I spent the better part of 2011 & 2012 photographing everything that came my way. We were a single income house hold during most of that time and desperately trying to pay off things and save for the beach house. While working full time at the Grange, I managed to photograph over 20 weddings during each of those years. That’s half my Saturday’s wiped out just with weddings…. don’t forget about all those portrait sessions too. I’m a firm believer you must love weddings in order to shoot them for an extended period of time. They wear on your body, your mind, your time and your relationships. I’m beyond thankful I have a husband who supports and embraces this life, and has joined me through it.
2013 was strange, and hard in many ways. I’m sure outsiders looking in saw a young couple, with a shiny, new, vacation home. Happy, happy, happy. What you didn’t see was the illness, the struggling business and all the emotion with it. On the outside, it looked like one of the happiest years ever. There were many wonderful times though, don’t think their weren’t. Building a custom vacation home is a dream, one that many don’t achieve. I know we are blessed beyond explanation. During the start of 2013 I found myself nauseated….we would be riding down the road, and it would hit me… freezing temps and all, I would roll down the window and do my best to breathe. I never once got sick, but I sure felt like I should have. April arrived and we decided it was time to start a family. The house was nearing completion and it was the next step for us as a family. I excitedly quit taking birth control. I thought for sure by the end of the summer, I’d be pregnant. August came and went with no sign of a baby. I was feeling worse than ever, but found it difficult to go to the doctor and say “um, I just don’t feel good”… I felt like they would stare at me wanting more idea of where to start looking for answers. So, it wasn’t until it was September and my cycle had gone haywire and I was still not pregnant that sent me to my doctor. A round of blood work later didn’t show too much so she sent me to an OBGYN, where I was told my thyroid levels were borderline high (nothing crazy) but she was going to put me on thyroid meds to get my number down, and start me on clomid to force me to ovulate (I’d taken those ovulation tests, and never got a positive)…. now… I’m never good at taking meds…. but I knew the clomid was going to be important to take correctly, so I did. With the little “importance” that seemed the thyroid issue, I didn’t do well taking that pill (I took it about 3 weeks and kind of quit). Well, needless to say, I didn’t get pregnant that month. I also experienced a panic attack for the first time. This was so incredibly scary, and I was sure that it was because of the clomid/thyroid medication they had me on…. so even stronger than before I wanted far away from meds… so I looked to alternate methods and did some acupuncture treatments. Christmas came, and my sister knew something was wrong, thankfully my she talked me into going back to the doctor. They retested my thyroid and it was higher than ever. She immediately doubled my dose, this time I listened…. and tried to educate myself on hypothyroid issues. I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned that it effects your circulatory system (my feet & hands were always freezing), your digestive system (hence the nausea), your reproductive system (no baby) and your mental health (panic attack). All things I had experienced now were making sense.
In the middle of all this revelation, I found myself pregnant. I found myself pregnant and very likely miscarrying all within 24 hours. I’ve always heard that emotions run off the chart when babies are growing inside, but never really knew what that meant. Now I know that it means you’ll mentally prepare yourself for something, and when it actually happens that preparedness goes out the window. You’ll cry your eyes out at the nurse who comes to check your blood pressure. You’ll shut down with anxiety when you mind isn’t “busy”.
So for many people who have contacted me regarding their weddings and I was “unavailable”… it wasn’t because I was booked solid and couldn’t take on one more (quite the polar opposite, actually) it’s because I need some me time. I need time to heal, in order to get back to being the busy-bee personality I had been before last year. I’m so very thankful that 2013 was a “slow” wedding year for me, the Lord knew I would be struggling and needed time. The frustration was all because I didn’t believe in His plan. I wanted my own plan to work out.
I am by no means stepping away from weddings, I love them just as much (or more… I cannot wait for a wedding this weekend in Pawley’s Island!) than I ever have, but please know that my health, marriage and family come first. Dates are marked off my calendar for family time this year and I’m so flipping excited. I’m sorry to all those July brides who I’ve turned away, that month will be spent basking int he sunshine as much as possible.
I’ve found it difficult to share all of this publicly (and to be honest, many of my friends and family don’t even know about all this) but I’m thankful that I’ve found some answer to why I’ve felt so terrible and know that there may be someone else struggling with thyroid issues and not know it. Baby or no baby, I’ll still be shooting weddings and loving every moment, I’ll just be more purposeful about what & how I spend my time. I feel like this “in between” we are experiencing is halting us from living. We make decisions based on the life we think we want or our supposed to live, instead of living the life we have.
When I was in my early 20’s I had no qualms about picking up and going. Anywhere. Being a responsible adult & wife has hindered us a little from spontaneous-for-no-reason-fun. Hence, the sudden decision to island hop to Aruba this fall. I feel like we are sitting in limbo (probably many of you do), with so many things. We don’t know where the Lord will take our jobs, family or life…. but we’re in.
I saw a quote this morning on Instagram that I thought was fitting…. “Be all in, or get out of the way, there is no hallway”