Remember that giveaway I did awhile back? Well today’s blog post is the winner’s beautiful garden maternity shoot! The fact that Emily and Alex won is pretty crazy. When I decided to do the giveaway, it was sort of last minute and not any super planned out marketing strategy. I was sitting in our church one Sunday and I just felt like God put on my heart to do a sweetheart session giveaway. I didn’t know why or if there was actually a reason, but I decided to do it! I mean I absolutely love sweetheart shoots and who doesn’t want free pictures? Even as I was putting the promos together and deciding how it would all work I just felt like someone had a story to share and really needed this. Originally I was thinking people could send in their stories and why they wanted a shoot and I would just pick one, but eventually figured I would leave it completely random! If this really was the Lord telling me to do a giveaway, He would make sure the right couple won, right?
Well let me just tell you, He did. When I met with Emily for some Mexican (my favorite food and her pregnancy craving, it seemed fitting) I was telling her all about the shoot and asked if she had any questions. She said she actually had one, it had been a pretty long journey to get where they were today and they had been wanting to find a platform to share their story. She was wondering if I would be willing to let them share it on the blog. My jaw pretty much dropped and I could not believe how God worked this all out! Their story is one of heartache and ultimately joy. I will let Emily tell it below.
Before we get to their story, I wanted to say how much I loved getting to work with these two! They are so easy to talk to. I was actually really sad when the shoot was over because I was having so much fun hanging out with them (we’ll have to go grab some more Mexican food!). I knew Emily in high school and we have both come a pretty long way since then! Meeting Alex I could just see how great they are together and how excited they both are for this sweet baby. Little Zeke Voorhees is going to be so loved (And one seriously handsome baby)!
And last but not least (then I will let Emily take over, I promise!) I wanted to send a HUGE thank you to Valerie from Valerie Hammer Make-up Artistry! When I posted about the Giveaway, she reached out and offered to gift her services to the winner as well. What an awesome blessing for this momma-to-be! Seriously she is so talented and I will now be hiring her for her make-up tutorial class (yes she does that, best bachelorette party idea ever). If anyone is looking to get their makeup done for their shoot, look no further!
And now for Emily and Alex’s story, written by Emily:
Hello, y’all! We are Emily and Alex Voorhees and we’re so excited to be the winners of Chelsea’s Sweetheart Shoot giveaway! Chelsea and I actually went to high school together in good ol’ Great Bridge but had not seen each other for a few years, so getting to “re-know” her through this whole experience has truly been a pleasure. When Chelsea and I met up over Mexican food to talk about the vision for the pictures, we learned that not only had we both gotten married on the same day, but had also honeymooned at the same time, same place, and only one resort over! As if the professional makeup and incredibly fun photo shoot in celebration of our baby boy were not enough of a win, I was so happy (and a little nervous!) to be given the opportunity to share about our journey of growing our family.
After a lot of thought and prayer, Alex and I felt ready to begin our family at the beginning of 2016. We were thrilled to find out in May that we were expecting our first baby! After telling our immediate family we began planning out the rest of our lives with this tiny human. We were so excited! In July at a routine ultrasound, we found out that we had lost our sweet baby girl, Abigail Elizabeth Voorhees. Devastation overwhelmed us. I had never known that someone so small could fill up such a huge place in your heart, then just like that, could be gone. We struggled with the sting of life moving on around us as we mourned the future we had envisioned with our sweet baby. In early fall, we were once again filled with anticipation as we got those two pink lines and found out we were pregnant with our second baby. We finally felt that things were turning around for us until we sadly learned we were losing our second baby too. Overcome with broken hearts, we had to lean more into the support of God, each other, our family, and our close friends more than we ever had before. We trusted that God was going to fulfill his promise of a full and healthy family, but began to realize it was just not in the way that we thought or anywhere in our idea of our “perfect life plan.”
Only in God’s perfect and completely unexplainable timing, we quickly became pregnant again. Those two tiny pink lines brought along a whole mix of joy, fear, and anticipation. We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming our son, Ezekiel Alexander, at the end of July and are happy to report that he is perfectly healthy. Each kick is a reminder of the beautiful life we are bringing into this world. With each passing day we have to choose to not let anxiety and the “what if” questions overwhelm us. This journey has taught us so much about pain, loss, and choosing hope over fear. We have learned to trust God through grief (which is so hard to do!), and rejoice in His promises in our excitement over this baby. My sweet Zeke, you are so wanted and loved on this earth already, and I know that you have two angels shining down on you each and every day.
My hope in sharing our story is to help others see that they are not alone in this chaos we call life. The day to day happenings are all part of this bigger unseen picture that falls somewhere in between our “Pinterest-perfect” ideas and “crying over a bottle of wine with your girlfriends” reality. I encourage everyone to share their story, and find freedom in their own journey of healing.