My new blog is finally complete and I am looking forward to everyone visiting me at the new Carrie Olney Photography
I barely know her, in her mere three-month long journey into this big scary world she has lived in the Vanouvers Womens & Childrens Centre. In fact, she has spent eight out of twelve weeks in the hospital undergoing treatment and testing for a rare heart defect called Ebsteins Anomaly. Approximately three cases per year are treated at BC Womens and Childrens, with their cases ranging from mild to severe. Aya`s case is considered severe. Mortality rates with Ebsteins Anomaly are excellent, most children grow to be healthy adults following treatment, often including surgery to correct the defect. I am not going to go into all the details, but feel free to read here for detailed information regarding her heart condition.
Aya`s condition was picked up during her 10 week Midwife examination, while listening to the doppler the Midwife was able to determine there was inconsistency with the baby`s heart beat. Kristen endured a number of tests and close monitoring during her pregnancy, finally when they seen the Fetal Cardiologist about 34 weeks gestation, they knew their little girl would be born with Ebsteins Anomaly. What they didn`t know was how severe her case would be. They left Victoria that afternoon headed home to make arrangements and get Kristen packed, she would be heading to Vancouver for the duration of her Pregnancy.
I waited anxiously all day for the phone call, finally, my phone rang later that afternoon. My sister was a mess on the other end, it sounded like she had been crying. She blurted out that she`d be leaving for Vancouver, scared and alone. She burst into tears again, worried about her three children she`d have to leave while she awaited the birth of her baby girl, worried about their home, their family. My heart was aching for her, I didn`t know what to say, what can you say? I told her it would be ok, that we would all help and do everything we could to make things easy for them. A week later we celebrated Attia & Olivia`s birthday`s. The next morning Kristen & my mom departed for Vancouver.
It was a week before Kristens due date, I had Attia & Owen, Charlie had gone to Vancouver to pick up Olivia, she had gone over with Kristen for the first few weeks in Vancouver, Charlie had gotten back to town late and stopped to pick up the kids. No sooner had he just gotten home but we received the call that Kristen had gone into labour. It was 12:30 am. There was no way for Charlie to make it back in time to be with her before she had the baby. Kristen has been blessed with the gift of speedy deliveries. At 3am after impatiently texting into the wee hours of the night with my mom, Kristen delivered Aya, after one minute to look at her baby girl, she was then whisked away by a team of doctors, nurses and specialists. Over the next 7 hours she would undergo more tests than you could imagine.
Somewhere from that point the days and weeks now seem blurry, like a dream, bits and pieces remembered and forgotten. Some days held promising and positive results for Aya, others were tearful recounts from Kristen as she watched them dissect her baby. At three weeks old, she underwent a colostomy, she needed a four-hour surgery to correct a rare defect with her bowel, but because she is so tiny and her heart is already under great stress, the best option was for her to have the ostomy bag until her bowel concerns can be addressed following the heart surgery she requires. She is still waiting for heart surgery, but needs to be a bit older and bigger to have a better outcome. In the meantime she is fed by a nasogastric tube, she is fed 21 hours a day. She is on constant oxygen support too.
Kristen brought Aya home almost a week ago, they are settling into home nicely and working together to manage a rigorous schedule of constant feedings, delivering medications on a strict schedule, weighing, monitoring, checking her Oxygen stats … all while taking care of their three other children. Life is busy, they are waiting for word that they`ll be heading back to Vancouver for Ayas first Heart Surgery. I`ve spent alot of time with them this week, and am completely amazed with my sister. If I said nasogastric tube to her three months ago, she`d look at me like I was crazy. Now, I watch as she flows through the motions of sterilizing water, flushing the Nasogastric lines, Aspriating and checking the PH of Ayas stomach fluids, measuring handfuls of medications that must be given on schedule without fail. She wears a watch to carefully time when she must give Aya her next dosage. She is incredible. She has been so strong through everything she`s had to go through with Aya, adapting and absorbing every piece of information to help her baby girl.
For all this little angel has endured, and for all she will still have to face, potentially multiple heart surgeries, bowel surgeries and eye surgery she is strong, determined, and this week, she is even smiling. She has taught us all so much already, I am sure she has more in store for us for the future. For now, I treasure every second I get with her, reading, singing and rocking her and absorbing every ounce of her. I can`t wait for the day that she can come for her first sleep-over at Aunties house or for when she gets older and can play with Berklee.
They met the way most couples meet in Campbell River, Haley was out with her girlfriends for a night on the town and Jamie was out with the guys, somehow even though Haley was going to leave before heading to the night club she ended up going in, and thankfully she did. At some point late in the evening Haley spotted a group of classmates from high-school and headed over to say hi, she ended up chatting with Jamie for hours finally exchanging numbers and parting their separate ways.
Haley was stunned by Jamie and his incredibly heart-warming smile, she couldn`t believe this handsome MAN was someone she had once passed by casually in the halls in high school, shared the occasional class and who`s locker was almost directly across from hers. How did she not notice him before? How had she never ran into him in 9 years following graduation, living in our small town?
Haley left that night with butterflies in her stomach, hoping Jamie would call her soon, unfortunately Jamie left thinking she was beautiful and he had her number but never ended up calling her. Haley called Jamie two weeks later, unfortunately he was seeing someone by this time. They continued on for a few months finally running into each other at a friends house only to find out they were both single again. Sparks flew between the two of them, and this time, when Jamie got Haley`s number, he called.
After buying a house together and living together for a while Jamie realized he needed Haley in his life forever, in December he went out to purchase an engagement ring. Christmas morning he carefully placed it under the tree, and not so patiently waited for her to come open presents together for their first Christmas in their house together. Finally, Haley emerged from the kitchen to see Jamie waiting at the Christmas tree with the box in his hand, tears welling in her eyes she blurted out “that better not be earings” thankfully it wasn`t, Jamie dropped down onto one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him, Haley couldn`t resist!
Congratulations on your engagement, I couldn`t be happier for you both.
I thought i`d share a few images from the detail shots I took at last weekends wedding.
Our west coast winters are long, rainy and cold, rarely would you attempt to take photos outside during the winter months, let alone suggest it to a client so imagine my surprise when I received a heartwarming email from Myriah hoping to capture her pregnancy… OUTSIDE. I was up for the challenge, and dying to get working outside again, so with fingers crossed I booked their session and prayed for decent weather.
Two days prior to Myriah`s due date I patiently waited at the location we chose. Coffee in hand I walked the grounds, checked my camera and read my horoscope as I waited for them to arrive. I am such a creature of habit, but I need to just have a moment on the location to feel, to see and picture my photo shoot in action, the horoscope is really just for added `good measure.’
Fashionably late, John and Myriah arrive, with Myriah springing from the car with open arms and apologies, which aren`t necessary. I understand how it is, when you`re nine months pregnant, getting dressed is challenging, finding an outfit for your photo shoot is a nightmare. We introduce ourselves, more hugs, and get right onto chatting about the session, John adding in he was a bit shy for photos. I offer reassurance and we get started. A few minutes in and John and Myriah start to relax, and the magic starts to happen.
Here are a few images I am completely in love with from our session:
Thank you John and Myriah for chosing me to capture these images, for bringing me into your lives, with open arms, for a moment, to capture images that will last a lifetime.
En route to my Qualicum Beach photoshoot, I was trying to think about family, what makes a family, what defines a family. Websters dictionary defines family as “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”. Wait a minute… that’s it? That is the meaning of family? I expected a long drawn out description encompassing many other attributes and flowery values, but nope, thats it, A group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head. Seems simple, but there is so much more, embedded as deep as a families roots, extending beyond it’s highest branches. There is love, respect, kindness, acknowledgement, truth and so much more. I wanted every aspect of what a family meant to be etched in my mind as I set forth to capture Mark & Joannes growing family. You see, this family in particular is rather amazing, yes, they are my family, but that isn’t what makes them so amazing. I look up to them, they are amazing role models. Watching them work together in harmony to attend to their four childrens needs is amazing, like a well oiled machine they set forth to get er’ done all the while making time to sneek in a kiss or bum pinch in between. They are a modern day, hip and fun family full of love and the kindest people you’ll ever meet.
You may remember this family from a previous post “A Beautiful Family” well, I am happy to share their family has grown again, this time by 4 feet! Yes, they received one of the most precious gifts ever, beautiful twin girls!
Last may, I had a lovely visit with my cousin, Joanne, she was glowing but that isn’t new for her, she’s absolutley stunning on a regular basis. She had made a trip up to Campbell River, and was picking up a few of the baby items I had borrowed from her as her “girlfriend” was having a baby. A few weeks after, she phones to share the fantastic news, she was 3 months pregnant! Turns out the baby stuff, wasn’t for her “girlfriend” afterall. We were squealing with delight and in a very girly way discussing all the details of the pregnancy thus far, how are you feeling? Are you having morning sickness, etc etc when she throws in “I can’t believe i’m showing already! I really can’t hide that I am pregnant anymore, with the second baby you definately pop out sooner” well…. as it turns out, it wasn’t that it was her second pregnancy, but that there were two of them in there!
One week after their birth, I made the trek down to the Qualicum Beach area to photograph these beautiful babies and the growing family. We captured many images of the girls, the boys and everyone all together, the session couldn’t have gone better!
As always enjoy the images, Mark, Joanne & Family … I LOVE YOU.
I often find myself scheduling myself as much work time as possible, filling every moment that doesn’t require my entire devotion to my beautiful daughter, early in the morning, between Berklees naps, once she’s gone to bed at night and yet I do not schedule fun, quiet, reading, exercize or beach time. I am the classic oldest child, over-acheiver, work hard, play later (if time permits) because if I work hard and practice dicipline that will make me more successful… right? Wrong. If there is one thing I have learned over the years is that balance is what makes a happy life, when you can feel ok about putting down your laptop for an hour or two without feeling guilty or that you need to justify a day off.
About four years ago (yes, four) I bought a book “Seven Sins For A Life Worth Living” by Roger Housden, and have picked it up from time to time over the past four years telling myself I would finally read it cover to cover. I have to admit, I am still nowhere near finished but I am enjoying the points he makes in this book. His book refrences the Seven Deadly sins, and questions their entire existance, why would you deny yourself such pleasures? “The purpose of this book, is to insprie you to lighten up and fall in love with the world and all that is in it” quotes Housden.
I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t turn off the urge. I kept telling myself, start working, get into editing mode and your day will just fall into a nice groove. I kept telling myself that, but it just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t fight the overwhelming urge to get out, to breath in salty air, to feel the pebbles of the beach under my feet, to watch the sea and be gently showered by the faint drizzle of the overcast day. Suddenly, like a fire engnighted from within, I dropped what I was doing, gathered Berklee and my camera and we were gone.
I snapped a few pictures of Berklee as we played peek-a-boo on a park bench, and of her staring at the “boo-dies” as she called the many seagulls scouring the beach. It felt great, I felt ok to leave work behind, to take pleasure in doing nothing at all. I was unproductive and productive all at the same time. I felt free. I felt good being free.
I will leave you with a quote, “When you die, God and the angels will hold you accountable for the pleasures you were allowed in life that you denied yourself.” ~Anonymous
Stay you, be real, be fabulous!