Right before Joel and I got engaged, I started surfing the Internet to find wedding photographers. Read: I did not have a ring yet. I was just hopeful one would be coming soon. Read: I kept asking Joel to propose to me. :-)
Back to the photographers - I knew the number one most important detail about my wedding planning would be the photographer. The pictures would represent the memories which would last a lifetime. So I scoured the net and found a little something called One Thousand Words Photography. Angie and Ashley are the masterminds behind the operation - and we booked a meeting at Diva Espresso. The conversation quickly turned from business to personal, as we found out we were all pretty much the same age and shared the same interests and had our faith in common.
I remember the looks on their faces when I started talking about wedding photos and they didn't see a ring on my hand. "It's coming..." I said with a smirk. I booked them then and there.
A year later, the wedding took place and there were my girls. They felt more like friends at that point, and I found myself wanting them IN my pictures rather than taking them.
A few months after the wedding, when I found out Joel and I were expecting, you can guess who I called. Turns out, Angie found out she was expecting about a month later - and we were both having girls!
Now here is where the story gets good. Ashley and her husband Luke were also ready to start a family. In fact, they'd been ready for a while and with each passing month, the fact that it wasn't happening was beginning to transition from "maybe it's just going to take a while" to "maybe this isn't going to happen."
Ashley went to several fertility doctors. She took several medications and read even more books and changed her diet and the list goes on. As my belly grew, and Angies belly grew, Ashley continued to wait. Ashley attended my baby shower and threw one for Angie and celebrated with us. She took maternity photos and we spoke about names and unwrapped pink outfits and prepared our little nests, and although I prayed and prayed that she would get pregnant, the months went on.
Olivia was born in December, and it only took me a few days after returning from the hospital to realize I was in bad shape. Although my body was healing physically, I was an emotional mess. Fear had overtaken me and lack of sleep made it worse. My parents had suggested someone called a Doula, who is basically a mothers helper. The literal translation, I believe, means slave. I add this in only because of what came next.
For the few months prior to me delivering Olivia, Ashley had been taking classes to become a doula. She still did photography, but her love for children and people and just her general wonderfulness had pushed her in this direction. Is it any wonder than in the hour of my greatest need, I called Ashley and asked her for some references.
The conversation went something like this: "Ashley, I need you to refer me to someone who can come help me. Do you know anyone in your Doula classes?" Ashley responds, "Sarah, I can do it."
The next morning, the doorbell rang, and in comes Ashley to my home. Unshowered and completely drained, I gave her a tearful hug. She made me breakfast - everyday I asked for Cream Of Wheat. I hadn't eaten that since I was, like, 7 years old, but it's what I asked for each morning. She did laundry and cleaned and cooked and held Olivia so I could shower.
Here is a woman of noble character. Her deepest desire is to have a child of her own, and with each month that passes, I knew her heart broke a little more. And yet here she was, serving me, at my lowest point. Whats more, she never judged me for having a difficult time with Olivia. Sometimes I would wonder "Does she think I'm just a fool? Here I have a healthy baby with no complications - everything is blessed - and yet all I do is cry?" All Ashley did was love on me. Day by day, she helped me pull it together.
After about 3 or 4 weeks of our new routine, I was starting to become myself again. Ashley continued to show up, every morning. It was getting close to Angies due date, and Ashley began juggling between me and Angie - any day we expected "the call" that Angie was in labor. The excitement was building - and one morning, Ashley and I were sitting in the livingroom and she told me she wasn't feeling so hot. Her body was sort of achy, she was tired, and emotional. She was very honest when she said "It's like a trick. I feel this way, and my heart feels a pang of hope that I might be pregnant, that this might be the month...and then when it's not, it just feels like a cruel joke that I even felt this way in the first place." A cruel joke indeed. My heart ached. "Jesus," I silently prayed. "Bless her."
I'll never forget the next morning. I was downstairs, sitting on the couch. I could hear footsteps coming to the front door, and Ashley (who by now had a key) let herself in. She was on the phone, and her voice was high and the talking was fast. "I'll call you back! Bye!" she said. Footsteps up the stairs. She locked eyes with me in the hallway. They were filled with tears.
A smile spread across her face, slowly. And then the two words that I'd waited for so long to hear from her came out. "I'm pregnant."
Meet Luke and Ashleys daughter, Lilly. She is a miracle from the hand of God.
And now that you know a little more about Angie and Ashley, enjoy the photos from all of us at the pumpkin patch. The last one is me holding Angies second baby, Zoe. For anyone who wonders when Joel and I are going to go for number 2, well, just know that holding Zoe in that snuggly little wrap brought back all my desires for a new baby again. So I wouldn't be surprised if its not much longer. You hear that, Joel?
Here are our poster children for vegetables
Eva and Olivia
Mama and Me
Run Like The Wind
This picture cracks me up because Angie had her hands full with a purse, a huge camera, and baby Zoe, as she chased after Eva. I said "Can I take something to help you out?" She said sure, so I took the only thing I really wanted to take. Baby Zoe. I left her with the purse and the camera and the toddler. Its the way I roll.