Life change · Mom's Corner

I will ALWAYS wonder who you would have been

1 in 4 women suffer a pregnancy loss and I am the 1 in those 4.

Earlier this year I found out I was supposed to be a mom to another baby due on, or around, November 4th.

That baby didn’t make it to today, nor did it make it very far into the pregnancy to begin with. I never would have realized how that would make me feel until it happened to me. I have had two very healthy and successful pregnancies prior to that and it didn’t even think to wait until after the first trimester was over to announce it to family because the thought of losing this baby didn’t even cross my mind.

Until I went into my first appt and my doctor told me we should be able to see SOMETHING on the portable ultrasound monitor even after I mentioned slight bleeding. She then moved my ultrasound appt up to the very next day–to my surprise–to confirm what she didn’t see on the monitor.

So the next day I went downstairs to radiology and she tried seeing the baby from the outside… she then directed me to empty my bladder and she’d be right back. (And if you haven’t experienced this yourself, you’ve probably seen in movies that this isn’t a good sign). I went to the bathroom, peed, and heard a very audible sound hit the water in the toilet. I knew I didn’t have to do my duty… so I knew exactly what just happened.

I washed my hands, stood over the toilet, covered my face and I uncontrollably sobbed for a few minutes as I took in the realization that I won’t be meeting this baby in November. The ultrasound tech knocked on the door and asked if everything was okay and I told her I’d be out in a minute. As weird/gross as it sounds, I didn’t want to flush…

Did that mean I was flushing the baby down the toilet? Was the baby even in that mess? Maybe this is just something out of the norm happening and the baby is really okay! So I reluctantly flushed and walked into the room.

She could tell I was just bawling–there was no hiding it. So she proceeded with the endovaginal ultrasound and confirmed there was no longer a baby to be seen. I told her what just happened in the bathroom only minutes before and she apologized for my loss.

On my drive home and to my third day of work to a new job, I called my husband and I let it all out. I had a mini panic attack at the idea I probably just flushed our baby down the toilet like it was bodily waste. I also felt immense guilt. Was it something I did? Did I eat something I shouldn’t have? Was it the copious amounts of coffee I drank? Was it me stressing over maintaining a perfect figure? What on earth did I do wrong that took my body’s capabilities and turned them against me? I would have loved that baby more than my own life.

I think after having two kids already, my emotions were skyrocketed due to thinking if I had miscarried during either of my previous pregnancies I never would have been able to enjoy my girls like I do. What could this baby have been like? Would the baby have been the boy I was hoping for next? Or another girl we could have used our other girl name we chose for? Would this baby have finally looked like me?

So… Chances are very high that you know someone who has suffered a pregnancy loss that you know nothing about, because they either never made it far enough into the pregnancy to be comfortable to announce it or because almost as quickly as they found out the exciting news it was taken away just as such. It’s something that weighs heavily on many parents’ hearts. I know October was pregnancy and infant loss awareness month… but I wanted to wait and see how I’d feel about writing about this until the date came around when I should have been a mother to three beautiful babies. So here I am.

One day I will meet my baby beyond the pearly gates… until then I will remain eternally grateful for the two amazingly beautiful girls I have been blessed with.

Here’s to all the babies we never got to meet, or got to meet but will not get to watch grow up. Some babies were only made for heaven.

And to all the parents who have suffered the same… My heart goes out to you.

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Damaged goods- I miss the Me that only knew the good

Do you remember what you were like before you were ever damaged? Before life hit us with bricks named reality?

I miss the me that came before reality. When I actually believed that I am enough. I am not just damaged goods.

There are days I long for my youth. My innocence. When all I knew was that I was taken care of and I didn’t have any cares of what else this world had to offer except that I was going to be a singer and make lots of money! And be super rich!

I was going to grow up, get married, have kids, get rich and take care of everyone I love.

…Until I wasn’t. And am still not.

I miss the me before my first love heartbreak. That loved the guy I tried to love and love again, just to be hurt, hurt again, and then ultimately broken. When I knew how to fully trust a person without insinuating allegations over minuscule things. Who, despite all the crappy relationships I fell into, still trusted someone enough to marry them and start a family, that ultimately led to more trust issues and belittlement– and ended.

I miss the me who didn’t worry about what to wear or how much I should or shouldn’t weigh. When black and white striped shorts totally went well with a pink and purple polka dotted shirt and kids wouldn’t make fun of me for it. When I didn’t compare my own unique beauty to those around me– and then feel less beautiful because of it.

I miss the me before I had kids. Not in the sense that I have lost myself, more so in the sense that I worry so much more--about bad people, bullies, rapists, murderers, other drivers on the road and what other people are capable of doing to them if I even take my eyes off of them for one second. I worry about myself and beating myself up about more than my looks, but now about my parenting skills (or lack thereof). Am I doing this right? Are my kids happy? Should I do this or that? Can they see that I have no idea what I’m really doing and that I’m just winging it, most days, just to get through the day? Or that I am nowhere near as neat and organized as my mother was? And probably never will be.

I miss not having to worry about the bad in this world.

Because although I didn’t get it right the first time, I have found a love that mirrors mine. Who–even though, I have trust issues, anxiety and many insecurities–still loves me for me. Someone who would move mountains and help me carry my baggage and burdens. I have someone who sees the good in me and knows that I am enough.

…Even though lately all I see is bad.

I miss the me that only knew the good.

The good in this world.

The good in other people.

The good in me.

Mom's Corner

To the Mom who…

To the new mom

…who thinks she has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. That feels like you’ll never know what a full nights sleep is like ever again. That never knew what your heart is capable of loving. Who has given up her body to create a new tiny body and is feeling self conscious about it. The ones who have tried everything to get their baby to stop crying and has to put their baby down and walk away for a few minutes. Who even though she wants to close her eyes from being up tending to a fussy baby for hours, still lies awake to watch the rise and fall of their baby’s chest.

I know.

To the working mom

…who wakes up at 6am to shower, get ready (maybe), make breakfast for her kids, get them ready for school, and then off to daycare. Who wishes she spent more hours of the day with the tiny people she’s made from scratch, than with people who would replace her if she died tomorrow. Who clocks out, picks them up from two different locations, goes home, makes dinner, tidies up (ish… or doesn’t) the house, maybe gets to eat her food warm with her family, then bathes and puts the kids to bed before maybe having time for herself or her husband.

I know.

To the stay at home mom

…who wakes up to human alarm clocks just to make breakfast that they asked for but really didn’t want. Who cleans dirty faces, hands and diapers all day. The ones getting sick, then better, then sick again because the other kids catches it–so clearly you need to catch it again too, because it’s only fair. The ones who clean up 3 or 4 times, just for it to look like a tornado hit right before dad walks in. The ones getting all “felt up” by kids and toddlers all day and then at the end of the day crave adult attention and communication or even just some peace and quiet to try and do the things you tried to do all day but couldn’t.

I know.

To the military mom

…who would put their lives on the line for their country even if that means leaving their families behind just so they can live a better life. The ones who make sacrifice after sacrifice year after year to do what the military tells them when the military tells them with very little say. The ones who say goodbye to their little ones for months that feel like years with an ache in their heart only a mother would feel. Who go to the CDC on base during their lunch to see their babies–even if they’re sleeping–and lay/eat with them because you miss them.

I know.

To the military spouse mom

…who also sacrifices a lot to be with and without her family. Who knows the true meaning of “It takes a village“–because without that village you’d lose your mind. Who leaves the rest of her family to support her new family in all their endeavors to come. Yet wishes her parents/siblings could be around her kids more often. The ones that hold down the fort at home because sometimes it’s impossible to maintain a career anywhere because you know in just a few short years you’re going to have to leave that career/company behind because you’re moving overseas.

I know.

To the mom of a child with special needs

…who work overtime as a parent of even just one child because patience alone is hard to come by some days. Who are afraid to tackle certain everyday tasks in public in fear an episode or health issue may arise. Who secretly wishes someone would volunteer to help her even just so she can do some laundry, without fear of asking in hopes someone doesn’t question her abilities as a mom. The ones that cry for their child because this world is an ugly place and no matter what you do there’s no escaping it. That cry because they feel like they’ve done any and everything they possibly can and it still isn’t comforting their child.

As a mom to friends with special needs children who has been there for them on their “bad days“.

I know.

To the mom who has it all figured out

…good for you. Just kidding! I wish I were you because.

I do not know.

And to all the moms

…who feel under appreciated, stressed to the maximum capacity, drained, alone, stranded–even if you feel like it’s all in your mind. Who get so fed up at times–just to look at their innocent faces and realize no matter how bad the times–it is all so worth it.

Just remember there’s a village of us out there who have either been there, are passing through, or know someone who has.

And we know.

Life change

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way

My brain is like a train that is never on track. Like the person who works the railroad switch to engage the track to veer one way instead of the other decided to skip work and steer me in the wrong direction– everyday.

Like there’s a fork in the track (think of a real fork–a realistic one, one with 4 or 5 prongs–not like a fork in a road) and each car of the train decides to split apart and take its own path, yet the caboose remains at the fork unsure of which car to follow. All that, equals my brain.

Do I want to work full time? Do I want to be a stay at home mom? Do I like this job? Should I go back to serving? Work from home? Should I change my outfit for the 100th time? Hair up or down? It’s cold at work, jeans and a tank top or shorts and a hoodie? Am I raising my kids right? Or should I follow the books more? This never changes in my head. All I know is that there are two things I’m certain of:

  1. Once I make up my mind, it’s made up. (It’s the process of making it up part that gets me)
  2. I want to see more of my kids.
  • That’s it. My husband always refers to that scene in The Notebook where they’re arguing and he’s asking her what she wants and she argues back that it’s not that simple. Yeah, I’m Allie. In all things.
  • I get along pretty well with everyone in my life and generally with the people I surround myself with. The only person I can’t seem to agree with anything on is myself.

    I need to learn how to just do something if I want to do it. Yeah, I mean weigh out the pros and cons first, and make sure the cons don’t outweigh the pros and not vice versa. But not if the cons are mainly people who don’t support me, or people who tell me not to do something because it’s an unrealistic idea. Those people can go you-know-what themselves. And I need to remember to not be one of those people, myself.

    I need to do something that I want for a change. Not what I think other people will applaud me for doing, because I know for a fact that there are more people who wish you well to your face but are sticking around for “support” just to see if you fail.

    I wish so badly that people weren’t so ugly towards other people. It’s really not that hard to be kind.

    But there I go… being a hypocrite (again) because my biggest enemies are the voices in my head telling me that my dreams are unrealistic, even though I know how hard I would push myself if I would just follow-through with them. This is my last step.

    I am slowly breaking down that wall. I’m climbing up the shattered pieces that have come down and I’m using them as stepping stones to make my way up and over it.

    This brick represents all the “You-can’t-do-it’s“. Step.

    This brick represents the “Its-not-possibles“. Step again.

    This brick represents all the doubts in my mind that I couldn’t or shouldn’t ask for help. Another step.

    This brick represents the false idea that no one will support me. And another step.

    On that last brick of false ideas I stand and look over the wall. I can see the horizon of possibilities that looks back at me. And just like that horizon– they’re endless.

    I’m so close to being over the wall. So I look up at the brick that I know will fall, if only I can just shake the nerves, block out the voices, and pray to God for the courage.

    Just one more brick. Just one more step. Just one more “You can do it.”

    And I’m there.

    Life change

    5 Things I learned by moving and starting over

    Ever wonder what it would be like to make the move to another state you know little, to nothing, about? Where you know only a handful of people, those of which are family members who live about an hour away? Or to give up a stable career to start over 180º in another direction? Or you meet someone amazing and have to decide whether or not to move to where you’re from or where he’s from? I know what it’s like and this is my list from my personal experience.

    1. It gets lonely.

    You know those days when you could go grab coffee with your best friend? Or have a movie/wine night on a whim? Or hell, even a play date where the kids can entertain each other while you two catch up on the latest gossip. I’m on year three here in Minnesota and while I do have friends, it doesn’t help that none of them live nearby, or we all have kids and can’t figure our schedules out. Or twenty other reasons it just doesn’t work out. And I am the queen of extroverts. #teamleo #lifeoftheparty. Another reason it gets lonely is because more people come go, than go come. You can try all day to keep in touch with people, but nine times out of ten it isn’t reciprocated.

    2. Finding a [good] job isn’t going to be easy.

    In my case I went from full blown active duty Air Force to the Air Force reserve. Completely different worlds. (For those of you who don’t know, that means I work my military job one weekend a month and participate in two full weeks worth of all military-ness a year). Since I have been here I have gone through four different [civilian] jobs before I landed my current one. One where I get paid a decent wage near home. I took a huge pay cut taking this leap of faith moving out here, but what makes up for it is the cost of living is much lower than Colorado. That’s FIVE jobs in THREE years.

    3. Small towns > Suburbs & Cities

    I came from living in both. The hustle and bustle of the cities, and by golly the traffic, is not my cup of tea. And the suburbs! Where you have the ability to high five your neighbor while you’re both on your porcelain thrones because you’re living on top of the other- no thanks! While that was appealing to me before and I could still live there and be just fine with it, I’m 95% sure that if I had to choose I’d be going with the small town vibes. You get more bang (and land) for your buck out here! I like looking around and not being able to look in my neighbors’ eyes, or recognize them, since I’m near sighted and would need my glasses to do so. I give credit to my husband for wanting to raise our family out here. Don’t be afraid of moving to a small town!

    4. Amazon is Amazing

    Its not like I’m new to online shopping- but I found the ease and convenience of Amazon (and their lightning speed shipping) to be a dream! Not to mention their lightning deals. Plus living in a super small town limits where I get to shop in person. Its a 25 minute drive to Target – ouch! – and I’m not making that trek for some milk or formula. (Not that I’d be buying either of those on Amazon so moot point, I just love Target). Its my best friend out here, I can meet Amazon up and sip coffee any time of day and tell my shopping secrets to it… except then Amazon goes and tells the UPS guys who delivers my packages in plain sight for my husband to see… so maybe not my best friend.

    il_570xN.1410000855_dviw
    I need this doormat

    5. It has helped my marriage grow in so many ways.

    I’m not alone in the “not having friends” department. The only other people my husband sees outside of work is yours truly and his family. Let’s even throw in Jason our boat salesman since he’s seen him more times than we’d like since purchasing our boat! (Good thing it’s still under 100% warranty). So we are each other’s support. We have become so much closer. (Partly because we initially lived in a town where the population was 1200, and I’m sure 1000 of them are cows so we were all each other saw!). We have both compromised so much to be where we are today. We did long distance for a little over a year when I was still serving on my active duty contract and his was done, and prior to that things weren’t even all that great. When he left Colorado, our relationship was at its all time low. We even broke up for a couple months until we realized we were still texting each other frequently and he made the first move into starting this back up. I was afraid. Afraid to leave the first place I had ever called home (military upbringing), to leave my freaking career, and my friends and family. But let me tell you this- it was the best thing I have ever done. We never (okay sometimes) get sick of each other. I supported him when we had 30 acres and a funny (I mean pig) farm. There’s never been a time when it was just the two of us because if you’ve read any of my previous posts you know he’s an amazing stepdad to my daughter from a previous marriage, and we’ve maybe been on a handful of “dates”, but this is our chaos. Maybe its because we are forced to get along because we’re all each other really ever spends time with, but I am beyond thankful that I took the leap.

    I would have added Adapting to change/surroundings to part of my list but for my personal experience this didn’t necessarily apply since I’ve moved everywhere from Arkansas all the way to Japan and I can easily adapt.

    If you’re thinking about doing it I recommend giving it a shot. You can always go back home and rejoin in the life you previously lived. You will always have somewhere to go home to. (Unless you’re me and your entire family moves away from the place you call home and sells their house and you can’t even bum a room from them anymore if you want to visit because they’re gone!). If its for the same reasons I did it, go for it if you feel the person is worth it. If they’re not, you can either make a new adventure of it, or you can go back home.

    You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take

    If you want to know more (after reading this novel- if you even made it this far) feel free to comment or email and I’ll get back to you! Thanks for reading!

    cheers!

    Mom's Corner

    One Size does NOT fit ALL

    If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. Mom Bods.

    I need to find humor in it some days to make myself feel comfortable in it. Here’s a quick true story.

    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °
    A Day at the Pool

    Me showing off my stretchmark-clad body: “Lets get in the water.”
    Friend who feels overweight: “No.”
    Me: “Why not?”
    Friend: “I feel like a hippo”
    Me: “Well I look like a Zebra. Let’s just go to the watering hole together!”

    And we laughed about it, and still didn’t go in the water for another half hour. The end.
    ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

    So lets get down to what makes a mom-bod.

    The stretch marks (in places you never knew you could get them!), the loose skin (mine will probably only go away with a tummy tuck- that I’ll pay for when I win the lottery), the cellulite, the arm flab, the all around weight gain, the transformation of your hoo-hah for the next few weeks post-partum, the c-section scars, the boobs (or lack-thereof). Unless you’re one of those freaks of nature, whose bodies just bounce right back to being normal without a trace of a baby being in there- in which case I’m going to say is not normal. (I have quite a few of these friends. I wish I could hate them).

    I mean, my body shrank back down to size, but my stretch marks got stretch marks!  My calves got stretch marks. And boooooyyyy did my thighs get stretch marks. My oldest did some work on this mom bod.

    Orrrrrr… maybe it was all the midnight Whoppers, and early morning root beers on the way to work. Or the fact that I took “eating for two” and ran with it! Either way!

    It took me a long time to embrace the changes to my body. Even with working out and managing to get visible abs, the loose skin was still a problem. I lubed up my belly my whole pregnancy to try and prevent stretch marks, but didn’t know my thighs were my problem! After I had her, I swore off shorts for the rest of my life because of how purple they were. Yeah. That lasted all of 2 seconds since the house I lived in had no A/C. I tried to find creams to fade them faster, hoping they’d disappear. That didn’t work for me either. And these boobs? They were great when breastfeeding (aside from the pain of clogged ducts and the struggle for supply), but when I gave up on it… they gave up on me.

    So I gave up, too. I mean.. I still wear bikinis, not to flaunt my stretch marks, but because I still feel beautiful. I just know that no matter what look like, mom-bod or not, that there are so many other people out there who just don’t give a crap about my body. Even girls with “perfect” bodies, hate something about the way they look. I know the way I beat myself up about my looks and my body, almost every single other woman out there is doing the same, too.

    I may complain about this or that or mentally pray that my husband still thinks the same of me, but we met when my oldest was two. So you can imagine the horror I felt at the thought of being intimate for the first time. We’ve been together 5 and a half years, and I still hide my body from him. I know, if he didn’t care then, that he doesn’t care now, and that I shouldn’t either.

    I wouldn’t trade my mom-bod for my pre-pregnancy bods because I have learned to love my appearance more than I had before (and I thought I was hot sh*t, before). I mean so in a more humble way. I respect my body and the capabilities it has to f30707931_1913901138642271_4298308806326091776_norm life within it. If I had my pre-pregnancy bod, I would not have my two beautiful children.

    My version of what I expect my body to look like differs from what you expect your body to look like. All mom-bods are accepted forms of beautiful. We just have to learn to love our new bodies in a different light- and that may take a while. That is okay!

    “One Size” does not fit all, when it comes to our bodies.

    cheers!
    ashley

    P.S.- I still love all my freak of nature friends, even if you don’t have to deal with most of these issues.

    #coffeemom