A Personal Post, Miscarriage & Perspective

A Personal Post, Miscarriage & Perspective

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Everything is different, and nothing is the same. 

I can tell you that in the beginning, the very beginning. There was denial. This stage was short lived, as I grasped at straws, made calls demanding more testing be done. I Googled everything under the sun and found every case I could of when the ‘doctor is wrong’. 

It honestly didn’t take more than a few days to realize it was real. To know it. I felt it. Which is so funny, honestly, because I never felt the loss. But I just knew. I was still sick, my levels were high and my body wasn’t processing the loss, but I knew. I felt it with everything in me…that he was gone. 

By the time they wheeled me into surgery, I was vomiting nearly every 30 minutes around the clock and I was wrecked with intense, nonstop nausea. Add this on top of a deep depression, shock and a heavy, heavy fog. I was completely disconnected with reality. 

I can tell you that in the first week, I took only one shower (because I was told I had too before surgery) and went into the hospital on a Saturday morning for my outpatient surgery. I had multiple breakdowns, that resulted in a little extra dose of something to help me ‘relax’. The remainder of that week I spent in my bedroom. Laying on my bed, only to get up to use the restroom. Sleeping. Laying. Waiting. Wishing it all away and praying for it to stop. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed by an unknown loss and total devastation. I wondered if this were something I could honestly ever come back from, or if this was it. This was how I would break. 

I can tell you that in that first week, each and every single time I woke up, I forgot for just a moment what was happening. Then it would hit me. Those first few seconds awake all was okay, and then it would resurface. I would remember. It would all come flooding back and I would remember. It was like each time I woke up, I had to learn the news all over again for the first time. Hitting me like a tidal wave right in the face. A punch in the gut. Every. Single. Time. 

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I can tell you that the first week was the absolute worst Hell on Earth I have ever experienced. And, I have experienced. But there is no loss in the world that could have prepared me for this. Nothing. When they say ‘the fog hasn’t lifted’ they really aren’t joking. I felt like I had been plucked from my reality and placed into the Stephen King movie, The Mist. Where there is a thick, heavy fog…and just monsters. Everywhere. 

I asked a friend during those first few weeks if it was possible to wish myself away. I said that all I wanted was to crawl out onto the grass outside and lay there and allow my body to just dissolve into the dirt and grass. A quick decomposition, where my body and all of these feelings would quickly be absorbed by the Earth. She kindly, told me that, no, she didn’t think this was a viable option for moving forward. 

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The only way I could describe that time was to ask someone if they could imagine what it would be like for all of the air to turn into water. And every waking moment you are just choking. Just drowning on air and suffocating. It was constant. Breathing hurt. Moving hurt. Smiling and laughing hurt. So much guilt and so many questions as to why. 

The following month wasn’t great. Once I made it through the first week and the heaviest fog, I went on auto pilot. I have to be honest, I went back to work and everything was mechanical. I truly believe I was just on some kind of survival mode. At other times, I was absent. I was either feeling things intensely, complete despair and overwhelm, or I was disconnected. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t remember things. I was physically present, but mentally, I was somewhere else. I am still having trouble with this now. I can’t quite focus, and I am insanely forgetful. 

I got countless, countless messages. Emails, texts…messages of support and hope and understanding and sympathy. I didn’t respond to all of them, which added to my guilt. But I hope those who didn’t receive an answer from me know it wasn’t personal. There was so much I wanted to say, but I didn’t know how. I also got messages that were odd and confusing. That were frustrating, and while well intended, hurtful. 

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At times I wondered if I was over reacting. At times I have felt like a total asshole. Why am I making this such a big deal? Well, I’m not. It just is a big deal for me. It’s really, really hard. 

Over the past few months I have felt grief, depression, confusion, self loathing and hate, envy, anger and frustration. Among many other things, of course. 

Miscarriage is a bitch. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I thought I knew, I thought I got it, but when it happened to me…I realized there was so much I didn’t know. It’s honestly the most welcoming club I have ever been in…but it’s also one that no one wants you to ever have to be a part of. 

Moving forward, I have found that everything is different, and nothing is the same. 

Where I used to be frustrated with a new inquiry, a Mom expecting, due in just a few weeks, I now feel differently. I used to think “Geez, don’t people realize it’s so hard to book last minute? I wish people would book earlier in their pregnancy so we could plan and I had more available.” Now, I think, maybe she has lost. Maybe she was nervous or afraid, to say it out loud. To be too hopeful, too early. Or, maybe she is just a busy women and photography wasn’t first in line when it came time to plan for a baby! 

I have been an ambitious woman over the last several years. My nearly six years in business has taught me many things. I made it my goal to reach certain levels of income or ‘status’ or notoriety. I worked insane hours, nonstop and poured everything I could into a business. I put my personal life and my family on the back burner. Because, well, I am a workaholic of sorts and I love money. I mean, I am really not even ashamed to admit that. I don’t make nearly as much as people think (trust me, ha, taxes and the cost of doing business add up!) but I loved my job and I was never satisfied if I wasn’t looking at the next step. Nothing was ever enough or fulfilling to me. I always wanted more. An insatiable craving for more drove me to being a crappy Mom (sometimes) and an overworked entrepreneur. 

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Then this. This happened. This loss. And, while, I still have so much to work on within myself, everything suddenly was different and nothing was the same. 

Just like that, my priorities shifted. They changed. 

While I still love what I do more than anything in the world, and will continue to create the art that I love, it is no longer my top priority in life. I don’t think this ‘happened’ so that I can learn a lesson. I don’t believe everything ‘happens for a reason’. There was no reason, no need for this in my eyes. It just happened and I will most likely never know why. But, I will take from it what I can. And the lesson I feel I can take from this, is that life is too short. We still need to pay bills, so I still have to work, and I am okay with that! But, this whole experience has brought on a new focus in my life. My actual life, is a bit more clear now. I have made big changes to my business that I hope will still make my clients happy, but also accommodate a lifestyle that allows me to be present more. That allows me to be home more, to read more books. To live. 

The Traveling Dress Project Iceland

Akron Ohio photographer Lauren Grayson takes the traveling dress project to the black beach sands in Vik Iceland for some self portraits during her honeymoon. 

Grace Senior Portraits in downtown Akron

Grace Senior Portraits in downtown Akron

Downtown Akron senior portrait session by Lauren Grayson Photography. Modern and urban settings, on the parking deck, in the coffee shop and more. Modern senior portraiture that is unique in the Northeast Ohio area. 

The Borks Lifestyle Maternity Session

The Borks Lifestyle Maternity Session

A maternity session with Danielle and Joe in their Cleveland Ohio home. A baby bump, bay windows and their dog were all included in this natural, lifestyle shoot before their first baby arrived. 

Rehs Newborn Studio Session in Akron Ohio

Rehs Newborn Studio Session in Akron Ohio

A natural, neutral and simplistic newborn studio session. No props, just simple family and baby portraits in the Akron Ohio studio of Lauren Grayson Photography. 

Toth Family In Home Session

Toth Family In Home Session

The Toth family in their Cleveland Ohio home with their daughter. Quinn takes sink baths, plays with toys, shows off her pink nursery and reads books with Mom and Dad on their bed while they cuddle. A regular Saturday morning for this lifestyle documentary family in home portrait session. 

The Yurcho Family Summer Session

The Yurcho Family Summer Session

This session was short and sweet and just so much fun. At a random field in Akron (that is now gone and fenced off! So sad!) with some killer willow trees, we did a morning session with these three who make up the Yurcho family. I know everyone loves sun drenched photos, but it started to rain at the end, and while I was shooting I loved watching the storm clouds roll in. It was one of those summer mornings where it's kind of cool and breezy yet still so hot and muggy. The clouds, to me, always create a great diffuser, especially for a morning session, which I so rarely shoot! 

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Kaitlyn Nicole Akron Ohio Fresh 48

Kaitlyn Nicole Akron Ohio Fresh 48

Welcoming Kaitlyn Nicole. A Fresh 48 family baby newborn photo session at Akron General hospital in Akron Ohio of Kaitlyn and her twin brother and sister and Mom and Dad! 

Bugzavich Family Summer Session

Akron Ohio Photographer Lauren Grayson photographs the Bugzavich family. Mom, dad and their two wild girls played in a field during one of the hottest summer nights and took amazing, interactive and candid fun classic photos together as a family. 

Legacy Sessions 2017 What they are & Why you need one

Photo of my son Max and I via Paula Jackson Photography. 

Photo of my son Max and I via Paula Jackson Photography

2017 marks the year I realize I can no longer hold and/or pick up my own child. I mean, I can, if totally necessary (i.e. running from a psycho ax murderer or monsters) but for the most part, those dog days are over. You see, this almost 6 year old of mine is a tank. While I have expanded a bit since my younger days (mainly around and in the middle, you know, probably like you have also experienced) picking him up is really just not working. He's long and tall and I am pretty weak. Maybe if I did more Jillian Michaels arm work outs...maybe I could, but I suppose that is not the point here. 

It sounds silly. To say, I realize now looking back at this image of him and I above from last summer, that we were in the last days I would be able to pick him up like that and hold him. It sounds like such a small thing. It wasn't honestly even a thing I had considered would be a 'milestone' for me. You have a baby, they are teeny tiny and you strap them to you to survive. As they grow, they start attaching themselves to you and hanging off of your limbs like the orangutans at the zoo. You find yourself scooping them up when they are on the run (or about to get into something they shouldn't) and it's all just a part of the game. For five years, it never occurred to me that one day, the game would change. I mean, I knew it. You realize that babies are actually tiny humans and people and they grow and they age, but for me at least it's more of a passing fleeting realization in the subconscious area. The conscious area of my brain has always been a bit more focused on the constant alarms going off "Stop touching that Maxwell!", "UGH SERIOUSLY, can't you just go to sleep?, "Why are you crying, AGAIN!". Imagine the inside of the parent's brains from the movie Inside Out. Just all bells and whistles and blaring alarms and overwhelm and stress and frustration. But...here we are...and suddenly...

It took sending my child to kindergarten last year and now not being able to pick him to realize some really important shit. 

I'm getting older.

And so is he. 

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Realizing we aren't immortal, that time is precious and life is really just a bunch of moments stuck together haphazardly can be hard. Thinking about our own mortality and our aging children as we pluck out gray hairs (or possibly new hairs from totally new places on our face...is no one else getting whiskers, though? Seriously?!) is freaking hard. It sucks and it's scary and so we shove it all down or risk bursting into tears somewhere in the frozen aisle at the grocery store next to the Ore-Ida potatoes (again...is this just me?) while people, including your own child, stare at you like your one of those awful looking stuffed animal characters from that stupid Five Nights at Freddy's game. 

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But what I am realizing in all of my realizations is that I keep telling myself I will do this thing or that thing or whatever when I 'get there'. You know, when 'I get older' or when 'it's time'. It's been a bit of a slap in the face to realize, oh yeah. You are already there. 

I make excuses constantly about all of the things I am going to do when it's time, all of the life changes I am going to make and time I am going to spend and pictures I will take...

I have been planning for a life that is already well into its existence. And I'm missing it. 

Considering I am somewhat close to the age range of many of you (speaking directly to my clientele and families here now) I can only imagine some of you are experiencing very similar moments. 

Which brings me to how I always come back to this time of year and these sessions and why they mean so much to me. I have done Mother's Day sessions for a few years now, and more than ever, this year, I am realizing again why they mean so much to me. Why they are one of my favorite things I do in business each year and how meaningful they are to me. And, I hope to you...

Mom's rarely get in the frame. We take all (okay at least most, come on!) the photos. We do a lot of dirty work and most of us don't take care of ourselves the way we should. We don't enjoy a lot of moments because we can't live in the moment. We struggle to stay present because we are exhausted and either tearing our hair out due to stress or grays. And so this is your chance. To take a moment. To treat yourself and leave something behind. 

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As we have already addressed, we aren't going to be around forever. Which is why I am calling these Legacy Sessions this year. Because...it's not just about us. But about what we will leave behind for our children. 

Same goes for the Grandparents. When was the lat time you met a Grandma who wanted to be in a photo? What do you have with your own Mother and your children? What does she have? Hell do you have a nice photograph of your Mother alone or with you, her daughter? I never had the chance to get a photograph of my son with my Grandmother who passed while I was still pregnant. And to be honest, while we were not the closest, I don't have a lot of photographs of her and I either. I realize now, of course, how sad that really is.

And so this year I am going to do it a little different. I have tried it before but I think I have it down this year. I encourage my Mom's to bring their Mom's and Grandmas to their sessions. Also, there have been some requests for Father's day photos. Don't worry, I am giving Mom's a lot of credit, but the Dad's deserve some major credit out there too! So, this 'Legacy Event' will be open to Mother's Day or Father's Day photos, and Grandparents. Some rules and conditions apply though! 

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Yes, I realize I am still doing this for an income and as a job and this is still an advertisement of sorts, but I am also being 100% truthful when I say I feel this event is something special that I love to do every year. A way to give back to those clients I know and love and can't wait to see again.

I hope to see you there. 

-Lauren

 

Thuressa Akron Senior Session

Thuressa Akron Senior Session

One of my favorite senior sessions from 2016! This girl style is right up my alley. We started out in downtown Akron for a few unique looks, went up on top of a parking garage and ended with a more natural and soft look in the fields. The perfect blend and variety of any senior session! 

Maureen Lifestyle Family Maternity Session

Maureen Lifestyle Family Maternity Session

Maureen and family expecting a brand new baby boy. A pregnancy maternity shoot in fields in Akron Ohio with Maureen her baby bump, a red dress and her family by Lauren Grayson. 

Meaghan's Fashion Inspired Session Part 2

Part 2 of my awesome, midday full soon shoot out with Meaghan! 

If you missed part 1, go back and check them out on the blog to see some of the amazing floral spring bloom style photos we took! As I said in Part 1, the last blog post, I am not big into shooting during the day with harsh sun light. But it was fun to try something new and challenge myself. 

We wanted to do something fun, so we took to the fields and then found a random, rundown appliance shop and some cool colored walls in my neighborhood to create some artistic and neat portraits!  Inspired by Free People and a more film look, I am super happy with how this session came out for us! 

**wardrobe provided by the studio**

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Meaghan Free People Inspired Session Part 1

Meaghan Free People Inspired Session Part 1

A spring senior portrait inspired session with the blooming trees at The Nature Realm in Akron Ohio with Lauren Grayson Portrait Artist. A soft and beautiful photo shoot. 

Ashley's River Maternity Session Part 1

Ashley's River Maternity Session Part 1

This will certainly not be all you see from this session. 

This blog post is showcasing really only the last 20 minutes or so of the two hours we spent wading and exploring through a small river outside of Akron, Ohio. 

I can't tell you how excited I was that Ashley was willing to indulge my idea about doing this session this way, and get into the water with me despite her dislike of how the bottom of a murky creek feels. 

I was honestly so engrossed into shooting at this point, that I hadn't even realized the sun had set and we were shooting in the dark until I looked up and her husband said something about our dark walk back to the cars. Lucky for everyone, I was pretty confident I had captured what I needed. 

Feel free to ignore me now and roll your eyes (it won't hurt my feelings, I can't see you) at my explanation of what this session represents to me. The rushing waters and ever changing rivers that take no form, really resonated with me and reminded of pregnancy and birth. An ever changing body, just like the water in the river, moving along, strong, always going forward no matter what rock, or stone or branch lies in their way. Even though water, all on it's own, has no strength, it pushes past objects of greater mass and density with no problem. Following nature, the laws of science or nature or all the things I can't explain and understand because quite frankly I hate science and never listened in school, it proceeds. 

Just like a Mother, and just like a body that is growing a son or daughter. Tired, changing, evolving, but moving forward with so much tenacity and without question. 

Pregnancy and water, it's so delicate, yet so secure. Ashley, thank you for trusting me during this sacred time. At 36 weeks, you are radiating with calm and and tenacious will about your upcoming birth. 

Enjoy & be on the look out for more. 

It's coming! 

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If you are interested in wandering out into the wild with me, and creating some of your own, artistic maternity portraits, hit the contact button above. I would love to hear from you. -- Lauren