Yes, I’m a newborn photographer and yes, I struggled with loss and infertility. While running a business solely based on maternity and newborn photography, I was also dealing with the crippling pain of losing our first son halfway through my pregnancy, and struggling to get pregnant again. Many people asked me why I continued with my newborn photography business. I was also still performing at Orlando theme parks and shows in the area. I didn’t need my side photography business true, but I loved it. So here is my story of how I overcame my loss and how newborn photography helped me through my infertility journey.
In 2014 I received my first Nikon DSLR camera. My husband and I were going to Australia and New Zealand for our honeymoon and I want beautiful images from it. But, I had no idea how to use it. So I started taking classes at a photography shop down the street, and I was hooked. That trip and all the trips after would be the stepping stone for becoming not only a photographer but also wanting to create a thriving business out of it.
I got into maternity and newborn photography after a conversation with a friend who had also left performing to go full-time with her photography business. She told me I can’t do everything, and while I loved travel photography, did I have the funds to do it full time? No, I did not. So I picked children’s photography. I picked this because I wanted to take beautiful images of my own children one day, and I love kids! I really do.
Newborn photography Started because one of my friends was about to have a baby and asked if I would be interested in taking her photos. I said yes, but inwardly was freaking out. I immediately started taking online courses and soaking in everything I could. I was terrified, her baby was a dream. I practiced 3 or 4 poses and slept through the entire session. This gave me a very false sense of “I got this newborn photography thing!” Because I soon came to realize, not all babies are as good as my first baby was. I continued to learn, practice, and soak in everything I could, while also performing as a dancer and singer and Disney and Universal.
In late 2016 my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first baby. I was so excited! However, shortly after finding out, we were pregnant, we found out my husband had an amazing job opportunity. Working at the top of his field for 3 months in Atlanta and 9 months in New York City. Atlanta would be no problem as that’s where I’m from and we would stay with my parents, but NYC! Woah. That would be a big change from Orlando. But we packed up our bags and did our first move to my parents’ house in Atlanta.
As I continued to study newborn photography through creative live and The Milky Way Workshops I also continued to grow. However, at our 18-week scan, we discovered our baby boy had Meckel Gruber Syndrom and he was 100% incompatible with life. We lost him on February 10th, 2017, and my heart was broken. 6 weeks later we did the long drive from Atlanta to NYC. We lived in a beautiful building in Hoboken and it was filled with families. I left my card at the front desk and started doing mini sessions for mothers day. Somehow, I grew, and grew, and grew. I was doing sessions for everyone in the building, and also, all of their friends all over New York and New Jersey.
While I was shooting, studying, and taking in everything I could in photography, my husband and I were trying to get pregnant again. Once my husband’s year with the company was up, so was our year of trying to conceive naturally. We were officially described as infertile. A year of trying to conceive and nothing. We decided to move back to Orlando, and start our IVF journey. We bought a house with a back sunroom that I converted into my studio and started the daunting tasks of loading my body up with medication through stomach injections.
Every time I had a newborn to photograph, it would fill me with so much joy. It really did. I loved being able to capture those first sweet days of life for mom and dad even though I was longing for my own. Families who came to me to photograph their first newborn were now reaching out for sessions with their second baby. I had made a choice to not let my infertility affect not only my life but my job. I didn’t want to stop because photographing newborns gave me such hope.
The hardest part about my infertility and IVF journey was not only learning that my sister-in-law and best friend were pregnant within 24 hours of each other but then, planning their baby showers. Yes, I threw more than 1 baby shower while also going through the IVF process. Did I cry a lot? Yes. But I also told myself that my friends having babies does not take away my chance to have a baby. I was happy for them because when my time came, I wanted them to be happy for me.
After 3 rounds of IVF, growing Van Epps Photography, and getting voted Hoboken’s top photographer for 2017 (and I no longer lived there) we finally had a viable embryo to transfer. Our transfer took place in 2019 and I gave birth later that year to identical twin girls! After everything we had been through, we were so happy to finally welcome our twin’s home. Of course, I took their newborn photos (although I wish I hadn’t, that’s another blog story).
Going through infertility can’t be described, especially not in a blog post. It sucks, it’s lonely, it’s painful, it’s emotionally draining. The ups and downs you go through watching your embryo numbers lower and lower can’t be described. But I truly think newborn photography is what kept me going, and gave me the faith to believe that I would one day have a child of my own. Photography distracted me in the times I needed it. It was my therapy, to learn and grow and get better at something while also struggling with something so devastating. I am so glad I had my little newborns to photograph and help me through.