This pregnancy has definitely been challenging between being sick nonstop the first 24 weeks and now having an "irritable uterus" at the end and constant pain in my back and hips. It's hard to stop and enjoy the beauty of it when I've been clouded by all of these things. But it is truly amazing feeling this little person move around, it's actually my favorite thing to wake up to. Every little kick, even the painful ones, remind me that this little girl is still going strong and that's all that matters. I just need to keep telling myself it will all be worth it in the end once I'm cuddling my sweet little girl.

Dylan Turns 6!

I can't believe it, but my oldest is now 6 years old! She started kindergarten last school year, absolutely loved it, and will be moving onto first grade this September.

At 6 years she...

  • Is very social and makes friends wherever we go
  • Loves creating art and coloring
  • Wants to be a nurse, then a doctor when she grows up because she likes to help people
  • Likes pizza
  • Enjoys going to the park, pool and zoo

Calvin's Woes

Growing up I was the child who got sick with everything, I was the only one with allergies and asthma, and if there was something going around I was bound to catch it. Unfortunately, it looks like Calvin is going to be that child as well.

Last October is when everything started up for him. He caught a cold, and within 24 hours his runny nose and congestion turned into trouble breathing. When I put him to bed his breathing was raspy but not terrible. I was up late working when I could hear him over the monitor and I knew something was really wrong. His breathing started to become shallow and more rapid. I took him out of the crib and sent a video to my mom and friend, who are both nurses, to see what they thought. At this point I thought maybe he just needed a nebulizer, since he had breathing issues once before while sick and had to use one. But he just kept sounding worse so we decided the emergency room was what would be best. By the time I met my mom at the ER he was sounding so bad, and I was nervous. We ended up having to wait even though he was struggling to breathe, but after some time my mom put her Grandma skills to work and insisted that he be seen immediately. When we finally got in the room they checked his oxygen levels and it was in the 70’s and he was starting to look blue. They immediately got a mask on him with albuterol, and after three rounds his oxygen still wasn’t good. An X-ray showed his lungs were really ballooned as well. There seemed to be so many things going on at once I wasn’t sure what was happening or if he was going to be ok. After having already lost a baby all I could think about was that I couldn’t possibly lose another. It was both terrifying and emotional.

He was moved up to the pediatric intensive care unit where he spent two days, one of them on continuous albuterol. The first day was just heartbreaking, he was too little to understand what was going on and there was no calming him down. But thankfully his breathing improved and on the third day he was moved to the regular pediatric floor to spend one more night for observation. At the hospital he was diagnosed with reactive airway disease that was triggered by a virus. He was sent home with a nebulizer and a collection of medications. It took him almost a month to recover and get back to “normal” but he still has issues with wheezing. He sees a specialist every couple of months and is on a steroid inhaler that he still takes every day along with singular and his rescue inhaler, and so far it’s been under control. I still can’t help but to think what would have happened if I had fallen asleep that night and not heard his breathing become bad, and I’m so thankful for the outcome we had.

A couple months after he was hospitalized I was feeding the kids lunch one day when I realized that I had never given him peanut butter, or peanuts for that matter. We don’t eat a lot of peanut butter in our house and rarely have candy or baked goods with peanuts. So I decided to give him just a little bit on a piece of toast. Within minutes he started to get very large hives all over his face and then his eyes started to swell shut. Of course this scared the crap out of me because of his breathing issues so I immediately took the food away, washed him off in the sink to make sure he didn’t have any peanut butter left on him and gave him Benadryl. Luckily he hadn’t had too much so the Benadryl helped after some time. When I mentioned this to his specialist he referred us to allergist. He was tested for common allergens along with cats, dogs, peanuts and tree nuts. The reaction to peanuts was pretty prominent so that allergy was confirmed, along with an allergy to cats and dogs. He was also officially diagnosed with asthma. This made me feel terrible. I felt guilty, and still do, that maybe I somehow caused the peanut allergy by not giving it to him sooner. We also had just gotten our cat Stanley at the end of the summer, and knew this was probably making all of his issues worse. The allergist was the third doctor to recommend no pets in the home, and I knew that this time we needed to follow through. We all loved Stanley so much, and still do. Luckily my brother who lives a few miles away offered to take him in to keep his other cat company and so we could visit.

These last few months have been difficult all around with the never-ending sickness and new things to worry about. But I’m convinced things WILL get better now as we begin to improve our health and look forward to all of the happy things to come this year.

Reality Check

So last time I posted, it was all “Yay! I’m pregnant!” This time around, let's discuss the reality check I received shortly after becoming impregnated.

Physically, my other pregnancies were pretty mild, a little food aversion and tiredness but nothing terrible. This time around it’s been a true struggle. Around six weeks I started getting food aversion, then the following week I was throwing up even at the sight or thought of food. Crackers made me throw up, water made me throw up, throwing up made me throw up. My poor husband and kids were basically in survival mode because I couldn’t stand to be in the kitchen, let alone prepare meals, and forget the grocery store. One time while grocery shopping, I literally started crying when at the meat counter. The poor guy working thought it was because he packed my 2lbs of ground beef into one package instead of two. But really it was because anytime I was about to throw up I’d start crying, I couldn’t control it, and that made it even more pathetic. I was on Zofran and tried just about every suggestion out there, and while sometimes they could provide some temporary relief, it still wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling absolutely miserable. I basically was a hermit and only left the house to take the kids to and from school and to visit family on holidays. That carried on for about seven weeks, and I now officially weigh less than I did in high school, great diet right?! On top of the morning sickness I was also suffering from migraines, most likely from dehydration and the overall crapiness of my health. Let’s just say it sucked big time. It was so hard to be excited and happy when my body was bringing me down emotionally as well.

All of this has made it hard to function as I normally do and it’s seriously made me feel like a failure to my kids. I spent most of my first trimester in the bathroom or on the couch, and that wasn’t easy. My husband works five overnight shifts a week and three daytime shifts on top of that, so I spend the majority of the time taking care of the kids on my own. That means shuffling them to and from school, breaking up their hair pulling  and "who can yell louder" matches, pretending that I actually got dressed for the day when going out in public, and frantically having everyone clean up 10 minutes before my husband is home or up for the day. Luckily, I’ve been on break from my school for the last five weeks and took December off from photography, so I haven’t been dealing with those stresses as well. But I strive so much to do everything I possibly can for my children and family, and when I can’t do it, it really eats at me. I’ve spent a lot of nights crying because I feel like I haven’t given my all during the day. It was also difficult not being in good spirits around the holidays, my favorite time of year. I definitely wasn’t prepared for how the last 15 weeks have gone, but my head is FINALLY coming out of the fog and I’m slowly getting back to “normal” again. I now also have a month's worth of laundry and cleaning to catch up on, so that's definitely something to look forward to. So cheers to the New Year, the newfound relief, the new baby, and the champagne I will drink for this toast come July!

I'll leave you with a few IG photos from the holidays as well.

A Happy New Year Indeed!

I've been pretty darn sick lately and have been basically nonexistent in the world because of this. It's all been for a pretty good reason though. SO excited for the new year and all that it will bring!


Today I'm thankful for...

- My husband who would give me the world if he could
- 3 kids to love and cuddle everyday
- Family that has supported us through good and bad
- A job that allows me, for the most part,  to stay home with my kids. 
- A great Thanksgiving meal and day spent relaxing with some of my favorite people
- Having enough leftovers for one less grocery trip this week
- Taking the night off from editing so I can veg out and binge watch Netflix shows
- No school tomorrow, so we have nowhere to be and no need to wear real clothes

Happy Thanksgiving!

In Joy and Sorrow

I'm not exactly sure what the point of this post is going to be, but lately I've found myself reflecting on the past five years of my life and marriage and how many things have taken place and shaped who my family has become.

The last five years have been the happiest and most difficult years of my life. I married my husband, I had four beautiful children, I gained family and I gained friendship. I also experienced the loss of a child, the passing of many family members, the effects of divorce, and the struggle of balancing life and managing to stay mentally healthy.

I honestly don't know how I've come out on the other side of all of these things. Dealing with loss, wether it's the form of death or the loss of the life I've known, is very difficult for me to handle. I cry during movie previews, TV shows, commercials, I even cried on my way into volunteering for my daughters kindergarten classroom for the first time because I knew it was the first of many memories. Needless to say, I'm an emotional person. It's annoying, but it's also a little freeing too. It means I can communicate how I'm feeling, good or bad, and I don't have to hide it.

Dealing with the loss of a child is something you never fully recover from. Everyday I'm reminded of him, and every milestone one of my other children reaches is a reminder of what I won't be able to experience with Elijah. I only knew him for 37 weeks while I was pregnant and 12 hours after his birth, but I miss him. Since my youngest son Calvin was born, I've felt a connection that's hard to explain. I think that Calvin has a lot of physical and personality traits that would have resembled Elijah's. When I hold Calvin and watch his joy and excitement in the littlest things, I feel a connection, and I feel as if a part of him is still here with me. I find this very comforting. I know I will never be able to fill the void that was left after his death, but I can find new things to find joy in.

My husband is one of those things that brings me joy. He's the most frustrating man I know, but he's also the best man I know. He's patient, loving, and dedicated, and I don't always make things easy for him. But marriage isn't easy, and we've learned a lot throughout the last few years. Many couples don't survive the loss of a child, and it was a true struggle, but we've come out on the other side learning some very valuable lessons. I love how much he loves our children, and wants to play an active role in their lives. I never would have expected us to have four children in four years, but it has been the most wonderfully, terrifyingly, enjoyable experiences I will ever have.

Over the last five years, I've learned that things change, and that's ok. We have lost family members, we have lost marriages, but we've survived and we've found a new type of normal. We've welcomed new life into our family, and with new life comes new opportunities and new memories. I just can't help to wonder what the next five years will bring, it makes me nervous, but I'm excited to see where we will go from here.