moms

New moms share makeup-free photos, moving stories: 'I am very blessed to be here'

Aug. 21, 2014 at 1:52 PM ET

When TODAY co-anchor Savannah Guthrie posted a photo of herself without makeup after giving birth to daughter Vale, fans filled our Facebook pages with their own photos capturing their emotional first moments of motherhood.

One of the most moving pictures was shared by Kristin Kapr Nutter, who was in the middle of chemo for breast cancer when her second daughter Harkin was born.

After TODAY featured Nutter's photo as Day 50 of our #100HappyDays celebration, we checked in with her to hear more of the story behind the beautiful picture.

These days, she's cancer-free following grueling battles with breast cancer and kidney disease during her high-risk pregnancy. After feeling a lump in her right breast 17 weeks into her pregnancy, Nutter, who had already been living with kidney disease, called her obstetrician and ultimately received the cancer diagnosis, just three days before her 29th birthday.

“Two weeks later, at 20 weeks pregnant, I had a single right mastectomy performed to remove the breast and my tumor, and a port placed to receive my chemo,” she told TODAY.com. “I started chemo at 23 weeks pregnant, and completed four rounds of grueling chemo, and was hospitalized for an infection — right before my daughter’s scheduled C-section at 36 weeks and 3 days.”

Kristin Kapr Nutter
Kristin Kapr Nutter
These days, Kristin Kapr Nutter is cancer-free.

Harkin was “perfectly healthy and happy” when she was born at 10:20 a.m., Feb. 11, but her mom faced complications. Nutter was rushed into emergency surgery for internal bleeding. What followed, she said, were prolonged hospital stays, a dozen more chemo treatments, a second mastectomy as a precautionary measure, and a pain management program. But the news is better these days. 

“I am three weeks post my last surgery and happy to report I am cancer free!” she said. “My daughter is thriving and is now 6 months old. Her big sister, my 2-year-old, could not be happier! I am very blessed to be here to share my story and I have learned a great deal through this experience.”

Nutter, who has chronicled her journey on her Pregnant Pink Warrior blog, said she shared her story with TODAY to raise awareness about breast cancer. “You guys are so inspiring and I watched you every day throughout this journey,” she wrote. “It was the bright spot to my mornings.”

Other TODAY fans can relate to delivering a baby while fighting breast cancer. Sara Erzen posted a photo of herself “just after I delivered a healthy baby girl, despite a breast cancer diagnosis in my 5th month of pregnancy and 4 rounds of chemo.”

Sara Erzen
Sara Erzen
Sara Erzen also battled breast cancer during her pregnancy.

Kristin Sanborn Todd said she faced the same battle. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34 weeks pregnant and had gone [through] surgery just a week and a half before this picture.” she wrote.

Kristin Sanborn Todd
Kristin Sanborn Todd
“My son Logan being born was a ray of light in a very dark time for me," Kristin said.

Some new moms faced different kinds of adversity.

Amy Carney shared a photo of herself and her husband “getting to love our little one before she was airlifted” to intensive care in another hospital. At the time, she said, the baby was 2 pounds, 4 ounces, but is now 23 pounds at age 2½.

Amy Carney
Amy Carney via Facebook
“From day one she's made me smile with so much love,” Carney wrote. “I knew from the moment I met her she was a fighter!”

Jamie Sue Kuhn snapped a first shot of her baby next to a smartphone on a conference call with the baby’s father, who’d been deployed. 

Jamie Sue Kuhn
Jamie Sue Kuhn via Facebook
“Meeting daddy for the first time,” Kuhn wrote.

Amanda Hiatt shared a similar story and a photo of her daughter’s father watching from a laptop, as he “was unable to make it back from overseas until she was 7 months.”

Amanda Hiatt's baby meets her dad.
Amanda Hiatt via Facebook
Amanda Hiatt's baby meets her dad.

Janelle Dahlgren said she experienced “two losses” and problems during the pregnancy of her second daughter, Ilsa Sabine.

Janelle Dahlgren
Janelle Dahlgren via Facebook
“This moment was pure relief after having problems during labor,” she wrote.

Olivia Ryan said she’d endured six miscarriages, but “birthing our healthy daughter was one of the most memorable moments of my life.”

Olivia Ryan via Facebook
Olivia Ryan via Facebook
Olivia Ryan with her baby, born after multiple miscarriages.

Stacy Bell Lundy shared a photo of the moment she met her first biological child, Tessa Gray.

Stacey Bell
Stacey Bell via Facebook
"After 17 years of marriage and 4 adoptions,” she wrote, “our first bio baby was born 8-5-13.”

Other moms shared their stories from additional perspectives. Kerry Gibson proved that age doesn’t have to be anything but a number, as she wished Savannah congratulations from one 40+ first-time mamma to another.

Kerry Gibson via Facebook
Kerry Gibson via Facebook
Kerry Gibson and her baby.

Carissa Shawver Traut didn’t go to the hospital for her groundbreaking (literally) delivery, which took place in her bathtub.

Carissa Shawver Traut via Facebook
Carissa Shawver Traut via Facebook
“She was born at 5:41 a.m.,” she wrote, “and at 5:42 a.m., we had an earthquake that shook the entire state.”

Jennifer Jameson Williamson showed off the first time she held her triplets:

Jennifer Jameson Williamson via Facebook
Jennifer Jameson Williamson via Facebook
“I think I put on a tad bit of blush but I had 3, do I get some slack?” she wrote.

Lots of moms couldn't believe how time flies. While Desiree Love’s children are older these days, her love for them didn’t stop her from sharing the moment her daughter was born.

Desiree Love via Facebook
Desiree Love via Facebook
“They are 18 and 14 now!” she wrote.

And this couple proved a great sense of humor also makes for a great photo in the delivery room.

Leslie Albanese-Graham via Facebook
Leslie Albanese-Graham via Facebook
No caption necessary.

Check out even more photos from TODAY fans who captured the beauty of parenthood:

Kate Nixon via Facebook
Kate Nixon via Facebook
New mom Kate Nixon shared this photo.
Teri Riggs Goldammer via Facebook
Teri Riggs Goldammer via Facebook
Teri Riggs Goldammer shared this photo of herself with her newborn, exactly three years ago.
Jamae Hawkins via Facebook
Jamae Hawkins via Facebook
Jamae Hawkins also proudly showed off her makeup-free new mom look.
Becky Buchanan via Facebook
Becky Buchanan via Facebook
Let's hear it for the dads! "I think they use the same blanket in every hospital," Becky Buchanan wrote, after seeing Savannah's pic.
Ivah Hagner via Facebook
Ivah Hagner via Facebook
"July 29, 2014," Ivah Hagner wrote. "Can't believe it was just 3 weeks ago!"
Allison Soldner via Facebook
Allison Soldner via Facebook
"Minutes after my sweet girl was born," Allison wrote. "All was finally right in the world."
Kristen Stricklen via Facebook
Kristen Stricklen via Facebook
These new parents were all smiles after the birth of their new baby.

You can find more beautiful new-mom photos and keep sharing yours on TODAY's Facebook page.

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.

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