Military couple stages powerful maternity photo from 7,000 miles apart

Military couple Nicole and Wesley Bedwell of Mabank, Texas, couldn't spend the couple's first pregnancy together in real time ... but thanks to one photographer's editing mastery, they found a way to be together for posterity.

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The Bedwells had hired photographer Traci Lynn Fugitt to shoot a full "belly to baby" package, including maternity, birth, and newborn photos. Since Wesley, a hospital corpsman with the US Navy, was deployed in Japan during Nicole's pregnancy, the maternity session would happen solo.

"We wanted to incorporate (Wesley), so we planned to bring props to give a nod to him being away," Fugitt told TODAY in an email. "Nicole expressed how upsetting it was that he was deployed, so we decided he needed to be in (the photos) somehow."

Pyper, a girl, was expected after April 22. Wesley had already bought a ticket home so that he could be present at the birth.

But when Nicole developed hypertension earlier this month, the doctors decided it would be best to induce her on April 12. Nicole spent a frantic day on the phone trying to get Wesley a flight; he made it home the day before the induction, and got to spend three days with his wife and newborn daughter.

Chad & Leslye

Chad & Leslye

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