I Raise a Hallelujah.

It’s been months since I’ve had the urge to write, in fact I can tell you the day I stopped wanting to write March 31st at 2:45 in the morning, my grandpa passed away. That day started what would define my last six months, the grief I never fully embraced because I was pregnant and a mom of two small kids, I didn’t have time to curl up into a ball and just grieve the loss, I had to be strong. 

August 25th 2019, would again begin a period in my life that would further drown me in a grief and anger spiral that would essentially lead me to you today. To this moment in this post. After an almost perfect pregnancy in the space of 5 hours my pregnancy would spiral out of control and would lead to the beginning of a second NICU stay for our family. They would lead to 11 days of life changing moments and once again a pressure on me to be strong and unbendable because I had a little boy who once again needed me to be strong and unwavering in my faith that he would absolutely make it home to his sisters and dad. 

This strength in those moments would cost me because now that all of that is behind me I feel like I haven’t taken a full breath in six months. I feel the demands of depression sneaking up on me and I feel the waves upon waves of anxiety drown me. Today was a tipping point, when my four year old announced to the world that mommy was being mean to daddy.

 “out of the mouth of babes” 

Ive had to show a strength in myself that has crippled me, growing up my grandpa always told me I was stronger than I thought. He had this unwavering faith in me that I could do anything, the day he died I felt this urgent need to prove to him that I had that backbone. But to what end? Isn’t that what everyone says after a friend, or family member, or spouse, or parent dies from suicide? 

“HE/SHE was so strong”

“HE/SHE was such a happy person”

But to what detriment to themselves did they show the world that side? Did pushing themselves to be what they thought everyone needed bring them to there knees in the end and when they couldn’t hold themselves to that level did it ultimately lead to what would be the end? 

These questions plague me, as a mom and wife I hold myself to a standard that is high, I push myself to be the strong one and the happy one? But in moments of absolute weakness I can’t ever just ask for help, I can’t ever just scream out in pain and fueled with anxiety and say please just help me. Instead I lash out in anger and micro focus on things that don’t really matter at all but in that moment they are what keeps me in control and holding onto that string of strength I have left. 

My greatest fear is that one day I won’t be able to grab that string and than what happens? This stigma against anxiety and depression has got to stop! This pressure on moms and wives to be the backbone and the teaching that if we show weakness and ask for help than we are somehow less than as a mother or wife has to stop. Do you realize the suicide rate in women is skyrocketing because society says we have to reach every single level of “accomplishment” and we have to be so much more, and when we feel like we fail we can’t handle it. We leave behind husbands who don’t understand, and children who are confused. This goes both ways to men and pressure on them, but im a wife and a mother I am not a husband and a father. 

I want to be better than this statistic, I want to be strong but I need to be able in moments of crippling anxiety and depression I NEED to be able to scream for help. I NEED to know I won’t be judged as weak or less than as a mother and wife because I admit that I need a day to just lay in bed and be alone. Society needs to change the story when it comes to anxiety and depression. Society needs to change the edit for how we look at these issues, because as a society we are failing these mothers and wives. We are failing a whole population that so desperately needs us to reach in and say “how can I help you?” A whole population who doesn’t need people to just say “let me know when you need help” because as one of those people in that population, at our lowest moments we can’t ask for help we need someone to reach in grab our hands hold us and be our backbone in a moment when we can’t be our own. When this starts to happen I pray we see a world that is fixing our broken members not remanding them to a psych hospital or telling them that they need to disappear. 

I’m often in my dark moments led to music and I can’t help but think of the song “I raise a hallelujah” 

I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me

I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee

I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery

I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar

Up from the ashes, hope will arise

Death is defeated, the King is alive!

What an amazing promise that is to me. In my darkest moments I raise a hallelujah to the sky because in my darkest moments I need him more than I need society’s approval! I raise a hallelujah in the middle of a fear so crippling it terrifying, because when the demands start whispering its terrifying! I raise a hallelujah because in a moment of terror I praise a lord who defeated death! I sing a praise to a God who found me worthy of dying for! If nothing else brings me back from darkness that will continue to be my anthem. In the middle of the storm I scream for him, but one day the storm may be so strong I can’t and I pray that in that moment someone else helps God and reaches in and helps, without fear of society. As a society we are only as strong as our weakest, and in our weakest we will find our leaders. 

Weight Lifted

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9 months. We have had 9 long months of fear for Kasalina grace’s heart and what was going to happen. As a momma who struggles with anxiety made worse by post partum anxiety this has been hell for me. I get scared with her crawling and getting out of breath. I worry when she doesn’t gain in weight in a week or if she looses even on ounce I panic. But today we got the news we have been waiting for !! Her VSD has completely closed, her ASD is so small they don’t want to see her again until she is three years old! 

I sobbed in the care when I left her appointment, maybe it was just a build up of her screaming through all her tests and not being able to comfort her, or just a build-up of the last nine months. To finally be able to put her birth behind me and focus on her future is like a weight lifted over my shoulder. That has been hanging over us for nine months. That was all that was left of NICU. Everything else she has proven us all wrong! She crawled right on track with babies in her February due date group. She talks with them, she eats as good as them, she’s on track weight and height wise with them. She is proving every single doctor wrong and for that I am so eternally grateful for the power and healing grace of prayer. She has shown people who don’t believe that she is greater than what they thought she would be. As her mom I am so incredibly proud and humbled! 

Feeding is an experience!

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Anyone else have an extremely picky child? Hayden Renee is my picky one, I made my own pureed baby food for her and was so sure I was doing the right thing. I don’t think I was wrong in my decision with her but I definently think all the factors of nursing her till 19 months and just doing puree’s and not giving her anything else her first year has led to problems. 

If you could survive on just chicken nuggets and Mac n cheese my child would be extremely happy! I would love to say im not that kind of mom that will bribe her child but I am! My three year old I will bribe with just one bite of food for a part of a cookie! 

So when Kasalina Grace hit six months I needed to find some alternative to what I did with Hayden Renee. I can’t handle another picky eater! Kasalina Grace has been bottle fed since birth due to her being a preemie, and I pumped up until about six weeks ago when I dried up all of a sudden! So I think that already has made a huge difference in her eating habits. We started her on a few purees three times a day and she didn’t seem interested at all and I couldn’t help but think “OH NO, ANOTHER picky one!” 

Boy was I wrong, we switched to baby led weaning about a month ago and this child is eating it up! So much has changed just from when Hayden was a baby! Isn’t that just insane? They are just over 2 years apart but so much has changed! Kasalina Grace will eat everything and anything you put on her high chair tray! This kid has no texture aversion like Hayden does, she will eat everything! Which is such a relief, she also has shown no allergies to food as of yet! Hayden is like me allergic to eggs and dairy. Some of that may be genetics but some of it may just be that I waited a bit to long to feed her solids or even attempt to! 

I have a list of do’s and font’s for you that I have learned over the past few months and from asking friends who are also in this current season of life! 

  1. DO wait until the baby is ready to eat, (sitting up on there own, reaching for things)
  2. DONT choose nap time to feed them, I don’t wanna eat when I am tired and they wont want to either!
  3. DO continue Formula or breastmilk they still need all those nutrients!
  4. DONT expect it to work! Your baby may hate this whole idea and THATS OK!
  5. DO Supervise them and engage, make it a good chance for one on one time! 
  6. DONT panic when they make an awful face at a new food! They are figuring out what is in there mouth and will spit it out if they don’t want it!
  7. DO Cut the food into tiny grasping size pieces! Not so small they can’t grab it but not so big they choke. It’s a fine delicate line that you’ll figure out!
  8. DONT overload them on five different foods in one meal! They will not like them and you wont be able to tell which one they don’t like! 
  9. DO Let them have fun! Let them throw that spaghetti and cover themselves in ketchup! Let them be little! 
  10. DONT freak out over how long it’s taking them to eat! Don’t worry about the mess it will come out! One day you’ll look back and wish you had watched them eat just a little bit longer! 
  11. DO take this opportunity to start family dinner traditions! I love and miss my younger days when no matter what we had planned we all sat down for dinner together and ate. We caught up on our days and what was going on. But we always knew that dinner was going to happen! I loved  that time! Even in my teen years when I complained, I secretly enjoyed it! 
  12. DONT give up! Your kid will not starve if 90% of there food gets on the floor! Momma you are doing amazing no matter how it looks! 

Every kid is different! Whatever you do always remember to watch for signs of a reaction! Hayden Renee scared me to death the first time she had eggs and broke out terribly and started wheezing and coughing. I knew what to look for because I had done my research! Please mommas do your research! Know what to look for! Know what the signs are! Being informed is the best thing we as moms can be!

This is a good resource for allergic reactions!

https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/allergic-reaction

Who we are.

This post is close to my heart and ive had it in my head for months now and I don’t know why I haven’t written it before now. With it all coming to a head in the past few weeks I finally have the courage to write it down. 

We live in a small town called Christmas, my husband grew up in this town, his family has been here for 40 years and like most of the families around here this town is in their blood. 

The biggest part of this town is the St. Johns River the biggest businesses in this town are the gator farm and airboat tours. This is who this town is. This river runs in my kids bloods and of all the adults who grew up on this river. 

These tours are what make people come to this town. 

These small businesses are made up of men who either took over a family business and have made it their own, or are supporting a family in the way they were raised. Than you get one company come in and think that money should determine what and who gets to ride on the river. Sure those of us with our own boats can still go out and enjoy but at what cost? At the cost of our friends and who they are? That ruins it for all of us. 

This river is what shaped a lot of those who grew up on it. They played on it as children, they learned how to swim in it and drive their boat on it. They met their now spouse on that river, they hunted and learned the thrill of providing for their family. This river has shaped so many of our husbands Into the men and fathers they are today. Why is it ok to come in and try to take that away from our town? Why come and take this one thing that so many of our husbands have worked so hard for? 

Regulations are such a good thing to use! Regulations are not bad. But to Come in and completely disband and take away so much work is not right! These men went to school for months learning charting and safety and licensing just so they can deal with people day in and day out who sometimes are rude and other times come from far away just for those specific captains! 

My daughters both rode and airboat for the first time on those small business boats! My three year old daily talks about her Uncle Bruce and how he does airboat tours. She is so incredibly PROUD of him! I wouldn’t trust anyone else to teach my daughter all about the river, the animals and how they are needed to help our eco-system. I trust him to show her all the trees and what there names are. I know she will grow up with him and learn all about how the river gives back. 

These men that are just doing what they know are some of the best men in this town. You hurt them you hurt Christmas. We are a small town but we are the town that one of our own is in an accident we throw a fundraiser to help them! We are the town that bands together when one of our own is going through cancer. We clean up that river all throughout the year and have benefits that help with breast cancer funding. These men are all apart of that, you take away their right to do that you hurt not only them but all of us. 

I’ve watched these men in the past ten years I have been here band together for countless people. I’ve watched these men become husbands and fathers and give their families everything they could ever need, with the business that is getting the rug jerked out from under them. 

I have a hard time with expressing sometimes but my heart aches for these men who have had to unexpectedly pay thousand upon thousands of dollars just to keep there jobs. I think competition keeps the world going round. But I also think that when we let companies come in and take over and create rules around what they want we are hurting something so precious to our society. Small Businesses built us and we need them to continue on. They provide a much needed product and a personable level of care that we need still in this world. To let big money take over is just taking an easy way out of actually putting in the time and effort to get to know the individual business. Even with regulations we are going to lose some good men who have worked to build a business. 

Sometimes going out of our comfort zones and fighting for who and what we believe in is the best choice to make. I have two young daughters who will learn from me. I want to show them that whats right in your heart and worth fighting for may not be what society tell you. But that is 100% ok. We as humans work best when we follow what we know is the truth, otherwise we fight an internal battle of thinking we gave up. I want my daughters to see that being a business owner is incredibly rewarding, but you have to follow who you are and do it without being physical, or without screwing other people over. You have to be able in a non-confrontational manner be able to show people you are more than money can buy, you are a person and your business no matter how small makes an impact on the community. 

This battle is one i’m sure is fought all over our country and my heart aches for them. The small businesses that people won’t support because they stick to there beliefs. The small business that is getting run over by big businesses over and over again, my heart aches for them. We need to not forget them! We need to be better than this! Small Businesses built this nation and without them we will crumble as a nation. Money is not worth ruining a family and ruining a way of life.

If you can’t say something nice…

Y’all today has been one of those days that you hear others talk about but never think it will happen to you. 

I had Haydens three year check up today. Yay!  You would think super simple in and out get everything done no problems. I had also set up for Kasalina to be checked out at the same time because I had some concerns on her heart and how tired she seems to be getting lately. 

The doctor came in to examine Hayden and the first thing he says to me is she is fat, and I needed to get her to loose weight and if she didn’t loose some she would have to come in every three months for a weight check. 

I have several problems right here and there’s more to the story. First of all she’s three don’t you dare say in front of her that she is fat. I refuse to have my daughter already having body issues at such a young age. Second of all, she eats very well, she doesn’t eat a lot of junk food and very rarely do I allow her to drink juice. The kid never sits still, its all I can do most days to keep her entertained because she is so active. My heart just started breaking at that point. This world is so focused on body image we are starting to ridicule and police our girls at such young age. We want to put them in this bubble of a strict diet so that they stay skinny and the way society expects a little girl or any girls really to look. I refuse to have my child turn into me as a teenager, barely eating anything throwing up what little she does eat all to maintain a weight that your mother and family thought was “healthy.” I will not put that on my daughters. If he think we have an unhealthy diet because of the way I look than he should maybe get to know his patients. I went through years of infertility treatments that screw with your hormones, on top of having pcos which makes loosing weight extremely hard. Am I proud of how I look no. but I am working hard to change that! 

If you aren’t fired up I have more for you!

As he is berating me on all of this Hayden is trying to put her shoes on. 9 times out of 10 she can get it first try, today she couldn’t, new pair of shoes and boots mixed together just confused her. So I am trying to assist her while letting her do it herself because she is in that stage. I directed her to put the boot on the other foot and when she couldn’t get it on I bent down to assist her and she lifted the wrong foot again. I hear him above me go, its interesting how fast she forgets what foot you told her the shoe goes on. If I could put in eye roll in here I would. Yes she forgot and lifted the wrong foot, but this is the same child who can count to 20, knows her ABC’s. Can recite any song you put on the radio. The same child who has figured out every child lock in my house, so I have had to super glue them together. This child who talked at 18 months, and still to this day talks better and clearer than most four year olds. This child who potty trained herself at 18 months! This child is not a dumb child, she forgot one time in her nervousness which foot. 

After he got through with me on Hayden he asked me what was going on with Kasalina, she is a 33 seeker, she stopped growing at 32 weeks and they took her via csection at 33 weeks. She spent 15 days in Nicu and is in most ways doing awesome. She however has an ASD and it isn’t closing, she will drink two oz of milk and get tired and than 45 minutes later finish the other two oz. She isn’t sitting up on her own yet or crawling, but she is rolling like a champ and talking. I have voiced my concerns to previous doctors at the same office, to which no-one has seemed it was something to listen to me for. Not today, he decided to add on and berate me for these things. He asked why I hadn’t gotten her started in First Steps, which is essentially therapy for babies. He asked why I haven’t gone back to cardiology (because I needed another referral and they didn’t give me one) He than commented that she may be heading towards congestive heart failure. 

EXCUSE ME? 

Ok how did you come to that conclusion? Are you all of a sudden a cardiologist also? 

Needless to say I walked out of that office, loaded my kids in the car, called my husband and just broke down sobbing. 

Its been 12 hours now and I am still in-between sobbing and anger. How dare this man who just met my children that day be so horrible! How dare he call a three year old fat, how dare he make me feel like I am less than as a mother. I have done everything in my power to give these girls the best I can! I nursed Hayden for 19 months, I don’t give her junk food I play in the mud with her, I teach her to be polite and kind to others. Kasalina I sat with for 15 days in the NICU. 15 days where I couldn’t see the sun, I didn’t know what time of day it was, I MAYBE, MAYBE ate one meal a day because I was TERRIFIED that she would crash when I left the room! I watch her like a hawk and every single time her monitor alarms I don’t sleep after that for fear that it’ll alarm again. 

But in 15 minutes this man who just met us made me feel like I was less than as a mother, that made me question everything I do for them. 

That infuriates me! 

There are so many things in this world that will tell our daughters they aren’t good enough, or skinny enough, or bright enough, or enough in general! Why in the ever-loving heck would you start this problem at the tender age of three!! Why would you start policing them so young. This baffles my mind. Yes she eats chicken nuggets more times than I care to admit, but at least she ate that day! I do as much as I can do to give her healthy options. I know the risks of heart disease and diabetes, and illnesses. I know the risk! Im doing everything I can do to ensure those risks are low! But how she looks and her body image are not your concern! Pull me aside and educate me, her mother. DO NOT call her fat to her face and point to the areas you think are not ok! 

My heart is still breaking for little girls that deal with this. If I was a single mother with no family support I would feel utterly defeated tonight! I still feel utterly defeated but I have a HUGE support system who is just as infuriated with me. 

Mommas YOU ARE your daughters mirror, you have to tell them they are beautiful and perfect the way they are. You have to show them the world is so incredibly wrong! 

Hayden turns 3

Dear sweet girl,

Gosh you are three today. I feel like I just met you but its already been three quick years. You are my greatest adventure. You have shown me so much about myself, that I didn’t know was in me. I love your spunk and laughter.

 I love when your little chin juts out and I know, I just know that you are about to do what I told you not to do. It may drive me absolutely insane and sometimes I just want to scream, but in those moments im so proud of your determination because it will make you an amazing leader one day.

 Sweet girl I know you will be amazing at whatever you set yourself up to do! 

Your daddy and I are in awe every time you come at us with your insane vocabulary! Even if it is when you tell me daddy is your favorite,(i know that will change when you turn 16 and he locks you in your room so you cant date!)

I love how your brain works!

Sweet girl, we prayed for you and your sister for years!

You made me the mother I had longed to be for so many years.

You showed me I was stronger than I could have ever imagined. 

You gave me strength to fight a silent battle that no-one knew about. 

You give me a reason every day to better myself so I can keep up with that incredible mind of yours. 

You teach me sometimes how to show compassion even when you don’t have to. 

You show me in every action how big and amazing your heart is. 

When I doubt who I am I just have to look at you and know im your mom, and thats enough. 

You are the first person I met in this world who shared my DNA. 

You are the first person in my world I could look at and think I see myself in them.

To many thats not a big deal but to an adopted child like me who always wondered it is truly amazing. 

You sweet girl are going to be great and I hope you never forget that. 

I pray you know that you are stronger than anyone will give you credit for. 

I pray you never let anyone break that will of yours. 

I pray that this world never beats you down or breaks you. 

I pray that you never forget who you are. 

I pray you always know you have us at your back no matter what you do! 

Sweet girl as you turn three today i know theres so many more years you will turn a year older, and I can’t wait to see what and who you will be. 

I love you so much and im so honored and proud to be your mom. 

Hayden Birth Story

I can’t believe its been three sweet years since I had Hayden Renee. It’s been a rollercoaster thats for sure but worth every second. 

My water broke a year ago today! I probably had been in labor all day the previous day. But first time mom I just thought I was getting the flu. I had been up and down all night and Andy for some reason decided to stay a little late that morning and help me if I needed him. I remember laying against his chest and just enjoying the sweet quiet moment when my water broke. Poor guy looked about panicked when I said “either I peed myself or my water just broke” We spent the next 30 minutes aimlessly trying to figure out what we needed from the house. I had packed our bags the week before but I had no idea what I needed. I was actually due with Hayden in late September but my water broke at 37 weeks on the day. 

I will never forget the day , I feel like my labor with Hayden was super relaxed. My initial plan was to have a natural birth as long as possible and than an epidural. When we went into the hospital that morning I was at maybe 1 cm dialated. But my water was broken so I was staying. 

I literally walked into the hospital with a towel in my sweat pants and the nurse says “are you sure it was your water that broke” I laughed as fluid just kept gushing out of me and said “yes im sure” I don’t think they took me seriously, I was laughing so hard. I laugh in awkward situations, I had no idea what to do and I didn’t want to panic. 

I lasted 22 hours unmedicated with back labor. I remember thinking, if this is my only chance to ever experience this, I want to experience every single second! Andy was my power house he laid in the bed behind me for 22 hours and rubbed my back and made me laugh and held me. In that moment I needed him completely and he like any other time was there for me. 

At hour 24 I got a fever and that was when we began to realize that this labor was no longer going to go the way we wanted it to. I finally decided I wanted an epidural and when they put it in my blood pressure dropped extremely low. 

Hayden Renee made her entrance into this world as dramatically as us finding out she was coming. At hour 36 her heart rate dropped and every annoying bell around me went crazy and into emergency c-section I went. Which just so you know as soon as they got me into the o.r her heart rate was back to normal. I think she was just telling me she was done and ready to come. 

My little sour patch kid came into this world dramatically and she will probably rule this world in her own way. 

I tell you all of this to tell you that I had a plan in my head and I think the main reason I had such bad post partum anxiety is because my plans went completely to the left. I don’t handle change well, I like my plans and my lists and in my head I would have a as natural as possible delivery, with no complications, they would put my baby on my chest and I would have bonding time. Guess what NONE of that happened. I ended up in a c-section, my daughter was taken straight to transitions (which is a level above Nicu) and was so badly jaundice that I only got to hold her to nurse her every two hours for 45 minutes. Nothing was the way I pictured it. 

Motherhood will NEVER go the way you plan it. You know the saying “You plan God laughs.” That is the essence of motherhood. Motherhood will always throw you a curve ball, one child will always have to pee before you leave, one child will always have dirt on them in some random place. But ive learned its ok. Perfection is a joke when it comes to life, I think so many moms struggle because we think we have to be perfect. We don’t. It’s ok if we have one child who is dirty and one who is an outfit that they either questionably wore two days prior and may or may not have gotten washed. 

With tomorrow being Hayden’s birthday im in complete denial, but as I look back on the past three years im so proud of how I have grown as a mother and a person. Some of the curveballs Hayden has thrown at me over the year, broken arm at eight months, asthma attacks and hospital visits, knocks to the head I swear would knock a grown man out but she laughs and walks off. All of these moments have made so incredibly proud! God knew I needed her to make me stronger. He knew I needed to have someone just like me so I could find the strength within me I had no idea I had. 

This little sour patch kid makes me stronger daily, she makes me learn more about myself and who I am as a person. She’s taught me to have a backbone, she made me grow up and I love her for it. 

My battle with infertility.

I think one of the hardest stories of my life will be my journey to motherhood. As a child I always dreamed of becoming a mother, it was so easy, get married and have one. I never envisioned going through infertility, I never envisioned loosing child after child. Thats never talked about! Our mothers (at least mine) never told us that miscarriage was common. I’m the product of a 16 year old who got pregnant on accident, she’s a product of the same. I was adopted by my parents and they raised me but it was never truly talked about on why they adopted. I knew it was because they had tried and it didn’t happen but no details, truly were explained. They did go on to have my brothers after adopting me, and one is a short six months younger than me. 

Andy and I met and married at the ages of 19 and 21. That story is an incredible story ill share closer to our anniversary! We got married in December of 2010 and January of 2011 was our first miscarriage. At 16 weeks we miscarried our first daughter, in a story thats long and painful, ill shorten it for you. Doctor error was made and the end product was us loosing her. We would go on to try for another 18 months with two more losses before we called an infertility doctor. That doctor gave me the diagnosis of PCOS. Which stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, in short means I have cysts all over my ovaries that cause my body to not ovulate regularly like other woman. 

It took me two months to accept my body was different, I remember thinking over and over again why does my body have to be different? Obviously my family had no problem having kids, I come from a line of teen mothers. When we finally decided that we wanted to start fertility treatments it was such a point of excitement. I began to picture being a mother again. I began to picture these little babies we would have, and the look on my husbands face when I told him. 

If you have experienced infertility or are in the middle of it, you know that sickness every time a pregnancy test would be positive.  That feeling, that you wanted to be so excited, but the fear that you may loose that child again. I firmly believe every pregnancy I had was one of my children. I grieved them equally, I grieved them and still do to this day grieve for the lives ill never meet or raise. I never will be able to truly explain the grief and pain of each loss, a piece of me was taken every time. A piece ill never get back and a piece I can’t share with anyone else because no-one truly understands. 

My strong husband stood beside me after every appointment or loss and had my back. I remember at one point after about our fifth miscarriage I told Andy to go find someone who could give him the child he so desperately wanted. 1 in 6 woman going through infertility commit suicide. I HATE that number. I HATE that there is no support for woman going through miscarriage because to many its not a true loss. I remember screaming and crying asking why I couldn’t do the ONE thing we as woman are made to do. We are amazing at many things. But we are made to create babies, thats what god created us to do. I couldn’t do it. 

If you are going through infertility please know you are not alone! You are not a failure, you are not inept, you are amazing! There is a strength in you that on some days even you won’t think you have, but you do! This fight is so incredibly hard! Its a battle every time you see another woman with a baby, its heartbreaking every time you get invited to a baby shower. I hated going to them, and would even at times skip them. My true friends would understand but I lost some during our four year struggle. I hated watching shows with woman having babies, I used to sob through movies that a character would get pregnant because I was so jealous, OF A TV CHARACTER! 

I never could have made it through all of this without my husband. He relentlessly pursued me, he unfailingly loved me. Our pastor at our wedding used the word AGAPE love, which is christ love for us. It has no conditions or boundaries he just loves us. That perfectly describes my husbands love throughout all of this. Without question he just loved my crazy and loved my mood swings. He just loved me. I couldn’t have done this without him. 

Through all our losses I would go on to have two of the most rare forms of pregnancies, that would lead to the IVF doctor who would tell us I had cancer. Which in fact was Hayden. So let me back up a little bit. 

In may of 2013 through clomid and our infertility doctor  we found out I was pregnant for the fifth time. We were cautiously optimistic that this would be the time I would get pregnant. This was it. About a week after I tested positive I started to experience extreme abdominal pain, so we went into my infertility doctor who after the ultrasound said we don’t see a viable pregnancy but it looks like it might be in your tube. I had never heard of an ectopic pregnancy before so I was at a loss as to what that meant. 

Essentially an ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus. Most often they occur in the fallopian tube but can occur in other areas. The biggest signs are extreme abdominal pain ( which I have been through two c-sections and recovery now and I still say to this day that abdominal pain of my ectopic was way worse.) I went home that afternoon from my doctors and just sobbed in the truck, I couldn’t understand what was going on and I just was hurting. We weren’t home an hour before I started screaming in pain and Andy decided that was it, we needed to be in a hospital. I was rushed into emergency surgery and was told about a quarter of my blood was in my abdomen and if I had stayed home I probably wouldn’t have made it. I lost my left tube but was thankfully able to keep my ovary. It would take me a year to even consider trying again. First month we tried, I got pregnant again, this time with a molar pregnancy. 

1 in 1000 pregnancies are molar pregnancies, why in the world would I have one! Molar pregnancies are when the cells that normally develop into the placenta abnormally grow. I had a complete molar pregnancy, the tissue was abnormal and swollen and forms fluid filled cysts with no formation of fetal tissue. Once you have a molar pregnancy it is 1 in 100 chance of it happening again. So it significantly increases, my Obgyn told me at that point that it was time to consider other options. Ivf where they could ensure that this didn’t happen again or adoption. 

I remember walking away from that meeting thinking, well thats the door and it just shut. Time to consider other options. We went to our initial appointment with a doctor that specializes in IVF and he saw a “cyst” on my uterus. Super tiny spot that they barely could see. He prepared us for a cancer diagnosis. He explained if that was the case at my age he would strongly urge me to do a complete hysterectomy. 

Eight weeks later I would start to experience extreme hip pain and exhaustion (sound familiar), I freaked out! I called my Obgyn and they offered to bring me in that day and check me out! I will never as long as I live forget those fifteen minutes in the ultrasound. The technician started looking trying to get a measurement on the cyst, and she jerks. How often do they see crazy things?? SHE JERKS YALL! I felt my heart sink and my head just went to horrible places. 

She looks at me and goes “when was the last time you did a pregnancy test?” 

“uh I have no idea” with everything going on I had no clue when my last test was. It was January of 2015 at this point and I just had no want to test anymore. 

She looks straight at me and goes “ honey I see a baby and a heart beat.”

Y’all if that isn’t God I have no idea what is. 

I will never forget that moment. My mother in law  (who is an absolutely amazing woman who took me in at 18 and has raised me as her own ever since) had driven me and she just grabs my hand and goes “oh my gosh Sarah” I love that woman because in that moment she was everything I needed. She held my hand through the rest of the appointment and than drove me home while I called my husband and my mom and told them the news. 

Hayden Renee has been dramatic ever since. From my pregnancy to my delivery to every aspect of who she is has been dramatic and she is everything good and amazing I waited for in those five years we cried and screamed and begged god for her. I will forever be grateful for her. Ill forever be in awe of the true miracle she is. 

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Ridding of negativity.

I love the beginning of the month. I love that it signifies a chance to start fresh and be better. 

We started our month with Some play time in the mud and my monthly refresh and cleansing of the house. (After I cleansed my daughter) 

I have found my style of parenting to be a bit more free range. We live on property so Hayden Renee has the run of the place and Kasalina Grace will also have those chances as she gets older. We love this life, we love the freedom it allows us and most of all I love the opportunities it gives to my children. Hayden is my right hand girl when it comes to refreshing and purifying the house at the beginning of each month. She has her on little sage smudge stick (never lit, im not that free range) and she uses her own little feather to spread the smoke around. I have just in the past six months begun this practice of purifying the house every month. We started when Kasaline Grace came home from Nicu. After a terrifying and unexpected delivery at 33 weeks we would spend 15 days in Nicu, and thats where I truly began my research on ways to purify and cleanse my house when we got home. Being in a hospital 24/7 is not fun and all you want is to bring this tiny child home to a place that was pure and clean and has no negative energies. So in those moments I found sage, I was a little leery of it at first but after the first two months ive become a believer. I so notice a difference in my families attitudes and overall wellness.

Hayden and I both suffer from asthma and I have seen a difference in us both with our breathing over the summer months. Sage is known to release negative ions that help neutralize positive ones. In short, it gets rid of things such as pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. All of those things don’t help people with asthma, and when you live in the country all of those things surround you constantly. To put it into perspective, when I was pregnant with Hayden Renee I was put on steroids my breathing due to asthma got so bad, which caused my water to break at 37 weeks and would lead to a 37 hour labor and than emergency c-section. This year I haven’t had to use my inhaler once! Not because the pollen hasn’t been bad but because I truly believe the smudging monthly and getting rid of the positive ions, has truly benefited the air quality in my house. Sage also contains anit-microbial and anti-bacteria qualities that aid in cleansing and purifying the air. 

Smudging helps to rid yourself and your space of negativity, (and coming out of the NICU I needed that so deeply to my core!) It helps you to establish a positive environment for meditation. I use this in my “War Room” if you haven’t heard of that its literally a place in my house that all my prayers are put up on the wall. It’s my area I go to and declare war on things that are hurting me and causing me pain. Once I release those negatives I give them to God. I need this area cleansed and purified and than I let go of all the negative thoughts and energies. I go to my war room daily, weekly, sometimes multiple times a day. But I without fail every month I go in there and use my sage to truly get rid of all the negative energy. 

Another huge benefit ive seen is the quality of sleep we have all started to get, Hayden Renee is my fighter, she on the regular will fight sleep for hours before she will finally knock off. She now on average will only watch her show and than will lay down and relax. As a new mom of two young kids I need them to sleep with some consistency. I need to be able to fall asleep myself without things weighing me down or giving me nightmares. I can’t tell you how important it has been for my post party anxiety to be able to sleep well this time around. With Hayden even when she would sleep I couldn’t, I would envision horrible things happening to her, or to me. I would lay in bed all night worried about things that in reality were not going to happen but it would always terrify me that it would. With Kasalina Grace you would think I would have this 100x worse with her heart issues and her being a preemie. But I haven’t, I did suffer from post partum but not nearly as bad as I did with Hayden and I truly believe it had to do with the benefits Ive found with smudging. 

I will add in its not the end all be all I combine it with other things such as my war room, but this practice dates back even to ancient times. You can find a history of it in native american time. It is a practice that has been sustained for many many years. I find solace in knowing that many have come before me that saw the benefits of doing a more holistic alternative to helping there families, in times much worse that these. These customs have such a deep and powerful meaning that you can’t help but to respect them. 

The basic things I use for this monthly is a sage bundle, you can find them online but I go to a local store to get mine. I use a glass bowl to catch the ashes and I buy matches from the same store I get the sage from. You can use a traditional lighter, but I find solace in doing it the way others many years before me have done it. I use an eagle feather to fan the smoke around. I do try to do this room by room and let it air out fully before allowing the girls in. The scent can be over powering at times and I don’t want my tiny girls around a lot of smoke. Follow your heart on this, add this in slowly to a routine you establish that helps. I will say taking control of my families health has been empowering for me. 

 

Pay it Forward

I feel like my reoccurring theme is to be better.

All we ever see in the news and online is negativity. Why are we as humanity forgetting to be better people. 

Hayden Renee while being my strong willed child has a heart of gold. We were at a store the other day and a little boy was crying and she walked right up to him and gave him a hug. She had no idea who this child was, the mom just stared open mouthed and than looked at me and said “she is so sweet”. In my shock I just said “in this moment she is being sweet, thank you.” We all know that sour patch was screaming ten minutes before because someone had “drank” all her juice. You child, you drank all your dang juice in the car on the way here when I told you not to because I hadn’t brought anymore with me. 

I’m proud of that sweet child, im proud that she can be nice in moments when she sees a need. 

How many of us as adults don’t do that?

I was at publix earlier today and a mom ahead of me in line was with her little baby, probably around the same age as Kasalina Grace, was trying to buy one can of formula. Her card got rejected and she looked about ready to cry. I was two people behind her and everyone just stared and shifted impatiently. 

Why can none of you help her out? 

She was outside by the time I got up to the front of the line and they had already put her formula back. I slipped her a 20 I had on me when I walked outside. Just handed it to her and told her “one day when you make it pay it forward.”

I’ve been there. We are a one income family and i’ve had moments when I wouldn’t eat all day just so there would be food for my husband for dinner and enough left over for him to take to work. I’ve been that person whose card got rejected. I have been there. 

We are so incredibly blessed with everything we have now, we are blessed Andy has an amazing job that allows me to stay home with our girls. But I would hope and pray that if I was that mom someone would help me. 

We need to be better. It shouldn’t surprise other humans when we offer to help others! If one person helped one person in need how many people would need help? 

We are showing the generation below us how to act, but what are we showing them. We on this earth need a generation with compassion and empathy, we need a generation who will help others. We need a generation who will stand up to the bullies, who will take a loss and learn from it not turn it into a crippling experience, but learn from it and change and be better. 

I want so badly to raise my daughters to not expect things to be given to them but to want to help the person who has less. I so desperately want to see a change in this world for my daughters sake. 

I didn’t ask this woman her story or her name because thats none of my business. My business is to help her. My job as a human is to help her. I may never see her again but I hope she will one day pay it forward.