Postpartum depression

Norah Jean | Preemie Strong!

Norah Jean | Preemie Strong!

Hello Miss Norah Jean!

This sweet babe was born 11 weeks early and weighed only 1lb. 15oz. For almost three months she fought hard in the NICU. You may remember her big brother, Lathaniel. He’s a fighter too! I know there are so many woman suffering from being trapped in the NICU with their precious babes. That’s why I asked Dallas if she wouldn’t mind sharing her story.

Rocco's Birth Story


I am so thrilled to share my very last birth story with you guys. It was exactly what I had prayed and hoped for and God most certainly delivered - no pun intended! lol


On Tuesday, June 27th 2017, my due date, I woke up around 6:30am having contractions every six minutes apart. Oh, how they were SO welcomed!!! The last three weeks of my pregnancy was so, so hard on my body. I felt like every step I took was an act of God due to the pelvic pains I was experiencing. I don't miss those at all!!! 

That morning I went down stairs to sit on the couch, watch my fave show, Forensic Files, drink an iced coffee and contract!!! I started timing them and was really getting excited with how consistent they were. My friend Arlissa sent me a text asking if anything was happening and I was totally stoked to share my progress. After an hour of contracting, I decided to go take a shower in hopes that I would need to make the hour long journey to the hospital soon. Unfortunately, when I got in the shower my contractions halted. I was SO bummed. 

Later that day Trey, the girls and I headed to our office in downtown Monroe. My contractions started to pick back up and got a little closer too! When I mentioned it to Trey he suggested that we go have dinner in Athens. This would put us even closer to our hospital just in case we needed to go. Cheddar's was at the top of my list! I ordered the veggie plate and oh boy the contractions started to get EVEN CLOSER! Three to five minutes apart! I was logging them in an app on my phone. I would start a contraction, finish it, take a bite of food and then another one would start. I could barely finish my meal. When we got up to leave, an older couple next to us asked me when my due date was. I replied, "It's today!" She then let me know that her husband was a retired OBGYN! 

When we left the restaurant Trey was ready to check into the hospital. I was reluctant. I felt like my contractions weren't close enough. He called my midwife and asked her opinion. She said "Come on. I'll have a room ready for her." Her concern was that I would go super fast! With RyAnne I labored six hours and with Olivia I labored three. 

Once we arrived at the hospital, around 8:00pm, guess what?! My contractions totally stopped! Ugh! I wanted to go home right then and go to sleep. lol Trey wasn't having that! We went ahead and got checked in. Once my midwife checked me, she determined I was dilated to a six/seven. She offered to break my water and assured me I would go super fast if she did. This wasn't something I had planned and I wasn't interested. I really wanted my body to do this on its own. 

We called my mother-in-law and my friend, Arlissa who was in charge of photographing our birth, to let them know the deets. They both made their way to Athens to be with us and the girls. My contractions were here and there and pretty strong all night. They just weren't consistent enough to make anything happen. That night, I didn't sleep well at all. I was SO mad that we were all staying the night at the hospital. I was uncomfortable, I didn't have my body pillow and the nurses were coming in to check mine and Rocco's vitals so often it was just waking me up. 

No one slept well that night. Trey was crammed on a tiny bed with Olivia. RyAnne was somewhat comfy on a recliner chair. Arlissa slept on the floor. My mother-in-law slept in the waiting room chair. Oh, I am SO sorry you guys! 

The next evening everything felt like it was at a stand still. I was now dilated to a seven/eight but no contractions in sight. One of my sweet nurses recommended using a breast pump to stimulate contractions. I was totally game and boy were those contractions for real! However, still not enough!!! 

So here we are headed into day three at the hospital and still no baby boy. I was going out of my mind!!! My midwife, Amy, came in that morning to check on me at about 4:00 am. I was already awake sitting in bed, looking around my room seeing my friend and family zonked out in the most uncomfortable conditions. I was feeling so guilty. Amy checked me again and let me know I was still dilated to a seven/eight. She offered to break my water, just as the other midwives did. I told her I needed to think about it. 

I got out of bed and woke up Trey. I asked him to walk around with me so we could discuss things. I have not ever had my water broken. It's always happened on its own. So this was kind of scary for me. My fear was that if my body didn't start contracting after my water was broken that I would end up needing a cesarean. Surgery scares me! After Trey and I discussed it, we met up with Amy in the hall. I had so many questions for her and she had ALL the answers. She was incredible. She explained that one of the reasons my contractions weren't very productive was because instead of Rocco’s head pressing my cervix, my bag of water was pressing on it. It created a cushion and decreased the amount of pressure I needed to open my cervix. I decided to go for it!!! I said a bunch of prayers and then it was go time!

It was quite relieving feeling my water pour out. About an hour after my water was broken my REAL labor began. I got out of bed to use the restroom. While sitting on the toilet, I realized how amazing it felt to not have any pressure under me and to feel my legs being supported by the seat. So, I decided to stay there and labor! lol While sitting there I felt Rocco's head start to move down lower. In mind my I started freaking out because I couldn't get up and I didn't want to have my baby boy on the toilet!!! I tried calling for Trey but the door to the bathroom was shut and he couldn't hear me. Plus, my contractions were on top of each other and my voice was strained. 

I grabbed the towel next to me and threw it on the floor. I made my way to the floor and got on all fours. The urge to push came over me SO strong! About that time Trey opened the bathroom door to check on me. I told him to come in with me. My midwife also came in to check on me. She has the sweetest, softest voice. She said, "Holly, we can totally do this in here. All I need to do is get my things set up. Or you can get in the bed. It's totally up to you." I didn't want to have my baby boy on the toilet OR in the bathroom!!! It took me a while but thankfully I made my way to my bed. I stood at the end of my bed with my hands on the mattress feeling the most intense contractions. Standing up put all the pressure on my cervix. I wanted to be on all fours on my bed. It took two attempts for me to get on my bed as my contractions were taking over. 

Once on all fours, my body was shaking uncontrollably, and I could feel his head!!! Oh, it was so incredible and welcoming!!! I knew I was about to meet my baby boy!!! My midwife, gave me the most gentle instructions. "Holly, give me an easy push. Good job." With the pressure being so intense I thought for sure I had already delivered his head. I asked my midwife if his head was out and she said no. Oh man. She poured oil over me and gave me more sweet instructions. My breathing was super controlled and I hummed my sweet boy's head out. I could hear his sweet cries!!!! The contractions stopped long enough for me to have a little break. 

I could feel wiggling. He was trying to wiggle his way out and the urge to push became SO strong. I refrained from pushing and allowed my contractions to do their thing. Amy, then told me to gently push my baby out. When I delivered him I quickly flipped myself around in my bed and Rocco was placed on my chest. I threw my head back and ugly cried my eyes out!!!! 

He was crying and breathing ALL on his own!!! I held my baby boy so close. He was covered in beautiful vernix and felt so warm. The nurses were so kind and only checking his heart beat and lungs, offering warm blankets to us both and a hat to Rocco to keep in his body heat. I loved how "hands off" my midwife and nurses were! Thankfully NO medical intervention was needed and they just allowed me to love on him AND cry!

After his delivery, his umbilical cord, which at first was a beautiful purple/blue, had turned to a yellow color. My midwife, Amy, informed us that all the blood that was in the cord was now in his body. He received all that fabulous iron rich blood and it was time to cut the cord. RyAnne got to cut his cord from me and Trey finished cutting through. I then delivered my placenta. Amy asked if I wanted to see it. Heck yes!!! It was beautiful! She showed us each part of the incredible organ my body created and grew our baby in. 

About an hour and a half after delivery, I was starving! I asked Trey if he would get me some breakfast from downstairs in the cafeteria. Trey, his mom and the girls made their way to the restaurant. Shortly after they left, my body started to ache. I couldn’t stop shaking and starting feeling intense pains! My nurse came in to check my belly. As she pressed on my belly she could feel a huge lump forming. I could see in her face that it wasn’t a good thing. She said she would be back with the other nurse to check me. As soon as the other nurse arrived she told me she would have to push on my belly. She said I was forming blood clots and she needed to get them out. The only way to get them out was to PUSH on my belly - really hard! The pain was more intense than giving birth to my baby boy!

As my nurse was working hard to get these blood clots out of my body, she realized I was beginning to hemorrhage! I could feel blood pouring out of me and my body started to feel so lifeless and limp. They took Rocco off of my chest and REALLY started working on me. They began calling for a doctor and asking for specific medications to be delivered to my room. I received two bags of petocine, a shot in my leg, and more medication through my IV. I thought I was dying, yet in the midst of hearing the doctors and nurses rushing around and calling out orders to one another I was calm. I remember telling God, “If this is it, I am good to go!” Arlissa was the only one in the room with me as all this was happening. She held my hand. This was reassuring and what I needed in that moment. 

Once my blood clots were gone and my doctor had my bleeding under control, they gave me something for my pain. With Rocco finally back on my chest, I laid there and took a breath and cried. I thanked God for keeping me alive! I thanked God for my nurses and Doctors! I thanked God for my healthy baby boy! Once everything was under control, Trey and our family walked back into my room from picking up breakfast. He walked in to a room full of nurses and doctors and me looking very pale and weak. I was so thankful that our girl’s didn’t have to see their momma go through that scary situation!

Aside from how horrible that situation was, his birth was SO perfect!!! And I'm so thankful that God allowed my last birth story to be so incredible!



What is your God Given Talent???

My sweet boy, we have come so far. My depression cost us a lot of bonding time but the good news is we have now until forever. . .I love you.

My sweet boy, we have come so far. My depression cost us a lot of bonding time but the good news is we have now until forever. . .I love you.

It's been on my heart to ask you this,

“Have you ever prayed that God would reveal your “God Given Talents”?”

I know that's super random and you're probably like, "Holly, what does that have to do with photography or learning how to shoot better?" That question and that same prayer is how I found out I was supposed to be a photographer! 

Way back when I was about 16 weeks pregnant with our first baby, RyAnne, I joined a ladies Bible study group. Stacey, our group leader, asked us if we all knew what our God Given Talent was. I was sitting in a group of ladies ranging in age from about 24-50 and they ALL knew exactly what their God Given Talents were! Me on the other hand. . .UHHHHH, nope! Notta clue!!! It saddened me that I didn't have one single idea! So, I started praying and asking God to reveal it to me. Several months later and after I gave birth to RyAnne, I became very depressed. Postpartum depression crept into my mind, body and soul and took over my every being. It was one of the hardest times in my life. 

In December, when RyAnne was about eight months old, I was still suffering through my depression. Two weeks before Christmas my husband surprised me with an early gift, my very first DSLR camera! I had no initial intention of starting a business at that time. Heck, I didn't even know how to turn on my new camera or even know where to put the battery!!! BUT two months after receiving that gift, God made it very clear to me that I was to open a business and become a professional photographer! Without hesitation, I DID IT! It's been the most incredible journey too!! I've been blessed with serving some of the most incredible couples and families over my SEVEN years as a photographer and I hope there will be many, MANY more years to come! 

If you follow along with me on social media, Instagram and/or Facebook, you will know I have tried to be open about my PPD journey after having our son Rocco last June 2017. When he was about three and a half months old, it all came flooding back. This time even worse. It's been one of the hardest things to overcome, but I am finally seeing the light at the end of this dark tunnel! I started back working in the office this January. Although I have done some great things over the past few months for my family and work life, I have felt as though I was just meandering along. Doing but not really knowing the "WHY" I was doing it! So, I found myself praying again. . .

“Lord, what is my purpose? What are you preparing me for?” 

In March, my sweet neighbor Brittany, randomly sent me a text asking me if I wanted to join her that evening for a new workout class that had just started up. I was ALLLLL about it!! For one, any excuse to hang out with Brittany was a YES and two, getting to workout - YES and YES! The class was like non-other I have ever been a part of. Chelsea, our instructor, started off the class asking for prayer requests. I remember thinking, "Hmmmmm, that's different but I like it!" As the weeks passed and we all started getting closer and closer as a group of STRONG ladies, I asked the ladies to pray that God would give me guidance and make my path clear! They prayed for me several times this same prayer for guidance. 

It's been on my heart to find a charity that I have a passion for. So, I started praying, asking that God would lead me to the charity that he knew I would be able to contribute to and also be passionate about. This past Saturday, while folding laundry, it hit me like a ton of bricks! God made it SO CLEAR to me. . .I need to find a charity that contributes to the research of Postpartum Depression!!! NEXT, I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my very empty journal and starting writing!! Chapters and excerpts and a layout for a book started flooding my mind!!! And there is was. . .I am to write a book about my postpartum depression journey and donate 10% of the proceeds to a charity that will help the research towards PPD!!! WHOA!!! 

I wanted to just let it marinate and settle in before I announced to my husband that I am going to be writing a book! The next day, Sunday, I was ready to tell him. . .but for some reason I couldn't! I literally started sweating every time I went to tell him! I am not ashamed, just nervous that he thought I was crazy! EEK! AND, it was my first time actually speaking this to anyone. Several failed attempts and several chocolate bars later (YES, I was eating my emotions!!!), finally, Rocco was asleep, the girls were riding their bikes, Trey and I had just stepped into my office and I asked him to have a seat. Yep, he looked at me like, "Uh oh! What is it???" 

I went into my story and he sat and listened. I cried and talked and talked and talked. . .Mostly out of nerves and excitement. Once I finally stopped talking, he said, "Holly, I don't care what you do. I support you no matter what!" 

Have you ever prayed this prayer and asked God what your talents are? 

I am very excited about this journey and where it will take me AND others too. I'm so thankful for all of your prayers!! This feels like such a huge responsibility, writing about something that is so dark and deep. My prayer. . .

Lord, Please guide me through this journey of writing out my story. Allow positivity and hope to shine through all of the darkness that I will be discussing. Please allow my story to bring hope to many women who are suffering this battle!

I hope my story inspires you to ask God. . .

Happy Tuesday!


Rocco's First Easter + PPD Update!

I hope everyone is had a wonderful Easter with their friends and family! This year is Rocco's very first Easter celebration! Look at how adorable he looks in his little bow tie!!!! Trey didn't want him to wear that cute little bow tie. . .Deanna and I snuck it on him for photos though!!! Oh my goodness!! I'm so in love!

This year we went super non-traditional with our menu and served Tacos! My mother-in-law picked up some of El Charro's famous cheese dip and it was OH-so-good!!! And of course my sister-in-law, who is also an amazing baker, made some yummy desserts! We ate so good and then I had everyone go outside for photos! haha, Maybe that was bad timing! Eating MEXICAN and then photographs! Suck it in folks!

I know this is on the more serious side. . .but now that I’m getting back out there, lots of you have been asking me how I’ve been and I really appreciate you guys thinking of me! When Rocco was four months old, in (October 2017) I was hit really hard with postpartum depression. We were actually on vacation with our brand new family of five when it all started. I cried the entire trip - all SIX days! I felt SO guilty for crying every day and that guilt made it all feel so much worse!!! I felt like such a burden to my family, steeling their joy at one of our FAVE places - the beach! I was a mess and I pretty much stayed that way until the end of February 2018. 

That’s when I started focusing more on work and that really helped me! I also stopped nursing as much (we are down to only once a day now). This made me sad and happy all at the same time. Rocco never nursed very well. Heck, he hardly drinks a bottle well! He just seems so unhappy and frustrated with drinking anything. It’s taken a lot of pressure off of me but put pressure on me as well! I nursed both my girls until they were over a year old. I wanted to nurse Rocco that long and I've felt guilty for not nursing him as much. I just wanted to experience the same closeness I did when I nursed my girls but with Rocco too. I started feeling like a failure AND a burden. . .I wanted to end my life. I thought about it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I just felt like if I wasn’t around then my family would be happier.

During that time a lot of changes were happening. My gym of over four years stopped offering childcare. That meant I couldn’t workout because I didn't have anyone there to watch Olivia and Rocco. I lost my “gym family” and my routine! Although, I hadn’t been going super regular due to Rocco waking about three times in the middle of the night ( I was too exhausted) in my mind it was the routine I would return to when he did start sleeping! The thought of losing ALL the things that seemed normal totally rocked my world!

I started praying that God would bless me with a NEW normal AND QUICKLY!!! Shortly after praying for this, I decided to do The Juice in the Raw Cleanse. I wanted to do something totally for myself! I felt amazing after the cleanse! The very next week my sweet neighbor Brittany invited me to workout with her in a new group that had just formed! And then two weekends after that my girlfriends and I went on a girls trip to Helen, Ga.! God was so good to me!! I needed ALL of those events to happen! I seriously feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off of me!!! I feel like me again!

This has been one of the hardest PPD journey's for me! I have been so incredibly frustrated with myself! Although I've experienced PPD before and I knew this wouldn't last forever, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel! I doubted everything about myself and my confidence dropped off the face of the Earth! It wasn't until I started praying for healing AND was open to it, that my life started to have light again!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their continued prayers, support and love they have shown me over these really difficult months! You guys are SO incredible and I love every single one of you!