Andrea and I first met while working together in Drexel's Athletics department. We immediately hit it off. She was hilarious, as no-filter as I was, and just always brought this energy with her that was infectious. When she told me she was pregnant I was ecstatic. But over the next few months, I watched her deal with a grueling high-risk pregnancy, one that included what seemed like constant doctors appointments, heightened levels of stress, and even surgery.
It was truly crazy to watch her deal with all of this, but even more so knowing her and her husband had already lost their first baby due to complications late in her last pregnancy. And somehow she dealt with all of this, showing up to work with a smile and helping our athletes keep themselves in tip top shape.
Olivia Maris was born on April 21, 2017, but not without a fight. She was two months premature (not to mention Andrea was in labor with her for a WEEK) and needed round the clock care at HUP's NICU for weeks in order to survive and develop. To say it took a toll on Andrea and her family is an understatement, but not once did they lose hope.
And today, one year later, Olivia is the sweetest, happiest, and chunkiest bundle of joy. Their lives together as a family have been nothing but an adventure, which is exactly what Andrea wanted to capture in these photos for her 1st birthday. I asked Andrea if it was okay to share her experience because to me these photos only told a piece of the story. Here was what she shared.
"I have always known that I wanted to be a mom, and although my journey did not go as I had imagined it would, I am so glad that in the end, after all the grief and sadness, God blessed us with this sweet baby. She is my heart and soul. I honestly couldn't imagine my life without her. She has stolen our hearts and we are so in love. Thank you so much for capturing her beauty and spirit. Please feel free to share my story, maybe it will encourage another mother to have hope. Losing a baby no matter how far along, leaves an everlasting imprint on the mother. Mia will forever be in our hearts. I do believe that she is Livvy's guardian angel and protected her through my crazy pregnancy."
Oh, the places you'll go, Olivia! With the best mommy and daddy a little girl can have.
You're off to great places, today is your day!