Ahh!! My heart explodes. It's not every day a photographer gets to take maternity photos for her expecting sister. It was absolutely freezing Sunday night (28 degrees...no joke) but we braved it in order to capture this special time in McKenzie and Javier's lives...and I'm so glad we did! Kenz has always been strikingly beautiful...so as a glowing mother-to-be, this was no different. Thank you, Javy and Kenz, for making me look good!
My sister's road to pregnancy was extremely rough...so with her permission, I wanted to share and celebrate what a miracle this little girl is to us...
In the spring of 2014, after many months of hoping for a child (and tests run, fertility drugs prescribed, etc.) Kenz and Javier learned they were pregnant! They told our family at our annual beach trip and everyone erupted with excitement because we knew how badly they wanted this. McKenzie's 12 week ultrasound revealed they were having a baby boy (hooray!) so they announced it to the world and even picked out a name. A later test, though, revealed a high possibility of abnormality, and after even more extensive testing over the following weeks, their biggest fears came true. The baby had severe neurological and physical abnormalities and was "incompatible with life." And at 17 weeks gestation, their baby boy was called home. I remember weeping in my kitchen after hanging up the phone with my sister...on my knees asking God why this was happening to them after such a long journey already? We grieved and prayed and grieved and prayed.
Testing on McKenzie and Javier continued, and we soon learned that my sister is a carrier for a rare chromosomal abnormality that while she has no physical or neurological symptoms, her unborn children almost always would...causing multiple miscarriages and unsuccessful pregnancies. Again, heart wrenching news no one expects to hear. During this time, she actually learned that she was pregnant again...and tragically, that pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. We grieved and prayed and grieved and prayed.
Their doctors told McKenzie and Javier that their only option for a successful pregnancy would be in-vetro fertilization (IVF). The DNA of each of the successfully fertilized embryos would also have to be tested for chromosomal abnormalities - an extremely risky and extensive additional step in the process. After many weeks of emotional "waiting", they decided to move forward. The long process began and Javier became a pro at administering shots for Mckenzie at home each and every day. After a several week extraction and retrieval phase, they "transferred" their first healthy baby into McKenzie's body. As with anyone undergoing IVF, there's a chance the embryo will not successfully implant and the round does not "work." And so for a third time, they lost their baby...even though it was deemed healthy. We grieved and prayed and grieved and prayed.
Weeks later, another healthy embryos was transferred with hopeful hearts and lots and lots of prayer. That one too, was unsuccessful. We grieved and prayed and grieved and prayed.
Finally, after a 3rd IVF transfer attempt last July, McKenzie and Javy reluctantly but joyfully celebrated a successful and healthy pregnancy! As the gestation weeks slowly added up and ultrasounds and tests continued to come back normal, they let on to the fact that God finally had a baby girl in mind for them. I've never been happier to see someone's pregnant glow and growing baby bump than I have over these last few months walking with my sister through pregnancy. Clearly, God has big plans in mind for this baby girl and as her aunt, I can't wait to watch her life unfold! She sure is a fighter...just like her momma.
Enjoy these highlights of McKenzie and Javy as they await the arrival of their baby girl in late March! Good things come to those who wait. ;)