- photos by Jenna Cedarblad
Natalie Wier photographs people’s most vulnerable health moments.
Natalie Wier sees herself as a woman who wears lots of hats. She’s is a coffee lovin’ sonographer from Marceline, Missouri. She graduated from MU with a Bachelor of Health Science in ultrasound in 2010, and she’s been the lead ultrasonographer at Advanced Radiology in Columbia for six years.
She performs general, vascular, and OB/GYN ultrasounds, photographing people’s organs, tissue, blood vessels, and pathology. Natalie has been absorbed in the study of medicine since she was a child. Her father was a doctor, so she was constantly surrounded by hospital talk and an endless number of health-related textbooks, charts, and illustrations when she was young.
“I couldn’t help but glance through them, dismayed at times yet infatuated with all the capabilities, functions, and pathology,” Natalie says. “The human body is just plain fascinating!”
Natalie revels in the variety that comes with her job. She’s made herself versatile, and she works with different kinds of patients and ailments. Natalie loves meeting new people and making new friends as well as forming long-lasting relationships with her patients.
But the job is far from easy. “I’m the first person to discover your aneurysm, that your baby has no heartbeat, that your appendix has ruptured, or that the lump you feel is Stage 4 cancer,” Natalie shares. “Even though I’m not able to discuss these findings with you, I often struggle to fight back the tears — it pains me to discover such sad, unfair findings, sometimes multiple times a day.”
Yet taking pictures of people’s insides isn’t Natalie’s only job.
Natalie also writes for her life, fashion, and beauty blog, A Whole Latte Love, which has attracted a sizable following since she started it in 2013 after her daughter Addison was born. It serves as her creative outlet.
“I feel like I’m really creative, and I have all of these ideas bottled up inside,” Natalie says. “I needed a way to express my feelings and express myself.”
Natalie started the blog to get the word out about what she does for a living as well as to give insight into who she is as a person. She writes about beauty, including makeup, skin care, hair, and nails. There’s a lifestyle section about literature, DIY projects, and stories about her husband, Aaron, and her role as mother to Addison, age 4, and Luke, age 1. Her fashion section is popular as well, where she shares her personal style and inspirations.
Natalie’s favorite post is “The Hard, Heartbreaking, and Rewarding Work of a Sonographer.” It took her two weeks and 85 edits to finalize. In it, she discusses her role as a photographer, wife, caregiver, therapist, nurse, and friend, and the emotions that go along with all those roles. The post has been shared over 100,000 times. It caught the attention of sonography students, and many have reached out to tell Natalie how inspiring her words were.
“I’m really passionate about all that I do,” Natalie says. “It’s not always easy. There are some tough days that come with the good days, but you can always learn something new.”
A Typical Day
5:45 a.m.: Natalie’s alarm goes off and she pulls herself out of bed. After taking a shower and getting ready, she watches the news as she eats her breakfast, then grabs her coffee and heads to work.
7:00 a.m.: Natalie arrives at Advanced Radiology. Her work schedule varies; some days are jam-packed with appointments and others are much more relaxed with cancellations and walk-ins. Most days, the mornings are heavier than the afternoons.
3:00 p.m.: Natalie clocks out and runs errands or goes to the gym before her kids get home from school. Some days, she heads to the local coffee shop to write for her blog.
5:00 p.m.: Natalie picks up kids from daycare. On Tuesday evenings, she takes her daughter to gymnastics. She likes to spend quality time with her kids, so she plays with them until they’re bathed and put to bed.
9:30 p.m.: She watches the news or “This Is Us,” paints her nails, spends time with her husband, then heads to bed.