Adrian and Melissa : Tacoma

We like to photograph our dear friends, Adrian and Melissa. In fact, we try to do it once a year. We spent time traveling around, exploring some of our local treasures. We’re really going to miss these two as they move to New York so Melissa can study at NYU, but we are so happy for them and what the future holds!Adrian-and-Melissa-2012-Web-5
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The Hanks Family : Bellevue

We were so excited when Ken and Brianna contacted us for a portrait session. We photographed their wedding nearly two years ago, and now they have a handsome little boy! It’s such a joy to be in this business and watch families grow. The Baptism gown baby X is wearing came over from Ireland over one hundred years ago, and every male on Ken’s side of the family has worn it. Amazing! I love traditions like that.
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Lucia’s Birth Story

I’m not sure why but it has been difficult for me to put into words the birth of my daughter. Probably because I cannot find the right words to express what a beautiful experience this past year was for me. I realize that if I don’t do it now, those feelings and emotions will begin to fade. Our story was not ‘ideal’ however, not unlike many others. Our journey to parenthood started with the loss of a tiny unborn one, and ended with a cesarean section of another.

I always knew I would be a mother. I truly feel like motherhood is my main purpose here on earth. But after having a miscarriage earlier in the year, I started to wonder if I would ever bear my own. It was a very sad time for us, but we experienced many tender mercies and felt so much love for each other as well as those around us. When we found out we were pregnant again, we were so excited and so scared. Every week I continued to have morning sickness was huge and exciting. But I felt as though I was walking on egg shells. We finally made our announcement when I was 19 weeks. This was again, exciting and scary. My doctor warned us about possible miscarriage, preterm labor and a whole slew of other issues I could be facing because of my bicornuate uterus. I stopped all forms of physical activity except for work and photography.

The morning she came was sunny and beautiful. I don’t think there was a cloud in the sky. I remember thinking about the last nine months and how I was truly blessed. God was sending me this child, and she was meant for me. She was ours. I was initially so upset about having to schedule a c-section. I always wanted to go through the “natural” process of giving birth. But she was transverse (sideways breech). I wanted to feel the pain one goes through to birth a child. I carried her for 39 weeks, I wanted to end it with a bang. But the morning I delivered her, I realized how much courage it took to carry a child knowing it will exit your body regardless of how it happens, and you will be forever responsible for this little one.

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Walking down that long hall through the O.R. doors after saying goodbye to Travis while he got scrubbed-in was probably the most terrifying moment in my entire life. I depended on him so much, and needed his eyes to give me that courage I seemed to have misplaced. The nurse walked with me as I cried, holding my waist. She was so sweet and kind, but I just wanted my husband with me. She helped me up onto the operating table and my body just shook uncontrollably. She brought me hot blankets just out of the warmer, but somehow I still shook.

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A few moments later, I heard the familiar sounds of Sigur Ros. Travis made a “birth mix” and they let us play it in the O.R. I was relieved to have some familiarity in that cold, bright, sterile room. But it brought on a wave of emotions I was not prepared for. I was alone with my wonderful nurses, waiting and waiting for what seemed like forever. The anesthesiologist was running late. I waited for 30 minutes. Alone and shaking. My nurse hugged me and gave me words of encouragement.

Finally the anesthesiologist arrived. I tried to not think about the huge needle going into my back. I thought about my sweet baby kicking in my tummy. Three times, in and out of my back, one above the other. Each time was more painful than the last, but my spinal column was too narrow. I could feel it dripping down my back. Then, finally he got the needle in. I imagined being paralized after all of this. What if he messed up? My legs immediately went numb. Everything below my chest. He asked if I could swing my legs up on the table, but I couldn’t. It felt like my feet were stuck in cement.

Moments later, Travis walked in. I could hear them calling him in, I turned to see him behind me and it was then that “Passing Afternoon” by Iron & Wine started to play. We locked eyes and the room felt so full of love, I couldn’t breathe. That was the song we danced to at our wedding, almost 5 years ago. We both knew the significance of this moment. I will never forget it. He held me and hugged me and kissed me. I could feel the tears pooling in my ears. We were finally together, and just moments away from being parents.

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Just minutes later, my wonderful doctor announced, “Alright, we’re about to have a baby!” Excitement filled the room. I could feel tugging and pulling, but nothing else. I could see the excitement in Travis’ eyes as he squeezed my hand. He stood up with camera in hand. It was then, I heard her first cry! I just watched Travis, knowing he was watching our daughter enter the world. I watched him immediately transform into a father. He hollered for joy, and exclaimed her beauty to me. He cried, and I cried. “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros was playing, and I cried harder. I am so happy he saw her first. He held her first. That is so special to me. This was the most difficult thing for me to accept, going into our planned c-section. I wanted to hold her and kiss her. But when it actually happened, I was so happy they had that moment together.

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The nurses and doctors asked what her name is, and Travis, with a jubuliant tone, said, “Lucia. Lucia Gabriella!” Everyone in the room said what a beautiful name that was. Matching a beautiful baby. It was what seemed like seconds after her coming out, they had her next to me, skin to skin with our cheeks. She was so warm and soft. I just wanted to stay in that moment, feeling and seeing my beautiful daughter for the first time.

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All this time, it was her inside of me. Every kick, every movement. Every ultrasound we had, I was feeling and seeing her! And now she was here, in my arms. You don’t know the love you could ever have for another until you have a child. I feel like that O.R. was a special, sacred place where our family gained a sweet spirit on that beautiful, sunny day. The bonding that came in the recovery room immediately after they stitched me up was one of the happiest moments of my entire life. I will treasure that memory forever. I had my husband and my daughter with me. My sweet, beautiful family.

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Lucia Gabriella Shumate was born on December 12th, 2011. 7lb. 10oz. 19.5 inches long. It wasn’t until Travis called family that we found out Lucia (Pronounced: Lu-cee-a) was actually my great-grandmother’s name. She always went by Lucille because it was more fashionable in those days. We didn’t tell anyone our daughter’s name until she was born, so that was a sweet surprise! And Gabriella is the name of our precious four-year-old niece that passed away last May. I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time, and we felt her sweet presence throughout the pregnancy. It only seemed natural to name our daughter after her.

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This past year has been a difficult one for our family and loved ones around us, but I know God has a plan for all of us. I know that we are meant to learn something from each experience both good and difficult. We have felt the “angels” around us rooting us on, telling us, it is all worth it. And it is.

I am so in love. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Nico : Tacoma

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