Kendra | Missing 4 Pieces of Her Heart

Kendra, Wife & Mother, Age 37

"When I had three perfect pregnancies, I didn't think it would happen to me. I really didn't know about miscarriage and what it was all about. May sound dumb to some, but I didn't. I even threw away the miscarriage pamphlet they handed out. Because I didn't even think about it.

I really enjoy being pregnant; the good, the bad and the ugly. If I could, I would have six kids and be a surrogate.

When we found out we were pregnant with our fourth baby, we were so excited! I went on Pinterest and made little fabric pieces and put them on a spool and stamped on them and tied it off with twine to announce it. Little did I know at 10.5, almost 11 weeks, I would lose that baby..and the first piece of my heart.

That was the most heartbreaking, horrific thing I've ever gone through. The things I saw and the amount of blood, was so very sad, and honestly scary. I was scared. I remember that day so vividly.

I wish I could forget it.

My baby died. It was gone.

You think, did I do something? Maybe lifted something that was too heavy, or didn't eat correctly. Did I drink enough water? So many things come to your mind that maybe it was your fault. I believe in God, and feel that baby wasn't perfect and He needed that baby more than us. I didn't like it, but I still had faith that He knew what He was doing.

I was angry, scared, and sad. What if I didn't throw away that pamphlet?

I just want to say, I am so very thankful for our other babies, that's not a question at all. People who know me can see that. But it doesn't make it any easier when a miscarriage happens.

I have now had four..I can't believe that. My most recent was last week, at almost 9 weeks pregnant.

I can think of some things that I am thankful for, because in this I need to see some good. I am thankful I wasn't farther along, that I am alive, and that I got to see the heartbeat at 5 weeks and 6 days. Even though I've had many, I still question it and wonder if people are thinking, "Why can't she keep a baby?" Or other thoughts that people probably aren't even thinking.

I am sad, very sad. I enjoy being pregnant. I feel like I could write a book about what we've gone through. One day, I would like to sit and write it all out and keep it for me.

I do want to say, I have an amazing family. My husband also lost all of those babies, and I am thankful that he helps me get through this. I am thankful for the 4 sweet children I do have (including one rainbow baby), and I am thankful for numerous family and friends. I'm not the only one who goes through this, it affects us all.

I hope by talking about my story, that it'll help another woman speak about her story. It does help to talk about it. My story isn't better or worse than anyone else's, but it is my story.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone, it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through."

This Is What 34 Months Looks Like | #momentsofmotherhood

This is what 34 months looks like.

From the moment we found out we were expecting our first child, to being weeks away from welcome our third. 34 months worth of stretch marks, 34 months of having no clothes that fit, 34 months of being completely bat shit hormonal.

But I've also had 34 months of the hardest love I've ever loved, 34 months of nurturing our future, and 34 months of knowing exactly why I was put on this earth. It's not always pretty, but it is always beautiful.

10 Minutes With My T3i (and a $150 lens)

We all want what we don't's human nature.

I get asked (often) what I shoot with. Most people are surprised to hear that in my bag is a 60d and a Rebel T3i. I don't have any super fancy lenses, I don't know the next thing about the speed of my memory cards (who knew that was a thing?), and to be honest, I use my kit lens (18-55) a lot.

Yesterday, I grabbed my T3i, my 24mm 2.8 lens ($150 on Amazon) and my newborn (he'll be a month on Friday already..what??) and took some pictures. Why? Because I hadn't used that camera since July, the light in my bedroom was super yummy, and I had the idea for this blog post.

As a Canon user, I long for a Mark III..who doesn't? But, it's not in our budget. We are a one-income household with 2 babies in diapers. I'm lucky to get a Starbucks on the rare occasion that I get out of the house to go grocery shopping (did you know that kids and husbands have to eat every day?).

Yes, my 60d is my every day camera..but I do use my T3i for a backup. Both are crop sensor cameras, with limited ISO capabilities, and like 18 megapixels or something. The "fanciest" lens I own, is a 35mm 2.0 (which I love).

We live in an old trailer house, with lots of crooked walls and confined spaces. I can't get too far back for most photos, so when I saw that Canon was coming out with a 24mm 2.8 pancake lens for $150, I was ecstatic! It was a splurge for us, and I hate spending money on myself (I actually ordered and cancelled the order 2-3 times before I finally convinced myself I deserved this lens).

When it first got here (at 8:00 PM, so I had to wait until the next day to play with it..thank you UPS), I gave my daughter a bowl of cookies, put her in a spot of light in our kitchen, and took 300 pictures. I wasn't expecting super sharp images, or nice bokeh, or anything spectacular really. I was just happy to have a wide angle lens, because I'm a huge fan of getting the background into photos..I think it tells so much more of a story. 

I was surprised at how well this lens performed. 

The more photos I shared, the more comments I got. I get messages every day from people asking my settings for a photo, or how I edit. This tells me that I'm doing something right, which took me a long time to accept (sometimes I still don't). 

I have been a photographer (I hate calling myself that) for a few years now. When I started, I didn't know what I was all. I just had a fancy camera (my first was actually a point & shoot). When I finally figured out any real photographer has a DSLR, I saved up for my T3i (actually I think taxes paid for most of it). I thought I was now amazing. Turns out, Auto Mode is amazing. 

Then 2 years ago, my husband told me I could get a new camera for my birthday. I was so excited, but had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know there was such a thing as a crop sensor or a full frame. Had I known, I would have went with the 6d..not the 60d. Never the less, I was in love with my new "baby". But..I was still using Auto Mode.

I took some time off from photography while I was pregnant (2 years in a row). I took a few photos here and there, but didn't have the time or energy. 

In August of last year, we moved into our new home..our first home as a family (said 1970 trailer house). It isn't much, but it's ours..and luckily it has A TON of windows. 

I started seeing the light..literally. I saw the light coming into our home in a whole new way, and I forced myself to learn Manual Mode, because the photos I was getting in camera, were not what I saw in real life. So I Googled and YouTubed everything I needed to know about ISO, shutter speeds, aperture, and white balance. Finally! My photos started to look like what I saw in real life. 

My camera didn't get lenses didn't get better. I got better. 

Would I trade all of the gear I have now for a Mark III? Absolutely (duh). But that's not going to happen, so I will keep mastering what I have (that's the key point here, so I'll say it again..MASTER WHAT YOU HAVE).

I learn something new every time I pick up my camera. I embrace the grain I get from my low ISO capabilities, I contour my body into freakish postures (this doubles as my daily yoga) to get interesting angles and make my small spaces work for me, and I put my whole heart into my photos. 

If you do that, you can't fail at photography. A camera can (and probably will) let you down. But if you know WHY your photos aren't looking like you want them to look, you can fix them. And that knowledge, is priceless.