After I lost my hair and (somewhat) got over the initial shock. I wanted to document it. Just like how I want to document my journey by blogging, I wanted to document the baldness.
I thought about it for a few days before I brought it up to Chris. I mean lets face it, it is a little morbid if you think about it....
"Lets take some pictures of the hardest time in my life, during the hardest fight of my life." But as many of you know me, or are meeting me through this blog, you would see by now that that is exactly who I am!
So I brought it up to Chris and he was really good with it. He actually thought it was a good idea. He asked who I thought could do the pictures. This was too sensitive a subject to go to a Sears or JCPennys. We brought up the women that did our wedding photos, Darla. The photos were really good... But I wasn't quite sold yet.
I wish my sister could do them, she was not an experience photographer, but she has a good eye and is a little "quirky". But I couldn't afford her plane ticket and she couldn't take time off work. But I did remember one person...
I have spoke about my Baby Mommas. They are from the web site Baby Center. There was this one Momma that had a baby due the same month as mine, but she wasn't in my birth week. I happened onto the thread (online discussion) because Chris and I were looking for a camera and she was giving advice. Her name is Emily Southerland and the discussion was called "Emily's Little World". She had a wonderful blog and blogged about two of my favorite things, photography and cupcakes (this is a wonderful woman!!).
I looked up her blog (http://emilys-little-world.blogspot.com/), I thought that if anyone could share my image for these pictures, it would be her. She lives in St. Louis, but has been out here for an event I think, so I knew that she couldn't take the pictures, but maybe she could recommend someone she trusted.
I didn't even have her email, so I went onto Baby Center and sent her this message:
I have a question, I am struggling/surviving breast cancer. I have gone through 4 out 8 chemo sessions and then will deal with radiation afterwards. I have 2 babies (3yrs and 1 yr) and would love to have "specialty shots" done with my girls and my bald head (in all its shiny glory). I have ideas in my head but unfortunately don't know of anyone who could do these tastefully (maybe in B&W). I live in the Baltimore, MD area. Do you know of or can your recommend anyone who could do these...
I would love if you could but you are so dang far away!!!! :-)
The next day, I got this response:
I have a WILD suggestion. I am actually coming to DC in three weeks. May 16-18. Crazy, huh??? I am super busy the entire trip, except for that Monday morning, the 18. Now, I KNOW Monday morning is a TERRIBLE time. But if you would be willing to drive to the DC area (Fairfax, VA) I could do a mini-session with you and your girls. The latest I could start a session would be 9:30 am. If this sounds at all possible, I'd LOVE to help make it happen!
And.... my heart aches for you and your chemo. I am so humbled by your bravery and your desire to EMBRACE this time instead of run away from it. Congrats, and BEST of luck.
Oh my goodness!! This would be fantastic!! For us Baby Center girls, she is a celebrity! I was so excited, I told Chris and he was very excited too! Fairfax is a little far for us to drive in the morning (DC traffic and all), so we got a hotel room the night before.
Unfortunately my 13 year old had her 8th grade class picture that day, so instead of forcing her to come with us, we gave her the choice (my Mom and Dad were at our house, so she could stay with them). She decided that she wanted to get her picture taken at school, so she stayed home. (I am really bummed about that cause our pics turned out really great).
We met with Emily the next morning and she looked exactly like her blog (I don't know why she would look different). She was one of the nicest people. We did our photo shoot, some in a make-shift studio (a.k.a. the garage of the women she was staying with) and some outside at a restaurant. The baby was in a pretty crappy mood, so I wasn't sure what the pics would look like. When I got them back... I cried, they were so... so... so... perfect!
I could not have asked for anything more and she gave me so much more than I asked for!!!
Up until now, I have wanted to keep my children's names and faces out of the blog, but as you will see that is really not fair to them (they are going through this too) or for you as a reader, cause my children ARE me, they are on this journey with me, and quite frankly these pictures are just TOO wonderful not to share....
Aren't they fantastic!!!
Here is a picture of me and Emily at the end of the session, Chris took it and he was VERY nervous (taking a picture of a professional photographer) but I think he did a good job too.
I will even share a secret with you... There are more pictures on her site. She let me have these for my blog (Thank you!!) So I can share them with everyone, but here is how you can see the entire photo session:
Go to her website http://www.emilysoutherland.com/
You can pick to go into her blog or her photography site, pick photography site (you can check out the blog later, that is cool too).
On the bottom you can click on "Clients" and then type in my password "threegirls"
And check them out (they will come up like a slideshow).
So... THANK YOU EMILY!! I cannot express to you how much it means to me that you were able to capture my family's journey in pictures. It was a pleasure meeting you and next time you come back to DC let me know, maybe we can do pictures WITH hair!!