Happy Birthday My Sweet Daughter, Gianna Marie

June 19, 2018

Happy birthday to my daughter birthday photoshoot with baby girl and her dog girl on first birthday with dog {Brace yourself… this is a long one} 

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a very long time… and honestly,  I am having such a hard time finding all the words that describe what’s in my heart. This past year my life has been flipped upside down and thrusted into a world that I only prayed I would be a part… and here I am- writing the blog about the role I always wanted to play, mother. 

When I found out I was pregnant, a lot of things began to make sense. For example- I suddenly thought my dog smelled like low tide. Hind sight, makes sense. I went from using one million lovely smelling dryer sheets to ZERO. Hind sight, makes sense. Lost my appetite a little. Hind sight, makes sense. But seriously, I feel so lucky because I had a truly amazing pregnancy. I can’t remember a time in my life where I was so happy… or laughed so hard…. So. Hard. I remember laying in bed with my arm wrapped around my belly every night- because I felt like I was holding her. I always knew it was a girl- you know, deep down in your heart. And I consistently dreamt of her ice blue eyes…isn’t that crazy??

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I shot weddings throughout my pregnancy and I always felt like I had a little helper. I would talk to her and ask her to help mommy on wedding days. I truly felt like she always did. I talked to my belly often- in fact, before her 20 week ultrasound I told her, “Make sure you smile for your picture!” … And don’t you know, she DID. The tech got the shot and we all screamed! The tech said that was the second time in 13 years that she ever saw a baby smile during the scan. As if I didn’t already know, that was a gift from God.

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I researched everything during my pregnancy. EVERYTHING. I was obsessed. But I have to say, of all the things I did during my pregnancy hiring a doula was by far the best decision. My doulas, Betsy and Jess from Family Life Center…there are truly no words. Their support and expertise… they saved me that day. 

That day. June 19th, 2017. I woke up to frequent contractions around 2:30am early Monday morning. They were inconsistent and super easy to manage. Around 6:30am I called one of my doulas, Jess, to fill her in. She took note and said to let her know when the contractions were consistently five minutes a part, lasting one minute for an hour. I carried on that morning with my normal routine, resting, bouncing on an exercise ball etc…And I got ready for the day- makeup, hair, long maxi dress- you know, my usual glam. As the morning went on, while still inconsistent, my contractions felt more intense. I spoke with Jess and told her it seemed like it was a mind game because I felt like I could go into labor if I wanted to- but I was holding back! She told me to surrender to the natural process because that was how I was going to get my baby out! So, I told her I was going to eat a turkey sub (I craved this my entire pregnancy and held off eating it because of the deli meat) and then allow my body to do its thing. I enjoyed my sandwich with no contractions and it was soooo good! After, I said, ok let’s go to the hospital. Jess warned me that I should be prepared for them to send me home if my body wasn’t ready. The entire car ride over my contractions stopped! We kept driving anyway… We arrived to Burdett at 3:00pm where Jess met up with me and my mom. A nurse put us in the triage room to hook me and baby up to the monitor. The nurse determined I had NO change since my last doctor appointment one week ago! I was only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced! I was shocked! Jess gave me a pep talk about how they were going to send me home…and basically we were looking at a long road ahead. Well, not two minutes later my contractions came on fierce and quick. Next thing I know four nurses rush into the room, my water broke, I heard “8cm and 90%” and I was feeling the urge to push! The doctor was on his way but we weren’t sure if he was going to make it! They wheeled the bed from triage into a room where birth photographer Kim Clune and doula Betsy greeted us. Now, of course all of this is a blur because my contractions took all of my focus because of the intensity. I desired a natural birth and I had no meds!!!! Because of the rapid progression, I wore an oxygen mask on occasion and they put a port in my hand in case of emergency. Thankfully it wasn’t needed! Next thing I know Dr. Medina arrived and it was time to push! I pushed for a total of 14 minutes and baby girl came out at 5:46pm waving! Literally. Her hand was up alongside her head as she came out, which is called a compound delivery. So in total my labor and deliver was 2 hours and 46 minutes start to finish! The doulas referred to it as a “freight train birth” or technically called a precipitous birth. It is the most intense labor and deliver and occurs in less than 2% of births. Wow! Baby girl came out so alert and smiling…mommy was so proud of her! With one breath- she changed my world. I was holding my baby…eating the other half of my turkey sub…and I felt like my life just began. I will never forget that day….each moment was more special/intense in it’s own way. Just when I thought her birth day couldn’t be any more special- Kim, my birth photographer, texted me a photo on her drive home of the most breathtaking sunset. When the I saw the sunset photo, the sunset lit up a cross on a church steeple and tears streamed down my face. She then shared a photo of a rainbow that followed… God has blessed me beyond measure and I am eternally thankful. My heart has never known such love…Gianna’s name means “The Lord is gracious” and was inspired by her late great grandma Anna Marie.

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The sky on the night she was born…

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On July 1st, just 11 days after her birth, I was back in the saddle shooting a wedding in Lake George! I love this image that my second shooter, Nicole, captured! With my heart bursting full of love…it makes everything much more beautiful.8c8484a8-4e03-4dec-b8ea-e812ad33d2c8

On July 8th, we had such a special day celebrating Gianna’s baptism at St. Pius X. Father Walsh agreed to a private ceremony in the chapel. It was truly the perfect day… the ceremony was so personal and I was moved to tears! The best part of the day was that Gianna wore the same baptism gown that my mom, myself, and my sister wore! The dress is 63 years old! Additionally, my mom made a gorgeous headband using part of my grandmother’s wedding dress. I loved seeing how happy my mom was to dress her on such a special occasion.

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The first year of motherhood has been wild. So many hilarious moments as I learn the ropes of single mom parenting… Here are a few of my favorite documented stories:

Month One: I’ve been covered in all sorts of body fluids from this sweet girl. The crazy part is….it makes me smile! The other day as I was typing emails …at a snail pace with one left hand…. I bursted out laughing so hard because I was covered in drool, breast milk, half my shirt was off and baby girl was making so many funny noises as she attempted to suck on my right hand. Not to mention, my top knot was beginning to resemble a rat’s nest and no makeup has become my new beauty routine. This month I’ve locked myself out of the house (with baby), accidentally washed a dirty diaper when doing laundry, cried to my neighbor because I couldn’t carry everything out of my car, lost my dog (thank God he came back), mastered the bounce and sway, fell in love with the baby Bjorn baby carrier, and enjoyed exactly one single beer.

Month Two:  Every morning I look forward to my Dunkin Donuts coffee. French Vanilla with almond milk. It’s the best way to start my day. As I saw Gianna yawn, I knew that would be the perfect time to go out and get my coffee. I thought, “She will fall asleep in the car seat! Perfect!” So I buckled her in and off we went. Now, I didn’t want to go to the closest Dunkin Donuts because this little lovey wakes up when the car stops…. So I drove a little further to make sure she was definitely asleep. I pull up and I see the line for the drive-thru wrapped around the building- Nope! Not waiting in that! So I drive a little further to another location and their line was crazy long, too! I turn around and decide to go back toward my original location. Well, guess who wakes up?! Horrible planning on my part. I decide since the little one was awake I might as well go to my favorite bagel shop and get a bagel and coffee. Now, I was NOT dressed to get out of my car…. I thought this was a drive-thru excursion only. I had zero makeup, hair looking like a rats nest, glasses on, no bra, stained sweatpants…I rocked the “tired-new-mom” look. I pulled in and got the very first parking spot in front of the bagel shop door. I placed my order (Thank God I didn’t see anyone I know) and the baby was content. (Phew!) As I grabbed my order and headed back to the car, Gianna began to fuss. I immediately knew this wasn’t going to be a fun ride home…so I wanted to get in the car quickly. I got her in the car and in attempt to be quick, flung my door open….I opened it so quick I knocked myself over and my coffee went flying in my face, hair, and all over my outfit. Surely people saw this happen. Tired mom throws coffee in face. I sat in the car and just bursted out laughing as I wiped the French vanilla coffee into my face. I drove home with half a cup of coffee and a not-so-happy baby. It was by far the funniest moment….a morning I will always remember.

Month Four: It seems that baby G likes to take a couple morning naps. One short one and one long. The fact that I figured this out has been amazing for my work to-do list. Scheduled work time! Yay! Kinda. (You see, I can’t fully commit to this schedule because every time I declare something – it changes, hence the kinda) I’ve noticed that a drive in the car will put her to sleep for a nap quick- she falls asleep, I get to work – win, win. Being in the middle of fall, wedding season is booming. Which means, so is my list of things to do. One morning we went for a drive and she fell asleep pretty quick. (Yay!) So I thought, I’ll just park somewhere and work while she sleeps in the backseat. I brought my laptop with me on this drive. I thought I was so smart for thinking ahead! I originally was going to park in a random area but then I realized I needed internet, so I drove home and sat in my parking spot. I was enjoying the peace and quiet while I was working…despite my AC on blast for the magical white noise …I had a good groove going! She was sound asleep. Next thing I know….my gas light starts flashing and then….I ran out of gas. Ran. Out. Of. Gas. I have NEVER run out of gas in my entire life. Ever! I completely forgot I was low on fuel and I guess I thought that since I wasn’t moving that I wasn’t using gas. Thank GOD my dad was nearby and able to help me out!

Some of my favorite photos throughout the year….

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Special shout out for this photo by Big Joe Elario. I bumped into him on my birthday a couple weeks ago and he got this amazing picture!

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My sweet daughter,

You are beautiful. You are kind. You are strong. You are smart. You are loyal. You are gracious. You are important. You are LOVED.

Happy Birthday my sweet angel…I have loved you since forever.

Love,
Mommy

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  1. Krystal

    June 19th, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    This is so sweet!! I love that you share real, not so glamorous moments along with the special details of her birth. I love the love you have for your little one.

  2. sheila elario

    June 19th, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Oh my heart!! Love everything about this. Thanks for sharing!!!

    Happy Birthday Sweet Gianna!

  3. Kristine

    June 19th, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Just a beautiful story! Congrats on motherhood-it’s truly the best job! 💜

  4. Kathryn DeSimone

    June 20th, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Gianna is a gift to the world. She IS love.

  5. Kim Clune

    June 21st, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Such a beautiful family!! I still feel so honored to have been there for Gianna’s beautiful – and fast – entry into this world and to see your tremendous courage and strength.

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