Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Month After Baby

I certainly expected life with two children to be an adjustment, but I don't think anything could have prepared me for what our day to day life would really look like. This first month has been wonderful and joyful, but also really challenging. The few days leading up to Georgia's birth, I cleaned our entire house top to bottom. And I'm glad I did. The house hasn't been cleaned since then. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. It's been 4 weeks 5 weeks and I haven't done any deep cleaning; i.e dusting, bathrooms, vacuuming, etc. This is something that I have really had to die to. Don't get me wrong, I want to clean. I don't appreciate our bathrooms being grimy, and I don't like the feeling of crumbs on my toes in the kitchen; but the reality is, cleaning is my last priority right now. I must continue to remind myself, MY SELF WORTH IS NOT MEASURED IN MY PRODUCTIVITY. How often do we determine if our day was good or bad based on our productivity? As women, I think most of us are very guilty of this. Thankfully, we have a God who reminds us that he loves us just because. Whether or not our house smells like trash or clean linens, God loves us just the same. What a relief!
It is so tempting to make a to-do list each day, but in reality, the most important thing on my to-do list is to be fully present to my daughters.

Georgia is a serious night owl. I put her to bed at 11:30 each night, and I'm lucky if she will sleep a two hour stretch. As a result, I have been sleeping in until 9:30 most mornings and James has been graciously waking up early with Sophia. It has been so nice having him home a lot! We have both been amazed by how fast the days sneak by. We have certainly not been lazy, but it is hard to do anything when two girls are both so in need of their mom and dad. Georgia wants to nurse every hour, so I am mostly just plopped on the couch feeding her. We try to run all of our errands as a family because it's good for me to get out of the house. Sometimes I forget there's a whole world outside of my smelly, dirty, 1100 sq ft home! My biggest struggle right now has been reminding myself to spend time with Sophia. I realize that sounds horrible, but it is so tempting to try and get housework done when Georgia is napping. I must remind myself that if I don't use that time to give Sophia attention, she won't get any attention from her mama all day, and that just doesn't seem fair.

I recently came across this blog post. It was so encouraging. What a great reminder to slow down and not take on more than we can handle. I have already found myself trying to do too much this holiday season. I need to practice saying, "no",  both to myself and others.

This is only one short season in my life. I realize that in the blink of an eye my little tiny newborn will grow and the sweet chaos will end. Until then Lord,  teach me to enjoy every precious moment and be fully present. I know that when my children are grown, I will never say to myself, "I should have cleaned more." What I will say is this: "I'm sure glad I took the time to get down on all fours and play with them".

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Birth of Georgia Grace

Less than 24 hours old
In order to accurately tell the birth story of Georgia Grace, I need to start WEEKS before her due date; 5 weeks to be exact. The last week of September, I headed to the doctor for my 36 week checkup. James was out of town on a 20-day trip, so it was just me and Sophia. My doctor decided to do an internal exam when I told him I was feeling a lot of pelvic pressure. He checked me and then proceeded to tell me that I was 3 cm dilated and almost fully effaced! I panicked and asked him what that meant. He suspected that I would probably be having a baby in less than a week! Seeing as how my husband was unreachable a million miles away, I called my mother and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I was not ready for this baby! I had hardly started nesting! My husband was out of town! Our house was filthy! We didn't have a pediatrician! I hadn't stored enough meals in the freezer! I just wasn't ready. I drove to my parent's house completely hysterical, saying, "Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I trust in you, Jesus I trust in you."

After a lot of prayer, James and I decided he should come home early from tour. Each time he traveled thereafter, I anxiously prayed that the baby wouldn't come until he got home.I had always expected her to come early. Sophia came 3 weeks early, and I assumed this baby would come early too. My original due date was October 2nd, which then got changed to October 24th. I assumed she would come somewhere between those two dates. Over the next few weeks, I became a nesting mad woman. In all honesty, it was torture. I had zero energy to do anything, and yet my nesting instinct told me to do EVERYTHING.  I was so anxious about life with two children. I wanted to be prepared. I cleaned our house top to bottom and nearly died in the process. I cooked and stashed more meals in our freezer than I knew what to do with.  I dusted every baseboard, every nook and cranny. I guess my doctor was wrong. 4 weeks went by, and still no baby. I walked, I jogged, I ate food drenched in tabasco sauce, I ate 2 pineapples one afternoon, I made ginger snaps with cayenne pepper, we did other things as husband and wife  that are supposed to induce labor.... still no baby! At this point, I was just plain mad! I was so ready for her, and yet she was just content to stay in utero for what seemed like forever. I always think that God has such a sense of humor. It took us over a year to conceive this baby, and now He was once again trying to teach us patience, teaching us that she will come when He wills her to come and no sooner. Okay. Time to trust Him. After I had gone a week past my due date, James and I made the very difficult decision to do an induction as recommended by my doctor. I was VERY opposed to induction, but through prayer, I continued to hear God telling me to trust. Despite being very dilated and effaced, this baby wasn't coming! I knew an induction was necessary.

On October 30th, after saying a sad goodbye to Sophia, we headed to the hospital. I made it very clear to my doctor that I did not want any sort of drugs for the induction. I wanted to keep things as natural as possible considering I already felt that the situation was completely out of my control. He obliged by breaking my water at 10:30am, with the intent that this would start my labor. It was pretty uneventful, as there was no "gush" of fluid. The nurse encouraged me to walk in hopes that it would cause the bag of waters to leak.  For the next 6 hours James and I power walked through the hospital and around the outside of the building.   I must have looked like an idiot! A big, fat pregnant lady in a hospital gown and my husband's tube socks parading through the hospital. I jogged up and down the stairs, I did a few squats, and when I began to feel pressure, I would walk faster. I was determined to get the contractions started. When Sophia was born, our entire family was there in the hospital room visiting with us before I delivered and it was wonderful, however, this time I wanted none of that. I simply wanted time with my husband, intimate and personal time to prepare for this next chapter. We spent those 6 hours talking, reminiscing, laughing, praying, and giving thanks. It almost felt like a last minute babymoon. James was such a great coach and the exact support that I needed. That day was truly one of the best of my life.

Obviously taken before contractions started!
 Finally, after a long afternoon it began to dawn on me that I was about to deliver a human from my body. Fear set in big time. I had been fearful the entire pregnancy. Once you experience miscarriage, I don't know if it's possible to not be fearful. There are just so many things that can go wrong! I was also fearful for childbirth. My first delivery with Sophia was very "doable", maybe even easy. What if I wasn't so lucky this time? I knew I wanted another natural birth, and yet I heard myself asking the nurse what sort of pain meds were available if I needed them. James looked me square in the eyes and said, "stop asking about medication, you've got this". Those words left me feeling empowered. I have done this before. Yes, it's been four years, but I have done this before. I've got this! And so at 6:30pm my doctor broke my water again, and this time I felt the "gush". Contractions started almost immediately. Each time I felt a contraction, I squeezed James' hand and just breathed long, deep breaths. We tried to watch a few episodes of "Friends" as a distraction, but soon it became too hard to focus. It got to the point where the contractions were one on top of the other with maybe a five second break. I felt major pressure and assumed my bag of waters would gush again. It wasn't until James insisted I let the nurse check me that I realized that pressure was the baby's head! She checked me and immediately paged my doctor out of a C-section. I was 9 1/2 cm and ready to push. When they tell you it's  time to push, there is a combination of excitement filled with adrenaline and complete panic. My doctor rushed in and as he was putting his gloves on, I frantically screamed, "hurry up, I need to push!"  At that point the pressure had escalated a lot and I could hardly focus on my breathing because I could feel her little body ready to come. Immediately after that first push I felt a sense of relief. My body remembered that it had done this before and I felt full control over my ability to deliver another baby naturally. I don't think I ever opened my eyes. I simply listened to the voice of my nurse and especially James. Those contractions hurt like hell. Each time I pushed, I remembered the last two years in my head. The longing in my heart for this baby, The prayer and pleading that God would bless us with another child. The long, agonizing year trying to conceive. And now here I was just minutes from meeting her. These thoughts are what got me through the contractions. I held my breath for a count of ten and pushed. And then I did it again and again. At one point I screamed,"I just can't do this!" Until James told me he could see her head, and then I knew I could do it. Anything to make those contractions stop!  And anything to see her sweet face! A few more strong pushes, and out she came. I am so grateful that I was able to deliver naturally. I have loved my natural births with both my daughters! Though the contractions hurt like hell, and sometimes you really feel like you are in hell, there is no greater feeling than giving that final push and feeling the sensation of your baby coming out. What a rush! And nothing makes me feel like more of a woman!  I pushed for a total of less than 10 minutes. Yeah I know, all of womankind hates me for having a 10 minute delivery.... But let me tell you,  I labored through those contractions full force for 2 hours and they were excruciating!!  I was in shock that she came so fast, and yet I don't think I could have gone much longer because of how intense it was.
I can't believe you're here! I felt like I was dreaming.
Daddy in awe of you
First family photo!

Looking back on the day, I see God's hand in all of it. Those 5 weeks of thinking she would come any day were torture! God really forced me to be patient and fully place my trust in Him during those weeks.  I DID NOT want that induction, and yet God allowed my heart to change and to trust that the induction was the right thing. Despite needing an induction, I am so grateful to the nurses and especially my doctor for being understanding about my wish to not be given Pitocin to start labor. Most doctors are not patient enough to let you wait it out all day for contractions to start.  Though I was fearful of my doctor delivering the baby since he didn't deliver my first, I found myself grateful he was there. Our doctor is Catholic just as we are, and that entire day I felt at ease knowing that he was there not only as our doctor, but also as part of the body of Christ and having a full appreciation for the dignity of human life. If I had been ready to push even five minutes later, he would have been unavailable in a high risk C-section. And thank goodness my delivery was so fast so that he could get back to the C-section! That day James did and said all the right things. He was my rock to lean on. I know that God guided him in exactly how to coach and encourage me. The day was truly beautiful.

Georgia Grace, you sure took your sweet time in deciding to greet the world. Now that you are here, we can't imagine life without you! You truly are our miracle baby. We will give God thanks everyday for the gift of you.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I have to write this down for fear that if I don't, I might forget...

Driving home tonight with just myself and Sophia, we were talking about how beautiful the full moon was. Sophia then started rattling off about heaven and all the saints. "Saint Joseph and Holy Mary, and Saint Anthony, and Saint Luke, and Maryrose"..... I asked her, "do you remember who Maryrose is?" She responded, "Yes. Baby sister in heaven." What happened next is what really broke my heart. She said, "Mommy my eyes are getting wet because I have tears". Then out of nowhere, she started sobbing hysterically and asking me why the baby in my tummy died and why she didn't get to meet her and when is she coming back from heaven.

As a mother, how do you begin to deal with this sort of heartache from your child? She is four years old! How can she possibly be grieving over a baby that I miscarried two years ago?  I don't understand how her young, innocent mind can understand the pain and suffering from this precious life we lost. The odd thing about this conversation is that tomorrow is the two year anniversary of when we found out we were having a miscarriage. This conversation came completely unprompted since we had made no mention of the miscarriage recently.

We talked the entire car ride home about baby sister in heaven. The whole time I prayed that God would give me words that she could understand. I don't know if He did, because she was pretty hysterical the whole time. I talked a lot about faith and how we trust that Jesus took baby sister for a special purpose and that she is very happy in heaven. This was a hard conversation for me. I never would have guessed that I would be having such a conversation quite yet; maybe in a few years, but not now. 

Even though tonight was completely unexpected and heart wrenching. I am grateful for it. I thank God for the opportunity to teach my daughter about faith and the sanctity of life. What a privilege that conversation was. 

Pray for us Maryrose.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Will Always Be Your Mama

My dear sweet Sophia, any day now, our lives are going to change dramatically. Our little family of three will be no longer. Any day now we will welcome your baby sister into our house and she will change our lives forever. I hope that you welcome this change. I pray that you welcome her with open arms and that you teach her all of the things you know so well. Teach her to play using her imagination, teach her all of her prayers, teach her to be artistic in her own unique way, teach her to be herself in everything she does, just as you are.

These past four years have been priceless to me. Four years to devote my entire heart to you. Four years of getting to know you and loving every facet of your spunky personality. Never again will I be the mother of only one child. I am forever changed, and so are you. We are changed for the better in a very big way.

There is something important that I need you to know. I need you to know that no matter how much our lives change and what sorts of adventures God has planned for our family, I will always be your mama and I will always be there. In every hurdle you face and every victory you conquer, I will be there to cry with you and to laugh with you.

You my dear sweet Sophia, you are my heart. You are my shining star. I love you more than I ever knew I was capable of loving. Thank you for that. Thank you for the past four years. Thank you for the years to come.

Friday, September 13, 2013


When I think about where I was a year ago and where I am today, I am in complete shock at how much growth and transformation God has done in me. This time last year, after 12 months of trying to conceive after our miscarriage, I was feeling lost.  12 months of trying may not seem long, but in my mind I assumed we wouldn't have to "try" so hard.  I distinctly remember a feeling of emptiness and longing. I was longing for a baby. I remember writing a very lengthy letter to my husband. I told him I was depressed. I told him I felt lost. I told him I couldn't bare the thought of never giving Sophia a sibling. I told him my heart was restless. I told him I needed God to take my burden. I told him I needed to escape. I daydreamed about running through a field to the top of a mountain and screaming as loud as I could. Maybe then God would hear me.

The next day James called me while I was at school and told me he was booking us a hotel for the weekend in La Jolla. He didn't ask me; he told me. That assertiveness ignited my heart so much. You see, very seldom does my husband make decisions without me because he knows I'm a control freak, but in this instant I needed him to take the reigns, and that's just what he did. We packed our bags the very next morning and the three of us drove six hours to the beach. Though we were only there for a mere 30 hours, it was so therapeutic for me. I soaked in that time with my sweet daughter. I thanked God for the gift of her. I reminded myself that here and now I am her mother. Rather than dwelling on the children I'm longing for, I was able to remind myself of the child in front of me who just wants her mother to be there.  And I was there.

For the first time in my life, I knew what it meant to have faith. To patiently wait on The Lord. Sophia was already 3 1/2, a much bigger age gap than I desired for my children. I didn't understand it. But I sat back and waited. And trusted. During this time, with the guidance of my doctor, I decided to take meds to help regulate my erratic periods. This was a difficult decision to make since I am very natural minded. We were pretty sure I wasn't ovulating, and my doctor said that without giving my body a "kickstart",  I may never conceive again. Knowing that the medication was approved by the Catholic church, I obliged. Although after 3 rounds of meds, I gave up because they didn't seem to be working; my cycles were still long and irregular, a clear indication that I probably wasn't ovulating.

James and I began to pray harder than we have ever prayed. We begged God to reveal His will. We didn't beg for a baby, we simply begged for His will to be done. My periods became longer and longer and despite my despair, I prayed my heart out. I fervently slept with a St. Gerard prayer card under my pillow and James and I prayed the Saint Gerard Novena together. Every week after mass, my mom and Sophia went to light a candle for us and pray that we would conceive.  My sweet Grandma even added us as an intention to her weekly rosary group. We had numerous friends praying for us, and I took comfort in that. I failed to mention that my sister was pregnant with her second baby during this time. I was in utter shock at how quickly they conceived. Despite the shock, I was never jealous, not even for a second. I remember being grateful. Grateful that I could carry this burden of miscarriage and infertility and that my sister didn't have to deal with such pain.

On February 12, the unthinkable happened. My sister went into labor at 22 weeks gestation. Everything happened so fast and they just weren't able to stop her contractions. She delivered her sweet baby girl who lived for a mere 3 hours. My heart was broken for my sister, for this horrible loss. I felt dumb for ever mourning my own miscarriage. This seemed so much worse. I was so angry at God. I had hoped that I bore the cross of a miscarriage so that my sister wouldn't have to. And now this. Why God? Why, why, why? We had the funeral for sweet baby Celeste on February 20, 2013. It was just beautiful. A perfect celebration of her short life here on Earth.

The day after the funeral, I mentioned to James that I STILL hadn't gotten a period! It had been almost 2 months. My thought was, "that stupid medication didn't do a damn thing!" Despite my fear and anxiety, he made me take a pregnancy test. I nonchalantly peed on the stick to appease him. When it was positive, I screamed. Then I took FOUR more tests.  They were all positive. After 15 agonizing months of trying, we were finally pregnant.

What we had been praying for for months had happened and I found myself a little bit angry. What kind of cruel God would take my sister's sweet baby to heaven and then the very next day bless me with new life? I was completely petrified to tell my sister I was pregnant. Part of me was ashamed to be pregnant at a time like this.

Ironically, she was the first person I told, and her reaction was priceless. I have never seen any person smile as big as she did that night. And I have never seen such heartfelt tears of joy. I knew in her reaction that she was truly, genuinely happy and that meant the world to me.

Now here we are just weeks away from welcoming our second baby. I look back on this year, rather, the past two years and I am grateful. God has truly taught me the hard way how to have faith. So often we want things to happen on our timing, and yet I hear God's voice telling me, "just you wait and see what I have planned, just you wait".  Even still, it breaks my heart a little bit to think of how large the age gap is between these two children. Being a cradle Catholic, I was always taught that you are "supposed" to have lots of babies and they are "supposed" to be very close in age. Well I'm here to say that's a load of crap. Now I know that God will guide the spacing of our children exactly according to His will. He has a unique and beautiful design for every family. There is something so liberating about giving it up to the Lord, especially for a control freak like myself ;)
 Jesus I trust in you.

Monday, July 29, 2013


How do you define intimacy in marriage? Most people think of sex immediately when you use that word....intimacy. Five years of marriage and five years of getting to know my husband has taught me that sex is only one very small part of intimacy in marriage.

James came home last night after being gone for 3 nights. We did the usual routine of eating dinner, brushing Sophia's teeth, reading books, and tucking her in. As we were eating, he said to me, "we need to talk about religion tonight". Okay.... That's not a big deal. We talk about religion pretty frequently in our house.

After we tucked Sophia in for the night, we headed downstairs and sat in bed and talked. First we caught each other up on the weekend apart, then after a while, he turned to me and asked, "how are you doing spiritually?" 

Wow. I don't even think in that instant that he knew what that comment did for my heart. I didn't expect him to ask me that. Its not a question that he asks frequently, if ever. I immediately choked up and almost got teary eyed. That question sent an arrow right to my heart. It pierced me and captivated me instantaneously. I have no doubt that God was at the center of that question; that conversation. God gave James the exact words that I needed to hear in that moment. 

I'm in the process of reading the book Captivating for the second time. If you haven't read it, please read it! When I'm done, I plan to make encourage James to read it. The book talks about the heart of a woman and our inherent desires to be part of a great adventure, to feel rescued by a prince, whether a man in your life or Jesus Himself, and to feel beautiful and desired. 

This simple question that James asked me made me feel all those things. I felt loved. I felt beautiful. I felt like I had a man who was willing to fight for me; willing to be sensitive and vulnerable, willing to captivate my heart to it's very depth. If that's not intimacy in marriage, then I don't know what is. 

Her Imagination

 I'm linking up with one of my favorite bloggers of all time, the amazing and talented Corinna!!!!! Okay okay, she's my sister.... But I still think she is pretty awesome! Check out her Keepin' It Real Mondays. Pretty funny stuff! I have added my link to her blog in hopes that we can all share our motherhood moments and laugh at each other :)

If I had to pick one favorite trait of my sweet Sophia, it would be her imagination without a doubt. One of the most important parts of my and my husband's parenting style, is to raise our children in simplicity. The world we live in is so complex and as technology advances, our children can fall prey to forgetting how to be children. We make huge efforts in our home  to limit how much TV and technology we use to encourage Sophia to use her imagination. Based on these pictures, I think you can tell it's working!

Watching Sophia play is one of my greatest joys. Seriously. I could sit and just watch her play for an hour and love every minute of it. I don't know how she comes up with these elaborate schemes and ideas. It takes me back to my own childhood. My sister and I would play dolls for HOURS. I mean HOURS! We never owned a fancy Barbie dream house, but I do recall using various pieces of furniture to make our own dream house. I remember my mom screaming at us 100 times to please come eat dinner because we seemed to get so lost in our play, that we could think of nothing else. Those were the days.
Encouraging your child to let their imagination run rampant comes with a small price: toys EVERYWHERE! It feels impossible to keep the house clean because Sophia is always up to something, with her stuffed animals and dolls sprawled throughout the house. Some days I come home from work, and I can't even get through the front door because her horseys are up to something. Other times, I crawl into bed at night and find Ladybug Girl and the gang hiding under the sheets.

In all honesty, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love her imagination and I even secretly love having toys all over my house. The years of having my living room covered in toys will come and go in an instant. I want to enjoy this precious stage of my daughter's childhood. I want to relish it and soak it in for as long as possible.

Friday, June 21, 2013

This is who I am

My sister came over for dinner tonight and we were talking about blogs among other things. She mentioned a blog to me called The Wiegands. I had never heard of it, but I decided to check it out after I settled Sophia down for the night. The first post I came across was one of this wife and mother stating what she is and what she is not. It really struck me and inspired me. So here it goes:

I am brutally honest and opionated

I am real

I am not catty

I am not fake

I am so shy

I am so socially awkward

I am best friends with my husband

I am passionate

I am dedicated

I am a mother who misses her child every minute I'm not with her

I am needy

I am codependent

I am sloppy

I am willing to do whatever is best for my child even at the cost of someone else thinking I'm nuts

I am not naturally good at fashion

I am not clean

I am so ridiculously in love with my husband

I am happy

I am uptight

I am a mess sometimes

I am fully present

Notice my first thought? I am brutally honest. I think based upon this post, you can figure that out. I am all for admitting my flaws and embracing my strengths. Anyone else?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

22 Weeks

 Wow. It feels surreal to write this post because a part of my mind still can't grasp this blessing. I'm pregnant! The last post I wrote back in October was the 1 year anniversary of suffering a miscarriage, and now I feel like God has brought me full circle as we are expecting sweet baby girl #2 in October! He really does make all things new.

I say that my mind still can't grasp this blessing, because I honestly wasn't sure if we would ever conceive again. My hormones were very out of whack for a while,  and it was hard to stay hopeful after trying to conceive for over a year.

The inability to get pregnant reaffirmed so many things for me. It reaffirmed the fact that fertility is a God given gift that should never be taken for granted. It reaffirmed my appreciation for Sophia. And most importantly, it reaffirmed that God is in control!! I tend to be a little bit a lot of a control freak, and I always want to know what to expect and when to expect it. I don't like when things don't go according to plan. This experience has undoubtedly taught me that I don't have ANY control and He has ALL control! This is really a tough lesson for me, but definitely an important lesson in this life.

I'm 22 weeks pregnant and trying to relish every moment. Trying to remember every feeling, every flutter in my stomach. I realize in a really big way, that I don't have control over how many babies God will give me. If this is my last pregnancy, I want to be fully present to it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I want to remember every feeling of this sweet life in my womb. The first 18 weeks were filled with lots of nausea and food aversions. Thankfully, I am finally letting go of some of that. Although I'm still not crazy about the thought of veggies, they are becoming a little more tolerable.

I think my biggest frustration has been my exhaustion. I truly feel like I don't have energy for anything! Showering feels like an accomplishment, forget about styling my hair,  and it's a miracle if I can keep my eyes open past 8:30pm! I don't even want to talk about exercise because that is a sensitive subject. I find myself green with envy when I hear my fellow pregnant mamas talk of exercising. I'm pretty sure I have gained more weight in my thighs than I have in my stomach. Oh well; the husband seems to like me a little fleshy so maybe I should be grateful...I feel like I haven't had any time for myself this pregnancy. I go to work, come home, prepare dinner, spend time with Sophia, spend a very short time with the husband, and then off to bed. I miss blogging, I miss reading, I miss painting my nails, I miss spending time in the kitchen to prepare fancy meals. Obviously these are all small sacrifices that I wouldn't trade for anything! There is a life growing within me, and I will sacrifice all of these things 100 times over for this sweet new baby!

We are eagerly awaiting your arrival precious baby girl!