This Thanksgiving has truly taught me to be thankful for what I have. I’m thankful for my family including my son, my husband, my parents, Grandma, aunts, uncles and extended family. I’m thankful for my friends and my friends who are practically family. I’m thankful for our home even if we are sharing it with others right now… God, our car, our faith, church family, income, food, safety and so much more. I’m thankful!
This time last year I was just getting over covid and 34 weeks pregnant.
This year I am beyond blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my little turkey. 🦃 💕
This year was a little more low key as far as our food, but of course I made my stable Bruschetta to chow down on before the big feast.
We did cook a big turkey this year which was super exciting.
Our little boy loved trying stuffing, black olives, turkey, mashed potatoes and asparagus.
It was a great first Thanksgiving for our son and a wonderful reminder to be grateful for what we have especially in times of hardship.
“Puedo tener su numero del telefono? Charles said to me one day as I was gathering my things and leaving our Spanish class 5 years ago.
“What?” I said, not sure what he was saying. I tried, but I was not that good at Spanish.
“Puedo tener su numero del telephono?” He said again, and stared at me looking for an answer.
“I don’t know what you are saying… you want my phone number?” I asked confused and flattered.
“Si” he said excited. I gave him my phone number and went on my way. This was pretty much the conversation that started everything.
After meeting each other on September 4th, 2014…. we became aquaintances. We then began Spanish class buddies and eventually friends.
After asking me out 3 times, I finally said yes and Charles took me out for Indian. It was so sweet, yummy and awkward… but first dates usually are. By November 4th, 2014 we decided to make it official and become boyfriend and girlfriend…. or Novio and Novia.
We dated for a year and 8 months before getting engaged. He was so nervous as we walked through a park downtown, pulled out a ring, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him… of course I said yes. It was the best birthday present I ever received.
Exactly 3 months later, we tied the knot on November 12th, 2016. We had the perfect fall wedding with many of our friends and family in attendance. We got married in the same church my grandparents got married in, and my Daddy gave me away to Charles. It was beautiful.
Before meeting Charles, I had never really considered dating someone let alone marrying someone of a different race. I have always been open to meeting new people no matter what they look like or where they come from, but I honestly just never thought I would be in an interracial relationship.
Dating Charles made me realize we were from two different worlds. There were a lot of cultural differences that I was not at all use to. A lot of slang and phrases Charles would use I didn’t understand, or had never heard before. Thanksgiving was a huge culture shock. I was used to turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fruit, corn on the cob and pumpkin pie. In Charles very soul food oriented family we had turkey, ham, fried chicken, greens, yams, corn bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cabbage. It was amazing.
When we got married I learned more things about being a black and white interracial couple. For instance people stare at us. Sometimes they are staring at us because we’re cute together, but other times they stare at us with disapproving looks… it’s very uncomfortable.
Regardless of these differences, I truly enjoy being in an interracial marriage. I enjoy being with someone who has a very different background than I, but also shares the same values. For better for worse, for rich or poor, in sickness and in health, black or white…. I love Charles so much and I am honored to be his wife.
Since my son was born, I have found myself going through a lot of old photos. My intention of this was really just to see how much my son ended up looking like me. But as I’ve perused different photos, I found myself going down memory lane, and really thinking back to the last 7 years and the experiences that have helped mold me as the person I am today.
In September of 2014, I met an 18 year old boy in Spanish class. He was kind, polite and a little nosey. I didn’t know it then that he would one day be my husband. ❤️
I didn’t intend to meet my future husband in Spanish class. I actually signed up for the class so I could prepare for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in February of 2015. This trip changed my life. I learned how to be grateful for the things I have, like an indoor shower, a floor and air conditioning. I also grew more in love with helping others and teaching children. 🖍
In the fall of 2016, I became a lead preschool teacher for 3 year olds. I graduated from community college in the Spring of 2016 and instead of heading straight to a university, I decided to take a gap year and gain some experience in my field. It was wonderfully challenging to say the least. Everyday was an adventure. From potty training, to positive child guidance, to sickness, to coloring on the wall, to giggle fits, to Disney dance parties; it was enjoyable and one of the best years of my life.
While planning my classroom that fall I also planned my wedding. Talk about a lot on your plate all at once. Charles proposed in August and we got married in mid November. A beautiful fall wedding that wonderfully captured our love for God and love for each other. 💒
In Spring of 2018, I decided to go back to school to further my education. I had already received an Associates in Early Childhood Education and an Associates in General Studies at community college. My next step was to a university for a Bachelors in Child and Family Development.
While studying for my Bachelors, I hit a little bump in the road and got pregnant. Though it wasn’t planned, we were excited and ready to venture into parenting. Sadly our first pregnancy came to an end at 11 weeks.
After my first miscarriage, I started writing my blog, and sharing my story to cope with my grief and help others. I had the opportunity to get published in a magazine, and start a blogging platform on WordPress and Instagram.
After my second miscarriage, I got involved in advocacy work on my college campus. Even though I didn’t agree with everything that was taught, I did learn the fundamentals of what it means to be an advocate, overcoming trauma and standing up for what you believe in
After many twists and turns, I finally graduated with my Bachelors in Child and Family Development. I may have graduated in a pandemic, which certainly wasn’t planned, but I was able to finish my education and start my new career.
Shortly after graduating and getting back into my field of teaching and child care, I decided to work on a new project. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about miscarriage and grief.
In August of 2020, my mothering heart was longing for a baby. And though we had decided to hold off trying for a baby, we decided to try adopting and caring for a kitten. We went to a local cat cafe where we met Breadstick. This little 4 month old kitten worked his way into our laps and our hearts. We adopted him on a Friday afternoon, renamed him Rocky, and the rest is history.
On Mother’s Day of 2020, my husband and I decided to try again one more time. We prayed and hoped and waited for a baby. Our trying to conceive journey lasted a year and was full of ups and downs, negative test after test until finally we got out positive.
Pregnancy after suffering two losses was not easy. I worried constantly about the unknown, the past and things I couldn’t control. Thankfully with faith, prayer and encouragement I learned to be thankful for pregnancy and appreciate each moment as it came.
During my pregnancy, I mentally and emotionally prepared for my upcoming roll of motherhood. I leaned on other mom friends as well as my mom as I prepared for the journey ahead.
Giving birth was one of the most life changing experiences of my life. No things did not go as planned as I did not plan on being induced or being in labor for 3 days. But with the support of Jesus, family, friends and my medical team… I realized what my body was capable of and I had the strength to give birth to my beautiful miracle baby.
On January 2nd I became a mom, a mom earth-side that is. I’m not just a mom, but I’m a mom to two angel babies as well as one pretty incredible rainbow baby.
These last 7 years have been amazing, stressful, exhausting, entertaining, relaxing, memorable, wonderful, hilarious, beautiful and challenging. I love my life. It is exactly like and nothing like I had pictured. As a 19 year old girl, taking classes at a community college, to a new mom, with an education in children… I have to say, so far my life has turned out pretty great.
This post was written back in 2019 after my first loss.
Closure…. something we all needed. On a gorgeous sunny day in June, my husband, my mom, my dad and I all created a flower garden in honor of our baby girl. We cried, had a moment of silence and planted beautiful purple flowers. My mom also bought some solar lanterns that glow at night and have a beautiful butterfly each on the inside. It all turned out beautifully tranquil.
Two weekends later we created the stepping stone. My dad, husband and I placed letters in the cement while my mom took pictures. There was some form of healing in this activity. One of my biggest fears is others not believing or cherishing my baby’s life and the fact that she was and is real. By placing letters in the cement and creating a garden and stepping stone for her, this again reaffirmed that she is real and she will always be loved.
Though the letters aren’t straight, the symbols aren’t center and it doesn’t look perfect, to me it’s beautiful. A few days later my mom said she looked out the window at the garden and saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering near the lanterns. This warmed my heart. ❤️ I’m so thankful to my parents to allow us to create a garden in their backyard, since we currently live in an apartment and don’t have the means at this time. I’m also thankful to not only my family but everyone who has shown love and respect for my baby’s memory.
As I write this, I can proudly say I have been nursing for 3 1/2 months. That’s 15 weeks, 109 days, approximately 872 nursing sessions, 218 pumping sessions and roughly 600 oz of frozen breast milk. Nursing in a nutshell has been… HARD WORK!
When my son was first born, we immediately did skin-to-skin contact and tried our first session of nursing. It was a challenge at first as we struggled with positioning and latching, but my amazing labor and delivery nurses helped me.
When we were transferred up to the Mother and Baby floor, my son’s blood sugar was checked and was reading fairly low. It was thought that since I had nothing to eat that day after my water broke at 3am and he was born around 2:30pm, that that was likely why his sugar was so low. It was also considered that my gestational diabetes was playing a factor here. I tried latching immediately when we got settled into our room but it wasn’t working. Since his sugar was low and he was exhausted from the birth, he was getting lethargic rather quickly. I became very frustrated and discouraged.
After a few minutes my nurse recommended that we try an alternative so we could get some nutrients into his body quickly. She suggested that I request some formula or some donor breast milk. I was on the fence for doing either of these alternatives as I was worried about nipple confusion. I took a moment to discuss with my husband, and we decided to go with the donor breast milk option. I decided that it was better for my baby to be healthy over latching on to me. I had my preference of course but when it came down to it, I didn’t mind how my baby was fed, just as long as he was happy and healthy.
Thankfully my son took the bottle of donor milk just fine. I felt some relief briefly only to worry about how his next feeding would go, and his next one and so on. My nurse encouraged me to try and feed him every hour to hour and a half in order to help keep his blood sugar up. They stressed that if he doesn’t wake up to eat then I needed to wake him.
Every hour from about 5pm to 2am I tried feeding my baby. Every hour we would struggle to latch for 10 minutes or so. My baby would seem disinterested and I would start crying. feeling like a failure as his mom. At one point around midnight I called my nurse in to see if she could guide me in positioning my baby so I could try and get him to latch. I had just seen her about a half hour before hand and before leaving she said “Let me know if you need anything. Don’t hesitate to hit your call button.”
When my nurse came back in, I asked if she could help me position my baby again to see if I could get him to latch. She seemed rather irritated and came over to the bed to help. Charles was doing his best to get some sleep so that I could hopefully get sleep later. After my nurse helped us latch she left the room saying “You know this is when Dad needs to assist you because we can’t keep coming in here to help you.” As she left I felt so hurt and embarrassed. I never intended to bug her, she literally just got done telling me to call if I needed help. After that I felt like I was on my own when it came to figuring out breastfeeding.
Throughout my time in the hospital, I decided to start pumping. I had read that pumping would help me increase my supply so that I could produce more milk for my baby. As my baby’s blood sugar numbers improved, his feeding schedule was moved to every 2 hours. So every hour I was either pumping or nursing. I tried latching every chance we got but during our entire time in the hospital he only successfully latched 3 times.
On the second day of our hospital stay, my son was scheduled for his circumcision. As the doctor came to take him to his procedure she did a quick exam and paused. She looked at me and said “Is he having any issues latching?” I told her that we had been struggling. She said she noticed as my baby started sucking on her finger that he had a tongue tie and that could very well be why he was struggling so much to latch. She explained that the procedure to correct it could be fixed at the same time as his circumcision. I felt some relief as she explained all of this but also fear as he had to go through another procedure, even if it was only minor. I called my husband and talked it over with him (since he was running errands) and we agreed to have it corrected.
On January 4th, we were discharged from the hospital. I was totally and completely terrified of leaving. Were we ready for this? Could we really take care of a baby that was less than 72 hours old? I was still struggling with this whole nursing thing. What if I couldn’t feed my baby? What if he needed formula? There weren’t nurses, lactation consults or doctors to check in on us and measure his weight everyday. I was fearing the worst and started down a hormonal postpartum spiral.
I think the only thing that stopped me from completely losing my mind was that my parents came to our apartment the day we came home. With the strict covid guidelines at the hospital, the only family members I had seen since being in labor was Charles and Alli. I felt some relief as my parents arrived and got to meet our baby. He was sleepy but he was happy. They instantly fell in love with him and I felt like I was doing something right.
I wrote this post two years ago, and even though some time has passed since I wrote it, I still feel it is even more relevant today. I will be thinking of all Mommies this Mother’s Day, no matter what motherhood may look like to you. ❤️
It’s Mother’s Day. This is the day we celebrate all the mothers. We celebrate the women In our lives who have raised us, nurtured us and taught us how to be good people in our society. We celebrate the women who showed us unconditional love from the very beginning. This day is meant to be a celebration, but to many… it is a somber holiday.
Being a mother is a very special role. It is one of, if not the hardest jobs there is. That being said not all mothers are the same. When you think of a mother you likely will think of biological moms, step moms, foster moms, moms who have adopted and grandmothers. But what about the other moms in this world? What about the women who hold a mothering role in a child’s life, such as an aunt, cousin, friend, teacher, or mentor. What about the moms who have lost a child, whether it was a pregnancy loss, neonatal loss or loss of a child at an older age?
ALL OF THESE WOMEN ARE JUST AS MUCH MOTHERS, AND HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY AND IN A CHILD’S LIFE.
And let’s not forget all the women who want to be mothers. These women may struggle with infertility, illness, are choosing not to have children at this time in their life or suffer from recurrent miscarriages. These women are as much mothers to our society and to children in our world, just in a different way.
This mother’s day is also different as the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented some children from seeing and celebrating their mother’s today. It almost seems as if there is a grief in the air just from the pandemic. I feel that in it self has made this holiday especially somber this year.
Even though this is a holiday to celebrate all the mothers, it is sometimes a somber holiday for those who have lost a child, who are unable to have children, or who have lost their mothers. If you are reading this, and you have lost your mother, lost a child or are unable to have children, I just want to say… I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sorry this holiday brings up emotions of grief, guilt, anger, sadness, anxiety and dread. I’m sorry for the atmosphere of loneliness you feel on this holiday. I want to remind you though that you are not alone. Yes, your experience is yours, but their are so many of us who too have experienced that loss.
THERE ARE SO MANY OF US WHO HAVE FELT THE PAIN THAT CAN BE EXPERIENCED IN THIS LIFE, EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.
So today, not only are we celebrating all the traditional mother’s out there, but we are remembering the mothers who have faced loss and heartache as well. I can tell you first hand, this day is not easy, but when the grief and loneliness become too much, remember to take care of you. Don’t have high expectations on yourself. Give yourself grace and love. Order food in, eat some chocolate, take a bubble bath, binge watch a comedy series, or stay in your PJs. Happy or not this day is about you and the love you’ve shared.
Today I will be taking it easy and remembering my babies I’ve lost because even though it hurts, they made me a mom. When the grief gets to be too much today, I will remember that I am not any less a mom because my babies are in Heaven.
I will end with this. It’s Mother’s Day, happy or not this is the day we celebrate and remember all mothers and to all the women who share that role. Thank you for all that you do and love that you’ve shared. I will be thinking of you today.
On Friday April 30th at 4 something in the morning, I woke up and had to pee. With my eyes heavy, and body exhausted from the work week, I contemplated on whether or not I should take my very last pregnancy test. I was only a day or two late for my period, which wasn’t unusual for me. And to be honest I was feeling pretty defeated. I was tired of wasting my money on pregnancy tests, and getting my hopes up month after month only to receive negative after negative.
I had one final digital pregnancy test under my bathroom counter. It would expire by the next month anyway. I thought why not? It was my morning pee, and they say that’s the most accurate anyway. I peed in a cup, took the test and waited. I prepared myself for disappointment yet again. While I waited something told me to take pictures and document the moment. I figured whether the test was positive or negative, it was apart of my story that I could one day share to help others, so I did.
I watched as the test counted down, and a word flashed on the screen. I instantly thought, it’s broken it sayspregnant, where’s the not? I had grown so accustomed to reading the words Not Pregnant that it took a moment for me to realize this was a positive test. I was pregnant with our rainbow baby… and the rest is history.
I spent the next few weeks harboring this little secret until around 6 weeks when I told close friends and family. I told my job around 7 weeks and publicly announced between 11-12 weeks.
Pregnancy was one of the best and most anxious times in my life. I constantly feared we would suffer another loss, but as each week passed I started to calm down and enjoy pregnancy little by little. During pregnancy I dealt with morning sickness, sciatica, grieving for a friend who suffered a loss, gestational diabetes, Covid and a long and painful induction. Pregnancy was not easy, but overall baby and I both remained relatively healthy.
On January 2nd, 2022 God blessed us with our beautiful Rainbow Baby. Matthew is our world. I couldn’t have asked for a better baby. He’s a perfect mix of his Mommy and Daddy.
I share this all with you because in many ways my story has come full circle. Mother’s Day is approaching and I know first hand the feeling of dread, and grief that comes with this holiday to women who struggle with infertility and women of pregnancy loss. I want you to know that I’m here for you. I also want you to know that I am living proof that God answers prayers. He hears you. When the doctors say something is impossible, He is able to make things possible. He can turn ashes into beauty. He can do anything if we just have a little faith. I thank God for my beautiful rainbow baby every single day, and even though it was hard and sometimes excruciating, I thank God for the journey he took me on because it molded me into who I am today as a person, as a writer, and now as a mom.
If you are reading this and you long for a baby… I see you, I hear you, I was you and I’m praying for you. Remember the bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow. 🌈 I pray you are blessed with a baby and a family of your own. It may not be the way you pictured or when you wanted but I pray it happens for you. God is bigger than anything else and He can make a way, if we just have a little faith. ❤️
I never realized I could love someone so much… I thought to myself as I held my brand new baby not even 6 hours old. I looked into his deep brown eyes and thought I love you so much. I love you more than I ever thought I could. As each moment passes I grow more and more in love with you. With these intense emotions and genuine endorphin high, also came fear and anxiousness.
I felt a piece of my heart leave my body when I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. It was beautiful but also incredibly terrifying. For 9 long months, 39 weeks and 3 days I carried my baby. I loved him, nourished him, prayed over him, worried about him and protected him. As a mama who knows loss, I knew throughout my pregnancy that at absolutely any moment this miracle baby I was carrying could very well be taken away. Throughout my pregnancy I continuously told myself things for me to make it through. I just have to get to 5 weeks… I just have to get through 6 weeks…. I just have to make it past the first ultrasound and if baby is okay, I’ll be able to breathe. I just have to get through the first trimester. And ultimately I would say I just have to get through this pregnancy. Once I get though this pregnancy I will be able to relax and all will be okay. Little did I know that my love, as well as my anxiety for my baby was only beginning.
While in the hospital the first two nights of my baby’s life I didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep not because he was crying but because I was so scared of losing him. I was afraid he would stop breathing if I wasn’t watching him. I was afraid he would aspirate. I was afraid he would some how suffocate from his swaddle or his organs would suddenly stop working. It was a never ending cycle that I’m sure a lot of moms encounter. It was exhausting and sometimes hard to live in the moment and enjoy my sweet newborn.
As the weeks went by I continued the roller coaster of postpartum anxiety. Was Matthew eating enough? Was he pooping enough? He sounds congested, did he aspirate? He’s crying, is it a hungry cry or is he in pain? He isn’t comforted when I hold him, is he mad at me? He failed his hearing test, does he have an impairment. Throughout this cycle I had a hard time taking care of myself. I would forget to eat, forget to drink which would ultimately mess with my milk supply and make me irritable and impatient. I would refuse to sleep because I hated hearing my baby crying even though I completely trusted my husband when he would get up to care for him. I kept putting my baby first but forgetting that I can’t be the best mommy for my baby, if I didn’t try to take care of myself too.
Postpartum anxiety is a real thing. I had no idea. I had only ever heard of postpartum depression. But these moments of mind racing, panicked anxiousness was real and hard to control. I wasn’t crazy, but going through what a lot of mamas do.
Since becoming an earth side mama, I love deeper, cry harder and laugh longer. I also fear the worse and struggle with just letting go and letting God do what he’s going to do. Part of that is just being a mom and part of that is postpartum anxiety. Motherhood is a beautiful blessing and I thank God everyday for my beautiful rainbow baby. And with time, meds and rest my anxiety and emotions will eventually settle down some. I’m getting the help I need as well as taking it one day at a time.
Motherhood is a journey. Just like how trying to conceive, pregnancy and labor are all journeys in themselves; motherhood too is a journey… and accompanied by love and anxiety.
I’m 6 weeks postpartum. . My skin is stretched, my joints are loose, my hips are wider and I have stretch marks that serve as battle scars from my pregnancy, labor and birth. . But postpartum isn’t just about the body, it’s about the mind and heart too. I am forever changed by the journey I endured of growing, and birthing a little life. Just like how I was forever changed after I lost two babies. . In the last 3 years I have been pregnant 3 times. I’ve had surgery, became anemic, was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Endometriosis. I’ve suffered with grief, anxiety and depression. I’ve lost 2 babies, went through an anxious pregnancy after loss, fought covid during pregnancy and birthed a beautiful, healthy baby. . In the last 3 years I’ve cried more, I’ve loved more deeply, I’ve grown stronger and I have transformed.
I’m 6 weeks postpartum and I am changed yet again. . I never knew I could love someone so much… but now I do.
I never knew I could be so afraid of losing someone and stay up late thinking the worse case scenario… but now I do.
I never knew my anxiety could get 10x worse and I could have postpartum anxiety… but now I do.
I never knew another human life and I could have a strong unbreakable bond… but now I do.
I never knew I would look in the mirror weeks after giving birth and not recognize the woman staring back at me… but now I do.
I never knew that looking into my son’s eyes and seeing the way he looks at me would give me the strength to keep going… but now I do.
I never knew how emotionally and physically tiring life with a baby could be… but now I do.
I never knew how lonely postpartum could be… but now I do. . Postpartum isn’t just about losing weight or fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans. It’s about remembering the person you once were and finding the person you have become, between being a new mom and being a woman. This is my story and the journey I am taking. 6 weeks postpartum is only the beginning and I’m going to continue to embrace the changes and learn as I go. I’m still finding the person I’m meant to be and I’ll continue to transform. ❤️
When I was 19 weeks pregnant, my husband and I started discussing baby names. I wanted to find a name for a girl and a boy. I wanted to do this so that when we found out at our 20 week anatomy scan what we were having, we could give the baby a name right away. There was something about giving baby a name for the second half of the pregnancy that made things seem even more real.
On my birthday, when I was exactly 19 weeks pregnant, Charles woke up and told me he had a dream. He dreamt that he was at some sort of musical event and his old choir director from college saw him. They started talking and his old choir director said “How’s baby Matt doing?” Then he woke up. Charles had another dream that same night where he was playing with a baby girl named Grace.
Later in the morning as we were getting ready for breakfast Charles told me about the dream. He then suggested that if we were having a boy we should name him Matthew and if we were having a girl we should name her Grace.
I was shocked at his suggestion for the boy name, because Charles had momentarily forgotten that I had had a brother named Matthew. My brother Matthew died before I was born. He was 9 months old and died of a rare genetic condition, At first I wasn’t totally sure how I would feel about having a brother and a son named Matthew.
Throughout the week, I continued contemplating both the names Matthew and Grace. I focused mostly on Matthew because I still had this strong feeling we were having a boy. I decided to look up the meaning of the name Matthew just to see what it said. A gift from God. I thought How perfect is that!? Our rainbow baby’s name means A gift from God. Charles and I loved the meaning of the name and we also loved that it was classic, biblical and could be shortened to Matt or Matty.
About a week later we had our anatomy scan. We found out we were having a precious baby boy. We didn’t tell anyone about the boy name we had picked out until 23 weeks. At that time, I asked my mom if she would mind if we named our son Matthew. She was absolutely honored that we had even considered that name. She loved that her first grandson would be named after her son and she loved the meaning of the name.
So there you have it. We named our son Matthew. He is named after my brother and is our gift from God. ❤️
Our Baby Bear is already 1 month old! When did that happen!?!? Friends and family told me it would go fast, and I did not believe them. The days are long but the weeks are flying by. We are so in love with our little man and proud at how much he’s grown already.
In Matthew’s first month of life he has…
Started focusing on faces and bright colors
Discovered his feet and learned how to kick, and even push off of things.
Embraced tummy time which he doesn’t seem to mind at all.
Started gripping things including shirts, and his pacifier.
We adore you Matthew! You are our gift from God that just keeps on giving! ❤️