I've been able to do a lot of reflecting this week as I sit and wait for my own due date to come and go. I am currently pregnant with our first child and due in just a few days. It has been a pretty easy and standard pregnancy since the beginning (other than that pesky all-day sickness the first 13 weeks). And although I am beyond anxious for our son to arrive, I am thankful that we have been healthy and that we have one of the absolute best doctors in Sacramento guiding us. I truly think that good doctors should be given far more credit than they get, so I'll say it again - our doctor is phenomenal. I didn't realize how important it was to find a great doctor until my own child was involved. I guess that's the first step in parenting!
As I've gone through this pregnancy, I've been blessed to have spent a lot of time with some fabulous new moms and other current preggos. One of these lovely women allowed me to create a special photo project covering her time as a new mother. The experience gave me such a special glimpse into the lives of a new family, and it made me that much more excited to meet my little guy.
Sheena and Aaron were expecting their little girl after the first week of October, so I started my project by going over to their house and taking some photos of Sheena getting ready for the baby's arrival. It was really fun to be able to talk to her about all of the preparations that she was doing. I was about 23 weeks pregnant at the time, so all of that information was great for me to start storing away. I'm very glad that I went over when I did, because three days later Sheena had the baby!
Little Ziva was born at the end of September, just two weeks early. I was lucky enough to be able to go to the hospital to take some pictures when she was only 14 hours old. It was particularly nice to be at that hospital since it will be where I will be delivering within the next several days. After holding Ziva for a few minutes (because I wasn't leaving without snuggling a teeny baby), I handed her back to her mom and took a step back to start photographing. What an incredible experience to be able to watch a loving couple get to know their newborn!
After Ziva came home from the hospital a few days later, I went back over to their house every two weeks for the next few months. Each time I saw her, Ziva was marking new milestones and getting cuter and cuter. It was also so interesting to see how Sheena and Aaron got to know their daughter and her patterns and personality. I asked Sheena a ton of questions, and she gave me lots of wonderful advice about caring for a newborn and how to adjust to the life of a new mommy. I know I was taking photos for them that would eventually go into a gift book keepsake, but they gave me such a great gift as well! Getting advice from a brand new mom just as I head into the same journey has been priceless.
The experience of photographing Sheena, Aaron, and Ziva over the course of three months gave me a perspective on parenting that I've never been able to see before, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Ziva is thriving and Sheena and Aaron are loving their new roles as parents. I can't wait for our little guy to meet Ziva and have playdates! And while I can't wait for Ziva to meet our son, I can't wait to meet him too! After nearly ten months of growing this nugget, the thought of being able to hold him so soon is making me so excited! Come on, buddy - Mom and Dad want to meet you SOON!
Check out a more complete gallery of photos from this project here.