Jessica Hickerson Photography » Blog

Maria and Alex decided to do something a little non-traditional for their wedding day. In their three years together they always knew they wanted to get married. Something from their very start told them “this is it.” There was never a proposal and they never attempted to plan a big wedding, since neither of those traditions made sense for them. Instead they decided to go to the local courthouse on their three year anniversary. Surrounded by just a few friends and family members, they exchanged rings and officially became husband & wife.

Later that day I met up with them at Terranea resort in Palos Verdes. Their ceremony had been short and sweet, and they wanted to take some time to celebrate their marriage and read their vows on the cliffside. We roamed the property and the two of them flirted endlessly. You could tell they were just filled with butterflies and anticipation for the amazing adventure they were starting.

I loved every moment I got to spend with these two, it was such a treat! Here are a few favorites from their elopement session:

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Last Friday looked a little something like this…

I had been up in the middle of the night with incredibly itchy skin. My feet in particular had been bothering me for the past week or so but I didn’t think anything of it. However, when I got up that morning something told me to google “itchy feet during pregnancy.” A bunch of different results and remedies popped up, some of which were scary enough that I thought I should call my doctor just in case. Within an hour of leaving them a message, I received a call back saying “Go straight to labor and delivery.”

Um, WHAT?

I called Sam and was crying as I told him he needed to come home from work to take me to the hospital. While I waited for him, I did everything I could to keep calm. I did the dishes, made the bed, took a shower, packed the hospital bag and put the car seat by the door (we so weren’t ready yet!) I even took a couple of pictures of my belly thinking this might be my last day with it. Sam, being the ultimate saint in a crisis, comes home with only positive things to say. “Oh let’s install the carseat now- it’ll be easy!” and “Worst case scenario, we get to meet our baby girl a few weeks early!”

That second one was comforting and yet so scary at the same time. I was only 35 weeks along. Its too early.

We pull up to the hospital. A place we have never been before because our tour is scheduled for two weeks from now (oops.)

“Hi, where is labor and delivery?”
“Oh, who are you here to see?”
“Its for me. My skin is itchy and my doctor told me to come in immediately.”
“….Um, okay. Follow me…”

Itchy skin. Thats what ended my almost-perfect pregnancy and put me in L&D 4.5 weeks before my due date. They put me in an oversized hospital gown, took some blood, and strapped up my belly to fetal monitors. And then we waited… and waited… The first results came back and the doctor was afraid it may be toxemia which would mean delivering that day. We would need to wait another hour for more blood tests to confirm.

Sam managed to share his positivity with me. We kept the thought of “maybe we get to meet our baby girl today” running through our minds.  We had just done our 35 week ultrasound and knew she was strong, weighing in at almost 6 lbs! Everything was going to be okay. We passed time by playing with the stirrups on the bed and raising it as high and as low as it would go.

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Then the news came that it wasn’t toxemia (thank goodness) and they decided to start treatment for something called cholestasis or ICP. It’s a pretty unusual disorder that means I have elevated liver enzymes and potentially increased bile acid in my blood. We were sent home for now, and are waiting on a second round of blood test results that will tell us how quickly we need to induce. Most likely that will be around the 37 week mark. WHICH IS NINE DAYS FROM RIGHT NOW.

Right now my heart breaks a little thinking that anything is wrong, and my body could put our baby girl in danger. I was really looking forward to experiencing naturally going into labor. Would it be like the movies where my water breaks in the middle of the night and we rush to the hospital? What would the pain really feel like? But as disappointed as I am, I’m also incredibly grateful for this diagnosis. Cholestasis greatly increases the risk of stillbirth if it goes undetected. Something told me that my itchy skin wasn’t normal and I called the doctor to ask about it even though it felt silly.

So here we go. Non-stress tests and fetal monitoring every other day and playing the waiting game until we get my blood test results. We could use all the prayers and good vibes you have to give! Baby Hickerson is coming soon <3

 

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Holly and Butch had one of the most unique weddings I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. The two of them have made a home on a little island called Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles. This past December, their family traveled from all over the country to their home to spend the weekend celebrating their wedding, and my husband Sam and I got to tag along for the adventure. We left on a boat Friday afternoon and were greeted by a pizza party. Holly and Butch reserved a group of USC camp dorms outside of Two Harbors so we were truly in the middle of nowhere! Any moment you could walk along the coast to watch a pod of dolphins, cross paths with a fox, or scan the cliffs for some wild bison. We ate meals together in the cafeteria and went for a lot of freezing cold walks around the island.

Saturday the wedding preparations began and every one there was happy to lend a hand. One of their closest friends on the island officiated the ceremony, and their family helped move furniture and turn the quiet rural spot into a wedding venue. Holly and Butch couldn’t help but smile all day long; they were surrounded by so much love. The evening ended in the courtyard, sharing the most amazing meal and dancing in the ocean mist. It was truly the best weekend.

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I popped! I popped! All of a sudden around 30 weeks I started to get round, and now a day shy of 34 weeks there is no denying I-am-mama-hear-me-roar! With that came an even more uncomfortable belly and my first itty bitty stretch mark. I’m doing my best to follow the “sleep while you can” advice even though I have to pee constantly, and embrace the chaos of the next couple weeks. Before my maternity leave begins I’m shooting three weddings, an elopement, and a few family sessions. We just had our baby shower last Saturday (photos below!) and next weekend we are combining my out of town wedding with a camping trip. In the last three weeks things will finally settle down. Maybe then the “nesting” will begin? And I’ll pack my hospital bag… have my last couple OB appointments… and install the car seat… Whoa.

Sam and I have reached a point where we are so ready for baby girl to be here. We keep reflecting on how very, VERY long 9 months is. We can hardly wait to see what she looks like and finally settle into our new roles as mom and dad. She is going to make everything so much more fun + special; from our weekend road trips to a simple night watching the sunset at the beach. Sometimes it feels like the baby is all we want to talk about. We are still fighting over her name (lovingly, of course), who will get to play with her after work, and who will feed her in the middle of the night (we both want to, not the opposite! haha).

A giant baby shower seemed like the best way to celebrate this incredible light that’s entered our lives. I envisioned an eclectic, 70s inspired, beachy affair with good food and everyone that we love in one place. With the help of my mom, mother in law, aunt, and friend Andrea, my vision came to life! It was a perfect summer day with tacos, donuts, the most amazing friends and family, and wicker + macrame + tropical flowers everywhere you looked.

Let me just preface the photo portion of this post with this: we were still getting ready when guests started to arrive (so out of character for me!) and it was 85º out. So the combination of stress + heat + running around like a crazy person at 33 weeks pregnant = me quickly snapping some detail photos before I sat down to recover/ try not to make myself go into labor. Kidding, kidding….. sort of 😉 There are a few things missing and definitely not enough photos of our guests BUT it was the best I could do.

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Baby girl has the best Grandmas!

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And finally, our amazing family! They did so much to make this day happen, and the THREE of us are so grateful!

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Rentals: inJOY The Party

Taco Bar Caterning: Iconic Catering

Invitations: Kirra Reyna Designs

Guest Book: Starboard Press

Donuts: Jay’s Donuts (seriously the best donuts in the South Bay!)

Flowers + favors + design by me, but all of other insanely cute details were done by my friend Andrea and my aunt!

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This past November I was able to photograph a wedding at one of my dream venues: El Capitan Canyon in Santa Barbara. Kim and Paul were able to perfectly mesh what they loved about a non-traditional camping wedding with a sweet ceremony on the coast. They borrowed details from their parents weddings (like Kim’s gorgeous bouquet) and kept the wedding simple with no wedding party and family style seating. Most of their family traveled in from across the country and they used this opportunity to show off their new home in California they’ve grown to know and love.

 

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Photographer: Jessica Hickerson Photography

Venue: El Capitan Canyon

Coordinator: Once in a Lifetime

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