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Our Birth Story at Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL

Hello there! I am so excited to start the month of February with my very first blog of the year! Yes, I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but hey! life REALLY got in the way this past year in both good and bad ways. Last year I welcomed my first baby, Andy, and just a month after I had to say goodbye to my mom. Needless to say it has been an emotional year for me, and I needed a break to soak it all in. I am hoping to share some more on that soon; I just need to find the right words.

I was planning to share something else, but I just decided I would like to share my birth story with you instead. This year, I am making a conscious effort to be more of an open book, sharing more of me, and my experiences in hopes that I can bring some light and inspiration to some. As some of you know, my husband and I have been trying to conceive for a while, actually we stopped birth control at the end of 2011. We found out we were pregnant in December of 2012. It was such a great surprise, and our excitement was uncontainable. We made an appointment with my OBGYN and scheduled an ultrasound to hear the heartbeat. During the ultrasound, the tech took a long time looking around and called the doctor in, we both new then there was something wrong. The doctor told us that unfortunately there was no heartbeat, and that the baby had stopped growing just a few days before. She also mentioned that having a miscarriage was not that uncommon at all, that roughly 20% of first pregnancies can end up in a miscarriage. We were so heartbroken, as in those short weeks we had imagined ourselves as parents and having a baby in 9 months. Little did we know the longest wait was ahead of us.

In November of 2013 we found out we were pregnant again! This time we were excited but hesitant at the same time. That’s the thing about having a miscarriage, it really sticks with you and makes you worry. About a week later, I had another miscarriage. This time was even harder as we felt something wasn’t right. After that, my doctor sent us both for infertility and genetic screening. We were called to come in for genetic counseling as something wasn’t right in one of my tests. The morning of our genetic counseling appointment, I took a pregnancy test only to find out I was pregnant again! This time I was terrified since I really didn’t know what was going on, if the baby was going to be ok, if it was going to end up in another miscarriage, I was feeling “all the feels” as they say. In the appointment they went on to explain that I had a balanced pericentric inversion in one of my X chromosomes. Yeah, we had not idea what that meant, and even after the genetic counselor explained it, I had to google and read tons of info about it. Without getting all scientific, the bottom line is that part of the information in one of my X chromosomes is inverted, and that causes a 50% percent chance of a miscarriage every time I get pregnant. Also, due to that, I have a higher percentage of miscarriage if the embryo is a boy. We were told that we could obviously get pregnant, but that one of the best chances we had to have a successful pregnancy would be to consider IVF.

By now, I was expecting the worse as I had become very pessimistic, and unfortunately ten days after that I had my third miscarriage. We were devastated again, and we started thinking of consulting an IVF doctor to explore our options. The price of IVF had us sticker shocked and looking for options abroad. We found Barbados Fertility Center after weeks of research and reading review from other patients. We had a phone consultation, and felt incredibly comfortable with the Doctor, their practice, and their success rates, however, even though the price was lower even with travel fees, we still did not know how we were going to be able to afford it. After talking to my dad and my step mom about it, they offered we both stay at their vacation townhouse to save money on rent. In the meantime, we found out we were pregnant for the fourth time in April of 2015. As expected, I had a miscarriage several days later. We then for sure knew that we did not ant to go through a miscarriage again, so we continued saving and saving and saving.

We saved for several months, scheduled our trip to Barbados, and bought tickets and reserved an apartment for our egg retrieval round scheduled to happen in December of 2015. I was scheduled to start fertility stimulation drugs in November, but in September 6th we found out we were pregnant for the fifth time. Instead of being happy, I actually cried because I thought I knew the same thing was going to happen, and this time it might delay the timeline for IVF. Usually my miscarriages happen between five and a half to six weeks, so we were waiting for it to happen soon. Only this time the 5 and a half weeks went by, the six weeks went by and I was still pregnant. We went to the ultrasound that would tell us if there was a heartbeat with little to no hopes at all, and to our surprise this time there was a heartbeat! The sound of our baby’s heart was the most beautiful sound to our ears. We were excited, happy, scared, petrified, again all the feels!!! ​

The months continued to pass by, and our fears were always there, but as time continued to passed by we were more reassured that maybe this time it would be ok.​ I got to full term and we still couldn’t believe it! Since I was high risk, I was induced on May 10th. We couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience, and a better team at Winnie Palmer and from my OBGyn team, Dr. Kareem and Dr. Forde-Kelley at The Women’s Center. We finally welcomed our healthy rainbow baby on May 11th at 2:45pm. Needless to say he was perfect, and my mom was able to be there to experience it all. It was by far the happiest day of our lives hands down. We documented our birth story ourselves (My husband and I would take turns to take photos haha!), and my friend Asha of Bright Frame Films was there to capture it in film. She created the most meaningful keepsake as she not only captured Andy’s first moments with us, but also with my mom!

Bringing Andy home was the best feeling! Being able to capture the moments when my mom was holding Andy and now being able to relive them is more than I could ask for for sure.

I love how Andy’s nursery turned out! We wanted it to be warm, inviting, and modern. My love for black and white and geometrics is pretty evident 😉

Here is the amazing video my friend Asha from Bright Frame Films captured for us!

Andy has filled our hearts with the biggest happiness. We are so proud and honored to get to parent him and be with him every day. He has given hope and a new meaning to our lives!

 

ALEJANDRO newborn

alejandro is the newest addition to the otero family, and he is my youngest nephew! he is such a sweet little boy, and i could not be happier to capture his first couple of days in this world!

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AMANDA newborn

i had the pleasure of photographing this little cutie amanda along with her sister ava! they are the sweetest little girls! you can tell how much ava loves her new sis and how proud she is! thanks so much hollman family for letting me capture these memories; i hope you guys enjoy these photos for years to come! xo, ly sué

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AVERY newborn

taking photos of baby avery was a real treat! tara, her mom, is a really good friend of mine, and we kind of share the same obsession of decorating and styling! we had a blast “styling” avery with flowers, peaches, in a collage, and in every possible scenario we could imagine. avery was a real model and pretty much stayed still or sleeping the whole time; i think she might have overdosed in milk, but that’s beside the point! i think the photos came out so cool! let us know what you think below in the comments!

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MAURICIO newborn

get ready to meet mr. mauricio or “mauro” as his mom and dad call him! i instantly fell in love with his chubby cheeks and his cute dirty blonde hair. here are some of my favorites from this session. thank you linnette and alex family for choosing me to capture your baby boy’s first photos! xo!

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KELLEY newborn

taking photos of kelley, rilley, courtney, chris, and beanie (the fur baby) was so much fun!

their house is so cute and full of details; made my job super easy. kelley is one of the friendliest, smiliest, cutest little boys and his deep blue eyes are sooo pretty! i hope you enjoy the photos…xo

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THIAGO CALEB newborn

at last my cutest second cousin thiago is here..yay! he is so adorable and calm that i could take photos of him for hours! my cousin lismariel and i had such fun during this shoot; can’t wait to plan the next one! 🙂

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CADEN ALEXANDER newborn

christine, shane, and caden along with their four 4-legged children make such a beautiful family! Their house was full of charm and “props” that we used for the photos; one of my favorite props was the gigantic pumpkin…great idea christine! our job was easy since caden was super laid back and sleeping the whole time (christine and shane you totally get brownie points for that!). enjoy the photos!

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GIVING BACK

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we started this year really trying to dig deep into what is really important to us, and what can we do in our business to start making a difference. we started to think of how fortunate we are to have each other, and to have basically everything we need to live a happy life. we know others are not so fortunate, so we wanted to do something to help somehow, and then after thinking hard and deep (that’s really hard!), we came up with something we feel very good about! we decided that a part of the profit for every portrait or wedding booked will be donated to a charity of our choice. we researched and chose charities that we felt a connection with, and that based on our research, are making a big impact in the community, most of them ranking in the top for their line of work. (you can see the list of our chosen charities below under charities we love and support).

so how does it work? we will donate $20 for every portrait session booked and paid in full, and anywhere from $50 to $100 for every wedding collection booked and paid in full (for weddings the amount to be donated depends on the wedding collection you book). since our list is very comprehensive, we will donate to a different charity from our list every time so that the donations are distributed evenly. i hope you guys love this as much as we do! oh, and a special thank you to this amazing website and charity www.charitynavigator.org, which helped us narrow down our charities and provided us with lots of great info!

charities we love and support:

brookwood florida
national young arts foundation
orlando shakespeare theater 
libbys legacy breast cancer foundation
adopt-a-classroom
step up for students 
take stock in children
baby dj
project c.u.r.e.
second harvest food bank of central florida 
give kids the world
pediatric cancer foundation
spca of central florida

 

ORLANDO’S BEST PHOTOGRAPHERS

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Feeling so honored! Come to find out that one of my favorite Facebook guides Orlando Mom’s Guide has named us one of the top 15 Best Photographer’s in Orlando…voted by their readers…yay! Check out the article on Babyourself magazine (another amazing publication): http://babyourself.com/orlandos-best-photographers/

So, I think that deserves a champagne toast for sure!