Paradise Lost

I honestly have no idea how to start this post. There is so much I want to say, but I have no idea how to say it. I feel so much, but at the same time I’m numb. I process things out loud, yet for the last month I’ve remained silent. With it all being over, I guess it’s time I start talking.

“A rainbow baby is a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. The term has encouraged parents to share their stories of loss – and the babies that followed.”

I guess this is my story.

I haven’t had a rainbow baby, not yet anyway, but my next child will be one. Last month, on Valentine’s Day, I found out I was pregnant. I also found out I was having a miscarriage. I had no idea what to think, I still don’t. It all happened in what feels like a blink of an eye. I had no idea I was pregnant. My husband and I weren’t trying. Everything was normal in terms of my monthly cycle, but there I was. Pregnant. What gave me the nerve to even take a pregnancy test was the fact that I was bleeding a week after having my period and I googled what that could possibly mean and the word ‘pregnant’ kept popping up. I didn’t think much of it. Still that “what if” came to mind, so I took the test. The next step was processing that. It took a while.

In the span of 30 minutes I felt what seemed like a hundred different emotions. Happiness, excitement, fear, worry, the selfish thought that I had just gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight, etc. How would I tell my husband? The last time wasn’t very thought out in terms of telling him because it happened very unexpectedly, so I wanted this time to be more special. I wrote a cheesy valentines day note and taped the test to it for him to find when he came home from work that day. The next step was to call my OB. I told him my symptoms and I brushed it off as early pregnancy spotting and cramping, but he said from the sound of it, it sounded like I was having a miscarriage and I needed to come in for blood testing as soon as possible. That’s when I hit a wall.

A miscarriage? I barely have time to wrap my mind around being pregnant again and I have to process losing it now? I felt a lump in my chest form and everything else went numb. My husband came home and found the test. He became so excited. Seeing him so happy made me want to start sobbing right there, but I had to tell him what the doctor said.

He told me not to stress. I’d go to the doctor and we’d go from there. I don’t think either of us were really processing it. We hadn’t become emotionally attached to it, or weren’t allowing ourselves to yet. So the next day I went in for the blood testing. The results came back that I was indeed pregnant and I had low progesterone levels. Usually the signs of a miscarriage, but not always. That’s when my doctor gave us the thing that ended up destroying us. Hope.

He put me on a supplement that he said he hoped would help things. That there may be a chance to save the pregnancy. I needed to start taking it that day and come back in a few days for more blood testing. So I went to the store, got the supplement and started taking it. Our hope grew. Everything would be okay. We didn’t want to think of a negative outcome. So we talked about gender, how the hell we would support two kids but not caring. We’d figure it out and with that we went to sleep. The next day I woke up to less bleeding and I wasn’t cramping anymore. I felt relieved. Everything was okay, I thought. But the next day I needed to go in for more testing and I woke up to more blood and a lot of cramping. Since we were getting that blood test on a friday, we had to wait until that monday for the results. It was the longest weekend ever. Every fear and worry came out. I was going crazy. All the while, still bleeding and cramping.

The results came back. My levels had dropped below what was needed for sustaining a pregnancy. We were losing it.

The doctor then began to tell me everything that would happen with my body for the next two weeks. My hormones from the pregnancy would be everywhere. In another week, my body would start the expelling process. My cervic would dilate, I would have contractions as my body got rid of everything. Depending on how far along I was, I might possibly see something that resembled a fetus. That statement…. hearing that I might see a fetus, might see MY BABY, expelled from my body. I began to shake. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t talk. It was like everything shut down. I told my husband everything and we went from there. I didn’t allow myself to break down, he didn’t talk about it. We were quiet for a few days until everything hit me.

Having that kind of grief basically bitch slap you across the face in the middle of the night is unbearable. My daughter was asleep, so I had to be silent so I didn’t wake her. My husband was asleep. I started silently sobbing in the dark. Have you ever held in sobbing? It hurts. It hurts everywhere. I was experiencing the painful cramping of the miscarriage, like a bad period only worse, and this just added to the pain. Luckily my husband woke up because I was shaking so much and he held me. Nothing was said. I just sobbed for an hour or so. And we went from there.

The next few weeks were hell for me. And all this, plus the financial issues we’ve been having, did nothing for our marriage. There was a big strain on us. We didn’t talk about it. And by we, I mean my husband. I didn’t know how he felt. He was lashing out and becoming angry quite often. He didn’t want me to talk about it. I’m someone who needs to talk things out, he is someone who likes to keep to himself. Keep silent and process things internally. I kept urging him to talk about it. To give me something, anything. It was almost 2 weeks before he did, and when he did….  It was intense.

My husband is a strong man. He is quiet and reserved and because of that many people think he is cold and emotionless. That is so far from the truth. He is actually a pretty sensitive person when you get to know him. He feels things very deeply and cares a lot more then even he knows. Him breaking down in my arms didn’t make me think any less of him. He sobbed hard. He had been grieving, just silently. He had realized just how ready he was to have another child. He was so happy by the news that I was pregnant and then he had all of that ripped out from under him so quickly.  We finally were able to grieve together and comfort each other. He opened up to his oldest sister about it, and then finally to his parents.

My parents have known from the start. But neither took it well. My mother was sympathetic to it, because she had several miscarriages, but told me to see it as a blessing because we wouldn’t have been able to care for it. My father thought we were stupid. He thought we had been trying to have a child, and because we had just signed up for less then great health insurance and weren’t making much money´E, he thought we were crazy to try to have a baby and that we were going to bankrupt ourselves. This was so hard to deal with on top of an already tough situation.

Which brings us to today. I received my final blood test results that the miscarriage was complete. My husband and I are doing better, sorta, and he said I could finally open up about it. We still choke up at movies or shows where there is child loss. We are reading the next chapter in our book “How We Love” and of course it starts with the writer talking about the stillborn she had. We both cried. It’s a process. It comes and goes in waves. We are healing slowly and continuing onward. We’ve been able to grow closer together through this loss once we were finally able to speak openly about it.

Those who know about it have told me that it happens. It’s actually quite common. I knew this, but it doesn’t mean it hurts any less. I was still very early in the pregnancy, but to me it was still a life lost. I still lost a child. So it hurts. I’m hurting. My husband is hurting. We will probably hurt for a while. So if you are reading this and know me in real life, I want to talk about it. I’d like to hear your stories and words of comfort. Or even be given a hug. I could have used a lot of hugs through all of this. Please don’t say “well a lot of women actually have at least one miscarriage” or any of that. And if you don’t know what to say, you can say that too. It’s okay to tell me you don’t know what to say. It’s a taboo subject to talk about in todays society. It comes up and everyone falls silent. Just let us know you are here for us if we need you and offer a hug and a prayer.

Anyway… That’s it for now.

One Year

It’s so hard to believe that tomorrow will be my first anniversary. One year… wow. It has really flown by. So much has happened.

This time a year ago, I was waiting for texts and phone calls from friends and family as they arrived in Texas. There was also a pretty bad tornado that ripped through the city that I was married in the day before our wedding. The saying “rain on your wedding day is good luck” seemed to apply, but what does a tornado get you?

My husband first proposed at the end of August. We started planning our ‘dream’ wedding. We wanted to head back to NC, to the mountains, where it really all started for us. Ideally, I wanted to go back to where he first told me he loved me and get married there. It was a special place on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a place called Beacon Heights. He was so serious that day… Haha, I had no idea he was going to tell me that. I had been wanting to say it for a few weeks, but I didn’t want to be the first to say it.

But we agreed that we both wanted to get married in NC and not Tx. We thought sometime in May of 2016 would be good, so we started looking at venues, planning themes and what not, and I started the hunt for my dress. But towards the end of October, I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant (oops) and we agreed that the wedding needed to be moved up. Way up. After telling our family and very close friends, we began planning a rushed wedding for December of that year.

At the time, I was working a full-time job and just hitting all those ‘fun’ parts of your first trimester of pregnancy (morning sickness, exhaustion, hormonal changes, swelling, etc…) and planning a wedding just couldn’t get done. We tried looking at venues we liked, but my father having some issues of his own both mentally and physically, demanded that we get married at a place of his choosing because of his ‘allergies’. So we finally gave in and began planning around that. It was difficult with everything. Trying to coordinate anything was proving too hard for me. So once my mother began talking to me again (she didn’t for a while because she was upset that I was pregnant. She didn’t acknowledge the pregnancy until after we were married…. fun stuff. Kept asking where she went wrong) she offered to plan the wedding. At this point, I agreed. She began contacting everyone: florists, decorators, the hotel it was being hosted at and so on and so forth. She asked me a few questions here at there about colors and food we liked and didn’t like, but that was about it. The morning of the dress rehearsal was the first me and my fiancé had seen anything. It was great! Much better then we thought it would be. My mother knows how to plan a wedding! And we were married by the afternoon of the 27th.

Then started the really fun part. Marriage and planning for parenthood.

Oh boy…..

Now, I know that may have come off as less then excited. It shouldn’t have, because I was on cloud 9. I was married to my best friend, my soulmate, and as we said “done with Dunn” (my maiden name) and I was officially an Armstrong. I was part of a family that I had come to love very much over a short period of time and was completely ready to learn how to have siblings. That being said, it didn’t exactly go that way as I’ve stated in other posts. It’s not perfect. It still isn’t after a year, but my husband and I are hoping that over time I will be fully accepted in to the family and things from this last year will remain in the past. I loved that I had gained 5 siblings and 4 brothers, plus in-laws, and over 15 nieces and nephews! I was “Aunt Ruth” and a younger and older sister. I was ecstatic! Still am! 😉

But my husband and I soon discovered that our living styles were… well, different. Learning to live with each other for the first few months was…. I’m just going to be honest, it was a nightmare. I was in to my second trimester of pregnancy too, so I had weird periods of emotional instability. My husband is a very neat person. I’m not. I’m not dirty. To me there is a big difference between dirty and messy. I am… messy. I know how to clean, I just don’t like to clean. I treat animals like family members. My husband very much doesn’t. He eats full meals. I’m just with cereal for dinner. And so on and so forth. We each had a very different way of doing things and a completely different way of thinking. Those things don’t really come out until you are living with someone. You think you know everything about someone before you get married. Honestly, it’s probably good that you don’t know everything before that. It’s a new adventure and learning experience for both of you.

Despite all that, some fights and tears, we did try very hard to live by the verse “Don’t let the sun set on your anger” and after giving each other some or a peace offering, we would always sit down and talk things out. That has been such a blessing to us. I came from a background where speaking about my feelings wasn’t allowed. My husband found early on in our relationship that it was hard for me to find my voice and say how I was really feeling. I’ve grown so much over the course of our relationship and he has helped aid me in my healing journey. Communication is very important to us.

We took several trips over this last year, both in state and out. We took birthing classes. Those were fun. He was there every step of the way during my pregnancy, with a foot rub or cold washcloth on the back of my neck, or running out to the walgreens down the street at 11pm for some ginger ale and tums when my nausea was really bad. I loved being able to be there for him as well… He doesn’t let on most of the time what he is feeling. He likes being reserved, but I truly appreciate those times when he leans on me. When he hits rock bottom and comes to me for comfort. Whether by just asking to sit with me or if he needs to break down. Those moments are precious. When we spoke our vows, “for better or for worse”, the worse moments and sometimes the most important. It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes you are going to have yelling fights, sometimes someone is going to sleep on the couch or leave to have some peace, sometimes someone is going to sob in to the others arms. But don’t hold on to the anger. Being able to come together with my husband at the end of it and talk it out, apologize and be forgiven and being able to forgive are so important.

Once our daughter was born in July, things really changed. We had to make all of these decisions and choices for us and for her. It was hard. And stressful. We were seeking help from anyone who could offer advice or assistance. I hit some really bad postpartum depression at one point. But we got through it.

I know I’ve gone in to a lot. Hell, I’ve writing over 1300 words! But this last year has taught me so much. About myself, about my husband, about life. Being married to this man… I am so blessed. He has become my rock. He is my best friend. Some days we are just goofy and joke around like two best friends instead of a married couple. Small food fights are had or we text silly faces/emojis to each other throughout the day. Sometimes he will be working upstairs and I’ll call up to him that I miss him, and he will say he misses me too, but keep working. We don’t have to be around each other every minute, but we like to let each other know we are thinking about them.

I can’t wait to see what this next year brings for us. I can’t wait for this next year with my family. 0299RUTHandBENJAMIN.jpg

 

An Update

Sorry I haven’t written in quite a while, my lovely followers. Life has been… well, it’s been pretty busy. This post is going to be about some personal things and some other things, so get ready.

First I’m going to start off with my daughter. I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS LITTLE NUGGET! I seriously fall more and more in love with her every day! She is almost 6 months old! WHAT?! I feel like I just had her last week! Her personality is starting to really shine through. She scrunches up her nose when she smiles. I call it a crinkle smile because her eyes also crinkle and ah… I love it. She has mastered rolling over and is trying to crawl now. I’m not ready for her to do it, but I am at the same time. (time to baby-proof everything!) We are also about to introduce food to her, which will be excitingly messy. I can’t wait! And watching my husband with her melts my heart. He is so in love with her. She has him wrapped around her finger.

She loves to cuddle into my chest and pat the side of my face. She has started this new thing of sucking on my neck when I’m holding her. While it feels sooooo gross, she coo’s and laughs while doing it and I love it. When she is nursing, she has to have her hand on my face and gently strokes my cheek and it is absolutely adorable. Everything she does amazes me. She is making so many sounds and faces. She is growing so fast, I want it to slow down. That’s why I’m not taking any moment for granted. I love everything I do with her.

She has also decided that our dog is her best friend. She is learning how to pet him and loves napping on him and having him close by. And our dog, Hershel, has become super protective over her. He loves giving her kisses and is so patient with her. The other day, Evelyn became fussy while I was giving her a bath. We give her baths in our big bath tub with her. But in her fussiness, Hershel became worried and jumped into the bathtub with us. Evelyn proceeded to try to get to him and in turn just splashed a whole bunch of water in his face. He didn’t care. He just sat there and gave her a kiss and waited for her to be done before getting out with us.

I picked up a new job on the weekends at a restaurant to help our financial situation and to help my restlessness of sitting around at home most of the week. I’ve only had one shift, but it seems like it will be a lot of fun.

Onward to some personal things. My husband and I have been reading a book called “How We Love” (really great book for couples! I highly recommend it!) and it is teaching us many things, including our loves styles. I’m a Pleaser Love style. My upbringing made it so that I want to keep everyone happy and avoid conflict whenever possible. I get paranoid when I get even the hint someone is upset with me. And then when there is actual conflict, I literally get sick from the stress it causes me. A year ago, I wasn’t married yet. I had just recently found out I was pregnant, but I was also told that not everyone in my husbands family approved. My mother and other family members of mine also didn’t approve. It was an extremely difficult time for me, to the point that I was honestly afraid of stressing myself in to a miscarriage. Now a year later, I have closure with my family and I know everyone loves and accepts me and my daughter. But I have received no closure with my husbands family. It was just left as is and I’ve honestly been stressing over it for the entire year. I am not a person who can let go of things easily and I easily think people hate me until it’s been disproven. It’s not something I like. I wish I didn’t get so paranoid. I wish I didn’t care. But I do. And after a lifetime of struggling to be accepted by my family, I don’t want to have to go through it with another one. My husband has been stressing over it too. So it’s caused a lot of unrest for us. That’s why it keeps coming up in my posts.

On another note, it seems like I’ve lost or drifted from many friends this year. Despite my attempts to keep that from happening. Ive been steadily pushed out from my small group at church. I’m acknowledged, but for the 2 hours we are together, I’m barely spoken to even when I try to be a part of conversations and activities. The two good friends I had here in Texas are distant now. One became a manager to me at my new job, so we can’t hang out anymore and I’m not sure what happened with the other. Life was just busy. The friends I have in NC either don’t believe that I still care or are living their lives. Which they should. I live in another state now. None of this is anyones fault, but the point of all of this is that I’ve been extremely lonely lately. I talk to my husband about everything. He is my best friend. But I don’t have anyone else. No girlfriends… Nothing. And that’s very hard for me. Part of me wants to move back to NC to be closer to friends and family again. We haven’t found a church that we feel is ‘our’ church yet. We’ve just been going to one, but don’t feel any connection with it. So both me and my husband have been feeling distant from God recently, which adds to the hardship. We are trying hard to find a family in a smaller church.

On a positive note, my husband and I get to spend our first christmas together with our daughter. We have a tree. We are going to bake and cook together. And it’s our first anniversary a few days after christmas! I don’t know what we are going to do, but I’m excited about it either way!

That’s it for now! Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

One Year

A year ago today my life changed. Drastically. Dramatically. A year ago today my heart jumped in to my throat and stayed there for the entire day. A year ago today I felt a joy inside of myself that I never thought I could feel. A year ago today I found out I was pregnant.

I had no idea what to think or do. I wasn’t late, I just had a feeling. A different feeling that I couldn’t explain. I thought I was being paranoid. I had a pregnancy test in my bathroom drawer and figured I would take it before work in the morning and it would be negative and I could go on with my day. I took the test and left the bathroom to go make coffee and breakfast. When I came back in to the bathroom and saw the little blue ‘+’ on the test, I honestly almost fainted. My knees went weak and I had to sit down. Hands shaking, I texted my friend Lauren to come up to my apartment. Luckily, she lived in my apartment building and was up there in minutes. We both sat there, staring at the test. I think I was in a state of shock. I kept stammering and shaking asking “what-what do I do?! what–… ah! what?! I can’t be— I’m pregnant?!” Realizing it was almost time for me to go to work, I looked at my friend and asked her what I should do. She told me to not panic (yeah right…) and go to work and then go buy another test and take it in a few days. She asked when my period was suppose to start, I told her next week. She told me to wait until I was actually late and she told me to not tell my fiancé.

So I went to work. My heart was pounding the entire day. I was fidgety and distracted. My mind was racing and I was pushing everything out until one of my older co-workers finally asked me “are you ok?” and everything came spilling out. I was afraid to move at work. I didn’t want to lift boxes, I didn’t want to climb ladders, I was afraid to breathe. My co-worker told me the exact same thing my friend had told me that morning. Take another test, wait a few days, wait until next week and don’t tell my fiancé. Don’t tell him until I was certain.

I spent the entire day avoiding my phone, avoiding talking to him. It was torture. I was spiraling downward in to panic and everyone was telling me not to talk to my best friend. The person who I talked to when I freak out. But I kept thinking “What is he going to think? Is he going to run? Oh God, what is his family going to think of me? What is MY family going to think of me?! What kind of mom am I going to be? I’m not ready to be a mom! I’m not married! Oh God… Oh God, help me. Help me! What do I do?” 8 long grueling hours later, it was time for me to go home. I immediately drove to target and bought 8 more pregnancy tests and ran home to take… well, all of them. In that day, I took 10 tests. And they were all positive. I had them lined up on my bathroom sink. I felt numb. I took my dog out for a walk to clear my head. But the one thing that kept repeating itself in my head was “Call him. Call Benjamin.” So I did. I told him he needed to come over that night. I needed him to come over. He wasn’t too thrilled sounding, he admitted later that he thought the urgency sound in my voice was because there was a bug I needed him to kill in my apartment. He said he would be there within the hour. I spent the next 45 minutes trying to think of how to tell him. Should I just blurt it out? Sit him down on the couch? I couldn’t think of anything by the time a knock came on my door. I opened it and he stood there, waiting for me to say something. I couldn’t find my voice. Nothing came out. We stood there in silence for about a minute before I said “Go in the bathroom.” At this point, he thought there was a big spider or cockroach in there. He went in the bathroom and started looking around, looking everywhere but the counter. I was able to squeak out “Look on the counter.” and he turned and froze. I froze. My heart was pounding so fast, I think I was having an anxiety attack. I couldn’t stop shaking as I watched him. I didn’t know what he would do, if he would leave, faint, yell, I didn’t know.

He slowly turned to look at me. He looked at my stomach and then back to my face and slowly walked over to me. He, very slowly, placed his hand on my stomach and asked “… I’m going to be a dad?” and a big smile broke over his face. I lost it immediately and started crying. He took me in to the biggest hug and we stood there for a very long time while I let out all my fears in the form of tears.

After that we walked over to the couch and sat down, his hand never leaving my stomach. We sat in silence for a bit before he announced, probably trying to cheer me up from crying, “We’re going to be parents!” and then I think it really hit him that we were going to be parents. I saw his face drop, not in a “Oh god what have I done?” way, but the realization that we made a life. A life that we would be responsible for in 9 months. A life we would need to raise and teach. But after a long pause, he looked at me with a big smile on his face. He kissed me and held me close and whispered “We are going to have such an amazing family.” And in that moment, all of my fear went away. I knew he was in. He was so in and excited. Nothing else mattered, we would figure out the rest together. We didn’t want to tell everyone right away, we wanted to wait to see if we were able to keep the pregnancy. But we also had to figure out HOW to tell everyone. We started with parents first.

I don’t know how the conversation went with him and his folks, but with my mother…. It didn’t go well. I face-timed her and I saw the dread on her face. She was not happy at all and asked what I had done and where she went wrong. For half of my pregnancy, she didn’t even acknowledge it. But my dad, I told him with my brother there. I face-timed them as well. My dad got this big goofy smile on his face and my brother had to leave the room. My dad has wanted grandkids for a very long time, he was instantly smitten with this tiny life. My brother came back, big smile on his face and said “I get to teach it about star wars, godzilla and hockey. Those are mine.” And then Benjamin told all of his siblings. (he has 9 of them) He said reactions varied. I’m not going to go in to detail about it because not all of them were great.

But a year ago today, I found out I was going to be a mom. I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, I was only 4 weeks along. And I had no idea I was going to give birth to this perfect little girl, who fills my every day with such joy. She is almost 4 months old now, just really starting to learn how to laugh and smile. She just discovered her toes and she loves playing with her dads beard.

A year ago today, my life changed for the better.

No Spend November

I’m going to do a ‘No Spend November’. The idea was given to me by one of my closest friends. (Like no shave november, but with no spending money…. still might hop on the no shaving part too. Ain’t nobody got time for that….)

But especially in this last week, I’ve done a lot of spending on myself. I shop when I’m down or stressed, and that’s kind of been a state of being for me the last few weeks and I’ve just sort of hit rock bottom a few days ago. It seems that more things are pilling on top if it too.

I’m really thankful for my daughter right now. I was crying a lot last night and she was already up, not fussing or crying, but awake and wanted to be picked up and cuddled. That is exactly what I needed. My sister-in-law has been such a blessing too. I’ve just been feeling lonely and unheard lately. The ladies in my small group have been a tremendous blessing too. We all have each others backs and it’s truly wonderful.

What do you all do when you’re down? Anything specific that helps you? I’ve found arm knitting scarves to be very relaxing, and since they only take about 30-40 minutes to make, they are a quick stress relief. And binge watching Grey’s Anatomy….

When I’m super stressed out, I don’t sleep well. I take on the symptoms of being sick. My body aches, my head hurts and sometimes I’ll get a fever.

I’m heading back to my home state in a few weeks. I’ll be able to see my mom, my gram, my brother and a lot of really close friends that I’ve been missing. I’m anxious to get there. I wish it was tomorrow. I’m in a mindset where I really dislike where I am. I miss the mountains and the quiet of the blue ridge parkway. I don’t feel like I have anywhere I can go to get away here. It’s frustrating. It makes me sad. And I miss my family… Even my husbands family, which is my family too, but I’ve been missing them. They are a lot of fun to hang out with.

But I could use some advice, prayers, tips, give me a DIY project and I can talk about it on here and show pictures of whether it turns out good or not!

Till next time!

Blessed

Happy monday everyone! So I changed up my theme a little bit. I wanted to try a different one.

This entire weekend I’ve been spending time with my husband and my daughter. We had a family weekend, which we haven’t had in a very long time. We went to Fort Worth and went out for lunch and then we went to the Kimball Art museum. It was amazing. But while we were driving and Evelyn was sleeping in her car seat, we started talking about parenting.

While we were at the art museum, Evy needed me. She needed to eat and wanted to be taken out of her carseat, so I had to cut my time in the exhibit short. My husband felt bad that I had to do that. But I didn’t. Yes, it can be frustrating, but I’ve learned not to take that for granted. I honestly love every moment I spend with my daughter. I’ve learned her every sound and movement.

In the beginning, for the first few weeks, I had no idea what I was doing. I was sleep deprived, nursing hurt so much because I wasn’t used to it yet and I hadn’t yet learned what her cries meant so I didn’t know what she wanted. I felt like I was doing a terrible job, giving myself no grace as a new mother. But one day, when I felt like I had hit rock bottom, I was crying over Evelyn. Not the proudest moment, but I didn’t know what else to do. I was crying and telling her I was sorry I was doing such a crappy job. Sorry that she was stuck with me and that I would try harder for her. That was the first day she smiled at me. And not a milk drunk smile. She got this big, crooked smile that took up her whole face. Her face lighted up the room and she grabbed my shirt and wouldn’t let go. As if to tell me “It’s ok, mom. I love you no matter what.” And that made me cry so much harder, but it was so comforting. I scooped up that little cutie and cuddled her for the rest of the day. Since that day, things have become much easier for me because I’m treasuring everything, even the not so great stuff.

Every stinky blow out diaper, Evelyn smiles and giggles when I tell her she is stinky. She finds it funny and I think her finding it funny is funny. Every time she spits up all over me after nursing because she ate too much, she just wants to wrap her arms around my neck and cuddle with me regardless of the fact that I’m covered in breastmilk. Which is adorable to me. She has started mimicking my faces, which fill my heart with so much joy. When she is crying and inconsolable for my husband, I just have to walk over and pick her up and she is soothed instantly. When she smiled really big, she snorts a little. When I sing to her, even when she is sleeping, she smiles. If I talk to her while she is nursing, she smiles. She smiles at me so much, that I find it hard to be sad or down anymore.

I love being a mom. I love every nursing session, even if it interrupts something. She is only going to be nursing for a year. I love every dirty diaper, because of how silly she is while we are changing her. She finds our silly faces and sounds funny. Every screaming fit gives me a chance to sooth her, give her a back rub, sing to her, play with her toes until she is calm and smiling up at me. Every moment, whether it’s good or bad, I love. Even last night, it was bath time and I was washing her and she peed in my face. Literally in my face. I made a “AH!” reaction before trying to brush it off and smile and say “Uh oh!”, but Evelyn was already giggling and smiling at me. She is a goof ball just like me and her dad. I love…. everything. Even when I am having a bad day, all I have to do it pick her up and smell the top of her head. She has an intoxicating baby smell that I can’t get enough of and it is so calming.

I don’t have a lot of money to spoil her. Most of the things she has, the clothes she wears, were gifts. She doesn’t have a lot of toys, but she has four toys that are her absolute favorites. There is so much I wish for this child. I pray every day for her, multiple times a day. We were blessed when God gave her to us. Blessed. I am so thankful for her.