07 July, 2017

A little life update!!



Hi Friends!!
I must say it has been a really, really long time since I last posted anything here. What can I say… life has been happening and Mom life takes priority over everything else, right. Do ya feel me? Actually It should be more like "Mom life just takes over and nothing else matters."
I just glanced at my blog to see the last time I posted was in April of 2016. Good god I can't believe its really been that long since I last posted. I remember when Blogging was #life. I honestly just do not have the time to sit and blog now days. If someone could just invent a device that recorded and logged the millions of long running thoughts in my head; I’d buy it, and let it do the blogging for me.
Picking up where I left off . . .
Last year when I returned to work from maternity leave, I put in my notice from my job of 11 years and started at a new office job for a small oil and gas company. I immediately knew it was not the right job for me and after a few months my old general manager called and offered me different position at my old company! Yay!! IT WAS THE BEST DECISION. I love my new job, but mostly the hours and the people. It’s nice to have a normal schedule and to not be working 10-12 hours days or working on the weekends. I did that for so long and now I get the weekends off. It is priceless when you have a family or if you want to have any sort of social life. The new job is busy and I don’t really have much time to eff around on the internet, hahaha.
I started working on my health and losing some of the baby weight I’d acquired after both pregnancies. In the first picture I was 215 and about 4 months postpartum with Olivia. I’m happy to say that I’m not at 184 and feeling so much better with my body. I definitely have a lot more work to do, but I’ve made some good progress and that makes me really happy. My overall goal is to between 140-150lbs. I’m proud of myself for the weight I have lost so far and that I have not gained a single pound back.

Last summer we took a trip with the kids and Josh’s parents to Missouri to see my sister-in-law, Jen. Jen and her husband bought a Camp Ground called “Boiling Springs Resort”… We stayed in a cabins and kayaked the Big Piney River. We had a great time for the most part and enjoyed having family time. Josh was dealing with some gallbladder issues, so it wasn’t as enjoyable for him, poor guy. He was scheduled to have surgery for the gallstones when we returned from our trip, but his insurance was so crappy that he wound up waiting the entire summer and most of fall for surgery.
At the end of October, actually the weekend before Halloween, Josh got really sick and had to go to the emergency room. We thought it was his gallbladder acting up because at this point we were still waiting on insurance to approve a hospital to do the actual surgery, but found out that it was kidney stones!! Ahhhhhh. From October until about two weeks from Christmas Josh was in pain every day and very sick. With gallstones and kidney stones. My mom and his mom were coming to the house weekly while I was at work to help take care of the kids. It was awful, he got super skinny and was just in terrible shape for a stay at home dad. I felt so terrible for him. It also put a damper on the end of year holiday time, but he was fixed up just in time for Christmas and we were very grateful for that. He is now in great health and hasn’t had any more issues. My health has been good for the most part. I continue to see a dermatologist every 3 months. Once you've been diagnosed with skin cancer they want you to keep up with skin checks and I have no problem doing that. . . I still feel like my skin is out to get me and always get freaked out the week of my appointments... I stand in front of the mirror scanning every inch of my body like a freak, hahaha.
The kids are great. Olivia turned one in November. We had small party for her at the house, because Josh was still sick at that time. We started potty training the boys last September and by Christmas they were both fully potty trained, Armor was pretty much potty trained after a few weeks. Ronin wore a diaper during nap time for a while and overnight, but neither has worn a diaper in such a long time. It is so nice not having to change three butts every day. We will start potty training Olivia at the end of the year when she turns two. I’m hopeful that we can do it quick and she will catch on, fingers crossed!!  
Josh’s parents decided to move to Missouri to be closer to Jen, Wooky, Miranda and Henry. Jen and Wook really needed a lot of help with the kids while trying to also run their business. We knew that eventually Bart and Sheila would move, but we never thought it would be so soon. They bought a home and were planning a move the first week of May. Well . . . a historic flood happened days before they were to move. Jen and Wook lost everything. Their camp grounds, cabin and home were lost to the flood and washed away. Luckily they were able to go stay in the house that was waiting for Bart and Sheila, but they literally lost everything they had. It’s incredibly sad and heartbreaking. They have worked so hard since buy their business… they have literally put their blood sweat and tears into the resort.

Because Josh’s parents moved… we then moved into their house! The same house that Josh grew up in… I think from about age 6-8 and up. We moved on June 3rd and love it. It’s a little strange, but the kids totally in love with it. The layout is so different. The size is almost the same square footage as our previous house. The backyard is massssssssssive. It is really the best part about the house. We are starting to settle in and it is feeling more and more like our house. We are also working on our other house and plan to have it on the market by August! We’ve been painting, having work done and we’ll need to have the roof replaced. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to the house. It was our first home; we had fun adult parties there and then we brought home our babies there. *sigh* I will miss it, but I’m very happy and grateful that we have the opportunity to take over the house that Josh grew up in. It needs a little work here and there, but nothing too crazy.
We are planning a trip to Missouri again this August. We are going to be there for the total solar eclipse and we’ll get to see the ring of fire!! I’m totally excited to see such an amazing sky event. I planned it specifically for this time frame to see it. I'm a space nerd at heart. It will be great to see the family, too. Josh is from Louisiana, so now that this Mom and Dad have moved away... he has no family in Texas and I foresee many road trips in our future. It will be quite interesting to see how this trip goes traveling with three toddlers. Ahhhhhhhh… pray for my soul, haha. It has to better than the last time we drove. Olivia was teething and got in her two top teeth while we were traveling, it was definitely an experience... and I was still nursing her, so yeah. This time will hopefully be less stressful.
Well my friends… I think this is it for now. I’d love to say I’ll post soon, but it might be a while. I work full time and when I get home, its mommy time. I don’t get any computer time until after 9:00 and by that time I’m exhausted and just look at facebook, youtube and instagram on my phone... T hat is about all the mental energy I have left at the end of the day. I haven’t even vlogged *sad face*. Well, I’ve actually been making videos and capturing footage I just have not been able to edit anything. We are working on getting our office area set up at the new house and once that is done I’ll finally be able to hook up my computer and editing again. I miss my having my own little space. Josh's Mom, Sheila is driving down on Monday to get the rest of their stuff. We've had it piled up in one of the back rooms which is actually supposed to be our office, so once she picks up their stuff we'll be able to really get everything else unpacked and set up. We just celebrated the 4th of July and the kids had so much fun seeing the fireworks. This was the first year that Olivia really got experience them. I could feel her little heart pounding away in her chest, and she had huge smile on he face the whole time. <3 a="" all="" and="" be="" between="" blogs="" font="" hopefully="" in="" it="" long="" love="" my="" such="" time="" to="" wont="" you="">

26 April, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week is “National Infertility Awareness Week”

The theme this year is #StartAsking

I’ve thought about this theme for several weeks and could not think of an appropriate question to #startasking. I was even contacted by resolve to make a video for my YouTube channel, and I never responded. I feel really crappy about that. So, I began pondering why I didn't respond in the first place. Why didn't I want to share my voice and be an advocate as I had in the past. 

What was wrong with me? 

Well, to be very honest, I felt stuck, and didn't know quite what to say. I also felt anxiety creeping in from my old days of infertility. A small part of me even felt as if I no longer belonged in the "Infertility world". I also felt incredibly overwhelmed with my busy life as a full-time working mom to three small children, and worried that I could not find the time to do it. 

I felt like “who was I" to talk about infertility now that I have children?

And then it hit me! 

Who am I?

How many others feel this same way and become silent again? 
How many want to speak out, but feel they have lost their voice or place in the big "IF" world?
How many just want to close that painful door and never look back?

So, I decided I would. . . 

#startasking mothers to continue being advocates

Who am I?

I'm a Mother to IVF twin boys, and a naturally conceived baby girl, but I am also a woman who suffered loss, painful defeat, deep heartache and emotional darkness, because of an awful disease called Infertility. My husband, my family and my amazing friends stood by my side supporting me through each broken dream and each crushed hope. My life is forever changed by my infertility, and I am unable to erase that part of me, ever. 

Infertility is woven into my soul and has molded me into the woman I am today. And, I must always remember that my children do not make me fertile, they make me a survivor!!

My question - #startasking mothers to continue being advocates, is not a jab at those who’ve made it to the other side successfully, but more of a nudge and a note to say - It’s okay to still relate to your infertile side once you’ve crossed over to motherhood. It’s okay to stand up to infertility if you are no longer fighting to have children or made the decision to not have children in your life, because having children after infertility does not erase the struggle. Its okay to be an advocate for something you survived or didn't. It's okay to still have a voice in a community you may not feel as connected to. 

I think a lot of woman who finally have a child, whether it be through medications, years of trying, IVF, surrogacy embryo adoption, egg donor, or even adoption; feel like they have a smaller voice after the fact. Maybe they feel their voice no longer counts, because they got that prize at the end of the twisted rainbow. 

I have felt like this at times, myself. . .

There is a certain type of unexplained guilt you feel becoming a mother after infertility. Maybe not everyone feels it, but I know that I did.

It was a kind of strange and lonely place to be at first. I felt so happy to finally be pregnant, but I also felt guilt for those who were still struggling. I also felt lonely, because It felt like a lot of woman who'd been there supporting me during my struggles had suddenly ran away to hid, and I don't blame them, because I was that person once, too. In order to protect your heart, you back away from the things that hurt you, and other peoples pregnancies can hurt. I know deep in my heart that they didn't back away out of spite or rudeness, but out of undeniable pain.

I did IVF at the same time as a good ttc friend. I found out mine worked and a week later she learned that hers didn't work. I felt absolutely crushed for her. I didn't even know how or what to say, except that I was sorry. I felt terrible for sharing my happy news during her dark moment, as though she would think I was rubbing it in, even though I knew she didn't think that. I felt sad, happy, and guilty all at the same time. She eventually went on to have a child through the amazing gift of egg donor, but I will never forget that feeling of guilt I felt during one of the happiest moments of my life.

There are many reasons why "post infertility Moms" stop being advocates and stop standing up. It's not because we think we are better or we no longer need the Infertility community for support, or that we no longer care about our fellow IF Sisters. You simply start a new journey, on your own and not everyone rides the wave with you, some people get left behind, others follow and swim beside you, and over time, you find yourself without your once tight community. Suddenly, you're a new a mother who has drifted so far from the shores of infertility that you don't know how to find your way back. A year may pass by and you want another child, so you find your way back, but it's different than it was the first time around. You are different... 

I think we need to remind mothers that their stories are still needed long after their babies are born, that they still have a place in the infertility world. Their stories of success after darkness give hope to those who are just starting to suspect they are infertile to those who are still wading though the deep trenches of heartache and uncertainty.  

Mothers are the advocates that the infertility world still needs and we must encourage them to continue to speak.

31 March, 2016

Birthday realizations, oh boy.


So, I turned 33 years old last Friday

Whoa...
Thirty freaking...Three. 

I feel like I may blink and be 36 before long. 

My sister, Natalie, and a few of my really close girlfriends met up at my house so we could Uber to Downtown. A few more friends joined us downtown and we had dinner at Del Frisco's Grille. After that we hit up a few bars for drinks and dancing!! 

It was a very much needed night out and, Josh, being the awesome husband he is, stayed home with the circus. I nursed, Olivia, right up until we left and she barely even fussed. She woke up once, took a bottle for, Josh, and passed out on his shoulder before he could even put her back down.

I had a blast!! I felt like "Me" again. Like the fun, Crystal, that has been hiding behind the "Mom" label I now associate with on a daily basis. And not that being a mom is bad in any way - I love being a Mom!! 

There are just moments where I forget who I am outside of being a mother and wife so, it felt nice to feel part of "me" again. 

It was also just great being out of the house, getting dressed, laughing, dancing and talking about adult things with my best gal-pals. 

I often look at my birthday as my own personal New Year. I try and look back over my last year of life and think about what things I want to take care of, what things I want to change or what things I need to work on in general. 

I don't exactly make resolutions, but I go through this entire mental breakdown of my current truths and try to see it all for what it really is.

I have decided. . . 

this year. . .  

My weight needs to come first, because this shit ain't no joke and it is out of control. *sad face*

Well, obviously my family comes first above anything, but for my personal growth, my weight is top priority this year.

My current weight situation makes me feel completely sad and depressed and I have to do something.

I know "inside" is what is supposed to define a person, and for the most part I truly believe that, but looking at myself, 60 pounds overweight and the heaviest I've ever been, makes me want to crawl into a hole and never look at myself again, lol.

Seeing myself this weekend, in pictures, makes me feel horrible about myself. 

Like, who is this chunky girl, with a double chin, and healthy looking muffin-top?!? 

WHO IS THIS PERSON?

It's me. . .  just a fluffier me.

This is the photo that did it for me. I can even remember telling my friend, please don't forget to crop out my fat, oh looooord. How sad.

I feel like I needed this visual realization to get some sort of motivation going so I can get started on taking care of myself. I need to be a healthier, more fit person again. I know if I don't start trying to lose the weight  now. . . it will only get harder as time goes by. Plus, I could even start to gain even more weight from being depressed and not caring about my health. 

Going through two pregnancies has certainly done a number on my body, and lets be real. 

I'm totally over weight for my height.

Totally out of shape. 

I'm a fat girl right now.

It sucks. like, really, sucks. . .  

I mean, there are definitely things in life that are much, much worse, but right now, for me, this really, really sucks.

After having the boys I still needed to lose about 30-40 Ibs.

Right before I got pregnant with Olivia I was about 185-190 lbs.

After having her I'm now about 205-210 lbs

Pre-pregnancy and pre-IVF treatment I was a nice 135-140 range. 

I want to get back there... at least to the 140's. 

I know, I know... "You had 3 babies in 2 years", but still... I gained entirely too much weight and now I'm really feeling the struggle. It sucks... that is all I can say. 

I have a treadmill set up in our our front living room. Josh, recently bought me a little shelf and hung it up in front of the treadmill, so I can put the Ipad up there to watch shows, or play music while working out. 

But. . . 

I can't seem to get my ass up to do it. I feel so tired and worn out by the end of the day, and when Olivia is done nursing for the evening and finally goes to sleep it's about 9:00-9:30 pm, sometimes 10:00 pm. By that time all I want to do is go sit in the computer room with, Josh, and watch a show or, get on the internet and have some adult time. 

I honestly think I need to break my internet addiction and just get my ass in there and do the work, because this weight isn't going to magically go away. . . And breastfeeding...Haha. Breastfeeding has not helped me lose any weight. Not a drop. What an awful lie. It may work for some, but not for me. And, honestly, breastfeeding makes me soooo hungry. I feel way more hungry now than when I was actually pregnant. 

I think I'd be better off waking up 30 minutes earlier and working out before getting the kids up for the morning, but I can't seem to do it. 

I've tried.

Seriously, I have (obviously not hard enough)

I've set the alarm, and I hit snooze. . .  every. single. effing. time.

The struggle is real, folks... very real.

I'm so exhausted, and try to get any sleep I possibly can. If I'd go to bed earlier, then this would be easier to do. I feel like I need someone to come and force me out of bed in order to get it done.  

I just need to form a routine and I can get moving. I can do this... I can. I have faced more difficult situations in life, this is nothing... right!?!

Why is taking the first step always so hard? Why... WHY... WHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhy *stomps feet & pouts*

I set up a "My Fitness Pal" account yesterday... I've logged food yesterday and today... I'm hoping with tiny steps I can get myself moving in the right direction. 

I know that I am truly the only one who can do this, so I just need to put on my big girl panties and get it done!

Wish me luck, pray for me, send me positive vibes... anything would be appreciated!

17 March, 2016

The scariest moment of my life

In parenthood you face many challenges along the way. Lots of highs and lows; many moments of happiness and moments of frustration throughout your daily life as a parent. "Parenthood is not for wimps", as someone recently said to me, and they could not be more right. Sunday morning, Josh, and I experienced panic and fear in a way that I never want to experience again. 
Ronin, had a febrile seizure at about 4:00 am on Sunday morning and it is truly, by far the scariest moment of my life thus far. My heart fell to the pit of my stomach and both, Josh, and I felt more helpless than we've ever felt in our lives. We handled it and got through it, as a team... and we are forever changed by that one moment in time.
Sunday afternoon we were getting ready to head out to get haircuts for the boys, because lets face it... they were looking pretty shaggy. Both boys were standing at the gate at our kitchen entrance watching me get ready. I heard a noise and turned around, to see that, Ronin, had fallen down and hit his head on the tile floor. I rushed into the kitchen where he was looked down at him and he was beginning the stages of a full blown crying/screaming moment, and his arms were shaking awkwardly now looking back. 
At first We were not sure if Armor pushed him or he just fell, but one minute he was standing there and the next he was on the ground with very jerky arm movements, and crying. They were not fussing, pushing or fighting, so I truly don't think that Armor pushed him over. Armor started crying, because Ronin was hurt. We got, Ronin, calm and settled, and he seemed okay so we got everyone loaded into the car and headed out for haircuts.
Once we got the haircuts done, I was standing there with Olivia in the stroller, holding Ronin's hand while, Josh, paid for the haircut services. Suddenly he just fell to the ground as if he lost his balance, he was not playing or bouncing around being a crazy toddler, he was just standing there very still holding my hand. I noticed he was warm as I picked him up and told, Josh, he was warm...
As soon as we got home I checked his temperature and it was 100.3, not too bad... so I decided to wait closer to bedtime to give him some Motrin. I got a blanket, pillow, cup of water and a bowl of goldfish and raisins and set him up on the couch, because as soon as we got home he went into the living area and laid down on a pillow with his blanket. That is totally not like him at all... He is two, and full of energy and for him to do that was a huge indicator that he truly didn't feel well, but he had no other symptoms of being sick. After being on the couch for a while he seemed less warm and was up and and starting to play a little bit. 
We did our normal nightly routing and got the boys to bed. I gave, Ronin, medicine for the fever even though his temp was now at 98.7 and not really feverish at all, but it was more in case he got a fever after falling asleep.
I go to bed not thinking anything more... Then... around 4:00am, which is really like 3:00am, but the time changed. Josh came running into the Olivia's room where I was sleeping, yelling my name. I jumped out of bed to see, Josh, in a state of panic and, Ronin, half limp half seizing in his arms. I instantly screamed and jumped out of bed all at the same time, and in that split second... thought my child was dying or dead the way Josh was holding him and yelling. Josh yelled "he's having a seizure, call 911" He laid him on the bed and he continued to seize, he couldn't breath and his body was locked up. Josh held him while I fumbled around trying to get my phone and trying to get my fingers to work, I called 911 and the woman on the phone was incredibly calming, and talked us through what to do, and said an ambulance was on the way. 
At this point Ronin was burning up, every inch of his body was incredibly hot... We covered him in a wet towel and turned him on to his side. We took him to the living room and set him on the couch and he began seizing again, not as intensely, but was jerking and making this strange sound as if he could not breath. Two fire trucks and an ambulance came, I met them at the door and led them in. Josh was a mess, so I went into calm mode and answered all the questions the EMT's asked... They were very kind. They took him outside and put him in the ambulance. I went and got Ronin's blanket and stuffed dog and ran out to the ambulance while Josh was inside. I sat there in the ambulance looking at my child and tears filled my eyes. I was so scared for him. I rubbed his head and pet his hair while she started getting vitals and such. Josh rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital, because I needed to be with Olivia in case she got hungry, and Josh needed to be with him. Josh had seizures as a child and he was devastated that this had happened to, Ronin.
I called my mother, and she was over in about 20 minutes. . . I packed up Olivia and drove to the children's hospital where he'd been taken. I got to the hospital and he was doing better, still very weak and very warm, but he got a Popsicle (his first one ever) and was snuggled in daddy's lap. I sat on the hospital bed and he curled up in my lap with his blanket and dog... They released us around 10:30-ish, I think... We were all exhausted, worn out and traumatized by the whole experience. It was so sad to see him scared and not knowing what was happening. I have to give tons of credit to the entire nursing staff, EMT's and doctors who cared for him. They were all so very kind and gentle and it just made the experience easier to take in.
The images of him in that moment, convulsing in, Josh's, arms, unable to breathe keep popping into my head. It's scary to think of - "what if" Josh, did not hear him and check on him? The ER doctor at the children's hospital was great, and said this is can be common among young children when they get fevers rapidly, and that it is not necessarily how high the fever is, but how quickly it progresses. Ronin, was not sick at all on Sunday, and still isn't. This fever came out of no where. The doctor recommended that we alternate children's Tylenol and Motrin every three hours for future illnesses for him, because he is at risk for future seizures like this. I used to have the thought "let their body fight the fever, unless it's really bad" but... I will never think that again. . . I will not hesitate to give medication to help a fever in the future. My poor baby.... He's still running fever to this day, and Josh took him in to the pediatricians office to see what's going on this morning. They took some blood so now we wait to see if it tells us anything. My poor little man.  I'm so happy he is doing better, overall, but holy crap... This Mama's heart is traumatized. It is truly the scariest moment of my life. I never, ever want to have to see him like that again 

04 March, 2016

Strange dream


Dream from 3/3/2016

In the dream Josh and I were at home sitting on the couch. 

I feel like it was the same house we live in now, but at the same time it felt like all the houses/apartments we've lived in in the past.

We were sitting on the couch eating chicken and rice (one of our favorite meals) and a the very same time we both feel drops of water on our face. We look up to see the ceiling is bubbled. At this time in the dream my mind thinks about the stuff in the attic, but we don't have an attic in real life, and it's not raining outside either.

We start to scramble, trying to figure out what is going on... Then, as we are searching all throughout the house it appears that every ceiling is leaking/bubbling and getting ready to buckle. We start to gather a few things in a panic. I gather all my photo albums and that is all we can manage. We can hear the house creaking and making all kinds of sounds, it it makes us scared. We leave the house and go to Josh's parents... the details are fuzzy here, so we must not have stayed long and I don't remember taking the boys or Olivia, so they must have been elsewhere.

Next, we're back at the house and I'm peering into the front door looking at the water damage and the ceiling damage. The ceiling bubble is getting bigger and bigger, and now all of the ceiling looks stained as if it has had water damage for years. Josh tells me not to go in the house, but we need clothes for the kids and specifically Olivia's blankets. I feel so afraid to go in for fear the house will fall on me, but I run into the room and start grabbing baby clothes and stuff from her closet, only in the dream her room is where the boys room is now. 

In my head I can see all the stuff in the attic weighing down the ceiling... it's all junk, and totes full of crap we don't need or use, but we're hanging onto it. I want to go to the computer room and get my computer because of all my saved photos, but I'm too afraid to go any further into the house. 

I'm standing outside waiting for josh to get back... I can see the long beams on the front porch starting to round out from the weight of the house, they look contorted and strange. I'm outside with the bags of stuff I was able to collect and then it happens... the house collapses in on its self. The sound of it collapsing rocked me the core. The walls are still standing somewhat, but everything else has collapsed in on its self.

I can still see those damn totes full of crap sitting on top of the house rubble, perfectly untouched.

I'm standing there in shock and disbelief, I cry to Josh that we need to find the computer and my jewelry box that my grandmother gave me... and that was it... We drove away... and I can see the house/rubble getting smaller and smaller. 

My breastfeeding experience

Before I gave birth to the twins I had a plan for breastfeeding...


I was going to breastfeed and be amazing at it and that was that. 

I really didn't allow myself to think about it not working. I just knew in the depths of my heart and soul that I would be a breastfeeding goddess and it would be the most amazing experience of my life.

Well... that certainly didn't happen. 

I really, really tried hard to make it work and be that milky goddess, but was mentally devastated when my plan came crashing down around me.

When the boys were born it was an incredibly overwhelming experience to say the least. I birthed, Armor, vaginally and Ronin, came via emergency c-section. Both boys had low sugar and jaundice. We had a difficult time latching and staying on the boob, so I also pumped on top of my attempted nursing sessions... They were small, and we gave formula to help keep their sugars up and basically keep them from having to be taken to NICU... Armor was really having a lot of trouble with his sugar as well as the jaundice and spent a whole 24 hours under the lights, so he was not able to nurse during that time. It was so emotionally draining and so foreign at the same time.

When we got home I nursed as much as I could, and as often as I could, and was literally pumping every 2-3 hours on top or trying to nurse them... Even overnight *sigh*. This went on for about 2 1/2 months... I was only getting about an ounce of milk from each breast, if that, and pumping was so draining on top of already being exhausted from being a first time mom to twins and getting very little sleep. I never knew what pure exhaustion felt like until then.

I felt so depressed pumping so much and get so little in return. They boys were also pretty use to the bottle at this point, and would scream bloody murder when I did try and nurse them. I stopped nursing and just continued to pumped. I felt like I was wasting my time, but at the same time I was so happy to give them every drop of breast milk that I was able to produce. We had a few sweet moments in our nursing journey. I will never forget the moments when I got them both latched for a tandem nursing sessions, it was only a few times, but I felt so accomplished.  

Overall, breastfeeding very hard, in so many different ways... So I decided to throw in the towel... But not after mentally beating myself up and feeling like a complete failure as a woman and mom.

Lets be honest... I was in tears... I felt horrible, as if I wasn't woman enough to stick it through and I was just giving up too soon. 

But I was woman enough, dammit. I was amazing; I carried two babies in my body and birthed them into this world. 

That. is. amazing.

After a few weeks of formula feeding... I felt happy and relieved. I'd finally accepted that sometimes things don't always work out the way we plan, and that is okay. There was nothing wrong with creating a new plan. There should never be any shame in bottle feeding, formula feeding or breastfeeding... You just need to feed your baby and mentally survive.

The boys were thriving and getting full bellies. They were happy and just as healthy with formula. Our sleep was improving, meaning I was getting better sleep, too. It so so important for a new mother to get good sleep when she can. 

When I was pregnant with Olivia... I had very different thoughts about breastfeeding. I told myself I wanted to try again, and that we'd see how it went and I would not allow myself to feel bad if it didn't work out this time around.

I also remembered all the things I "felt" like I did wrong with the boys... The biggest thing, for me, I think, was not nursing them enough right after birth. Nursing every few hours, or on demand those first few days is crucial. I remembered all the tips about trying to get a good latch and what to keep doing if it hurt when the baby was latched... I had a list in my head of all the do's and don'ts and I was just going to go with the flow.

And you know what? 

This time around breastfeeding has been absolutely amazing!! Mentally I was way more prepared, I only had to nurse one baby (haha), and I just stuck with it. This time I was in it to win it ;)

The first few weeks were the hardest, but she and I got our groove down, and it has been an incredible experience. I never knew just how amazing it would be. Now, there are definitely pros and cons to both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, but over all I feel blessed and happy to have this type of bond with her. It makes me a little sad that it did not work with the boys, but at the same time... with the struggles with breastfeeding, and having two babies at once - I can't imagine not having switched over to formulas for all our sake and sanity. 

I feel so lucky to have had this experience this time around. Olivia is a very efficient nursling, I worked with her latch that first week, every single time she latched, and she learned for my guidance... It has been so wonderful sitting and staring at her sweet face, and all her sweet little milk coma smiles... She loves to smile in her sleep.

I returned to work the very last week of January and began to pump at work. So far it has been going well.. but I did get mastitis once returning. Boooo. that sucked. Now I pump twice a day and get about 8-10 ounces while I'm at work, and then I nurse once I get home and at night when she wakes up. She is a great sleeper and usually only wakes between 4:30-6:00 am to nurse.

The transition to using a bottle was a nightmare. My poor husband got screamed at by a baby for about a month. It was sad and hard, and no one tells you that part when they are promoting breastfeeding. I would tell every mother to prepare, especially if they are returning to work after. It was really hard, and we probably bought about 8 different bottles trying get her used to it. Josh is really a trooper and deserves every ounce of credit for getting her to finally accept the bottle... It got so bad he had to give her milk with a medicine dropper during the day, because she would literally not eat anything. Crazy girl, hehe. 


22 February, 2016

Melanoma

I'm an incredibly fair skinned and freckled person and I have been vigilant about keeping an eye on my skin over the years as an adult and protecting it with sunscreen, due to the fact that my mother has had melanoma twice. 

During my pregnancy with the boys, I had a skin spot/discoloration that changed in size and color, so I had it checked out by a dermatologist. It was fine, it was measured and looked at with a fancy little light thingy. All was well and he said to keep an eye on it. 

During my pregnancy with, Olivia, it changed again...

Josh, on several occasions mentioned that I should have it looked at, but because I was pregnant I didn't have the energy or mental focus to deal with anything else, if you know what I mean. 

I had it checked out on January the 25th... On the 27th the biopsy came back and I was told I had Melanoma.


Melanoma...

Those words hit me right in the gut, really hard...

Shit. 

What. the. actual. fuck.

I was at work with a million things going on with it being my first week back from maternity leave, and it really stopped my in my tracks. I fully expected it to be nothing at all... 

I was immediately scheduled with a plastic surgeon for surgery to have a WLE. The very next week I saw the plastic surgeon and by the end of that same week I was having surgery to remove it.

I have a pretty gnarly scar.


In the end I'm incredibly lucky to have a caught my melanoma in the earliest stage. The surgeon was able to get clear margins, and those are definitely the magic words you want to hear. So right now, all is good and no further treatment is needed. I will need to see my dermatologist every 3 months for the next 2 years, and every 6 months after that... Basically the dermatologist and I are going to become good friends. I'm fine with that.

I'm so grateful to be this lucky and that I didn't procrastinate, because if I'd waited another year this could be a completely different story to tell. 

With that being said... it's been a little bit of a mind fuck. Sorry about the language, but internally I was freaking out, while putting on my "cool" face. Now that I have children... it completely changes the way I feel about death and anything that could cause death. the word Cancer is freaking scary as hell. 

I feel nervous and paranoid about my skin now... like it's a ticking time bomb waiting to attack me. I'm only 32 and my body has allowed cancer to grow... even if it was the earliest stage, just the fact that my body could allow that to happen... scares me. You can best believe that I will not miss a single appointment with my dermatologist. EVER, and I don't care if I have a hundred biopsy scars to check silly little skin spots...I will not let me body betray me, again. 

One of my friends, and ex coworker, lost his mom to melanoma a few years ago... it was heartbreaking... it happened fast, and they never found the actual spot or site where the Melanoma originated from... that is what scare me most... not catching something. 

Obviously, I'm more than lucky in this entire situation, and can't live my life in fear... but I will be extra proactive, and be the best advocate I can be for skin cancer awareness. 

If you are reading this and you have a mole or skin spot you've been worried about, and have been putting it off... PLEASE, please, please go and get it checked out, because what you don't know can hurt you. 

19 February, 2016

Life Update

Hello, friends!!

Just popping in for a little Life Update

Soooo.... it's obviously been ages since I last blogged, and I'm soooorrrry. 

I mean my goodness. It looks like the last blog was back in October 2014, when the boys were about 9 months old. A lot has happened since then...

A lot

In December of 2014 my job title changed drastically and I began to work really, really long hours... booooo. Operations manager of a busy downtown hotel was not very friendly when it came to family life.I was only seeing the boys for about an hour to an hour and a half before they went to bed for the evening. It was really hard to only have that much time with them, especially considering how hard we tried to have children. It also made vlogging and blogging pretty much impossible with two little ones on top of crazy work hours.

Armor and Ronin, are now two years old and crazy as ever... We lovingly call them our tiny little tornadoes of velociraptors, ah aha... that one is actually more fitting. They talk so much and it's been so amazing to watch them grow into toddlers vs. infants. They make me crazy and amaze me every single day.

Also. . . 



I had another BABY!!!!

What?

Oh my gosh!

How'd that happen?!? 

Aren't you infertile!?!

Yep...

Sometimes... life throws you a well deserved surprise!

We were shocked, beyond shocked, and it honestly took us a little bit to get use to the idea that we were adding another baby to the family. It was so weird to know my body did what it was supposed to do all on its own... such a strange feeling. 

Right after the boys turned one
is when it happened... NO we were not trying, and to be honest we never thought we'd have anymore children. I thought for sure we'd have to bust into our frozen embryo storage.. It was pretty much a surprise and what I like to call our "valentines love baby" haha. I found out at the beginning of March right after our sweet Roxy passed away... She gave us 14 fantastic years of being the most awesome dog we'll ever have in our lifetime. Josh graduated with his Associate Degree in Applied Science in May and we found out the very same day we were having a GIRL!!!! How incredibly lucky are we???

We also decided to donate our 13 remaining embryos. We donated them to our fertility clinic so that other couples could adopt them. We both feel really good about our decision, and it's a little hard to believe that someone will be having our children... CRAZY!!!

Josh took the summer off from school and stayed home with the boys while I worked, then returned to school in September to continue with his Bachelor degree... I have an relatively uneventful pregnancy, but did wind up dealing with Gestational Diabetes. Luckily, I was able to keep it under control with diet restriction - yay, go me!!


I gave birth to Olivia Rose Bernard on November 9th, 2015, ironically it was the same date that I had my last miscarriage back in 2011. We defiantly came full circle.

Olivia was born at 5:19 pm 
weighted 8lbs 5oz.

Her birth was fantastic and I delivered with the midwives 
just like I did with the boys. I made a birth vlog video, so I'll share the link with y'all  Birth Vlog


I took 3 months off for maternity leave and wound up finding a new job the same week I returned to work. I put my notice in and bam... I have a new job in a completely different industry with a M-F 8/5 kinda hours. I could not be more happy for this change in employment and having more time with my family.  Obviously I'd love to stay home, but that is just not the season of our life right now. Josh is seriously an amazing dad, he is so great... I could not ask for a better husband, friend and father for our children. I truly love him more than I could ever appropriately articulate into words. 


So for now that is it. I'm going to start blogging a bit more since I don't have time to Vlog. I totally miss vlogging, but it takes so much time to edit, blah... 


I feel like I'm in a part of my life where if feels right to blog again!

Right now...overall,  life is good, I'm blessed in more was than I can count and I'm incredibly lucky for all that I have. 



12 October, 2014

They Boys are 9 months old!!

Hello world and Happy October!!

Just here to do a tiny update on the Boys and post a few pictures!

Armor has officially been crawling for about 2 weeks now - WHAT??? How did we get here so fast? Time is flying so fast and these little guys are growing so much... They amaze me each and every day.

I feel like 8 months was such a fun time, mixed with lots of fussing, lol. The Boys have changed so much over the last month or so, and have become very aware of each other and their surrounding. We've had some fussy times which also lets me know they have been going through growth spurts. They are such happy little guys! They laugh, smile and giggle at each other and us... They are so different!

So, Yes... Armor is crawling and pulling up on most things. He is everywhere, investigating and studying everything in his path. He still only has 4 teeth, but I feel a few more might be on the way soon. He has been so smiley and vocal lately.

Ronin is not crawling yet, but is rolling around everywhere, trying to pull up on things, and is really strengthening his upper body. He also looooooves to kick anything and everything in his path. He still goes to PT for Torticollis, but will soon be done (happy dance) He's been in therapy for about 4 months now and I'm so happy that it has helped so much, but a huge part of me will be relieved for him to graduate. My weeks are so full with working full time and appointments on my days off, but I love his Physical Therapist and will be a little sad not to see her anymore, because she is great with both of us!! Ronin has 6 teeth and and two more should break through the surface anytime :)

They turned 9 months old on the 8th of this month, had their 9 month check up and got a flu shot. We don't visit the pediatrician again until they are 12 months... I seriously can't believe they will be 1 year olds in 3 months!!

Armor is 19lbs3oz 28 1/2" tall with a head circumference of 45
Ronin is 18lbs4oz 29" tall with a head circumference of 44















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24 August, 2014

The Boys are 7 Months!!

The Boys are growing so fast and sometimes I seriously want to stop time and just absorb every minute of their little lives, every breath, every smile, every cry and every fussy moment. They are absolutely amazing and fill my heart with such amazing joy. I do feel like I miss out on them while I'm at work, but when they smile and laugh at me all of the guilt from being gone literally melts away. I try and soak in as much as I can and stalk them at night from work by logging on to the baby monitor :) Josh also takes lots of video and pictures, so that makes it great! I take weekly pictures of them just like I did when I was pregnant and I post them on The Redhead Files facebook page. I also take a monthly photos with their cute little bowtie stickers that a sweet, sweet friend sent to me during my pregnancy. I love documenting their lives, for me obviously, but also for our family that are out of state.

Armor and Ronin, turned 7 months old on the 8th of August, 7 MONTHS!! How is this possible? I still remember their birth like it was yesterday *sigh*... time sure does fly when you’re having fun! 


We recently took our first road trip with the Boys to visit family in Lake Charles. It was a rather long drive, but they did fantastic on the drive down and overall It was a really nice trip and very much needed for both Josh and I. I got teary-eyed about an hour into our drive thinking, wow… I can’t believe we are traveling back home to see family with our very own family. It was a wonderful feeling. Many of  Josh's family members had not yet met the boys, so everyone got tons of baby snuggles, smiles, kisses and laughs. The boys also swam in the very same pool that Josh swam in as a child. Great memories



Armor is rolling all over the place!! From his tummy he pulls his entire body up from the floor and is basically practicing for future crawling, lol. He loves his bouncer and is now starting fuss when we leave the room. He is very aware of our presence. He smiles and laughs every day and his hair is really starting to come in. Armor is also getting really good at sitting up. He still wobbles a bit and tumbles over after a little while, but overall he’s looking pretty straight. One tooth on the bottom has broken the surface, one right next to it will come any day (hour) and his top two are also coming in right now, poor little guy. Teething hasn't been kind to him. He has Josh's eye color, nose, ears, feet and hands... The rest is all me!



Ronin is going to Physical Therapy each week for his Torticollis and is getting so much stronger. He is starting to roll over on his own from belly to back, and back to belly. He usually only rolls from his right side, so we are working on the left side roll. Sitting is getting better, but he still leans forward and is wobbly, but definitely improving. Ronin recently received a helmet to correct his plagiocephaly. He will have to wear it anywhere from 4-6 months, but I think it will be closer to the 4-5 month range. Ronin has already cut two teeth on the bottom and two top teeth. I call him my teething machine :) He smiles alllll day, everyday and is such a happy little guy. Ronin has my eyes, nose, ears and feet. The rest is alllll Josh!


Both Armor and Ronin are very vocal these days and each of their voices is so different from one another. When we are in another room or I hear them on the baby monitor I instantly know who is who. At their 6 month appointment they both weighed exactly same at 16lbs 10oz and were 27 ½ and 27 ¾ long!! They got vaccinations and did much better this time around. They are drinking 4 bottles a day and each have one full jar of baby food!! I buy nature's best and beechnut, they love sweet potatoes, green beans, squash and pears. I so wanted to make my own food, but seriously… I just don’t have time. Working full time is tough sometimes, but I do what i must in order to support my family. Josh is also a full time student, so our lives are pretty busy these days, but I love it and would not change it for anything in the world. To be honest... I'm madly in love with them and truly amazed at how much our lives have changed in such little time. Josh and I were so excited to know we were finally going to become parents, but there is no way we could have ever known just how amazing it would be, or just how much it would truly affect us. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.


                                                           Some Instagram love





 

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