As a CNY Newborn Photographer, I am honored to share Lisa’s testimony from brain surgery to pregnancy to baby! Please read her her words and be encouraged and blessed!

A newborn boy, swaddled in a blue cloth, wide awake for his newborn portrait session with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Strong willed – Will

All babies are miracle babies but my little boy is truly a miracle baby.

My husband and I had the perfect family.  We had our first miracle baby after being together for 17 years, and trying to get pregnant for at least  7 years prior to that. Our family of three was perfect to us. We knew how hard it was to conceive with our first , that the possibility of a second child was far out of reach. 

A family of 4 hold their 2 miracle babies for a family portrait at their son's newborn portrait shoot with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Lisa and Brian’s arms are full with miracles!

I have a very rare disease called Cushing’s disease and among other things that causes infertility.  Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor secreting too much ACTH  either in your adrenal or pituitary glands. Mine was in my pituitary gland. I had my first surgery in 2018  after being misdiagnosed for over ten years. The surgery was a success, and after a year and a half I was considered in full remission.

Four years later our first little miracle came along, she was a dream, something I never imagined I would be able to have after so many years of not being able to conceive. I was a mom and loving every second of it!

A baby girl sleeps under a pink blanket surrounded by lilac flowers for her newborn portrait session with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Ellie, the first Phinney miracle in her newborn session.

2023 came along and many of my symptoms of Cushing’s disease were returning. Reluctantly, I went back to the doctors and it was confirmed my tumor was back and I was in active Cushing’s again and would need to have another surgery to remove the tumor in my pituitary gland.  I was devastated to find out I now had a two-year-old and would have to go through this all over again.

I had a surgery date for July 2023, the months leading up to the surgery, I made sure I was doing everything I could to prepare myself and my family for the after surgery.  After the removal of the tumor, if the surgery is a success, your body no longer makes cortisol, this can at times be debilitating. I wanted to make sure my family was well taken care of. I wanted to make sure everything was all set for them, even if I wasn’t able to do daily tasks, that someone would be able to step in and help.

A big sister leans over a basket and kisses her sleeping newborn brother during his newborn portrait session with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Ellie loving on William

Morning of surgery went just as planned. I had IV’s in place and had a team of doctors visiting me, making sure I was ready to go under the knife. Doctors were running last minute tests to make sure my body was a good candidate for surgery, this included a pregnancy test, which I knew would be negative- so no worries there.

Fast forward a few months, recovery from surgery was HARD!!! I knew it would be, not making my own cortisol is not easy. It is a balance of trying to manage day to day life and medication. Something wasn’t right- I had been back to the doctors, messaging them on a weekly basis, explaining something didn’t feel right. I was having a hard time managing my medicine and working full time, on top of being a mom to my beautiful daughter. I was struggling, even with the great support system I had in place.

3 months after surgery I was due to go in for another brain MRI to check my healing. For some reason the night before this MRI, I thought to myself, “ You need to take a pregnancy test” even though I knew it would be negative. There was no way I could be pregnant, but I wanted to double check before I went in for the MRI. I told my best friend I was going to take a test and she laughed at me. I said “I know I am wasting money buying this thing” but something deep down is telling me to take one, even though I knew it would be negative.

A mother holds her newborn son, and smiles with joy, during his newborn portrait session with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Lisa holding her sweet William for a mother son portrait.

I took the test and immediately I saw two blue lines- I texted my best friend with the picture and said “Do you see what I see, and what does this mean”- She just laughed at me in disbelief and said it means you are pregnant. Thoughts were flooding my mind – how could this have happened, when could this have happened?  I went to my three month follow up with  endocrinology. To say they were shocked is an understatement.  My body was going through so much, how was this even possible? I mean I just had brain surgery and my body was trying to figure out hormone balances. 

I went to the doctor to see how far along I was, in my head maybe a couple weeks at most. The doctor looked at me and told me I was 14 weeks along, possibly more. I couldn’t  wrap my head around it, if what the ultrasound tech was telling me was true, I was pregnant during my brain surgery. No way this could be true, they did a pregnancy test on me the morning of surgery.  The doctors explained that it must have been too early to catch. 

A father holds his newborn son, with his toddler daughter by his side for a portrait at his son's newborn portrait session with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Brian and his babies

This miracle I had living inside me, made it through brain surgery. Better yet, if they would have caught the pregnancy that morning, I wouldn’t have had the surgery which means the baby would have been living in a body that had Cushing’s and its survival rate would have been very low. So the fact that the pregnancy wasn’t detected saved this little miracle baby’s life.  The fact that my body was recovering from brain surgery, while also growing a human, is a miracle.  

My little man was monitored by high risk pregnancy doctors the whole time, and every time I would go in, they would say to me “He’s perfect”- and he is absolutely perfect!!!!!

A little girl smiles a crinkled nose smile as she holds onto a little red flyer wagon holding her swaddled brother, surrounded by baby chicks, in his newborn portrait session with Simply Shelayna Newborn Photography in CNY.
Lots of new life here!

My miracle baby- the boy that was meant to be on this earth. The boy that had the Will to survive in such a hostile environment is absolutely perfect!! William Austin Phinney is meant to do great things!!!!

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