Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'll be seeing you.

In the last 6 years I have done many great things. I graduated college, got married, got two dogs, bought 3 cars, had two jobs, moved from North Carolina to Florida and then to Hawaii, and the number one thing is I had a baby. All of these things have been important milestones in my life and all have been done without having my dad here to experience them with me.
It has been 6 years since I've seen his smile, felt the warmth of his hugs. 6 years since he went to be with The Lord. It took me a long time to understand why, and I still question on my bad days why he was taken from me. Why did he have to miss out on walking me down the aisle? Or why doesn't he get to hold his first born granddaughter? When I think about these things for too long I start to get angry. Angry at God for taking him from me too soon. I have to calm myself and listen to God but honestly, it is so hard to.
Our relationship was just getting back to a place where I was happy. I have so many regrets of the 3 years I spent literally hating that man for leaving me when I was 11. But the fact is, he didn't leave me. He was always there, I just pushed him away. I hate myself still to this day for things I did and said to him. Time I could have spent loving him and making memories that I would have today. But I can't change the past. I can only remember the relationship we had before and then after his accident.
 You see, after he left, 3 years had past and he was in a very bad motorcycle accident. He almost died that night. At the time, did I care? To be completely honest I didn't. Deep down I think I did care but on the outside I was still hurting and my shell did not budge. But it was my mother that worked so hard at getting me back into a relationship with him and I am so grateful everyday she did.
In the beginning it was hard. I was 15,a teenager and I had to hangout with my dad. Not cool. He lived in an apartment on a bad side of town but my mother and I would go over there and spend time with him and have dinner almost every night. I still remember sitting on the couch watching TV through his motorcycle sitting in front of me. Yes, he had his beloved motorcycle in the living room. He loved that bike so much he would sit and stare at it! At the time I thought it was crazy but now I'd probably do the same if I had the chance.
When it came time to get my driving permit my dad was so excited because he had someone to drive him around. He couldn't drive because of his broken ankle from the accident. Memories of taking his old blue ford explorer out in the snow, to empty parking lots to teach me how to lose control of the car and then get it back are still so fresh in my mind. We would fishtail and do doughnuts and give my mom a heart attack in the backseat. It was fun! This was just the beginning of our love being rekindled.
I drove him everywhere. He was a courier for a delivery service that dropped off odds and ends. Mostly Ink for larger printing companies. He had me drive to the beach, through Raleigh traffic at 5pm, to the mountains. Any road in NC, you name it, I probably drove on it. I would go straight to his apartment from school and then we would get in the car and drive. On the weekends we would drive to Virginia just to get a Lottery ticket. Even after North Carolina got the state lotto. It was our thing. A lot of times we wouldn't talk. Just listen to the radio and sing the songs.
He bought me my first car. A beautiful 2000 white Honda civic. It was a 2 door and I thought it was the best thing ever. I still vividly remember the day we brought her home from Locust, NC yes. We drove all the way to a town outside of Charlotte for THE car. He loved me that much he had to find the perfect car for me. He always made sure the oil was changed, tires were rotated, and it was safe for the road.
He was the calm parent when I did things I knew I wasn't supposed to. When I drove in my car to a beach in North Carolina and without telling my parents, drove from there for Myrtle Beach, SC and got into an accident, HE never yelled at me. He wasn't mad but I could tell I scared him. Driving home from South Carolina that day was the first time since he had left when I was 11, that I said; "I love you" and actually meant it.
We had a lot of great memories that I cherish and make me smile on a sad day. The thing I loved most about my dad was his spontaneity. We would wake up on a Saturday morning and he would want to go to Bass Pro Shop in Charlotte. When we got there and were finished he would then drive straight to Myrtle just to see the ocean. And we would go down to Randleman just to ride to go carts. He loved Go Carts and anything that had wheels. When I was 7 or 8 he bought this old red riding lawn mower just for me to ride around the yard. He didn't even get mad when I ran straight into his White 4runner. So many of these memories make it a little less painful to live on this earth without him.

I wish I would have told him I loved him more often. His last words to me were "I love you." As he said them that day in the Emergency Room, I didn't think it would be the last time I heard them. I'm glad I got to say it back before he passed but I wish I could have had more time to tell him how I truly felt. How sorry I was for treating him the way I did. For taking advantage of him wanting to make me happy. To tell him what an amazing Dad he was because I never did. 
His death was very traumatizing for me. I still remember every detail so vividly. It didn't hit me that I could lose my dad until I turned around in the hall of the ER and saw someone giving him CPR through the curtain on the door I just walked out of.  Moments before, he had held my hand and told me he loved me. I said "I love you and everything is going to be okay." That feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. Bricks that were pressing so hard on my chest I couldn't breathe. My hands were tingling and tears were flooding down my face. I wasn't prepared to lose him. How could it have happened so quickly? Without a moments notice? There was never a sign of a blood clot. No sign of a pulmonary embolism. Not until it was too late. Why would God do that to me? To him? Was he ready? Was he accepting of death that day? These questions I still haven't found answers for. I have to understand in God's plan and I do, but it was this experience in particular that made me question God more than ever before. He could have taken him a few years before when he had his accident but he didn't and that was to give us a second chance. A second chance at the father daughter relationship we had before. But why take him so soon after? I can only pray for understanding. And knowing that he is watching over Peyton, I do understand. 

The pain will never go away. It just gets easier to bare over time. It has been 6 years today since he passed. In the beginning I would dream of him all the time.  But sadly it is getting less and less. But with every big thing that has happened since, I have a dream that he was there. I dreamt of the day he walked me down the aisle. And the day Peyton was born, I dreamt of him holding her, It was so vivid too. He had tears rolling down his face and told me how beautiful she was; just like I was when he held me for the first time. I only wish these could have came true but in a way I know he was there. I know he is always with me. I see his grin and those big cheeks in Peyton all the time it's uncanny. I know when she gets distracted and looks off into the distance, I can sense he is there. I show her his picture and she smiles. He is her guardian Angel.

I hope that he would be proud of who I am today. Proud of the things I have accomplished and places I have seen. I strive for acceptance in everything I do because I wouldn't want him to be disappointed in me. I only wish he was here to help guide me.

I made this video for me to have and see whenever I want and I'd love to share it with you all. 

Please kiss your loved ones tonight and tell them how much you love them. You never know when it will be your last chance. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Breastfeeding.

I'll be the first to admit, long before I knew I was pregnant I thought breastfeeding was "weird". I would see women at the mall covered up on a bench nursing their baby and I thought to myself , gosh that is gross they need to do that in private! I never once thought I would ever breastfeed any of my children. My mom always told me she breastfed me and I would cringe at the thought of me doing that. I grew up thinking breasts were for sexual purposes and the thought of a baby suckling on them was just inappropriate. 
When I found out I was pregnant I told myself I wouldn't even try it. I did my research and learned that breast milk was the absolute best thing for my baby but I still didn't want her to actually feed from my breast. I decided I would try the whole pumping thing since I knew it was best for the baby. I went out and bought this fancy double electric pump all of these expensive bottles and read up on strict pumping regimens and how to keep up my supply without nursing. I was prepared. I knew it was going to be tough but I wanted my baby to have what was best for her without me having to actually breastfeed.
It wasn't until I was 8 1/2 months pregnant that I started to think I would at least try it in the hospital and then quit once we got home. I talked to many women and read many articles about the bond you have with your baby that comes from breastfeeding and I still felt it just wasn't for me.

I can still remember when Peyton was laying on my chest while they were stitching me up the nurse asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding now. I figured what the heck i'll try it. I thought it might take my mind off the pain from having to get those stitches without being numb. It didn't take long for Peyton to get latched on and in that moment I knew exactly what every article I read about breastfeeding meant. There was an instant bond between her and I. She looked up at me with those big deep blue beautiful eyes and I was hooked! It is hard to explain but it was nothing like I had anticipated. It was so special and it was just for me and her. 
I didn't notice anyone else in the room but her. After that first nursing session I decided I wasn't going stop. I set a goal to breastfeed for at least 12 months and if I make that goal I will continue to breastfeed until she no longer wants to. I've had many snarky looks and comments from this but it is the absolute best thing for her and I have no intentions of stopping until she is ready. 

In the beginning I had many struggles after leaving the hospital. In a few days she lost her latch and I got cracks and scabs and it was excruciating to nurse. I would sit in her room and nurse her and just cry because it hurt so badly. I've nursed 'round the clock, but I never thought about giving up. I have been through days of low supply, plugged ducts, even one case of mastitis but I never once thought about giving up. We are 6 1/2 months in, going strong and she hasn't had or needed an ounce of formula. Something I am pretty proud of!

It is amazing how the moment you see your child your whole world changes. What you thought you needed, wanted or ways you wanted to do things can change completely. She has made me into the mother I never thought I could be. I see life in a whole new perspective and want to live my life much differently. 

One of the most important websites that showed me how important breast milk was to a baby is Kellymom

Also Dr. Sears was helpful too. Did you know that as babies grow, mother's milk continues to provide important protection against infection and disease. Human infants receive antibodies through the placenta, but these are gradually used up during the first six months. Human milk fills in the immunity gap until baby's own immune system matures and kicks in. Even babies who continue to nurse into toddlerhood benefit from the many immune factors in their mother's milk. Amazing right?!


When it comes to deciding if Breastfeeding is right for you and your baby it is so very important to have a strong support system. It is not an easy road and it takes a village to breastfeed one baby. Brad and Peyton are the reasons I never gave up. He always encouraged me and never once made me feel guilty.

This blog by no means is "dissing" moms who chose not to or cannot Breastfeed. All moms need to stick together and support one another no matter what our personal choices are.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1 Corinthians 16:13


1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.



I know I promised my next blog would be about breastfeeding, but I want to share/vent just really what happened with Brad last week. It was hard to really explain it on my updates on Facebook as we didn't have very many answers for quite some time and still don't have all of them.
A little history first; a few years back Brad had a similar issue just no where near as severe as this episode was. He was in the hospital for a few days, they did one colonoscopy, took one look and said ok so and so is what caused the bleeding. They gave  him fiber supplements and sent him on his way. We thought it was over no big deal. Just needed to eat healthier. Which we changed our diet and what we ate after that first time so he didn't have any issues afterwards.
Wednesday while at work he started bleeding again. It came out of nowhere so it was a little surprising. And with Brad being a man he didn't think anything of it and didn't tell me. Later that night he felt sick and proceeded to tell me he had started bleeding again like 3 years ago. I said do we need to take you to the hospital? Of course he said no, he was going to go anyway in the morning to get some blood work done for work since he had been complaining of being really tired of all the time for the past few months. He woke up the next morning and said he needed to go to the ER. I was torn because he seemed like he felt ok and I didn't want to leave Peyton so he drove himself. I felt terrible for making him go alone but what was I supposed to do with Peyton? The ER is no place for an infant. He later texted me and told me the bleeding had stopped but they wanted to keep him overnight to monitor him. His vitals were stable, hemoglobin was low but not terrible so I said ok ill come up in the morning. This is where I wish there was 2 of me. I wanted to be with my husband but I needed to be with our daughter.
He never had another episode and they couldn't explain what caused it but he was stable so they sent him home Friday afternoon with no answers. He felt better just still really tired. They gave him no restrictions other than taking some iron and eating iron rich foods to get his hemoglobin back up. That night we made steaks per his request. About 9pm he said his stomach was hurting. I asked if he needed to go back to the hospital he said no. About that time Peyton was getting fussy so I went upstairs with her but told Brad I wasn't going to sleep until he came upstairs. I wanted to go back downstairs after she fell asleep but I didn't want to bother him as he was back and forth to the bathroom and he's never been the type to talk about his bowel movements. About 1230am he came upstairs and I immediately knew something was wrong. He said he felt like he needed to go to the hospital right away. He said the bleeding had started again and was worse. I knew I needed to drive him so he went straight down to the car while I got Peyton up and in her carseat. I am asking brad questions as we pull out of the driveway and it was almost like his brain and mouth weren't working together. He couldn't form a sentence and he couldn't answer any questions I asked him. He had a blank look on his face. It really worried me. We got half way down our road and he falls forward in the seat, vomits all over himself and starts to convulse. I panicked in the middle of the street I stopped the car ran over to his side, and opened the door. I lifted his head up and he had the blank stare again. I couldn't get him to talk or answer me and his face was gray(a very scary color as it was the way my dad looked the night he died). I immediately called 911 as I was afraid of the worst and scared I wouldn't make it to the hospital. Brad came to about 5 minutes later and was feeling a little better but didn't know what happened. The ambulance came and of course since he is feeling better they acted like nothing is wrong with him. I still had them take him to the hospital because I was so scared this would happen again. This whole time everything was going poor Peyton was in the backseat. She was wide awake. I felt terrible! I called our friends Kyley and Tison down the street and asked for them to come get her. I will forever be grateful for them during this whole situation. They took Peyton with no question when I needed help.
Of course we get back to the hospital and give them the spill about everything again and they take their time because at the moment he was stable. they took more blood also. A Dr from family med came in and looked very concerned. At the time Brad was resting as much as he could rest. The dr stated she felt he would need a blood transfusion because his Hgb(hemoglobin) was too low for they're liking. At this point it had dropped from a 12 (his first night in the hospital) to a 8. I have always heard horror stories of transfusions so I wanted to talk to the Dr before just signing the paperwork. She wasn't very nice to me as she basically told me if we refused any transfusions he would probably die. Having someone tell me my husband could die made a huge hole in my stomach. I never even thought about life without Brad before. And for her to tell me in such a way was so hurtful and made me sick. We never were going to refuse the transfusion as we both knew if he needed it he was going to get it.
Once we got the okay on the transfusion they were going to move him out of the ER and into a regular room. At this point I was so sick to my stomach I excused myself from his room to have my breakdown outside, alone. I screamed outside of the doors of the ER. I made the phone calls I needed to, to his mom and dad, and of course my mom too. Everything from then on seemed so slow moving.  The first transfusion would take at least 3 hours because they didn't want to do it to fast to cause any rejection.
The whole time they are giving him the first 2 units he was still bleeding. Talking to the nurses, they were acting like this was no big deal. I could visibly see him getting worse and worse and it seemed like no one cared. We kept asking where the drs were and of course it being a Saturday they are on call and taking their time since his vitals were still showing he was stable. It was extremely annoying that no one was listening to either one of us.
Finally I told him not to flush the toilet because the nurses needed to see just how much blood he was passing each time. FINALLY when they actually saw what he was passing, they freaked out. We immediately got transferred up to PCU, they ordered a CT Scan and Angiogram. He went down first for the CT and finally we had some answers. They knew the bleeding was coming from the small intestine just unsure of where. There is about 20 feet of small bowel but at least we knew it wasn't in large intestine or in his stomach. Next up was the angiogram, the Dr came and told me this was to try and pin point where the bleeding was. He said if he wasn't actively bleeding at the time they would be unsuccessful.
So I waited for 3 hours to get no answer. He had stopped bleeding between the time of the CT and the angiogram. The Drs next plan of attack was a pill camera he would swallow and take pictures all the way through his GI track to see what was causing the bleeding. They still were unsure of what was causing it. They threw out words like AVM, Diverticulitis, and Tumor.  But those weren't answers just possibilities. Saturday night he seemed ok. He wasn't actively bleeding which was good and he was in good spirits. I called my mom and talked to her for awhile. She asked me if I needed her to come out here to help me with Brad and Peyton. I broke down and told her I needed her. I was scared and helpless. I felt terrible for making Tison and Kyley who have 2 kids watch Peyton too and I had no idea when i'd be leaving brads side. I was too scared to. And in all honestly I hadn't even thought about Peyton, I was more concerned about Brad (i'm sure than makes me sound like a bad mother but I knew she was in good hands and she was okay, my husband wasn't). She booked her flight while on the phone with me. She would be here the next day.  I called Brad's mom and told her my mom was coming and she booked a flight out here too. I owe them both so much for flying all the way to Hawaii to be there for us and help us with everything. 
He did really well saturday night and they started the pill cam at lunch time on Sunday. After about 2 hours they told him he could start having clear liquids so he asked for a Sprite. Literally, 30 minutes after had sprite and chicken broth, he could tell he was bleeding again. He kept telling the Dr & nurses he knew his blood level was going down but they wanted to wait until they got blood results back because by this time he had already had 8 blood transfusions. His vitals were steady but Brad knew it was getting worse and quick but nobody would listen to him. It was so frustrating that the Dr's wanted to see it on paper that his levels were dropping rather than listening to him. It was getting to the point of they couldn't put enough blood in him fast enough to replace what he was losing. He was going to the bathroom every 10 minutes for hours on end and filling the toilet with just blood. It got so bad at one point through sunday night there were at least 5 people in his room working on him, his IV's, pumping a unit of blood manually to get it in him faster(20 minutes instead of 3 hours). We still had NO answer on what was causing this and it looked like he wasn't going to be strong enough for any sort of surgery to fix whatever was wrong because his body started going into a state of shock from all of the blood loss. When they finally saw on paper what his blood levels were, they all panicked. He went from a 8 to a 5 Hgb within a matter of 6 hours. They could finally understand he was losing more than what they were replacing. This was the 2nd time in 24 hours I thought I could lose my husband. I couldn't leave his side to go have my breakdown moment. I had to stay strong for him. He knew it was bad but I couldn't let him know I knew it. I had to be strong for all three of us. Brad, myself and our daughter.  Throughout sunday night, Brad was conscious and when his levels dropped really low he went in a state of confusion. But the whole time he kept saying how much he missed Peyton. It was heart wrenching because there was nothing I could say to help him. I kept telling him she was with my mom and she was dreaming about playing with her daddy. I told him to be strong for her. I told him how she loves him more than anything in this world. We both sat and cried thinking about our daughter. At that moment my only prayer was for Brad to hold Peyton again.
His body was able to clot and stop the bleeding like it had the times before but it was only a matter of time before it started again. 
Monday morning we finally had some Dr's listening to him. Brad had a family medicine team, GI team, Radiology team and a surgical team all trying to figure out what was wrong with him. We felt like we were in an episode of Grey's Anatomy at one point because all the Dr's talked to each other and explained his case over again with questions. Major surgery was the last resort. They didn't want to go in blind and resect parts of the small bowel without knowing just where the bleed was. Which I was thankful for; I know Brad wouldn't want a huge scar to remind him of this nightmare. 
They wanted to do a nuclear scan that morning that would tell us exactly where the bleed is but the trick was he had to actively be bleeding. Of course the first scan told us nothing. He told the dr's he knew he wasn't but they told Brad he could try and provoke it start bleeding again. Brad mentioned the sprite from yesterday so they told him to go ahead and try that. Sure enough, not even 30 minutes later he felt like he was bleeding again. Having already had the nuclear medicine in his body they took him straight to do another scan and they could see exactly where it was. It was located right where the small intestine and large intestine meet.  He went directly into Interventional Radiology to do the Angiogram. That was the longest 3 1/2 hours of my life waiting to find out if they were able to embolize the vessel that the bleeding was coming from. At the time of the Angiogram they had 2 units of blood going simultaneously because they needed him as strong as possible through the surgery.
They finally came out and told us they fixed the bleed! I was so relieved but I knew we weren't completely out of the woods yet. At that time the Dr's were saying this is most likely an AVM which stands for Arteriovenous Malformation. The Dr's said this is the most likely thing that caused all of the bleeding but still very rare. One of his many Dr's told me it is amazing that he lived this long with a bleed like this(meaning this is definitely what caused the bleeding 3 years ago). 
During the course of the first 5 days in the hospital Brad received 14 units of donated Blood, 2 units of Plasma and 2 units of Platelets.
 The Dr's STILL do not know exactly what caused the bleed because they couldn't get a direct look at the area. They are currently running more tests to rule out everything from AVM(if it is that there could be more of them elsewhere in the GI Tract that could potentially bleed) Meckel Diverticulum (extremely rare but he has all of the symptoms) or a small bowel tumor. We are hoping for all of the answers after next weeks testings. 

During this whole ordeal it was so incredibly hard to keep my faith in God. Why did he make my husband suffer like this? Why did he make our family suffer like this? Why would God threaten the life of such a young healthy man? What did we do to deserve such fear and pain? Seeing my husband like this made me angry at God. Why him? Why not me? I'd much rather be the one going through this than him. He is so undeserving of that pain. Through so many prayers and talks with God I finally learned that God was testing me. Testing me as a wife and as a mother. Since Peyton was born I have forgotten a lot of my duties as a wife. The #1 being taking care of my husband. I've been so obsessed with caring for our daughter 24/7 I forgot what it was like to take care of my husband. Learning that this could be a condition that Brad was born with and waiting until now for something to happen; God was waiting on me to be the one to be there for Brad, not his parents or anyone else. Learning that this probably is what caused the episode 3 years ago and Dr's just blew it off as something small; God was waiting on our marriage to evolve and us to grow as a family. 

Facebook is the biggest way to communicate easily with a lot of people. It was so humbling to see how many people stopped and prayed for my husband. We got messages from people we didn't even know that put Brad on the prayer list at their church all over the country. People posting on their own Facebook pages for their friends to pray for Brad. Even an old high school friend of mine had a friend all the way in Ireland say a very special prayer just for Brad. It was so amazing! We both could feel the love from everyone from miles and miles away. Feeling all of that love is truly what got us through this, that is what kept my faith in God alive. 
We ask that you please continue to pray for Brad as he goes through these tests next week to get some answers and find out if this could happen again or if he needs further surgery. Being a man and a stubborn one at that, he is eager to get back to work and in the normal flow of things. He's never been one to rest or sit still! But he is still very weak and it will take some time to get his blood levels back to normal. 
We cannot thank everyone enough for all of your prayers and support. Especially Tison and Kyley for taking care of Peyton until our mom's got in town. They are truly amazing friends! Also thank you so much for all of our friends that came up to the hospital to spend time with Brad. It meant more than you know! Thank you so much to my amazing mom and Tina for dropping everything and flying to Hawaii to be with us and helping with Peyton. And a very special thank you to the 14 anonymous blood donors who saved my husbands life. I strongly urge everyone to go out and donate blood if you are able. 



Romans 5:2-4

Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blogging withdrawals

It has been too long since I last posted and I apologize! It has been a VERY busy few months! How busy you ask? Well, let's see; We flew home to North Carolina in early May; Peyton and I stayed through the ladder part of June. Got back and 3 days later we had 10 wonderful days full of sun, love and laughter with our friends Jeremy and Jackie! Now we are into July and things are slowly and I mean slowly settling down. 

Would you look at those cuties? How did I get so lucky? 

Peyton sure isn't slowing down though! She literally started sitting up on her own and rolling over within 2 days of each other! Which is my fault because I didn't want her rolling over while we were away from Brad so when she finally got the okay she wouldn't do it until now!
 WOW! Time is flying by! I cannot believe she is already 5 months old! Everyone warned me that the first year flew by but I could have never imagined it going THIS fast! I look at her and still think about her being my 7lb little peanut and she is now double her birth weight! Its crazy but in a good way! She's changing every day and I just love it! She is getting such an adorable personality and she is so much like Brad and I both it's scary! 

Her smile is so infectious! Did you just smile looking at this picture? If you didn't your crazy!


While Jeremy and Jackie were here in Hawaii, we went to the beach a few times and Peyton LOVED it! Which is a good thing since we do live at the beach right?! 



We had so much fun while they were here. I cried so much when they left. It was a harsh reminder that we wont see them or anyone from home for at least 10 months. 


Being so far away is really hard! Yea yea yea I live in Hawaii I shouldn't be complaining but I'd take "boring" ol North Carolina over beautiful Hawaii any day of the week. It is incredibly lonely even though we have a lot of friends here. I want Peyton to know and remember her family and our friends from home. I am definitely thankful for Skype, FaceTime, and any other video chat technology. Who ever invented that is probably REALLY rich(why didn't I think of it first?)! 

Well Peyton is sleeping and I should be too but before I go I just have to say that; 
Jackie, when God blesses you with a child, you are going to be such an AMAZING mother. You were so incredibly patient and loving with Peyton it was so beautiful to watch. 



I am debating on my next blog to be about my breastfeeding journey. It is beautiful and I really want to share it so be on the lookout for that! If I can change one persons opinion on breastfeeding I will be doing something right. 

Y'all have a good night now ya' hear!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

Up until the birth of our daughter, this day 4 years ago was the best day of my life. Now it is a close 2nd! On April 3rd, 2009 I married my best friend, my soulmate, the love of my life. God made this sweet man for me and I will forever be grateful! It feels like just yesterday, that I was walking down(wishing I could run down) that sandy aisle to the man of my dreams. I can still remember standing on the beach saying our vows and sealing our marriage with a big kiss, with the warm sun shining down on us. Like God was wrapping his arms around us and our union. I still wouldn't have had our wedding any other way! It was just perfect. 
I love this man more and more every single day and seeing him become a father this past February opened up a whole new level of our marriage that I didn't even know about. It is truly breathtaking! 

I look forward to every day for the rest of my life with this sweet man. 
And of course making more pretty babies! ;-)




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Out of Shape!!!!

I have to keep reminding myself that I did just have a baby 5 1/2 weeks ago! I feel great! I've been walking everyday and even with my lack of sleep I have plenty of energy!
I was so excited to start back at Hot Yoga last night! It has been WAY too long! When I tried Hot Yoga 3 years ago I was immediately hooked!  I went to this amazing little studio, Yoga Energy in Florida about 2 times a week.  Yoga has always been my way of finding myself again after a hard days work or just a lot going on in my life that is out of my control. But Hot Yoga was on a whole other level! Hot Yoga is a regular Yoga workout but in a room that is 100 to 105 degrees. You literally feel like you are going to die while you're doing it the first few times, but you get used to it and it gets easier. You have so much energy afterwards its almost like you took a magical pill to give you copious amounts of energy! Not to mention you are literally drenched from head to toe in sweat and you're releasing so many yucky toxins! It's super hard but relaxing at the same time. It's not for everyone but I would definitely recommend at least trying it once in your life!

Anyway, I was so happy to finally find a Hot Yoga studio here in Hawaii to get started back as it has been over a year since i've been! Hot Yoga Nimitz only offers Hot classes. It is a small studio with one room. The studio is super nice and is the first studio I've ever been too with a locker room and showers. Shocking. Throughout the session, I started to realize that my body was definitely no where near the shape it was the last time I had done Hot Yoga. I could barely do some of the basic poses without having to come out of them early. My flexibility was almost non-existent.  My balance was so offset I could hardly stand still on one foot. Probably because I was full of milk on one side and empty on the other(I knew I should have pumped before I left the house). My breathing was loud and labored and I couldn't focus! It was embarrassing. No one there knew I had just had a baby and I felt the pressure to be as good as everyone else in the room but I was definitely not! For a few minutes I felt ashamed of my body. Why haven't I bounced back yet? I feel great! I've already lost the majority of my pregnancy weight and with only 8 pounds left to pre pregnancy weight I thought I was right back where I was before. NOT EVEN CLOSE! I wasn't in the best shape of my life before I got pregnant but I loved Yoga and I was really good at it! I had even mastered my half-moon pose! But last night I looked like a big ol gorilla trying to stand like a flamingo! Wobbly and all over the place!  
To add some humor to my night, it was a good thing I did the HOT Yoga because I was sweating so much, thank goodness no one could tell I was leaking! I fed Peyton just before I left but as soon as we started doing floor poses and attempting to lay on my chest I swear you would thought someone was "milking" me like a cow. It was everywhere! How embarrassing right? Luckily it looked like I was just sweating ALOT. I had a good laugh at that on my way home at least. Smelling of sweat and milk. Delicious right?
Being proud of my post pregnancy body is difficult for me. I am proud that I delivered naturally without pain medicine. I am proud that I carried a baby to full-term, I have the stretch marks to prove it.  But realizing i'm not going to bounce back like I had hoped isn't easy. 
It is going to take time and a lot of dedication on my part but I am not going to sacrifice time with my daughter to do so. I see these celebrity mom's that look amazing just weeks after they deliver than they did before they got pregnant and it just makes me sick because I know they have a personal trainer with them all day long to tell them what to eat and how to work out and kicking their ass, but they aren't spending time with their baby. There are days I realize I haven't eaten breakfast and its time for dinner. When I walk, I walk with my baby. She loves being carried and loves being outside. Luckily our neighborhood is huge with a lot of sidewalks to walk on. 

Ok well I think I was just frustrated last night and felt a little down after yoga and I needed to vent. I know I'll get back in shape it's just going to take awhile with some hard work and dedication!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

First month of Mommyhood!



READY TO GO HOME!

We had to wait til 8pm to leave the hospital on Feb 8th because it had to be exactly 36hrs. We were so ready to get home! We didn't have anyone to watch the dogs for us so unfortunately they had to be home alone for that entire time. Brad was able to run home a few times to take them out and feed them but it wasn't long. I knew they were confused and I felt so bad but thats the price we pay for being so far away from home. I couldn't wait to bring Peyton home to meet her big brother and sister but I was very anxious about it(yes we are that family that calls our dogs our kids). They were the babies before and are SUPER spoiled! What were they going to think of this tiny human taking our attention away from them? 


Brad brought home one of the first blankets they used to wrap Peyton up at the hospital. He put it in the crate with them so when we brought her home they would recognize her scent. I definitely think it helped! Coming home that night I went upstairs to let them out as I hadn't seen them in 2 days and I looked different than they last saw me. I had a few moments alone with them to get them calm before we went downstairs. There was no calming them down though! They were frantic but in a good way! They knew something was different about me and they could sense she was downstairs. 

All the while i'm upstairs with the dogs, Brad is downstairs getting Peyton out of the carseat. Low and behold from the time driving home from the hospital(a total of maybe 10 minutes) she managed to pee and poop all over herself. Literally flooded her diaper, up to her belly and all over the carseat. 

WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD! 

Once we got her all cleaned up I let the dogs out from upstairs. Brad waited til they calmed down a bit and he sat on the floor holding Peyton and slowly let Maverick and Miley get their first whiff of their baby sister!!!! They were so good! They didn't act scared or angry. They just wanted to be close to her. As this month came and went I find them always watching her or sitting as close as possible to her or where ever she is. It is the sweetest thing ever! We truly have the best dogs!!


 



Brad and I have had more conversations about poop in the last month than I could have ever imagined. We are not that couple that talks about things like that let alone walk in on each other in the bathroom and continue talking. But now we talk about how many dirty diapers each of us has changed today. What they looked like, etc. It's quite entertaining actually. We both have had all sorts of bodily fluids from our tiny baby on us on more than 1 occasion. It's funny that a baby so small and SO beautiful could have smells & sounds like that come out of her. But I love it! 

Peyton's first bath! 
Speaking of poop, she loved her first bath so much she pee'd and pooped in it within the first 5 minutes! 


Brad has been such an amazing daddy! I knew I loved Brad before but to see his eyes light up when he holds her and kisses her; it just solidifies the love I have and why I married him. I didn't know I could love him more than I already did but wow. They have their special time together at night when he gets home from work. He puts her jammies and lotion on and gives her baths on certain nights. It's important that they have special things that just they get to do together. I can't wait for them to go on daddy daughter dates! Brad will make them fun!  Peyton is already a daddy's girl and he is so wrapped around her little finger!!! I can already hear Peyton as a toddler walking around saying she is going to marry her daddy (just like I did). 



I am so thankful for my hubby being the man he is wanting to venture out of the house! He gets cabin fever staying home too long. If I had it my way I wouldn't take her any where anytime soon. I have such bad anxiety to take her out in public. What if she gets sick? What if we get into a car accident? What if someone tries to take her? What if I forget something she needs? What if I forget her in the car? What if I lock myself out of the car and she is still in it?  I have nightmares every night of something happening to her. So far we have been out to dinner a few times to small, quiet restaurants; walked downtown Waikiki, go on walks around the neighborhood; and I have even ventured out on my own with her to the grocery store once! I am getting better but I would much rather stay at home with her because I know she is safe there! 



In the first month of being a mom I did experience the baby blues. But mine was a little different. I never felt sad when I looked at her or felt any depression towards being a mom. However, I have had my breakdowns on if i'm doing a good job. My baby blues occurred a few days before she came and a few days after leaving the hospital. I want Peyton to feel loved always by everyone around her. It was extremely hard to be at the hospital and have not one single visitor come meet Peyton. Being so far away from home is much harder than anyone that hasn't been through it thinks it could be. I wanted those pictures of family and friends holding her for the first time so she could see how many people were so excited that she was finally here. It's time like this I feel a "resentment" towards the Coast Guard. I know it's the absolute best thing for our family but taking us away from people that love us and placing us on what seems like the other side of the world is just not fair (I keep telling myself, just 12 more years til he can retire and we can go HOME!!!). 
I know Peyton doesn't need proof that so many people love her but it's just something that I wanted for her and it was really hard for me to wrap my head around her not having those pictures. We were lucky enough to have Brad's mom and my mom come out right after she was born to meet her and love on her. And my best friend in the entire world made me so happy when she called me and said she bought a plane ticket for April to come meet Peyton!  But there are so many more people that are missing out and it breaks my heart! It's easy for people to say they love her through pictures but there's nothing like looking into her eyes and your heart literally exploding from the amount of love this tiny being can give! I am just now coming to terms that being close to home is not in the cards for us for quite some time but it's really hard! I take tons of pictures everyday so everyone back home can see her grow and change but it's just not the same.  

I will always be learning in my role as a mother. You can only prepare yourself so much and no amount of research or "practice" can prepare you for that moment of meeting your child and how your going to raise them.



Since February 7th, the longest i've slept consecutively was a 4 hour span(twice); I've had spit up in my hair just after a shower; not to mention not showering for too many days it's embarrassing to admit(2 okay 3),  been pee'd on and pooped on several times, changed countless diapers, given countless kisses, cried countless times, questioned myself and am I doing this parent thing right? But I wouldn't trade any of it for the life I lived before. In just a month, Peyton has changed my life. I love her more than I could ever express in words. She is the blessing that I needed in my life to feel complete. 
We are all created and put on this earth to do something great. I didn't know what that was until I met her. She is the greatness in my life. I pray for a healthy, long life filled with so much happiness and love for her and I thank God every single day for giving me such a special little lady to love. 


1 Month Old! 

Thanks for stopping by and I will post again soon :-) 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Introducing Peyton Campbell Hudson


Monday, February 4th I went in for my 39 weeks appointment at Tripler Army Medical Center. Being in the military we were required to go to the military hospital throughout the entire pregnancy. I didn't have a great experience as I saw someone different each time and I felt more like a number than a person. Parking was a nightmare too. Try walking up and down a mountainside in the 3rd trimester. Not fun, nor safe! 

Anyways, at my appointment the Nurse Practitioner checked me and said I still had no progress. Last week I was 2cm dilated and 0% effaced. She said the baby was still pretty high too. She started talking to me about scheduling an induction for 41 weeks because this is a military hospital and they are always busy. She said they had only 1 spot left open for inductions and I should go ahead and schedule. I was scared. What was she not telling me? Was there something she felt that told her I was going to go past my due date? Or that I wasn't going to be able to go into labor on my own and deliver naturally? I never had the intention nor did I want to be induced! I left that appointment scared, angry, and tears rolling down my face. I felt like she was pushing me to schedule something I did not want. And I wasn't even 40 weeks yet!!! As upset as I was about the thought of being induced,  I went against my better judgement and scheduled it only to call and cancel as soon as I got home that day. I didn't want someone telling me when my baby was going to make her debut.



Wednesday, February 6th started out like any other day the last few weeks had gone. I woke up had my breakfast smoothie and headed out to do my walking. I didn't feel any different than I did any other day but little did I know that that day was the start of my new life as a mommy.

Around 6:30pm I started having what felt like my normal Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having for quite some time now. They weren't painful at all just sort of took my breath away and made the top of my uterus very hard to the touch. Around 7:30pm I decided to take a warm bath to make me feel better. After my bath I laid on the bed for awhile and I hadn't had very many more contractions but I noticed that I hadn't felt my baby move in quite sometime, about 3 hours. Any woman that has been pregnant can understand once you feel your baby move you learn the way they move. How much, How often, and different times of the day, and once you don't feel that it can be a scary feeling. Kick counts and monitoring fetal movement are extremely important. I came downstairs and had a glass of juice and a another fruit smoothie and laid on the couch for about 45 minutes and still felt nothing. I decided to let Brad know that I hadn't felt her move in awhile and discussed going to the hospital to put me on the monitor to check and make sure she was okay. I then called L&D, told them what was going on and they told me to come on in to be safe.
We got dressed and headed up to the hospital.
We arrived at 9:00pm and they immediately got me into a triage room and hooked up to the heart rate monitor and fetal movement monitor. It was such a relief to hear our baby's heart beat strong and loud. They wanted to monitor for 30 minutes to make sure everything was okay. Listening to her heart beat fill the room was such a calming feeling that could have easily put me to sleep.
When the Dr came back in and looked through the last 30 minutes of recordings and noticed that Peyton's heart rate went from 150's down to below 120 during a few contractions. Contractions? I didn't realize I had even had any while we were there! The Dr showed me on the strip I was having consistent contractions every 2 minutes and they were lasting over a minute each! I was shocked! She also mentioned that there wasn't much movement from the baby either. I hadn't felt her much while we were there but I had felt 1 or 2 small swishes of her moving her legs. She also checked my cervix and it was at 3cm and 50% effaced. The Dr was concerned about her heart rate and the decreased movement so she wanted to monitor it for an hour and go speak with the other Dr's on the floor in L&D. She said that I was definitely in the beginning stages of labor. I was so excited and scared at the same time! What felt like an eternity went by and a new Dr came into the room. Peyton's heartbeat was fine but there were still a few times that it would go down. The Dr told me they wanted to admit me to continue to watch her heartbeat rather than sending me home to continue early labor. 
In my original birth plan I wanted to do the majority of labor at home so I could be in my own surroundings. Brad and I together decided I wanted a drug free, natural birth. I had done the research and read up on laboring techniques for pain management. I was prepared. But I was not prepared for what the Dr said next. 
"We'd like to admit you and have you continue your labor here at the hospital so we can keep a close eye on the baby's heartbeat. We would like to watch and see how you progress on your on and then we may give you some Pitocin to speed up the process a bit." "There's no sense in keeping you pregnant any longer and we don't want you going home and something happening to the baby." As disappointed as I was to hear they wanted to give me Pitocin, my main concern was my baby girl being healthy and safe. 
We hadn't brought anything with us to the hospital because we thought we would be coming back home, so Brad ran back to the house to get all of our bags and check on the dogs. While I was waiting to be transferred into the room my baby would enter this world, I spoke with several of the nurses on staff about my concerns with pitocin. What were the odds of being able to do without an epidural on pitocin? What were my odds on a c-section? What were the odds that something could happen to my baby? The nurses in the nicest way told me things I didn't want to hear. "Well sweetie, contractions with pitocin can be a lot stronger and more painful than regular contractions." "There's always the possibility of a c-section." "Well the cord could be wrapped around her neck and we can't see that so there's no way to know, but i'm sure she'll be just fine. All of their answers were vague and made me worry even more. I finally got into a room around midnight. I was still having consistent contractions on my own without the pitocin which was good but they wanted to start a small dosage. I looked over and they started me at 2mg drip. I checked right before I delivered and they had only bumped it up to 6mg.
I tried to get some rest but that was impossible. Not because of pain but because I was so worried and scared for my baby. I just wanted to know she was okay. With every single contraction I had, I watched the monitor closely and watched her heartbeat. 
The Dr came back in at 2:30am and I had still not gotten any rest. They checked my cervix and I had progressed to 4cm still 50% effaced. My contractions at this point were getting more uncomfortable but the most annoying thing was I felt like I had to go pee with every single contraction. So each one I got up and went. I could tell the night nurse was getting agitated because she had to disconnect all the monitors to let me go and It was every 5 or 10 minutes or so. Every time she came in she offered me an epidural. Which I had told her from the beginning I did not want it. Why keep asking? In hopes that I would give in? 
At 6:30am it was time for the new nurse and Dr to come in. The nurse was first. She was so incredibly sweet when she came in and introduced herself. She went over a few things with me and then brought up the dreaded question I had been scared to be asked. "They mentioned you didn't want an epidural, is that still the plan?" I told her what the other nurses had told me before and that I still wanted to try to do without it. Without a skipping a beat or any reservation in her voice she said; "I have seen it before and I know you can do it." "We will get through it together." She then went and grabbed me a birthing ball and a birthing bar. Both of which I read about and wanted to use. She wanted me to get out of bed and walk around the room and labor that way whereas the night nurse would have rather me labor laying in bed and get an epidural so she didn't need to do anything.
 I was her only patient so from 630am til Peyton was born, she was in and out of my room constantly. My contractions were getting a lot stronger and more uncomfortable. I could feel the majority of it in my lower back but also had lower abdominal cramping as well. The nurse showed techniques for Brad to use to help me get through the pain. He would put tremendous amounts of pressure on my lower pain while I focused on my breathing during each contraction. And the nurse gave me words of encouragement through each and every one. I went back and forth between the birthing ball and the birthing bar. I could tell it was getting close and really wanted to be checked again. The nurse said they wouldn't check me again until 10:30am. I was not excited about waiting that long to find out. I didn't want to be disappointed that I wasn't progressing fast enough. 
Around 9:30am my contractions were getting extremely intense. My legs were shaking, I felt like I was going to fall over. With every single contraction I literally felt like my water was going to break or I was going to pee all over myself. At this point I couldn't walk to the bathroom if I had wanted to because my contractions were so close and so intense. I was still switching from the ball and the bar. My breathing was getting extremely difficult to keep steady. The nurse hooked up an oxygen mask just in case I needed it. I decided it was best if I didn't stand anymore because my legs were shaking so bad I didn't want to fall and hurt myself or my baby. Once I laid down my contractions were even stronger and even closer together. It was impossible to keep my breathing steady so Brad helped me hold the oxygen mask over my face. With each contraction, I laid on my side and he draped his body over mine and placed pressure on my back and held me as tightly as he could.  I thought to myself. Is it freaking 10:30 yet?!? Get this Dr in here!!!! 
 She FINALLY came in and it was a Dr I had never met before. I am assuming my actual Dr was busy with another patient. She checked me and said "Well I have good news and bad news, you are 8cm and 100% effaced, but your baby is still very high and has not dropped into the canal yet and your water is still entact." She then went on to say it would be a few more hours before I would be ready to push. I was so disappointed with that last statement! Could I last a few more hours? She wanted to break my bag of waters because she said it would help the baby drop into the canal. She then proceeded to go on and say they once that bag of waters was broken, my contractions would be more intense. I thought to myself how the heck can they get more intense than this?!? My entire body was shaking, I couldn't breath. I was physically drained already and hadn't even made it to 10cm yet or started pushing. I was so disappointed in myself and felt that there was no way I could continue without the epidural and be able to push this baby out. Especially if they felt I had a long time before i'd be ready to push. But was I going to be able to be still long enough for them to place an epidural? My contractions were so bad and my body was shaking uncontrollably I thought there is no way I can do it! I looked to Brad for what I should do. This whole time he was so encouraging with me and saying how proud he was of me and even at this point when I had almost given up on myself he still believed in me and knew I could do it without the epidural. I told the nurse I at least wanted to talk to the anesthesiologist to see what they said about me sitting still long enough through a contraction. I never got the chance to speak to the anesthesiologist and i'm so glad I didn't!

With my next contraction I felt the extreme need to push but I knew I was only 8cm. I asked the nurse if that was okay and she said to do what I felt I needed to do to get rid of the pain. So I pushed! I pushed so hard it literally felt like something was coming out but I wasn't sure what it was. I put my hand down there and sure enough SOMETHING was out! I screamed for the my nurse who was only right beside me but I was so scared. She sat on the bed and said. "Oh wow, it's your bag of waters." 
I was freaking out! I thought my baby was still in the canal so how was her bag of waters sticking out?! She looked again and yelled "I need a Dr in here NOW!" I was so scared something was wrong. I screamed is my baby okay?! "Yes she is fine, she is about to be here! Are you ready to push?! She is just behind this bulge here!" 
I was confused because my water STILL had not broken and how was I just at 8cm literally 8 minutes ago and the Dr told me my baby hadn't made into the canal yet!?! I thought for sure something was not right.

I silently said a quick prayer that God was taking care of my baby and that everything would be okay.


I had never seen so many people come into one room in my life! They were frantically getting the delivery table ready because it had yet to be set up since we all thought I had a ways to go. In a matter of seconds another contraction came on. Should I push? I said. Looking at Brad my mind was filled with fear. His eyes were filled with tears, I couldn't tell if they were happy tears of scared tears. I knew he was scared for me and I knew he was ready to meet out baby girl so i'll say happy and scared tears. 
The Dr's gave me the okay to push. So there I was, laying cockeyed in the bed on my side cradled towards Brad. I couldn't move my body but I could push. I remember letting out these godawful loud screams but it was my way of releasing the pain. It felt good to scream. They didn't have time to pull out the stirrups so my nurses held my legs up. Brad holding onto the oxygen mask keeping it on my face and looking at me I pushed again. I looked down and there she was! I saw her head first, but something was covering it. The Dr said push again and so I did. They pulled her out with the last push. 6 minutes and 3 pushes and she was here! She was still in her bag of waters that had not broken. They pulled it over her face and she immediately started crying. It was the most amazing moment of my entire life. I reached for her and pulled her on top of my chest. Her cry was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. She was so perfect. I looked at Brad and we both were so happy and relieved she was finally here! Neither one of us could keep our eyes off her. We were oblivious to everything around us. 

Just after I pulled her up on my chest. My amazing nurse told me afterwards that she had only seen 3 women deliver naturally on Pitocin without an epidural and that I was the 3rd one! I will never be be able to put into words how amazing and breathtaking it was to be able to feel my baby enter the world. A very empowering moment in my life. 

Peyton Campbell Hudson born at 10:44am (Hawaii Time) on Thursday, February 7th, 2013. Weighing in at 7lbs 0.2oz and 18 1/2 inches long.


It is said that babies born "with a veil over their face" or a Caul Birth,  means they can see the future. I always knew she would be destined for greatness. <3
She truly is a gift from God and we are so incredibly blessed.


Our first family photo <3. 
Just a few minutes old.

After waiting 9 long beautiful months she is finally here! My birth story was nothing like I could have ever imagined; it was even better! I have to give props to my absolutely amazing husband who was my rock and my support through everything. This experience has brought us even closer than before. I could never thank him enough for everything he has done for me and for taking care of me the way he did. Our journey of parenthood has just begun! We love our little girl more than we could have ever imagined.