Each client, each birth, are all different. Everyone has different circumstances and stories that brought their babies into this world, some come easy with nothing but stories of anxious excitement. Other's come with history, with longing, with a different kind of anxiety. No matter what their story, I always encourage my clients to share. To share their testimonies. As women sometimes we hide what we don't think is "normal" or things that apparently are made to make us feel weak or "lesser than", whether it be miscarriage, infant loss, infertility, struggles with breastfeeding, body shaming, postpartum depression.... I could go on and on. Each story my clients are brave enough to share, could encourage just one woman sitting quietly in her struggles. This is somewhat my mission if you will, my ministry. I feel the Lord has given me a gift of photography and the platform to bring Glory to Him and empower/encourage/support women. I pray Rebecca and Matt's story does all of those things. Rebecca ended up having to deliver early due to HELLP syndrome a rare but dangerous complication of pregnancy. Take a moment to read some information on it, it could be useful information if you're pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
No one can tell their story quite like themselves, so Rebecca wrote a few words I wanted to share with you:
We waited. We prayed. We waited and fought through infertility issues. We prayed each month for 3 years. Tests, surgery, blood work, tests and more tests and lastly an IUI procedure. Finally, after hearing words we never thought we'd hear, "YOU'RE PREGNANT", we waited and we prayed. We waited for weekly ultrasounds and prayed this blessing would grow and grow and grow. We waited to see if it was a boy or a girl. We prayed for health and strength and patience. We then waited for results on our little ones heart. We prayed, but knew without a doubt that everything was fine. And it was. Mom is healthy and feeling great. Baby is developing more and more. There was kicking and hiccups and all the crazy things moms feel happening. We are doing this. We are having a baby! A shower is planned. Maternity pictures are scheduled. The nursery is pretty much done.
33 weeks, on valentines day, it all hit the fan.... We waited in the emergency room. We prayed that nothing was wrong. My blood pressure was extremely high, my liver wasn't functioning properly. Seizures could start at any moment and our baby would be in respiratory distress. WHAT?!! HOW COULD THIS BE?!! HELLP syndrome? never heard of it and now it is causing the emergency delivery of our baby 6 weeks early. Terrified doesn't begin to describe it as we were rushed to a room. IV's, cords, monitors, people everywhere. This wasn't the plan. There wasn't a bag packed. There wasn't a baby shower or maternity pictures.
We waited for the steroid shot to help the baby's lungs. We prayed my blood pressure would drop so that I could at least be awake for the c-section, so that Dad could be in the O.R. and so that Neely could capture every crazy beautiful moment possible. We waited for 7:30 a.m, Monday, February 16th. We prayed this baby would arrive safely. We were shaking, waiting and praying when 14 minutes later we heard the cry of our son. IT'S A BOY!!! Kal Kenneth Harwell was screaming so loud and we knew that was a good thing. Kal was whisked away to the NICU, Matt followed. I layed there waiting and praying harder than I ever have before. They told me Kal would be okay but would need to stay in the nursery for a couple of weeks.
I got to touch my son quickly as I was wheeled through on my way to another room. That single moment took my breath away. The IV's and monitors now covered him. I didn't see a thing but my son. We waited for his improvements. We prayed for strength for us all. Everyday Kal grew stronger but we had to wait...again. I got discharged, Kal had to stay longer. We left the hospital with a car packed full of flowers and gifts, but without the most important thing. Luckily, the second week, although very trying and hard, went by quickly. We waited that morning we were taking him home. We prayed we wouldn't have to come back.
Nothing went according to my plan. Literally from start to finish..not one single thing. After years of waiting and praying we finally realized that it was never about "our plan", it was about HIS plan. HE knew what he was doing and HE answered every prayer. I have never had issues with blood pressure, and haven't had any issues since. I think Kal knew he was wanted and loved so much that he didn't want to make us wait any longer. As he sleeps in his swing and we wait for the next feeding, we pray we can be everything he needs us to be as parents. From one of life's wild rides to the next, all we can do is wait and pray.