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Baby #2 On The Way!

As you may already know if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook (or you read our pregnancy announcement blog post — and watched the video!)… we’re expecting baby #2! If you couldn’t tell from the blast announcement across all social media platforms back in August… we’re pretty excited about it! As many of you know, my husband and I struggled for quite some time with infertility challenges in trying to get pregnant with our first child (read and watch our pregnancy announcement here). So! You can imagine our surprise when Ryan and I found out we were pregnant with Baby #2 just 1 month after trying for round II! I still cannot seem to wrap my head around this little one growing in my belly — it all seems so surreal that this miracle happened naturally, all on its own. God certainly has a plan for our growing family — this baby must be in a hurry to join our crazy, family fun! Now… raising two kiddos under two will be quite an adventure! We are SO excited to meet our new addition!

When I was little, I always dreamed of being a mom. As my sweet Michael approaches his 1st birthday (!!) — I always envisioned planning my baby’s 1st birthday party! Never did I imagine that while I was planning his birthday party… I would also be incorporating a GENDER REVEAL (for baby #2!) at the same celebration!! We are anxiously counting down the hours until we find out TOMORROW if our Michael is going to have a little brother or a little sister in March 2018! Be sure to tune in LIVE tomorrow at 12:30 PM (on my Facebook page) as we POP the confetti to find out the news surrounded by our family and friends.

With Michael I was almost certain it was a boy for those 20-weeks before we found out the news but with this one I’m totally stumped! Having two little boys would be so fun! The Shumate brothers!! I can already see the two of them sharing a bunk bed, dressing up as superheros, getting dirty and running around our backyard… they would certainly be a messy handful but this Boy Mom would be up for the task! Plus, the added bonus of him having all of Michael’s hand-me-down clothes is very convenient! Now… a daughter would be quite spectacular too! I have an older brother and we were inseparable growing up and still today we have such a special bond. It would be such a joy for my children to have the same sibling experience (as I did) as brother and sister. I have always had such a close relationship with my parents, especially with my mom. To have the experience of raising my own daughter, my mini-me, would be an incredible honor. She’ll likely be a tomboy growing up with an older brother (like I was!)… but I can already envision her dressing up as Disney princesses, pony tails, girl drama… boy drama, prom dress shopping… oh, the fun we’d have! Of course, Ryan and I will be thrilled either way! We already have the names picked out (so much pressure!) and we plan to announce it tomorrow once we know if we are expecting a son or a daughter!

Going into this second pregnancy I’m feeling confident, hopeful, and excited!! I’m beyond thrilled and grateful for the changes that I’ve felt and seen with my body these last 18-weeks. Every pregnancy is different and unique in their own way… but this time around has been fun because I know what to expect. I know what it feels like to have a growing belly, to feel those little kicks and rolls, to feel those incredibly painful contractions (but so very worth it in the end!), to experience the miracle of birth, to look in the eyes of someone you just met and fall completely head over heels in love… the power of a woman’s body… to carry and bring new life into this world… it’s truly a breathtaking blessing.

With this being my 2nd pregnancy… I wanted to fill you in on how this pregnancy is going and what to expect for my maternity leave…

When is your due date? I’m due on March 14, 2018. It’s pretty cool that we’re due on my Dad’s birthday! We have 8 birthdays between March and April in our immediate family… so, we’re adding one more celebration to the list! Right now, I’m 18-weeks pregnant — baby is the size of a bell pepper! We’re finding out the gender tomorrow!!

Is that baby belly growing yet? I feel like my belly is growing at a much slower pace than with my first. It’s starting to look more like I’m pregnant and less like I’ve just eaten a huge meal at Chipotle (which I may or may not have done recently… don’t judge!). Some days I feel bigger than others, LOL! I have a feeling it will really pop out in no time so I’m soaking up the remaining time that I can still see my toes 🙂

Has this pregnancy been different from your first? Oh, yes! During my first trimester, when 2PM would hit… it was like I ran into a brick wall. I was exhausted and it took everything I had to not crawl into bed at 4PM and call it a day. I would crave foods and then when they were in front of me I wanted nothing to do with it. I had a few fun encounters with morning sickness (never had that with Michael) and some random nauseous spells… but thankfully my 2nd trimester has been much easier on me! I have my energy back and I’m feeling good! I’m always, always hungry! I’m trying to eat healthy but all I’m craving is carbs, carbs… and more carbs! I haven’t felt any official baby kicks yet but definitely a few recent flutters here and there.

Who is going to take your photographs? As a motherhood photographer, this is always an important decision because I want this exciting season in our lives captured perfectly so I can always look back and remember. I want our baby #2 to have the same captured journey as Michael. Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I reached out to Emily Gerald who photographed our maternity, birth, and newborn portraits. As much and I would’ve loved to work with her again… she is expecting twins this Fall so she isn’t taking on any new clients around my due date (so very excited for you, Emily!). So! After doing some research, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Andrea Pesce. Her work is absolutely stunning! She’s a hybrid shooter, like me — she shoots in both digital and film. Andrea is going to be documenting our maternity and newborn portraits.

I’m still debating on hiring a birth photographer… we had an emergency c-section with Michael (you can read more about that here). While I’d like to try for a VBAC, I’m okay with the idea of another c-section with this pregnancy since I’m familiar with what to expect and that recovery process. The downfall is that only 1 other person (my hubby) is allowed in the room… so similar with Michael’s birth… I won’t be able to have a birth photographer or my Mom in the room with me. So, we may opt for doing a Fresh 48 session instead of birth photography to still capture those first moments as a family of 4.

How long will you take maternity leave? Maternity leave is something I’m very passionate about because it’s so very important to take that time to bond with your new baby, allow ample time for your body to heal (especially after a c-section), and get settled into a new routine. In addition, I’ll be adjusting to a new world of mommy-hood while learning to juggle raising two babies under two! {Insert “Jesus Take The Wheel”}. Thankfully we have family close by, and incredible friends and neighbors so I know we’ll be in good hands! Thankfully, Ryan’s work recently implemented a new paternity leave plan so he can now take 3-weeks off to be home with us (as opposed to the 1-week he had when Michael was born) — this will make a tremendous difference as we adjust to a family of 4.

All that said… I plan to take at least 2-3 months maternity leave. Now, I certainly don’t want to go radio silent during that time. I would miss you too much!! So, my goal is to write some blog posts and social media posts in advance of baby’s arrival so I can easily schedule those to go out. I will have an auto-responder setup on my email and a note on my inquiry form… I plan to check in on emails but want to make my family my top priority. As hard as it is to turn away business during that maternity leave timeframe… I know how important it is to completely step away from my business in order to be fully present with my family during this special time. I’ll be keeping you updated along the way but I plan to start my maternity leave on March 1st then ease back in and start scheduling portrait sessions beginning May 1, 2018.

Thank you all in advance for your understanding! March will be here before we know it… here’s to a new season filled with sleepless nights and lots of cuddles!

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