Jayme & Ezra in the Studio | Seattle Family & Motherhood Photographer
Motherhood Interview and Light Sweet Mother and Child Photos in my Seattle Studio
I am so honored to share Jayme’s motherhood story today. She is still relatively new to this whole mom thing, but she is obviously an incredibly thoughtful and loving mom. Her birth story and the way she overcame the trauma is inspiring and incredible. I was so happy to have her and Ezra (OMG HE IS SO CUTE) to the studio in Seattle a few months ago. I have now photographer her in her home and in the studio and I am proud to say that Jayme didn’t used to be a photo person- but now she is a total convert, even encouraging her fellow PEPS moms to get in the frame. I love a good family photography evangelist. Thanks for taking up the cause, Jayme, and for sharing with us:
Jayme on motherhood:
Where did you grow up and how would you describe your upbringing?
I grew up in Lake Stevens with my mom, dad and little brother. I was a free range kind of kid. We lived on a farm and my parents just let me do my thing. As a little girl, I ran naked through the fields and played with the animals til dusk. As a teen, I learned to navigate my polar opposite parents; mom being a bra-burning hippie and dad being a type A control freak. My folks still live up at the farm and I now bring my little guy up there to meet the animals.
Tell us about your family and where you live now, and how you spend your days:
My husband Stuart and I live in Bothell with our son Ezra. I'm adapting to a very different lifestyle as a stay at home mama. I'm used to constantly working, running around all day and planning packed weekends away with friends. Now Ezra and I are finding our rhythm. I'm loving our quiet mornings, daily outings and playtimes together. I've struggled to figure out the dark rainy days stuck inside with a busy boy, especially difficult when he's sick. I'm reminding myself to soak it all in, because I return to work in the fall, and I know I'll look back on this year and miss it. Stuart is working full time, but when he's home, he's a hands-on dad. Our days are still packed, just in a different way now, in a better way now.
Your birth story sounded pretty terrifying- would you tell us about it? Do you still feel traumatized? Or even like something was taken from you in those early days?
Ezra was due May 22nd, but decided he was comfy, and stayed in until May 30th. On the 29th, the doctor wanted us to come in to check on the baby. After measuring my amniotic fluid and deciding that there wasn't enough for him to hang out in there any longer, I was induced. Good thing we packed the carseat and hospital bag! My body was being stubborn and my cervix wouldn't dilate. It wasn't until the next day, about 15 hours later, that things started progressing. My induction was ramped up and I went from 1cm to 10cm in 45 minutes. I had about 24 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing (I cant even imagine). Right as Ezra started to make his debut, a doctor came in and said we have to do a c-section. The cord was wrapped around his neck and he was losing oxygen with every push. I was devastated and scared, but I didn't have a minute to process this because doctors and nurses flooded the room in preparation for the surgery. Once Ezra finally arrived, I was so high and sick from the drugs that I barely understood what happened. It wasn't until early the next morning when I woke up and saw two tiny eyes gazing at me from a clear sided bassinet, that I realized that I was a mom. He was perfect and I was in love.
Fast forward to 5 days later. Our new little family was enjoying our morning together when I started bleeding. It was a lot. Stuart called 911, but I was pretty calm. I assumed this was a standard postpartum hemorrhage, I'd have a D&C, and be back home soon. I was wrong. After being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and having several doctors say "I don't know what is this is", I was sent up to the labor and delivery floor where I spent the next 7 hours in the most intense pain of my life. While the OB doc was trying to figure this out, a nurse was performing compressions (think CPR) on my fresh c-section incision to keep me from clotting. I'll spare the gore and let you imagine what this looked like. They were pumping blood into me as fast as I was losing it. It was like a nightmare, all of these people running around, yelling, the doctor telling me I might die. I just stared at the ceiling and focused on breathing while my husband and new baby were crammed in the corner of the room, watching. The doc decided to call in an interventional radiologist. This guy saved my life. He basically injected me with the human version of Fix-A-Flat to stop the bleeding... and it worked. Or at least it stopped it for the time being. Turns out I had an aneurysm on one of my uterine arteries that had burst. The next few days were spent laying in a hospital bed, so swollen I couldn't move, my husband milking me and feeding the baby, very glamorous. Doctors and nurses coming in and out and saying some version of "Wow, we've never seen this" or "I can't believe you're alive". 4 days later, they sent me home. I had to wait 2 weeks for a CT scan to see if my body had built my own scar tissue. Longest 2 weeks of my life. My husband had to go back to work, so I spent my days staring at my sweet little baby who needed me while I tried to process what had happened. Looking back, I realize that I was going through some intense PTSD and anxiety, and sometimes now, I still get waves of the anxiety. I felt a huge relief when I got word that the CT showed that my body was healing and the bleeding shouldn't happen again. I don't have many mom friends, and certainly none that had been through something like this, so I stupidly turned to the internet to see what was normal for postpartum recovery. Much different from the info floating in cyber world, my recovery was gruesomely long. It took 3 weeks for me to finally eat solids, 5 weeks to walk without help, 8 weeks to drive, and 9 weeks to stop wearing diaper-sized pads. I'm a very active and independent person, so that recovery was my own personal hell. Comparison is the thief of joy, but I was so guilty of it then. I was comparing myself to other new moms that were posting their outings on instagram, wearing their pre-baby clothes, looking rested and drinking wine. Meanwhile, I was on the couch wondering if I would make it upstairs to refill my water bottle. So yea, I do feel like I missed out on parts of the early stage of motherhood. My mind was so consumed with all the what-ifs. I was writing things down and organizing things around the house so if something did happen to me, my husband wouldn't be completely screwed. I know, that's messed up and sad.
But now, here I am. I'm the happiest I've ever been. I'm obsessed with my little guy and I would do alllll of that all over again just to have him. I can't imagine my life without my son.
Did you always want to be a mother?
Yes! Growing up, I was never interested in marriage. Even though I dated all through high school and college, I never fantasized about a fairytale wedding. (Of course that changed when Stuart and I got together!)
My dreams were of raising a child. Exploring and playing together, and seeing the world through innocent eyes. Being a mom was what I always wanted. I was always more interested in adoption. Having a biological child felt selfish to me. Stuart and I both agreed on this, but somewhere along the line, we mutually decided we'd give the whole biological baby thing a try... and here we are! Adoption is definitely still a possibility for our future.
Did becoming a mother change the way you see yourself?
Um yes! In every way. I feel so powerful and strong as a mother. I used to take my health and body for granted, and now I love and appreciate what this body has done. I'm definitely not saying I don't have body image issues that I battle, I fight those demons daily. But I am in awe of what I've accomplished, and legit shocked that the universe has entrusted me to raise this little human. I see myself as a protector, provider and nurturer now, a role that is like nothing I knew before.
What excites you the most about being a mother?
I get so excited when Ezra sees something for the first time and I see the wonder and curiosity in his eyes. Or when he develops a new skill and looks at me like, "Woah, did you see that?!" my heart just melts. I can't wait to see how his character develops and who he becomes. I'm SO excited for each new step. I catch myself saying that I can't wait for him to talk, but I have to remind myself how cool it is right where we are.
What keeps you up at night?
Ugh, everything. Is it normal to worry this much? I used to be such a good sleeper. Now I lie awake and think about all the possible things that could harm Ez and how I can prevent them from happening.
Do you have a good support system?
I'm getting there. My family lives about 40 minutes away, but I don't see them much, and I definitely don't get their support. I don't have a relationship with my dad and my mom comes around every now and then, when she feels like it. Honestly, that has been hard. I thought my mom would be more present, but getting her to spend time with us and building a relationship with Ezra has been a lot of work on my part, and she usually flakes out.
I decided to join PEPS, through that, I've met a few other mamas and we get together monthly. I have a great group of gal pals, but only one has kids, so I'm the odd one out these days. There are times that I feel so isolated and lonely.
I've met a few other moms that are awesome and have been so supportive. So slowly, I think I'm building my mom circle, and the more I do, the more sane I feel.
How old is Ezra and what is he into these days?
Ezra is almost 11 months old! I know every mom says this, but it is going by way too fast! I'm spending my days chasing him around. He's a crawling machine. He loves to practice standing up, but not quite walking yet. He's such a smiley little guy. His soul is just so sweet.
Do have any specific fears or hopes with raising a son?
This is a scary time to raise a child in general. How can I foster an environment that embodies positivity in such a dark time? I want to raise Ezra to be open minded, kind and brave to be himself. I fear the day when he get's told that boys shouldn't cry, or that he needs to toughen up.
How would you describe your parenting style?
I think my parenting style is a mix of well-read and laid back. My idea is to read up and be prepared for the next step, but relax and have fun with the kid. I want to provide a structured environment so that we have harmony. But I also want to make fun and exploration a priority.