Category Archives: maternity

In April I blogged about a local community outreach project that I worked on called the Rainbow Baby Maternity Event. This event featured seven local mothers that had lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or death in infancy and were carrying their “Rainbow Baby”. A Rainbow Baby is ‘The rainbow at the end of the storm, the light in your life’. The storm being the miscarriage/still birth/infant death & the rainbow being the baby they have successfully carried to term without problems/complications. I blogged each mother’s story individually to highlight their beauty and perseverance despite such heartache. The purpose of this series is to shine a light on this sensitive subject, and hopefully help other mothers going through the same loss to be able to open up about their experience and begin the healing process.

Rainbow Baby Mommies dressed in pastel colors of the rainbow while pregnant.

I worked closely with several vendors to help make this event extra special for each mommy. I brought in The Wave Salon & Spa to do hair and makeup to try and make the moms feel pampered. They had 3 of their artists come in on their day off to donate their services for this cause, with one even being the owner of the salon. I reached out to several vendors to request donations for the event to try and personalize their swag bags and make them feel like they were not just another story in a sea of tragedies. Heart and Arrow Boutique donated customized newborn onsies with each mother’s due date and rainbow baby graphic, KNOTSLLC donated newborn beanies with cloud graphic with RAINBOW hand-stitched on it, Dock-A-Tot donated a deluxe safari dock to raffle! Also included in the swag bags were Gift Certificates to Maggie Mae’s Cafe, a homemade sugar scrub made by Jennifer Norton of Semonin Realtors, a hand etched wine glass by Specially Yours, a dozen fingerprint cookies in rainbow colors from Sweet Stuff Bakery, and discount codes to Basic Invite and Made by Mary. They also received a $100 discount for a newborn session and 20% off of a custom album from my studio! As if that wasn’t enough, they also received a FREE 20″ x 30″ x 1.5″ thick canvas of their favorite images from the day’s shoot from Canvas HQ!

I think all of the mommies-to-be looked absolutely stunning! A special thank you to Light Box Louisville for donating your studio space to shoot this series in1

Rainbow Baby Mommies dressed in pastel colors of the rainbow while pregnant.

Lastly, we drew for a FREE Newborn Session with my studio, Jennifer Rittenberry Photography! Sheena Ford won this grand prize and we just photographed her sweet little baby boy, Jayce, on July 6, 2017! I’ll be posting his session images to the blog soon, but here’s a sneak peek!

Mount Washington KY Rainbow Baby Photographer | Jennifer Rittenberry Photography | www.jlritt.com

You can read each mother’s story by clicking on the hyper-linked names, but here are their comments about how this special day has affected their lives. When I first read each one, I can’t tell you the overwhelming joy it gave me to see that I actually helped someone throughout this process. I am so humbled to have been able to play such a small role in making their tragic journeys a little brighter.

Heather Cronin:

This experience was definitely a once in a lifetime type that I will always cherish and remember! Being 39 weeks pregnant, I was at the point in my pregnancy where I certainly wasn’t feeling very pretty, but thanks to Jennifer I got to feel beautiful, and have pictures of myself feeling the most beautiful I had in a long time! After losing two pregnancies this baby was extra special to my husband and I, and it was so wonderful to get to document it both with pictures and with telling my story. My losses weren’t something I had ever hidden, but also wasn’t something I openly talked about that often, so getting to share this with friends and family was very freeing. I also LOVED getting to meet Jennifer, the other six girls and getting to share all our stories; I feel like we all genuinely care for each other and will rejoice in the births of each of our babies!!

Amanda Page:

What Jennifer did was amazing not only for the mommas who got to be apart of the event but also for family’s all over who are suffering with the loss of baby. This event Jennifer did brought 7 women with completely different backgrounds and stories of how they are currently carrying their rainbow baby. Each story from each mom shows the world that infant loss and rainbow babies happen in many different ways and to so many different people.

This event not only allowed me to be pampered for the day, receive amazing photos of my rainbow baby bump, and bring awareness to a topic that no one speaks about, it did so much more. It allowed me to realize I am not alone and I don’t have to suffer my miscarriage in silence. People might not always know what to say but they care and other people who have experienced infant loss know the pain and suffering you are struggling with. So from this event I was able to realize it’s okay to talk about what happened and it’s okay to be celebrating my rainbow baby!

When Jennifer posted my story and photos on social media from this event, the reactions I received were amazing and beyond what I expected. They brought me support from people who were unaware of my miscarriage and that my baby I currently have is my rainbow baby. It also had others who I was unaware was suffering a loss come out and share their stories with me. This event over all was amazing and a blessing to be apart of. Jennifer is very talented and was able to make memories none of us will forget.

Amanda Kuntz:

The Rainbow Baby Maternity Event that Jennifer so lovingly put together was such an amazing experience. Meeting other women who have also experienced a loss, that were so open and willing to talk about their experience was beautiful. Miscarriage, infertility, and infant loss is rarely openly talked about, so seeing the outpouring of love and support from all of my family, friends, and even strangers was heart warming. I’m so happy that Jennifer choose me to share my story and be a part of something that will hopefully raise awareness, but most of all help another woman who is silently struggling with her own loss.

Louisville KY Rainbow Baby Maternity Photographer

Leslie Savko:

What a great way to showcase and bring light to something that no one talks about! I honestly myself didn’t know what a rainbow baby was till about a year ago. I loved how Jennifer brought all 7 of us women from all different walks of life together and with all different experiences. I absolutely loved getting pampered for a day and getting my pictures taken. The whole experience is something I will never forget! So grateful there are people out there wanting to give their own personal time to tell our story for others to hear.

While at the shoot it was more like a celebration than anything! When each blog came out about each girl I bawled my eyes out. Not every woman has a happy ending unfortunately. By the grace of God I feel like I do and am so appreciative of it. I hope the blogs that Jennifer had put together with the photos has helped someone get through or at least talk to someone about their loss.

When Jennifer posted my blog on social media I had such an outpouring of support and others telling me their stories. All around an amazing experience and feel so blessed to be apart of it.

Rainbow Baby mother posed in a white studio wearing a rainbow colored tulle dress.

Sheena Boggs:

I truly hope the concept of Rainbow Baby Maternity Events catches on and spreads like wildfire! It was a tremendously thoughtful thing for Jennifer to organize and orchestrate an event to bring awareness in such a bright and happy way to such a dark place. As anyone who has experienced any kind of loss knows, the aftermath is completely uncharted territory…being pregnant after a loss is extremely difficult to navigate. Inside, somewhere deep down, I wanted to celebrate this baby but the fear of the unknown and the million “what if’s” were weighing so heavily on me. By participating in this event I was given a chance to not only celebrate hope but also encourage and support others. It was like a broadcast saying even though bad things happen and we never really know why..there can also be good blessings.

I feel like each woman was truly heard. The pictures were beautiful and the accompanying story was an extremely personal ‘behind the scenes’ look at the heartache that lead to that moment in time. So precious! All of our stories were different, and by having a platform to share, our community was made so much more aware of the helpful things to say or do to support women after a loss. I’m sure some people were also made painfully aware of the things they may have said or done that were hurtful, but hopefully this gives everyone an opportunity to grow and to better understand, love, and support bereaved mothers!

Sheena Ford:

The Rainbow Baby Maternity Event that Jennifer did for us was such an amazing experience. Everything was provided for us from light breakfast, snacks, to our hair and make up, to our outfits to awesome gift bags filled with goodies. I felt like a model, which being pregnant and the biggest I have ever been in my life is a lot to say.

Being in the room with the other girls and knowing that we had all been through the same thing, you could feel the pain that we all had from our experiences being lifted just from being surrounded by people who had experienced the same thing. That for me personally was the first time in my “rainbow” pregnancy that I felt fully understood, which was insane to me because I had never met these women, but I felt so supported and understood by them. Words honestly can not explain this feeling. I would have never shared my miscarriage story with the world if it wasn’t for Jennifer putting on this event for us. When my story posted to the world I was terrified. This was something so personal and tragic for me and it was out there for the whole world to see, but the comments from family and friends were beyond what I could have imagined. So many people opened up and said that they had experienced loss or that my story helped them understand how someone they knew who had experienced loss felt and what they were going through.

I will never be able to thank Jennifer enough for this experience!

Nikki Falvey:

The Rainbow Baby Maternity Event was an extremely special experience for me. It was so encouraging to meet all of the other mamas who have been through infant loss and yet were baring signs of hope in their full bellies and smiling faces. We fell into easy camaraderie right away and bonded quickly over our shared experiences. I am somewhat of a tom girl and hadn’t had my make up or hair professionally styled since high school prom, but I felt like a princess getting made up and pampered by the lovely ladies at the event. Topped off with the lovely, feminine dresses Jennifer made each of us, I felt royally arrayed, like a lily of the field.

Jennifer’s friendly demeanor put at ease my self-consciousness in front of the camera. Even though she had so many mama models to shoot, she still made me feel personally seen and significant. Her sharing of our stories on her blog has also been a healing process for me; to know that my family’s first-conceived child is being remembered and celebrated even in the face of our loss is a huge blessing. I have loved reading each of the Rainbow Mommy’s stories and was so encouraged by the outpouring of support I received after people read mine. This event and the resulting pictures and blog posts have played significant roles in my healing process. I am so grateful to have been included!

Final Thoughts:

One of the most important things I have learned through this whole process is that these babies are forever in their mother’s thoughts and no amount of time or other joys in life will ever take away the longing for their child to be with them. They leave a whole in the hearts of the parents they left behind that can ever be filled. It’s really difficult for someone that has never experienced this tragedy themselves to fully understand what these woman have gone through, and continue to go through on a daily basis, but I hope you can take away some knowledge about how to address the subject in the future after reading each of their stories. Women that have lost a baby don’t need to be handled with kid gloves or avoided because you don’t know what to say. Just talk to them and really listen. They want to talk about their child and tell you about how wonderful their love for them is, just as you would want to about your own children.

I want to personally thank each of these courageous women once more for being brave enough to share their stories. I know the pain is there and never goes away, but through your willingness to open up your hearts and souls to your community, you have forever changed me in the process. I have a newfound respect and admiration for this silent community and hope that we will desensitize the subject so that more mothers out there can start to heal. You ladies will be on my heart for decades to come and have enjoyed watching each of you give birth to your new bundles of joy over the last few months. 5 of the 7 have reached their due dates and had successful deliveries with healthy babies. We are just praying that the remaining 2 women have just as successful births. I’m definitely watching and praying everyday.

More about the photographer:

Louisville KY Newborn Photographer, newborn session, maternity photos, baby pictures

Jennifer Rittenberry Photography is an award winning photographer based out of Mount Washington Kentucky. She has been photographing clients throughout the greater Louisville area since 2010 and recently acquired a brick and mortar studio space in the heart of downtown Mount Washington. Jennifer is passionate about her work and strives to achieve the highest level of excellence in her work, which has earned her a Click PRO status with Clickin Moms Magazine and elite membership with NAPCP. She is also a published artist in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and Newborn Photographer Magazine, as well as named 2016 Parent’s Choice Award winner for her fine art portraiture. In 2013, she focused her client base to Newborn and Maternity as she created a niche for herself after mentoring with three of the nation’s leading photographers in these industries. She has spent countless hours on continuing her education and sharpening her skills each year with the sole purpose of creating beautiful artwork for her clients to share with their families and preserve as precious heirlooms for generations to come. Located in Central Kentucky, her new studio is only 6 minutes from the Gene Snyder Freeway off the Bardstown exit, and only 6 minutes outside of Louisville. Jennifer Rittenberry Photography session fees can be found on the website but detailed pricing and availability may be requested by email using the contact form.

You are welcome to connect with Jennifer Rittenberry Photography by following my work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER so you can be the first to know about any upcoming portrait specials, mini session events, and other news!

We have MOVED! As of May 1, 2017 we are now located at 1200 North Bardstown Road – Suite 1-A, Mount Washington, KY 40047. Get in touch at (502) 523-2180!

I’m so excited to share with you the beautiful images from this Crestwood KY Milk Bath Maternity Photo Shoot. As you may recall, Amanda was one of the mommies that participated in the Rainbow Baby Maternity Event back in March. I was so inspired by this event that it awakened a creativity in me that needed to be expressed. This type of session is going to be permanently added to my client offering as well!

We shot this session in a previous client of mine’s home after she learned that I was interested in shooting a milk bath session in a fancy tub. As soon as I walked into her bathroom I fell in love with the entire setup! The gorgeous tub, the beautiful natural light and the vintage faucet were a symphony of perfection together in my book! Once my creative juices started flowing, I envisioned the same pastel rainbow palette and wanted to create something as soft and ethereal as the previous maternity event. I even whipped up this gorgeous rainbow halo the night before our session on a whim.

Creating the milk bath was easy! All we had to do was add a gallon of whole milk to our bath water and we were ready to rock!

The great thing about Milk Baths is that you can change them up so easily with the flowers and what your client wears during the session. You can opt for a nude belly and a bandeau top for a more organic and natural look. What you put into the bath also creates the mood for your session. You could change it up to be more Earthy with fern fronds or eucalytpus leaves. You can go with a color theme to announce the sex of your baby, to match your nursery and so on. The possibilities are endless and in the end you’ll have breathtaking artwork to hang on your walls!

If you’re interested in a Crestwood KY Milk Bath Maternity Photo Shoot, please get in touch via the contact form or send an email to Hello@jlritt.com. You can also book online here.

More about the photographer:

Louisville KY Newborn Photographer, newborn session, maternity photos, baby pictures

Jennifer Rittenberry Photography is an award winning photographer based out of Mount Washington Kentucky. She has been photographing clients throughout the greater Louisville area since 2010 and recently acquired a brick and mortar studio space in the heart of downtown Mount Washington. Jennifer is passionate about her work and strives to achieve the highest level of excellence in her work, which has earned her a Click PRO status with Clickin Moms Magazine and elite membership with NAPCP. She is also a published artist in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and Newborn Photographer Magazine, as well as named 2016 Parent’s Choice Award winner for her fine art portraiture. In 2013, she focused her client base to Newborn and Maternity as she created a niche for herself after mentoring with three of the nation’s leading photographers in these industries. She has spent countless hours on continuing her education and sharpening her skills each year with the sole purpose of creating beautiful artwork for her clients to share with their families and preserve as precious heirlooms for generations to come. Located in Central Kentucky, her new studio is only 6 minutes from the Gene Snyder Freeway off the Bardstown exit, and only 3 minutes outside of Louisville. Jennifer Rittenberry Photography session fees can be found on the website but detailed pricing and availability may be requested by email using the contact form.

You are welcome to connect with Jennifer Rittenberry Photography by following my work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER so you can be the first to know about any upcoming portrait specials, mini session events, and other news!

We have MOVED! New studio opens on May 1, 2017 and will be located at 1200 North Bardstown Road – Suite 1-A, Mount Washington, KY 40047. Get in touch at (502) 523-2180!

Nikki is the seventh and final mommy in our series of Rainbow Baby Maternity Photography Sessions. We’ll be sharing her heartbreaking history with infant loss and how she became a rainbow mommy. If you missed the first post with all of the Rainbow Mommies, you can catch it here.

Our Rainbow Baby is due June 24th. We are having a little girl, whom we have named Evelyn Maeve, “Evelyn” after her paternal great-great-grandmother and “Maeve” after the legendary Irish queen. We feel these names together embody strength and grace, two characteristics we wish for our little one.

My husband and I had been married for three and a half years, and had been trying for a baby for just as long, when we found out we were pregnant for the first time in December 2015. We had recently moved into our first home together, sans housemates, and were overjoyed to finally have the opportunity to establish our family and home. After so many disappointments, we were floored by the positive pregnancy result and immediately ran to the drug store for another test, just to be sure! As an archaeologist with a physically demanding job and as someone who deals with epilepsy, I was extra cautious and made sure to follow all of the pregnancy rules to a T. But, as we know, sometimes loss occurs despite our best efforts to mitigate it.

I had a minor epileptic seizure in mid February 2016, almost 12 weeks into our pregnancy. When we went to the doctor’s the next day to check up on Baby, she was unable to find a heart beat. An ultrasound revealed that our Baby had not grown since week 6 and was unresponsive. I had what is called a missed, or silent, miscarriage. I have never known such grief as I experienced in the next two weeks, dealing with the emotional, physical, and spiritual loss of our child. I know that we will see this Little One again one day and my only solace at this time was “Christ in [me], the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and my faith that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). I did not know why this calamity happened, but I trusted that I would survive it and I did not lose hope for the future.

Fast forward one year, and I am now 26 weeks pregnant with our Rainbow Baby, Evelyn Maeve Falvey! She has passed every medical test with flying colors and I am completely enamored with her every kick and wiggle! The year between losing our first Little One and conceiving Evie brought about some hard conversations and some radical moves to better prepare ourselves for parenthood. One month before we found out we were pregnant, we decided to move from our home in San Diego, California to Gallatin, Tennessee for a better quality of life and to allow me the privilege of being able to stay home and raise children when they came along. Though we didn’t yet know we were pregnant, we stepped out in faith trusting that if we re-prioritized our lives to raise children the way we feel called to, we would be blessed for our sacrifice. We have now been in Tennessee for about a month and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our baby girl in late June!

I had been open about my first pregnancy with family and friends–and Facebook–from almost the day we found out. I was too excited to keep quiet! Of course, that meant when we experienced the miscarriage, I had to be equally open with our loss. After sharing in a Facebook post, I was amazed and humbled by the outpouring of sympathy, love, and similar stories that flooded in from all different people in my life. So many women had had the same experience, but were not comfortable sharing about it with others, so were forced to suffer silently, adding a feeling of alienation to their grief. Since this experience, I have felt that it is important for women to know that there is no shame in a miscarriage. The feelings of guilt can be overwhelming, which is why it is so important to have a support system to lean on. The Rainbow Babies Maternity Event attracted me because it is a celebration of honesty and new hope, proof that the loss of a child, while always with us, can find redemption in the creation of a new life.

I think most people do not know how to react or what to say when confronted with miscarriage. It is so little talked about that few people know how common it actually is. It is difficult for many to fathom that the loss is as tangible for the parents as the loss of a birthed child.

The loss of our first child to miscarriage is the most grievous experience I have gone through. It matured me and deepened my faith more quickly than any other experience. I knew that I had a choice to be angry with God and slip into depression, or to trust His plans and try to learn from the pain. I lean on Him daily by reading the Bible, prayer, and journaling. It has made me more sympathetic to others who have dealt with miscarriage or with fertility problems. It also, in moments of weakness, made me more fearful in my current pregnancy; I spent the first trimester with pent breath, feeling at times that a second loss was inevitable. The pain never goes away, but it has gotten easier to manage with time and I am comforted to know that our Rainbow daughter has a big brother or sister with whom she will spend eternity.

Most people are sympathetically at a loss of words when they learn of my miscarriage. Some don’t seem to understand why it is such a big deal, and try to comfort me with the idea of future children. While well-intentioned, this misses the point of my grief: I am not grieving children in the general but MY specific lost child. Others take empathy a bit too far and treat me like a China doll, constantly asking how I am doing and telling me they know I will have children in the future. Again, they mean well, but the constant reminder of my greatest loss is not always welcome.
Some women share similar stories, which can be comforting, but can also be disheartening. A number of women told me about having 5 or so miscarriages and these stories always rekindle fear that I will never have a successful pregnancy. Stories of Rainbow Parents help curb that fear with hope.

In the future, I would like for people to respond with the understanding that this loss was the loss of a beloved child, not some sort of sickness effecting my body only. People react to the loss of a loved one differently, and sometimes I don’t want to talk about it as the pain is still to raw, but personally, I appreciate the chance to share my story with sympathetic listeners. Sharing allows me to memorialize our Little One and allows his/her short life to impact the lives of others.

If I could give any advice to a momma that is going through what I’ve went through, I’d have to say first of all, I am so so sorry for your loss. The pain you are going through is legitimate and it will take time to become fully functional in your daily life again. Know that what you are going through is not your fault. Don’t torture yourself trying to find where you went wrong or wondering if you are unfit to parent. There is a lesson to be learned through this grief, but it is not in beating yourself or your partner up. Be honest about your feelings with those around you and take the time you need to grieve. Reach out to friends and family when you need to; a solid support group is so important right now. Though it doesn’t go away completely, the pain will lessen with time. Try to focus on activities that minister to you and get you outside of yourself for a little while. For me, these are hiking and being in nature, for others it might be exercise or art or any number of things. These are healthy ways of coping with loss so that your Little One is not forgotten, but you are also not consumed by grief. Remember that your identity is still intact; you still have friends, family members, a job, hobbies, likes, and dislikes that define you. You are still a mother, but you are not only a mother. Finally, if you know Christ, run to Him for comfort right now; ask and it will be given to you (Matt. 7:7-11). If you do not, I encourage you to open a Bible (the book of Psalms or the Gospel of John are good starting points) and read with an open heart; the emptiness you are feeling can only be filled by your and your lost Little One’s Heavenly Father.

I personally want to thank Nikki and her willingness to open her heart and share it so freely with me, and now every single one of you. Our hope in sharing her story is to raise awareness about infant loss, miscarriage and still birth. Throughout this series you will read other heartbreaking stories as this, but the focus is on the strength these women have, their beauty and hopefulness for a bright future with their rainbow babies. I pray that each of these pregnancies results in happy and healthy babies!

Photographer Challenge!
I would love nothing more than for this concept to catch on in other cities and states with photographers to bless rainbow mommas! Not only does it create a sense of community, but it gives back with you sharing your talents with your fellow community members. So, if you take me up on my challenge, please hashtag #RainbowBabyMaternityEvent so I can follow your adventures, too!

If you’re looking for a Crestwood KY Rainbow Baby Maternity Photographer, please get in touch via the contact form or send an email to Hello@jlritt.com. You can also book online here.

More about the photographer:

Louisville KY Newborn Photographer, newborn session, maternity photos, baby pictures

Jennifer Rittenberry Photography is an award winning photographer based out of Mount Washington Kentucky. She has been photographing clients throughout the greater Louisville area since 2010 and recently acquired a brick and mortar studio space in the heart of downtown Mount Washington. Jennifer is passionate about her work and strives to achieve the highest level of excellence in her work, which has earned her a Click PRO status with Clickin Moms Magazine and elite membership with NAPCP. She is also a published artist in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and Newborn Photographer Magazine, as well as named 2016 Parent’s Choice Award winner for her fine art portraiture. In 2013, she focused her client base to Newborn and Maternity as she created a niche for herself after mentoring with three of the nation’s leading photographers in these industries. She has spent countless hours on continuing her education and sharpening her skills each year with the sole purpose of creating beautiful artwork for her clients to share with their families and preserve as precious heirlooms for generations to come. Located in Central Kentucky, her new studio is only 6 minutes from the Gene Snyder Freeway off the Bardstown exit, and only 3 minutes outside of Louisville. Jennifer Rittenberry Photography session fees can be found on the website but detailed pricing and availability may be requested by email using the contact form.

You are welcome to connect with Jennifer Rittenberry Photography by following my work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER so you can be the first to know about any upcoming portrait specials, mini session events, and other news!

We have MOVED! New studio opens on May 1, 2017 and will be located at 1200 North Bardstown Road – Suite E, Mount Washington, KY 40047. Get in touch at (502) 523-2180!

Sheena is the sixth in our series of Rainbow Baby Maternity Photography Sessions. We’ll be sharing her heartbreaking history with infant loss and how she became a rainbow mommy. If you missed the first post with all of the Rainbow Mommies, you can catch it here.


Sheena Writes:

Our Rainbow is due June 22 and is a little boy who we are naming Jayce Waylon.

My fiance and I had been together for a little over 7 years when we decided that we wanted to let mother nature take control of when we would have a baby. We had no clue that things would happen has fast as they did. It was the weekend of my fiance’s birthday and I had been feeling kind of weird, very emotional, dizzy and kind of sick to my stomach. I had not missed a period yet (was due for it the next day), but I just had a weird feeling, so I decided to take a test just to see. I wanted to make sure I didn’t misread the test so I bought a digital test. This should have been my first clue something wasn’t going to end up quite right. I took the first test and instead of a clear yes or no, I received a “?.” I was so confused; what did this mean? How should I feel? I didn’t know if I should tell my fiance or not with it being his birthday weekend and all, but I was just an emotional mess so I told him and we decided to take a few more tests.

To continue the emotional roller coaster over the next couple of days I took two tests everyday and one test would say yes and another would say no. Finally, about 3 days later we were getting all “yes’s.” We were so excited and shocked that we were going to have a baby. We decided to tell our families and they were so surprised and excited for us! We made our first doctor appointment, which to my surprise was going to be so many weeks away. Over the next week and a half I was still an emotional mess, dizzy and more tired then I have ever been in my life. I just figured these were all normal pregnancy symptoms. My fiance and I had not had sex since finding out and had finally decided that everything would be fine; pregnant women have sex all the time. I had some bleeding right after, which freaked me out so bad! It wasn’t a lot and I spent a lot of time researching online; I found out this was a pretty normal thing and that I was just freaking out over nothing. I had some slight bleeding for the next few days (again freaked me out, but I read was pretty normal). My fiance told me that I should just call my doctor and see what they say, so that’s what I did.

They told me to come in for some blood work just to check my levels. When I returned home from the doctor, that’s when it happened. I went to the bathroom and passed a large amount of blood, I called my fiance to come home from work right away. I called the doctors office immediately and they told me that it sounded like I was having a miscarriage, but that they could not confirm until the blood work came back. And if in fact that was what was happening that there was really nothing that could be done unless I was losing a large amount of blood. My fiance and I had never felt so alone in our lives; why couldn’t the doctors office give us more answers? How were we suppose to know if in fact this was a miscarriage? All we could do was wait and let my body do what it was going to do. The rest of the day was spent passing large masses that I just knew was our baby. It was the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life. The doctor office confirmed the next day that yes in fact my hormone levels had dropped and I was having a miscarriage. All I could do was cry and wonder why my body had failed me, why my body had failed my fiance.

I want other families to know they are not alone. I feel like a lot of people think that when there is loss that it is the fault of the parents somehow, which is completely wrong. I wanted to bring to light also just how much this also affects the fathers because they try so hard to be strong for us, they try to understand what we are going through, but it’s just so hard for them. My fiancé was my rock through everything and I could see the pain and confusion in his eyes, but he held it in to take care of me.

After our loss I felt like my body had failed me and that it was always going to fail me, that I would lose the love of my life because of it. I replayed that day in my head over and over again. I replayed every moment leading up to us finding out to see what I had done wrong. This daily pain didn’t go away until we became pregnant again, and since being pregnant there is not a day that goes by that I don’t fear my body failing me again.

“Oh, I’m so sorry” is the most common response I receive when someone learns of my loss. Honestly, there is no right or wrong response. It’s painful, it sucks, I still to this day have not had someone respond to me and felt like it was a good response. I feel bad for them because I know they mean well and they feel bad and I don’t want them feeling that way.

If I could give any advice to other moms that have suffered the loss of a baby, it would be to believe in your body and know that having a baby after a loss is possible. It’s OK to be pissed off, it’s OK to be sad and it’s OK to feel completely numb to everything around you. All of these feelings will pass. Grow from this experience if you can.

I personally want to thank Sheena and her willingness to open her heart and share it so freely with me, and now every single one of you. Our hope in sharing her story is to raise awareness about infant loss, miscarriage and still birth. Throughout this series you will read other heartbreaking stories as this, but the focus is on the strength these women have, their beauty and hopefulness for a bright future with their rainbow babies. I pray that each of these pregnancies results in happy and healthy babies!

Photographer Challenge!
I would love nothing more than for this concept to catch on in other cities and states with photographers to bless rainbow mommas! Not only does it create a sense of community, but it gives back with you sharing your talents with your fellow community members. So, if you take me up on my challenge, please hashtag #RainbowBabyMaternityEvent so I can follow your adventures, too!

If you’re looking for a Mount Washington KY Rainbow Baby Maternity Photographer, please get in touch via the contact form or send an email to Hello@jlritt.com. You can also book online here.

More about the photographer:

Louisville KY Newborn Photographer, newborn session, maternity photos, baby pictures

Jennifer Rittenberry Photography is an award winning photographer based out of Mount Washington Kentucky. She has been photographing clients throughout the greater Louisville area since 2010 and recently acquired a brick and mortar studio space in the heart of downtown Mount Washington. Jennifer is passionate about her work and strives to achieve the highest level of excellence in her work, which has earned her a Click PRO status with Clickin Moms Magazine and elite membership with NAPCP. She is also a published artist in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and Newborn Photographer Magazine, as well as named 2016 Parent’s Choice Award winner for her fine art portraiture. In 2013, she focused her client base to Newborn and Maternity as she created a niche for herself after mentoring with three of the nation’s leading photographers in these industries. She has spent countless hours on continuing her education and sharpening her skills each year with the sole purpose of creating beautiful artwork for her clients to share with their families and preserve as precious heirlooms for generations to come. Located in Central Kentucky, her new studio is only 6 minutes from the Gene Snyder Freeway off the Bardstown exit, and only 3 minutes outside of Louisville. Jennifer Rittenberry Photography session fees can be found on the website but detailed pricing and availability may be requested by email using the contact form.

You are welcome to connect with Jennifer Rittenberry Photography by following my work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER so you can be the first to know about any upcoming portrait specials, mini session events, and other news!

We have MOVED! New studio opens on May 1, 2017 and will be located at 1200 North Bardstown Road – Suite E, Mount Washington, KY 40047. Get in touch at (502) 523-2180!

Sheena is the fifth in our series of Rainbow Baby Maternity Photography Sessions. We’ll be sharing her heartbreaking history with infant loss and how she became a rainbow mommy. If you missed the first post with all of the Rainbow Mommies, you can catch it here. This story really ripped me apart, wrenched my guts and makes me cry every time I read it. I don’t know if I’m so affected because I’ve been following Sheena’s facebook page and read how she openly shares her heart about her loss, or the way she writes that brings you into her pain. I feel like I’m down in the trenches with her. But you’re getting fair warning. Proceed with caution AND Kleenex…


Sheena Writes:

I’m currently pregnant with a little boy, whom we’ve named Jaxon. Which means God has been gracious and shown favor. We are expecting to bring him home mid August.

I found out I was pregnant in December of 2015. Had a wonderful, trouble free pregnancy. I was one of those crazy ones who truly enjoyed pregnancy… blissfully unaware that things could go terribly wrong. We’ve been almost conditioned to believe that once you get through the 1st trimester you’re in the safe zone. She was due September 8th. On September 20th we had a non stress test to make sure everything was ok and that it was safe to still wait for her to come on her own. She passed with flying colors so we went home to wait. The very next day I went into labor and all was well until her heart rate plummeted, and then stopped. After delivering her they ran all kinds of tests… healthy babies don’t just die right? Evidently wrong. They tested me for everything, checked her and the cord and the placenta. All were healthy, no clots, no infections. No answers. Coming home from the hospital empty-handed was so difficult. Our house had never seemed more silent. We had expected our whole life to change, but things stayed eerily the same. We knew immediately that we wanted to have another child, prayerfully one that we could bring home. As scary as it seemed to possibly go through loss again, the desire to grow our family outweighed the fear. We found out I was pregnant again on December 5th. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried. Almost paralyzed by fear. You’re never really ready, but we just trusted that God’s timing would be better than us trying to figure out emotionally when we could handle it. His due date is August 15th. Making them Irish twins.

I saw Jennifer’s heart through her words. I want to support anyone who loves God and who wants to bring awareness to pregnancy loss. It’s been such a roller coaster of emotions and death is such a taboo subject, especially when it involves unborn babies. It’s uncomfortable and people don’t know what to say. But as mamas we want to talk about our children. We want them to be known and loved and remembered. If I can, in some small way, pave the road for kinder more thoughtful interactions for future mom’s… then it’s worth it to be a little uncomfortable sharing my raw pain.

I think that most people believe that a subsequent pregnancy ‘fixes you’ or is in some way a replacement. Shortly after Gracelyn died a man made a careless, casual, ‘helpful’ comment to, in his mind, encourage me, “Don’t worry, you are young. You can have another.” You can have another… as if she were a sweet treat to be indulged. A spilled bowl of ice cream. Don’t worry. You can have another. Just like the first. We can even make it better with sprinkles. Another. I hate that word. In the minds of most anything that’s broken can be fixed… anything that is lost can be replaced. You can always get another. I should have said while I will have more children (that is now evident by the wiggly little boy currently growing inside of me) there will never be another Gracelyn. Never. I will never have another her. I guess that’s what is so difficult to grasp. Most problems can be fixed. This, however, just has to be lived. People want you to be ‘better’ and assume a new pregnancy, a new baby is just the solution.

On the other hand I think many people…I’m ashamed to admit myself included, think that pregnancy and infant loss is a far away disaster that happens to others. A result of negligence. That you had to have done something wrong in your pregnancy for it to have ended in death instead of life. And maybe this time you’ll be more cautious. You’ll do better. The vast majority of the time it is through no fault of the mothers. None. She more than anyone has her baby’s best interest in mind. I never knew how (it makes me cringe to say) common still birth is. I don’t think me being aware would have changed my outcome, but it may have helped alleviate some of the terribly misplaced, overwhelming guilt. And if others knew, maybe they could have comforted me better.

I was so naive through my first pregnancy. I just knew that if I did everything right that she would be in my arms..happy and healthy. Now, I know that I’m not in control. It’s terrifying. His movements shouldn’t be regular yet, but every time I don’t feel him I’m gripped by fear. My doppler is my lifeline. I just need the reassurance that his heart is beating. On the other side, I have a great desire to not live in a constant state of fear. My husband constantly reminds me to give this pregnancy to God. People say ‘oh you’re so strong.’ I’m not. I’ve learned that His strength manifests in my weakest places. I’ve studied the Bible so much more and Heaven is now tangible to me. I know she is there and so it makes me Heaven-focused. I’m 6 months out and I wouldn’t say it gets easier, just more bearable. I love being her mom and if I focus on the fact that I had her, that I saw her face, that I love her, that she is mine and that God entrusted her to me for 42 weeks… that makes it sweet. I didn’t lose her, I know where she is. I wish I had a lifetime of knowing her here, but I will have eternity with her. I’m grateful for that. I would go through all of this heartache again, knowing the outcome, just to kiss her face and love her. I wouldn’t erase this.

Her life gave me so much perspective I never would have had. I know what matters. I know what doesn’t. I’ve learned who my true friends were, the people who ran towards the fire when my life went up in flames. I really feel like I should have worn a sign afterwards just to tell people my story so I didn’t have to. As much of an extrovert as I used to be, I avoid public. I’m changed and I haven’t quite learned who the new me is.

Most people, when learning of my loss, say I’m sorry and quickly change the subject. I love when people don’t brush it away. Or give me a pitiful, head cocked to one side, sympathetic sorry and then follow up with ‘I’m sure you don’t want to talk about it.’ Because they don’t want to talk about it…because they’re uncomfortable. But I DO! I do want to talk about her. Not the how or the why, because I really don’t have those answers. But I want to tell you about her head full of hair, chubby cheeks, and long toes. I want to tell you that she weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and that she was 20.5 inches long and when I held her up, I believed in the God of miracles because of how that baby could have grown inside of me!

Some have shown great understanding and told me about a loss they have experienced. The sweetest, best, most healing response I’ve ever gotten was ‘tell me all about her.’ I still cry remembering that moment. The first time I didn’t feel like she was a secret to hide or an awkward moment to avoid. My favorite people are the ones who don’t shy away from it all. Who allow me the freedom and grace to be and feel whatever I need. If that means crying and reliving every hard second or if that means laughing and feeling ‘normal.’

It’s so helpful when people ask specifically how I’m feeling, how’s my heart, how am I healing. Instead of just how are you. And its absolutely best when people don’t avoid it. For some reason, people don’t want to remind me of her or of my sadness and loss but since we are being honest… its never not at the forefront of my mind. I constantly think of her and it’s so sweet when I hear someone else say her name and know that they are thinking of her, too. I just love to know that she is not being forgotten.

As much as I wanted to crawl in a hole and die, I found that there was so much healing in reaching out. Set expectations for what you need and allow people to help. I’ve always been independent and taken care of things, but I truly would have forgotten to eat had food not just arrived at our home every day. It’s ok not to be ok. Some days your greatest accomplishment will be getting out of bed, and that’s ok. But feel it all. Press into it and leave no stone unturned in the journey. If it hurts ~ feel it, if it makes you smile ~ embrace it, if you need to scream scream until your voice is gone ~ scream. If you tuck it away it’ll explode later. I went to a retreat hosted by Hope Mommies, which is a ministry that supports bereaved mothers, and it was so healing to be validated as a mother and to be around other women who just get it. I recommend finding someone who has survived to remind yourself that this can be lived with. We found so many scriptures to imprint on our hearts… that gave us peace, even if it’s just momentary. Just take it one day at a time, sometimes just an hour or a minute or a second at a time. That’s the crazy thing, time will keep passing and while it doesn’t get easier, you get more capable.

I personally want to thank Sheena and her willingness to open her heart and share it so freely with me, and now every single one of you. Our hope in sharing her story is to raise awareness about infant loss, miscarriage and still birth. Throughout this series you will read other heartbreaking stories as this, but the focus is on the strength these women have, their beauty and hopefulness for a bright future with their rainbow babies. I pray that each of these pregnancies results in happy and healthy babies!

Photographer Challenge!
I would love nothing more than for this concept to catch on in other cities and states with photographers to bless rainbow mommas! Not only does it create a sense of community, but it gives back with you sharing your talents with your fellow community members. So, if you take me up on my challenge, please hashtag #RainbowBabyMaternityEvent so I can follow your adventures, too!

If you’re looking for a Taylorsville KY Rainbow Baby Maternity Photographer, please get in touch via the contact form or send an email to Hello@jlritt.com. You can also book online here.

More about the photographer:

Louisville KY Newborn Photographer, newborn session, maternity photos, baby pictures

Jennifer Rittenberry Photography has been photographing clients throughout the greater Louisville area since 2010. She is a published artist in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and Newborn Photographer Magazine as well as named 2016 Parent’s Choice Award winner for her portraiture. In 2013, she focused her client base to Newborn and Maternity as she created a niche for herself after mentoring with three of the nation’s leading photographers in these industries. She has spent countless hours on continuing her education and sharpening her skills each year with the sole purpose of creating beautiful artwork for her clients to share with their families and preserve as precious heirlooms for generations to come. Located in Central Kentucky, her residential studio is in the heart of Mount Washington; only minutes outside of Louisville. Jennifer Rittenberry Photography session fees can be found on the website but detailed pricing and availability may be requested by email using the contact form.

You are welcome to connect with Jennifer Rittenberry Photography by following my work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER so you can be the first to know about any upcoming portrait specials, mini session events, and other news!

We have MOVED! New studio opens on May 1, 2017 and will be located at 1200 North Bardstown Road – Suite E, Mount Washington, KY 40047. Get in touch at (502) 523-2180!