2020 was one of the toughest years in a lot of folks’ lives. We all had to learn how to live in a new normal with limited in-person connections to counterbalance the spread of Covid. And while it was definitely tough for our family, with tons of different challenges on its own, it was the best year I’ve ever had because I became a mom in April 2020 just as the pandemic hit. We were thrilled to welcome a beautiful little boy named Logan McCoy into our family.
Since I’ve basically taken over a year off from blogging, I wanted to share our birth story during a pandemic and some of the incredibly special first photos captured of me and Logan. Because of COVID, we weren’t able to get professional photos during our hospital stay as originally planned, and we weren’t comfortable having visitors during the first month to do any newborn photos. Instead, we waited to meet with my favorite Atlanta photographer, Irina Chepko until Logan hit his one-month mark and I had time to recover from an unplanned c-section. I knew I wanted to stay outdoors for extra social distancing with our newborn baby, and I had envisioned a sweet park picnic-type scene. So after some conversation with Irina, she knew the perfect spot! She suggested we meet at Duck Pond Park hidden in the middle of the Peachtree Heights East neighborhood near Buckhead in Atlanta.
I hope you enjoy our story and find some inspiration from our Duck Pond newborn photoshoot below!
Our Pandemic Birth Story
It was the beginning of March 2020, and I was around 36-weeks during my last trimester. One week after I wrapped the execution of a major commercial production for our team’s marketing plan, I started working from home to wrap things up remotely before starting my official maternity leave. Two weeks later my company sent everyone to work from home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
As a first-time mom, I was already a bit nervous about what our delivery might entail, but as social distancing guidelines changed and hospital rules adjusted to accommodate health concerns, my nervousness grew larger. Long before the pandemic hit, we hired the Atlanta Doulas to help prepare me for labor & delivery and hopefully get me as far as I could go during labor without meds. Unfortunately, our hospital changed policy to limit only one visitor for each hospital patient – which of course meant the hubby got dibs. We switched to a virtual interaction, which as you can imagine, wasn’t as great as having them in person. I tried to be sensitive to our healthcare system’s patient overload and all the unknowns associated with combatting COVID, but I was still sad that my mom wasn’t able to be with me during such a joyful and nervous time either.
After being inducted as a result of my high blood pressure a week before our due date, I labored for around 36-hours before we were told we needed to have an emergency Cesarean. I got an infection, a fever, and high blood pressure and our baby’s heart rate began fluctuating very high (we still didn’t know what the sex was at that time). which was tachycardia, so I called my mom at 3:30 AM for a little extra reassurance just before rolling back to surgery. The c-section went well and we were excited to learn we had a little boy at 4:02 AM on Friday, April 17th, 2020.
But joy of Logan’s arrival turned to worry when we learned he had a small pneumothorax in his lung (a small hole that allows air to escape and can cause a build-up between the chest wall and lungs) – so he was rushed away to the NICU before I could see him. The doctors assured me that in most cases a baby’s body actually heals a pneumothorax on its own over days or weeks following their birth. Thankfully Logan’s body did just that and he was doing well enough breathing on his own to be released to our recovery room with me the next evening around 8 PM.
Nature’s Ultimate Surprise
Early on in planning to have a baby, I strongly felt that keeping the sex of the baby a surprise would be the coolest thing ever. I felt like the miracle of having a baby and not knowing if you would be blessed with a boy or girl is one of nature’s ultimate surprises. Our pregnancy was VERY planned since we actually had fertility struggles and ultimately underwent several IUI & IVF procedures before finally being blessed with this pregnancy. I’m planning to share more on our IVF route later, but because everything was so process-driven and we didn’t have as big of an unexpected “ah-ha” surprise of getting pregnant, I pushed the hubby into keeping our baby’s sex a secret until his birthday.
Our Baby Name Selection
While I wanted the sex to be a surprise, we were both excited to brainstorm baby names that we could have on deck for delivery day.
I suggested that we choose a unisex name that could work for either a boy or girl. After reading through the old moleskin book I’ve carried with me since college filled with notes, quotes, baby names, lists, and other random inspiration I’ve collected over the years… the name ‘Logan’ stood out the most and it stuck!
I already knew I wanted to pull in a family name somehow as well and I’ve always loved ‘McCoy’ which was my late great Aunt Foy’s middle name. She was like a grandmother to me and I loved spending the night at her house eating cream of wheat for breakfast and watching Wheel of Fortune with her. In fact, my mom reminded me that I’ve always loved that name since I was five years old. She pulled out an old birth certificate for my very first cabbage patch doll which I named “Lillian McCoy”. So while I didn’t go with Lillian, (and now knowing we had a boy I’m sure he will be relieved!) I do think it’s funny that I was still drawn to an “L” for the first name combined with “McCoy” for the middle name.
I’ll be honest to say that going through so much to get pregnant and then keeping the sex of our little one a surprise, and giving him a name made me feel more connected to Logan in my womb. I was so exhausted by all the doctor’s appointments and medicine that it took to get there, that it wasn’t until well into my second trimester and giving him a name that the pregnancy really began to feel real and lasting for me. I know several friends who had beautiful easy-going pregnancies and ours was definitely not. So landing on his name was a big milestone and it really helped me get even more excited and joyful about our experience.
The Duck Pond Photoshoot
When I felt I had recovered enough from the c-section and Logan was a few weeks old, I was so excited to nail down our mother-baby photoshoot location. Irina sent me a few photos of Duck Pond Park and I immediately fell in love. She grasped my vision immediately and of course, her photos were impeccable as always. I was thrilled to work with her for the second time since she captured our baby shower just before the Pandemic (which was our last big gathering too!). Since taking these mother-baby photos in 2020, she’s been our go-to family photographer and I can’t wait to have her capture all of our special family occasions for years to come! We already worked with her again to capture Logan’s first birthday which was a Peter Rabbit Picnic Birthday and his second birthday which was Blue & White Farm Animal inspiration.
For my mother-baby photoshoot outfit, I found a classic short-sleeve button-down cream linen dress and whipped out my go-to packable straw sunhat, and called it a day. Logan lost a bunch of weight between birth and leaving the hospital (as a result of going into the NICU) so he was able to still fit into his layette which was a sweet little cream-colored soft knit material that matched my dress perfectly. I brought a few props including his sweet little Moses basket bassinette, a buffalo-check cream throw, the hubby’s sterling silver baby rattle, and the most darling hand-knitted blanket he received from family.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, it’s hard to believe my now toddler was so precious and tiny in these photos! I couldn’t be more grateful for the privilege of being his mom and I will never take for granted having him here with me. It was a long road to grow our family and I cherish the opportunity and responsibility I’ve been given to be his “Mama”.
While I worry about what the future of our nation holds for this adorable little boy who will always be my baby, I will take it all as one of the many milestones on my journey towards growing and guiding a confident, sensible, and kind man. I hope this Duck Pond Newborn Photoshoot provided some inspiration for your next family photos whether it’s a picnic by the pond in Buckhead or something else, nature always provides the best backdrops… especially during a pandemic!