upper peninsula of michigan photographer

holly selden photography




My miscarriage story and how I became a rememberance photographer

November 19, 2022

Hi, I'm Holly.
Hi there! Welcome to my blog. Here I share about myself, photography tips and recommendations and so on.. Stay a while and say hello!
Learn more

My pregnancy story

On Father’s Day of 2016 I found out I was pregnant for the very first time. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and it has already been 6 years since that life changing day. Since this was my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to do. It is a pregnancy standard to not have an ultrasound until you are 8 weeks along. At 5 weeks, I started bleeding.

early positive pregnancy test
Early positive pregnancy test

Bleeding while pregnant? Is this normal? I really had no idea. I was already a ball of anxiety because that is my natural personality. I went to the emergency room and I remember being somewhat brushed off. Apparently, it was normal. They took me down for an ultrasound anyways and that is when I saw my “baby” for the first time. At this point, it was just a sac, but to me, this was my baby and I was instantly in love.

early pregnancy test gestational sac, 5 weeks pregnant
5 week pregnancy ultrasound, gestational sac

During my ultrasound I was told that there was a gestational sac but no baby showing yet, but since I was bleeding this was called a threatened miscarriage. What a scary thing to hear. Am I having a miscarriage? Why would this be happening? I did not do anything wrong. I was sent home with paperwork and medical instructions to have bed rest. And so my worries began. I was scheduled for a followup blood test about a week later to see if my HCG levels went up, and they did.

At my 10 week appointment my boyfriend (now husband) came with me to my appointment for what would have been our first ultrasound. This time, we saw a baby! The heart was beating, such a beautiful sound. My husband was excited as well and we got more ultrasound pictures and we got to go show our friends and family the pictures of our little baby.

10 week ultrasound

Throughout the following weeks I had on and off bleeding, but I now have considered this to be normal. I had a followup appointment at 12 weeks and was able to hear the heartbeat again. Hearing the heartbeat became my favorite thing. Since I had anxiety I ended up buying a fetal doppler to hear the heartbeat from the comfort from my own home but it would take a couple weeks to arrive.

Since we had a bundle of joy arriving we needed to prepare our home. We lived in a home that needed some remodeling done to have our home safely prepared for his/her arrival. My family agreed to contribute to the remodel to prepare and have the upstairs ready and have a perfect nursery for our baby.

My last belly picture before I knew. It was noticeably smaller but I did not suspect anything was wrong.

At 16 weeks pregnant I went to my next doctors appointment. At this point I was almost half way through and things have been going pretty well and so I went alone. This was a traditional appointment. I had my blood pressure taken by a nurse and then the doctor came. He asked how I have been doing and got the ultrasound jelly prepared to use the fetal doppler and I remember telling him “This is the best part!”..

“You have a stubborn baby. Don’t worry, I will be right back.”

I had instant panic but did not show it. When the doctor left the room I was saying “Do not let this happen to me, do not let this happen to me. God, I will do anything. Do not let this happen to me”. I could not get ahold of Luke. I could not get ahold of my parents. I remember texting my parents “they are having a hard time finding the heartbeat”, but by the time my parents saw, the doctor and ultrasound technician came in the room.

“We are just going to do a quick ultrasound since we are having a hard time finding the heartbeat. Do not panic. Your baby is small and so this is just to help us.” ..I knew what was going on. They did not have the heart to tell me before the ultrasound. Here I am, in a hospital gown in a dark room looking at a screen of where my baby was, but my baby was not moving. My baby was gone, and was gone for almost 2 weeks by the size the baby was showing in the ultrasound. I was told that I needed to be at the hospital within 48 hours to avoid going sepsis.

What I experienced was called a missed miscarriage. A missed miscarriage is where your baby passes but your body does not recognize the signals and you continue to have pregnancy symptoms and do not pass the baby on your own. I needed to be induced. I showed up to the hospital at 5 AM and was induced at 7. We never got to know if our baby was a boy or a girl and so we never picked a name previously and so I chose the name Adrian while in labor. A beautiful gender neutral name. I went through traditional induced labor at a hospital with my boyfriend by my side. At 11:14 AM I passed my baby. The little love I never got to know.

Certificate Of Life

When I had Adrian, I knew something was off. He/she had some obvious abnormalities that I could see, even though Adrian was small. I also had placenta abnormalities. I was never aware of these problems during pregnancy, and I am sure that in early pregnancy it may have been hard to see in earlier ultrasounds. I found out I had vasa previa, a placenta abnormality which contributed to my bleeding during pregnancy. It is very rare. Adrian also had a very rare trisomy disorder called either Patau Syndrome, or Edwards Syndrome. Both are incompatible with life. I would have lost my beloved baby no matter what I did.

Life After Adrian

Adrian changed me. In the beginning, I was a shell of who I once was. I entered the darkest 6 months of my life. I was so heartbroken and devastated and had no one to turn to that could relate. People did not talk about miscarriage. I was told to please not show them pictures of Adrian. They couldn’t handle it. They couldn’t handle hearing about it. After months and months of my pain, I made a miscarriage support group. I began talking to people across the US who later on experienced miscarriages and let them know they were not alone. I have talked to mothers while they were actively experiencing a miscarriage, letting them know I am a phone call away. I am a message away. I am here. You are not alone. And one day, on Youtube I came across a video from a mother and she talked about an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep who came to the hospital and took photos of their child that they treasure. It was a free service photographers could provide to offer professional photos of their child.

I looked into the organization and there were no NILMDTS photographers within a 100+ miles of me. I was a professional photographer. I have experienced this loss myself. I knew how it felt to experience this loss. I had to join. I was called to it. It was my way of giving back in honor of my baby Adrian that I never got to raise. I am now the only photographer in the area who is in the organization and I have already given back to 2 local families. I think about them all the time. Their stories stay with me. I care for them and feel their loss.

About Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

“To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture.

NILMDTS offers the gift of healing, hope and honor to parents experiencing the death of a baby through the overwhelming power of remembrance portraits. Professional-level photographers volunteer their time to conduct an intimate portrait session, capturing the only moments parents spend with their babies. Parents are gifted with delicately retouched heirloom black and white portraits free of charge.

These priceless images serve as an important step in the healing recovery for bereaved families. NILMDTS remembrance photography validates the existence and presence of these precious babies by honoring their legacy.

NILMDTS recruits, trains, and mobilizes professional quality photographers around the world.  Through NILMDTS, medical personnel are given a meaningful option to offer bereaved parents by creating remembrance portraiture for their babies. NILMDTS has gifted more than 60,000 complimentary portrait sessions since 2005. With approximately 1,500 active photographers, NILMDTS reaches every state in the United States and has been present in 40 countries worldwide.”

If you would like to volunteer for NILMDTS visit https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/volunteer/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

reader faves


browse by category







welome to my blog

I'm Holly and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about my life, photography tips, beauty and style. Stay a while and say hello!

Learn more




The Clover club Wedding guide

Dolor mixtape food truck Austin, assumenda Odd Future Carles ani Echo Park cillum.


free download


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam sollicitudin sapien, sit amet sodales.

© holly selden photography 2021