"For I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
On my birthday this year we announced the joyous news that we were expecting our rainbow baby, Eloise Odessa. We had just found out her sex and we could not believe that we were having a girl. A girl. A mini me. I thought about constantly if she would look like me or be like me. I had this feeling though that she would be more like her Dad, because even from the womb she would let me know that he was her favorite. He would sing and talk to her every evening, and she would do this little happy dance.We could not believe it, a girl! Our girl. We never imagined a month later we would be holding her in our arms to say goodbye.
October 15th, 2019 our baby girl was born. The unimaginable happened at our twenty week appointment, "I am so sorry but your baby is no longer living." Words that echo in my mind daily, "your baby.. your baby... no longer living." When I think of that day, I think of the person who I used to be and then the person I am now. I was the pregnant gal, excited for her baby girl and their future. Instantly, I became the person carrying a dead baby, a person who would give birth to a still born, to a person I sometimes do not recognize in the mirror.
The days leading up to Eloise's birth were a jumbled up blur. We were told that we were going to have to do a D&C. We didn't know that there were other options. So, we had asked if it could wait until October 14th since we were shooting a wedding on October 13th. The D&C was scheduled. We cleaned out her nursery. Tears and sobs as we folded up baby clothes, and put things that were her things into a box and then having other items into the "someday if we have an alive child" box. Her nursery was pretty much finished. I would walking into that room dreaming of the day I would rock my baby to sleep. As we folded up the crib, I thought of all the memories we were supposed to have and not this. "This cannot be my life," is something I thought over and over.
We shot Charlie and Veronica's wedding. Two amazing, gracious folks that were so kind to us during those dark days. I am so thankful we were able to be around such joy before we entered in days of dark sorrow. You see, I truly believe that God planned this out perfectly. He knew this was going to happen, so we surrounded us with the best people imaginable. Charlie and Veronica were some of those people that God laid out before us.
Monday October 14th, we went to get all checked in for the D&C. We told the Dr. that we wanted to see the baby, hold her, and get her foot prints copied. He said with such kindness, "with the D&C you will not receive those. This is not an emergency. We can get you checked in at the hospital and get you induced." We went and told our Mom's who were waiting with tears in their eyes in the lobby that the plan had changed. I'll never forget that weird car ride riding to go get lunch that I was about to give birth. It is something that I had known that one day would happen, but I thought I had more time. More time to get my breathing techniques down, or even more time to get the perfect birth play list together. But, here we were in the hardest days of our lives so far and I was ready.
On October 15th my baby girl Eloise was born. I knew she was coming before the Dr's or Nurses. I was able to have my Mom, Mother in law, and husband there with me as our baby girl entered the world that she would never experience. Usually, when babies are born there is just utter joy. We all felt instant sadness as we did not hear her cry. We heard total silence. I asked the nurse, " is that my baby" as I felt her come out. Nurse Amy said, " yes, that is your baby, push one more time." Then she came. I instantly said, " I love you so much Eloise." I had felt a blanket of peace that whole day as I was being induced. I did not cry, or fear anything. But, as soon as she was born, God lifted that blanket, and I sobbed.
Like I said early, God coordinated this terrible thing perfectly. We were able to have our moms there, we got to hold our girl, tell her how much we loved her, we got the footprint copies, and we got to have little memories with her. We had the best nurses. They would come and spend time with us, trade stories with us, pick up our sweet girl and say, "Hey beautiful girl." They made us feel so seen and cared for during such a vulnerable time. I think of the staff we worked with everyday and I praise God for them.
I don't know what the road will look like for us. I know it will be hard. I know it will be very long. I don't know if we will have another child of our own. As we are preparing to celebrate our baby girls life this weekend, I have been reflecting a lot on this road so far, and I feel so much gratitude to all of those who have prayed for us, sent us flowers and food, beautiful gifts, and those who have constantly been there for us.
Thank you for praying. Thank you for reading our baby girls story. If you know someone who is grieving, don't give up on their friendship, they need you more than you know.
We are so excited to share with you all that we are expecting our baby this winter. We feel so blessed to be able to have this baby after experiencing a deep loss in April with our first child. We have experienced so much grief this summer as we navigated through the loss of our baby in April as well as our kitten Fig, and finding out the joyous news on Father's Day. Walking through a season of grief and joy can make you feel kind of all over the place. I am so thankful to have a partner that has been by my side through it all.
We cannot wait to meet our rainbow baby this winter!
- Chelsea & Andrew
photos by Sara Maslyn Photo
digital art by Chelsea Diane Photography
I dont know where to begin! This wedding was a joy to be apart of. Lucy and Sam exude so much joy. From the moment we met them at the Urban Farmhouse, I knew these two were our kind of people. You can see how much they love each other by the way they look at each other. Lucy and Sam have known each other since they were kids. Literally, children. I think they met around the age of eight and even were boyfriend & girlfriend in middle school. Lucy knew at a young age that she and Sam were going to marry one day.
Their ceremony was so special. They had so many personal touches and there was not a dry eye in the house. As they said their vows, the sun glistened across the James River behind them.
We were blown away by the Upper Shirley. This was our first time at the venue and we hope we are lucky enough to go back. It was such a stunning venue to capture and to celebrate Lucy & Sam's love. (the food is really really good by the way... and their late night snacks are even better!)
Scroll down and see more images from Sam & Lucy's end of summer wedding!
xo Chelsea & Andrew
The first day of June, we captured Christina and Ben's wedding. We had been looking forward to capturing their day, not only because they are amazing people, but Christina + Ben are wedding photographers.
Nothing is more fun for photographers to capture other photographers. It is rare for most photographers to take the time to get their own photos taken. We are too busy capturing other peoples moments that sometimes we don't slow down to capture our own. It was really special for us to capture their day, their love, and the people that came to celebrate them.
congrats again! - chelsea
Ceremony location: The Manor House at Kings Charter
Florist: Rose Ave Florals
Reception Space: Virginia Fine Art Museum
Two weeks ago a heat wave hit most of the country. I was honestly nervous to shoot a family session with the heat index of 115 degrees. But, this sweet family braved the weather, and brought tons of water to stay hydrated. I am so glad we stuck it out because the images we were able to capture were just beautiful.
My heart and soul is completely autumn. I have such a hard time in the summer. Summer and I have a complicated relationship. I know once we reach summer we get to capture so many beautiful moments. The farmers market opens and I am able to plant flowers, and food in our garden. But, once July hits I am ready for my relationship with summer to come to an end. I have to hide inside, blast the ac, pull on a cozy blanket and go to my happy place. But, summer likes to surprise me. Even on a day where it's 115 degrees, she reminds me of her magic, her light, and her beauty.
Thank you to our friends, the Gonzalas family for having us capture another year in their lives! - chelsea
no one plans for rain on their wedding day. I know there are many brides out there that break out in hives thinking about rain on their wedding day. but, I think people forget how truly romantic rainy wedding days are. I know I may be biased because I did get married outside in the pouring rain, and also, rain is my favorite weather.
annie and brian did not plan for the rain. we all prepared to sweat our bums off in the warm may sun. but, the rain decided to invite itself to their wedding.
hearing the bride and groom say their vows amongst the sound of the drops of rain, gave me chills. watching brian wipe tears off his eyes while watching the rain hit his shoulders, it felt so intimate, I felt like we shouldn't of been watching.
it was truly a magical sight to witness. they promised to always be best friends. they danced, ate grilled cheese, and you see, the rain didn't ruin their wedding day. no, the rain was just apart of the celebration.
congrats again, dear friends!
xo chelsea + andrew
we met chelsea and hunter on a rainy evening in alexandria over a year ago. they have been together for ten years and they have this sweet comfortable energy when they are together. they had told us that they were both introverts (our kind of people), and they didn't want a big wedding. with the events of both of their sisters getting pregnant, they decided to move their summer wedding to early spring. instead of having the large guest list that they originally had, they decided to just have 15 people to be there to witness their union.
their wedding was such a special day to be apart of. they both got ready at the beautiful line hotel in D.C. they not only chose the hotel and wedding venue because they were both stunning, but the locations were just mere blocks away from where they first lived together in d.c. i loved the sweet nostalgic touches to their day. the wedding venue, which is a restaurant, was the first restaurant they fell in love with when they moved to the city. and i have to say, lapis was amazing. not only was the aesthetic gorgeous, but the food was incredible! i highly recommend that you check it out when you visit d.c.
chelsea and hunter grew up together. it was perfect that chelsea's best friend married them, she is both childhood friends with the both of them. she saw their love story unfold and it was truly touching to hear what she had to say about her old friends.
scroll down, sip on some warm tea, and look through chelsea and hunter's intimate wedding. i hope these images make you feel cozy and also touched by their sweet love.
best, chelsea and andrew
over the weekend I drove to charleston to capture my little brothers engagement photos. I feel so honored to have been the one to capture this sweet season of their lives. welcome to the family, taylor!
keep scrolling below to see more photos from my short trip to charleston!