Experiencing Loss through Miscarriage

I’m writing about this because I need an outlet to process it all, but I’m also finding that so many others have walked through this as well. I wanted to open the door of communication for those who want to talk about it or simply say “you’re not alone.”
January 18, 2021 I took a pregnancy test assuming I was wasting a few dollars because I figured it’d be negative. However, I wanted to check just to be sure. I had those thoughts in the back of my mind telling me to check, so I mostly took the test to quiet those thoughts. I was shocked to see the positive test! My youngest daughter was 9 months at the time, and physically I just didn’t know I could get pregnant yet. I was in shock. I already loved that baby so much the moment I knew I was pregnant of course, but logistically, I was processing how my husband and I would handle 3 kids 3 and under.

We had barely begun to share with our immediate family members the news. On a Thursday night and about 4 weeks pregnant, I was at dinner with my sisters when I shared the news and watched them share in my excitement. The next morning, I started to bleed a little. My mind started racing, but after I called the doctor’s office, I felt a little better. They said it can be normal but if it continues to come in so they can check everything. By lunch the bleeding was significantly worse and my anxiety was through the roof. I didn’t feel prepared to know how to process this emotionally. My body had started processing something physically and I felt so out of control. Should I be making peace with what’s happening? I’ll spare you the details, but there are some things that can happen that just trigger a response in your head to think that something is not right. I wanted to pray for life and that the baby was holding on, but my brain kept telling me to say goodbye to this precious baby because they are going to be with Jesus before I have the opportunity to hold them in my arms. The nurse practitioner at the doctor’s office agreed that something was going on that indicated something abnormal with the pregnancy. We took a blood test to measure my HCG level (pregnancy hormone) to have a baseline to compare future blood tests to. This happened on a Friday, so I had to wait all weekend to find out the results on Monday. My numbers looked good—441–which corresponded with being about 4 weeks pregnant. They wanted me to come back in to measure again. I froze and felt numb when I saw the number—38. The number was dropping and dropping fast. My worst nightmare was coming true. My husband stayed home from work the rest of the day and we were just present with each other. Though I wasn’t very far along, there had already been so much discussion and planning around this new life, and my oldest daughter loved reminding me that mommy has a baby in her belly. It was so hard to tell her that baby is with Jesus and no longer in my belly.

Those couple weeks were the most difficult for me yet. My testimony through this valley has been that Jesus holds that sweet baby and that they are eternally in His presence. I will miss this baby so much but I look forward to standing next to them praising our Creator for all eternity one day. Mommy loves you little one.

The Dreaded Paci Weaning

I am going to share with you my experience with weaning my 2 year old off of the paci. I can only speak from my experience as I know there are lots of ways to go about this delicate process.

For my Isla girl, her paci has been her best friend since day 1. I thought it was a miracle when a few months before she turned 2, we were able to cut down on the paci use to just naps and night time. Since she really struggled with teething every time she got a new tooth, and her paci was a comfort and help to her during those times, I just figured I’d wait until all her teeth were in to worry about taking the paci away altogether.
Fast forward to a couple days ago. She had turned 2 four months ago and I kept wondering when those last molars were going to come in so we could start thinking about taking away the paci. Well I felt like an idiot when I finally counted all her teeth and realized she already had those last molars in for a while now and that she no longer is teething. For some reason I kept thinking more were supposed to come in.

It was in that moment I thought, “Ok, this is it. We need to start the process of taking away the paci. There’s never going to be the right time. I’m going to have to create that moment myself.” I had these thoughts about an hour before her nap, so I tried to casually mention that she’s a big girl and big girls don’t need their paci anymore.
The reality of the words I had been speaking didn’t settle until I put her in the crib and told her she wasn’t going to be getting her paci for nap time. The look of sadness and distrust on her face just about broke me, but I knew it was going to be tough, but so necessary to get through. The screaming/crying/wailing for her paci last about 30 minutes. I went in to check on her about halfway through to reassure her and negotiate what a treat might look like if she takes a nap. That’s Isla for you—she loves to make a deal. To my amazement, she eventually fell asleep! She even woke up in a good mood, and that’s all the evidence I needed to know that we can get through this.
That night looked a similar way, but the crying didn’t last as long. The next day for her nap was even better, and that night before bed was even better. Here we are on day 3, and as I write this story, she’s taking another peaceful nap without her paci. I honestly thought her future husband was going to have to deal with the fact that Isla comes with a paci. She was that attached to the thing.

I wanted to share my experience to give hope to those terrified parents who are dreading the same process. I even asked some other mom friends what their technique was, and most of them said they got a paci bear, read books about a paci fairy, or they took several days to prepare their child letting them know the day was coming soon when they didn’t need their paci anymore. I don’t recall any of them saying they did it cold turkey one day without any planning, but for me and Isla, I think that’s the method that was going to work best for us. When thrown into a situation we adapt. Isla amazes me at her ability to transition and make adjustments where needed. She’s so strong and I am so glad that we embarked on this journey of no more paci without preparing much for it. That might seem like the opposite thing to do, but it really is just tough no matter your technique. It is about 3 days of lots of tears but they eventually do go to sleep without it, and it becomes one less transition to work through.

For us next, we plan on tackling potty training this winter. She’s not ready for it yet, but I definitely want her to be potty trained before she turns 3, and I want to give us plenty of time to work through it.

I honestly just can’t believe I’m even writing this post. This day has come, and I feel so proud of myself and Isla for working through it and being consistent. Good luck to all you parents getting ready to embark on this journey, and I’d love to hear how your experience goes!

I’m so grateful to be Isla’s mom and to be able to come alongside her as she grows throughout her life.

How To Survive Sick Week

As I’m writing this, we are on day 9 of myself being sick, while Isla is finally feeling and acting more herself. I am not quite in the clear, but Isla is thankfully. This was all so new to me. I hardly get sick, and Isla has never had more than a cold, so when I was told that she has RSV, pink eye, and an ear infection, I was at a loss. I have never had a sinus infection, but I’m convinced that’s what I have, and my symptoms are taking a little longer to subside. Because of all that she had going on, it affected pretty much everything about her from her sleep, to her eating, to her need for her paci, and overall energy. Since I was also feeling terrible, it just compounded on the entire situation. I don’t want this to sound like just a bunch of complaining, however. It’s definitely been tough to navigate this week, but I learned a few things that I wanted to share with any moms that may need some encouragement if they ever find themselves in the same situation.

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1. Forget what’s “normal” in your routine

You are now in survival mode momma, so that’s what you need to focus on. I was so stressed out in the beginning of our sickness wondering how I was going to care for my sick child while doing everything else. When I finally accepted that I was not going to get sleep and that our typical day-to-day routine was definitely not going to happen, it really helped me to just let go of any expectation to keep normalcy around. Just focus on staying up on administering medicines, getting in extra snuggles, and taking care of yourself and your sick baby.

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2. Don’t stress going backwards in your parenting efforts

I quickly realized that Isla was going to need me to be less strict on enforcing normal parenting habits like limited screen time and when she is allowed to have her paci. What she needed was plenty of rest and comfort, and I hate to admit it, but she was able to get more rest with her paci and a movie. We’ve been trying to limit pacis to just night time, which had been successful. But when she wanted it 24/7, I was worried that we were undoing every effort we had previously made. Same goes with how much screen time she was getting. I will say, on the other side of this, neither issue has taken more than a day or two to transition back into. It takes standing your ground and consistency, but I think that a week isn’t going to undo what you’ve been working on for months.


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3. Find joy in the little moments

While I could’ve been felt overwhelmed that my 20 month old wasn’t going down for her nap with gladness like she usually does, I chose to take the time she wanted with me to rock her while she reluctantly drifted off to just be thankful for this time I do have. It gave me time to give my tired and weary thoughts to God and find peace and rest in Him. I would rather have these moments than none at all, and as her momma, it’s my joy and privilege to be her person that helps when she feels absolutely helpless.Image result for please help

4. Ask for help

I’m not one that naturally asks for help all the time. I’d like to think that I can handle most things on my own (this is a big area I need help with in general). However, my husband has been amazing with picking up the slack that I so desperately needed, even without me asking for help. If he wasn’t able to help out as much, I would’ve needed to ask for more assistance on some days when I was at my wits end, but it’s something I highly recommend if you are going through the same thing and don’t have your husband as available to help during the day. I was surprised as to how many people that reached out asking if they could help if Ross wasn’t able to, and that is a blessing just to know that those people are there and willing. Image result for this too shall pass

5. Know this: You will get through this!

It was probably night 3 or 4 of having little to no sleep that I started to wonder if life would ever be the same again. In my dramatic and delirious mindset, it had felt more like it had been 3 or 4 years. In reality, most seasonal sickness seems to run its course in about a week or two which isn’t that long in the grand scheme of life. If crying and allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed for a moment helps release your stress and tension, let it out! It helped me tremendously a couple of times to be vulnerable with myself and just cry. But when you’re done crying, gather yourself, find some grit deep down, and get through another sleepless night. You are a strong mom, stronger than you know.

I am grateful to the other moms that encouraged me while navigating a tough week nursing my daughter back to health. This was all new to me, and oftentimes overwhelming. I’m also so grateful for my family’s health. I have a new appreciation for each breath and a good night’s rest. My heart also goes out to those who have children with chronic or debilitating illnesses. You are amazing, and there is so much I can learn from you.

Don’t Sweat the Clingy Phase

I’m speaking to myself on this one, but I’ve also been learning a lot about how to navigate this phase, and I’ve picked up on some really helpful tips! I can only speak for myself based on my experience, but I feel that being a SAHM has contributed to Isla’s tight circle of people that she trusts. Her separation anxiety has been pretty constant since she was a couple months old. For us, this looks like her not wanting to be in the nursery at church without me in there. Or even when we’re out and about in public, if she had wondered too far (even still in the same room), she’ll start to cry and rush back over to me. At the same time, she loves people and is super friendly. She just so happens to want me around probably 95% of the time. I’m so thankful she also loves being with grandparents because that can be a lifesaver for when this mom needs a break! Anyway, here are some things I’ve learned from my experience along the way with having a child that has separation anxiety:
  1. Pray- I’m not saying this to be funny or cliché either. I’ve found myself having terrible dreams the night before an event where I know I’ll be putting Isla in childcare for a couple hours. In these dreams, Isla is miserable the whole time, and it makes me super uncomfortable because I hate pushing her into situations like that as her mom, the one she should be able to trust 100%. In reality, these are not just bad dreams though. This is real life. When she can be so miserable apart from me, the anxiety can run high. So one night as I was putting Isla to bed, I prayed with her about the upcoming day where she would need to be in childcare, asking God to help us both not to be nervous. But that if she did have a hard time and I needed to come get her, that I wouldn’t be worried or stressed about it. And that night, I felt as though I truly had given all my fears to the Lord. I slept well, and Isla even lasted the whole time with another caretaker the next day! I’m not counting on that being our new normal, but I’m grateful to have had the peace going into it. That was what changed my perspective the most. 
  2. Don’t worry about establishing super high expectations- I used to create these ideal expectations and scenarios in my head where Isla loved going into the nursery by herself at church. And every time that didn’t happen, I’d find myself more and more discouraged. Finally, I decided to toss my currently unreachable expectations and be a little more flexible and relaxed. 
  3. Keep trying- Even though I may not have those high expectations right now, it doesn’t keep me from trying. I still put Isla in the nursery at church each week, and in childcare for my MOPS meeting each month. 
  4. Create opportunities as consistent as you can for them to be around other caretakers- My last point leads me into this next one, which is similar but adds an extra step. Along with your normal routine, be creative in thinking of ways to incorporate new opportunities for your child to experience being under the care of others. An easy way to start is by introducing one new person and having them watch your child often. I’ve found this to help Isla. She’s never been one to click right away with someone and trust them, but if she’s given the opportunity to build a relationship with them, we’re more likely to find success. And start within your home if you’re able. Having someone care for your child within their own comfort zone can be super helpful for the child as well. 
  5. Enjoy-They’ll grow out of this before you know it! It will definitely get better in time. It may not be today, but being anxious about it definitely won’t help, so don’t stress! This can be the hardest tip to implement, especially all the time, but is crucial in getting through it with joy. 
I’m grateful for my daughter teaching me so much beyond just how to parent. A lot of my flaws have become painfully clear to me since becoming a mom, but through realizing them I’m also seeing that there are always ways to improve. 

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m grateful for dreams

Not the kind of dreams that you have when you sleep, but I love to be able to just sit and think through hopes and dreams that I have for the day and the future.
To be honest, today was not one of my best mentally. I struggled to be in any sort of good head space where I was able to easily come up with something I’m grateful for. I was stumped for quite a while. But then I remembered the reason why I didn’t have the best day and came up with something to be grateful for out of it.
The biggest reason why I have my bad days mentally is when I feel completely insignificant. Being a SAHM is not always fun and exciting. I spend time scrolling through social media and find either working moms that seem to have more of a life or other SAHMs that have some sort of side hustle or frequent date nights that help to break up the monotony.
Today, I found myself thinking through ways to pull myself out of my pity party slump. I feel like ultimately that’s what it is when I’m feeling sorry for myself or my current situation. I really try to think through careers I might be interested in pursuing one day when the kids are older, or a side hustle I may want to start while the kids are young, and the list goes on…Ultimately, it can get me super excited for what’s to come—a reminder that the days of raising young ones won’t last forever. Yes, today was tough, but I’m praying for a better tomorrow. I’m thankful for the tough days that can bring about hope.

Countdown to Thanksgiving…I’m grateful for a healthy pregnancy

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I really want to place an emphasis on being in a state of gratitude and thankfulness. This is, of course, good to do all the time, but this time of year can place it on our hearts even a little more.
As I’m writing this, I am 17 weeks pregnant with baby #2. We just found out that she is a GIRL last week and, we are thrilled out of our minds.
Every pregnancy is different, and we are not guaranteed an easy ride during these 9 months of growing a precious child. Besides the occasional discomfort while sleeping, moodiness, exhaustion, etc…I am so grateful to be growing a healthy baby girl. I really can’t complain when I think about the blessing of being able to have another baby and have her grow in my belly. It really does far surpass any pregnancy symptom or discomfort that I may experience. Before I know it, we will be holding her in our arms and wondering how the time flew by so quickly that we are actually able to be meeting her.
What are you grateful for today? Write it down or share it with someone! Prioritize time each day to cultivate gratefulness in your heart.