Cloth Diapering // At Home

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What kind of cloth diapers do I buy? How many do I need? What are the best ones? Where do I start? Man, when I started it was intimidating and I asked myself all these questions. I don’t have just one type of diaper and I mix and match brands, inserts and doublers.

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After testing many brands, mix and matching and actually using them I have a routine and what works for me. You may not like the way I do things but since I invested a lot of money into all these different types of diapers trying to find what I like best, this is what happened. Let me just start with the necessities and what else you may need besides the actual diapers.

Cloth Diaper Accessories/ Must-Haves
Not all diaper creams are cloth diaper safe so you have to be careful or certain creams can stick to the cloth and make it difficult to wash off. I use Lusa Organics religiously for all rashes, for the few my babies get.

Rockin’ Green Hard Core detergent is what I use to wash my cloth diapers and I add Rockin’ Green Funk Rock every so often to keep the ammonia smell at bay. This detergent is the only cloth diaper detergent you will ever need and it lasts a really long time.

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Grovia Bioliners are magical and you will never be stuck with gross poop on the cloth before you throw it in the diaper pail. Therefore, no sprayer necessary. Sprayers are used to spray the poop off the diaper into the toilet, but I started using these liners a few years ago and they are serious game changer (no spraying poop off the diaper into the toilet)!
Planet Wise diaper pail liner is what I use to throw all the dirty dipes in. All I use is a plastic trashcan with a lid to keep the smell in. Oh, and I keep a few Munchskin Arm and Hammer Nursery Fresheners at the bottom of the can (not inside the liner).

The Diapers

Grovia diapers are probably my favorite all around. You can reuse the cover a few times and the liners just snap in and out. They are low profile but very absorbent!

I started out with stuff diapers (diapers you have to stuff the liner inside) and I wasn’t a huge fan because you have to stick your hand into the diaper to pull out a wet liner…I would rather not.

I have Rumparooz one size cloth diaper. I am not a huge fan of the microfiber inserts because they are so bulky and just look uncomfortable, but I do use the shell and stuff hemp inserts in them. I use Green Acre Design hemp inserts every single day in every one of my stuff diapers. If you have a super heavy wetter, use a microfiber insert with a hemp insert.
Rumparooz, Thirsties, and FuzziBunz are great covers that I use with hemp inserts or I lay Kissaluv’s Organic fitted diaper inside. I recently started using Kissa’s and I love them! They are the softest cloth diaper I have ever felt!

To start, I would recommend getting at least 16. That way you have enough for a few days and you’re not doing diaper laundry every single day.
I wash all the diapers together including the pail with every wash.
1st: cold rinse with no soap.
2nd: Hot cycle with soap
3rd: cold rinse no soap
4th: Depending on weather, I line dry them outside or throw everything in the dryer with wool dryer balls.

I have a confession at the end of all of this. I have never been one to use cloth diapers outside the home. There, I said it. I use disposable diapers when we are out and about because it is just easier for me. I only buy eco friendly disposables and hands down my favorite disposables are Seventh Generation Touch of Cloth, I bet they will keep your heaviest wetter dry during the night. I also really love Honest Company diapers and their wipes, and they make it REALLY easy to never run out with their bundle plans! Speaking of running out of diapers, when you have cloth diapers on hand you will literally NEVER run out of diapers again! No more nearing the end of disposables and running out in the middle of the night cause you’re out! I love that part.
I hope my diaper information helped those of you who were considering cloth diapering! When I started a lot of people told me you have to be all in or all out if you decide to cloth diaper because it’s just too hard. It’s really not difficult to do both, you just have to be well organized and have to LOVE cloth diapers! Last word of advice, buy the Grovia Bioliners. They will save you from getting too deep in crap…

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In these pictures, Catalina is wearing Kissaluv liner and shell.

PCS & Other Baggage

(I’m going to start off by saying that I’m writing this ONLY because both kids are miraculously napping at the same time)

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It is what you make of it. Quite true for the most part for everything in life; however, I don’t possess the superpowers to make PCSing continuously easy and enjoyable.

As of today, it has officially been 3 weeks. The first 2 weeks were exciting as I was meeting new people, joining groups/clubs, and staying busy with the kids. The third week is when it started to wear on me because I feel like ALL I do 24/7 is wipe butts, wash dishes, pick up toys, do the laundry, put away the laundry, give baths, make breakfast, make lunch, make dinner, make it to music class, make it to story time, attempt the grocery store only to turn around on the way because one of the kids falls asleep then to wake up once were home again. Phew!

I know a lot of people run a household and raise kids single handedly and survive, but I have always been surrounded by my family for help. I’m not used to not being able to reach out for help when I need it. When I feel like I can’t pick up one more mess off the ground, the sound of whining in my ears is almost white noise. I space off and think about nothing. Seriously, my mind goes blank. I want nothing in my head, I want to “veg” out and think of doing nothing. At this point I knew I needed to change something. I needed to be proactive again in bringing the light back to our little family.
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Isn’t it true when they say it takes a village to raise a child? Yes! It has been 3 weeks and I am WORN OUT. I need a break for my sanity and that is the truth.

How can you be the best version of yourself if you continue to take yourself to the breaking point? You can’t. PCSing is hard. Moving is hard. Raising kids along with it is even harder. Try not to make it more difficult on yourself by thinking you can do everything alone; you can’t. It’s not a bad thing at all. You are human. This PCS that took me away from my support system may be a blessing in disguise. I am forced to make decisions for myself and my kids so that I can be a better mother to my children and also a better wife to my husband.

Whether it’s leaving your kid at preschool for the first time, or daycare, I know for certain no one wants to leave their children with “complete strangers.” My husband’s job is putting me in the position to leave my children with someone new; something I never thought I would have to do… yet. I can’t do this by myself anymore and it scares me half to death. I always thought I would stay at home with the kids until Peter started preschool when he turned 4. He is not even 3 yet, but because of my circumstances I need this kid in preschool ASAP. At first I felt bad and I held off the idea of leaving my only son with “complete strangers.” No one should feel bad about this or think you are a bad mom or a bad dad. It is healthy for your children, your family, and you.

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I always imagined leaving my son with “complete strangers” would be the hardest day of my life. Fortunately, it turned out to be a very pleasant experience- what a huge relief! No, I  didn’t know these care takers YET and they are strangers. But as soon as I stepped foot into that daycare/preschool I felt an ease come over me. The women there were so nice and were so interested in Peter. They talked about all the activities they were going to do and all the new friends he would meet and his face lit up like I’ve never seen before!

PCSing is hard. Moving is hard. Raising kids along with it is even harder. Try not to make it more difficult on yourself. There are so many opportunities available that can make the transition easier. All you have to do is trust. I know they are strangers and it’s difficult to trust someone you don’t know, but get to know them! Take baby steps and have them over for lunch just to hang out with the family and when you feel more comfortable, take the next step and leave the kids with them while you run an errand. Take baby steps and listen to your gut.

In honor of Memorial Day, I just want to say thank you to all the moms and dads serving in our military that stay strong for their families during hard times PCSing. Thank you to all the families I have met that while I had/ have a hard time being away from one support system, I now know that I am making a new one.
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Thank you Kristina of Anza Foto and Film for capturing these sweet moments with my greatest support system.

Resources

http://www.cdicdc.org/

http://www.militaryonesource.mil/

https://www.sittercity.com/dod

 

 

 

 

Bars // My life Source (besides coffee)

Pilot is always making fun of me for eating bars so often. So often that it was one of Peter’s first words asking for one, “ Baw, Pweese.” As a mother, I am always looking for healthy food choices while I am out and I don’t like stopping to eat crappy food. I started looking for high protein, organic, non-gmo, vegan options, with vitamins and raw! Alas, it’s been over 2 years of hunting for my favorite bars that include all of or most of the above options! Drink a large glass of water with any of these bars and you will have sustained energy to get done what you need to without going hungry until dinner time!

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Greens Plus Bar Protein – My top favorites because it’s dense and packs the protein to keep me full for a few hours. Plus, I love the taste!

Greens Plus Bar Energy – Not as dense but it does give me the energy I need because it contains loads of chia seeds.

Pure Organic – Dessert. This really does taste like a brownie and when you eat it with a large glass of water it will keep you full for a while. This bar is my excuse to eat something sweet when I am trying to stay away from sugar.

MacroBar – This bar wins the taste test for all around, with no bad aftertaste and chocolate chips, Gomacro knew what they were doing!

Vega One – Filling! I do have to warn you about the after taste with this one, however, this bar contains 1 billion dairy-free probiotics!

Garden of Life Perfect Food – I just love this brand! The bar contains 21 vegetables, probiotics, fermented seed and sprouted grain.

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They don’t look like much, but this is one big pile of protein, fiber, probiotics and foods that you can feel good about! I really hope you like these bars as much as I do. I know individually they can be pricey but just think about how much you would spend eating out and then these will actually save you money!

Easter Bunny is Coming!

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Here is a little compilation of Easter basket goodies for Peter and Catalina. I always enjoy putting a bathing suit in the basket to get excited about Spring (even though we have been swimming all winter long, thanks San Diego).

1. You must include Annie’s Homegrown Bunnies snacks. I don’t like putting candy in the kid’s baskets cause one I won’t let Peter eat it (he will be given plenty from cousins, aunts and uncles) and two, there are so many healthier options these days!

2.Peter loves to finger paint and now he can with Pinky! Eco-finger paint has made it possible for Pinky to join in on the fun and now I don’t have to worry about her eating it!

3. I grew up reading the Berenstain Bears and now reading it to my kids brings back all those wonderful memories. I especially love this Easter book because it’s not all about bunnies and candy but about the reason we celebrate Easter,  Jesus is Risen!

4. I have been buying Native shoes for Peter since he was walking and I love how they are so easy to clean and of course easy to take on and off!

5. Who loves short shorts?! Peter loves short shorts! Why should the boys be stuck with white legs while the girls get a nice tan? Boden swim trunks look so cute on Peter and he gets a nice tan!

6. Hola?! I mean, c’mon, this bathing suit for Pinky is a no-brainer. Thanks J. Crew.

7. There is nothing like a pair of jellies on little girls. Mini Melissa has these Mary Jane type jellies that I die for!

I hope you like our Spring picks! All these items were approved by Peter and Pinky themselves!

Distraction-Free Spouse Time

I always tell those who are pregnant with their first to take advantage of distraction-free naps and time alone with your spouse! Pilot and I were pretty good in the beginning, after having Peter, about going on a date night at least once a month. Of course, life happens and we realized it had been 4 months without time alone! Parenting takes its toll and I am able to tell by less patience and oh yea, who’s that man I lay in bed with every night?

This past weekend Pilot and I were able to attend a wedding in New Orleans. Yeehaw! Right?! Well, those of you who are reading this and have not done a date night since your first child… 5 years ago, know why this is easier said than done. When we first got the save-the-date for the wedding Pilot looked at me and without saying anything I knew, we have to go. “But it’s so hard for me to leave the kids!” Waaaa. That’s me. I’m so guilty of this but when this opportunity came up I sucked it up, packed my pump, and left for the airport.

Our past year has been especially difficult. Pilot left on deployment when I was only 2 months pregnant and didn’t officially return until a week before Catalina was born (She is 6 months old now)! So, we have not spent quality time together in a really long time. We needed this, and for all of you who are thinking to yourself of all the excuses that are stewing in your head, knock it off!

I was quick to come up with plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t go to New Orleans; however, I eventually came up with the solutions below.

Reasons I shouldn’t go:

#1: I am nursing.

#2: I hate pumping.

#3: I don’t want to get mastitis again (I have had it 5 times between my 2 kids)!

#4: I’m going to miss them too much to sleep at night.

#5: I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a babysitter.

Solutions:

#1: Take the dang pump!

#2: Suck it up and pump. The fun will outweigh the suckiness (no pun intended).

#3: Ummm…yea, kinda crossed my fingers on that one.

#4: You really won’t miss the kids if they are with someone you trust.

#5: My sister and her husband watched both my kids! They are the wind beneath my wings! I understand not everyone has this luxury, but if you have good friends that can take the kids or sibling, parents, just reassure them that when it’s time for them to want to get away, you will be there for them!

Once we landed in New Orleans we went straight to the hotel, unpacked, then hit the French Quarter. We went to Acme Oyster House and had the most delicious charbroiled oysters!!! I grew up eating raw oysters in Mexico but this was a game changer! Then we stopped in Mango Mango for the largest Hurricane they had. Pilot and I walked Bourbon street, sipped our slushies (Daiquiris), and did some of the most legit people watching. I smiled a few times when I would see other tourists with their stroller, kids, diaper bags, and the frazzled look in their eyes…just a little reminder that that’s not me. Haha Kinda mean but man, it felt good to not have to worry about anyone else but myself! Pilot and I walked hand in hand all weekend and sat uninterrupted at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not trying to rub it in, I swear. Those of you who do get away once a year, or maybe even more, good job and I am sure your marriage shows for it. Pilot and I need this time to rekindle what we had before kids. Our kids also need to understand the importance of Mom and Dad staying madly in love!

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The line-up at Mango Mango!

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Sipping on Hurricanes on Bourbon street.

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Not the best picture quality but it’s the only one we took at the wedding!

Stay focused on the love that started it all. If it’s dinner at home while the kids are at the in-laws, going to New Orleans for a wedding, or going to lunch down the street, strive to find those butterflies you got in your stomach when you had your first kiss. Now go have fun you love birds!

 

Potty Training, Crap.

Potty training, toilet learning, whatever you call it, it is dreaded by most. Totally understandable since no one wants a kid peeing in their house all day. It’s like having a puppy all over again, however this puppy doesn’t get their nose in the poop when they have an accident (very frowned upon).

So what made my experience not so bad? Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. “The variable isn’t in the method. The variable is in the child.” Every child is different and is going to toilet train at their own pace! Every child, however must always take off the diaper. This is a milestone just like learning to eat solid foods, learning to walk and learning to talk! Milestones such as those are fun to watch because you are learning more and more about how your child learns, potty training should be no different.

My biggest pet peeve is when you tell someone you will be potty training and they respond by saying, “why don’t you wait until they are ready?” No one knows your child better than you do and if you think your child has the best potential to pee and poop in the toilet at the age of 3 or 4, than by all means, wait. I am telling you right now, children are much smarter than marinating in their own poop and pee for 3 years. I COMPLETELY understand not wanting to put one more thing on your plate when having a 2 year old (and an infant as well), but once you put your mind to it and make it a priority, than it WILL happen. Peter is 28 months (a little over 2 years old) and POTTY TRAINED! YAY! And he is because I expected this much of him and prepared him to succeed. It takes time, effort and accountability.

Before beginning your potty training journey talk to your child about what diapers are for and what the toilet is. Take them to the bathroom when you go and explain to them what is happening and say, someday you will pee and poop in the potty too! I started talking about the potty when Peter was about a year old (it’s never too early to expose them to eliminating in the toilet!). I would catch him pooping (in his diaper) and would sign “toilet.” Soon he began to make a connection with the sign and the action of pooping. It was not my intention to potty train Peter when he was 10 months old, however, it only helped him when it came time when he was 2.
Jamie maps out potty training in 4 steps, Clueless to I Peed to I’m Peeing to I have to go Pee. She says each segment can take roughly a day. Again, it depends on the child. Some kids will breeze through one segment but can stall out in another.

How Peter’s potty journey went…
Day 1: Take off the diaper and WATCH. Literally, you have one job for at least the first 2 or 3 days and that is to WATCH your toddler EVER. SINGLE. SECOND. Do not take your eyes off of him or her those first 2 days! No phone. No computer. No watching the movie your child is watching. YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR CHILD. This step is the most important because as soon as your child begins to pee, you gently say, “Oh, you are peeing (or pooping),” pick him up and take him to the potty. It is very important you do not act startled, yell, or panic. Do not say “it’s okay” because it’s not, but you are to let them recognize they are peeing. By the end of the first or second day, they should recognize the sensation of peeing and be on their way to I’m Peeing or I have to go Pee. Jamie does not like to put days with segments but it gives you an idea of where your child is moving, forward or back.

Nap time and Bedtime: We explained to Peter that diapers are only for sleep time. I put a diaper on him right before his nap and as soon as he wakes up. I ask Peter to help me take off his diaper when he wakes up so I don’t get a fight to leave it on. Same goes for night time and morning.
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As soon as we felt Peter mastered I have to go Pee, which was around day 4, we put pants on him. Jamie highly suggests going commando for up to 3 weeks. Underwear feels too much like a diaper and they can regress. So, just pants it is! So far, while still keeping a close watch on him, he lets us know when he has to pee or poop so we can help him manipulate his pants quicker for him to eliminate in the potty. Don’t get me wrong, Peter has soaked through about 6 pairs of pants within the first 2 days of wearing pants because I wasn’t watching him close enough! Remember, this is still all so new, so don’t get ahead of yourself or don’t expect them to potty perfectly after mastering it naked!

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We spent a lot of time outside the third and fourth days.

Rewarding. Most likely, your child’s face will light up brighter than your Christmas tree when they eliminate in the potty those first few days. Peter’s reward was taking his waste to the big toilet, dumping it, flushing and waving bye-bye. All while grinning from ear to ear! There is nothing much more rewarding than that, for both of us!

This will be some of the most challenging days of parenting because staring at your child for a few days may start to make you feel a little crazy. That’s why you should indulge in some wine or a massive amount of chocolate at the end of the day. You deserve it! I seriously recommend buying Jamie’s book, its a PDF so you can start reading and mentally preparing ASAP. She has all the answers for any dilemma you may find yourself in, along with day-care, preschool, anything like that that seems to be haunting you about potty training.

Major props to those potty training your kids who are 2 or even younger! It will be SO worth it when you are done!

 

A few things you will need:

Wine: For yourself at the end of the day

Coffee: Hopefully brewed by the time pee pee pants wakes up

Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki.

Potty: Keep one in the space you hang out the most in the house. Always keep your toddler aware of where it is!

Travel potty: I keep this one in my car, it can also fit in my purse (I have a giant purse).

Elderberry // Immunity Booster

It’s cold and flu season and it seems everyone around me is getting sick! I may need to knock on wood before this next statement but I am pretty confident when I say it, I feel like everyone is getting sick BUT my family! I have been giving Peter elderberry syrup since before he was a year old and I swear it’s the reason why he is never sick. I used to buy it but it can cost over $3 an ounce! This one batch costs under $10 for 16 ounces!
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Ingredients
2/3 cup Black Elderberries

3.5 cups of water

2T Fresh or dried ginger root (I used fresh ginger and cut pieces off the root directly)

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp clove powder

1 cup Raw honey (make sure it’s RAW. Raw provides benefits pasteurized honey does not)

  1. In a medium saucepan pour water and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves (DO NOT ADD HONEY).
  2. Once it’s boiling, cover and lower to a simmer for about 45 minutes or until reduced by almost half.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow it to cool enough to be handled. Pour contents through strainer into a glass bowl or cup.
  4. Discard the elderberries (I threw the compost in my garden). Allow the syrup to cool to lukewarm, once the syrup is no longer hot add 1 cup of honey and mix well.
  5. Once mixed really well, pour your elderberry syrup in a glass jar of some sort and store in the fridge! (I use amber glass bottles)

Kids take anywhere between 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp and adults take 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp a day. You can take if and when symptoms of cold or flu appear, however, I give it to my kids all year to boost immunity.

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Ingredients are really important, especially the raw honey. Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It promotes body and digestive health, is a powerful antioxidant, strengthens the immune system and eliminates allergies. When pasteurized, honey turns into nothing but refined sugar and has none of these amazing benefits.

Enjoy and stay healthy!

Winter Necessities // Baby

The weather has officially changed and I fear the baby felt it most. These are all of my go-to essentials for this weather and they make the colder weather not so harsh.

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1. Crane humidifier – I love this cool mist humidifier because I can use it year around! I have had it for 2 years now and love the way it makes the air feel.

2. Essential oils – I use my oils almost everyday and mostly in place of medicine. Place a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender in your humidifier for a better night sleep for baby (or yourself).

3. Nose Frida – This thing is magical. Don’t waste your time trying to pull out any snot from poor baby’s nose using an old bulb…the Nose Frida gets way down there and clears your baby for hours!

4. Saline spray – Spray some of this first then use the Nose Frida…won’t be seeing any boogs for a while.

5. Badger Balm – You can easily make your own, but I bought this on a pinch and it’s been wonderful. Mix half of what you’re using with coconut oil so it’s not so intense on baby and rub it on the bottom of their feet!

Disneyland // The Million Dollar Smile

I’m going to start off by saying these pictures couldn’t be any cuter to me. Peter is going through a smile phase…at first you want to correct it but after realizing that this, this is Peter’s smile, I can already feel the joy I am going to have when looking back on these pictures!

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Peter on the teacup ride with Pa and Dad. He looks like he’s in pain but I can assure you, it’s quite the opposite.

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Catalina with the Matterhorn ride in the back drop.

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Train ride, there’s that smile again!

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Catalina in her classic Mickey hat with her name stitched on the back. My siblings and I all had this hat as kids!

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These were the first characters Peter had ever met! I was unsure how he would react or if he would even want to say hi. When it was his turn he ran up to Pooh and gave him the biggest hug! Watching Peter meet Pooh and his friends was the highlight of my day!

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At these moments when Peter met Pooh and Tigger, I saw the magic that Disney speaks of. Peter’s eyes lit up, and he was so filled with joy that everyone watching couldn’t help but feel that joy and smile too!

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Best ending to a perfectly magical day! He didn’t want to take his Mickey ears off for the drive home.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month // October

In October 1988, Ronald Reagan proclaimed this month to recognize the loss so many parents experience in the United States and around the world.

In April 2013 I had an ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t know I was pregnant but I was experiencing pain so severe I compared it to the pain I felt pre-epidural laboring with Peter. My husband brought me to the hospital to make sure everything was okay, and maybe it was just really bad cramps (I was hoping). After a pregnancy test in the hospital they told me I was pregnant but needed to look with an ultrasound. The technician came in and put the wand over my belly but was silent. She looked at me, looked at the screen, took a deep breath and told me she would be right back. My husband and I just looked at each other but I was still hopeful. What she saw was “free-flowing blood.” I was immediately rushed to the other hospital for women and newborns (same place I delivered Peter). The doctor came in a told me what they were going to do.

I lost it.

I could not let them take my baby. I cried and cried and said no. Apparently my ectopic had ruptured and I was bleeding out so they had to get in as soon as possible.

After the crying subsided and my husband and I lay on the hospital bed waiting for surgery, I prayed and prayed that God would hold my baby and keep her with Him. I can’t explain what happened at that moment except I felt peace. I said, okay God, I am in your hands.

After waking up from surgery they told me they took out almost 2 liters of blood just free-flowing in my abdomen and there was no sign of the baby.

There was no sign of the baby.

That peace I felt while praying to God, that was God. My baby is with Him in heaven. There is no other explanation. I pray everyday for my baby and I picture her sitting on Jesus’ lap smiling down on me.

“A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That’s how awful the loss is.” -Jay Neugeboren

Their lives were too short, yet so meaningful.

Take this opportunity to keep someone you know who has lost a child in your thoughts and prayers. It is never easy and the pain never goes away, but with a strong support system it is helpful knowing you are not alone.

Visit Remember Our Babies for more information.

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