Friday, December 30, 2016

To My Sweet Little Miss

I see you, I promise that mommy still sees you. You are my girl, my baby and the first one to call me mommy. I know these early days and weeks will be rough, we are all adjusting and I see you trying your best to figure out how you fit in with this new normal of having a sibling. I see you struggle baby and my heart breaks for you. I want to reach out and hug you so many times during the day. Most of those times I do, while sometimes I'm busy holding and nursing your brother. You've been such a big girl in helping me and loving on your brother, but I see your needs too. I see how you react when your brother needs a little more care and attention than you do. My heart longs to just hold you in those moments. I'm adjusting too, I'm trying my best to be there for you and your brother both. You both need me, often in different ways and I want to be able to stretch myself for you both. I know I fail, but I'm learning sweet girl, mommy is trying! I'm tearing up as I type this while nursing your brother in the early hours of the morning, because I know you are in the other room wanting me as well. I hear you. I see you. I am here for you my girl. We are in this together. It's an adjustment and we are both doing all we can. So baby girl, when you need to cry, cry. When you need to feel mad, be mad. When you want to laugh and tickle your brother, do it. I pray you don't hold back, I need my sunshine baby to shine her brightest. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

To My Little Boy

You came in to this world and forever changed me. You are everything I never knew I needed. I look at you and realize there's always been a place in my heart for you. There's always been a love there just waiting for you to take. I watch you as you sleep and silently cry to myself. I look at you and realize every pain I felt, every emotional breakdown I had, the loss, they all brought you to me. God indeed always has a plan and His timing is perfect. The hard times I endured over the past year, were all setting up my life to make space for you. I want to hold you as much as I did your sister, cuddle you in my arms as you nurse and drift off into a sleeping slumber. Stare in to your eyes and wonder at what you are thinking and who you will grow to be. I pray for you, my son. I pray you find joy in life and always remember where you came from. You've forever changed my world and I pray I can be the mom you need. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Second Time Mama's Birth Story

I was already mama, Little Miss made sure of that, but we were anxiously waiting to find out another Little would be on the way. In late March we got the news that another miracle was growing inside of me!

This pregnancy flew by, it was filled with emotions, since this little babe would be our rainbow! The weeks passed and the pregnancy was going wonderfully. At 20 weeks we found out our rainbow would be a boy and he looked just perfect! Things were smooth sailing aside from breech presentation at 28 weeks, but Little Man had flipped head down by 34 weeks!

As our estimated delivery date approached, I was prepared just as I was the first time for the day to come and go. It did. We saw December 10, 2016 pass and here I was still pregnant. There's something so exciting for me about reaching 40 weeks! Though with my hormones raging and having a two year old I was ready to be done with pregnancy and have our little man home with us! 

If you haven't heard of the restaurant in Atlanta called Scalini's, google it. They claim their eggplant parmigiana will put you in labor. I joked about needing to eat it when pregnant with Lana, but never did. This time I found where they shared their recipe online and thought just for fun we would make it. 

December 14 (40 weeks 4 days pregnant): I woke up with some signs that labor may be coming in the next few days! Though I was totally preparing myself to go past 41 weeks. My mom and I spent the late afternoon preparing this eggplant parmigiana and joking about how it funny it would be if I really did go in to labor after eating it. 
Around 11pm that night I started having some cramps, granted I had been cramping off and on for almost two weeks, so nothing new. I did text my doula and photographer to let them know that if anything picked up, I'd be calling.

December 15, 2016 (40 weeks 5 days pregnant): I took a shower and climbed in bed around midnight. The cramping had gotten stronger, there was no way I could sleep. I got up around 1am and decided I'd lay over my birth ball and just sway through the contractions. Shortly before 1:30am, I called Tyler who was asleep upstairs and asked him to just come sit with me so I wasn't alone. He was downstairs and rubbing my back in a matter of minutes. I decided this may actually be labor getting started and figured I was in for a long night/morning. A little after 1:30am, Tyler called my mom to ask her to head our way. Before she arrived I thought I would go get in a warm bath to see if it slowed the contractions or eased them. I still wasn't 100% sure it was labor. They hurt, they were regular but everything seemed to be moving so quickly! At 2:00am, we called my doula, Lisa Maddux. She arrived to the house around 2:30am. She came up to our bedroom where I was taking one contraction at a time by leaning over the bed so I could squat and sway. After Lisa heard/saw me through a couple of contractions she said we should probably head on to the hospital now. My mind couldn't grasp that, contractions had just started. I had my mom call our photographer, Heather Dimsdale so she could head our way. I really wanted labor pictures with our Christmas tree in the background. I told Lisa I wasn't sure if I was ready to go to the hospital and asked if I could maybe walk around for a few minutes. By the time I made it down the stairs, I said I was ready. Things were moving so quickly compared to the birth of Little Miss. Everything felt so different! I had little to no back pain and was feeling every contraction very low in my abdomen. A few minutes after 3:00am we were in the car and headed to the hospital. We made a phone call to my friend Stacey who was going to be attending the birth as well. Stacey and Heather met us at the hospital. We all arrived around 3:30am. I was pushed through admissions quickly and put in my room. As we walked in the room, I instantly felt emotional as I realized it was the very same room I delivered Lana in. Our nurse, Nadine was amazing! She never once pushed me and she allowed me to move around while she monitored myself and Tucker for a few minutes. It was probably close to 4:00am when Nadine checked me and said I was 4-5cm and 80% effaced. I thought to myself that we arrived at the hospital to early, and now I was stuck laboring here. The intensity of the contractions was pretty high and I was not sure how I would continue to cope. Tyler lightly rubbed my back with each contraction and it made such a difference for me. I continued to labor, walking around the room and allowing my body to guide me. My labor playlist was playing music in the back ground and I was working on finding my zone. As the intensity of contractions picked up, I could feel them surging in my lower abdomen. Pain mixed with pleasure, I knew each one brought me a step closer to meeting my son. I had my affirmations sheet in front of me, beautifully colored with a lotus and rainbow. Words written such as, ease, open, breathe. Statements like I enjoy the birth of my baby, I open, I relax, I breathe my baby down. These words kept me sane, they kept me in my zone. Sometime after 5:00am, the on call OB came in and decided to check me to make sure baby was head down, since we had issues with him flipping breech earlier in the pregnancy. My immediate thought was I could end up in the or, this could be it. I allowed him to check me. He said I was 5cm and 100% effaced. And that yes, baby was head down!! I could have easily been discouraged that I hadn't dilated, but I chose to find joy in the fact that I was completely thinned out, meaning my cervix would dilate more easily. By this time, my OB had been notified, much thanks to one of my nurse friends. He was planning on coming in to deliver this baby! The on call OB had stepped out for a few moments and I was in a semi squat, leaning over the foot of the bed to cope with contractions. At around 5:45am, I felt a pop and a huge gush of fluid, my water had broken. I looked at my doula who was playing a more hands off role, since my husband was my main physical support this time and I told her I needed her. I needed her to be close to me. There's something about the presence of another woman when you're in labor, especially one who knows you and has labored with you before. The contractions became so intense, I thought at only 5cm that there was no way I could continue coping with these contractions. The intensity was out of this world. My body felt foreign to me as I surrendered to the waves. I swayed, I bounced, I squatted and allowed my body to open. I became loud, allowing primal instincts to take over as I was washed away with each wave of contraction. I found a rhythm and continued to go with it. Though the ritual I followed with each contraction was not for sensitive ears. I found myself yelling, loudly, words that are not usually a part of my vocabulary. My body was not my own, it had been over taken by hormones inducing wave after wave of contractions that swept me away. My OB, Dr. Leigh came in shortly before 6:00am and offered to check me. I said no, not yet. There was no way I could allow the disappointment of no progress to hit me again. Within minutes of him walking out the door, I yelled wanting him to come back and check. I began feeling pressure during contractions , but nothing between. Without control, I began pushing while squatting on the floor, I still wasn't sure what was happening. Had it really happened so fast? Was I trying to push against a cervix that wasn't fully dilated? I needed to be checked, I needed to know! At about 6:05am, I, with every ounce of energy left in my body climbed on to the bed on my hands and knees. I looked my doula in the face and said I want the epidural, I need it. She laughed and rolled her eyes, then told me no you don't, plus it's to late. This is our relationship, she knew that wasn't me talking, that was pain, that was exhaustion, that was end of labor doubt. Dr. Leigh was preparing to check me as the instinct took over, I had no control, I was pushing. When he went to check our Little Man's head was right there. He told me with one more push we would have a baby! With two more pushes on my hands and knees, and some adjusting by Dr. Leigh, my baby entered the world at 6:12am. They allowed the cord to stop pulsating, as I collapsed face down in to the bed. Tyler cut the cord and I was able to turn over on to my back and hold my sweet baby boy for the first time! He was perfect, absolutely perfect! He latched on and began nursing within 15 minutes of birth and nursed off and on for over an hour. The labor was intense, it was quick, but having that boy laid on my chest made every contraction, every ounce of pain and emotion beyond worth it. The adrenaline post birth was out of this world, my body was shaking, I had no control, but my Little Man was here and I had just experienced a crazy intense labor and my world was complete. 

9lbs 2oz
21.25 inches

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A single burning flame. I run my fingers over the scars on my tummy and my heart longs for you. I wonder who you would be. The days have gotten easier, but it's a pain that will never be erased. Dear angel, you left a footprint in our lives, one that we will never forget. I like talking about you, I find a sense of joy in sharing our story with other grieving mothers and pray they too feel comfortable to share their story.

Dear reader, you see, it's not a talked about topic in our society. Pregnancy and infant loss tend to be a taboo subject and that's not okay. If you lose a grandparent or other adult family member, people are quick to pay their condolences, talk about memories and the person they were. When it's a pregnancy or infant loss, people are afraid to talk. What do I say? Will I say the wrong thing? What if the mother breaks down sobbing? We get it, we do understand, many of us have stood in your shoes before. It's not your fault, it's how we were taught and conditioned to function regarding this topic. Some don't cherish the unborn life, but for mothers who lose that life, they know just how much it meant. For many, the moment they see two pink lines, they become a mother, they have a baby. We mothers dream to hold that baby growing in our womb, and sadly that doesn't always happen. Some hold their babies, but don't get to take them home. Others take them home, but they don't get to stay. Please don't shut us grieving mothers out of your life, don't be afraid of us, or try to skip through a conversation. We are human, grieving humans, hurting humans, just like anyone who has lost a loved one. Treat us as so. Don't hesitate to bring up the baby, many times we want to talk, but feel we don't have an outlet. We have no one, so emotions and feelings tend to be bottled up and pushed below the surface until we have a moment alone where we feel comfortable to express feelings. We shouldn't have to hide our grief. We shouldn't have to wait to cry in the shower so no one will see. We should be empowered and feel comfortable in telling you our story. Help break the stigma surrounding pregnancy and infant loss, let us talk, don't be afraid to listen. We all have a story.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I've been watching you, watching you grow up right before my very eyes. I've seen the struggles you've gone through in learning to adjust with each new phase. I too have struggled. I've rejoiced as you've hit new milestones, each and every one of them. I've seen the joy in your eyes when you discover a new task as well. The joy sometimes over takes you and leaves us both in a fit of giggles. You are my silly Little Miss! So much personality feels you up and I would never change a thing. You are full of life, full of so much sass and attitude, but at the end of the day you are my (almost) two year old and I love every ounce of the being you are becoming. 
These two years haven't always been Sunshine and unicorns. We have cried. We have shown anger. We have had days where our personalities just aren't meshing quite right. However, at the end of each day, when you ask for me, "mommy milk", my heart overflows. When we curl up together as you nurse and drift off to sleep I'm overcome with emotions. I find myself wishing this stage could last forever, that you could fit in my arms and need me to hold you each night, but I know the days are dwindling. You soon will outgrow this need. Soon those nursing snuggles, will turn to a book and a hug, and before I know it you will be putting yourself to bed. I don't wish these days to pass, but they are and we have no control over the time. I promise you that I am cherishing these last weeks of you being our only baby here on earth. I promise that even when I'm dealing with my own set of pregnancy and breastfeeding emotions, I still care about you, I still love you, and you will always be my baby. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sometimes it is the little things in life.  It's the way my Little Miss has started calling me "Mommy" instead of "Mama."  It's the was her hair gets even more curly as the day wears on, as the humidity tightens up those adorable curls.
Currently, I am sitting here alone, looking through pictures we have recently taken of her, and I can't help but wonder where has my baby gone?  Who is the curly headed, independent, sassy little thing, and when did she show up?  Where have the days gone? Months? Even years?  She is not quite two , but my how the time has passed.  One day I held a wrinkly little baby in my arms and the next, she is running circles around me, driving me WILD, yet filling my heart with more love each and every day.  She is teaching me, and I am learning.  I am teaching her, and she is learning.
Funny how this life works, we spend many of our days wishing for the next thing in life.  Maybe it's wishing for Friday, your next big vacation, your child to grow out of  "this" phase, or maybe it's just an afternoon nap that's calling your name.  So many of us, myself included find it hard to just sit, slow down, breathe in each precious breath, and be truly thankful for that very moment of our existence.  Run your fingers across that newborn baby skin, lingering and packing away those memories of how soft, yet strong their little body is.  Chase that toddler across the play ground one last time before calling it quits and saying it is time to go.  Maybe for once, just give in to their begging and pleading to slide just once more.  Listen to the laughter of you child(ren) as they play contentedly, knowing their hearts are so full of joy.  Soak in these moment, take a deep breath in and realize that soon, very soon everything that you are facing, the good, the bad, the light and dark is all going to fade away.  One day all that will be left are the memories and the wondering of where time has gone.  Find beauty in each day, even the hard ones, God will always provide something beautiful for you.  Hug a little tighter, love a little stronger, and breathe a little deeper, because one day all we will have are the memories.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Finding joy. Joy has been a huge struggle for me this pregnancy. From the moment we found out our family would be growing again, my mind was filled was worry, anxiety, stress, and deep down in there somewhere I was happy. I'll never forget laying on the ultrasound table and hearing that tiny little heartbeat. The heartbeat of my perfectly healthy baby. I broke down. The emotions of being pregnant after a loss have been more than I would have ever imagined. I found myself in yet another whirlwind. How could I find joy in this pregnancy when I was supposed to be pregnant with my other baby!? My baby who never had a chance. How was my heart supposed to fill with joy at the thought of enduring pregnancy and bringing a child earth side when deep down I was still hurting? Please don't get me wrong, I WAS happy, but happiness is just an emotion, a temporary emotion that can range from contentment to extremes pleasure. Happiness wasn't supposed to be what I was feeling. I longed for joy! Joy is not an emotion, joy is an attitude of the heart, more of a permanent state. I begged and pleaded for unwavering joy, to have a heart overflowing. Yet, I found myself so bogged down, having rushed myself through the stages of grief. I was simply just okay. Okay with life moving on, okay with the pain, just okay. 
I'm slowly learning that I can be joyful during this pregnancy. It's more than okay to allow my God to remove my pain, my heartache and replace my heart with joy! Oh the joy I've been longing for! 

  • Jeremiah 31:13 (HCSB) — I will turn their mourning into joy. . . and bring happiness out of grief.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Do you take time to refuel yourself as a mother? This is something I encourage other mothers to do. I feel taking time to refuel yourself will in turn build you to be a stronger mother and wife. So often mothers get lost in motherhood, while its a beautiful place to be, motherhood wears on you, if you let it. As easily as I can talk to other mothers about taking time for themselves, I've realized I never take time for me. Twenty-two months of being mommy and I'm so lost in motherhood. I could not tell you the last time I went and did something just for myself, just because I needed it. My life has been centered around what my Little Miss needs, what my husband needs, and in the midst of the beautiful chaos, I've somehow lost myself. I look in the mirror and see a woman who is strong, yet so weak; beautiful, yet totally ragged; thriving, yet so worn down. Today it really, I mean REALLY hit me, I haven't been refueling myself, at all. I've lost who I am amongst the piles of clothes to be washed, diapers to folded, floors to be swept, and dishes to be put away. I need an intervention! I need to teach myself how to slow down, take time and reenergize myself. How will I continue to go on being a strong mother, a supportive wife, if I can't take time to fuel my body, mind, spirit? I vow to myself and to my little family that this mama is going to start taking some time to refuel, regroup, find herself and restrengthen myself for the betterment of my family. 
What do you do for you?

Friday, July 15, 2016

I haven't blogged much lately, especially since the loss. I'll be honest, I've just felt run down and a bit tapped out. I've struggled finding joy in the everyday. Loss is so hard and I was quick to push myself through the grieving process. I just wanted life to continue on and be "normal" again, and for many it was. I just couldn't get myself over that hurdle. Then came the news in March that we had another baby on the way. As excited as I was, my fear and anxiety outweighed that excitement 10 to 1. I dreaded the summer months coming up, knowing that as my due date with our little angel approached, that bandage that I haphazardly slapped over my heart would be ripped off and I would still have an open wound. Boy, was that an understatement. July rolled around and I wanted to break down and cry at everything, anything, just give me the opportunity to let my guard down and I wanted to let the emotions roll. Happily, thankfully, I did. Obviously, the exploding bottle technique wasn't the best option, but sometimes that cap just can't stay on any longer. 
Since then, I still find myself feeling saddened, feeling hurt and somewhat betrayed at the fact that I should have been holding a newborn baby (or very close to holding one). Yet, here I found myself almost midway through another pregnancy, trying my best not to get too attached for the fear of losing another. I found myself drowning in my own misery, my own grief, my own heartache. 
A beautiful God thing happened, on the exact day of when my angel would have been due, I felt our tiny rainbow baby kick for the first time. To me, it felt like a sign from God that all is going to be ok and that no matter how alone I feel in all of this, He has me. He has been holding me this whole time! I just have to let go of all my hurting, let Him heal my wounds. These lyrics to a song by Plumb have resonated with me for so long and they are so perfect for anytime in our lives when we are feeling burdened, hurt, or just plain worn out. 

      "Just let go let His love wrap around you
                          And hold you close
                     Get lost in the surrender
           Breathe it in until your heart breaks
                                 Then exhale
For me, I am realizing that life will indeed go on and I can too! Gods timing is always perfect, He keeps His promises to us and will never forsake us. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

My heart still hurts and it always will. While the pain has dulled, it is still present. There is not a day that passes where I don't think about the baby we lost. I imagine how my body would have been changing to accommodate that growing life. I imagine how we would be telling Little Miss all about becoming a big sister. How those tiny movements would feel to me, pressing my growing belly, those movements showing me how full of life this baby in my womb would have been. But none of this is our reality, these are all just figments of my imagination, lingering wishes, hopes and dreams, my prayers. The days have passed, the condolences are no longer spoken, this little life seems to have been forgotten by this world. I know our baby is in a better place, but I can't help but to selfishly want that baby here with me. I don't want this little ones life to have been forgotten. I pray for me sake and others who have lost a child (regardless the gestation or age), that the taboo around discussing loss would disappear. We need to talk, we need others to talk, and to understand that sometimes, maybe, it is okay to not be okay.

Plumb "Exhale"

"It's okay to not be okay
This is a safe place
This is a safe place
Don't be afraid
Don't be ashamed
There's still hope here
There's still hope here

No matter what you've done or who you are
Everyone is welcome in His arms

Just let go let His love wrap around you
And hold you close
Get lost in the surrender
Breathe it in until your heart breaks
Then exhale