Pregnancy & Parenting | Hospital Bag Beauty

When I set out to pack my hospital bag for Rose’s delivery, I knew keeping it simple was critical. I pride myself in being prepared and packing smart (check out my fashion itinerary tool, a printable for packing) so there was a lot of pressure to pack the perfect assortment of essential items. My clothes would consist of soft, comfortable nightgowns and robes with fuzzy slippers and uggs, so that was easy. But what to pack to make sure I looked better than I felt? With the abundance of visitors stopping by to see baby Rose and the many pictures I knew they would take, I couldn’t help that a part of me wanted to make sure I looked healthy and glowing. Here are a few of the things in my beauty bag that I loved when I was in the hospital.

Shampoo samples – on the offchance you have the ability to shower during your stay in the hospital, shampoo samples are the perfect way to go. You aren’t packing an entire bottle from home and adding to the bulk to your bag, and you are also getting to try something new, perhaps, which is a little luxury in itself. I packed two kinds, because I knew I would be there for three days, Tresemme and Hair Food.

Face masque – there’s nothing that refreshes your skin quite like a mask, and my favorite kind is a rose one. The scent is divine and the cool mask is gentle on the skin. I love the affordable Sephora brand Rose Face Mask and have used it several times since. It leaves my skin soft and rejuvenated.

Lip balm – no one likes dry lips, and in an environment like a cold, dry hospital, it’s bound to happen. During labor, or surgery, and through recovery, a good sturdy lip balm is a must. I prefer Burt’s Bees (any of their flavors) because of the fact that it lasts so long and provides great protection. You can even get one with a little tint to it!

Perfumed wipes – during the first day, I knew there would be a slim-to-none chance of me showering (maybe on day 2) so I had the luck of stumbling across Lancôme perfumed wipes. They were great for freshening up my skin without overdoing it with perfume. I definitely didn’t want to smell badly when people came by to visit our new family! In the situation of you probably not getting out of bed for a little while (and feeling pretty sweaty, sticky, and gross) these were lifesavers.

Breath strips – nothing annoyed me more than the feeling that I needed to brush my teeth or swish with mouthwash. But let’s be honest, this is way easier in a situation like this! Have a pack of Listerine strips handy instead of mints or gum.

Rollerball perfume – you may need some (or a lot) of refreshing while in the hospital, but trust me when I say don’t bring a spray. Try and find your fave scent in rollerball version. It’s perfect for travel and will prevent you from over-spraying. And, not to mention, you don’t want your newborn baby breathing in any of that excess. I chose Gold because of how warm and subtle it is.

Dry shampoo – maybe you can’t shower, or worked up a good sweat, and need some dry shampoo. A little sample size is perfect if you can find it, like this one from drybar.

Facial mist – a spritz on your face during labor or while you are waiting for the green light to take a shower may be just the thing that saves you. It can help to cool you down, serve as a light face wash, or moisturizer your pores in a dry, sterile environment. A great house is Honest Company’s beauty line, which is purely organic and simple for all skin.

Creme blush – going without full makeup is probably a good idea, since your skin will already be going through a lot. Worrying about your makeup is the last thing you will want once your baby arrives – all your attention will be on them. Give yourself a little color by utilizing a creme or gel blush on your cheeks, lips, and eyelids, too. Another great organic brand is Au Naturale. Their stick is great and has a bit of shimmer to pick up on your motherly glow.

Skin repair – hospitals aren’t known for having the spa-like environment, and your hormones will be going crazy as well. Starting some skin repair early on may help shorten the time period between bad skin and back-to-normal. If you tend to break out, be sure you cleanse. If you have dry, flaky skin like I do that needs moisture, try Perricone MD products for skin care.

Pregnancy & Parenting | Bedtime Routine with Nested Bean

I am learning very quickly that not only do babies constantly change in weight, size, and development, their sleep patterns are in a constant state of evolution in the first few months. At first, Rose was an easy newborn that slept most of the time. This was great since it allowed us to get used to her for the first month or so. But now as she is becoming a more interactive baby, her sleep patterns have varied. She began to stay awake longer, and seemed to not want to sleep – she might miss something important! At one point, she would only go to sleep in her car seat when driving somewhere or walking around in the stroller. I certainly couldn’t do that every time it was time for her to sleep, and I knew it wasn’t a healthy habit. I started to struggle with how to figure out a great way to put her to sleep. With her schedule always changing I wasn’t sure what to do. So, I did what a lot of new moms do, and I went to the Internet.

I’ve been constantly reading valuable articles that support the idea of a nighttime routine. Whether it be a bath, storytime, song, or rocking her, routines like these can help babies signal that it’s bed time, which allows them to begin to learn how to put themselves to sleep. Apparently, this is an important skill as they become more independent and grow. Nested Bean has great weighted products that you can use with baby – the weight on the chest and sides give the baby a feeling of touch. The small weight on the chest feels like your hands placed on them, and the two weights on the sides give them the feeling that they’re being held. You can read more about the science behind their amazing products on their site.

I started using the Zen swaddle for my nighttime routine just 4 nights ago and already I can see a difference. She’s starting to recognize now that this is going to be part of her bedtime routine. The weight helps her feel secure, and simultaneously gives her the signal that it’s time for sleep. By continuing to use this every night I hope that it helps her become a more independent sleeper as she grows into a big girl. I will keep you all updated, but for now, I’m in love with this product!


Nested Bean provided complementary products for this post.

Pregnancy & Parenting | NüRoo Pocket

This weekend I found that my life was completely saved by the NuRoo Pocket. Our A/C was broken for three days, and even though for the rest of the U.S. it is winter and that wouldn’t be much of a problem, it’s still hot here in Miami! It was a stagnant 78 degrees in our house, so I knew I had to get out of there with the dog and the baby until the air got fixed. Thankfully, my in-laws were so hospitable and allowed us to crash at their place during the day and at night. They had a travel crib and changing table, but during the day I used the NuRoo Packet, which allows you to spend more time skin-to-skin with baby.

The NuRoo Pocket is designed to go on like a shirt and eliminates wrapping, tying and knotting to make babywearing a breeze. I have seen other moms use wraps and it just looked so complicated to me, not to mention time consuming to go on and take off. It is also incredibly soft with the use of flat lock, seamless stitching. The fabric is designed to create a compression fit that hugs baby to your skin, recreating that womb-like, “held” feeling that soothes + supports your baby, making them feel safe + secure. Another plus to the fabric (and the hot hot weather down here) is that it is breatheable and moisture wicking, and never feels sweaty or wet. Lastly, it allows mommy (or daddy) to be completely hands free and completely comfortable. I almost felt as if I was pregnant again because of how close I was able to be with Rose! It was a great experience that we both loved.

The NuRoo Pocket is great for mommies and babies too – there is so much science to back up the benefits of skin-to-skin interaction. The benefits are so important for your little one’s development, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily skin-to-skin sessions throughout the first three months of your baby’s life. To receive all the benefits, mom + baby need to stay skin-to-skin for 60 uninterrupted minutes. Mom life is a busy life, and finding 60 minutes to lay in bed or on the couch, cuddled skin-to-skin is difficult to do!

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Shop the NuRoo Pocket and other great products here!

Home | Rose’s Nursery Reveal

I’m so happy to share Rose’s Nursery today! To say it has been in development for a long time would be an understatement. When we moved into our home two years ago I already had a room picked out to be a nursery, and a color palette in mind. Now, two years later, it has finally come together!

I was able to incorporate new pieces with sentimental old ones from my family (like my grandmother’s antique rose mirror, and my mother’s childhood bed). Merging the old and new was important to me in creating a space for Rose. I had already decided I wanted the main color to be emerald green as an homage to my favorite color as a little girl. I knew it would be gender neutral, so it would (and could still) be great for a boy’s room with a few modifications. That, plus cream, white, and gold, and I knew it would prove to be aversatile yet elegant room. Once we knew we were having a baby girl, I went to work adding in some subtle girly touches and hints of baby pink. Not overtly feminine, but with enough sugar and spice to satisfy any notion that the room is clearly for a baby girl.

I put so much heart (and tears) over the past two years getting this room ready, and at one point I worried that it would never get to house a little boy or girl, but I am so happy to have this room finally filled with my baby Rose! It is absolutely my favorite and most beautiful room in the entire house.

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Crib: Pottery Barn Kids (old, similar) | Dresser: Pottery Barn Kids (old, similar) | Side table: Pottery Barn Kids (old, similar) | Rocker: Pottery Barn Kids | Ottoman: Safavieh | Table: Safavieh | Rose Mirror: antique | Leaning mirror: Wayfair | Curtains: Wayfair | Agate canvas prints: Oliver Gal | Twin Bed: antique | Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids & Land of Nod | Twin bedding: Oliver Gal | Pillows: Joss & Main | Chandelier: IKEA | Mobile: Love Sparkle Pretty | Date print: Outside in Art Studio | Floral monogram print: Inspired Life, Co. | Rug: nuLOOM

Fashion | Powder Blue Day-to-Night

I have teased this post on Instagram for long enough – so, without further adieu, here it is! The easiest way to change a look for day to night is always the accessories. Add a belt, change your shoes, and voila! And these shoes are real stunners. A metallic heel dresses up any look – even jeans – and they are perfect for the holidays. Scroll down for my fave holiday shoe picks (these Pradas are sold out!) in multiple price points. Are you all ready for Thanksgiving this week? I can’t wait for the food, family, and to dress up my home – and myself. Share the love with everyone around you this week.

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Madora | Black Orchid

After some much needed rest after Rose’s arrival, I’m back! Today I teamed up with Madora to introduce you to their new shoppable app, which you can download for FREE here. It has changed the way I shop for trendy shoes and bags – there are so many affordable styles available, which is amazing for both my closet and my bank account. I’m very reluctant to spend top dollar on trendy styles that come and go in fashion; I’m more likely to buy a big ticket item if it’s timeless or classic, so I can get the most wear out of it. But for bold and trendy styles, Madora is the perfect place to shop. Their products are great quality for more than affordable prices, plus FREE shipping and FREE returns! Plus, the app makes it so easy to track your order, make a favorites list, and receive personalized recommendations.

As an added bonus, you can snap a pic of an item you love to find similar styles! So if you are out shopping, or spot some amazing street style, you can shop the look for a fraction of the price. Use code 9LRTLU for $5 OFF your first order with Madora! I have already stocked up on some great styles and will be featuring Madora items this Fall and Winter on The MIAMI Rose.
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DIY | Newborn Photo Shoot

Now that Rose has arrived I know I will want to document her every milestone (and OOTD) – but I don’t want to pay for a photographer all the time, or have the time to set up sessions every week (OK, every day). So today, I have provided some tips and tricks for your own DIY newborn photo shoot! Some of these images were taken with my Nikon, and some were taken just with my iPhone, so it is totally possible to get amazing photos no matter what you are working with.
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iPhone

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Nikon

Lighting

All professionals say that natural light is best, and they are absolutely right. Pick a position near a window with lots of light, and even if it is a bit dim (I shot the pics below when it was overcast and misty outside) you can always edit the lighting in a photo editing app or Photoshop afterward (scroll down for more on that). But whatever you do, don’t use lamps or lights in your house to make the room brighter.

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Timing

Time the pictures for when your little one is in a deep sleep – for Rose, this is after her feeding. I made sure to prep the area ahead of time and set up my “scene” beforehand. I had the room nice and warm, and I worked quickly and quietly to position her. Since she would be laying down, I didn’t need to think ahead about supporting her head for any alternative poses, but if you are considering something that requires neck and head support, be prepared to prop it up with either an object or hold with your hands. You can always Photoshop things later, or crop the photo in certain ways. But always consider safety first.

Angle

To get the overhead shots, I stood on a step stool and took wide shots. You can always crop later! Also, try and get a variety of angles when you are doing close-ups; slightly shift your body to subtly change the way the light falls on their face. Depending on where the shadow falls, you may want to re position yourself – or the babe – so that you get a good angle with no shadows on the face.

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Editing

Even if everything goes perfectly, a little editing is always nice. For me, since it was rainy when I took these photos, I used Photoshop (for my Nikon photos) and Colorstory (for my iPhone snaps) to brighten up the image. You can use filters, add brightness, lower contrast, adjust vibrancy, etc. to make the image have the effect you are looking for. I went with light and bright!

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brightened in Photoshop

Position

If you don’t have the capability to Photoshop your images, steer clear of the riskier poses that require support of the neck or head. Go with poses from above, with the baby swaddled, or cradled on their side. Create the scene by setting up a supportive base with pillows, rolled up blankets, or pads, and then drape it with a sheet or blanket to place your babe on top. This will ensure they have adequate support and remain comfortable for the photo session.

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Content

Take lots of photos! Don’t stop! You never know when you might catch a split-second smile, or a cute frown. The more images you have to choose from, the better off you will be at ensuring you have captured the right angle, lighting, body position, facial expression, and frame size.

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Research

Boy, did I scour Pinterest and Instagram to find amazing baby pics and poses that I absolutely loved! This part is fun – go into your session with a plan. Baby may only sleep for a little while, so it’s important to know exactly what it is you want and are looking for. That way you can get exactly what you want out of the time you spend doing this DIY.

Experiment

This is the opposite of doing research: be in the moment and be inspired by your little one. Have fun, and if you don’t get the pic you want on the first time around, regroup, do more research, and try again another day! Since you aren’t paying for a certain time frame, or on a specific schedule, you have lots of time to get it right and try new things.

Have fun!

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Fashion | Crimson Day-to-Night

Hands down, one of my favorite items to own is a pleated chiffon skirt – any color, multiple lengths, and I could fill my closet with them. Not only are they universally flattering, they are so versatile that you can style them in a multitude of ways. So, that’s what I’m doing today! I wore this look last week, so I was still pregnant then, which just goes to show how incredibly flattering this style can be. This red stunner is great year-round, but I styled it transitionally. Fall is still very warm here, so getting creative is key. For the day look, I paired it with a basic white tee tied at the midriff. Even preggos can sport this look! It’s simple, and the centerpiece is definitely the gorgeous red maxi. I styled the nighttime look with a cozy cold-shoulder turtleneck, grey hat, and darker accessories. 

I had planned on styling two other gorgeous pleated skirts as maternity looks, but I guess now I will have to exchange them for a smaller size and style them regularly now that Rose is here! Can’t wait to share more with you all soon – I’m completely obsessed with her, so you bet you will be seeing her a lot on the blog.

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 skirt: ASOS | shoes: Vince Camuto | purse: Rebecca Minkoff | earrings: Baublebar | sunnies: Ray Ban via DITTO 

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skirt: ASOS | sweater: ASOS Maternity | purse: Rebecca Minkoff | hat: Forever 21 | shoes: Forever 21 | sunnies: Two39 Boutique

Events | Kate Spade inspired Baby Shower

I know this post is so long overdue – but I’ve been so busy! I wanted to share some of the pretty pictures with you all and take the time to deliver some huge Thank yous to everyone for such a perfect event. I had no part in the planning and so I was thrilled with every new discovery I made – from the flowers and color scheme, to the cake and gifts, I thought it was all so well put together and very “me”. Thank you to my incredibly talented and selfless sister in-law for designing and hosting the entire baby shower, and to my mother in-law and mother for their endless support and love. Thank you to everyone who attended, and to those who were unable to attend but made their love known from afar. I am so fortunate and thankful for my family, friends, coworkers (and even some students!) who blessed me with gorgeous gifts, well wishes, sage advice, and hilarious stories. 

Pregnancy & Parenting | Pregnancy After a Partial Molar

In honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I wanted to tell a happy tale – an unofficial “Part Four” to my series about my Partial Molar Pregnancy last year. After the utter nightmare of that experience, I wanted to say thank you to the women over the past year who have been brave enough to reach out to me for advice or comfort. Pregnancy loss is not so uncommon as people think – it happens every day. It is crucial to refrain from stigmatizing miscarriage (of all kinds) and we have come to a point where a change is needed. Women and families need support, and it is just not readily available.

(If you have not yet read about my Partial Molar journey, you can find the 3-part series here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)
After this experience, I have been moved to create a Free Mini e-Course addressing Pregnancy Loss Recovery and the steps involved in navigating positive personal growth. If you’d be interested in this enriching workshop, please enter your info below and I will notify you when it launches!


In February, after 6 months of letting my body clear itself of the toxic Methotrexate treatments, we were finally given the green light by both of my doctors to try and conceive again. In that waiting time, it was necessary for me to NOT get pregnant at all costs due to the high risk of birth defects and deformities in infants when the mother’s eggs suffer exposure to Methotrexate. So, instead of having any additional hormones in my body, I opted for a non-hormonal IUD to serve as my birth control to ensure I did not get pregnant. After all of the heartbreak, turmoil, and struggle we had been through, my husband and I decided that we wanted to try again as soon as we could. In our minds, we had suffered long enough, and wanted to bring joy back into our lives by getting back to our original hope: to start a family.

Once my IUD was removed in February, we found ourselves pregnant shortly after in my first cycle. That right there should have been a good omen for what was to come. After the hell that we had been through, we had gotten pregnant right away; no stress, no pressure, no doubts, no pain or longing. I actually new I was pregnant long before any test could tell me. I noticed the small signs and changes in my body, and I “just knew”. I told Max one night as we got ready for bed that I knew I was pregnant. I told him about the symptoms, and he asked me one more time “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m pregnant.” He looked at me deeply, nodded, and believed me. We held hands, and we knew.

Even the early detection tests from the store would take too long to tell me what I already knew – they required a higher hcg level, and it would take time for that to rise – I was too excited to wait that amount of time. So, I hopped on Amazon and ordered low level hcg pregnancy strips, and waited until the next day. Sure enough, I was right. I was pregnant, and I wasn’t surprised. I was, however, absolutely thrilled.

Max was, too. Every day I would do more tests and watch the lines get darker and darker. We even told our parents at that point, just days after I knew. I couldn’t keep it from my mom because we are too close, and I couldn’t lie when she asked me (she knew we were trying that month and had done the math in her head as to when we would be finding out). My in-laws we told the next weekend, and my mother in law cried. Of anyone, she had felt the pain of our previous loss the most. She texted me every day during my treatment, asking me how I felt, and giving me moral support. And now, through this pregnancy, she has still texted me every day, with extra emojis on Fridays when I progress to the next week of pregnancy development. I am so grateful for this small gesture every day.

As soon as I could schedule one, I made an appointment with my OBGYN. Because of the partial molar pregnancy, I was so scared that something – anything – could happen again to prevent us from having this baby be healthy and viable. I at least wanted to make sure that my hcg levels were at a normal level (high hcg is an early sign of molar/partial molar pregnancies) and that I was actually pregnant, and not somehow suffering from tumor development leftover from my previous pregnancy. They drew my blood, but it was too early to do an ultrasound still. Once they saw my actual hcg levels, which were normal for how early I was, they were shocked that I even knew I was pregnant. Drug store pregnancy tests would still not detect my pregnancy at this point, and I was going off my symptoms. I would just have to wait for more confirmation.

Waiting. I hated waiting. Each day that passed filled me with doubt. I had spent half a year waiting already, and before that, more than a year of uncertainty, treatment, and recovery. I tried to stay positive knowing that what happened to me was such an anomaly (though, not entirely uncommon) that the chances of it happening to me again were slim. But that didn’t stop the rare from happening to me the first time – chance doesn’t mean a thing. I could still be that .01% in the blink of an eye. I worried that this would be another disappointment, another heartbreak, followed by more treatment or a more severe diagnosis. I needed the confirmation that this was a “normal” pregnancy.

I was finally able to get an ultrasound at 6 weeks, and to my relief, all the necessary parts were there. Next, I just had to wait for the heartbeat. They scheduled my appointment for two weeks later (8 weeks) to see if there was a heartbeat. But, a week later at seven weeks, I started spotting. I was in a panic – and it didn’t help that it happened at my sister in-law’s Bridal Shower that I was throwing. I was still hiding my pregnancy from everyone at this point and it was a Sunday, which meant no calls to the doctor. I googled all afternoon long, reading that it was normal to spot this early on – but then I also read that it was an early sign of miscarriage. Conflicting information meant only that I would just have to wait until Monday afternoon to see a doctor and receive my own diagnosis. That whole evening I was lost in my own negative thoughts, and stressed beyond belief. The next day at work was also unbearable – I didn’t think of anything else except for the fact that I wanted to get out of there and speed to the doctor.

The ultrasound tech saw me right away, since they knew of my history, and wanted to check things out. It was a surreal experience that I partly don’t remember. What I do remember is the tech saying, “Well, I’m not allowed to say because I’m not the doctor, but that’s not your heartbeat.” She smiled, and handed me a printout of what looked like the lines you see on an EKG. My baby was fine. My baby had a heartbeat.

After meeting with my doctor and having her confirm that everything was alright, it turns out that the culprit of my spotting was three cysts on my left ovary. Basically, normal and nothing to worry about. For only being pregnant for a few weeks, I sure had done a lot of worrying! My doctor insisted that now that we had heard a heartbeat, and my hcg levels were perfectly normal, that I treat this as a normal pregnancy. She wanted me to enjoy every moment, and wipe away the bad memories of my last experience with new experiences; to fill a void with excitement and joy.

I told myself I would do just that, and Max agreed. We knew we couldn’t live each day dreading the “what if”s or else we would miss all of the good stuff, the happy things. Like the fact that I had almost no bothersome symptoms of pregnancy. No morning sickness, no pain, and no exhaustion. At about 12 weeks, we opted to do the fetal cell free (cf) DNA test using my blood – combined with an ultrasound, it would tell us whether or not our baby had trisomies 21 (Down’s syndrome), 18, or 13. It would also reveal the baby’s gender, which we still hadn’t decided if we wanted to find out or not. On a trip to New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival a couple of weeks before, we were able to discuss the pros and cons of finding out the gender. Ultimately, I left it up to Max. I was fine either way – but he thought it might help him feel more connected to the pregnancy and the baby knowing what he or she would be like. So, when the results came in via phone call, I was doing something absolutely stereotypical of a pregnant woman: I was in line at Taco Bell.

Don’t judge me, I was getting an afternoon snack. And when I say “snack”, I mean 2 chalupas and 1 burrito. And a slushie. And cinnamon cream cheese bites. I was hungry.

Not only was our bundle free from any trisomies, it was a she; we were having a girl. I grinned from ear to ear as I hung up the phone, but then immediately thought to Max: how would he feel? I know that his dream was, in an ideal world, to have a boy, then a girl, and then be done. But how would he feel about having a girl as his firstborn? That’s another tale, for another day perhaps. When I let him know about the results, we felt like we had passed yet one more test on our pregnancy journey. The baby was healthy, which was all we were wishing for.

Weeks turned into months, and on Mother’s Day I officially announced my pregnancy to the world on social media. Appointments came and went, ultrasounds showed a cute nose and little kicks, and my belly started to grow and move. I loved being pregnant – every minute of it. I’m sure I had my moments, but for the most part Max got it pretty easy. I felt amazing, and I even told him that I could be pregnant for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t mind. Yet, here we are days away from her arrival, and I will no longer be pregnant, I will be a mother. Even after all the emotional anguish of my first pregnancy experience, it is completely overshadowed by the utter bliss that this experience has brought us. Believe, hope, and know that good can come from pain, and that loss does not always mean forever.

In total, we have been waiting for our baby for two years and ten months; 10 months trying, 2 months pregnant with a partial molar pregnancy, 3 months of waiting for my hcg to come down, 4 months of methotrexate treatment, 6 months of waiting to conceive, and now 9 months pregnant with our little girl. Thirty-four months we have waited to start a family, and now it is finally here.

Photos by PrimeRaw Photography. Click here for information on booking your session and receiving FREE Holiday Cards from PrimeRaw featuring your favorite shot.