A year ago, my baby whom I prayed for, cried for and hoped for came into the world. He was absolutely perfect. He cried when my midwife laid him on my chest. He had ten fingers and ten toes, with my eyes and Daddy’s nose.
This past year, I’ve watched my Baby Bear grow from newborn, to infant to toddler. He is everything I’ve hoped for, yet nothing I’ve expected. He’s the perfect mix of his Daddy and I.
At 1 year old Matthew has…
85% mastered walking and is running about 6 steps before falling.
100% mastered crawling
Singing, dancing and clapping
Talking saying words like momma, da, nana, wa-wa, night night, hi, hey, more, and done
Signing, saying more, all done, help, please and thank you
Wearing size 12-18 month clothes.
Our little buddy has been such a blessing to our lives. We love him so much and thank God for each and everyday. I’m so excited to continue to watch him grow. ❤️
One year. I know you won’t remember the first year of your life, but I will; cause it’s been the best year of mine. Happy 1st Birthday my sweet boy. I thank God for blessing me with such a sweet, goofy, strong, determined, charismatic son. God knew what He was doing when he chose us to be your parents. This past year has changed me, challenged me and stretched me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I loved watching you grow from newborn, to infant to toddler, and I can’t wait for the years ahead. You have been the best gift. Love you and thank you for being you! 💕
It’s 2023! Happy New Year friends! I can’t believe my baby is almost a year old! Where did the time go??? Any who… this year I’ve got plans, like I always do. I always like to reach big for the goals I set for myself each year. However, I also want to bring into the new year something I learned from 2022, and that is flexibility. Last year, I was challenged to be flexible with my time, money, plans, parenting and expectations. This year I’m going to try and continue to keep that flexibility at times, as hard as it is for me not to be a control freak.
This year I am setting 10 goals for myself. These are 10 goals that I hope to be intentional as well as manageable. Without further or do, here are my goals for 2023!
My Goals for 2023
1. Buy a House
This is the big one. This is the one I want to come true the most! We have been saving up and looking for the perfect starter home for our little family. My hope is to find our home and move in before summer, if not by the end of the year.
2. Go on a Family Trip
I would like to go on at least one family trip this year, even if it’s just a day trip. A few ideas I have include the zoo, northern Michigan, Great a Wolf Lodge, the apple orchard, the dairy farm or Mackinac.
3. Publish one of my Books
I said this in my last post. This goal will be on this list until I complete it!
4. Decorate my New Home
This one goes along with my first goal. But it’s honestly what I am most excited about with getting a new home. We get to decorate and make it our own!
5. Get my Eyes Checked
Now, at first glance you guys might think this is a dumb goal. But give me a moment to explain. The last time I had my eyes checked was in 2018. It’s been 5 years. I need my eyes checked and I really need new glasses. I’m just terrified of going to the eye doctor, for reasons I will share in a future post. So this is a big deal for me, but I gotta do it.
6. Start Our Homesteading Lifestyle
I’ve mentioned in previous posts how I am very interested in homesteading and would eventually like to have my own garden/green house, chicken coup with laying egg hens, and a goat or two for goat milk. I realize I can’t begin this lifestyle until we are moved into our new home. However, I would like to at least begin the process of homestead living by continuing to research and maybe even start buying supplies.
7. Host a Party or Family Gathering
As we wrap up the holidays, I have thought about how much I would one day love to host a family gathering and or party at my own home in the coming year. I have a few ideas including a house warming party, Easter Dinner, Mother’s Day, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Depending on when we move and get settled in will depend on when all this happens, but I simply can’t wait!
8. Write 515 Blog Posts
I know I didn’t reach my goal of 500 blog posts in 2022, but I hope to reach this one in 2023. With my little one being a little more mobile and independent, I’m hopeful this will allow me to dive back into my hobby of writing.
9. Implement Fun and Structured Activities with my Son
As Matthew quickly emerges from baby to toddler, I would like to start doing more intentional, structural activities throughout the year. I have a few ideas like sensory bins/bags, art projects and outside activities.
10. Start Developing Our Homeschool Curriculum
As many of you know, I have degrees in Early Childhood Education and Child and Family Development. This is my field. I have always wanted to develop my own toddler/preschool curriculum.
My Word of the Year…
This year I have decided to include a word of the year. Something I want to ponder, remember and reflect on as each month passes this year. I asked my husband to think of a word for me. I said to think of the first word that comes to his head, and he said Resilience. I instantly thought it was perfect! No matter what this year brings, I’m going to have faith, trust in Jesus and come out with resilience.
Growing up, I had always been familiar with the concept of Heaven and faith. Having an older brother who died as an infant, is what first introduced me to faith. Later in life, of course I had grandparents, and acquaintances who passed on as well, and though it was sad, these moments built my faith. However, my faith was shaken, challenged, and changed after I miscarried my babies.
When I was little, my mom used to find pennies all the time… in fact she still does. I on the other hand don’t find them much at all. When ever my mom would find them on the ground, she would tell me “It’s a penny from Heaven” or “Matthew is watching over me.” I thought it was so cool how my mom would find pennies so often.
Recently, my husband and I went to the store. I was having quite a rough day as I didn’t feel good, I was stressed from work, and just kinda blah. When we got out of the car I remembered praying for things just to get better and for me to feel better. When I opened the car and stepped on the asphalt, I heard a cling. I thought I was hearing things so I grabbed my purse and shut the door. I heard the cling again. I looked down and didn’t see anything. Charles asked me a question and walked around the car. As I started to walk away from the car, I heard a cling again and looked down. I found a penny.
For the rest of our trip in the store, I held the penny in my hand. It was a penny from Heaven. Just a little token from above that put a smile on my face, when I was having a not so good day. I was also reminded of my babies. I was reminded how even though they aren’t physically with me, they are always in fact with me in spirit.
The following blog post is the story of my son Matthew’s birth. This story recounts my experience of a 4 day induction, failed epidural, and the anxiety and excitement of bringing my rainbow baby into the world. I hope you enjoy the story below, and I promise… this story has a very happy ending. ❤️
On Thursday December 30th at 5am, I woke up feeling excited and nervous. Life before we knew it was about to change forever. Today is the day… I thought as I looked in the bathroom mirror at my 39 week pregnant belly. Today is the day I could meet my baby… I had waited 9 months for this moment. But when you really think about it, I had actually waited more like 3 years for this moment. I first got pregnant in January of 2019. After both of my losses in 2019, I had been praying for my rainbow baby. It had been a long journey. My entire life I have felt called to be a mom, and now my dream was coming true.
We left for the hospital around 7am. We were scheduled for a 39 week induction at our local hospital. We grabbed our bags, packed the car and said goodbye to our fur baby Rocky. As we pulled out of our apartment parking lot, my husband and I prayed. We thanked God for a healthy pregnancy, a pregnancy I thought wouldn’t happen even in my wildest dreams. We thanked God for the day ahead and prayed that his will would be done. Nerves of excitement filled the car as we headed to the hospital to start our next adventure.
When we got to the hospital we met Alli at the front door. Due to current Covid regulations, I was only allowed to have the two same people with me during my labor and delivery. I obviously wanted Charles there. We also asked Alli to be there because 1) she’s always been interested in seeing and being apart of a birth. 2) Alli knows me pretty well and I knew she would be willing to advocate for me if need be. And 3) she has lots of medical knowledge being a paramedic, and that gave me some comfort knowing she was there. Alli brought me breakfast as we entered the hospital. We went through the Covid screening and made our way up to Labor and Delivery,
When we checked in to L & D, they brought us up to the Antepartum section of the Mother and Baby floor. We got settled into a room, where a nurse asked me an hour worth of questions and hooked me and baby up to the monitors. After baby was monitored for an hour, and everything was looking fine, a nurse came in to talk to us and get things started.
The midwife came in and checked my cervix. I was dilated a centimeter on the outside but the inside of my cervix was still closed. I was also about 50% effaced. She suggested that it be best that I start the induction using the Cytotec drug. This was a pill inserted near my cervix that would dissolve and help it to ripen and dilate. The only issue with this pill was if I started having contractions too fast, then it wouldn’t be ideal to continue the drug. At 10:45am we started the first dose of Cytotec. In four hours I would get checked to see if it had done what it was supposed to and made changes to my cervix.
Four hours later, a midwife came in to check my cervix. I was disappointed to hear that my cervix hadn’t dilated anymore, and the effacement stayed about the same. Since the Cytotec didn’t progress my labor, they considered giving me another dose. However, after monitoring baby and my contractions for the past 4 hours they decided against another dose. The monitors showed that I was having too many contractions coming too close together. These contractions could be dangerous. Since the contractions weren’t strong enough to progress labor they could easily put me or baby into distress. My nurses advised that we shouldn’t do another dose of the Cytotec and try something different before starting Pitocin to advance the dilation process.
After talking to the midwife, we decided to try something called Cervadil. It was a little piece of plasstic with a string that is inserted and left near the cervix for 12 hours. It did the same thing as the Cytotec pill except if this drug caused too many contractions we could pull it out, whereas with the pill we couldn’t. Knowing that this intervention could take 12 hours to work, I realized I would not be having my baby that day. I was discouraged but tried to tell myself it was for the best and that he may come on Friday.
After receiving the first dose of the Cervadil, we were moved to the Labor and Delivery floor where they finally had an opening. I ordered room service while Alli and Charles got Chinese. After eating dinner Alli and I turned on some 2000’s music, and had a dance party and did exercises on the birth balls in hopes of getting things going. In the midst of our dance party, one of the midwives walked in on us. She was impressed with our eagerness to get the baby out. As the afternoon turned into evening, we decided to call it a day and get some rest.
At 3:30am, I met the new midwife on duty. It had been 12 hours since the first dose of Cervadil. I was feeling contractions every 2 to 3 minutes but they were manageable at a 4 on the pain scale. The midwife asked if I wanted to be checked to see if I was progressing. I agreed and she checked me. This cervical check was particularly uncomfortable as the midwife removed the medicine before performing the check. The medicine also made everything feel quite raw, which was not ideal. I was measuring at 2.5 centimeters and 50% effaced. I was thankful we were making some progress but sad it was moving so incredibly slow. We discussed the next course of treatment, and decided to do another dose of the Cervadil for another 12 hours because that is what seemed to be working. I wasn’t excited about this treatment as it was very uncomfortable, but if it meant that I would progress then I was all for it.
I woke up again Friday around 6am. I was hungry, uncomfortable and eager for things to get moving. I talked to family and friends over the phone and through messages, updating them on the progress of my labor. At around 7am I ordered breakfast, and Charles headed out to go feed our kitty Rocky. Alli left around 4am to get some sleep, and returned later in the morning. I tried my best not to feel angry, sad or discouraged. I was hopeful that this was the day. New Year’s Eve was the day I would have my baby. I spent the day, rocking on the birth balls, pacing the room, sitting in the bath, and anything else I could think of to get labor moving. Due to covid numbers being so high in the hospital I was in, I was not allowed to leave the room. I wasn’t allowed to walk the halls to progress labor. Being stuck in the same hospital room for hours was starting to make me go stir crazy, but I tried not to let that get me down.
In early afternoon, I started feeling a lot of pain in my groin. I was hopeful that it meant my cervix was dilating, but at every check, I was told the same thing. “You’re 2-2.5 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced.” It was so discouraging. After every check I cried partly from being raw and partly from feeling so discouraged. I asked for Tylenol to help with pain and my nurses said Tylenol wouldn’t do much to help, so they recommended morphine. I was given one dose of morphine in my leg. Within minutes I felt like I was on a pile of clouds floating through the sky, then I was out.
Around 3pm on Friday afternoon I met a new midwife. Her name was Jen. At first I felt like she was too nice to be a midwife. But after talking with her, I realized she was a genuinely nice person. I also liked that she was a go getter and willing to help me progress my labor by providing a variety of options. After getting checked and only progressing to 2.5 centimeters, Jen suggested we try a balloon catheter in my cervix to mechanically dilate my cervix to at least 4 centimeters. This intervention sounded very uncomfortable, but I was willing to try it because I trusted Jen and wanted to try anything to be one step closer to meeting my baby.
At 3:30pm I was given morphine to help prepare for the insertion of the balloon catheter. Within minutes I felt overly drowsy again. Jen came in shortly after to insert the catheter. She suggested I go to the bathroom before the procedure. While walking to the bathroom I was stumbling and falling asleep on the toilet. Considering how the morphine effected me, Jen did not feel comfortable giving me the catheter at that time since I was minimally conscious. She told me to sleep it off and we would try again later.
At 6pm, Jen came back to insert the catheter. Thankfully I was able to sleep the morphine off and was feeling a lot more coherent. Jen used lidocaine to help with the insertion process and it made things more comfortable. I braced myself for a lot of pain, when it actually wasn’t nearly as bad as getting the Cervadil. Once the catheter was in I decided to take a bath and relax. My contractions started to gradually speed up, and the bath water made things feel a lot better.
The balloon catheter stayed in throughout the night and I continued to have contractions that were mild in pain. I felt a mix of discouragement and hope as I prayed this would get things to progress sooner rather than later. I fell asleep around 11pm. I told myself if I wake up before midnight, I will turn on the tv and watch the ball drop. At 12:01am I was startled awake by fireworks bursting in the sky throughout the city. Alli and Charles woke up as well and we rang in 2022 in the hospital. I was slightly disappointed I didn’t have my baby in 2021. But I tried to stay positive and think about how wonderful it would be to start the year 2022 with my beautiful baby boy.
Saturday morning around 6am my nurse and midwife came in to remove the catheter. I told them I was sure there was probably no progress as I didn’t feel an increase in pain. I went to the bathroom and while in there I noticed blood in my underwear. At first it kind of startled me as I hadn’t seen blood down there in 9 months, besides some very minor spotting throughout my pregnancy. But then I got excited as I knew this was progress and things were starting to happen.
The midwife removed the catheter and checked my cervix. I was 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. My bag of waters were starting to bulge and things were actually looking up. My midwife, nurses and I decided to make up a plan. Since I was finally at 3 centimeters we were able to start pitocin which would hopefully kick start some stronger contractions. By 9:15am they started the pitocin, and I went back to the bathroom to labor in the tub. The excitement of having my baby soon was starting to sink in again. Today could be the day! I could have a January 1st baby!
At first the Pitocin seemed to be working. My contractions increased in frequency and became slightly more intense. As the day progressed and my nurses increased my dosage of Pitocin, my contractions slowed down. This was disheartening. I was so sure that once I started Pitocin it would put me into active labor, but it didn’t. That afternoon, I remember just laying in my hospital bed sobbing. Why is this taking so long? Is it my mindset? Is it my body? Does my body not know what to do? Is baby not ready to come out? I was overwhelmed with emotions and hormones. I was tired of being patient and all I wanted to do was hold my baby. Charles held me as I let all my emotions go. He told me I was strong and I could get through it. Alli encouraged me and said I was doing amazing. My parents comforted me over the phone, and told me they were proud of me. My nurses told me they knew it was hard but I was strong and they were proud of me too.
By mid afternoon, my midwife, nurses and I all came up with a new plan… again. We decided to stop the Pitocin since it didn’t seem to be doing anything and we didn’t want to put baby into distress. My nurses encouraged me to eat something since I hadn’t eaten since starting the Pitocin at 9:15am. After eating dinner around 6pm, my midwife Lanie recommended that we try the Cytotec drug again. She said since I had progressed since first trying the drug, it may be just what my body needed in order to kick start labor. Around 7pm, I was given my second dose of the Cytotec drug. Still feeling discouraged, I ate some fudge that Charlie bought me and watched Friends on Alli’s tablet. It was the episode where Rachel has her baby… which I deemed very appropriate. Throughout the night, my nurse Nichole gave me encouragement. I had the same night nurse every night I was there, so she had seen me through a lot already. Nichole brought me popsicles, 7 Up, a fan so I could get a good night sleep, and even drew me a picture to color as a focus point for when I eventually started pushing,
At 11pm, I had another cervical check. I remained the same at 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. My midwife said she could tell my cervix was starting to change and she was pretty confident my baby would have a January 2nd birthday. I was tired of getting my hopes up and didn’t believe her. I had a third dose of the Cytotec drug and was encouraged to get some sleep. At this point, I was starting to wonder if I was going to end up having a c-section. I didn’t know how much more my baby or I could take. I dozed off for about an hour then was wide awake. I stared at the ceiling and listened to my baby’s steady heartbeat on the monitor. It was 1am, and I was feeling restless. I got up and walked around my hospital room rubbing my belly. The more I moved the more often I would have contractions but they just wouldn’t increase in intensity. I called my mom and talked to her for about 45 minutes. She told me how strong and proud she was of me. I confided in her how defeated and tired I was. I so wanted to believe I was almost there but I really didn’t know that for sure. At a quarter to 2, my mom encouraged me to try and get a little more rest.
I laid back down in bed and played the Greatest Showman on my phone. I still had yet to see the movie, but heard it was good. About 15 minutes into the movie, I started feeling pain, The pain started to increase rather quickly and I realized this was a good sign. I was starting to have frequent strong contractions again. Contractions continued for the next hour at a 6 on the pain scale, about 1-3 minutes apart. I started moaning and gripping the side of my bed which woke up Alli and Charles. I felt kind of bad as they had been troopers through the whole thing and I really didn’t want to disturb them unless this was the real deal.
At 2:55am, my midwife came in to check my cervix. She wanted to see if I had progressed anymore and if I needed another dose of the Cytotec. She said she noticed my contractions getting stronger and more frequent on the monitors. As she checked me she said “Umm, I’m not sure. Well I would say you are about 3 or 4 centimeters dilated and yeah, I definitely notice some change in your cervix… oh shoot.” I instantly felt a pop, a gush and some relief. “I just broke her water, I was not trying to do that.” She said to my nurse Nichole. I was actually excited my water broke. I knew that meant somehow, some way my baby would be born in the next 24 hours. It was January 2nd and I told myself yet again Today could be the day! Today could be the day I meet my baby.
I spent the next two hours trying to be brave. Contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes and getting more and more intense. At times they were regular but at other times I would have 3 small contractions back to back and one big contraction. I gripped the bed and took deep breaths. The pain was intense and it was hard for me to think. Charles and Alli took turns squeezing my hips and rubbing my back. By 5am I couldn’t handle it anymore and hit my call button, I requested to see my nurse and see if I could get something for pain, and when I could get the epidural.
At 5:15am, my nurse Nichole came in and told me that she spoke with my midwife and that it was a good time to administer the epidural if I was up for it. I asked if it was too early since I was only 3 or 4 centimeters dilated. They said it wasn’t and by getting the epidural I could get some rest. I agreed, and they called the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural.
In between contractions I listened to my nurses instructions and made my way to the edge of the bed in order to prepare for the epidural. The nurses asked Alli to step out as I was only allowed one support person in the room while the catheter was being inserted. Alli stepped out to the waiting room, while Charles was instructed to sit in front of me. He faced me and I put my feet on his thighs as the bed was raised as high up as it could go. The anesthesiologist numbed my back, inserted the catheter and waited for the epidural to take effect. He worked quickly in between contractions as I squeezed my husband’s hands and my nurse held me still, I felt some fear during the procedure as I had read of horror stories and epidurals going wrong. I prayed that the epidural would work and the pain would not necessarily go away but at least be manageable soon.
After about 8 contractions, I started to feel the effects of the epidural. I laid back in bed and tried to relax. My right lower half of my body started to get very numb, my left side only got slightly tingly. After a few more contractions the anesthesiologist was overly confident that everything was working the way it should and left. I laid in bed for the next two hours waiting for the full effect of the epidural to kick in… it didn’t. I was in tears as half my body was numb and pain free while the other half was feeling every single intense contraction. I felt lopsided, uncomfortable and frustrated. It was almost worse than not having the epidural at all. My nurses tried rolling me on my side to see if the medicine would drain more on my left and it didn’t.
At 7:30am, my midwife Jen came into the room. Through the pain and my tears I was actually really excited to see her. She had made a joke the last time I had saw her that hopefully by her next shift she would see me on the Mother and Baby floor with my baby, but if the baby wanted to wait for her that would be okay too. I said hi to Jen and told her that the baby waited for her. She laughed and said she was happy to see things moving along, As Jen got caught up on my chart, I continued breathing and crying through contractions. Jen suggested I get checked to see where I was at. She checked me and I was only 4 centimeters and 80% effaced. Seriously!? I even screamed seriously as I was in disbelief I hadn’t progressed at all. I was tired. I was defeated and I was feeling done, and yet I still had several hours of labor to go, 6 more centimeters to dilate, plus pushing. How was I going to do this? I was on day 4 of labor, and being in the hospital. The wait and intensity of labor was really starting to wear on me. Charles, Alli, my nurses and my midwife could all tell I was getting exhausted and if I was going to push through and make it to the end, I needed help.
My midwife Jen told my nurses to call in another anesthesiologist. She said it was possible that the epidural was just placed wrong or that I had what they called a hot spot where the medicine didn’t block the pain in a certain part in my body and therefore there wouldn’t be anything they could do.
Moments later a different anesthesiologist arrived. Again I was prepped and positioned for a second epidural. This time the anesthesiologist said I have a slight curve in my back that the first anesthesiologist missed. Due to the slight curve all the medicine from the epidural only went to the right side of my body. He removed the old catheter and placed the new one higher in my back. Within minutes I started feeling relief in my left side along with my already very numb right side. As the anesthesiologist left, I told him he was my favorite person. He chuckled and went on his way. Thank you Jesus. Finally some relief.
I spent the next hour or so resting in bed. I didn’t fall asleep, but rested my mind, and talked to my family on the phone. When it was quiet I listened to my baby’s steady heartbeat on the fetal monitor while also watching my contractions start to intensify on the screen above me. My nurses started my Pitocin again. This would hopefully help to make my contractions strong but also productive in helping me dilate and progress in labor. I was fine with anything at this point since my epidural was finally working the way it was supposed to.
By 10:30am, my nurses and Alli helped get me into different positions to try and open my pelvis in order to progress labor. Since I was completely numb from the waist down (besides being able to wiggle my toes), my nurses had to physically lift me and move me. I first tried laying on my side with a peanut shaped ball in between my legs. I laid on each side for about a half hour, to 45 minutes. Then I continued laying on my side while my nurse and Alli took turns squeezing and massaging my hips, and glutes. During one session of these, my belly was pressed against Alli’s. Without any warning, baby decided to start kicking which took Alli by surprise. She found it funny and weird to feel my baby kick her belly.
Around 11:30am, I tried yet another position where I was on my hands and knees on the bed. My bed was at a 45° angle and I had a beanbag chair placed under my belly for cushion. I then laid over the bean bag chair and laid my head and forearms on a pillow. In this position I talked to Charles and Alli, texted friends, called my parents and tried to relax. It was strange being in this position and not being able to feel my legs. I had a few issues with my fetal monitors picking up baby’s heartbeat. It seemed like baby would move for a moment and it couldn’t be detected but the minute the nurse came in baby decided to move back and the monitor would pick it up again. This happened a few times and it was quite comical. I told my nurse that baby just really wanted to mess with her.
Around noon as I watched my contractions on the screen get more and more intense, I started to get uncomfortable. I wasn’t feeling any contractions but I was starting to feel pressure in my left hip and glutes. At first I thought it was my hip falling asleep or getting more tingly from the epidural. As I continued to lay there the pressure got stronger and gravitated towards my pelvis. By 1pm, I started feeling the sensation every woman talks about when it’s time to push, I felt like I had to poop. The feeling was felt mostly in intervals as if it was during contractions. As my nurses came in to check on me I told them what I was feeling. They told me they would continue to check on me every 20 minutes or so, but to let them know if the pressure became stronger and didn’t go away.
By 1:45pm the pressure and urge to push was not going away. I was thankful. I knew it was almost time to start pushing. I was uncomfortable but excited I would be meeting my baby very soon. I pleaded with my nurses that I wanted to push. They called Jen and told her what I was feeling. My nurses quickly got me out of the hands and knees position and on to my back. Jen gave me one last cervical check and said the words I had been waiting days to hear “You are… complete. So, you can either start pushing now, or wait for baby to descend a little more.” With tears and no hesitation I said “Let’s get this ball rolling, I want to push.” Jen agreed, and got into position. Jen directed Charles to grab my left leg and Alli to grab my right leg. My nurses used a catheter to empty my bladder and suggested inserting an internal monitor so we could see how strong my contractions truly were. I agreed to this and prepared myself to push. Jen instructed me to try and push as I felt the pressure to be more intense which would be during each contraction. She also told me to push like I am having the biggest poop of my life.
At 2pm, I grabbed behind both my knees and started pushing. Every 30 seconds I felt like I was doing ab crunches and having a bowel movement at the same time. Jen was calm and encouraging. She reminded me to breathe and push with my body and not my face. Alli and Charles encouraged me. They told me I was strong and to keep going. At first it felt like I was making no progress. But in the moments where Jen would say “I’m starting to see the head” or Alli saying “Oh my gosh, look at all that hair.” Or even Charles saying “He’s coming babe.” I was able to get a second wind and push harder.
As my baby’s head started to crown, Jen asked if I wanted to feel it. I hesitated at first then decided I did. I reached down and felt so much hair! Jen removed the internal monitor and told me to continue pushing at my own pace. In the moment, I was some what in disbelief that he was coming but also impatient that he wasn’t out yet. As I continued pushing, Jen explained to me that everything was going well and baby was slowly but steadily coming like he was supposed to. A few times in between pushes I panicked because I couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat. I was so afraid he was going into distress. I guess Alli read my face because she grabbed the fetal heart beat monitor and pressed it harder on my belly so we could all hear it.
It was 2:30pm and I continued pushing. My adrenaline was running and deep down I was willing to tear my own body apart in order to meet my baby. I felt like it was taking forever. I watched as my midwife put on a gown and set up trays with my nurses at the foot of the bed. She requested some Astroglide to assist with the delivery of the head. Alli and Charles continued encouraging me, telling me baby was beautiful and he was almost there. I remember telling them “that’s great cause he has a big head and I want him out.” After that I had an overwhelming wash of emotion come over me. I started to feel the ring of fire. I was so tired. I had been in labor for days. I was nearing the end but was afraid I was too exhausted to continue. I looked at Charles with tears in my eyes, then looked over at Alli and said “I’m so tired.” Alli said “I know but you’re almost there.”
Charles stroked my head, and Jen told me to give the biggest push I could. I felt a nurse pull down the front part of my hospital gown. With all my might I pushed, and I felt my baby’s body leave mine and I heard the most beautiful cry. A cry I waited my entire life to here. My baby boy was born. At 2:34pm my son entered the world. He was placed on my chest wiggling and crying. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen
During the afterbirth and as I got stitched up for my second degree tear, I held my baby in my arms. I told my son I loved him and that I had been waiting for him. I told him that I had prayed for him and that God answered my prayers. I kissed him and said “Welcome to the world baby. I’m your mom and I’m going to take care of you.”
May I present: Matthew Charles Rhames. He was born on 1/2/22 at 2:34pm weighing 7lbs 11oz and was 20 inches long. I was 39 weeks and 3 days along. A total of 76 hours of labor, 11 1/2 hours of active labor and 30 minutes of pushing. He had ten fingers, ten toes and a full head of hair. Cheeks and lips like his mommy and a nose and chin like his daddy. Oh, and big brown eyes from the both of us. ❤️
Hello Third Trimester, and Goodbye Feet! We are in the final stretch! 28 weeks pregnant, and baby is the size of an eggplant! Only 12 more weeks to go… if baby decides to come on time. 🙂
These last few weeks have been crazy with Braxton Hicks really kicking in, getting diagnosed with GD and my apartment being taken over by baby items. Never the less we are so incredibly blessed!
This week I have two appointments, one with a dietitian about my gestational diabetes and one check in with my midwife.
This is our rainbow baby for whom we prayed for, cried over and waited on. As we get closer and closer to our due date, I feel myself getting more anxious for the birth and what raising this little miracle will be like.
I know I am beyond blessed for making it this far in my pregnancy and I don’t want to take that for granted, but at times I do struggle to appreciate what I have and what could be.
I know as someone who has struggled with recurrent miscarriages, trying to conceive and endometriosis that it’s hard to see others on their pregnancy journey. I also know the fear and anxiety of being pregnant after a loss. Please know you’re not alone. I see you. I hear you. I am you. If you ever need to talk I’m here. If you need encouragement I’m here. If you need a hug I’m here. 💕
29 Weeks pregnant with 11 weeks to go! Baby is the size of a Acorn Squash!
This week’s symptoms include fatigue, crazy emotions, hunger and cravings, varicose veins, light headed-ness, increased thirst, hot flashes, round ligament pain, lightning crotch, nesting and daily baby kicks.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few things we have completed in order to prepare for baby,…
Set up bassinet/pack n’ play
Start washing baby clothes
Finalize birth plan
Pack about 50% of hospital bag
This morning I had 3 doctor appointments including 1 with a nurse at maternal fetal medicine about my gestational diabetes, the second with a dietitian at maternal fetal medicine about my gestational diabetes and the third with my midwife.
At my first appointment the nurse reviewed with me what gestational diabetes is, how it affects baby and how we can manage it. At my second appointment with my dietitian we reviewed how to manage gestational diabetes through diet.
At my last appointment, I saw my midwife and baby and I are doing great. Baby’s heart rate was 140, and he was wiggling around in my tummy. My uterus is measuring right on track at 29 cm, I received the TDap vaccine, and I go back in 2 weeks for another visit.
We are 30 weeks pregnant, and Baby Boy is the size of a Cantaloupe! Can you believe it? We only have 10 weeks left until we meet our Baby Bear!
This week I started checking my blood sugar four times a day, and so far all my numbers have been in range. This week I’ve been really struggling with sleep. I know they say you don’t sleep in the third trimester, and I guess I thought they were kidding. If I’m not waking up because I have to pee I’m usually waking up because baby is kicking me, I’m hungry, can’t get comfortable, have Braxton Hicks or I’m hot.
Other symptoms I’ve been having this week include fatigue, slight feet swelling and cramps, itchy belly, the starting of stretch marks, colostrum, acne, discharge, varicose veins, frequent urination and just lots of aches and pains.
So far we have the nursery about 85% complete! Still waiting on a few things like washing the rest of baby’s clothes, getting a hamper, diaper genie, and any other essentials I can’t think of at the moment.
Our hospital bag is about 50% complete and I still need to pick up a few things including deodorant, dry shampoo, snacks, going home clothes etc.
Here is to 30 weeks and only 10 weeks to go! January 6th can’t come soon enough!!!!!
Here is our big nursery reveal!!!
We currently live in a one bedroom apartment, so we will be sharing a sleeping space with Baby Bear at least for the first couple of months. Hopefully we will have a bigger space where baby will have his own room and place to store his toys, but still be able to sleep in our room until he turns 1. We got our travel size bassinet/ pack n’ play off of Amazon! It is a Graco brand and so far we love it! It’s perfect if you are working with a small space.
I found these cubes off of Amazon, and decided to use them to store Baby’s clothes, hats, swaddles, burp cloths and toys.
Baby Boy has 3 swaddles and over 30 hats all ranging in different sizes. He’s a winter baby being born in Michigan, so hopefully these hats will keep his head warm.
Baby Boy has a large amount of burp cloths and cloth diapers. I was told that cloth diapers work great as burp cloths!
Baby also has an abundance of books, and mommy has a thing for sloths so of course he has some sloths.
I plan to have all size newborn and 3 month clothes washed and ready to go before baby arrives.
Books, books, and more books. This year due to covid, I had a virtual book party instead of a baby shower, and let me tell you…. Baby was blessed with more than enough books.
We have lots of blankets washed and ready! Some are quilts, some knitted and some Sherpa.
Socks, booties, slippers and shoes are all organized in here.
Diapers and wipes are easily accessible and near the bassinet which is where we plan to change baby a majority of the time.
Diaper caddy is full of diapers, Vaseline, wipes, burp cloths, corn starch and first aid kit.
Thanks for stopping by my tour of Baby Boy’s nursery!
31 weeks pregnant! This week, baby boy is the size of a bunch of asparagus!
Symptoms this week include aches and pains, fatigue, rib pain, lots of baby movement, slight stretch marks, weight gain, acne, oily hair, increased colostrum, back pain and cravings.
We had a OB appointment this morning and everything is going great! Baby is head down like I suspected. He may flip around here and there before 36 weeks but we’ll see. 🤷🏻♀️
Baby’s heart rate was 135. I have no infections and blood sugar is looking great.
We only have 9 weeks to go! We’ve gotten a lot of things done and have a lot of things to do still. Here’s a few things I hope to get done in the next two weeks.
Pick a Pediatrician
Deep Clean the Apartment
Finish Packing the Hospital Bag
Finish Washing All Baby Clothes
9 weeks left to go! We got this 🙂
Officially 8 months pregnant! 32 weeks and Baby Boy is the size of a squash! We only have 8 weeks to go!
This week has been crazy and I’m a little late posting a bump update, but trust me… I’ve had a good reason. About a week ago I was exposed to someone with Covid. I got a test on Wednesday and tested negative. I started to develop Covid/flu like symptoms Wednesday night. I got retested yesterday (Sunday) and tested positive for Covid.
This week has been exhausting, challenging and scary to say the least. I am fully vaccinated, and have known full well that I could still get Covid while vaccinated but I can honestly say I did not expect to get Covid 8 months pregnant. I have developed pretty much all the symptoms of Covid these last 6 days including cough, fever, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, headaches, loss of smell and partial loss of taste.
A lot is up in the air at the moment as I am still waiting to hear from my OB about any testing or extra monitoring for baby and I that may need to be done. All in all, I’m doing okay. It honestly depends on the moment.
Baby is still moving and grooving which gives me great peace of mind. I am also doing my best to rest and take it easy at home while I can before I return to work and leave for maternity leave in a few weeks.
I would appreciate any prayers and good thoughts for my hubby, baby and I. It’s a scary time and there is so much unknown still about Covid. Regardless of our fears we are still doing our best to trust and have faith that we will get through this and all be okay and healthy very soon. ❤️
Already 33 weeks pregnant, with 7 weeks to go! The third trimester is flying! Baby Boy is the size of a stalk of celery and roughly 4 lbs.
This week mama is trying, but mama is tired. Testing positive for Covid and being quarantined for almost two weeks was not in the plans, but thankfully Baby Boy and I are surviving and getting through.
Baby and I had a non stress test done and a check in with our midwife this morning and so far all is going well. Since I have GD and tested positive with Covid so close to delivery, I am now considered to have a high risk pregnancy. From here on out, baby and I will be monitored closely through non stress tests and at least one more ultrasound.
Covid is scary, and Covid is exhausting. I’m truly thankful for my husband who has been taking such good care of us as well as my doctors to make sure we will be on the mend very soon.
On the plus side, since I have been home so much these past 10+ days we have been able to…
Get hospital bags packed and ready to go.
Finalize our birth plan
Wash all of baby’s clothes
Watch endless hours of movies on Disney+ 🥰
Thank you everyone who has been praying and checking in on us. Please continue to pray for us as we get through this Covid junk as well as the rest of my pregnancy. ❤️
34 weeks pregnant with 6 weeks (or less) to go! This week baby is the size of Butternut Squash! How fitting it is with it being Thanksgiving weekend!
Symptoms this week include, back aches, fatigue, joint pain (in my hips and pelvis), colostrum, dry skin, moodiness, slight spotting and lots of baby movements. At my last appointment I gained 2.6 lbs, which means I’ve gained a total of 5.6 lbs this pregnancy so far.
My weeks are filled with working 38 hours or less, non stress tests twice a week, and preparing for baby boy’s arrival when I have the energy. We are getting so excited to meet him, and I’m starting to do some light exercises now, in order to prepare for birth.
Only 6 weeks or less for this pregnancy, and I want to hear from you! What’s your guess? When do you think Baby Rhames will arrive?
35 weeks with 5 weeks to go! We are almost there!!! This week baby is the size of a pineapple. 🍍
I am really starting to feel the effects of the third trimester. I never thought I would reach a point where I am sick of being pregnant, but dare I say it… it’s just so hard to do the everyday things anymore. Charles has to help me put on my shoes because I just can’t reach my feet anymore. Doing dishes, cooking and any task in the kitchen is nearly impossible with out bumping my belly on something. And if I drop something on the floor, it’s game over. Looking back I have had a relatively easy pregnancy, but I can see why they say it gets so hard at the end.
This week’s symptoms include round ligament pain, fatigue, Braxton Hicks, insomnia, pelvic pressure, stretch marks, nesting, heartburn, body aches, acne, and baby kicks
We got a few things checked off our list this week including
Installing the car seat base in the car.
Creating my padsicles.
Reviewing our birth plan with our midwife.
This week we also had 2 non stress tests and and prenatal appointment. Everything is looking great! My uterus is measuring at 36 cm, so about a week ahead and I’ve gained 1/2 a pound. Heart rate is good and baby is in a great position for birth as he is more on the left side and head down. He has hiccups a few times a day which is completely normal. Blood pressure is good, and we have been passing all of the non stress tests. The only concern this week is Braxton Hicks. I’ve been having about 2-3 every hour. Midwife says all is normal and my body is just getting ready.
5 more weeks to go! We can’t wait!!! 🥰
36 Weeks = 9 Months! Baby Boy is the size of a Papaya and keeps on growing!
This week’s symptoms include fatigue, increased hunger, pelvic/joint pain, back aches, stretch marks, round ligament pain, lots of baby kicks and rolls.
Our OB appointments the last few weeks have gone very well. We are passing all our NST’s and mentally preparing for labor and delivery.
This week I have been in full blown nesting mode. I have…
Deep cleaned my kitchen.
Deep cleaned my dining room.
Deep cleaned my living room.
Double checked my hospital bags.
Cleaned my carpets.
Picked up my breast pump.
Caught up on all the laundry.
Started stocking up on food and essentials for winter.
We are counting down the days until we meet our Baby Boy!
Here’s a good laugh for all of you! A quote from one of my preschoolers:
Child is rubbing my tummy and says “You’re having a baby? My mommy’s water bottle broke when she had my baby sister!”
Oh, from the mouths of babes. 🥰😂
So as many of you know, I’ve stayed pretty on top of documenting and taking photos of my pregnancy and bump progress. One thing I really wish I was able to do, is take some professional maternity photos. For weeks I tried budgeting for photos and we simply just didn’t have the funds. Then I tried reaching out to different family members and friends to take the photos, but it seemed like every time we tried to schedule something there was either bad weather or someone was exposed to Covid.
Thankfully at 35 weeks, my Mama took some time out of her day to take a few cute maternity pictures of us. They turned out adorable and I’m thankful for what we have! 🥰
Baby Bear, we love you so much and can’t wait to meet you! 💕
37 Weeks! Baby is officially considered “Early Term” and is the size of a head of romaine lettuce.
It has been an exciting week, with lots of doctor appointments as we get closer to our due date.
On Monday morning, Baby was up kicking momma from 2-5am. After that he fell asleep. I went to my non-stress test at 8am. The way the test works is within a half hour they are looking for two accelerations of baby’s heart rate (heart rate needs to go up 15 beats and stay there for 10 seconds, Ex Baseline is 140, so he needs to reach 155 at least for ten seconds twice). Unfortunately during the test, he was only able to do this once, even after using a buzzer like tool on my belly to wake him up. So my nurses ordered an ultrasound. A little while later I had an ultrasound to check on baby and make sure he was alright.
As we suspected, baby boy was doing just fine and sleeping the day away since he was up partying all night long.
Thursday, I had a full morning of appointments. First a non-stress test which baby passed with flying colors. Then a check in with my midwife. We reviewed my birth plan and everything seems to make sense and be in order. We also discussed an epidural, how it works and what I can expect. Finally, I did the Group B Strep test and asked my OB for a cervical check. I was just curious to see where I was at. We discovered that I am 1 cm dilated and my cervix is beginning to get soft.
Next, we headed to another ultrasound appointment, to determine how baby is growing. Since I have GD and had Covid later in pregnancy, my doctors suggested I have a growth scan since GD can make baby too big and Covid can make baby too small. It was so exciting to see baby on the ultrasound screen twice in one week. He had grown so much since our 20 week scan. The tech was able to confirm that we are certainly having a boy. We also found out that our little man has long thick hair! 🥰 Finally, we were told that as far as measurements he is just above average. Baby Boy is measuring at 37 weeks 6 days and at 6 lbs 15 oz so almost 7 lbs, and in the 63rd percentile. We will discuss at our next appointment if we need to schedule an induction.
At 37 weeks pregnant, this week’s symptoms include back pain, pelvic pain, lose joints and ligaments, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, increased hunger, lots of baby movements, lots of emotional ups and downs.
3 weeks or less to go! Come on baby! We’d love to meet you in time for Christmas!!!
38 Weeks and ready to pop! Baby could come any time! This week baby is the size of a winter melon or a pumpkin depending on which set of measurements you go by.
Today we had a non-stress test and baby did great. He slept in the beginning and they had to use a buzzer to wake him up, but he started moving and grooving after that.
Later, we had a midwife appointment. I have gained another pound and have gained a total of 9 lbs this pregnancy so far. My blood pressure is looking good and baby is still measuring a week ahead. He is still head down, and in a good position for labor when ever he decides to get things moving.
We also talked to the midwife about my ultrasound. Since baby is measuring fine, and passing all of his tests, my midwife said they will let me go to 40 weeks and 5 days before having an induction on 1/11. I did ask to have a membrane sweep done and my midwife said at my next visit (39 weeks) I can have it done.
At the end of my visit my midwife did give me permission to try and induce labor naturally at home. Here are a few things she suggested I should try:
Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Doing the Miles Circuit
This week’s symptoms include fatigue, nesting, nausea, pelvic and back pain, irregular contractions, mood swings and lots of baby kicks. I’m getting very uncomfortable and not feeling cute these days as my clothes just don’t seem to fit right, and everything just feels snug.
This mama is trying and doing what she can to stay active for labor, and allow my body to get ready for whenever labor kicks in. We are getting so excited to meet our baby boy. We are still of course hoping for a Christmas baby, but honestly we will be fine with whenever Baby Rhames decides to make his grand arrival! 💕
39 weeks pregnant! Baby Boy is in between the size of a pumpkin and a watermelon. Something exciting happened this week. Baby officially dropped which means we are one step closer to starting labor and meeting our baby. ❤️
Mommy and Daddy and anxiously awaiting Baby Bears arrival. I am officially on maternity leave and have loads of appointments scheduled.
Today I have an appointment with my midwife where I am hoping to get a membrane sweep and schedule an induction in case he decides to be stubborn and not come out on his own.
Later in the morning, I am also scheduled for a pregnancy massage. My midwife made a recommendation that I get a massage in hopes that it will induce labor.
This past week I have also been trying to induce labor at home in different ways, including walking up and down stairs, curb stepping, eating dates, doing figure 8’s with my hips, the miles circuit and yoga.
This weeks symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, frequent urination, Braxton Hicks, irregular contractions, pelvic and back pain, and lots of baby kicks.
I’m praying baby comes before the end of the year! ❤️
On Saturday (Christmas Day), I noticed my body starting to make some changes. I was feeling slightly more fatigued than I had been that week and took multiple cat naps. After one cat nap in the afternoon, I noticed a lot of pressure in my pelvis. No contractions but a little back pain. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I was done I did a double take in the mirror and realized a big difference. My belly was different. My belly was lower. Baby boy had dropped. I was ecstatic at this realization. Finally, things were progressing and moving in the right direction.
Throughout the holiday I continued looking at my bump and how it had changed. I also continued staying active and eating dates in case labor was truly just around the corner.
Sunday night (December 26th), I went to bed at 9:30pm. I woke up at 11:30pm in some pain and discomfort. I tried just brushing it off and continue sleeping. The pain and discomfort was similar to menstrual and diarrhea cramps. The pain also wrapped around to my back and down my legs. Since pain came and went, I decided to start timing my pains and what I suspected were contractions. At first the pain was every 15 minutes apart and lasting a minute, then every 8 minutes apart, then bounced around between every 4 minutes to every 20 minutes. As the pain continued throughout the night, I decided to call the on call number for my OB office and ask their opinion on what to do and if I needed to go to L & D.
After being on hold for a full hour, at 2:45am a nurse finally answered. She asked me some questions and I explained to her what I was feeling. The pain was not unbearable by any means, but I truly felt like what I was feeling were indeed contractions. After the nurse’s over the phone assessment, it was determined that I should go into L & D to be checked in case it was truly labor.
At 3:50am, Charles and I walked into L & D triage on the 4th floor of the hospital. I was immediately, assessed and hooked up to monitors. Baby’s heart rate was excellent around 145, and some very light contractions were starting to show up on the monitor at roughly 8 minutes apart. My nurse gave me a cervical check said I was about 1 cm dilated on the outside of my cervix but closed on the inside and 50% effaced.
After an hour of being monitored, a midwife came and spoke to me. She said that I was likely not in active labor but early labor. It was possible I could go into labor anytime or I could just be in early labor for a week or so. She also mentioned that she noticed in my chart that I had had Covid at around 32 weeks. Within the last few days it had just became a new hospital protocol that if moms in the third trimester test positive for Covid, they would have a scheduled induction at 39 weeks.
Once we were cleared to leave, we scheduled our induction for Thursday December 30th @ 7:30am. I was getting very excited that my body was starting to show signs of labor, and that we would meet our boy sometime that week.
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. ❤️