I first met Marisa at the University of Alaska Southeast, when we were both social science students with young kids at home. I had a toddler boy (who is now 6) and she had a preschool aged boy (who is now 7). Admitedly, I am not using my bachelor's degree much these days, but for me, obtaining my B.A. was about more than finding a career (but that is a whole other story for another day). Since graduating, I hadn't heard much from Marisa until she reached out about taking maternity photos. I was SO excited to take these for her. While I do not plan on having any more children of my own, I get SO excited when I find out about my friends are pregnant. Heck, I get excited for strangers when I find out they're pregnant.
While planning her fall maternity session, we discussed taking photos in the fireweed field. I think we both envisioned colorful shades of pink and green, warm sunshine, maybe some frolicking, sound of music style. Well, this was a record year for rain in our little rain forest town, and 2020 seemed determined to foil every plan, so we kept rescheduling and rescheduling because the rain seemed to never end. We knew that the fireweed were numbered in days, but I also knew that when the fireweed begin to wilt, the purple blooms turn into beautifully moody white wisps. Finally, when the fireweed were at their moodiest, we both said "screw it". We put on our rain boots and headed out for the fireweed field.
I am so glad that we decided to go for it, even on this dreary fall day. For starters, what was going to be a happy-go-lucky session took a very moody turn, and I am all about those moody vibes. Secondly, Marisa ended up going into labor the VERY NEXT DAY, at 38 weeks pregnant.
After we were done in the fireweed field, we headed out to the beach. The air was chilly and the fog was thick. I often choose this specific beach because it has incredible views of Auke Bay. However, the views could barely be seen through the fog. Neither of us really minded though, we both agreed that we loved the fog.
Next we did some beachcombing. I had an idea about making a heart out of mussels, which took a good 5 minutes of foraging to find ones that weren't broken or the wrong shape. Honestly, i thought it was either going to be beautiful, or a complete flop. Let me know what you think.
Then to finish our session she got in the water.
By this point i was cold and wet so i couldn't imagine how she felt. so I snapped a few photos as quickly as I could before helping her out of the water, making sure she hadn't cut her feet on the barnacles.
Marisa's daughter, Eleanor, was born two days later. She was born with a club foot, meaning she will be in a cast for her first few weeks, and then wear a brace and special boots for the majority of her first year of life. Marisa and her family have a long medical journey ahead of them with frequent trips to out of state hospitals. I have no doubt that Eleanor is a lucky little girl to be born into such a loving family and to have such a strong woman to call mom.