Andrew’s Family Story
This one is going to be long. I posted this on Facebook about a month ago.
Oh guys…bring on all the feels. I just wrapped up Josh and Lindsey’s maternity pictures and am a hot mess. Let me fill you in on these amazing friends of mine. Josh has been a friend of mine and my husband since college. We were even roommates with him for a hot second and he has stood beside my husband on the alter as his best man as we professed our vows and one of the first people we called every time we were pregnant and every time we lost one of our babies. He has grieved with us, laughed with us and worked beside us to prepare our room for Rory when we were told we could bring her home. Enter Lindsey..one of the strongest and bravest women I have ever met. Josh and Lindsey met, quickly fell in love and married. Not long after then we got a call from Josh letting us know that they were pregnant and expecting. We (maybe more me…) squealed with joy and I may have blasted out Josh’s ear drums a bit…. They were due just a few short weeks after John and I were due with Oliver. Through the entire pregnancy we checked in and I probably passed along way more advice that they didn’t ask for but I felt the need to share. They came down while I was on bed rest for me to do their maternity pictures and Lindsey and I waddled around together while Josh laughed at/helped his very pregnant wife and their even more pregnant photographer. I felt so incredibly honored to capture that time for them because I knew how long Josh had longed to be a father and Lindsey was right on board with that desire to be a parent. A few days before my due date, I got a call from Josh that I will never forget. He just said, “We lost him Shannon!” I still get chills and tears when I think about that call. My heart sunk and we cried over the phone together. I didn’t understand how these beautiful, amazing people had their sweet boy taken away so suddenly. When they were so close. I wanted to go up to Indianapolis to help them, to photograph for them their beautiful son, Joshua Ray Jr., but I couldn’t do anything because of being on bed rest with my own pregnancy complications. I felt so incredibly helpless as they prepared to bury their son while we prepared to give birth to ours. Our little guy arrived the 3 days after Joshua Ray Jr. had been born and I held him, sobbing for the experience that I knew had been taken away from Josh and Lindsey just a few short days earlier. We were still in the hospital when they buried their sweet, beautiful baby boy. It all just wasn’t fair and my heart still hurts if I allow myself to think too long about it. Earlier this year I got a phone call again. They were pregnant again! And here we are, a few weeks away from a scheduled delivery for A.J. and these incredible friends of mine are looking forward to this gift of life to join them outside of the womb. Lindsey is beautiful, Josh is quickly trying to get his honey do list done in time, and he will be here so soon. And we are CELEBRATING. Celebrating this life, celebrating this pregnancy and celebrating Joshua Ray Jr. Josh and Lindsey are already parents, but I cannot wait for them to get to take AJ home and begin living their life together as an earthly family of 3, with a sweet angel baby watching over them. If you are the praying type, please pray for them over the next couple of weeks. For peace in their heart, joy in their journey and a strong, healthy cry of one little boy.
Here are a few of my favorite maternity pictures from Joshua Ray Jr.’s session. We had a BEAUTIFUL, late summer evening. <3
Then the beautiful maternity pictures for sweet AJ which were done in my house at the beginning of the year.
Before AJ came into this world, safe and sound and PERFECT, Josh posted this in response to my post. They are such an inspiration and just incredible people. <3
“Shannon your words are equally beautiful and eloquent to the pictures you take. You know, after Joshua made his way to heaven before us, it was hard to see God in that. It was hard to see anything but anger, frustration and heartache. But as time has healed, our eyes were opened to all the wonderful people, like you and John, that have been placed in our lives, by His design. It simply was no accident. We would not be here expecting the joy of a new baby boy without friends and family like you! I could go on for days about the blessings of people that have been placed in our lives, even complete strangers that God has used to show us his love. While we will miss Joshua for the rest of our days on earth, I’m like a kid at Christmas with the knowledge that one day I will get to run to him in heaven, lift him up, hug him, hear his voice for the first time, and whisper in his ear the words that until then I had only been able to say through prayer, the words every son or daughter deserves to hear from their father, “daddy loves you.” I’m fighting back tears as I try to write this, but they are mostly tears of joy now. Joy that death has been beaten and we will one day be reunited with those who go before us. I’m getting a bit long winded, so I’ll try and wrap it up lol. Anyone who is reading this and empathizing with our loss, let those feelings only be momentary. Turn those feelings into love, go hug your sons, daughters, family, friends, and know that God will use you as a carrier of his power and healing, just as he’s used Shannon, John, and so many countless others in our life. Ok, I’m done…love you all!”
Finally and blessedly, Autry James was born and we sure did celebrate! <3 I don’t typically do newborn photography in a posed kind of way. There are many photographers who do it a million times better than I do. I enjoy more of a lifestyle approach but There were a few things I wanted to try and with Josh and Lindsey being such good friends, I knew I could spend the whole day with them and not get tired of snuggling on AJ. He was seriously the best baby ever. And as always, even with the incredible gift of AJ that had come into their lives, they were thinking of other people. I arrived at their house up in Indianapolis and had gifts waiting for ME. I’m like…wait a minute! You guys are the ones with a newborn! They were incredibly thoughtful gifts too….like a step ladder to help my short self get up higher, a lens cap holder because I am always losing mine, a gift card to etsy to get whatever my heart desires and hair ties, haha. I can never find hair ties and mine are always about to fall apart. My hair will be flying in my face, I’ll need one for a client for a certain shot and I will have nothing. Christmas in February!
Here are some of my favorites from AJ’s newborn session. Can’t wait to see him this late summer/fall to do some 6 month photos!