My Journey Through Hell

Baby wang was a semi-surprise. Sure we were trying but it was our very very very first try. For a few days Mike didn't even believe me. He'd humor me around the house playing mommy and daddy but it wasn't until the "morning sickness" started. After a week of that he finally got it and I knew something was very very wrong. 

Long before this little miracle, I had started planning to be a mommy. When I was just in high school, I bought baby vest from Gap. It was red with little hearts all over it and could fit a doll. My mom thought I was bat crazy but I paid for it and thus started planning for my little one to be here one day. In college, I amassed a huge collection of Sanrio baby products: from bottles to toddler bowls, I had it all (in my dorm room). By the time I was actually married, I would day dream while reading mommy blogs, flagging down "must-have" baby gear and maternity labels that suited my taste. Around last year, I started to look for a maternity photographer and even jokingly asked a good friend and fabulous industry insider from Chicago if she'd consider flying to LA to shoot my Fresh48 session in the hospital. Days after my stick confirmed my joy, Mike and I started planning how we'd announce this blessing to the world. We started training our Cavalier King Charles to hold small treats on his snout, thinking we'd slowly swap in baby growth representative week by week. 6 week=pea, 8 week=kidney bean, 9 week=grape etc. 

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I'm 3 days shy of 14 weeks, officially entered my 2nd trimester, and about to be hospitalized again. This is my hell.

The first week after we found out the news, I was in heaven. I'd walk around the house holding a non-existent belly, feeling like I was hiding the greatest secret inside of me. Mike was still humoring the "pregnancy" by getting me water and helping me out of the car. We were in bliss and nothing could've prepared us for what came next. 

The "morning sickness" came hard and fast. Just days after the happy result and 3 weeks from my first prenatal appointment at the OB, I started to severely vomit. Sometimes I couldn't run fast enough and I'd hold vomit in my mouth until I could make it to the bathroom. This couldn't be morning sickness right? With an army of mommy friends around me, no one's ever told me it could be like this. Even tiny sips of water would come up. 

The following week, I was throwing up upwards of 30x a day. When my stomach was empty, I'd throw up bile, eventually tinged with blood. A few days after that I threw out my back in the unrelenting heaves that I couldn't hold back or control. During marathon sessions, all I could is hold onto the sink or toilet for dear life as my stomach heaved and convulsed trying to empty out all my insides. Every day my eyes were bloodshot from burst capillaries. My throat was raw and my body in extreme pain from my back injury. But the sickness continued, minute by minute, hour upon hours, days rolled into weeks, weeks into months. 

By the time we went in for our first check up at 8 weeks I had lost 3 lbs. By the second visit at 12 weeks, I had lost 10 lbs total. I've gone to the urgent care for IV infusion due to severe dehydration. When that wasn't enough and my Dr became concerned for my kidney function as well as the safety of the baby, since apparently severe dehydration could lead to uterine contraction and then miscarriage, I was hospitalized for 4 days for 24 hour IV care. Bags and bags of different color liquids were hung. I was not allowed to eat any solid foods, so for 4 days I sipped on cranberry juice, throwing up everything minutes after I consumed it. Through the daily urine tests the Dr's orders, the results kept coming back dehydrated. When they first tried to set up the IV pick, the nurse went from the left side of the bed to the right, testing both arms and back again before finally stating that she's having a hard time finding a vein to use that's not collapsed.

I sat in the hospital bed all day long, alone, scared, nauseous. Mike brought flowers, hand written notes, and jello from the store, but the tears came, every day and night they came. The confusion, anger, fear, all directed towards God came. This wasn't how I thought my pregnancy would go... All night long, I'd be woken up by the nurse doing rounds (every 2 hrs) the nurse assistant for vital checks (every 4 hrs), the IV bag going empty (every few hrs), and the IV machine beeping louder than a fire alarm next to my ear because of bubbles in the tube (on the hour every hour). By the 4th morning, I demanded to be discharged against Dr orders even though my daily urine tests still revealed trace ketone levels. I felt like I was ready to end my life. 

The baby planning/announcement brainstorming/maternity photos/excitement for my first child, God's greatest blessing is a distant hazy memory. In the very beginning, I'd hold my stomach so tight each of those 30x I threw up, sometimes up to 6 times in a single hour, afraid that the baby would be hurt, would somehow become disconnected to me and die. I'd whisper through sweat and tears crouching on the bathroom floor, "Please stay safe, please stay strong for mommy." After every heave, I'd whisper to myself, "I can take it, as long as you're okay," those are distant hazy memories as well. 

Night after night, I would sob uncontrollably into the sofa that had been my prison for months, wishing the baby was gone, wishing that I was gone. My husband, poor guy, watched me helplessly not knowing how to calm his ever frantic and depressed wife. He could never get too close you see... because the smells. Oh God, the smells. 

The first stinky thing that set me off and sent me sprinting down the hall spewing my guts out was my darling Momofuku. Then it was lemon soap, then the whole fridge/kitchen, then the shampoo, toilet bowl cleaner, then everything. Absolutely everything. The last time I went to church on a Sunday I almost killed people. With every hug, I was hit by waves of nausea so strong I was surprised my knees didn't buckle. I picked up everything: lotion, perfume, hair spray, hair gel, mascara, deodorant, blush, and even food smells on people. When Mike comes home and opens the door, I can smell the coffee on his breath lying down on the couch. I can smell my dog from rooms away. I can smell the neighbor's bath water from inside my house. And each smell kills me. Kills me. 

This is my hell. This is Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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Through all of this, perhaps the hardest of all, was the lack of understanding from friends/family/Mike(at the beginning but no longer). I was shocked, saddened, appalled, infuriated at the floods of advice, trying to relate, and "encouragement" I got. Most of which were knives to my heart. Most of which were not helpful in the least. Surprisingly, the most hurtful comments have come from mommy friends, women who've gone through this remarkable but devastating (for some) time. The lack of sympathy and judgement pushed me over the edge. I've never been made to feel so guilty as I have been going through this and have decided to make it my personal mission to educate, educate, educate. 

Most of my mom friends start by relating to me. Yes it's bad, yes they went through the same thing, sitting by the toilet for days on end, having a puke bucket with them in bed, eating crackers because of food aversion. Others try to give me their remedies: "did you try drinking orange juice" "how about ginger chews" "maybe soda water instead of flat" "maybe flat water instead of carbonated" "don't eat a big meal" etc etc etc. Then there's the ever lovely, "but you will have something so wonderful at the end" "we women are so strong" "just think about holding something you will love more than you ever have before in your arms" then comes the shaming and berating "Lucy, don't say that" "Lucy, you don't mean that" "Lucy, I know it's bad now but it'll get better soon" I've even gotten something along the lines of think about how the women in the past do it, they have it so much worse and they've all made it. HONESTLY THOUGH?

I felt so bad. I felt like the world's worst mom, most selfish mom, most cold-hearted mom. How could I think to wish to end this? My baby's life, my life? Was I too sensitive? How come all these other moms did it? How come they have multiple kids meaning they did it again and again? How come they got through and how come I'm crying this much. How come I'm depressed, anxious, suicidal? How come I can't drive anymore, that even when mike drives, I'm throwing up in the car into a baggy? How come I can't stand to shower anymore? How come the steam and the shampoo make me so miserable I'd rather abandon personal hygiene completely? How come I didn't brush my teeth in 4 days? How come every time I vomit, I pee myself? How come the 30, 40, up to 50 times a day I throw up, I pee myself every-single-time? How come even when I've learned to pee right before I throw up, I still pee myself in the retching that ensues? How come I can no longer brush or blow dry my hair? (A task I taught Mike, a task he now takes over the one time I actually wash my hair) How come I haven't made a single meal since July? How come, how come? Why am I so weak? Why am I bad? Why am I so sensitive? Emotionally unstable? Why?

It wasn't until I found actual help. It wasn't until I read hundreds of other women saying THE EXACT SAME THING that I found the light. The first few days I was reading their stories, I sobbed and sobbed. Complete strangers, echoing all that I felt. Knowing exactly what I was going through and encouraging, praising, with honesty, braving our realities. In a HG forum on babycenter.com I found solace, comfort, and help. I was like a drug addict, reading each thread, comment, going back pages and pages, drinking in every word. It was air and I had been suffocating. 

Here's a blurb from a stranger mom on the forum, encouraging us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, needlessly to say I didn't want to murder her after reading it. Instead it filled me with happy tears, a mysterious strength, and endless hope:

"I sit here, nursing my 11 month old HG baby, thinking of you ladies. You brave ladies-you wonderful warriors, fighting for the life of your child, and feeling like you yourself are dying in the process...
You are each such good moms. You are making the decision each day to deny your own feelings and give your child the gift of life. You CAN and WILL make it through this! 
2016 was the hardest year of my life-and the best. I grew the most spiritually, grew closer to Jesus, closer to my husband, grew in my faith that God will take care of me no matter how low I am. I know I didn't have it as hard as some of you dear ladies do right now, but I still was in and out of the ER in the first trimester, multiple meds, changing doctors mid second tri, once or twice a week fluid infusion runs in the last trimester to keep the contractions at bay until the week before I was induced at 39...nauseous until the placenta was out...yeah, it was awful, awful, awful. But we made it. And IT WAS SO (significant other) WORTH EVERY DAY OF THE LIVING HELL I WENT THROUGH! The snuggles, the sweet baby smiles, giggles, the lisped "I love you mommy!  You pwecious!" From my 3 yr old...Each one of my HG prizes is worth it, and this 3rd and worst one was worth it too. Yours will be worth every minute. Really. I promise. Hang in there, Momma! I think of you all and pray for you often. Many non-nausea inducing hugs to each of you!"

Here's a helpful brochure that I've sending the few friends I've let in on our life. I've learned to be ever more cautious in who I invite into hell. Not everyone handles hell well

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Here are a few factoids I've pulled off of google searches:

 "saying the debilitating pregnancy disorder (HG) is morning sickness is like saying a hurricane is a little bit of rain.” - Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a practicing OB/GYN and senior medical contributor for ABC News.

"Imagine having a stomach bug that lasts for days and days, months and months - it is just relentless," Caitlin Dean, trustee of the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support

"Any movement, any sound, any smell just makes you vomit."One of the big issues with it is isolation because is causes many women to be bed-bound.

"There is a real lack of understanding about the condition."

And my newest discovery, @hgreality on instagram. a woman I've never met, going through her 2nd HG pregnancy and being as raw and as brave as she is, it blows my mind. Her story is eerily similar to my own, echoing so many near exact moments when I read them to Mike he couldn't believe it. This is HG. This is our hell:

"This is the face of someone who over did it today. I am suffering the consequences BUT I managed two hours out of the house today to visit friends! I feel this should come with a very large footnote. I would not have been able to do this in my first hg pregnancy. It has taken a lot to get to this point including: medication. I am on the highest dosage of 4 different types of anti sickness tablets and steroids. If I were to miss one of those tablets by 5 minutes I would be vomiting. Rest: thanks to the wonderful support of my mum I am able to rest all of the time. I can't look after Adam, can't prepare food or even pour a drink. I literally do nothing other than lay on a bed or a sofa all day and night. Preparation: I knew mid afternoon would be a good time. I would be taking two tablets during the time and it was before my evening nausea kicked in. I would also have recovered from having a shower in the morning. I had my medication with me and my mum was just a phone call away.Support and friendship: the school mums I was meeting know about HG. I have been training them so they knew how serious my condition is. I knew there wouldn't be the "just a bit of sickness" comments or unhelpful advice. .It felt wonderful to have every day type conversations and feel semi human for a while. I am completely exhausted now and very nauseous. It will be an evening spent clutching my sick bowl but for two hours I got to be an every day normal mum rather than just being ill. A great way to celebrate getting to 12 weeks! "

"Evenings are my worst time. Even with all my medication, the crippling nausea always returns. 
This is a photo taken a month ago. I was at breaking point yet again. I hadn't eaten anything for days and was surviving off ice cubes. My husband came into my room as I was attempting to lick an ice cube. I was in floods of tears due to the pain of unrelenting nausea. I knew the ice cube would come straight back up again. "No one ever sees this side of HG", my husband said. "They don't see the suffering. HG women simply disappear for 9 months and re-enter the world with a baby". It was at that point I gave my husband my phone. Despite the fact I always shy away from the camera, I wanted to document what thousands of women are going through. During my last pregnancy I was ashamed. Ashamed I couldn't cope "with a bit of sickness". I had to put up with what most HG sufferers have to go through on top of the actual illness - unhelpful medical opinions, suggestions of natural remedies, work discrimination, losing friends who didn't understand, the isolation... But why should I be ashamed for having a severe medical condition that makes pregnancy a living hell? If you are suffering from HG at the moment, please know that you are not alone. Use resources such as Pregnancy Sickness Support to get support and understanding. The helpline, having a peer-to-peer supporter or using the forum are just three ways you can access help. At PSS we know exactly what you are going through as we have all been there. You are not alone."


"6am and my alarm goes off for my first medication of the day. It has been a long unsettled night. My body now wants to sleep through, but I know I will feel horrendous for the rest of the day without this first tablet. I am currently on 4 different types of anti sickness medication along with steroids. It has been a long battle to get the right treatment, but I now have vomit free moments. The nausea is still crippling at night, but I consider myself one of the lucky ones. 
My first HG pregnancy was a very different story. It took 11 weeks of vomiting and severe dehydration before I was diagnosed, admitted to hospital and given treatment. I had never heard of HG and didn't understand why I couldn't cope with the sickness.

This time I fully understand HG, having volunteered for Pregnancy Sickness Support for the last 5 years. I had a care plan in place to start medication as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test. This happened on Saturday 5th August. By the following Monday I was back at the GP to try another medication, and by Wednesday I was in hospital. I was hospitalised 4 times in 4 weeks before starting steroids. You may be wondering what I have on my nose. This is a home made device to help combat smells. I place Vicks on a tissue and use a plaster to attach it to my nose. Without it, I vomit as soon as I leave my room. My nose cover means I can breathe through my nose, and smells no longer wake me to vomit in the middle of the night. I can hear my son waking and going through to my husband. This time of morning used to be my favourite - cuddles in bed to start the day. Now I am unable to look after Adam at all. My mum comes round at 8am when my husband goes to work and she gets Adam ready for school. I am unable to do the school run. Instead, my mission for today is to have a shower - I can assure you this is no easy task when you have HG."


There are so many women out there like HGReality, like myself. One girl developed a severe phobia to cold weather because she started getting sick right when it started getting cold. She reached out asking if she was crazy that Christmas music and even hot chocolate starts her down a fear spiral so severe her throat closes up. The answers to her post were so understanding, supportive assuring her that even when our body heals, our minds can remain traumatized. Others shared how years after their HG nightmare, different things like jello or even antiseptic wipes still send them on vomiting spells. These fellow soldiers whom I've never met, inspire me with their honesty, bravery, grit, and hope. In their stories, I found my own suffering echoed. In their words, I no longer felt crazy, over-sensitive, bad, or guilty. It is salvation. 

Slowly but surely, I am getting better. I look forward to the day when I can step outside and bathe in the sunlight. I look forward to the day when my appetite returns. I look forward to the day I can attend a Sunday service, to the day I can cook a meal for a few friends who have saved me in hell.

Grace who told me it's ok to be honest

Candy who told me she's in this with me

Autumn who texted her prayers from Spain

Christine from NYC

Paula and Amy for cooking for Mike

Jenny for delivering flowers to my doorstep

Gracie for my pregnancy journal and being my eternal optimist

Chris for her countless home visits, sitting by my hospital bed, massaging my feet

and Claudia. You are my angel, soul sister, blessing from God. You keep me sane, you make me feel so cared for and loved

and of course my husband, who did this to me (JK) without whom, I'd die. emotionally, spiritually, I would've died. You are my hero.

~~~~~~{3 days later}

I'm writing this right now, 14 weeks exactly, at a boba shop a few miles from my house. Mike had to physically drag me out of bed to leave the house today. He literally got in bed, rolled me like a burrito in the blankets that are my prison, and leveraged his own body weight to pull me upright (I went limp from fighting against his efforts). He held me upright while getting my slippers for me insisting that leaving the house can do me some good. Today, he was right. Today I got out, got under the sunlight. Moments like this I treasure: I have temporarily reclaimed my health and a few hours of normalcy. I'm posting this today, my one day out. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but baby Wang and I are fighters and come what may, we are more than conquerers. 

Prayers always appreciated, 

-HG survivor, Lucy W

Lucy Liora Photography has one MAJOR announcement

Friends near and far, clients and those I've yet to meet,

Lucy Liora Photography has one major announcement: we are completely revamping the business! Why change a good thing you may ask? Why, because the best is yet to come. (a phrase I'm repeating to my husband as we go through a major declutter at the house and it's the only way to get him to throw out all. the. junk.)

This is also a time of reflection for me. The revamp means changes here at the studio, personally and professionally. I've been feeling restless and off, bothered by intangible things that I couldn't quite put my finger on. And then it all kind of crystalized, for no apparent reason at all. 

I needed to structure my business to personify every detail of my mission and core values. Every aspect of the business needed a little sprucing up. From the first touch point to the final delivery, my entire business needed a make-over so I made a giant list and diligently went down each one to make sure that it, in fact, exemplified what I've proclaimed to be as a business woman and a newborn photographer. In short, my business needed to become an intimate, involved, curated, and fully custom-tailored experience. So from head to toe, we are getting a make-over. It's going to be good. 

You see, I don't just want to take a pretty or cute picture, although that's certainly always the final product I deliver to my clients. I want more than that and starting in 2017, I'm asking for what I want. Because deep in my heart, I know, without a shadow of doubt, that it's what you, my client, truly wants too. My heart is to not just a take a pretty picture, send you the digital negatives and never connect again. My heart is to tell your story of this new small but life changing addition. I want to tell your family's story at whatever stage we we meet. I hope you will humor me, and allow me to show you that this is how I can serve you best. Allow me to share with you how I imagine that you would enjoy your photos, having these tangible memories of this time in your life. This is my new mission. If you choose me, I'd be honored and certainly involved. This is my invitation to you, to think critically, and if you're sleep deprived, I'll think with you! Take this chance to think about what will make this experience meaningful and last a lifetime. 

I hope I've peaked your interest in one way or another, whether we have worked together before or not. For my current clients, please be patient with me during this change. I've been a grateful recipient of your grace and flexibility and hope that you will continue to extend it to me during the next couple of months. One of the things I'm most excited about but is also taking the most time, is rebranding my entire packaging. Think luxury, think of the entire process of opening a Chanel box until the merchandise finally emerges. That's the mood board in my brain. I've searched near and far and sourced the finest products money can buy. Think Italian leather bound albums and Japanese linen covers. Think hand crafted walnut wood boxes to house your gift prints and gorgeous acrylic birth announcement cards to adorn your fireplace or dad's desk at work. Gone are the days of going to the mall and taking photos in front of a single background. Your investment with me is worth designer merchandise or even a small vacation and it should be packaged as such to reflect its timeless value, don't you agree?
 

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Off to more "work" it's past midnight here but why do I feel so blessed?
-Lucy

San Gabriel Valley Newborn Photographer - Sarah's Outdoor LA Maternity Session

I love ALL my clients, I really really do. An investment with Lucy Liora Photography is a two way street. I spend so much time getting to know my clients as well as share about who I am as a photographer, business woman, and human being that by the time someone signs on the dotted line, a budding friendship has started to form. But every once in a blue moon, you meet a couple so special that you can't help but tell them their shoot was the best time you had on-location and honestly, I meant every word. 

Sarah, like so many clients, was a referral. As soon as she reached out I knew that I had to book her (didn't tell her at the time). She is expecting twins, you see, a boy and a girl and anyone who knows me knows that I love boy/girl twins since that's what my own brother and sister are. Sarah and Ryan are truly special. Shooting outdoors requires a lot of flexibility, something that doesn't come easy for some people especially when said person is deep into her third trimester carrying twins. But they were so flexible, silly, and fun. They were so fun that even after the sun had fully set below the horizon, I was still shooting. 

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I can't wait to meet your little ones so very soon. I've been planning for their shoot for months! Sarah and Ryan, thank you for choosing me. That afternoon at Tree People was honestly a blast for any photographer and I'm grateful that you picked me to capture this special moment. Your love for each other and your growing family is so evident, your laughter was contagious, and I've come to regard you as good friends already (you may not feel the same way back, it's okay...) 

XO,
Lucy

location: tree people (LA)
tutu maternity gown: sewtrendy
halo: anthroplogie
lens: nikon 24-70mm

Friday Lucy Drafts Bucket List...

While the LLP specializes in newborn photography, I, a creative woman with a camera, still totally have a bucket list of shoots in mind. I'll share them here so should YOU ever require such a service, get in touch won't you?

Lucy's bucket list of shoots she wishes to accomplish before she...well....kicks the bucket

1. my own newborn shoot
2. my own pet newborn shoot (c'mon mikeyyyyy, let me get a puppy *puppy eyes*)
3. an editorial couples shoot in the desert of Joshua Tree where a giant round balloon comes along too (completely inspired by a friend from NYC who's work is just breathtaking, Friday Lucy is in awe...)

photo credit: Forged in the North
4. a bourdoir session for a good friend (ahem. c'mon friends)
5. a secret proposal where the girl is ACTUALLY completely caught off-guard. Women are really good are finding out surprises man...
6. an underwater shoot, preferrably with a mermaid

Happy Friday everyone! And call me, if you just happen to have been looking for a photographer for one of the above <3

{EDIT}

Since the initial draft of the above list, Mike has, in fact, agreed to #2. Lucy has been bouncing off walls all day and night. She has started ordering puppy things in droves. She has also picked out a name: Momofuku (means lucky peach in Japanese) (yes, I'm aware that it's also the name of one of David Chang's restaurants in the east village aka my old stomping ground) 

one guess at which breed.... hint: 

img from Pinterest

img from Pinterest

San Gabriel Valley Newborn Photographer - welcome baby Maximilian

I make it a point to keep business cards on me always to hand out to expecting mamas when I see them. During a grocery run at the local Trader Joe's a few weeks back, I ran into Steph in the check-out lines. The initial introduction is always awkward. After all, you'd have to walk up to a complete stranger after having wagered with yourself on whether or not she's actually pregnant then very quickly make your intentions known. I've noticed that pregnant mamas are especially wary of approaching strangers and usually blurt out who I am what I want rather quickly. 

Long story short, a few weeks later, Steph, hubby, big sister, and baby Max came into the studio for Max's newborn session. Unfortunately Max was feeling a bit under the weather and could not sleep soundly the entire session. We hushed and soothed him yet every time he was repositioned, he would stir awake. Parents always comment on how unbelievable they find my patience and endurance in the heated studio but honestly, your little ones make it so so easy. 

As always, here's my wish for you little one:

May you grow up to fill such a big big name. May you lead an ever enriching life. May you find delight in the simple things and may grace and peace surround you even in your darkest days. May you adore your big sister and become the best of friends. Always remember that family is what truly matters and family will carry you through. 

With lots of cooing and love,

L

Take a picture, just because...

Today is a Friday as ordinary as ordinary can be. We have no particular plans evident by the fact that we are both still in our pajamas as the clock strikes dangerously close to noon. And you know what? That's fine. Fridays like this are reserved for eating cereal for lunch, napping on the couch, reading an actual book with a hot cuppa, AND taking photos. 

The house is as messy as messy can be. Because we have no particular plans today, I did not particularly tidy the day before. There are used cups on the coffee table and the kitchen sink may be very occupied. The house may not be particularly ready for an impromptu photoshoot but Friday Lucy don't care. Friday Lucy runs for her D750 and snapped these moments that are forever captured. 

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You may think it's silly. You may judge me. You may even agree! These are the moments of our lives and they must be recorded as the stories we recount traveling down this long road. We recount heroic adventures and achievements but also these quiet moments when you find your husband so endearingly adorable, your heart skips a beat. You may roll your eyes but Friday Lucy don't care. Friday Lucy is too busy doing absolutely nothing - except keeping her camera very very close, in case Mike breaks out in another dance session. Friday Lucy will probably leave the camera and go join him this time. 

Toodle-loo and a peaceful yet memorable weekend to you,

Lucy

San Gabriel Valley Newborn Photographer - welcome baby Alvin

I don't like to play favorites... but baby Alvin totally made it to the top. Baby Alvin came with a whole entourage, mom, papa, and nanny all showed up to this shoot but he was cool as can be. Cool means "completely knocked out" in baby photographer language. Only woke up for one meeting which nanny totally took over (I always try to spare mom from feeding but if the nanny comes, I gladly relinquish ha).

Mama ended up wanting 3 mini accordion albums as well and I couldn't be happier to send them off with Mom. After an entire summer of girls, baby Alvin broke my streak and, just between you and I, I'm jumping for joy. Can't wait to pull out my boy stuff and off to the LLP closet we go!
 

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As always, here's my wish for you:

宝宝,不要怕世界,去迎接它,去庆祝它,去追求它,去保护它。他是你的世界。祝你一生充满新福,爱情,友谊,欢笑。中文真的很难写。。。!

阿姨sorry啦!

San Gabriel Valley Newborn Photographer - welcome baby Preston!

Once in a while, you meet a mama. You don't just want to be her photographer, you don't just want her to book a session with you because you believe you will be a great fit, you want to be her friend. Alice was this mama. Alice brought Preston to the studio for a weekday shoot. These shoots without Mike really always iterate the importance of having an assistant. For nothing else, sessions go by so much faster with his help...

Baby Preston was perfect and as gentlemanly as his moniker. He pretty much cooperated with my every request. I was most tickled by the Princess Bride set up. It had just been added to the LLP closet and baby Preston wore it perfectly. 

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As always, here's my wish for you:

May you find that love most live their whole lives without. May you fight for it and defend it with all that you are. Whether that love ends up being for a person, a career, or a dream. May it fill your days with value and purpose. May you always be the good guy, one with integrity and kindness. May all your dreams come true. 

Xo,

your mama's new friend Lucy

How to prepare younger siblings for newborn session

Preparing a younger sibling to participate in the newborn session is so incredibly important for 2  reasons:

  • safety: younger siblings can accidentally cause harm and injury to a newborn posed next to and on them
  • cooperating with newborn: posing a young child next to a newborn has to be a relatively quick process as newborns are unpredictable in behavior and can easily wake up and unsettle during the posing process
san-gabriel-valley-newborn-studio-session-sibling-poses

Including a younger sibling/s can often times be the most stressful experience during the entire shoot. The best chance to avoid potential roadblocks is preparation before the shoot. Here are a few suggestions to try to prepare your younger child for the newborn session. There is never a guarantee when working with younger subjects, but doing the following steps before a shoot can greatly improve the chance that we capture that elusive sibling portrait:

  1. talk through the situation days before the shoot. Talk about my house, studio, me, the camera, the lights, and everyone who will be there. Talk through expected behaviors and the need to cooperate during the shoot
  2. show them some examples of what you want to achieve for the shoot. Pinterest is a great way to show your younger child what we want to photograph so that there is an expectation of what mom/dad wants to achieve and what the camera is trying to capture. Get them excited by asking them to pick their favorite poses or things to do with the baby for the shoot (send me those ideas if your younger child picks any!). Check out this board I pinned for potential sibling shot ideas to share with your younger child
  3. practice! Days before the shoot, play pretend and act out the newborn session with the younger sibling. Grab your iPhone and try to create excitment and fun in posing the siblings together. Do spot the baby during this process but practice having baby lie next to the sibling, in their arms (if they're able). Practice asking them to sit and lie down next to the baby. Practice having them look at, kiss, and lean towards baby on cue. Make sure to create a big hoopla and give a ton of praise for cooperation
  4. prepare to bribe. Think about what rewards you are comfortable offering should you need to bribe the day of or during the shoot and come prepared
  5. loop me in! Do you notice anything during your practice runs? Is the sibling particularly rough or excited around the baby? Is the sibling unwilling to sit near the baby? Is the sibling totally uncooperative during mock sessions? Email me in advance and loop me in! The more advance notice I have as to what to expect, the more I can prepare to negotiate with sibling come session time
  6. don't lose your cool during the shoot. One of the easiest way end a sibling session is if the parents get mad or frustrated. Younger children respond especially poorly to this. They are incredibly sensitive and it's important to note that they're asked to pose in front of the camera in a stranger's house with that stranger around! This can be a daunting and uncomfortable situation for even adults so it's so important that you leave the coaxing to me and just be supportive and excited during the posing process

There is no scientific reason but I've found that girls tend to cooperate less than boys of the same age in sibling posing. Another suggestion if you find yourself in this situation is to have your younger child pick out her outfits before the shoot. Little girls might be more cooperative if they can look their best for the shoot. 

It's important to note that no amount of preparation can guarantee a younger child will cooperate the day of the shoot, but I hope that the above few suggestions can preemptively deter some potential bumps for day of. I can't wait to meet your family!! I can't wait to see some magic and some disaster. We can laugh about it later!

Cheers,
Lucy

Did you find this post helpful? Check out these other session prep posts.

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