first birthday prior to my brother and family leaving for Kenya as medical missionaries.  Some of my favorite photos of her were from that session.

Hannah

What an incredible honor to be accepted into this foundation and be able to bless other families who are going through a very difficult time.

These sessions are 100% free and families who have a session by a Magic Hour Photographer will receive the digital images along with professionally printed 5×7’s in a timeless custom box.

If you know of anyone who would be blessed by one of these sessions, they can apply here

McKee Sneak Peek {Harrisburg, Pa} Fresh 48 Photographer

It all started with a random post one evening when I said I wanted to get into Fresh 48 Sessions…. So many people shared my post and The McKee Family emailed me saying how interested they were in doing something like this.  Yes, they could see my work online but not having any examples of my Fresh 48 sessions, I think they took a chance on me…  I hope I met and surpassed every expectation they had with their session!

What an honor it was to be welcomed into their cozy room when their little one was just 14 hours old… Oh, I just wanted to squeeze the stuffing out of him!!!

To be able to photograph such a precious, new life… THAT right there is an immense privilege.  Thank you Kendra and Chris!  Enjoy your sneak peek below!  ❤

 

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Interested in a Fresh 48 Session like this one (or know someone who may be), email me at info@katiebingamanphotography.com!