JANELLE'S STORY | INDIANAPOLIS PHOTGRAPHER

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Jonah 2 ½ years old and Henry 12 months. What makes Jonah so special: Jonah is an amazing little guy. He’s incredibly smart, witty, and active. As a baby you were always jumping in our arms, climbing up our chests, and flipping off our laps. You were in constant motion and it has never stopped! You are incredibly curious – yet you seem to know it all. You tell us things that we didn’t even know you understood yet. You make us laugh allll the time with your jokes, silliness, and amazing sense of humor. You would play all day and night if we didn’t remind you to sleep and eat. You have run more laps in our house than a dog chasing his tail. Your love for race cars, trucks, excavators (or all things “wheels”) is infectious. I have learned more about cars, trains, and construction vehicles than I ever knew possible. And I honestly find them interesting too! Your love for your little brother is so beautiful. I could watch you two for hours (and I do!) playing, talking, bartering, cooperating, and not cooperating You are a leader by nature with the most amazing vocabulary. I am so happy you have Henry, your best friend, to go with through life. He will keep your curiosity going and imagination thriving. One day Jonah told me “Your heartbeat says I love you and my heart beat says I love you too!”

What makes Henry so special: Henry is an amazing little guy. Before you were born we were nervous that God could create another little boy as cool and cute as Jonah. But he must have taken his time with you …because he got it all right. You are so intelligent and quick. You never miss an opportunity to point out your favorite things and give us a cheesy smile to get what you want. You love to read and you love animals. You love to dance and cluck to music. You’ve got so much love to give too. You’re always making us laugh with how you try cuddle with (more like tackle) Jonah. And you love love love to make Jonah laugh. Once you two get going, it’s like you’re the only two creatures in the world. You could entertain yourselves for hours. I’m so glad you have an amazing brother to look up to. He’s a great leader for your strong-will. And together you two will always be best friends.

I have always wanted to be a mom… more than anything in the whole world. It was hard to pick a college career because I just wanted to take care of children as a mom. So I picked the next best thing, pediatric nursing. I could play and take care of kids of all ages all day. It was amazing therapy to be entrusted with a child’s delicate life during my time of waiting for my own children. I needed their love as much as they needed my care. It was hard at times, not being able to take home the ones that so-needed a parent, but I trusted in God’s plan and waited and while I was waiting I filled my longing arms with other people’s precious children.

Struggles? Well yes. Joe and I struggled to conceive for years. It was a time in our life where we dropped more tears than we thought possible. We would cry out at night, asking all the why questions. We went through what they called ‘unexplained infertility’. But in the end, all the ‘unexplained’ was so perfectly explainable. We were meant to have JONAH and HENRY. THE two most perfect little boys. Sometimes I will look back and think, why didn’t I just relax?! EVERYTHING is so perfect now. If only life didn’t require so much patience!

The day we learned about Jonah was the most life-fulfilling day of my life. Joe called me at work. What I thought was going to be a quick “hey honey, I’m driving to work” conversation was completely different. “… (long choked-up pause) …You’re going to be a MOM! We’ve been picked!!! We’re going to have a baby!!!! It’s a BOY!!!” I was immediately filled with tears of joy. I couldn’t believe I was hearing these words said to me. I couldn’t believe he was calling me a Mom. And I couldn’t believe it was a BOY! It was all a complete dream come true. And God knew I just couldn’t wait any longer because you arrived into our arms not even 40 hours after that miraculous phone call.

Finding out about Henry was the other life-shocking day of my life. We had been told that month was not the month to try to conceive due to the high risk of conceiving multiples. We didn’t think we could conceive on our own so we weren’t expecting a little miracle to arrive. But sure enough, one night that little white pregnancy stick had two blue lines. I remember looking up at myself in the mirror with the most serious face and then giggling and crying at the same time. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Like literally, could NOT believe what I was seeing. I took a couple more pregnancy tests, all different brands, and they all stated the same DARK BLUE truth. It was REAL! I told Joe as soon as he got home that evening. He was astonished too. We ran into Jonah’s bedroom that night to whisper the sweet news in his ear. Our family was growing!

Being pregnant for the first time was so breathtaking. Every little flutter and kick meant that I was going to be a mom all over again. Pregnancy was quite easy for me, if I ignore the morning sickness and dizziness aspects. I felt so big at the end (carrying around a 9lbs 2oz baby!) but I somehow didn’t ‘look’ that pregnant to those around me. I was always surprising people with my baby bump news and baffling them when I would tell them how far along I was already. It was fun to take pictures each week as my belly grew. And it was so touching to watch Jonah rub my belly and tell me about his baby brother inside.

Jonah’s birth was surreal. We waited in the area outside the operating room while they took our smiling birthmom back for the c-section. We heard his first cries down the hall and just moments later our teeny tiny bundled boy was placed in our arms. “Would you like to hold your son?” the nurse asked. Seems like such a small question. But it was one that meant so much more to me. As I gazed at his little face and tiny eyes peeking out of a little squint, I told him how much we’ve always loved him. He was the greatest gift we could ever ask for; the answer to so many prayers. And the most tangible love from God I have ever felt.

Henry’s birth was also an exciting birth-story. Not be out-done by his big brother, Henry arrived during the biggest snow storm of the year in the most frigid sub-zero temperatures recorded in Indiana. Two days overdue, I was so sure (and hopeful) that he was just going to be tucked away for another week. Joe had suspicions that the time was soon though. And thank goodness, because the day before he was born he shoveled two tire tracks all the way down the street in case we needed an emergency trip to the hospital. Sure enough, his instincts were right! My water broke at 2am and soon we were taking the bumpy ride to the hospital in our neighbors’ Jeep. Safely at the hospital, Henry was delivered into our warm and cozy arms.

Holding Jonah for the first time felt so right. He was my son and I was never going to let him go. He made us feel so relaxed. He was so calm and confident, when we first unbundled him, he stretched out and placed both hands back behind his head like he owned the world. And he did! He was everything! He immediately healed our aching hearts. He made me a Mommy. He gave me the best gift in the world.

Holding Henry for the first time felt surreal. I couldn’t believe how big he was! He had the cutest fuzzy hair and made eye contact right away. His skin was perfect and he loved to be cozy against my skin. I remember thinking how much I couldn’t wait to introduce him to his brother.

Coming home with each of them was so exciting! We couldn’t wait to show them off to the world. Both of them had so many prayers prior to their arrival into our lives. And both gave hope to so many people who prayed for them. The first few months meant lots of sleepless nights. Jonah took the shortest naps and hasn’t slept through the night to this day! Henry seems to be a better sleeper to us, but that’s only because he can sleep more than a few hours at a time before needing another bottle. We are hoping when Jonah turns three that things will improve…

I have learned to be more patient and to laugh at nearly everything that could go wrong on a daily basis. I have learned that I’m not too proud to eat soggy chewed up food if my child insists that he wants to ‘share’. And something is always sticky. It’s just a fact.

The best part about being a mom is being able to kiss and hug and play all day. Being able to dance and sing to every part of typical boring daily routine with a cheering audience is awesome. And I enjoy every minute of being silly even when in the public eye.

The most challenging part of motherhood is having unending patience and consistency. It’s hard not to give in to those sweet smiles, sticky gesturing fingers, and puppy-dog-eye pleads, with the sweetest “pweeese?” to follow. And it’s hard to remember that despite their utter intelligence they are still just little kids and rational reasoning doesn’t make sense to them.

Transitioning into motherhood was so much anticipated. I would dream of my children long before I could touch them. Some days I would crave their heavenly baby-breath on the side of my neck so much that I could almost feel it. God, my husband Joe, and my faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary have helped me with the challenges of waiting for motherhood the most.

I had seen beautiful parts of motherhood through my own mom, my jobs babysitting, and then as a pediatric nurse. But before having my own children, I had no idea how a simple routine vaccination could bring tears to my eyes when done to my own baby, even though I did them daily to other children. I had no idea that nap times weren’t easy for some children. And I had no idea that my little ones would be right on my heels the moment I tried to sneak upstairs for a single second to get something. Who knew that baby gates lasted far longer than when their little bodies could conquer the steps?!

But the best part of motherhood, that no one told me about is how fun simple tasks become. Like getting the mail out of the mailbox, anticipating the garbage truck’s arrival each Wednesday, finding teeny-tiny colored socks in the bottom of the dryer, and opening the dishwasher to the most colorful collection of dishes. It’s the little ways that children sneak into your life that brightens my days the most.

I want to forever hold onto their sweet little wet kisses and pats on MY back as I rock them. The big jump-into-your-lap leaps and the “don’t tickle me” TICKLE ME pleads. And the imaginary games they make up and include me in.

I hope that Jonah and Henry grow up to become loving men who aren’t afraid to show love, compassion, confidence, humbleness, and share their faith with others.

There's a line that sums up my child-rearing philosophies: “Quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby ‘cause babies don’t keep” You can never say “I love you” too many times. And there is always time to read the story ‘one more time." They are only little once. Enjoy every single second!

Jesus entrusted me with the gift of motherhood. I know that the way we choose to raise our children will affect the rest of their lives. How we love and guide them on their early path in life will give them confidence and abilities to be outstanding men for the world.

 Dear Jonah and Henry,

I wanted to write you a letter to tell you how proud I am to hold you and be able to call you my sons. You have given me the best gift in the world. You made me a Mommy. All my life, I wanted to be a mom more than anything…anything! But I never knew how much I would absolutely love being a mom… it’s more than I ever imagined. Your smiles make my heart melt and your giggles make my heart sing. I am forever thankful to God for designing such perfect children for me. Ones that would challenge me, push me to be a better person, and ones that would fill every hole in my yearning heart. Before we had you both, I would tell Daddy, I just have a lot of love to give. And in God’s perfect timing, he brought both of you into our arms. I am forever blessed. Always know that the BEST things are worth waiting for… and God always has a better plan for us. Better than we could ever design ourselves. Trust in Him.

All my Love and Smooches, Mommy

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Ashlee also provides magical and delightful services for: newborn photography, cake smash photography, baby's first year plans, maternity photography, family photography, and Newborn mentoring for photographers.

If you have a milestone or special moment you want to remember forever, let's chat! Ashlee loves to photograph in the woodlands and around downtown Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, and Greenwood. She also has a professional studio space available for sessions.

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