Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's hard to believe this year is coming to a close. I feel like 2015 just began. 
As a family, we have been through so much, grown so much, and learned to surf the waves of life. 
I entered 2015 in such a fog. A new mom, covered in breastmilk, spit up, unwashed hair, rocking nursing tanks and pajama pants. A new mom who was still in those hazy early days of figuring out how this new mom life would be, searching for our new normal, and just praying to make it through the day in one piece. 
I've grown, I've learned to live unashamed of who I am, of who God created me to be. I've loved, lived bigger, and trusted in where my life is going. God has been so good to us this year, through the ups and downs. He has taught us to lean on Him, let Him carry us, and that sometimes, we just have to step out blindly on faith and trust that He has us. We've learned that loss hurts, it hurts so bad. Through losing our precious angel baby, we've also learned that the pain of loss will never go away, but it does numb. And it's okay to have bad days, but that we don't have to remain in that place. God has shown us that by leaning on Him, we can grieve our loss, and keep going. I've learned that it's okay for my faith to be shaken, but that I can stand strong knowing that God has a plan for my life. 
We've been shown through a tiny human being what earthly love is. There is no love like the love God has for us, but this tiny one has shown us a real love as well. She's tried us, scared us, loved us, laughed at us, with us, cried, and grown so much over this past year. She's taught me what it is to be a mother. Through her, I've learned to trust my motherly instincts, my gut, and that there may not be an instruction book for being a mom, but together we can navigate through each day. 
I've learned that friendship is so important, but it's so hard. We all find it so easy to make an excuse about how busy our days are, how busy life is, then the days go by, the year grows short, and you realize it's been weeks, even months since you last spoke or saw one another. I hope to learn to slow down, build relationships, friendships that will grow and become more intimate. Friendships that benefit us in multiple ways. Friendships that will last a lifetime, through the good and the bad. 
Family has taught me so much as well. We are constantly in each other's lives, we can't pick and choose who family is. We may not always get along, heck some days we may not even like each other and that's ok. But, we always know that when needed, they will be there. 

I pray 2016 brings us all a year of growth, of joy, and of pure unending love. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's so incredibly hard to believe Christmas is just a few short days away. I've been looking forward to this Christmas. It's going to be our first where Little Miss is more aware of what's going on. She's going to be a blast with all of the paper and boxes floating around the living room. I can't wait to see the joy on her face Christmas morning. I've been looking forward to spending time with family, seeing those who we don't see often enough. Yet, I've found myself not really feeling the Christmas spirit. Isn't this supposed to be the happiest time of year? The time when we are full of joy? My heart has been heavy, hurting with loss, disappointment, and well, just hurting. We are all entitled to those days, right? This past year, we've had so many ups and so many downs. We've experienced the hardest loss we have ever faced as a family. We have had dreams crushed, yet, we know our God is sovereign, our God is in control, and He has a plan for our lives. He holds us even in the darkest times. He comforts us when we feel as if no one else is there. He promises us that He has a plan. Sometimes we just have to let Him hold us, carry us and trust that He is in control, even when the world around us is crumbling down. 

Just today, I was driving around town with such a heavy heart. I kept trying to figure out how I got to this place, where did I go wrong, what could I have done differently. As I'm questioning myself, I catch a glimpse of the most angelic sleeping face that I have ever seen. Oh sweet Little Miss, you are a constant reminder to me that God has His own perfect reasoning, His own perfect timing and we don't have to understand why. We just have to surf the waves with Him. We have to step out on faith and trust that our God will keep us afloat. 

I'm always being reminded to hug those who are there for you unconditionally just a bit tighter, let the kisses linger, and don't be afraid to tell them how much they truly mean...especially this Christmas. You don't always know what someone else is going through, but you can always be the shining light they may need. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's hard to believe that three weeks ago our world was turned upside down with the loss of our sweet baby. 

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb....Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
Psalm 139:13,16

I sit here three weeks after the loss, watching my healthy and very much alive one year old play and I'm ok, really ok.  There isn't anything I can do to change what happened, nothing I do will bring that baby back to me here on this earth. As hard as it is to accept, I have accepted that. God is in control, He knows what He is doing, He has a purpose. We may never know why we had lose a child, and that's ok. I can live in knowing that my child is with God and that gives me peace, comfort, and the ability to keep going. It's ok to live. 
I know I will still have down days, dark moments and things that trigger sadness and I know that is all in God's plan. I'll take those days as they come, allow myself to feel those emotions and know that it's ok to go on, I don't have to wallow in my grief, I don't have to live in depression. It's ok to take time and work through the stages of grief, and there is no set time. I am filled with joy and gratitude over the people God has placed in my life. People to listen to me, hold me, cry with me, and to be apart of this journey with me. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It hurts. It hurts like hell. Never in my life could I imagine that in less than 24 hours, I could feel my entire world flip upside down. Watch time stop, yet move in a whirlwind. Fall in love so quickly, yet know something isn't right and have that love literally pulled from you. A love that never had a chance, would have never survived. Yet, somehow existed. People say God has a plan. There's a reason for this. And while I believe it, it's so hard to. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to have my time to mourn this love that never even had a chance. For a brief moment in time there was a baby, a growing baby. A baby causing my body damage by where it decided to call home. And I still loved her. I still wish I could have done something, anything for her to have been able to be ok. From ultrasound to surgery, I was numb. I don't remember much. I felt that I shouldn't become more attached to my baby, so I shut down. I pushed the world away. I wanted to hear nothing, say nothing, do nothing. Silence. That's all I asked for. Doctors asking questions. Family trying to provide support and comfort. I wanted none of it. I wanted to be left alone. Nurses asked multiple times what surgery I was having done. I realize it's their job, it's their policy. But me having to speak those words over and over again didn't get easier. Laying on an OR table in tears because you are having to tell the nurse for the third time that your surgery is to remove an ectopic pregnancy isn't easy. It's hard. It hurts. It feels like you are just laying there saying, just take my baby. Take the one that can't make it, the one that doesn't have a chance. The one that is potentially threatening my life, yeah take that one. I let the numb feeling last for a day, it was the easiest way to cope, just feel nothing. I just wanted life to go back to the way it was and I've realized that will never happen. A little piece of my heart will always and forever be with that baby. As a friend told me, the pain will dull, but it will never go away.  
So, now I'm faced with family and friends finding out. I'm ok with it. It's life and sometimes life throws a curve ball that quite literally hits you right in the gut. And it hurts, it's cruel, but some how we move on. People have been so kind and I know they mean well, but it's so hard to not burst in to tears when they ask how I am. I'm hurting. Period. That's it. I'm hurting so bad. Then comes the dreaded question, were you trying? Like if we weren't trying would the pain hurt less? Would I not have loved that baby as much? No, so what's the point. Small talk? Why does loss have to be so hard to talk about, such an awkward thing for people to just understand. I just want a hug and an I am here for you. No need to tell me you can relate or that at least you still have a chance of having another baby in the future. Those aren't things I need. I need time, time to hurt, time to mourn, time to cope, time to heal, time to realize that my life will still go on and I have a beautiful daughter who teaches me every single day what true joy in life is. 

10/22/14 I left the hospital with newborn baby Lana. 
10/22/15 I left that same hospital without my baby. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hands of a Mother

There's a tiny hand laying on my chest, so soft, so dainty and yet so full of life. She's asleep on my arms right now and I just can't put her down. The toddler years are just around the corner and I know these sweet snugly naps won't last forever, so I'm choosing to live in this moment and study everything about her. 

These tiny hands, they aren't as tiny as they used to be. Every day, they are looking more like the hands of a toddler, ready to play and explore in the world around us. I find myself wiping them clean throughout the day because they are bound to end up messy, between playing and independently feeding herself. But these hands, yet still so new tell a story. This thought prompted me to look at my own hands.  Have you ever just sat down and looked at your hands? Felt grateful for the things that have done, can do and are doing (typing this post). Our hands are powerful. I look at mine and as I see my daughters slowly turning in to sometimes slimy, dirty little toddler hands, I'm watching mine turn in to the hands of a mother. They are strong, though they are young, they are beginning to show the years of work they have done. These hands have changed hundreds of diapers, bathed a squirmy baby, rocked a fussy baby to sleep, helped guide a newborn baby to the breast, held hands as she took her first assisted wobbly steps. These hands have experienced so many beautiful moments in life. They are doing the same thing my mothers hands did, and hers did the same that my grandmothers hands did. We have all cared for our child, shown our child love as we slowly stroked their hair in the middle of the night, used them to play peek-a-boo, just to hear that sweet baby giggle. My hands are slowly turning in to the hands of a mother, powerful, light, and beautiful. I'm slowly turning in to a mother, it's not something that happens immediately. Yes, instincts happen, but truly becoming a mother means living the life of a mother, each day, each new experience opens a new meaning, a new sense of what motherhood truly is. 
"The hand of a bride becomes the hand of a mother. Ever so gently she cares for he precious child. Bathing, dressing, feeding, comforting-there is no hand like mother's. Nor does its tender care diminish through the years." 
-Thomas S. Monson

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Breastfeeding Blog Post

This week is World Breastfeeding week, I haven't taken time to really talk about breastfeeding on here, and I think it's time. 

Over the past 9 months, I have become passionate about breastfeeding, the benefits, the connection, what more could you ask for? Breastfeeding is natural, biologically our bodies are designed to nourish our babies, with our breasts. However, it's not easy. The first few days, weeks and even months are awkward. You spend your nursing session trying to get comfortable with this tiny new baby in your arms. You wonder if you're holding baby in the right position. Is baby getting enough? Is her latch ok? There's a million things running through your mind, you're exhausted, and all this baby wants to do is nurse. 

Luckily, as time goes by, you and baby figure things out. You become comfortable with each other and slowly, but surely breastfeeding becomes your quiet time, your time to bond with and love on your baby. I've often found myself stroking her face softly, staring at every detail of her tiny body and marveling in this tiny miracle. 

Breastfeeding is a journey, and it's not always the easiest one. From the early days of discomfort, to the endless opinionated comments. You'll hear that you should cover while breastfeeding because why would you want to flaunt your breasts for others? You'll hear that you should pump so others can feed your baby. People may comment about how often baby is eating, or even comment on your child's weight. But, eventually, you find your groove, you ignore the comments, you do what works for you and your baby, because, at the end if the day, that's all that matters. 

So, to all the mama's, I support you. Breastfeed exclusively from the breast, or pumped in to bottles, however you choose. If you use donor milk, I support you and the moms like myself that are pumping for your little ones. The moms that weren't able to breastfeed for medical reasons, or maybe you just didn't want to breastfeed, I support you too. There's too much shaming in motherhood and it has to stop. Support each other, love on each other and remember you are not alone. 

I know that one day my own breastfeeding journey with my daughter will end, but today is not that day. So, as I sit here typing this, I have a groggy eyed, breastfeeding baby staring back at me. I will soak her in, I will enjoy every tiny detail, because I want to remember the work we put in to this journey. 

Thank you to Paulina Lana of Paulina Lane photography for the beautiful photos of myself and my little nursling, and for the group shot. These photos are from an empowering mothers photo shoot, where over 20 moms stood side by side and nourished their babies their way.
Check out more of Paulina's work at

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lonely Mama

Over the past few weeks, something has been laid on my heart, and it keeps being shown to me over and over again, and that's friendship. I've never been one to have a lot of really close friends. Yes, I have friends, but I never realized how friendships would change so much once I had a child of my own. I know life gets busy and many of us are constantly being pulled in different directions, but friendship is something everyone needs. You may need that one person for an outlet, someone who can be your sounding board. Or maybe you just need someone who can help you get away and just enjoy yourself. Either way, everyone needs someone. 

Recently, I've felt lonely, just plain lonely. I know I'm blessed and have my sweet little miss to spend my days with, but I still often find myself lonely. I know I am not the only mama who has felt this before. Motherhood can be a lonesome part of life. Please, don't get me wrong, our children are our world and yes, they are wonderful little companions, but there's just something about spending some time with your best girlfriend. I know I often find myself seeking someone to hang out with and often wonder if I'm doing something wrong since I don't have a large group of mommy friends to hang out with. I always tend to remind myself that we are all busy and I don't have to have someone to keep me company or hang out with, but I'm not going to lie, sometimes I yearn for more. I need the companionship of another mama, someone who knows and understands what I'm feeling, without me even having to speak a word. Someone who feels the way I do, who needs that shoulder to cry on, ear to listen, and a smile to know that we are in this together. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Today you are you..."

Before becoming mama, I had ideals of how my life would change, how much love I would have, and how watching my baby grow would be the highlight of my life. Little did I know that all of those things would hold true, but they would all be amplified way more than I could have ever anticipated. Over the past month, Little Miss has developed such a personality. She's moved on from being that itty bitty squish that we all love so much, she's now a spunky little thing, that's learned to do some things on her own. She's got the sweetest squeals, giggles and full out belly laughs. And a sassy little temper to go with that pouty lip she's perfected. I never would've believed it would happen so quickly.

When people tell you to hold them close because it passes so quickly, take it to heart! There's no way to cherish every moment, that's just not possible, but hold them close, be present and find joy in life everyday.

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Dr. Seuss

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Self Love

Since becoming mama, there's so many things I've realized that I want to teach my daughter, things I want her to learn on her own and things I hope she never has to experience. Recently, I've been really working on myself. I'm working to be happier, healthier, and find joy in even the mundane daily tasks of life. Through this I hope to teach my daughter that it's ok to be exactly who she is. She doesn't have to impress anyone. God has made us exactly who we are and He has designed us for a purpose.

I pray she grows in confidence and knows that she has the ability to do anything she wants. As women we are often put down in one aspect or another beginning in childhood. I hope my daughter can overlook the negativity and realize she is a strong and powerful female. Her body is an amazing masterpiece and she be respected as so. Her mind is stronger than she knows and I pray she realizes the power her thoughts have over her. Confidence is beauty, and I wish all women knew how strong their bodies are, how powerful the mind is and how beautiful they can be.

Mamas, hold your daughters close and teach them that women are full of strength. Be her role model. Find confidence in yourself. Don't talk down about yourself, especially your body in front of your daughter. She's always watching and she's learning from you. Teach her how beautiful and strong your body is, so she can see that hers is the same. Show her how powerful your mind is, so she knows that she too possesses the same power in thinking. And always keep her close to show her women can and should empower one another.

"Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your daughters."
-January Harshe

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Things are ever changing

You're constantly growing bigger and bigger, learning new things and gaining independence. Your life has been so full of "firsts" and I know there's many many more "firsts" to come. Watching you and your reactions brightens even the darkest of days. Viewing life through your eyes is exciting and innocent. 

Recently, you had your first taste of solid food and boy was that an experience. As we've done for several of your "firsts", we set the camera up and snapped away as you had your first taste. Carrots. You went from opening up for more to giving us the most disgusted little face ever. You weren't sure what to think. 

Watching these "firsts" brings about so many emotions. It's difficult to explain. At one moment, excitement takes over and you look forward to each new milestone and watching your little one grow up, the next, you're fighting back tears wondering how in the world your baby is growing up so quickly. I'll admit, as a mom who exclusively breast fed for over 6 months, starting solids was difficult. Watching the reaction and facial expressions was priceless, but I also had to come to terms with the fact that little miss is no longer 100% nourished from my body. I've realized I'll be doing a lot of that as she grows up and learns to care for herself and that's ok, it's all part of being a mom. All of these moments will one day just be memories. Slow down, take pictures, it's all happening so quickly, you'll want something to look back on. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

You Will Never Outgrow My Love

I've never been able to understand how time can move so slowly, yet fly by all at the same time. I'm here wondering how I've survived the past 6 months of mommy hood when it seems like it's passed in a whirlwind. Did I work with her and teach her enough? Were there moments I missed out on? Should I have taken more time for myself? Or did I sit back and allow our new life to slowly bloom in front of me like a flower blooming in spring? Regardless how I took on the past 6 months they are behind us, a faint memory, a time that can only be brought back through photographs and video snippets of what life once was. Little Miss is becoming more and more independent and I'm learning that life with a child is about letting go slowly. She left my womb and began a life all her own...letting go. She doesn't need me to hold her all the time...letting go. She's becoming a bit more mobile and thinks it's funny to roll away from me...letting go. Soon she will begin solid food and won't be nourished 100% from my body...letting go. These are only the firsts of mamas having to let go. It's not always easy to realize you aren't needed in the same ways you were yesterday. She will always need me in some aspect, even when she's grown and I'll be there for her. There will come a day when she's going to spread her wings and fly. She's not going to realize how many times her mama was there for her, but I'll be waiting because I know my work won't have been done.

A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it. 
- Frank A. Clark

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Love is

I realize I write about my daughter and postpartum a lot, but I want to take this week to switch gears a tiny bit. 10 years ago, someone entered my life and forever altered it. This past week we will celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary! 

To my husband,
I know I don't say this enough, but thank you. Thank you for loving me. For really loving me, not just my shell, but every thing about me. I know first hand that I've got some character flaws, but some how, you manage to see through my faults and love me anyways. You've been one of my biggest supporters. When I fall down or make a huge mistake, you're always there to pick me up or encourage me through tough times. I know times aren't always perfect and sometimes we disagree, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 
I thought I loved you with all of my heart, but I haven't. There was an empty space, a space that's been filled and that's seeing you as a daddy. I didn't realize I could love you anymore until I first saw you hold her, kiss her and count her tiny toes. It was beautiful, the two of you are beautiful. My life is filled with joy because you're a part of it. When I hear you talking to our sweet girl while I'm in another room, I'm filled with emotion and overwhelmed with love. You make me, you complete me and I'm forever thankful that you chose me to do life with. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Coronthians 13:4-7

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"The ocean stirs the heart...."

Watching my daughter has quickly become one of my favorite things to do. Seeing the look on her face and all of the expressions she makes as she explores and learns the world around her is priceless. When she learns a new task or finds something for the very first time, her face is sure to tell you what she thinks of it. We recently took a trip to the beach. As we were walking along the boardwalk towards the sand, thoughts were running through my mind, will she love it, hate, be indifferent? I was so excited to capture these moments! So, with the camera in tow, we made our way to the sand and surf.

I had my husband hold her so she could put her toes in the sand as I quickly snapped photos of her changing expressions as she felt sand for the very first time! She was in love and curious, wiggling her tiny toes in the sand, smiling and releasing the sweetest giggles! My husband then let me dip her toes in the surf and allow the cool ocean water to wash over her feet and around her tiny ankles. She was ecstatic, a goofy grin quickly changed to squeals and laughter, then a curious little expression.

I look forward to these moments, watching her grow and learn. Seeing the look on her face makes me feel like the most blessed woman in the world. I love viewing the world through her eyes, watching how the simple things, things we take for granted can light up her eyes and bring on some of the greatest expressions I've ever seen.

"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul."


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Late Night Ramblings

You know those people, the ones who talk about every detail of their life and go on and on about how perfect it is and how blessed they are? Maybe you're one of those people. Heck, maybe I am too.

It's late and I'm sitting on the couch with some TV game show playing quietly in the background and the hum of a breast pump is sounding more and more like it may be talking to me. Have I lost my mind? I glance around a room, filled with toys haphazardly left laying around from a long day of entertaining a 5 month old and an attempt to keep myself sane. I really should straighten up before heading to bed, but let's be honest, bed just sounds so much more appealing than straightening up toys that will be brought right back out in the morning to allow my child to expand her mind and encourage her development. I sit here and relax, winding down before bed, it's my alone time, my quiet time, my time to think and relish on the day's events. This is my life, my sometimes chaotic life. I think of the sweet smiles I am graced with every morning, the look in her eyes when she learns something new, the way she fights me during nap times and eventually passes out with a peaceful look on her face, milk drunk. I think about how amazing it feels when my husband comes home from work and I know that the time is brief in the evenings, but we get to have those moments together, the three of us. It may just be playing on the floor and eating dinner quickly while our daughter plays alone, but it's our time, it's time we will never get back. It's time that's slipping away much too quickly. I think about putting her down for the night and hope she has sweet dreams. These thoughts make me realize how truly blessed I am. This life, it's perfectly imperfect and I'm ok with that. We have bad days, we have pleasant days and days that I wish we could put on repeat, but the truth is all of our days combined are what makes us, us. We may be a family that functions in chaos, but we live a life full of love and we experience true joy and that's sometimes hard to find. It's my life and I want to talk about every detail of this perfect, blessed little life I live.

I encourage you to think about your day, truly think about it. Look for all the perfect little imperfections. Realize how beautiful chaos is when it's spent with family. Relish these moments, love big, laugh hard and live in the moment.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:13

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reality of a stay at Home Mom

First, let me tell you about my expectations of being a stay at home mom. When we made the decision for me to stay home with our little one, I was ecstatic! I knew it would be hard, I knew sacrifices would have to be made, but think about all the positives. For instance, I would clean every day. Yep, floors mopped, tables dusted, kitchen wiped down, and things put away every single day. On top of that, I would have dinner ready shortly after my husband walked through the door in the evenings and a homemade dinner at that! I would shower, do my hair and ready myself everyday. I would have time to cuddle my baby, play and teach her new things. We would have play dates all the time and go on walks when the weather is nice. I could just imagine us sitting on a blanket in the yard playing on a nice spring day. I would run all of our errands and make sure we had nothing to do but relax on the weekends. Sounds perfect, right?

Yes it does! But, that's not reality. That's a complete dream. If you live like that and are able to keep up with it all and remain joyful through it all, then major mom props to you!
Instead, I've learned to live in a home with that "lived in" look. Things aren't always put away and tables aren't dusted every day. I may have dinner ready most days of the week. That's thanks to my dear husband for doing 99% of the grocery shopping and a freezer full of freezer meals that we prep every month or so. Dishes may be left in the sink to be tackled the next morning and floors may be left unswept. I've learned to master a 5 minute shower or I choose to shower in the evenings after the little one is in bed. My hair is rarely fixed and if we don't leave the house, yoga pants or sweats is my outfit of choice. I may not get many errands run throughout the week and weekends may be spent doing some cleaning, but I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, some days I wish there were more hours in the day, and that I had time to do everything I imagined myself doing, but it was so unrealistic.
I've found joy in our day to day simple life. I am able to snuggle my baby, we play and giggle throughout the day. She's able to nap in the warmth and comfort of my arms. We do have an occasional play date and go on walks when the weather is nice. However, there are days where she isn't the happiest baby, days where she refuses to nap and days where I feel like I've exhausted myself trying to make her happy. Those days are tough! As a stay at home mom, sometimes I find myself yearning for a little adult interaction, someone to talk to...someone who talks back to me. Just today I joked about inviting the Jehovah's Witness in to have an adult to chat with or maybe I'll befriend the mailman. These past several months, I've learned how so very important it is to get out, make friends and set up walks or play dates. So, I'm thankful and grateful for all of my mommy friends, whether you're a working mom or stay at home mom, know that you have a special place in my heart. We are all in this together.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's All Happening So Fast

Oh dear sweet sweet baby girl, you are getting closer and closer to you 1/2 birthday (6 months old). I sit here and wonder where the time has gone, knowing that I'll be sitting here this time next year wondering this very same thing. I'll spend many many days, months, years wondering where the time went. How does it pass so quickly? You're growing so fast, learning more and more everyday and developing the most beautifully intoxicating personality. There's just some things you won't understand until you have a baby of your own, or at least I never did.

Time passes, I mean time passes so quickly! One minute your wanting and needing 24/7 cuddles, the next you are wanting to play by yourself. I know soon will come the day where you don't depend on me for your nourishment, you won't need me to hold you until you fall asleep and you aren't going to want all the cuddles I have to give, and that's ok. I truly mean that's ok. Yes, I'll look back and probably cry wondering where the years have gone. I'll probably even wonder how I let so many minutes slip through my hands. I sit here and tell myself that I'm fully embracing you and your tiny little body. I am! I said this same thing when you were fresh out of the womb. I embraced those newborn cuddles, those early days where we were still figuring each other out. Now, I sit back and struggle to remember what it was like. How were you that little, how did I manage do get through those early weeks, how did your father and I survive the newborn phase? I'm really not sure the answer, but you were that little! I have pictures to prove it! We survived and made it through that newborn phase! You my darling are wonderful, and though I may not remember every fleeting moment, I vow to take pictures, to truly, I really mean it, embrace every moment. I know I'll sit here years from now and watch you run around this house and think to myself where's my baby, my itty bitty baby, but truth is, I want you to grow. I can't wait to see the sweet child you become, the hopefully not so drama filled teenager (ha), and the beautiful young woman that you'll one day be. Sitting here, with tears in my eyes, I want you to know that I'll love you forever and though you won't depend on me 100%, I'll snuggle with you when you need me, I'll wipe away your tears and I'll always hold you close to my heart, my dear because I know these moments, the ones I'm clinging on to and trying to slow down are fleeting little blips in this little thing we call life.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I want my body back...

Wait, I'm not even sure what that means. I never lost MY body. Why sure if I lost it , I'd want it back, but I don't see how one could simply lose their own body. Yeah, sure I spent a loving 41 weeks 3 days sharing my body with a tiny human being, but I never lost it. My face, was still my face, my hands were still my hands. Those legs, yep those were mine too. And that belly, most definitely still mine. Sure it changed, a pudge here, some sagging there and maybe even some new stripes, but I never lost my body.

I'm not exactly sure why our culture is so focused on getting the pre-baby body back. Why must we put that stress and pressure on a new mom? Why can't we lift up a new mother, let her know how beautiful and wonderful she truly is? New moms are having products, diets and weight loss advice thrown in their face, whether through face to face, books, magazines, or social media. So, when a new mom doesn't fit in to her old jeans by two weeks postpartum, you know how she feels? Defeated. She may wonder why she can't fit in to her old clothes, while others do. She may be struggling to find the time to go workout, while others are at the gym everyday. I feel the postpartum experience is stripped from so many mothers in America.

Postpartum shouldn't be spent analyzing our bodies, doing the most recent fad diet or worrying about squeezing in those skinny jeans. While I'm all for health and wellness, feeling comfortable in your own skin is so important. I wish our culture would allow new mothers to truly soak in every moment with their newborn babies. Those early days and weeks pass by much to quickly. Mothers should embrace their bodies, be in awe at what they have endured and hold that little tiny squish close to their hearts, because those days will soon be just a memory.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What's your favorite thing about Motherhood?

This question has been posed to me in multiple ways over the past 4 months and to be honest, I don't know how to answer it. I know I can't be the only mama out there who feels she has to rack her brain to come up with one thing to say.

Now, this may sound like I don't have a favorite thing and that's be correct. It's all my favorite, snuggles, baby laughs, breast feeding, baby wearing, the way she makes eye contact with me like I'm her person. I love her sweet little yawns, her funny faces, and even those fussy times. Yes, even getting up in the wee hours of the morning is a favorite. Those late night/early morning wake ups are our time. While the rest of the world sleeps, it's just the two of us, baby and I. She curls in to my body and I feel her warmth. I know she's ok, that she just needs me. She nurses and her suckling slowly tapers off as she gently falls back to sleep. I watch the moonlight shine on her face and know that all too soon these nights will be gone.

So, when I'm posed with the question, "what's your favorite thing about being a mom?". I can simply respond, everything.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reality Hits

Motherhood has been a roller coaster ride. I'm talking ups and downs, flips and turns, we've gone through some dark tunnels and had moments where we enter back in to the beautiful sunlit sky.

Eventually, the hormones begin to level, your house isn't filled with family every day, you aren't having meals brought to you and life returns to "normal." As life begins to gain some consistency, you realize this tiny human that came home with you, is yours. That little baby is your responsibility, it's your job to care for, nurture and love this baby. This is when motherhood became real, I realized I am actually a mom, this isn't some crazy dream, this is my life.

There are great days, there are days with ups and downs, and there are those days where you wish you could go on a vacation all by yourself just to catch a break, or hiding out in the bathroom for a few minutes might work too.  Tough days, are the days where I spend much time sitting and rocking my fussy baby. There are moments where we both cry. I find myself wishing these moments away, wanting them to pass and for my sweet, happy, smiling baby to be back. Then, I sit back and realize these are fleeting moments, mere minutes in a lifetime filled with love, laughter and the purest joy one could ever experience. So, I sit back, hold my baby, inhale her sweet aroma, lay soft kisses on the top of her head and relish this little life that I hold in my arms. These are the moments I never want to forget.

"Motherhood is a great honor and privilege, yet it is also synonymous with servanthood. Every day women are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they are awake at night nursing a baby, spending their time and money on less-than-grateful teenagers, or preparing meals, moms continuously put others before themselves."
-Charles Stanley

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 4th Trimester

Yep, that's right, there's 4 trimesters. I know, crazy, right? I didn't realize that after having Lana, I would have another entire trimester ahead of me. The 4th trimester begins right when pregnancy ends and your beautiful baby has been brought earth side. For me, I entered 4th trimester with a baby fresh out of the womb laying on my chest. I had no idea what was to come, I was clueless at what it took to be a mother and make it through the 4th trimester. Those first days in the hospital were in no way a glimpse of what life would really be like with a brand new baby. In the hospital, they cater to you. Need more water, it's delivered right to you. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served about the same time everyday and you never have to do any preparation. It's just dropped off for you to enjoy. If you have any questions or need assistance with that new bundle, someone is always right there for you.

Then, you leave. No, things don't go downhill, life doesn't fall apart, but reality indeed hits hard. We got home with our tiny squish and I thought, "now what?" What do you do with a brand new baby? I literally told my mom, I have no idea what you do with a baby. Help!!! She said hold her, love on her, change her and feed her. Ok, easy enough! I totally have this, and I did. I'm not going to say being a mom was a breeze for me, but I felt that I was a natural. Yes, there were moments that I cried because I had no idea what she needed. There were times when I just needed a break. Those first days/weeks were terrifying. It didn't dawn on me that my husband and I would be solely responsible for raising this child! Are we even capable of this?
As days turned to weeks, I realized I gained a bit more confidence in being alone with our baby girl. I wasn't terrified when my husband left for work in the mornings and we made it through our days. Our days consisted of waking, nursing, changing diapers, nursing, cuddling, nursing, sleeping, and did I mention nursing? I thought in no way is this child still hungry! I was handling myself, I may have cried a time or two, to people who didn't know what was coming their way. Those poor unsuspecting individuals had no idea. Oh, the hormonal, emotional person I had become! Yep, I was suffering with the baby blues. I kept telling myself, these days won't last forever and one day I will miss them. I did my best to cherish every moment. Now, those teary eyes still come, because of course, I'm still a nursing mother and hormones are raging. But, those early baby blues are gone and I'm realizing how quickly these days are passing.
Of course, I learned all of these nursing sessions weren't just for nourishment. Sometimes they were for comfort, to feel safe, to sleep and just because she wanted to be with her mommy. Really, all she's known for 9 months is me! How scary it must be, to leave your home after 9 months and enter this new world. Of course, you would want to cling to the only thing you know.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to adjust to a "new" body, worry about the condition my house is in and attempt to make sure I feed myself, along with about a million other things. Out of all of the prep classes we took, not one of them told me what these first few months would hold. Let me be real honest for a minute, they were challenging, scary, stressful, loving, joyful, exciting and most of all, they passed to quickly. I'm thankful that we had a freezer full of dinners and a family who did so much for us during this crucial period. Otherwise, I would have been a frantic new mommy and not been able to sit back and relish in the joy of this new life.
Now that we have passed the 4th trimester, I sit her thinking how bittersweet this is. She's growing, thriving, and I couldn't be more happy. But, at the same time, she's becoming more independent and is completely okay playing by herself. She still needs me to feed her, cuddle her, carry her, she still only falls asleep on me, but I know there will come a day when she doesn't fully rely on me and I'm ok with that. But, for now, I'm cherishing every time she looks in my eyes, grabs my finger, looks up at me while nursing and smiles at me. As trying as the 4th trimester can be, it is only the first chapter of the sweetest book ever written.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Welcome to Motherhood

After a much needed weekend getaway, we are home and settling back in to our routine. 

Let me continue telling you my story and walk you through my experience of becoming mama.

October 20, 2014 (41 weeks, 3 days pregnant): I hadn't been able to sleep for weeks now. I would stay up until 4am or so wide awake! Sometime after midnight, I decided to update the chalk board in our kitchen to say "Welcome Lana" because she would eventually be joining us...I think.

3am- I decided to get a bath and see if that would help relax me enough to go to sleep. This had become a normal nightly, well early morning routine. I started feeling those achy back pains, which I had been feeling for a week or so now. All I could think was seriously, I am so tired of this, why can't I just have this baby already. I was dreading the appointment that I would no doubt be going to later in the day. I was trying to prepare myself, knowing I would end up being induced and that my desire for a natural/med free birth was slowly slipping away. As I got out of the bath, the achy back had turned in to cramping. Hmmm...definitely not labor, because I am never having this baby...I will be pregnant forever.

5am- I finally get my very pregnant self in to bed. I am laying on my side, because at this point, it's the only option left. The back pain had picked up in intensity. The thought of it being early labor flickered in my mind. I thought I would try to sleep just in case labor was really starting. After laying there realizing this achy sensation was becoming more intense and cramps had really started to pick up, all I could do was rock back and forth while laying in bed. I wanted sleep to come, but it was no where in sight, so I rocked to keep myself comfortable.

7am- Tyler begins getting ready for work. I tell him how I am feeling, but encourage him to finish getting ready and go to work, because I doubt this is labor. I told him if it ended up being labor he could just come back home, but don't waste a vacation day for nothing.

8am- I text my mom and tell her how I have been feeling. She offered to come over to the house and be with me. I debated whether she should really waste her time coming over and decided that whatever was happening to my body was not slowing down and definitely not stopping, so I wouldn't mind the company. Mom showed up within probably 20 minutes. When she got to the house, I was bent over on the couch with crazy back pain. She asked if it was mild, moderate or intense. My response was it hurt like sh**. I was still in denial that this was labor. Shouldn't I be feeling contractions? Heck, how would I know if it was a contraction or not? What does a contraction even feel like? All of these questions flooded my tired mind. I figured since whatever was happening was picking up, we would take a walk to see if it would continue. As we are walking around my street, I am doubling over with back pain. It was surreal. Knowing my neighbors may very well be watching me, all while having no care in the world. It was a beautiful moment, to be outside, the sun beaming down on me and preparing to birth my daughter.

10am- Lisa (our amazing doula) arrives at the house. Honestly, I don't know what time I contacted her or what I even said. All I knew was Lisa was at the house and my mind kept thinking, "I hope she did not come all the way over here for nothing." I remember at some point shortly after Lisa arrived, that she said this seemed to be the real deal! I remained cautious, thinking this probably really isn't labor. But that back pain was constant and I felt everything getting tight. Lisa worked with me and did a few different positions during contractions to see if we could alleviate the back pain some. We walked up and down the street and all around the living room. I received countless back massages, that really helped me to keep going. It eased the back pain and allowed me to stay in my own little world. I was almost enjoying the pain at this point. I knew my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to. I was in my own world, some type of trance, a birth high. Whether I was or not, I felt quiet and private, empowered and beautiful, strong and powerful. I really had no idea what to expect labor to be like, but this definitely was not it. My eyes remained closed through most of it and I did whatever my body told me to do. Again, I found this pain to be tolerable and amazingly beautiful. I was falling in love.

11am- Tyler came home from work because this was really labor! I continued to follow my body's cues on what to do. Lisa made suggestions which I believe aided in helping things continue to progress. I walked around the back yard, leaned on my husband, took a bath and did lunges on the stairs. While in the bath, the song Oceans by United played. I relaxed and just silently talked to God. All I could really manage to say was "it's in your hands." Through the intense moments, I actually found myself loving this. I wanted it to keep going. I wanted it to become more intense. I wanted my baby girl in my arms.

1:45pm- Our photographer (Heather Dimsdale) came to the house to take a few photos before Lisa said it was time we make our trip to the hospital. I was so thankful knowing that she came to our home, to give us permanent memories of such an intimate time.

2pm- We load up in the car. It took me a few minutes to get from the living room to the garage. These contractions were coming closer and closer together, increasing in intensity. Contractions in the car picked up even more! I never knew a car ride could be so intense. As we were turning towards the on ramp for the interstate, I had my first moment. I yelled at Tyler, not in a hateful way, but in an intense tone, I just told him he could slow down a bit. I just wanted to be in my zone again, alone and by myself, and out of this car. I did my best to focus, stay within myself, and allow my body to open.

2:40pm- Finally, we arrived to the hospital and made it through admissions. I leaned against the chair in the admissions office, signing paperwork between contractions. Thank goodness I preregistered, so it was a quick process. A nurse came to get me with a wheelchair, which I refused, because my mind kept thinking, as long as I keep moving, this baby is coming down. Truthfully, I didn't think I could sit at this moment. I remember passing my OB who was sitting at the nurses station. He asked how I was doing and I managed a thumbs up. I felt amazing, like I've made it. I labored at home! We continued the walk to my room, pausing for contractions in the hall way.

3pm- Made it to the room! My OB wanted to get a quick monitor before allowing me to be unhooked from the IV and baby heart rate/contraction monitors. He checked me at 7cm! I had done it, I had almost made it to transition! After being unhooked, I walked the room, leaning on whatever was available during contractions, bed, sink, railing, people. I feel like a lot of the time laboring in the hospital was spent sitting on the toilet. It was the most comfortable place to sit. I was able to feel my body opening and could lean forward during contractions. Someone was constantly massaging my lower back with coconut oil and I felt amazing. I had almost done this! With each contraction becoming more intense, I became more vocal, making a moaning/humming noise with each exhale. I think I also chanted "almost there" or "I am doing it." My mom and Lisa would reinforce my statements, saying "you are doing it."

4pm (or something close to it)- My OB came back in the room to check me again....9cm! It's almost time to push! My OB said he had to leave at 5pm. Part of me wanted to panic, I wanted him to deliver this baby. He knew my plan, he knows me. He offered to break my water and said I could possibly deliver before 5pm, if not it would be the on call OB. I declined, knowing the pain would be more intense if my water was broken. I didn't want any interventions, my water remained intact and my body was doing its job. He told me who the on call OB was and said he would bring her up so I could meet her before delivery. They began to bring tables in the room and ready everything for delivery. Lisa said this means you're very close, see they are getting everything ready. I tried to remain in my world, away from all of this. While we waited, Lisa suggested squatting and leaning on the head of the bed. It felt awkward being so pregnant climbing up in bed to squat. We finally got situated and I thought I might be feeling an urge to push. Again, so unsure? What's "the urge" supposed to feel like. I tried to relax and remind myself that my body was designed for this and I would know when it was time to push.

4:40pm (or something close to it)- Things became very intense. I yelled "oh, my butt!" That was the only statement I could make that described how I felt. So, this is what the "urge" feels like. Within seconds, my water broke and the pressure became so intense. Is she almost here? The room filled with people. Through the intensity, I heard Lisa asking me if I wanted her to coach me through pushing....ummm...yes! I have no idea how to do this! Her look was so comforting, so reassuring. I felt extremely vulnerable and was so thankful she was there. A brief thought crossed my mind that I could not handle this. As soon as that thought entered, I remembered that when you feeling like giving up, that's the moment you need to keep going. I prepared myself and tried pushing while still in that squatting position. The pressure was so intense, I was trying to stand instead of staying squatted. My OB in a kind, but firm voice said, "Britney, you can not keep doing that, every time you do, you are closing your pelvis." With those words, I flipped over on to my back and began pushing with all my strength. I reached down and felt a head full of beautiful hair. That feeling was all I needed, I knew our little miracle would be here very soon. I set it in my mind that when I felt like pushing, I would push with all my might. My body knew what it was doing.

4:55pm- After less than 10 minutes of pushing, our baby girl was born. The cord was wrapped twice around her neck, but after it was unwrapped, she began crying and was immediately placed on my chest. I had done it, we had done it! Our little miracle had finally made it!

I still am in awe at all that my body went through. I desired a natural, med-free birth and by listening to my body, trusting God and having an amazing birth team with me, I was able to have a beautiful birth.

To my daughter, you are more than worth the labor of love that I endured for you. I would do it over and over again, just to have you in my arms. I couldn't have done it without you either baby girl. You were so strong. Our bodies worked together for you to arrive on your chosen birth date. Mommy loves you!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Becoming Mama

I suppose, if I am going to let you in on the day to day of my mama life, I should start with how I became mama.

This is how the story begins...

 February 1, 2014: That tiny Internet cheapie pregnancy test finally showed two faint lines. I mean barely see it, squint your eyes and pretend it's there type of faint. Suddenly, disbelief became my emotion. How could I tell Tyler I was finally pregnant, after just shy of a year since we began trying to conceive, if I wasn't even 100% the test was positive? I kept quiet and waited for Tyler to go to bed, knowing good well I should just wait and test again in the morning. Emotions took control over me and I whipped out the expensive store bought pregnancy test that had been hiding under my bathroom sink just waiting for this defining moment. So, I took the test and waited. Before the time had elapsed, I looked at that stick and thought no way is this happening. I mean, don't get me wrong, we wanted this, we had been praying for this moment, but after peeing on what felt like hundreds of sticks, you start to think it will never happen. Of course, I shared the news with Tyler and we each went through extreme ranges of emotions, ending in cautious excitement.

Approximately 7 weeks pregnant: The day finally arrived to go to our OB appointment and confirm that we are actually pregnant! Seeing that tiny little bean on the ultrasound broke me in the most beautiful way possible. I was carrying a tiny human! A tiny human that I had to nourish and protect. A tiny human that I had no control over, because after all it's in God's hands.

16-20 weeks pregnant: My phone rings while I am at work, I look down and see it's the OB calling. I hesitantly answer, wondering why they would be calling, not thinking it may be the results from our downs syndrome screening. It was the nurse on the other end, who informed me that we were high risk for downs syndrome and would be referred to a specialist. Two weeks later, I found myself sitting in the parking lot at this new and strange office. As I was waiting to go in, Bring the Rain by MercyMe came on the radio. I lost it! All I could do was pray and remind myself that no matter what this doctor said, no matter the outcome of any tests, I had a miracle growing inside of me, and I would remain strong for this baby. Then the hard part came, getting out of the car and making it in to the waiting room to see a specialist. How did such a beautiful miracle end up with us sitting in this waiting room, leaving us feeling alone and afraid of the unknown. Now we knew regardless what the results were, that we would love this baby unconditionally. We were finally called back to ultrasound, to take more in depth measurements of our little pumpkin and then to meet with the doctor. We left this appointment feeling a little more positive, since the ultrasound showed no markers that were of concern. A couple of weeks after this appointment, we got a phone call saying that the blood test was negative and we could just about rule out downs syndrome. I hung up the phone praising God and realizing that everything happens for a reason. Never doubt God, even though we felt very much alone, He was always there.

20-34 weeks pregnant: Other than morning sickness since about 8 weeks, everything seemed to be going smoothly at this point. We found out we were having a little girl and anxiously awaited the arrival of little Lana.

34 weeks pregnant: I went in for my regular 2 week check at the OB. However, the appointment was a little different. My heart rate was way above my normal. My heart rate was in the 150's, which I had consistently been in the 70's this entire pregnancy. This scare ended in blood work and a referral to the cardiologist, where they did an echocardiogram, EKG and a 24 hour holter monitor. After the testing, I was put on a beta blocker to control my heart rate and vitamins to help with severe anemia. I was also taken out of work to rest and allow my blood volume to hopefully increase before delivery.

37 weeks pregnant: At this point, I went in to the "it could happen anytime now" mindset. After a few days of that thinking, I kindly reminded myself, that it could also happen at 42 weeks, so I decided to try and enjoy these last few days/weeks, instead of focusing on it as a countdown.

October 10, 2014: It's officially our estimated delivery date! I went with my mom to get pedicures as kind of a celebration that we made it! I was secretly hoping the foot massage would put me in to labor. Nope. Our estimated date came and went.

October 11 - October 19, 2014: Patience is a virtue, right? I had my rough moments, but I was prepared for the long haul (42 weeks). I kept reminding myself that I would let my baby choose her birth date. If there is no medical reason to be induced, then why do it? The more days that passed, the tougher it got to handle the comments about why I haven't been induced or the recommendations on what I should do to go in to labor. I had several episodes of false labor, which can totally mess with your mind. With each back ache, stomach cramp or strange feeling, I thought could this be it? We continued to wait.

October 15, 2014: I went to my appointment with my OB. I was a beautiful, swollen, 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant woman. Everything checked out fine and we scheduled my next appointment for October 20th at 3:15pm to discuss our induction plan, which would be set up if I did not go in to labor by 42 weeks (10/24/14).

October 16, 2014: My mom and I went on several walks just to keep me moving and help ready my body for labor....if it would ever start! I began showing a few signs, that labor would some point.

October 19, 2014: I literally had come to the point where I thought I would never have this baby. Could I be pregnant forever? Surely, no one has been pregnant forever. I talked to our doula and we decided to chat before I went to my appointment the next afternoon, just to put me at ease and prepare me for the induction conversation. This was an appointment that I was absolutely stressing over!