Category: Maternity

Lifestyle Generation Portrait Session | Ann Arbor Michigan Photographer

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the messy, the beautiful, the generations: documented.

These sessions blew my mind with how raw they are looking back on them.

I mean, as a mother, these are the moments I long to be captured for my future grandchildren… and I’m so thrilled with being able to deliver that to these Mother’s from the Mom & Me Lifestyle Mini Sessions in Ann Arbor this past weekend.

Isn’t motherhood, so often times in the unexpected?

The days when you’re at your wits end, and the sweet little voice of the babe you grew comes to your rescue?

Or, maybe screams on the floor for the 100th tantrum of the day.

There is so much life brought into these photos.

Letting go of perfection – the expected – in pursuit of something that looking back, will truly make your heart tick.

I love the ages + stages that were brought to these sessions.

Mamas who are expecting, mama’s who’s hair has turned silver, holding the hand of their most treasured relationship they’ve found in their daughter.

The toddler years, the potty training years, the years of “no” and the years of life wishing to go back to those moments when they first held their baby in their arms.

Ages and stages – all walks of life.

But, that’s what it is…. that’s what these photos capture.


The fragility.

The Beauty.

The Mess

The Journey.

Generations of Motherhood.

blessings, dayna mae



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Studio Mini Sessions // Ann Arbor Lifestyle Photographer

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I love documenting life stages for my clients.

The “mini” everyday moments are worth capturing – and if your looking for a “reason” to take family photos  – here it is.

These “mini” everyday moments are ever so fleeting.

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The Process + The Promise // The Heartbeat of Adoption

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This story isn’t the easiest to write, but from it, some of the most raw, real and emotional work of mine emerged to the surface, and from it,  I feel the heartbeat of adoption can be heard.  Which all started with Jon and Courtney, being willing to out of humility and vulnerability, share their story…
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Our Birth : The Struggle // The Healing // Our Miracle

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I finally have the courage to write this, solely because last night was the first night our little Luella slept in her crib through the night. And like that, I feel like I’ve somehow arrived. As a mother, and as a human being.

Okay, well maybe not yet…and hopefully not ever… but all the momma’s out there can do a happy dance with me, as this is a HUGE and first of many accomplishments as a new mommy! So, today, as I emerged from the depths of my spit-up stenched ruffled duvet cover, (that many days, I burry my head into) a new courage arose that told me today was the day to document how far we’ve come, and to celebrate the wins…

…To celebrate the wins…


2016 is my year to celebrate the wins.

I had always imagined the heart flutters I would feel the moment I saw the look in my husbands eyes when he saw our first child. What my heart would feel. How I would feel, seeing the man I so deeply loved and treasured, as daddy for the first time. What I didn’t imagine was the way our story unfolded, and the battle that we encountered (which as parents were the first of many…) to get to the place of the heart flutters I’d dreamed of.

Every woman especially in the last month, at one point or another thinks of her birth. Whether in fear, or anticipation, it is something that we think of, prepare for and as Christian women, pray and believe for.  That’s what we did. During my pregnancy, I came across the single greatest resource, “Supernatural Childbirth” by Jackie Mize. It revolutionized my way of anticipating my birth, and our story. I knew what we were believing for, and my husband and I stood on several of the truths in this book. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was created for this, that my body was created to do this, and I was chosen to be a mother to the little peanut I was about to meet.

But our story isn’t just about the perfect little one we get to call ours everyday since then.

It started with a struggle, a fight, and an emotionally devastating battle that only now, I am beginning to let myself heal from.

Believing for something can be scary, and telling others can be a shot to the heart when things don’t go as you believed. We were believing for a natural, vaginal birth to welcome our little girl into the world. I am thankful for doctors, and wisdom, but all in all My God knows my body better than anyone, simply because He created it.

18 hours had come and gone of natural labor. I was a walking shell of myself, as my body was dialating to prepare for Lucy’s arrival. My husband, and our moms & papa bear waited in the room with me, not recognizing the girl who would soon bring their daughter and grand-baby into the world. I fought, I kept fighting, and burying my soul into God’s Promise to me. That He was there, holding us, and I knew Him as my Good Father.

I knew Him as MY Good Father.

So when did that change?

When did I let that change?

When did MY circumstances,  allow the door to open, and falsely change His goodness in my life?

The moment I took my eyes off Him.

After those 18 hours, and dialating to a 9.25 naturally, my body began to give out. Luella had a fighters heart like her momma (something I prayed for) but her heart began to weaken. Her heart rate dropped to below 50’s/60’s – and instantly 12 nursers and doctors rushed into my room. At this point, I was laboring in  a position where I could not see the panic that struck their faces. All I could see was my husbands face. I spiked a fever of over 102, followed by Lucy’s fever, and instantly they put me on a breathing machine.

A c-section was never in our plans. We hadn’t talked about it. It wasn’t what we were believing for, and then- my midwives and doctors said the word, and a little piece of inside my heart broke.

I felt it. Every part of it. Broke.

“We need to get you to the operating room immediately for a C-section.”

I had put it off twice. I cried. I let fear in, and demanded everyone leave the room, except my husband.

Tears filling my face, and my words slurred from the breathing machine that was hugging my swollen face, I looked at him- saw his heart breaking for me, and he said the most profound words that brought my heart so much peace and back to a place of reality.

“It’s not about the birth it’s about our baby.”

Instantly, my heart changed, and I knew it was our only option. My husband prayed over me, over Lucy. Then there, in the hospital room as our sweaty hands gripped tightly together – we took a stand against fear, and fixed our eyes back on The One who had and still has an extreme calling on our little girl’s life. We were in agreement, and “where two or three are gathered in agreement, there He is in the midst.” (Matthew 18:20)

He was there. And we felt peace.

Luella Mae was brought into the world October 23, 2015 at 10:31pm // 6lbs 13oz // 20 inches long.

Moments following my labor,  I had a defeat I could not shake. A defeat I had never heard anyone speak of. A defeat that felt so deep, I gave into the lie that I had failed. I chose to believe that. If God created my body to do this, and if I knew what I was believing for, why did it end up this way? The words my husband had spoken and prayed left me, and once again I let fear and doubt fill my soul, and dim the promise God had given me.

No one understood. I felt alone. A feeling I could only describe to others as like running a marathon, pushing through the hardest peak, then 100 yards before the finish line breaking your ankle and having to be carried across.

Carried across.

I felt I had failed.

I felt like I had been robbed of something my body was created to do.

What I felt in my heart, became lie I believed.

No words from loved ones could change the feeling I couldn’t shake. Tired, emotional, and broken, I looked at the little girl that moments before was forcefully removed from my abdomen,  my internal organs were laying on a tray beside my body, and then she came, and was ours. I felt broken. I was scared. and I felt like I had failed.

How could that be?

It all stemmed from a lie I believed.

The words to a worship song sang from the depths of my soul as the words cried to my weary heart,

“You’re a good good father, it’s who you are… and I am loved by you.”

I let my circumstance for what I was believing for dictate His Goodness, almost as if He had let me down.

But He hadn’t. His promise was there holding me as I cried out in honesty to Him.

His Promise was there as we were re-admitted into the hospital, and feelings of failure were tempting to rise in my spirit again.

His Promise was there, as the grace needed to extend to our marriage was covered in the depth of love we have for each-other ONLY from knowing HIS infinite love for us. His Promise extended to us when we needed that grace for each other.

His promise was there, at our 4am feedings, as I felt guilty as I looked down at our little angel, feeling like I was nursing a stranger.

His Promise was in the gentle words of a close friend who told me how amazing I was, that I basically went through two labors, with fully dialating naturally, then having a c-section. Who, then also told me I needed to give myself grace. His Promise was in her words.

His promise has restored the part of my soul that felt robbed. As I look down at the greatest gift He has given us, aside from His Son, and fall more and more in love everyday. I celebrate the WINS as I know, through our circumstances that look dark, or as lies we believe cloud our perspective, He is MY Good Father, and I’m infinitely loved by MY creator. His plan for me is good. He can be Trusted with the deepest part of my soul, and He is the restorer of all things the enemy tries to steal.

So, please. If you are reading this, spouses, loved ones, mothers, mother-in-laws, friends, family..  If you are out there- if you have or know someone who as carried a baby, had a c-section, a vaginal birth, a natural birth, any form of birth…

Do not tell her she is another number for doctors to tally as they get payed more for c-sections, it won’t help her heal.

Don’t tell her that C-sections are easier and that she’s lucky she “didn’t have to push”, it won’t help her heal.

When the new mom in your life comes home with the miracle she’s been carrying, help her heal.

Don’t dismiss her cries of help, or take personally the temporary abandonment to the relationship you once had with her, as a sign of her weakness. Help her heal.

She’s relentlessly fighting to “bounce back” to the woman, wife, friend, and daughter she once was, and she’s not sure yet how it will look different…so for now, help her heal..

For my Husband:

Thank you. Thank you for being my voice, when mine was shaken and afraid.  Thank you for believing in me, from the moment we said “I do” and from the moment “mommy” became my new name. I see you. I love you. I appreciate you and your dedication to our family.  Thank you for knowing the depth of my beauty,  as I don’t recognize the woman that looks back at me in the mirror, yet. But because of you, I am able to love me again, and I am beginning to see a glimpse of the me you’ve seen since we started dating 10 years ago. That, that “me” deserves to be loved and nurtured by others, but more importantly, by herself.  Thank you for showing me that.

For our Parents:

There are no words, other that you are amazing for how you’ve supported us, loved us, and showed us how to do the same for our first little girl. Having you a part of this journey with us is something we will never regret.

For My Creator:

You made me, formed me, and laid out each journey of my book before I was born. From my Mother’s womb, you have chosen me, and your love has called my name. The sacrifice of your only son, has never been more real to me, than from the moment I had a child of my own. Suddenly, I’ve felt the depth of your love for me in an infinite way, as you are restoring what was stolen from me as part of our birth story. I trust you. I am Yours, and your love for me goes beyond what I can see in my natural circumstance. Thank you for allowing me to be a vessel to encourage, and for allowing me to feel a beauty that goes beyond a mirror,  and for the first time in my life, feeling as beautiful as you made me.

For My Lue: 

My saving grace, has been you. The way your eyes connect with mine is like a string to the deepest part of my soul, and I have a feeling that will never leave. Your floppy ears saved me at our quiet 4am feedings, as we tried not to wake daddy. Thank you for showing me, that I am enough for you, that mommy and daddy are enough, and that together in this moment, our family of 3 is made complete with you.

blessings, dayna mae + a weee little one staring at me wide eyed wanting me to snuggle her, so today, I will do that.

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Special thanks to our dear friend Mishelle Lamarand for capturing these images, along with my husband for having a camera, but not living behind it during delivery. I love you both, and will be forever grateful for these images.

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