I understand that it's very faux paux to intermingle your personal life with your business posts.  I debated even adding this section since you don't all know our story.  The relation, you ask?  I'd be elated to share.

I humbly believe that a new chapter of your life is bookmarked when you have your first child.  It's like the turning point of your own personal novel.  And in this new chapter, I just so happened to unleash a photographer through the muse that my daughter was and is to this day.  And with this new chapter, Down syndrome just so happened to be intertwined. Do I believe it's a coincidence that my story unveiled itself to show the world the beauty of Down syndrome through photographs that innately poured out of me? Absolutely not.  This was always meant to be my story.  I was always meant to be a photographer, I just needed to turn the page.

So the tales of A Thousand Words will always hold a new main character named Lyla Jane, my daughter.  The true inspiration of Jecca D Photography.  Let me introduce her to you...

This is an excerpt from my previous personal blog on the day that Down syndrome entered our lives.  Forever changed, forever grateful.  You can read more about the journey with our daughter Lyla at

May 28, 2010

6 weeks. That's the magic number in the postpartum world for when everything is healed. You're granted to get back to work, you get the green light for exercising again, and given permission to well, you know, do what got you a baby in the first place. I guess 6 weeks is how long it took me to get my writing bug back again as well. To recap I've been a little tied up with the new addition to our household. A little tied up with learning to nurse every 2 hours, becoming familiar with how to do everything one-handed (including writing this), and figuring out how to take a shower with a bouncy seat right outside the curtain in order to shove the pacifier back in that she refuses to keep in her mouth. But mostly a little tied up with just staring at this tiny bundle of heart-warming heat that is always cuddled in my arms. Most of you know that she's a special package to us, and here is the story of how she gave us the surprise of a lifetime...

It was a cool & rainy Friday, April 9. (You always have to start out a story with how the weather is, right?) We had a little activity earlier in the week that put me in the hospital for monitoring - while Troy was conveniently in MAINE! - but they sent me home and let me know things would probably happen soon. So I made him cut his work trip short and come home, STAT. By the time he arrived back home I was feeling just fine. But then Friday morning I had the weirdest stomach ache all night and the LOUDEST noises coming from my tummy. I barely really slept, and then woke up at 5am STARVING. Never once did that happen during the whole pregnancy. I get up and chow down some peanut butter toast (Jif was always the answer in my last month) and pass out again until my 8:00am conference call. I noted to Troy I just didn't feel right, but of course I went on with my work day and proceeded to an 11:00 appointment downtown like a smart girl. I'm at my call, and I just feel funny. I figure I need to cut it short, ,and just get home. I phone Troy and he says GET HOME NOW haha. I get home, and I hop on the computer to work until I felt any real signs of labor. Ok now the embarrassing part- I had just gone to the bathroom, but when I sat back down to the computer I felt what I thought was a little bit of pee come back out. (Yes, here's the parts of this blog I warned you about back in the beginning- stretch marks and all will be written about.) No big deal, maybe this is the weak bladder thing all the books are talking about? 10 minutes later I get back up to pee again, and I'm soaked. WOAH. This is no urine. I call Troy over to consult. Just what a husband wants to do. So we decide to call to the OB, and off to the hospital they sent us around 3:00!

I was pretty calm and collective getting everything together, more keeping Troy in line from not freaking out that the moment was finally here! It's funny now to recollect his Holy Shit face. On the way over in the car the contractions started. No big deal, but I could now answer the question that was bothering me for 9 months- What the hell does a contraction feel like??. We get checked into the hospital, and they decide to go straight to L&D versus a triage check...score. The contractions are now starting to feel like lobsters pinching from the inside- let the breathing techniques begin! They check me around 5:30, and I'm 3cm 80% effaced, and they're not sure if my water actually broke after doing an exam. Come on Doc, that wasn't pee and this shit is getting stronger. I'm sure nurses and doctors love it when you question their medical degrees. But they have me go walk the hall for an hour. I gladly accept to let gravity do its work, and here I go around the halls in a look that is quite attractive- light blue hospital gown, roots to high heaven hair in a mess on top of my head, pale legs, and my brown Merrill sneakers. Hot. The baby must have been embarrassed for me and drove the pain to force me back into the room 30 minutes later.

After getting back to the labor cave, I request an exercise ball to at least stay upright to sit on. I get on the ball and last 2 short contractions before I say "That's enough of that- bring on the drugs!!!". At 6:45 I was 4cm and I cant remember the effacement, maybe 100. I'm dying. I feel like I'm spinning the contractions are coming so fast. I decide not to get the epidural yet at 4cm and settled for some Nubane & Benadryl. By the time they get to me, the baby's heart rate is dropping consistently and I'm hyperventilating from the pain. The contractions were just too fast, maybe only a minute apart, if that. I knew something was wrong and I lost all control. They have me get on my hands and knees, and all of a sudden 5 nurses and doctors are in my room. Scary. From too much Grey's Anatomy, I knew it was bad when tons of doctors come out of the wood works and talk calmly to you like you're a 2 year old. They feared that the cord is in the way of the vaginal canal and do an ultrasound. Everything turns out fine on the screen, phew. So the contractions are still way too harsh and too fast and I really could. not. breath. Even with the oxygen mask on. They give me some sort of shot to slow them down, and I get my meds. Heaven. Everything finally stopped. What a relief. I was able to relax and breath normally through the contractions for an hour. But then by 9'ish the drugs are out the window and I'm breathing like a marathon runner through the contractions that are about 2 min apart now. I last till about 9:30, and then it was ::duh, duh, dum, dum:: epidural time.

They check and I'm 6cm. My goal was to get to 5cm without an epi, so I'm clear in my mind. The drug doc comes in, and he "thinks" he got it in. I'm like GREAT. Something about some blood vessels being in the way, but we'll monitor it to make sure I'm numbing. I will say my stomach was numb, my hips were semi-numb, and my legs were just tingly as I could still move them. I am figuring it may just take some time to take since I've seen other women not be able to feel their legs after getting one. Over the next hour, I am just uncomfortable down there. I'm convinced my epi isnt working since I'm starting to feel the close contractions again and I do not have the makeup-covered, smiling pretty face like the ladies on tv have after getting an epidural- NOT FAIR! Time did not exist by this point, so I THINK it's about 11:00pm when I buzzed the nurse to say "That anesthesiologist needs his degree taken away as well, and I need more drugs." So she checks me as and says we're at 7cm, things should be moving faster now to 10! Sure enough 1 hour later before I could get a new epidural, I'm fully dilated and we're ready to go! Yay, it's baby time! Shit, this is really going to hurt! were some of the thoughts going through my frazzled mind.

We start pushing and I can just feel everything. Natural birth here we come. Troy was so good holding up my leg and helping, as I was scared how much he would be found in the waiting room like a dad from the 1950's when it came time for birth. Unfortunately for his hand, the contractions are just unbearable and I feel like I have no clue how I'm going to do this. I push on, maybe getting in 3 pushes per contraction. But they're so close together that I feel like I can't catch my breath in between. I start to hyperventilate, and they put the oxygen mask back on. Can I just say those things do not help since it feels like you're breathing in air from a desert in Africa?? The doc comes in and I know we're close as she suits up. A little motivation, but then I just hit a wall. I took engineering classes, and see that there is no way for that head to fit through this hole haha. I try not to freak and just PUSH knowing that each push gets this baby out sooner. It's the most intolerable pain I have ever felt, and I know most of you know the feeling :)

I have no idea how I did it without passing out, but at 1:10am that little peanut came squirting out and it was THE BEST sense of relief I have ever felt. They let Troy tell me "It's a girl!" as I couldn't see her down there. It was a comical moment for all of us though as Troy answered it more like a question, as baby parts are all a tad swollen after getting squeezed out haha. So a Lyla Jane we had! They took her right away, which frankly I didn't have a problem with since I was barely able to hold my head up, legs shaking uncontrollably. Troy went over with her to see all the cleaning and umbilical cord cutting- again I'm surprised as he wants to cut it! I look over to the baby bed. She's crying healthily and she's pink and everything looks great. Holy cannoli, that's my baby in there.
It's time- come to mama. They bring her over to me and it's just amazing. I couldn't believe she had just come out of me!!! She was so calm and collective and was just so peaceful to look at. Troy and I relish over her little features, and can't believe she's only 6lb 8oz after giving her the premature nickname Chunky Monkey. She's so small and it's so amazing to look into those eyes that are staring back. We do some immediate skin to skin,
but then it quickly started....

My doctor tells me she has some "facial features" they're concerned with, and they need to check her out. There they are, the words every mother dreads to hear. I knew exactly what they meant even though a diagnosis was not given yet. My heart is aching as I look to Troy, but I know he's still naive as to what's about to happen. Sure enough, they hand her back over and my fears are cemented...they think Lyla has Down Syndrome. I didnt know what to do, I didnt know what to say, but just keep staring at her and taking in my brand new baby.This was the turning point of my life, I could feel it. The point where things forked from the road I had planned all my life to be on, and this new road that we didn't even know existed on the map. I wanted to get back on my original road so bad. Surely there was a way to make this all better. But there was no turning around allowed. Only full speed ahead in order to not fall off the cliff that is immediately to the right of this new road. So there in the delivery room only minutes after learning of our new future, I uttered the words to Lyla "We're going to be just fine. Things may be a bit harder for us to do, but we're going to be just fine."