You must do it the second time around

I call this baby the Costco/hand me down child. For our first born, we wanted everything and it all had to be new. Our family and friends were extremely generous and our daughter ended up with a brand spanking arsenal of baby equipment, accessories, and let's be real, crap that she stopped using within months. But as many of you know, you are wiser and poorer the second time around. You realize that the Costco wipes are just as good, that your first born hated the bouncy chair but loved the swing, and that the fancy bassinet was used for all of 4 weeks.  Hence, our son has been blessed with wonderful hand me downs from great friends and family. Everybody wins:  we get what we need and they get rid of all the stuff.

Even so, there are things that I just had to get the second time around. First, we are having a boy so his sister's hand me downs in terms of clothing were not going to work.  I also wanted him to feel as special as his sister when he looks at his baby pictures. We monogramed everything for Amelia; bought burp pads and blankets especially made in Puerto Rico for her. I wanted him to have the same special mementos.

One thing I wasn't thinking about was the pregnant pictures. I had a photo session with my friend Valerie Warner when we were both pregnant five years ago. We did it for a news story, so the photographer gave us some complimentary pictures. Val had to convince me to do it back then and promise me I didn't have to bare my belly. I'm not really into that; it's not you, it's me. The pictures turned our beautifully, but it was not something I thought I'd do again.

About a month ago my mother asked me if I was taking professional pictures while pregnant with our son. I said I would have my husband, who is an excellent, amateur photographer, take some.

"Make sure you have beautiful pictures for this baby. You don't want him to feel left out" my mother warned.

Since my husband's life has gotten more complicated now that his Dad's health is worsening, I had to search for a pro to take these pictures.  I asked my contacts for an affordable photographer who could do great work.  One of my public relations friends and fellow mom recommended Julia Franzosa. After looking at her website, I emailed her and Julia sent back a comprehensive package that included a 2 hour session on location with up to 5 family members, wardrobe changes and 0ver 30 pictures. Not at all what I wanted. I told her so and instead of dismissing me, Julia called me to find out what I really needed.

"I don't want to pose for 2 hours; I don't have 5 family  members to include; I want 10-15 pictures and I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars."

She must deal with a lot of hormonal moms because she didn't hag up: "Ok, let's do a mini session at your house for 45 minutes. I'll email you 15-18 pictures." And all that within my budget.  I love people who still listen to the customer.

Last Sunday, Julia came to our apartment, moved a few things around and spent 45 minutes taking pictures of me in all my pregnant glory. I sent my daughter with some friends to the Children's Museum and my husband went to see his father. It was just me and my unborn baby boy. A week later, I received the email with the pictures I really wanted. My friend Jacey says I look happy and serene and I agree.  I'm really happy I took the time to document how blessed and joyful I feel the second time around. Ay Mama!

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