Pregnancy After Loss

June 14, 2020

I never expected to experience a pregnancy loss, let alone two. My first pregnancy with Jackson was almost 100% worry free. Of course the worry of the possibility of having a miscarriage crossed my mind a time or two, but that was different than actually having and feeling the emotional and physical pain that comes with loss. Because of that ease with my first pregnancy, an almost sort of naivety of bliss, our first miscarriage hit hard (which you can read about here).

After I got out of the Air Force our "plan" was to have 3-4 kids close in age, but of course that did not go to plan. After having Jax we tried for about 3/4 of a year (which is not very long for some people) when we finally got the second positive test. That pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. After that came a period of grief, yet a period of still trying to get pregnant, because we so badly wanted more children. It took over a year after the first miscarriage to get pregnant again. Between that time the doctor told me that I could be experiencing secondary infertility, and they would start running the usual infertility testing. We started some of the tests and I naturally got a second positive pregnancy test. We unfortunately lost that pregnancy as well last Memorial Day Weekend. You can read about our second loss here.

With more infertility tests run, more ultrasounds, a billion blood draws and a lot of appointments later came another positive pregnancy test about 7 months after our second loss. The doctor put me on Progesterone and two other medications in order to help maintain my pregnancy. Now, 23 weeks later, I am here to tell you about what pregnancy after loss may be like for you.

1. Give your heart room to grieve

Whether or not you think you have "fully" grieved your loss, more grief may come. Grieving is a journey and experiencing a loss is a journey. It is raw and unfiltered and sneaks up on you unexpectedly. Do not judge yourself for having unexpected emotions that reoccur from your pregnancy loss or new emotions that come with your current pregnancy.

I like to compare my grief to sitting on a surfboard in the ocean. Sometimes it will flow right under me, barely a ripple beneath the board. Sometimes it will come in like a big wave and you either ride it in or you fall of the board. And sometimes it can pull you back out to deeper waters like a riptide and you may need some extra help to get back out of the deep water. Accept how the grief feels and swim through the waves of emotions without judging your own pain.

2. Expect to worry

I am not going to lie---nothing about pregnancy after loss is carefree.

In the back of your brain you may be thinking about the "what-ifs" and the negative side of things that you have already experienced. You have seen how hard it can be and it is tough to come back from that. I can honestly say that there are not many moments when I have not worried. Which is truly tough, because i oftentimes wish I could go back to the almost naive feelings I had during my first pregnancy.

Your current pregnancy will most likely be tainted with fear and negative emotions, when in reality it should be such a joyous time for you and your partner. Every twinge of pain, every cramp, every underwear check will be filled with the fear of miscarriage.

2. Everything will feel heightened

Like I said above, you are going to analyze EVERY SINGLE THING about this pregnancy. You are going to be hyper-aware of every feeling in your body. Every symptom may bring on a fear that you are miscarrying. You may compare your symptoms to pregnancy/ies you have had in the past and it is hard to not let your mind slide to negative feelings. Try not to overanalyze---but trust me, I know that is way easier said than done.

3. Passing milestones and appointments

This has been a very tough one for me personally. Driving to each appointment has brought on a stint of nervousness and fear that I will hear the same thing horrible news coming from the doctor again. Every ultrasound has been tainted with fear of a lack of yolk sack, to a loss of movement, to a loss of a heartbeat. To say I sweat through my clothes at every ultrasound appointment is an understatement.  Every Doctor's visit has reminded me of the losses I have had and the fear that came with it, instead of pure joy. Even after I saw the baby move and was told "there's the heartbeat", I have still tended to be nervous, or airing on the side of caution with my emotions.

4. Feeling overly connected or not as connected

Speaking of airing on the side of caution with my emotions...

What I mean is that I have tried to keep my emotions in check since our first pregnancy loss. I used to be SOO excited for every appointment during my pregnancy with Jax. Now it is a little bit of a different story.

Now I find myself filling out the same forms for pregnancy that I filled out with my two last pregnancies and how they ended too soon. When they draw my blood for the current pregnancy I find my mind wandering to all of the HCG blood draws I had to go through to make sure it went down to zero after my two previous losses. I find myself not wanting to take as many belly pictures because I don't want to lose this baby and then be reminded of it as I scroll through old pictures.

I try not to be too negative or too excited, in case the pregnancy were to end in a loss again. I have found myself guarding my emotions in the matter of "connecting" to the pregnancy. I caught myself saying "if this pregnancy is successful" a lot of the time instead of "when we have this baby". My confidence in my own body to produce a successful pregnancy has gone down. You may always have that unexplainable guilt so it may be hard to connect to your new pregnancy right off the bat.

5. Guilt

GUILT. There will be a lot of guilt. I never knew guilt could come in so many forms.

Guilt for feeling the least bit excited for the new pregnancy, not wanting it to overshadow your previous pregnancies/losses.

Guilt in your own body for losing your previous baby. And now guilt towards expecting your body to lose this battle again.

Guilt in not yet being able to provide a sibling for your previous child.

Guilt for when to tell family and friends, for you don't want to put them through any type of loss again.

Guilt for when to announce. We waited until WEEK 20 to announce our current pregnancy. That is a long time to have that fear in announcing your journey to the world. Make sure your feel comfortable at when you tell people or post on social media. Some want to announce the pregnancy right away as a result of being overjoyed that they were able to conceive again, and some are overly cautious and wanting to wait to make sure the pregnancy is viable and healthy. It is up to you, this is your journey.

6. Insensitive Comments

Be prepared for well intentioned, yet sometimes insensitive comments. A lot of the times people will think they are saying something helpful or positive, when in reality only you feel the slight sting of their words. Death makes people uncomfortable. Miscarriage, infertility and loss makes people even more uncomfortable. It is hard to truly know what anyone is going through in these type of situations unless you have experienced them yourself.

Know that every statement made is made from a place of love or a place of trying to understand what you have gone through.

7. You never quite feel "out of the woods"

No matter which pregnancy milestone you pass, or how far along you are, you may always feel like you are not out of the woods.

This is why we personally waited until we found out the gender to announce that we were even pregnant. I still worry every moment that I don't feel movement, but it is out of my hands. This pregnancy has seemingly gone very slow due to all of this added fear of the unknown, but we are now at week 23. With each passing day we grow closer and closer to a new baby boy joining our family. I know that I won't feel fully out of the woods until I am holding my crying baby boy in my arms, but I now have hope that we will get there. Surround yourself with loved ones who care and support you. These are the people that will help you get through it all.


With all of this in mind, I know that this journey is not an easy one. You are going to feel so many different unexplainable emotions. There will be happy times and sad times. There will be tough reminders of your loss but also new joy in what's to come. Get any and all the support you need in this journey, because 40 weeks can either go by extremely slow, or extremely fast. I wish you all the luck and joy with this new pregnancy, and send you all the love and comfort for your previous loss/es. I hope that you and your partner are able to experience the joy of a "rainbow baby" after the storm that you have weathered.

Starting Your Own Family Traditions: St Nick's Feast Day

December 5, 2019

Christmas is my favorite Holiday and I love everything about the season. 

Becoming a parent has made me want to make the Holiday Season extra special for Jackson. 

A new tradition that I started for our little family is celebrating St.Nicholas' Feast Day. Nick's family mentioned celebrating it themselves (and when they were younger) before we had Jax and I knew it was something I wanted to incorporate once we had kids ourselves. This tradition is a celebration of the start of the Christmas Season and includes putting out shoes the night before St.Nick's feast day, and the next morning they are "filled by St.Nick" with treats or money.

The origin of this tradition is as follows: In the third century there was a man names Nicholas who was a Bishop in the early Greek town of Myra. He was born into wealth and had a generous heart. Because of this generosity he would distribute wealth where it was needed. He One day he heard of a poor man who could not afford his three daughter's dowry, the man would have to give his daughter's up to prostitution instead of being able to marry them. Nicholas heard of this and for three nights in a row dropped a bag of gold down their chimney that landed in a sock that was hung to dry. The girls were saved and this became one of the most famous legends of St. Nicholas. In many countries a Christmas sock is hung by the fireplace, or a shoe placed outside the door for St. Nicholas to fill. The modern day Santa Claus us derived from St Nicholas. 
This year is a little different because Nick is currently deployed, so we don't have a real tree up yet, and St Nicholas has one less boot to fill. You can bet Nick was, of course, still able to get his boot filled by St Nicholas overseas! He's such a good sport πŸ’›

Our St. Nick boots are usually filled with:

Something to wear

Good ideas for this would be Christmas PJs, an item of clothing, a winter clothing item, etc.

This year Jax got a new Carhartt beanie and I got my favorite lotion from Victoria's Secret.

Something to eat

Good ideas for this are your kids favorite treats, "themed candy", or Christmas candy.

This year Jax got Hi-Chews (a Japanese candy) since Dad is currently deployed to Japan and got Hi-Chews as well! I got Ghirardelli Seasonal Chocolates...because...yum!

Something to use

Good ideas for this is anything you want to incorporate that you think is useful or special to your child.

For this I put out our special Jesus stocking that Jax's Busia and Dziadzia got us last Christmas. Now that he is a little older I want to start explaining the meaning behind Christmas, and it also gives him an extra little stocking to hang on the mantle. For my own useful gift, I got makeup!

Christmas Tree

On our little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree I put an ornament to represent each of us this year. The W at the top for our family name, a USAF pilot snowman for Nick, a Rhino for me (because I love Rhinos) and a Buzz ornament because Jax is obsessed. I put a candy cane in each boot, incorporating another religious aspect into the day, as well as incorporating a special tradition that my Mom used to do for us when we were little. The candy cane represents St.Nick's bishop crosier and my own family's tradition of candy canes appearing on our Christmas tree every Christmas morning that were  "hung by Santa Claus".

5 Simple Things to do for a Deployed Service Member

October 26, 2019

Today is National Day of the Deployed

National Day of the Deployed means something a little extra special to our family, especially this year since Nick is deployed again. I can't wait for this day at the end of his deployment when we get to welcome him home!

Contact the Deployed Service Member
1. Check on the deployed. Sometimes deployments can be lonely. A lot of them work all day/night then go back to an empty room. Most deployed can be contacted in some way even if they don't have cell service. A friendly facebook message, Whats App message, DM, etc can go a long way. Just message them and ask them how it is going. Some deployed do not have families that are able to regularly check on them which means they can sometimes feel quite alone and this little gesture of them knowing that your are thinking of them back home can make them feel loved.

Send the Deployed Service Member a Care Package
2. Send them a care package. Most deployed units have addresses you can send a care package to! Jax and I always try to send Nick 1-4 packages over the course of his deployments (about one every 3 weeks). I fill it with snacks from back home and drawings from Jax to make him feel like he's at home. If there is a holiday during his deployment I will send him holiday packages as well. Even if you do not know a deployed person directly, you can visit Support Our Troops to find out how and where to send care packages worldwide. 
Check on the Deployed Service Member's Family
3. Check on the deployed ones family! A small gesture can go a long way. I know this from personal experience. If you know a military family ask them what kind of support they need. Most spouses will say none, but don't stop there. From experience I know that an unexpected package, a meal left on their doorstep, or a day (or 2 hours) of watching their kids goes a long way in helping them out. Something as simple as offering to go get coffee with them can be greatly appreciated. They are stressed that their spouse is gone and people with families are most likely overwhelmed with now being a "single parent". You are indirectly helping out the deployed when you check on their home unit. 
4. Donating to a military organization, such as the United Service Organization, helps support troops both in the U.S. and overseas. They also provide to the military members families as well. You can look up a local USO to find out a way that you can help. They provide free services to military members that can go a long way. On one of Nick's deployments they set up a book recording service where Nick was able to pick out a children's book, record himself reading it and then send both the recording and the book back home for Jackson. It was the cutest thing I have seen the USO do and I was so appreciative of it. 
5. Pray for them. This is the simplest task of all and can go without explanation. They are away from home, in harms way and sacrificing their time and life so that we can live freely at home. 

DIY Deployment Wall

October 19, 2019

Here's one for all the military families out there!

Nick is deployed again and I've been wanting to make this "wall" for Jax. We'll just call it a Deployment Wall, because that's pretty much what it is. 

Deployments suck...We all know that by now (and if you're new to the deployment game I'm sorry). I thought this wall would be a great way for Jax to visually understand what's going on. He's at a weird age now where he knows Dad is supposed to be home and he realizes he misses him, but he doesn't know how to process that emotion quite yet. We've had a few moments right off the bat, when I was dealing with my own "fresh" deployment emotions as well, where he would randomly say I hug Dad, or ask me if Dad was home, and it would bring a few tears to my eyes. I had to explain that no he's at work right now so we can't hug him. But that inspired me to make this wall for him.
This wall has all the goodies, and is a good way to keep him excited every day about counting down the days until Dad comes home. There a few activities involved that really could be fun for kids of all ages. I'll go on explaining each piece of the wall so that you can personalize your own for your kiddos!

Left Side
On the left side of the wall I have a cork board with some fun activities. I got the cork board as well as the picture hanger from Target in the $1 bin section! Jax gets to change Dad's weather ☀☁☂☃, which we check everyday on my phone. I just printed out some google images of some cute looking cartoon weather and printed out all of the titles. The extra weathers are pinned onto the board to switch out as the weather changes! He also gets to add a plane onto the board for every flight Dad flies, which he of course loves to do since he is obsessed with ✈ "Dad's plane" ✈. The extras are also pinned to the board. On the board as well as below the board I put a few of my favorite military/homecoming pictures that we took.


Middle Section
The middle section is made up of a couple of shelves with a few personal touches. Of course Dad's time zone he is in is on the clock πŸ•£up above. I have a chalkboard countdown calendar (from the Target $1 bins) that we change everyday. The jar is filled with the number of candies 🍬 for how many days are left. Jax looks forward to eating a candy everyday and it is also a WONDERFUL visual for everyone. When you see how small of an amount of candies are left it really puts time into a different perspective 😊. On the bottom shelf I printed out a kids world map and placed it in a frame. I did this so that we could circle where on the map Dad is with a wet erase marker. I put one of his stuffed animals that correlates to where he is deployed to, as well as one of Jax's toy planes. Very simple, yet very fun for Jax.


Right Side
Lastly, on the right side I have another $1 bin Target chalkboard sign with a quote that really speaks to me. I hung up an extra pair of Nick's dog tags I had made that have a special quote from us on them. It's a nice personal memento he carries in his pocket every flight. So I feel like we have a piece of him here while he's away. Again, another $1 Target find, I have a kids wall hanger and I hung up Jax's flight suit and aviator goggles. He can dress up like Dad whenever he feels like it!


Final touches
A fun little banner I made to add more color that says Daddys Deployment. All you need is some construction paper and twine/string! I put Jax's favorite "Dad"/Deployment books that we have underneath so that he can choose a story to read every night. 

You can really personalize this space however you like and make it your own! Add personal touches that your kids will love and activities that they would like to participate in. It's good to get them involved. Think of all the emotions you go through when your spouse leaves then amplify that for your kids! They are going through a lot and this is one way to help them understand those emotions. 

Fall Family Bucket List Activities Under $50

October 13, 2019



Now that it's almost mid October, is everyone AT LEAST one month in to sipping on their Pumpkin Spice Lattes? I know I have been! I'm more of an iced coffee year round kind of gal, but to each their own, am I right? While I don't enjoy changing up the temperature of my coffee, I do enjoy the changing temperature of the seasons. I enjoy them so much that it's hard to guess that I'm originally from San Diego. I think not having much change growing up actually made me appreciate the change of seasons that much more. I love all of the fun activities that come with each new season as well.

Usually our family Fall activities include apple picking, multiple pumpkin patches, maybe a football game or two and lots and lots of cold weather snuggles. This Fall is a little bit different because Nick deployed this past week. We got to squeeze in a pumpkin patch before he left and it was honestly the happiest I've been going to a pumpkin patch because I knew what was coming (the dreaded day he was leaving was coming fast). I took it all in and loved just watching Jax and Nick run around the pumpkin patch. 
I wanted to share this feeling of happiness with your own family by making a short and cheap list of fun activities to try out!


1. Apple Orchard 🍎🍏🍎

I love going to apple orchards. Nick likes to joke that we're paying to do our own manual labor, but there's just something about it that I love.  It's usually our first activity during Fall when it has just started to get cold. A place we love to do our apple picking at out here in Omaha is Ditmars Orchard and Vineyard (they also have other picking seasons as well)! It's actually in Council Bluffs, Iowa but it is within a short driving distance and they have a wonderful variety of apples. 

2. Pumpkin Patch πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

This activity, of course, is a given during Fall and around Halloween. I grew up going to pumpkin patches every year to pick out THE perfect carving pumpkin and it's something I have loved continuing to do with Jackson. The great thing about local farms and pumpkin patches is that they have every variety of pumpkin and it's usually cheaper than buying them at a grocery store. Most places have other fun activities/hayrides/food to do with the family while you're there as well. Two places we love to go are Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Farm, as well as Vala's Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard. Another wonderful family farm that we went sunflower picking at right before Fall began, that I would love to go to visit in the future for pumpkin picking is Nelsons Family Farm. I love supporting local farms and this is a fun and easy way to do that. 

3. Corn Maze 🌽🌽🌽

If you love a little adventure and would love some family fun time, try out a corn maze! Most pumpkin patches and farms have corn mazes too. It adds a little adventure to the usual Fall activities and will keep you guessing the whole time. This is usually a little better of an activity for older kids when they start to get bored with the family pumpkin picking πŸ˜‚

4. Bonfire πŸ”₯🍫πŸ”₯

What's not to love about this simple activity? The nights come earlier, the days are getting cooler and the bugs are finally going away! I love bonfires or fire pits, that familiar smell brings me right to the end of summer/beginning of Fall. A great bonus is you get to make ooey gooey S'mores! Kids really seem to enjoy this simple activity and get a kick out of roasting their own marshmallows over the fire (not going to lie, I still love an occasional S'more). 

5. Carve Pumpkins πŸŽƒπŸ”ͺπŸŽƒ

Nothing says Fall quite like a jack-o'-lantern lighting up your front porch. This is a great activity for kids at any age because it's so hands on. Whether your kids are young or old they're bound to get a kick out of carving their own personal design into a pumpkin. You can also roast the seeds afterwards if you enjoy the taste of pumpkin seeds!


6. Bake πŸͺπŸͺπŸͺ

Fall is a wonderful time to break out a new pie or cookie recipe. Kids love helping make things and this is a good excuse to eat some yummy desserts! It's cheap, you can do it at home (for those rainy Fall days), and its hands on. Sounds like a good idea to me. 


7. Caramel Apples 🍏🍎🍏

This activity is simple! It's another great rainy day activity for the kiddos to participate in when you can't spend time outdoors. All you need are some apples, caramels, popsicle sticks and fixings. Once again it's a wonderful hands on activity and the kids get to decorate their caramel apples with whatever fixings they like.

8. Decorate πŸŽƒπŸ“¦πŸ

The most simple activity out of all of them. I've realized that Jax and I both LOVE decorating when it comes to any seasonal activities. The simple joy he experiences when we pull out a box of new things to explore is awesome to see as a parent. He learns new words as we rotate out seasonal decorations and explain each item as he's pulling it out of the storage box. You can even go as simple as going to the dollar store and getting some fun window clings or pumpkins to put around the house! I promise they'll enjoy it!


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