“For better or for worse.” It is a small part of a couples vows that I hear at every wedding. And they cut right through me. For better or for worse…I will always love you. You fall in love. You get married. You have a baby. That is the for better. But sometimes the for worse does come out. In fact, it is practically inevitable. But one thing we don’t commonly talk about is how the road to motherhood, and the road to family, is sometimes filled with incredible heartbreaking, gut wrenching “worse”.

18 months ago, this sweet family was expecting the arrival of a sweet baby girl. She was named, the nursery was set and she was oh so loved. And at 42 weeks when her sweet momma went into labor, they did not find a heartbeat. Worse. Annabelle and Andrew walked out of that hospital, hand-in-hand, just the two of them.

And this is where it gets personal. Just weeks before, I had run into Annabelle in the doctor’s office for my own ultrasound. I was envious of her giant belly and sad for my own. I wanted to be pregnant with baby number two so incredibly badly. We had an ectopic pregnancy just months before and I sat waiting to find out if we had yet another loss. I went home and cried. I wanted to be in her place. Why did having a baby have to be so hard?

A few weeks later, I received the email. They had lost their sweet girl that morning. And that very morning…that very morning I had found out I was pregnant. I remember going into my doctor knowing that he was aware I knew what had just happened. And so my entire pregnancy with Shepherd, I do not think there was a day that went by, or an appointment, or a milestone, that I didn’t think about Romy. I already knew how much of a total gift this pregnancy was and it was such a reminder that baby’s are true gifts to us and motherhood…oh motherhood…in whatever form it comes in. It is a sacred badge all mothers have inscribed on their hearts and the journey to “earn” it looks so different to all.

Life is funny. On the day I went into labor with Shepherd, I found out Annabelle was pregnant with sweet Gemma. And the doctor on call for the evening to deliver Shepherd, had delivered Romy 9 months earlier. So this little lady you see above and her crazy strong family just have a tiny chunk of my momma heart forever.

So here is the “for better” part of those vows in all their glory. Darling gorgeous Gemma. Perfect in every way. And these photos not only show her beautiful self, but they show one heck of momma.

For Mother’s Day we are going to celebrate Romy and her sweet family.

We are calling these the Mother’s Day Sessions. Between now and Mother’s Day, 18% of every classic portrait session that is booked, will be donated in Romy’s name to the DC diaper bank. 18 for the 18 months Romy would have been. These are one hour long sessions that will take place between Mother’s Day and August 31st. All the details can be found here.

Annabelle, Andrew and Gemma…so much love for all of you. And sweet Romy…you gave all of us so much.

If you are familiar with Ellicott City, you might be familiar with the Trolley Trail. It is a path right outside downtown that locals frequent for a walk with their dogs or a nice run. Historically it shuttled people between Ellicott City and Baltimore. I joined Kristin and Kevin there one afternoon for their engagement session. Both Kevin and Kristin have big hearts and it only takes a few minutes of being around them and knowing their lines of work that you realize that. Kevin is a firefighter with Baltimore City and he happens to know this groom even though their brides hired me without knowing I was shooting both of their weddings…fun! I can’t wait to see these two tie the knot this fall. Congratulations Kristin and Kevin.

She knew exactly what she wanted. She knew she wanted the love of her life, she knew she wanted all the scenes Baltimore had to offer. Kate and Ryan’s wedding day was jam packed with fun, friends and all things Charm City. With classic black dresses and hints of purple and orange they spent the day surrounded by the people who love them most. Avid travelers, Kate’s dad talked of their many adventures and how the best adventure has only just started. I couldn’t agree more. Ryan and Kate I couldn’t be happier for you two!

To my past couples, this face might look familiar. Jill is my right-hand-man/partner-in-crime/time-keeper/timeline manager/detail checker/cake taster/second shooter extraordinaire who also happens to be one of my very best friends. She is expecting Shepherd’s best friend, a sweet baby boy in May and I couldn’t be more excited. A few weeks ago we were on a church retreat together and got snowed-in along with 40 other women in Knoxville, Maryland. 11 inches! While debating if we were going to actually make it home in the next few days, we decided to take advantage and document her cute bump. I told her to throw on the striped shirt she had worn previously and grab her moms hat…and this is what we came up with. It is always an adventure with us and work and life are certainly more fun because of it. I certainly can’t wait for her to join me in her newest adventure in being a mom.