I can’t believe it’s almost November. Friends, where did October go? This month has been quite a struggle in getting myself motivated to write. When I get stumped, discouraged and tired; I often try to envision how I will feel once my memoir is complete. Writing a book is not easy. It can be a daunting task that I want to constantly give up on. But, I don’t dare give up because I’ve come so far and know I’m meant to do this.
Lately, I’ve just had a variety of really high highs and really low lows when it comes to my emotions, my grief and my goals. It’s exhausting. I try to look at the positive. I have a great job teaching kids everyday. I recently got named teacher of the month, which is also exciting. My husband and I are very busy, but are in a really good place. I love and adore my fur baby Rocky and things are going well for us financially as we pay off our debts.
When you put it that way, life is great and I shouldn’t be complaining. That’s when I feel a high. I feel like I can do this and it’s going to be okay. Then I think about the holidays… Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I’m not pregnant. I don’t have a foster baby and I don’t have any living children. I see friends my age having babies, celebrating birthdays, and holidays with their families. I think about the women who have been trying for 3+ years without any luck, and fear that one day will be me. I hear moms all the time complain about lack of sleep from their infant, tantrums from their toddler, and distant learning experiences from their adolescents…. while all the while I too wish I could be sharing the same experiences.
Thinking about all of this puts me in a very low low. I get to the point where I don’t want to see anyone. I want to hide away in my apartment and forget all the moms pregnant with quarantine babies, and the parents getting their kids ready for Halloween. I want to forget it all because at times it is so hard to deal with.
So you see, I’m not making a ton of progress on my writing because of the emotional grieving tornado I am currently facing. Writing sometimes helps, but sometimes it brings up emotions and memories I’m not quite ready to relive again. I’m not giving up. Not at all. But I am taking my time with this as I continue striving forward with my goals and try not to fear for what the future might hold.
19 years ago today, one of the worst terrorist attacks happened on American soil. A group of hijackers from the Middle East stole 4 comerical airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Where were you on 9/11?
I was 6 years old on 9/11. My mom and I just moved into our new house maybe a week before. I had just started first grade. Since I was only 6, I don’t remember a lot about that day, but there are a few things that stick out in my mind.
I remember being in the classroom while my teacher was teaching. I remember my brother had a nosebleed and went to the office. I remember him coming back and telling our teacher two buildings were hit by airplanes. I remember my teacher asking him to repeat it. I remember her looking really sad.
The rest of the day is blurry. I don’t remember if I stayed at school or if my mom picked me up, but I remember coming home. I remember seeing the news on for hours, replaying the footage over and over again. In my young mind I remember thinking “Why do they keep crashing planes into buildings? Someone should stop them.” It took me awhile to realize it was the same buildings and they just kept replaying the footage.
As the days followed, I remember my mom trying to explain to me what happen. I remember her being really sad and even scared to send me back to school. I remember my grandma being at our house and getting very sad and angry at the tv.
I remember that fall it was very patriotic. There were so many American flags being flown. I remember many people singing patriotic songs on tv and asking for money for the victims and families effected. I remember my teacher drawing the shape of a pentagon on the white board and explaining that a plane crashed into this building as well as the towers.
As I have reflected back on this day over the years, I have realized that I remember a lot more than had thought. I am also seeing that much of my education and childhood was certainly effected as I like many others had to grow up in a world after 9/11. I can recall numerous accounts of class conversations with our teachers about Osama Bin Ladin, terrorist attacks, 9/11, war etc.
Around the age of 16, I found an interest in 9/11. I think it is because it is a historic event that occurred in my lifetime that I somewhat remember. It truly is a sad moment in our history, but at the same time I find so much strength and resilience in hearing survivor’s stories. Though I know it will be hard, one goal I have is to someday visit Ground Zero and walk through the 9/11 memorial and museum. I say it will be hard because it is one thing to read and see the history and events of that day on a screen, but it is another to experience the location of that day and see it at that large magnitude.
Now that I am an adult and teaching preschoolers, I often wonder if anything like this will ever happen again. I hope not. I really really hope not. But if it did, how would I respond as a teacher. Personally, I don’t think I would be able to hide my sadness, as much as I would want to. I think I would try to protect and give to my kids love and comfort as best as I could… much like my first grade teacher did.
I do want to take a moment and say, I am thinking of all the people who were lost on 9/11 including the first responders and the average hardworking Americans. I am praying for all the families and friends who lost a love one that day. I also want to thank the many men and women who went to war right after 9/11 to fight for our freedom and the war against terror.
I also want to leave you with one last memory I have. This memory isn’t from 9/11 exactly but the many months after. I remember my class was on a field trip in the spring. It was very rainy and I don’t exactly remember where we were coming back from, I want to say it was from the nature center. Anyway, I remember riding the bus and playing with my friends on the bus. At some point the bus driver turned on the radio and the song God Bless the USA came on. Many of us kids started singing since this song was played often, we knew it very well. Before long the chaperones, my teacher and the bus driver were all singing to this song. To this day it still gives me chills thinking about how many of us children could not comprehend the magnitude of what happen that year, and yet we learned so much about violence, terror, bravery, freedom and how to be proud Americans.
Over my journey of blogging I have given you all a variety of blog post round ups that discuss my most liked, and viewed blog posts of that time. However, I have never actually shared with you my most popular blog post of all time.
It took me awhile to go through my archives and discover which blog post is truly the most popular… but I think I found it. My most popular blog post is Biblical Scriptures I Found Helpful AfterAMiscarriage.
One reason I feel this post is popular, is because of what it is talking about, biblical scripture. Whenever someone passes away and we are forced to grieve and live on, we often turn to God and turn to scripture.
Another reason this blog post is so popular, is also because I shared it on Pinterest. This link has been clicked 48 times since I posted it about a year ago, and that’s pretty good.
There ya go! That’s my most popular blog post. Will I write another blog post that’s more popular? Maybe someday. 😊
As many of you know, I am super big on goal setting. I love setting goals for myself, and doing my best in trying to reach them. Recently, I was looking on Pinterest to see if I could find some inspiration of what to write, and this topic came up. I am always setting summer goals and even goals for the year… but I never thought to set goals before I reach a certain age. So, with out further or do… here are my goals that I would like to accomplish before I turn 30.
1. Have at least two kids (Through birth, adoption or whatever the Lord has planned)
2. Write 5 Children’s Books (I think publishing at least one a year sounds good)
3. Publish My Memoir (I better have this done by then 😂)
4. Move up in my field working with children (Whether that be just more responsibility or a promotion… I’m up for anything)
5. Move into a house (I would prefer here in Michigan, but we’ll see what happens)
6. Get a Dog (Someday soon!)
7. Make Money Blogging (Somehow and some way I would hope to make a small income off of my hobby)
8. Make my Dog a Brand Ambassador (For Real, I want to try this)
9. Go on a Week Long Vacation to Some Place Warm (Fort Lauderdale, or Myrtle Beach sound nice)
10. Have 5,000 Followers on my Blog (Tell your friends about my blog ya’ll!)
11. Get a Cat (the dog will need a friend)
12. Pay Off Half My Student Loans (Get them things paid off)
13. Attend an NCFR or NAEYC conference (Now, this would be fun)
14. Write a Self Care Journal for Women (We ALL need a little daily self care)
15. Visit New York City (I want to see Time Square, Ground Zero, One World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty and all the other things)
16. Be on the Today Show (I know this sounds crazy, but I think it would be cool… who knows if it will ever happen)
17. Give a TED Talk (It would be terrifying, but I’d love to do it.
18. Write 1,000 Blog Posts (This should be do-able)
19. Live Life to the Fullest
20. Be a Great Woman, Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Teacher, Author and Human ❤️
My name is Kaylee. If you’re new around here… you may not know much about me. Allow me to introduce myself. I am 24 years old and started this blog about a year and a half ago. I love writing and helping others through my stories of loss and hardship. However, I thought I would mix it up a bit.
Today, I am going to be sharing a few humorous stories about how I somehow seem to catch things on fire. The ironic thing is, my Daddy is a retired firefighter but for some reason… fire just seems to follow me. So, sit back, relax and enjoy these humorous stories.
Fire Story 1: The Fire in the Oven
When Charles and I first got married, we lived in a small one bedroom apartment. One evening after work I decided to bake some chicken wings, and chopped carrots, onions and potatoes. Everything was going great, until I smelled smoke.
I was relaxing in the living room and went to the oven to check it out. The oven did not have a window, so I had to open the door. When I opened the door there was about a four inch flame in corner of the oven. I panicked and yelled for Charles. We didn’t know what to do, and looked ridiculous running around the kitchen.
He told me to calm down and find the fire extinguisher I handed it to him and he used it on the fire. Whelp, that was the end of our dinner. I then called the fire department to have them come check it out. I also called my mom, who panicked and came to help us.
When the fire department arrived, the first one into our apartment was a rookie firefighter and he was so excited for his first fire. He looked very disappointed however, when he realized the fire was small and already out.
The firefighters helped us air out all the smoke, and my mom gave us some money so we could eat at McDonalds for dinner. We figured out later that some grease from the chicken fell on the bottom of the oven and caused the flame. We also discovered that the smoke detector did not work, so in a way it was a blessing that things happened the way they did.
Fire Story 2: The Fire in the Microwave
So, some time last spring I was really into homemade popcorn. I loved air popping the kernels myself, and melting my own butter. One afternoon when I was melting the butter, I heard a really strange sound coming from the microwave. I’m not exaggerating when I say it almost sounded like a radioactive popping sound. I only melted the butter for 10 seconds. I looked around the microwave and didn’t see anything.
About three days later, I made more popcorn. I melted butter and heard the sound again. I looked around the microwave and saw a gray spot on the side near a vent. I thought it was weird but just figured it was something that splattered earlier.
The next day I made popcorn for me and Charles. I decided to make microwave popcorn this time. As it was cooking and had about a minute to go, I heard Bang! Bang! Bang! coming from the microwave. I looked through the window and noticed sparks coming from the inside. I immediately pushed stop, opened the door and unplugged it.
I tried to remove the popcorn bag, and a third of it was black, burnt and smoking. I put it in the sink and ran the water. I looked inside the microwave and one of the vents was black with a hole in it.
Charles then came into the kitchen and said “Girl, what did you do?” I told him what happened and tried to calm myself down but also started laughing. We were without a microwave for about three days until we were finally able to get a new one. We discovered that somehow a build up of grease and butter likely splattered into the vent and caught it on fire.
Fire Story 3: The Fire from the Glue Gun
Sometime last winter, I decided to pull out my glue gun to work on some projects. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I was working on. Anyway, I pulled out the glue gun, and realized the cord would not reach the table if I plugged it into the wall. So, I plugged it into the surge protector on the floor… big mistake.
As I was in my own little craft world, hot gluing away, I was focused close to my project with my face near the glue gun. I sat up to stretch my neck and as I was sitting up I heard Pow! I jolted back into the couch and watched the huge spark from the glue gun turn into smoke. Half my living room went dark and I realized I blew a fuse.
I tried to compose myself enough to call my dad… since he is a retired firefighter. He told me to unplug everything and call maintenance. Everything ended up being fine, and I later learned that you’re not supposed to plug heating elements into surge protectors… lesson learned.
Fire Story 4: The Fire at the Cabin.
Not going to lie, this is probably my favorite fire story because of all the shenanigans that occurred. I certainly saved the best for last.
On Halloween of 2014, my best friend Andrea and I went to her family’s cabin. It was honestly a fun trip, despite everything that happened. The next day on November 1st, Andrea and I drove to the town store that was famous for its’ jerky and was at least a half hour away. Before leaving, I asked Andrea if we should unplug the space heater. She said we shouldn’t have to because it was relatively safe and could be left on for hours if need be.
Before leaving, I prayed everything would be ok, and then we took off to the store. While at the store I bought a bunch of jerky for my family and Charles since we had just started dating. We spent probably 20 minutes at the store, and then headed back to the cabin.
After unloading and arriving in the cabin, we both smelled smoke. Andrea checked the kitchen and all was good. We both headed into the bedroom and noticed the space heater was not on even though we left it on. We immediately went to the outlet, and noticed that the plug melted into the outlet. Andrea quickly unplugged it and said “Thank God”
After putting away the meat and getting in comfy clothes, I called my parents to tell them what had happened. My dad answered and after hearing my story, told me he was glad everything was okay. I hung up from him and helped Andrea open windows to get smoke out of the cabin.
A few minutes later my mom called in a panic and said “Kaylee you really should call the fire department and have them check out the wall. That is how our house fire started. There was fire in the wall.” After thinking about it, she was right. I went into the bedroom and touched the wall just above the outlet. It was still hot. I then hung up from my mom, told Andrea what my mom said and called 911.
When the dispatcher asked for the cabin address, Andrea read it to me off her gps on her phone. After hanging up from the dispatcher, Andrea and I scrambled to put our bras and other belongings away since they were laid out all over. As you can guess, we were not expecting company.
After putting our things away, Andrea and I stood on the front porch waiting for the fire department. A few minutes later, the dispatcher called me back and said “Hi, I’m sorry but the firefighters are having a hard time finding your cabin. Where are you located?” I repeated the address to her and she told me the firefighters are at that location and it seems to be the wrong house. She then suggested I run down to the end of the driveway to see if I could see them. Once I headed down the driveway and reached the road, I looked both ways. There were no signs of the fire engine.
I continued talking to the dispatcher trying to explain where we were at. She asked “Are you sure that is the address” I then remembered seeing the address numbers on the porch and read them off to her. Come to find out we were a number off and they really did go to the wrong house. Oops. Andrea stayed on the front porch and I headed back down the driveway trying to spot the fire engine. Once I spotted the fire engine slowly coming down the road, I told the dispatcher and hung up.
Once the fire fighters pulled into the driveway, Andrea and I decided we needed to just play dumb and innocent because we were already super embarrassed. When the first firefighter got out of the rig he said “You guys need to learn how to read an address.” He was so mad, but he had a point. At the time I felt so bad but now I can laugh about it.
They checked out the cabin to make sure it was safe. They checked out the wood stoves as well as the outlet where the fire happened. They took a thermal imaging camera to check the temperature of the wall and it was around 100° and going down. It was likely just a faulty plug. By then I knew we were going to be okay.
As the firefighters left, we apologized multiple times for the confusion and thanked them for their help. Later that night Andrea called her dad and told him what happened. To this day we still laugh about this story.
Thanks for reading my interesting fire stories. I’ll let you know if I have anymore…. but I hope I don’t. 😂 Let me know what you think in the comments.
No, this is not a pregnancy announcement or a trying to conceive announcement. This isn’t an announcement at all, but rather a vision for new opportunities. I love having friends and family who know me. I love having these people in my life who take the time to listen and care for my needs and desires as a person and as a woman.
Recently, one of my best friends gave me a gift. At first when I received the gift, I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. My friend Reaghan gave me a planner, but not just any planner. She gave me a Mommy To Be planner. This planner is specifically for expectant moms who want to organize and prepare for their baby’s arrival.
Now, I didn’t ask for this gift, and frankly I was a little shocked to have received it. After my first miscarriage, I knew I would eventually want to try and have another baby. But after experiencing a second miscarriage, I’m not really sure how I feel. I’ve had two pregnancies that ended with surgery, and trauma. I don’t know if I can bare another loss. I don’t know if my heart can take it. It scares me.
However, even though I’m not sure if I could handle another pregnancy, I am sure of something. I want to be mom. I believe I will be a mom somehow and in someway. Whether it’s through foster care, adoption, pregnancy, surrogacy, or ministry… I believe it’s what God has called me to do.
I think that’s why Reaghan gave me this gift. Not because she thinks I’m trying to get pregnant, and not because she didn’t know what to get me, but because she knows me. She knows I want to be a mom and she knew just what to give me in this time in my life, when I simply don’t know what the next step is. She is a true friend. ❤️
The following post is my story of how I experienced my second miscarriage. In this post I show vulnerability in retelling my second loss. I also share details in my miscarriage, so I do want to offer a TRIGGER WARNING before anyone begins reading my post. Please feel free to stop reading, and take care of you if my words, and my story are challenging to read.
At 12am on Sunday September 29th, I was startled awake. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had just gotten home from the ER a few hours prior. I was advised by my doctors and nurses to get some rest. I had only been asleep for a few hours when I woke up at midnight. I was confused. My heart was racing. I was sweating and I felt really uncomfortable. It’s just anxiety. Calm down. Relax. Baby is okay. I tried talking myself down from my minor panic attack.
I nudged Charles awake. He held my hand and we both fell back asleep.
I woke up again around 2:15am. I woke up sweaty and gross and had to go to the bathroom. I was scared to see I was still spotting and it was getting worse. I was now seeing bright red blood instead of light pink. In wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was getting darker. I prayed, prayed, prayed then fell back asleep.
I woke up at 4am in pain. Cramps radiated from my groin throughout my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. I held my belly, then curled up in a ball. It wasn’t taking the pain away. I got out of bed and tried stretching my legs and my back. I was so confused. What was going on? Why was I in so much pain? After a few minutes of stretching the pain died down. I laid back down. Fifteen minutes later it happen again. Sheering pain was radiating through my core. I tried stretching, pacing and slowly breathing, at that moment it dawned on me. Oh my gosh… I know what this is. Cramps that are painful that radiate throughout my back. Uncomfortable positions. Pain every few minutes. This pain wasn’t just cramps, these were labor pains. I was in labor and I was going to lose this baby.
When this realization hit me, I wanted to throw up. Part of it was the pain, and part of it was my mind and emotions trying to catch up with what my body already knew. I had cramps every fifteen minutes, then every ten minutes, then every five. I paced through my apartment, tried laying in bed and tried sitting on the toilet. Nothing helped with the pain. Around 5:15am, I found myself laying on my bathroom floor sobbing.
I felt scared and alone. I considered waking up Charles, but Ididn’t. I didn’t want him to be scared.
At 5:36am I cried out to God. I pleaded with God to help me. I knew my baby was already gone, and my body had a job to do. I knew this was completely out of my control. I knew the end was coming, but I couldn’t bare to think about it. I asked God that if this was it, if I was truly going to lose my baby, then could He just please make it quick. Ten minutes later at 5:46am, I felt my baby leave my body. I felt blood pour out of me and I felt my heart shatter yet again as I said I’m so sorry to my baby, and left the bathroom.
I went into my room and woke up Charles. I sobbed and told him what happen. He was confused and saddened. He held me and we cried together. That was it, it was done. My second pregnancy and my Rainbow Baby Chase were gone.
The next morning we woke up and tried to wrap our minds around what had happen. I took it easy that day, since my body was truly drained. I reached out to family and friends and let them know what had happen. They sent their love and condolences. I couldn’t believe it. We lost another baby. Why? That afternoon, Alli and Andrea sent us some flowers that read: In Loving Memory of Baby Chase. Reading this made me cry, and after that I didn’t cry for awhile. I didn’t feel like I should.
Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.
Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.
Why was I bleeding? This can’t be happening! Not again! I can’t handle this! I can’t handle another loss! I frantically started praying. God please, please keep baby Chase safe! I don’t want to lose him!
I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.
Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.
One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….
Don’t be scared, because your body knows what to do, and it is going to do what needs to be done. So, take care of yourself and be there for one another because this affects both of you.
Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.
That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……
Hi, I’m Andrea!How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story!Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, beforewe diveintosucha deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking,anythingnature-related,good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas.Oh, and my husband is my favorite. Wemet in college (another great story for another time) andhave been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving.
Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.
Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby?In the photos released,a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition.Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump.To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested inhow small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.
While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way.Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round babybump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, ortheyface pain with their previously normal activities such as walking,intimacy, or even sitting.
Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways.With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was Iwrong.I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t justfeeltired. Ilookedtired. Acne popped up.When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially consideringthe many unwelcome hands touchingit(another topic altogether). Yes, I wasabsolutely thankfulto be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured.
Once Iwasin the midst ofthe second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and mymaternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body.
Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene tookloads ofeffort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.
Then, the day came.The day.I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered.It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth.Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired.
Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach isfloating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long.
In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me.Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again.It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extraweight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments ofpregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in themiddle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness.
Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body.Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals.And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the momentand shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body.
Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, orcaring for a babypostpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives youpurpose?
Sometime in May, after my breakthrough in counseling and our Mother’s Day Getaway… Charles and I continued considering the idea of trying again. If someone had told us that we would desire to have another baby a few months ago, after we had just lost our baby… I wouldn’t have believed it. But it’s true. Charles and I are both in this peaceful place and desire to be parents someday soon.
Throughout our many discussions on this topic, I have disclosed with my husband my fears and anxieties of trying again. It’s scary. It’s a risk. There are so many things that could happen. We could have trouble getting pregnant. We could have another miscarriage. We could have a stillbirth. We could have a difficult pregnancy, or delivery. Or… we could have a healthy normal pregnancy and delivery. It takes so much energy to worry about what could happen. I’m quickly realizing, that this is no way to live.
This summer before we start trying, I have set a few goals for myself; including eating healthier, losing weight, saving money, finding activities I enjoy, starting my personal small business, and just taking care of me. I have been on this journey of self discovery and healing for a little while now. It has honestly been one of the best summers of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I grieve and miss my baby every single day, but I have grown from what I’ve lost. It’s truly amazing.
So, yes someday soon Charles and I are going to try again. I don’t know when. I don’t know how long or if we’ll even be able to get pregnant. If we do get pregnant, I haven’t even considered how soon we will want to share our news. All I know is this… I am not in control of everything. I can and will do my best to take care of myself, but ultimately the future is in the Lord’s hands. I have faith and through this journey, that’s what I choose to hold on to.
As I went through grief counseling in April, I reached a lot of milestones. At this point I had gone through every stage of grief at least once, except for acceptance. I was starting to become more stable with my emotions, and ultimately I felt good as I made steps in the right direction. During one counseling session, I discussed how I wanted to share my story in detail. I didn’t know how to do it, but I knew I had a lot to say. My counselor suggested starting a blog.
I considered this idea for a little while. It was one of those ideas I couldn’t let go. I lost sleep over it as I contemplated this as the answer I had been looking for. Is this what I’m meant to do? Am I meant to be an advocate through blogging? This thought consumed me. I wrote a timeline of different event topics from the time I got pregnant until now. As I looked at my very long list of topics, I realized this was my next step.
I started my blog with my first blog post Leap of Faith. I decided that would be a good title for my first post as this was a leap of faith. Creating a blog and talking about how I have gone through a pregnancy, miscarriage and healing was not only risky but also vulnerable. I had no idea who would read it, what people would think or how I would be perceived as a person. Even though all these thoughts and fears came to mind, I still wanted to do it. I wanted to share my story. I wanted to give resources and support to those who have experienced the same form of loss. I wanted to write and share my story… and so I did,
“And what, you ask does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive, and that it is a gift and privilege, not a right.” – Ray Bradbury
The days, weeks and even months after we lost our baby; I had many people reach out to us and show us support. The topic of miscarriage is such a taboo topic. People don’t know how to talk about it. People don’t know how to handle it. It’s sad, especially since it’s so common. I believe one reason people don’t know how to deal with it, is because it boils down to beliefs and when we as people believe when life begins. Now, I’m not about to turn this post into a discussion of abortion… or at least that’s not my intention. But I do want to point out that since some people believe life begins at conception, while others believe life begins when a heart starts beating, and still others believe life begins once a baby is born; then that may be why people don’t know how to handle the topic of miscarriage. They don’t believe miscarriage is a big deal because they don’t believe a woman has lost a baby. They believe a woman has lost a ball of cells or tissue that was turning into a baby. Coming from someone who has had a miscarriage, that makes me feel like my experience, my loss and trauma was insignificant, and that’s not fair. Now, this is just my opinion and coming from my perspective but I believe life begins at conception. Whether I lost my baby at 8 weeks or 8 months… it still hurts. It’s still a loss. I will forever grieve that loss.
Despite the fact that miscarriage has a stigma and is such a taboo topic, I was definitely greeted by many woman who gave both me and my husband love and support through one of the most challenging times in our lives. My friend Alli was a major support for me. She came to the hospital when I had my D & C, she messaged me and checked on me everyday for weeks just to make sure I was still breathing and getting through each day. She would come over at a moments notice or take me out when I just needed to get out of the house. She would listen to me vent, give me advice and just find ways to make me smile even when I didn’t think I would be able to smile again. I have been friends with Alli for over ten years and I am eternally grateful for her friendship and all she’s done for me in my life.
My friend Christa was very kind as well. She would send me funny videos of her lip syncing songs and just goofing around with Snapchat filters… anything to make me laugh. She also sent me encouraging videos, telling me it was okay to be sad and it was okay to grieve any way I needed to. I talked to her on the phone a few days after my surgery and it was so comforting to talk with someone who just listened. She is a great listener.
My friend Reaghan was also a really good listener and empathetic. I tell Reaghan all the time she should be a counselor. She literally has a good sense of when to speak up and when to be silent and just listen. There were days I needed that. There were days I would go through every emotion of sadness, anger, depression, joy and everything in between. Reaghan would never interrupt me through my cyclone of emotions. She would sit and listen but also jump in and remind me that this miscarriage was not my fault. I’m so grateful for her.
My friend Andrea was also very helpful. When I told her the news about my baby, she was devastated. With her being a new mom herself, she couldn’t imagine the pain I was going through, and was also heartbroken for me. When talking to Andrea, I knew I could be brutally honest with her. I told her I didn’t want to feel this pain anymore. I told her I wanted to die. She was very supportive and encouraging, even though I wasn’t very accepting of her encouragement at the time. She said she would walk through this journey with me, and she sure has. She also reminded me it’s okay to be angry at God. We can be angry and we can be confused of His reasons why. It’s okay. I’m very thankful for her and her encouragement.
My mom… she has been my biggest support from my pregnancy all the way until now as I write this. After losing a child herself, she knew all too well the pain and loss I would go through when we found out my baby had died. Even though she didn’t have a miscarriage, and my brother died as an infant, she understood the loss of a baby, loss of control, and the loss of the dreams when losing a little life. She has understood and helped me navigate through every phase of the grief process. When I was little, I remember asking her “What if I lose a baby too?” It was a question I was scared to ask, but couldn’t help that it crossed my mind. My mom said “Well, I guess it just means we were both meant to go through it.” This answer scared me, and I hoped and prayed I never would have to go through it… but unfortunately I did. It sucks. Death is awful and apart of life. Grief takes a lot out of us. Trauma makes us remember we are not in control. So, through this experience even though it sucks, my mom and I have been able to bond and grow closer than we ever have. I thank God for her every single day.
My friend Jeanie also helped me navigate the grief process. She recently lost her uncle and knew all too well how grief can feel never ending and hit you when you least expect it. There were many times I would become triggered or simply fall apart, and she was almost always right there to hold me and tell me to feel what ever I was feeling. It was nice to know I wasn’t alone and she made it safe for me to let out my emotions. I’m thankful for her.
My internship coordinator Danielle was also very supportive to me. She believes self care is super important, and helped me not to feel guilty when I needed to take care of myself after my loss. She has been so incredibly understanding through everything. She has helped me through triggers and panic attacks. She reminded me the importance of being gentle and taking care of myself. She encouraged me on every little accomplishment I’ve made and helped me reach my goals. Lastly she has encouraged and educated me on how to be an advocate for miscarriage and infant loss. She has helped me reach my dreams.
All of my professors this past spring semester were also helpful and understanding through my loss and miscarriage. Without me even asking, they offered me incompletes, extensions on assignments and everything I needed to succeed this past semester. It was hard at times to be open with both of them about what I was going through, but because I left that line of communication open, they were willing and able to work with me and help me succeed.
My friends Maryanne and Ally offered me many prayers through my grief along with so many others. I didn’t truly realize how strong the power of prayer can be, until my husband and I experienced this loss. I didn’t understand how a loss can bring people together and encourage people to support each other. I am so thankful to everyone who sent good thoughts and prayers to me and my husband.
Another thing that surprised me when I decided to share my story, is how many people came forward and told me they too had had a miscarriage. They too understood the pain and loss that I was experiencing. They too knew just what to say in order to help me in this difficult season in my life. I had one friend who messaged me and told me she thought I was very brave for sharing my story. She said she herself her suffered a miscarriage with her first pregnancy and suffered in silence. She now has her beautiful rainbow baby. She has been such an inspiration to me. I had another friend reach out to me and send me bible verses, gospel songs and words of encouragement as she too experienced a miscarriage a few months prior. I had another women private message me and tell me they had had miscarriages many years ago, and now they have other living children of whom are healthy and doing well. But they all told me they never forget the babies they lost and how they can’t help but wonder who those children would be if they weren’t called home so soon. I also had another woman message me who has suffered many miscarriages, and now has two children whom she has adopted.
All these women who reached out to me, have truly inspired me and helped me as I grieve and heal after my miscarriage. I never in a million years thought I would become a part of this club that has babies in Heaven. It’s not a club you ever wish to be a part of. But there’s something about all these women, as well as myself that we all have in common. I firmly believe we have an angel in Heaven watching over us. Through the loss of losing our babies, we look at life differently. We learn to appreciate the little moments, and even find some strength in our short comings. I personally, also have found comfort in God, and how yes He called my baby home and it hurts, but I find comfort in knowing she never felt pain. She is in a beautiful place where she is living her best life and watching over me.
“There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child who never comes.” – David Platt
On Monday April 1st, I had to give a presentation on trauma on the brain for my internship. I originally picked this topic when I transferred to my new internship site. The topic of trauma and how it affects the brain and development really interests me. I spent a lot of time working on this project through my recovery time at home. I decided to create this presentation using a trifold presentation board. Not only was it therapeutic for me to understand the affects of trauma, but I also enjoyed being creative and assembling this presentation.
When it was time for me to present at 12:30pm, I was a little nervous. I don’t enjoy public speaking, but at the same time I was up to the challenge and wanted to do well in this internship. The presentation was only going to be about 30 minutes and I was presenting to about an audience of 10 peer educators. When I started the presentation, I did okay. I tried sounding enthusiastic as well as professional when presenting on my topic. Towards the middle of the presentation, I remember reading my notes and feeling a lump in my throat. I wasn’t really sure why. I had practiced this presentation many times, and yet I was getting choked up. My voice started to crack as I read to the audience different traumatic events that can affect people
“Car accidents, natural disasters, losing a child, including miscarriage, infant loss or still birth…..” Then I involuntarily stopped talking. My mouth could open but no words were coming out. It was the same problem that happen when I tried talking to the receptionist at my OB’s office. “Um…” I said trying to talk. My mind was blank. Why couldn’t I talk. Why did I feel like I was about to cry. I felt humiliated standing up there not being able to talk. I had practiced this and I was fine, but now that I was presenting I was being triggered by my own presentation. Eventually, I was able to start talking again. I don’t know how but I did. I don’t remember much more after that. I know I finished the presentation but I’m pretty sure I rushed through it and didn’t make a lot of sense.
Once I was done I was ready to get out of there. I left all my stuff and stepped into the hallway. I broke down and started crying. I felt humiliated I couldn’t keep it together. My friend Jeanie came out in the hallway and held my while I cried. She could tell I was triggered too. We both went to a different room where we could cry and calm down. My coordinator Danielle told me I did a good job even though she could tell I was having a really hard time. Despite the fact that I was triggered while presenting on trauma, I was still proud of myself for coming as far as I had and for getting through the presentation. I was also very thankful for the opportunity to research and present on the topic of trauma, and hope to have the opportunity again someday.
The last week of March wasn’t easy. I didn’t realize it until later, but since the month of February only has 28 days, the month of February as well as March fall on the exact same days of the week. For instance I had my ultrasound and was given the worst news of my life on Monday February 25th, and I had my D & C on Thursday February 28th. Since February has 28 days instead of 30 or 31, March 25th also fell on a Monday and March 28th also fell on a Thursday. I found this really interesting as I approached the one month mark of having my miscarriage. It almost felt like déja vu. The 25th of March wasn’t as bad as I expected. Sure I was sad and I reflected a lot on what had happen a month ago, but since I was in so much shock that day, I think that’s why it didn’t affect me as much. Thursday March 28th however, was rough to say the least.
I woke up that morning feeling the heaviness of fresh grieve once again. It was as if I was under a weighted blanket and I honestly did not have the strength to get up. I called in sick to my internship, and my coordinator understood. My husband was worried about me. He had to go to class and work, but he was hesitant to leave me alone. I told him I would be okay and I was just gonna get some rest.
I remember laying in bed and pulling out my phone. I started scrolling through social media pages, which I now know was a big mistake. Within minutes I saw two pregnancy announcements for babies who would be due in September and October…. I lost it. I laid in bed and sobbed. The pain, the grief, the sorrow it all flooded back as if the miscarriage had just happen yesterday. From that point on everything set me off. My arms ached again as I longed for my baby. I grew angry and started yelling at God again for taking my baby. I was also still lactating and it was becoming unbearable. Every time I cried, I would lactate. It was ridiculous. It was a constant reminder that I no longer had a baby. It wasn’t fair.
That afternoon I became very emotionally unstable. I decided to call my doctor. She had mentioned at my last appointment that if I am not doing well emotionally, or physically then I need to call her. When a nurse at the office answered I was already crying. I tried holding back my tears so she could understand me. I told her how frustrated I was that I had been lactating for over three weeks. I also explained to her that my surgeon had told me to give the office a call if I wasn’t doing well… and I obviously wasn’t. She asked me if I wanted to speak with a social worker. I paused and said “Yeah, it would have been nice if you had offered that to me a month ago!” I probably shouldn’t have yelled at her, but I was so frustrated. I was still angry the social worker was too busy to see me the day of my surgery. I had so much support when I was pregnant, but once I miscarried, I slowly felt the support dwindle away. She ended up transferring me. I left a message for the social worker stating I wanted to talk, I wasn’t doing well and I would like some resources to help me cope through my miscarriage. When I hung up the phone, I felt like nothing was accomplished. All I did really was cry and leave a message.
After that intense meltdown on the phone with the nurse, I took a nap. I was emotionally drained. When I woke up about an hour later I got a text from my best friend. I unlocked my phone and read it. I instantly got a pit in my stomach and tears started to well up in my eyes again. My best friend was 5 weeks pregnant… and I started crying again. Part of me wanted to fake it and say congratulations, but since I was so unstable I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I had already yelled at the nurse over the phone, I didn’t also want to yell at my best friend. This was a happy thing, and I didn’t want to be selfish and make it all about me. So, I decided not to respond.
I ended up calling my mom and crying to her, as well as reaching out to my online support group. I talked about how challenging it is to see pregnancy announcements. On the one hand I wanted to be happy for them, but I wasn’t…. I was jealous. I was suppose to be pregnant! I was suppose to be showing and getting congratulated. Secondly, it’s challenging because I instantly had anxiety for everyone else who was pregnant. What happen to me was awful, and I wouldn’t ever wish it on anyone else. Even though I was jealous and angry, I still prayed for those women and that their babies would be okay. After this emotional day of seeing three different pregnancy announcements, and the fact that it landed on one month since my surgery; I decided to unfollow some of the pregnant and young moms on social media. It wasn’t going to be forever, but just for the meantime until I reached a place where I could handle it better.
That evening I went to dinner at the dining hall with Reaghan. I wasn’t hungry for anything except ice cream. I ate three bowls of it. I had no shame. I needed comfort food that day. Reaghan was so supportive and such a good listener as I talked, cried and stuffed my face with ice cream. After being quiet for a moment I remember telling her “I miss my baby.” as I silently cried over my ice cream. She said with compassion “I know… and it’s okay to be sad Kaylee. It’s okay to feel everything you’re feeling” she knew exactly what I needed to hear.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
I remember being rolled to the recovery room. I remember not feeling any physical pain. I remember thinking the lights were way too bright. I remember feeling really confused, not sure where I was or why I felt so incredibly out of it. Then… I remembered everything.
I felt the weight of my broken heart throughout my entire body. My baby was gone… spiritually, emotionally, mentally and now physically. She was gone forever. I began crying, screaming, and yelling. In my head I didn’t think I was that loud, but apparently I was because the people in recovery continuously told me I was being too loud. I felt my nurses trying to comfort me by holding my hand and rubbing my arm. I remember a nurse trying to have me take some pills and a sip of water. I think the pills were for anxiety. I remember I would hear a beeping noise every time I would hold my breath, my nurses would remind me to breathe.
“Why God Why!? God killed my baby! God took her away!” I continued thrashing in the bed. I was so overcome by emotion and heartbreak. “God how could you do this to me!? I want my baby! I want Mackenzie! I hate you God! How could you do this to me!? Oh Mackenzie!” I continued screaming this in recovery. I remember hearing the nurses talk about bringing my mom back.
When my mom came back, I was still a heart broken mess. My mom did her best to calm me down. I know it was hard for her to see me like that. My mom ended up giving me my bear and I held on to it tight. My arms ached. I needed something to hold. I came into the hospital pregnant, but I didn’t get to leave the hospital with a baby.
“Why? Why did my baby have to die? What did I do wrong? I’m her mom, I should have known!” I was entering in the stage of bargaining. I pleaded with God and couldn’t fathom why God chose to take my baby. As I pleaded with God, a nurse came over to me. She told me not to do this to myself. She said not to beat myself up and go down this dark road. She told me I did nothing wrong. It wasn’t fair. There’s so many moms in the world who don’t take care of their babies, and their babies live and have rough lives. Where as I would have done anything to be the best mom I could be and take care of my baby. It wasn’t fair.
Eventually, the drugs kicked in and I settled down. I ended up staying in recovery 2 hours longer than expected because I was so emotionally unstable. My nurses and parents got me ready and took me home. Everything from that day after this point is a blur. I’m assuming I just slept the rest of the day but I don’t know for sure. All I know is that by the end of the day, I was no longer pregnant and I was heartbroken.
“I have heard your prayers and seen your fears; I will heal you.” – 2 Kings 20:5