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 so 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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Simple Syrup // Coconut Sugar

I am addicted to coffee. And I wish I could drink black coffee like I did back in college but now, since its almost a life source, I enjoy my coffee to taste like sugar. waa waa. I try not to buy coffee creamers with added taste because they usually come with a ton of other ingredients I don’t want. I decided to make my own but instead of using regular sugar, I thought to try coconut sugar. It is SO good! I added vanilla extract for an extra vanilla flavor but you don’t even need it if you don’t want it!

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Ingredients

2 cups Coconut Sugar

1 cup water

2 Tbsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

1. Heat water over medium heat and bring to a boil.

2. Add coconut sugar to boiling water.

3.  Stir the syrup for about 3-5 minutes.

4.  Remove syrup from the heat and allow to cool.

5. Store in a glass bottle or other storage container and refrigerate (optional step add vanilla extract)

This syrup keeps for up to 6 months in the fridge.

Yields 1 cup

 

I add my coconut syrup (about 2 tbsp) with some creamer in my coffee! The perfect amount of sweet.

Be Still // Terrible Twos

 

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  1. Close your eyes and count backwards from 10.
  2. Hug the screaming toddler with loving arms until he or she stops or calms down (it will make both of you feel better).
  3. Use a calming visualization. Picture yourself at the beach with the sound of the waves crashing onto shore. Think of a place that relaxes you.
  4. Repeat to yourself slowly your favorite quote. I like the saying, “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be Still. Be.” Saying this brings me back to understanding that God is with me and this too shall pass (which is another good saying).
  5. Go for a walk (with the kids…) bring snacks or maybe something you normally wouldn’t give your kid, like a lollipop. This gives you an opportunity to get out of the house into fresh air and maybe even some silence for 5 minutes. Today I caved and bought lollipops at Trader Joes. I chose my battle and it was not arguing with Peter in the middle of the grocery store with a baby strapped to my chest. Been there, done that, and I was not in the mood. IT’S OKAY!
  6. Let them scream it out. I am CONSTANTLY trying to nit pick everything Peter says and does! Yes, no, don’t do that, that’s okay, please, thank you…all day long. Today, I just let him listen to himself for about 10 minutes. Granted, I counted backwards about 100 times, it tired him out and I finally got him to nap 30 minutes later (4pm) because he exhausted himself. Just stay calm in the process.
  7. Call a friend, your spouse, or your mom. I’m not usually a phone person but sometimes it’s helpful to talk about what’s going on. If you don’t want to talk about the issue, talk about something else!
  8. Open up that Bible of yours. Read God’s word and listen carefully. I have to admit, I don’t open my Bible as often as I would like to but when I do I am instantly in a better place. My parents used to tell me to repeat Jesus’ name until the thoughts and feelings that are bothering me go away. Jesus is here with us all the time and He wants us to come to him with our fears and frustrations. Saying his name is peace.

I hope these tips are helpful to you during trying times. Every parent is on a learning curve that is sometimes unreal. We have to trial and error everyday and really try to be the best version of ourselves so our kids grow up to do the same. It’s not worth losing it in front of your toddler so when I feel like I am getting to that point I just do one of these. My goal is that one day when my children feel overwhelmed they know what do (from watching me) and are able to feel better instead of going off the handle bars!

Good luck to you!

A Day in the Life // At Home

Kristina Neri of Anza Foto is a documentary style photographer who has an eye for the naked truth. She captures moments you thought only gimplses of vivid memory existed, the moments you never want to forget. I was honored to have her in my home to capture a time in my life I treasured and never wanted to forget. Now, I don’t have to worry about those feelings ever becoming a distant memory because the photos she captures hold feelings as well.
Did I mention she is not only my cousin, but we were born on the same day, same room, same doctor (she is 4 hours older), and we were even married in the same year AND her and her husband are Peter’s Godparents!

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Stephen had been on deployment and I was pregnant. Peter and I spent everyday together and formed a bond we probably would not had formed had Stephen not been deployed. We both missed Stephen down to our bones and talked about “Dada” everyday. Peter and I had so many good and hard times together, but mostly fun!

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Thank you Kristina for capturing these special moments.
I recommend you going to her website and looking at her award winning photographs anzafotofilm.

 

Hurry Up and Wait // Again

Remember when Pilot was supposed to come home from deployment on a certain day but the weather had other plans? I find the military’s motto is “hurry up and wait,” and it happens all too often. We were suppose to find out our orders for the next 3 years but alas, we did not find out. They said by next week; however, I am not about to hold my breath.
While we wait, we do yard work.
Well, some of us anyway.
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PCS // Huh?!

I have been extremely lucky being a military wife. It is rare to have never moved before if you are involved in the military, they call it PCS “Permanent Change of Station.” After graduating from flight school, Pilot was stationed in San Diego, where we are both from! Well, it has almost been 3 years since that day and unfortunately you are usually stationed somewhere for only 3 years at a time.

I am not familiar with the military lifestyle because I have never moved before. I have my family with me here and have been fortunate enough to have 2 kids with the support of my entire family close by.  I’m scared. I’m afraid to leave my home and move somewhere alone without my support system.

However, it has always been a dream of mine to live overseas, but now that I have kids, my priorities have changed a bit. That dream is still alive within me but it will be more difficult to actually live it out. I’m not saying we are going overseas (because we don’t know where we are going), but I will be moving somewhere outside of San Diego and taking my children with me.

I have been praying for strength and trust that no matter where we go, I can be strong for my kids and husband.

OSC. Officer Spouses Club. I have met so many great men, women and children through this organization and I am so grateful. 99% of the people who are stationed here in SD are not from here and the OSC has been a strong backbone for those who need the support. I will become involved in the OSC once I move because these women are going to be the ones I go to for wine and ice cream. But seriously, probably just ice cream.

Pilot and I find out tomorrow where we will be spending the next 3 years of our lives. Strange having our fate put into the hands of someone else. I don’t like it so much, but I signed up for this life when I married the Navy pilot.

So, let’s do this.

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Peter and his cousins on his birthday.

 

 

 

Almond Milk // Easy

Now that I am not pregnant anymore and possessed with cravings that bring me to driving across town for a cinnamon roll, I am ready to start eating better and feeling better!

I made this almond milk to jump-start my habits of eating more raw and preparing what goes into my body myself, I am becoming more aware of what I eat. I do not cook. I do, but I really don’t enjoy cooking. This was one of the reasons why eating mostly raw appealed to me! The most you have to do is blending, mixing and soaking your food to prepare it. YAY.

So here is a recipe for almond milk, I highly recommend not eating or drinking dairy, once you cut it out of your diet, I promise you will start feeling better (even if you’re not feeling bad to begin with, you will be even better!).

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Almond Milk

1 cup of soaked almonds (soaking the almonds overnight rids them of phytic acid, an acid that prevents your body from absorbing important vitamins and minerals present in the almond).

4 cups of water

Dates or pure vanilla

Blend soaked almonds and water together for a few minutes until it looks like milk.

Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth and pour the new almond milk back into the blender with either the dates or vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Pour your almond milk into a pitcher or container and enjoy!

Refrigerate up to 7 days.

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Postpartum // Necessities just shy of a keg

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  1. Night nursing bras – They are usually more comfortable than the ones worn during the day.
  2. Day nursing bras – I don’t know how anyone survives months of nursing without one! I have about 5 now and thank God for the inventor of these easy peak a boo bras!
  3. Washable nursing pads – I usually wear these at night, however, if you are a heavy leaker, these may not work so well for you.
  4. Protein powder – I put this on my list because I am hungry ALL THE TIME while nursing! I kid you not, I am constantly snacking so this powder at least will stick with me a while and its excellent for you!
  5. Nipple Cream – Kinda awkward but man oh man I could not have survived the first few weeks of nursing without it. Catalina has a small mouth and that made for extremely painful nursing. Think about it…better to be prepared.
  6. Disposable nursing pads – Self- explanatory. I wear these 24/7.
  7. Motrin – I don’t take ANY medicine usually but just a warning, if this is your second child (or more), than you will need Motrin in your medicine cabinet the first week or 2. Nursing causes contractions, real labor contractions to shrink the uterus. With my first, I didn’t need anything, but after having my second baby, I was sending my husband to the store ASAP!!
  8. Pads – Big pads.
  9. Witch Hazel –Place these on your pad directly to the area. Witch hazel contains chemicals called tannins. When applied directly to the skin it helps reduce swelling, help repair broken skin, and fight bacteria. Believe me, you’ll want anything to help down there.

This is the stuff that saved me the first few weeks postpartum, I hope my list helps you too! Good luck and remember, this too shall pass (and sometimes too quickly).

Redwood Kings // Discovery

A few months ago, Peter and I had the honor of taking part in the filming of Redwood Kings. It began airing last night and will be on again tonight on Discovery at 9pm EST in case you missed it. Below are some behind the scenes pictures from the filming. Hope you enjoy!

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Getting ready to crane the hull into place.
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Peter checking out his new treehouse!
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Ron and John Daniels with the finished product.

Pause // Precious Moments

“Yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane

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Peter and I have had the past 7 months to form a bond we wouldn’t have been able to form had Pilot not deployed. Don’t get me wrong, in my perfect life Pilot would have never left, however, making the best of our situation this is what I know.
All we have is today.

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With a growing baby in my belly, Peter has watched it grow. From the very beginning he showed her/him love with the sweetest of kisses and a touch that would melt your heart. I have come to know a sensitive boy who loves his Mom more than anything in the world. I cherish the time we have together because as I get closer to having this baby, it makes me realize this time with
Peter now is special and we will never get it back.

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I had not realized the mixed emotions that come with having a second child. I am thrilled beyond measure, but the sweetness turns sour when I realize Peter will no longer be my all.

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I have been amazed how love grows and I have no doubt God will continue to bless me with a full heart of enough love for my husband, Peter and the new baby. As humans it is easy to doubt, however, through prayer I intend to stay strong. I love you Peter and you will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Dress is Free People (old)
Peter is wearing Zara