Friday, February 6, 2015

My Daughter Has Epilepsy

Three weeks ago, between posing, smiling and shooting, I received a phone call. Dottie, my 7 month old daughter, had a seizure while at childcare.

This past week, while I was chatting on the phone, my husband's voice called from the other room. Another seizure. We rushed to the ER. That same day a few hours later after her EEG, she had another seizure. She was started on anti seizure medication immediately at Children's Mercy. A day later, after a read out of test results and an MRI, Dottie received a diagnosis. 

I've been battling and internalizing a lot of my feelings about this. I was worried if I shared how scared I am, I wouldn't be strong enough for her. 

I guess it doesn't really matter and I need to get this out somewhere.

When I got that phone call and I was at work, I was scared out of my mind. Seizure? Why would she be having a seizure? Thoughts raced through my head while I sped to Michelle, our childcare provider and one of my best friend's, home. Is she having an allergic reaction to something? Is she aspirating? 

I pulled up to the house and saw Michelle, one of the strongest people I know, disheveled and holding my baby. Dottie was out of it. Her eyes were foggy and the color was gone from her face. I ran from my car and up to my friend to hold my child. It was like laser-vision had taken hold and as soon as Dottie was in my arms, I realised that we were surrounded. Michelle's family, extended family, our friends up the street, and the paramedics came into focus. I looked down at Dottie and around at all the faces. I knew that Dottie was in great hands here; loving hands.

We were shuffled into the ambulance. I was asked questions. I talked to Dottie. She didn't want to look at me. My bubbly, sweet baby wanted nothing more than to sleep. 

We left that ER without answers. Dottie didn't have a fever and all of her blood work came back normal. The doctor on call said that it was unlikely for a baby to have a seizure in the first place and even more unlikely to have another. We should just not worry about it. 

The following week was stressful. I tried to keep it together, but the guilt and fear of not being with her kept me up at night. What if she has another seizure? Will I know what it looks like? I researched everything I could at all hours of the night. I watched baby seizures online. Trained myself to be ready, strong, immune to the helpless feeling of watching a tiny baby seize. 

We met with the neurologist, came up with an emergency action plan that I hopefully would never have to use. If she seizes again, film it.  

The days passed slowly. Dottie was smiling again. The weather changed here and suddenly we were swinging on swings, laughing, and giggling. The next night I slept for the first time in nearly two weeks. Then Thursday came.

It happened while I was on the phone with my doctor's getting test results of my own. My husband's voice called from the other room. "Dottie is having a seizure!" I ran in. There she was. My baby girl looked just like the babies I watched online. I knew what to do. 

Step 1. Look at the clock. 9:13am.

Step 2. Deep Breath. Inhale. Exhale. There is nothing I can do to stop the seizure.

Step 3. If there is someone with you, have them film. I looked at Alan. Grab your phone. Press record.

Step 4. Wait. If it's over 5 minutes, get ready for the emergency medication. 

I watched my Dottie; eyes back in her head, body clenching, releasing, lips moving rapidly. She held her breath. Released it. I touched her head. Told her it would be okay. Her tiny body unresponsive to my voice. 

This was the longest two minutes of my life.

We went to the hospital. Since we had filmed the latter half of the seizure, we were able to show it to the doctors. We were admitted. Dottie had an EEG. They told me that if they would see anything on the EEG to indicate another seizure, that they would tell us. They hadn't found anything on the EEG to indicate another seizure. Good news. 

Yes! This might be it! I thought. We might be okay and this could all be a fluke! 

A couple hours had past. Morale was high in our hospital room. A shift change in nurses was happening soon. We were introduced to the next nurse that would be with us through the night. Dottie was feeling like her old self and was standing up in her hospital crib, dancing. The nurses couldn't get enough of her booty shaking. That's when the staring started.

Dottie stopped dancing, eyes focusing on something that I couldn't see. Her tiny body started shaking. The nurses laid her on her back. 

Seizure number 3.

This seizure, this one that they didn't see on the EEG, was the worst one for me to watch. My hope for this to be random and a fluke disappeared with her convulsing on the hospital bed. I knew at this point there was something wrong with my daughter. They put her on Keppra-an anti-seizure medication that she will be on for a minimum of 2 years seizure free.

Dottie had an MRI scheduled for the following morning. The results of the MRI were initially abnormal. The radiologist overcalled a lot of the findings because Dottie was so little. From random white parts of her brain, to something that looked like a scar-he noted all of it. The official read from the neurologist was that Dottie's brain was unremarkable with slight asymmetry that couldn't be clinically connected as the cause for her seizures. There was hope! The neurologist said she believes Dottie could grow out of this. 

We left the hospital again without many answers. There was no defined reason as to why the seizures happened. The diagnosis of epilepsy weighs heavy on my heart. We know that she hasn't had another seizure since we started her on the anti-seizure medication. If Dottie goes 2 years on this medicine without a seizure, we can clear this diagnosis. I hang on to this hope with white knuckles and am counting down the days until 2 years from last Friday. 

7 days down. 

723 days left to go.

Pray for us.


Hilary Hope 

For More Information on Epilepsy, visit:

Monday, December 23, 2013

My New Year's Resolutions (Part 1)

I want to make the world a better place in 2014.

Seems simple enough. I could just be awesome, punch enough Today's in the face, and go on about my merry way until 2015 comes and I make a new resolution. Except...
...except "making the world a better place" is a terrible goal. 

Whoa now, Hilary-are you wishing for violence and hail storms upon humanity? No. No freakin' way. But "making the world a better place" is a terrible goal because it's abstract, without a direct line of what that means and how to accomplish it, I'll never get there.

Last year's resolution was such a good one for me. I was specific in what I wanted. 

"To make myself better by living without fear, getting out of the hole Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder & Depression left me in." 

Great! How was I going to do that?

1. Make seeing a counselor a priority. Take everything she said and implement it. Learn absolutely all I could about myself and improve  on it..

2. I read this quote on pinterest, "Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant in the whole world." So, since everything on pinterest MUST be true (& colorful, addicting, & delicious), I thought that might be a good one to try. Plus, if I did work out, the benefits would go above and beyond with my fitness levels. If a situation ever arose where someone needed giant boulders moved, maybe I could be the impressive one to lift such rocks. (Yay, Hilary! You're so strong! The crowd goes wild! Ahhhhhh!!!)

3. With my photography business, I hadn't tracked my numbers well in 2012, and I really wanted to get freedom out of my photography to contribute to my feeling of helplessness I battled so much with the Postpartum issues.  So, I decided to set work goals to keep me focused. Track the business and make the dollas holla with the ultimate goal of doubling our gross income in 2013. 

Boom. 2013 resolution made.

1. Saw this fabulous woman, who helped me understand so much about Postpartum OCD, and ways to deal with the terrible anxiety ridden days, that I could not be happier today. My life is a life of adventure again and a life of fearlessness. (And if you're currently struggling with Postpartum OCD, it is not uncommon. Talk to someone because you are NOT alone! I know now I wasn't-even when I thought I was.)

2. Worked out 4-5 days a week for the majority of 2013 (excluding the past few weeks where being preggo has prevented a few workouts via puking). I lost 30 pounds-added bonus-but I gained confidence and endorphins that helped me approach my challenges fearlessly. Oh, and I ran my first ever 5K. (Shout out to Fit For Mom, a fabulous workout program I used to help me stay on target). 

The first photo was my first ever before photo-but even at that time, I had begun working out regularly & consistantly since February. This photo shows a 30lb weight loss difference. Oh, and the most important part, a happier Hilary.
First Ever 5K Run! 

3. We didn't just double our photo studio gross income. We increased it by 260%. That's not a typo. 260%!!! AND we tripled our Christmas sales. We donated Foxy Pinup session gift certificates to The Pitbull Gala, & Autism Awareness silent auctions and we started our Breast Cancer Scholarship Fund, where women fighting breast cancer can come in for a Foxy Pinup Session & order whatever they want, completely for FREE! (Sign up here. Or make a calendar purchase to help!)

Yay for Foxy Pinups!

So, last year, I had a great resolution. It was one that I broke down into a mission statement, and executed with gazelle-like intensity. Step by step implementation is the key to completing a New Year's resolution, as is making sure your goal is attainable and specific. 

But what about 2014, Hilary?


This Blog Post is...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Michelle's Blog Board Preview | Kansas City Maternity & Baby Bump Photographer

I just got these really cool blog board templates from Birdesign and I was dying to see how they looked on here. They are really easy to use! So, I thought I throw together a blog board out of pure excitement. I'm using some photos from the gorgeous Michelle's maternity session-Yay for baby T! What do you guys think?

love love love,

h i l a r y  h o p e 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mary Kay & Hilary Hope Photography: Spring into the New You | Kansas City Photographer

I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to makeover 11 fabulous ladies on Friday with my Mary Kay director, Cristy Potts.  She drove out from Biggsville, IL (she is the bomb diggity) to do this event with me and we had so much fun we decided that we'd love to do this again for all of the gorgeous gals who missed out this time. 

For those of you that don't know, we use Mary Kay makeup in all of our Foxy Pinup photographs! I LOVE Mary Kay and have been using the makeup and the skin care since I've been 15. I have to say that nothing makes me happier than helping someone find their inner beautiful. We are all so unique and so lovely that we need to embrace it, show it off, own it. Beauty is so diverse, so sweet, and based on so much more than what we look like. That's my opinion anyways. But I'm lucky enough to have a career where I get to see beauty in every shape and size all day long. ;)

Each one of these gals received a free makeover, with tips and tricks on specifics for their own makeup application. They also received a free digital social networking image to show off their look! They either choose to have their photo taken outdoors or inside on our blue backdrop.

And so, without further adu...

Here you go, beautifuls!!!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oo La La Boudoir | Kansas City Boudoir Photographer

So excited to finally have our new Boudoir Session information up and available to you guys. Oo La La Boudoir might be my new favorite... I dunno though. I have so many favorites! haha.


Email me for more details.


love, love, love,