INDIANAPOLIS PHOTOGRAPHER | megan's story

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I have two children; Ronyn, who is 7 and Finnegan, who is 4.

My daughter. Wow. Where do I begin? She is beautiful, inside and out. Her eyes are amazing {and are going to get us into some trouble!}. She is an intelligent, spunky, hilarious, silly, crazy little girl. Her emotions can sometimes get the best of her but that is expected when you have that much energy! She is always on the go looking for the next adventure. Ronyn loves music, movies and is an advanced reader & swimmer– I think she was a fish in a past life!

My little boy… he sure is something! Just like his big sister, he has eyes that will melt just about anyone. He is as sweet as he can be and I love that he still wants to cuddle every morning. Finn is smart, funny, witty and can be quiet and reserved at times. But break out the legos or ninja turtles and he will talk your head off! Compared to Ronyn he is a homebody who loves to stay with daddy and play with his toys or Xbox but he loves to spend time with me the most {but don’t tell him I told you!}.

Ronyn likes to make up jokes and unfortunately they’re usually not very funny. But last year she had a good one and it was so funny I about spit out my dinner. We were shocked that she has a real one! (What does a ghost eat for lunch? A BOOO-logne sandwich!)

Finn plays flag football every season… this year we were trying to come up with a nick name (that wasn’t something I call him). He liked the Geico commercial with Ikey Woods and always did the cold cut dance so while we were brain storming one night he yelled out “I like Cold Cuts!” So the name stuck.

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THE STORY | I am being 100% honest when I say that I never wanted children. They were never on my radar. Sure, I played house when I was a kid but I never had that urge to be a mom. I was a career girl who had big plans. I didn’t even think my body was capable of conceiving and carrying a baby.

Continuing with the honesty… our daughter was an accident. We found out that I was pregnant a few months before our wedding. I had to go get a new dress but I found myself feeling happy and excited about it. Talk about a surprise!

I had a feeling I was pregnant with Ronyn… one morning on my day off I took a test at home. It was positive so I called the doctor and they had me come in for a blood test. Sure enough, a few hours later they called and said “Congratulations! You’re going to be a mommy!” I was surprisingly excited about it and told my soon-to-be husband that night after he got home from work.

Finnegan was a planned pregnancy; we found out the morning after my husband’s birthday. I took a test and when it was positive I told him “Happy Birthday, you’re going to be a dad again!”

I knew that Finn was a boy… but with Ronyn I think I was too excited/nervous about being a mom to figure it out.

I gained 70lbs my first pregnancy – all I wanted to eat was ice cream, macaroni and cheese, and Chinese food. I had high blood pressure the last few months and my hands were always swollen but I don’t remember ever being too uncomfortable.

My second pregnancy was a little bit easier. I didn’t gain as much weight but I did have a lot of back problems. I couldn’t sleep in my bed for months!

Both kids were emergency c-sections. I went in for a routine check up and didn’t leave the hospital until after the kids were born.

With Ronyn I went in on a Friday and she was born Saturday evening. She was born on her paternal grandfather’s birthday & ten days before her father’s.

She wasn’t due for a few more weeks but I truly believe she happened for a reason; you see, my father-in-law died on my husband’s birthday the year before. Deep down I knew she would arrive on that day but I didn’t know there would be complications.

The doctor tried to induce me but nothing was working and my blood pressure was rising so off to the operating room I went. The surgery went well but when my husband brought her into my room we realized something was wrong. Maternity staff rushed her to the nursery and I still hadn’t held her. She was born with a posterior laryngeal cleft, a super rare defect to the voice box. When they told me she was being taken to another hospital via helicopter I made them get me out of bed and take me to see her. I first held her in the nursery and didn’t let go until I heard the helicopter land. It was the most heart wrenching feeling ever. I didn’t get to see her again until she was three days old. She was released with a clean bill of health but I knew there was something wrong- it took eight months of me nagging the doctor for something else to be done. She had surgery in Chicago at eight months of age to fix the cleft (right as we were in the middle of trying to move to Indy). I am happy to report that she is doing beyond better than was ever expected!

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I went in to the doctor on a Wednesday for Finnegan’s last check before our scheduled c-section two days later. I didn’t feel too well that day though and ended up being admitted for surgery that evening. Finnegan was born on his great, great paternal uncle’s birthday & nine days after mine. He, too, was early and was also born with a super rare defect. I knew that there was something wrong before he arrived but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. He was also delivered via emergency c-section and before I even saw his face I saw his right foot – it was turned out and bent up against the outside of his calf. I will never forget seeing his foot before seeing his precious face. And I was shocked when they told me I could hold him when going back to my room. It was such an amazing, wonderful feeling. I felt an unbreakable bond with him the moment he was in my arms.

It took many months and many doctors to get a proper diagnosis for Finnegan; vertical talus. He has had multiple casts, surgeries, and a brace to fix this issue. We found an amazing doctor who has repaired this defect and you wouldn’t ever know there was anything wrong. We are very lucky!

Coming home with a new baby is full of different feelings; joy, excitement, uncertainty, fear.

I was happy just to have both of them home with me and my husband… I wasn’t super nervous except when they were sleeping. Neither of them liked to sleep on their back so I always checked to make sure they were breathing when in their cribs.

I would like to say that I didn’t change when I became a mom… I think it was when I became a mom of two that things really got crazy. I definitely have less patience these days but more importantly I think I’ve realized how strong I really am. You never know how strong you really are until being strong is the only option you have. People have always asked me how I handled having my baby so far away from me the first few days of her life? How we managed moving to Indy and taking our daughter to Chicago for surgery? What made me find a new doctor for my son and then travel alone with him to St. Louis every week for ten weeks straight to prep for surgery and then every follow-up? The answer is simple: I didn’t have a choice. There was no option for me to break down and lose It. My only option was to do what was best for my children.

For me, the best part of being a mom is the unconditional love.

No matter how good or bad a day we have, I know that my kiddos and I can cuddle up and the stress just melts away. I can be upset with them or vice versa and we can always hug and say I love you and the stress just disappears.

The most challenging thing for me is patience. There are so many things to teach our children in the short time we have them… patience is the key and some days I just don’t have it.

“It takes a village” – that is definitely my mantra through these childhood years! We do not have family close to help us out so I rely on my mom friends for everything. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be able to do anything. My friends are beautiful, amazing women and I learn something new from them every day… I thank God for them every chance I get.

My motherhood surprise… I think it’s the guilt. I never knew I had the capability to feel so much of it! Did I do that right? Did I yell too loud? Did I hurt their feelings? Did I mess that up? Did I mess that one up, too? Oh man, it never ends.

I want to hold on to my children’s little hands forever. I love it when they come sit with me and hold my hand. Or grab it before crossing the street. Or getting out of the car… heck, any time. Their soft skin on mine is a feeling like no other. It makes me feel like I can protect them from anything and everything.

I have many fears about my children growing up. As a former law enforcement officer I have seen how crazy, messed up, and ugly the real world is. It is hard but I really try not to let things get to me; I just try to teach my children what is right and wrong and I want them to know they can talk to me about anything and everything. I never want that line of communication to close.

The one thing I want for my children is for them to be happy. I don’t care what career path they choose as long as they are happy while in it. I want my children to always put others before themselves, be respectful, kind, considerate, thoughtful, giving, hard working, and happy. And I really, really hope that they always see the silver lining and realize that everything happens for a reason. There is always, always something to the thankful for.

I guess you could say that when it comes to raising kids I am old-fashioned. I don’t believe in doing everything for my children and I don’t let them get away with much. I expect them to be respectful to everyone they meet. To behave in public and follow the rules. To clean up after themselves and be responsible. To work hard and do their fair share.

I believe that they need to fail just so they can see what they really are capable of. That being honest and fair will always be best. Doing what is right will never hurt you and letting your conscience be your guide will never let you down.

I also believe that having fun and making the most of every situation will make everything better!

My advice/information/encouragement for other women: please, please, PLEASE listen to your gut. Your intuition. Your conscience. It will never, ever let you down! And a mother’s instinct is always on point – you are the ONLY person who knows your child. I knew deep down that something was wrong with both of my babies and even though people tried to tell me I was wrong, I kept fighting for them. You have to. It’s not like they can speak for themselves.

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dear Ronyn & Finn -

I love you so, SO much! You have made daddy and I so very happy… You both have such an unbelievable zest for life and you amaze me every. Single. Day. I thank my lucky stars that God made me your mommy and I will always do my best for you. I love you love, love me do and to the moon and back!

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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.

EMAIL: ashlee@alaurenphoto.com