a journey to baby & hope realized

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several weeks ago my client (& friend) who’s family session was only a few days away reached out to let me know her grandmother had passed away during the night. she’d need to cancel her family’s upcoming session ( which incidentally had been booked months in advance & already rescheduled once for a rain out). we had a rainy fall here in georgia & this caused several sessions to slide into late november/early december.   at the time she reached out i was pretty tightly booked but told her i would do the best i could to get them in later in december. ( we did. on a glorious balmy afternoon & the images are some of my favorite. i’ll share those soon.)

within a few hours i got another text that went something like this:

her. “i know this sounds crazy but i thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask. is there any chance you have something open in the next few days to photograph me & my husband?  we’re celebrating & want to share our news with friends through photos”

me. “i just had a cancellation sunday afternoon. can ya’ll make it it work?”

something so sweet & tender, bittersweet & a poignant reminder of the circle of life…the original client was driving to a celebration of life service & her session was replaced by a young couple who’ve walked the painful road of infertility, now celebrating the life growing within her womb.

we met at a tree farm out in the country. it was a gorgeous evening with a gorgeous sun setting over the pastures as i drove to meet them. i was listening to the tender lyrics from my favorite holiday cd and just couldn’t’ stop myself from being overwhelmed by the truth, Hallelujah, the lord has come…emmanuel ~our god is with us! in our celebration of new life, in our broken hearts as we say goodbye to loved ones. in our joy & in our grief. he is with us.

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you can you read more of sarah’s journey here, but for now i’ll share a little of her post:
“The story of this baby began on Easter Sunday. It marked the start of our in vitro journey. Thirteen days later, on Saturday, April 18, after two full weeks of injections, ultrasounds, and bloodwork, the teeny tiny egg that formed this baby was retrieved from my body. Five days after that, on April 24, I got a call from a nurse at RBA to let me know that this baby had grown into a beautiful five day old embryo (called a “blastocyst”). It was graded “A” based on appearance (tight cells) and after genetic testing showed no known chromosomal abnormalities.

Because we were doing IVF with a “freeze all” (to avoid hyperstimulation), it was June before we transferred our first embryo (also coming from this IVF cycle). Sadly, that transfer resulted in a tubal pregnancy (talked about here). We were in a season of grieving and waiting. Our hearts were sadden by another loss (I preciously suffered a miscarriage at sixteen weeks early in 2014 and a chemical pregnancy later that year). I was treated with methotrexate, a form of chemotherapy, two separate times for the ectopic pregnancy that meant we could not try to get pregnant again for at least three months.

With the first anniversary of our first baby’s due date, the due date of our second baby, and what we had hoped would be a healthy pregnancy with baby three all falling during this time, we looked for a way to honor and remember our little loves in heaven and found it in the Lancaster Garden of Hope in Pennsylvania. The garden was created as a place to remember precious lives lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant death with a memorial wall of plaques and those babies names. The focal point of the garden features a beautiful life size sculpture of Jesus, sitting beside a mother as He cradles her baby safely in His arms. We had a plaque made for our three and look forward to visiting the garden in a few months.

My prayer was a prayer for peace. For a peace that would pass all understanding. Peace for whatever would happen next on our journey. For peace when we tried to get pregnant again. For peace if we did get pregnant again.

I began to sense that peace all around me. I felt a peace about moving forward. I felt renewed. Excited. Hopeful. Following a consultation with Dr. Slayden, I began prepping my body for pregnancy with a protocol that included Lupron injections, Estrace, Crinone, Baby Asprin, Doxycycline, Medrol, and Folate.

On October 8 we transfered our precious itty bitty one. Much like our first transfer, I count it as one of the greatest days of my life. It was magical when they displayed our embryo’s photo on the television screen. Happy tears! Love at first sight! Adornment! The embryologist came in to talk with us and Dr. Robert Straub, who was on call this day, transferred the embryo to my uterus via a catheter, which we were able to watch on the ultrasound machine. An incredible experience.

…At 10 weeks, 3 days pregnant, God still surrounds me with His peace. And I have been able to celebrate joyfully this pregnancy. I’m human, and there have been moments, times occasionally, when I’ve allowed my wondering heart to stray with worry about things that have happened in the past happening again. But those thoughts have NOT consumed me. And through prayer, spending time being still in His presence, clinging to scripture, and encouraging words from family and friends, I’ve been able to focus on Him. His peace. And this sweet, sweet gift He has given us.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

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December 17, 2015 - 11:42 am

Emily - This made me tear up! Beautiful photos + words. I love this time of year … thankful for true Hope.

December 17, 2015 - 1:38 pm

chrissi - what a session. the photos. the story. the sweet couple♥ love it all!

December 17, 2015 - 6:14 pm

Lisa - Paige, This is just beautiful!

December 17, 2015 - 6:24 pm

Lisa Mothersead - You have a very special way of capturing true love. Beautiful.

December 17, 2015 - 10:41 pm

Lisa - You two are totally adorable! Congratulations!

December 18, 2015 - 11:52 am

natalie cooper - oh, paige! she is positively GLOWING. what beautiful pictures. love.

merry christmas ~ a source post

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i apologize…i feel like i’ve been posting interior posts & its probably a little overkill. i think next year i’ll just combine sources in the original post because enough already right? but since i started it, i’ll go ahead & wrap it up with this post & one last source post. our original holiday house walk post can be found here, and the other source posts are here & here.

i mentioned a couple posts ago that i sold my wide angle lens & didn’t remember until it was time to photograph our home for a couple deadlines. good grief. how could i not think of that? anyways. it drove me bananas not being able to shoot a full view of the tree or a full-ish view of a space. shooting vignettes for detail purposes is fine, but it helps put things in visual perspective to have a fuller view. so…these next couple were shot with my iPhone.

if you’ve visited over the years you can see each year i put out a little less. which means i might not be asked to contribute to blogger christmas tours anymore! haha!

each year right around thanksgiving i head over to trader joes & grab their boxwood wreaths. at less than 10 bucks a pop you can’t beat their simplicity and charm. i spritz them with water, let ’em dry & then bring them in. and i never touch them again until sometime in january when they’re pitifully dry. i easily get 7-8 weeks out of them.

i had big dreams of draping long eucalyptus garland across my dining table…and maybe next year that’ll be the plan. i love a large center grouping or piece on my tables and already had a mental line up of the players…but i really wanted a fresh garland. so i found this beauty on etsy, mcfadden farm and i love it. again. simple & charming. i could have ordered the mack daddy length for table draping but went with a size to fill the mantle instead. last year i commissioned my daughter savannah to paint an ombre canvas. it hung in our kitchen all year & i love how it catches the light. i brought it on in to the family room to go with the neutrals & gold i was going for.  I’m not a fire place person. i know that sounds weird but i don’t like the smell and all the fuss so i fill the fireplace with just cheap white candles in the winter & usually a fresh fern in the spring/ summer.

i usually have 4-6 chippy wood frames of our girls on the shelves but cleared them for christmas. brought in some metallic bottle brush trees & new modern gold lamps from target. i have a few tall metallic bottle brush trees shown as well, & they’re from anthropologie. birchwood branches, more candles, mounts from country living fair, nativity i purchased in rwanda and a lindsey letters canvas reminding us to fear not all keep things fresh & uncluttered. i decided to add more texture than visual this & thats. i have a super soft buffalo check throw ready for snuggles draped over a char, fur pillow covers from restoration hardware, fur thingy on the ottoman is from ikea and a the little fur stool was a nate burkus score from last year.

in years past i group my vintage ornament collection in a primitive dough bowl & wanted a little change this year. i piled a few of them in a large crate i picked up from magnolia market. i don’t think they’re currently available but chip & jo jo always have beautiful handmade pieces you could use. i kept it out on the kitchen table for a few weeks & then with a full house of kids home, needed to pack it up. every once in a while i can be practical. haha! i pulled it in from the kitchen & photographed a few shots to add some color ( shown below with a napping pup) and then traded out later for a metal cake stand filled with peppermints.

we adopted a two year golden earlier this fall. since he was found in shock in a forest in istanbul, his sweet little self has been found ( only a couple times) snoozing on my white furniture…which is not allowed ( despite the fact that these ikea pieces are a few years old & i wash these babies frequently and love them!) but the other night i rounded the corner to warm up my coffee & found his cute little self all safe & sound in the middle of the sofa… he hadn’t messed up anything & even the pillows weren’t bothered. after i did an outloud gasp, i ran & got my phone for a picture…called caroline down to see him in his glory…and then told him to get down. i’m consistent with my expectations. wink.

 

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this year we put a live tree out on the back porch. our main tree is in my studio. in the years that we’ve lived here it was in the family room for most of them. but it either had to block the door to the back porch ( which i love to leave open to the storm door because it allows so much natural light in) or back in the corner…neither of which were super optimal. someone is almost always in the studio. it faces the front of the house as well & i love seeing the tree from the front. so the studio is where its lived the last few years. putting a tree up on the back porch, along with light garland, gives some fun twinkle lights visible from entering the front door & for those hanging out in the family room…& my kitchen faces out on the back porch as well. so what i’m saying is there’s a tree & lights visible from all spaces downstairs.

i grabbed a tree stand & a metal buck when we purchased our tree at home depot & that’s the same set up for our indoor tree. we had a weekend of glorious weather so i ( temporarily) decorated the tree with my collection of coton colors ornaments. i began collecting them when my girls were little. i love how festive & fun they are!

the stag is from one of my favorite atlanta shops, la bella maison, & he’s nestled inside one of my $10 trader joes wreaths.

alrighty my friends…thanks for hanging in there for all these interiors posts! one last one to come & then it’s a wrap!

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December 16, 2015 - 11:00 am

Terri - All is calm, All is bright…. This describes your home. So peaceful and soothing. Thank you for sharing.

December 16, 2015 - 3:06 pm

Sarah - Your home is always so relaxing and peaceful. I’m loving the look of less more and more, especially after a visit to your “home/blog”. Thank you for sharing, it can be inspiring.
Just this week I pulled about half of the stuff off our our bookcases and may pull some more, it feels pretty good.

Glad to see cowboy Duke doing so well, you can see & feel that he knows he’s loved and after what these babies have endured that says so much.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

December 16, 2015 - 10:53 pm

Marcy Norman Cox - Your home looking amazing..I love the “less is more” look… I especially LOVE your floors .. And I would be the biggest pushover ..I could no way say NO to that sweet boy Duke…

December 21, 2015 - 1:48 pm

Calli - You have a beautiful home and I enjoyed your holiday tour! Can I ask where your glass lamp next to your couch is from? I have been searching for that exact same one! Thanks in advance. Happy holidays!