what it’s like: to have weight loss surgery.

I first met Mollie when Kirsten and Logan were 24 hours old. I slowly trekked my way into the NICU, gingerly moving after my c-section, and was met with one of the kindest NICU nurses ever having been assigned to my babies. She helped us bathe our children for the first time, taught us to change + dress their tiny 4 pound bodies + cheered us on as we learned to be parents. Mollie embodies kindness and love, and as I spent hours rocking in the chairs next to my children, I got to know more about her and her story over the next 11 days. We found each other on Facebook months later and since our meeting, Mollie has had weight loss surgery and I am completely and utterly inspired by not only her strength, but her vulnerability and transparency to share the tender story of weight struggles. I am absolutely elated that she is sharing her journey with us today and I know you will walk away feeling her bravery and strength too.

Mollie, thank you for sharing!


I’ll never forget the week of my Mom’s funeral in June of 2016. That whole week was life changing in many ways, but one night in particular stands out vividly. I was standing in a dressing room in Nordstrom’s. I was in the “Encore” section, the only section that had anything that might fit me in the whole store, actually one of the only places at the whole Mall of America that had sizes that I could try and squeeze into. I was trying to find something that I could wear to my Mom’s funeral that I felt comfortable in. I was going to see people who I haven’t ever met, or see people I hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t want to embarrass my family, and wanted to represent my Mom well. My Mom was always the picture of class, petite and beautiful. This was the last time, in my mind I could make her proud before we laid her to rest. I remember going thru the racks, and finding appropriate things….I couldn’t just pick out what I like, but I had to just find things that were the right size and would fit without making me look like a tent. There were very few options that were appropriate for a funeral. I tried on the clothing, nothing was fitting! I was starting to panic, my heart was racing, tears were flowing. I had to find something that night in the short 2 hour window that I was able to take away from all the other planning. I will never forget sitting on the floor of that dressing room, sobbing because only one pair of pants and one grey shirt fit in the whole department and was remotely appropriate. I hated it and it is nothing I ever would’ve “picked” out. It was just something that fit. I decided I was done that night! I was done just existing, just settling for what was.

Living as a morbidly obese person with a BMI of almost 60 meant I was in all reality, actively dying! I certainly wasn’t living! From the second I got up, till when I went back to bed every night, I was thinking about my weight. I was thinking about food, what I should or should not eat or not eat. What new diet I could try and start over tomorrow because yet again, I had binged on food the night before trying to swallow the days hurts, stresses and emotions. I was not really participating in my two young boys lives. I was existing. I never wanted to go do anything for my kids, or with coworkers because of my weight. I had gotten to the point of only having a few articles of clothing that actually fit, and I thought looked okay. It was getting to the point physically, that it was hard to move, I was winded from the simple tasks of walking into work, going upstairs, or just trying to keep up household chores. I would go into a restaurant or my kids school functions and be worried if I would fit in one of the chair options, or booths. It was MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY and EMOTIONALLY exhausting. I was actively dying. I had tried soooo many diet plans, keto, high carb, low carb, weight watchers, biggest loser, slimgenics, the list is really endless. I would lose some, and then gain back that and more every time!

I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I had to do something, or I was going to be dead. A co-worker of mine started losing a lot of weight. She was pretty quiet about what she was doing, so one day I got the courage to ask her. She had the “VSG” or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy” done. A newer option in weight reduction surgeries. I had heard of weight loss surgery before, but didn’t know much about all the options. I decided to go to an informational meeting in December of 2016. It was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. I remember sitting in this room with my husband and about 100 other people. I remember sitting there thinking, how did I get here, and I’m not as big as all of them. I first had to admit to myself that yes, at 317 pounds on my 5’1 inch frame I was morbidly obese and I had to do whatever it took to save my life! I spent almost the next 9 months going thru the “steps” they make you go thru. Nutritional meetings with a dietitian, a psychologist, a bariatric doctor and finally a surgeon, I went thru these steps because I “had” to, to qualify to have the surgery. I was just really going thru the motions because I had too! All these things were put in place for a reason I found out, they were preparing you for the tool you would gain thru surgery. This tool I found out, is just that, a tool. A very helpful one, but you have to use it right and follow all the rules if you want long standing success. You have to CHANGE your whole lifestyle!

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I won’t lie….it has not been easy and I was very worried about all the things I wouldn’t be able to do anymore after surgery. No drinking with meals or 30 minutes to one hour before or after meals, no straws, no carbonation, no soda, no alcohol. The first 6 months post surgery you have a very strict diet from clear liquids back to high protein, meals. They give you very strict guidelines and stages that you have to follow, to prevent any complications and have the best long term success. In reality it is a new way of living and eating for the rest of your life. You eventually will be able to eat ¾-1 cup of food three times a day, with very limited snacking if at all. It is doable!!

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This surgery has not only SAVED my life, but has Given me a life I never thought was possible! For the first time in my life I’m putting myself first. My life looks very different, and has changed in many ways. It has been difficult at times, my relationships have changed, and some no longer exist. The GAINS far outweigh any losses!! This surgery was a huge decision, a very scary decision. As an RN, learning that they would be taking out 80% of my stomach was especially difficult. It is what I had to do, for me, to survive! It was like having a cancerous tumor removed, and now I have to live a different lifestyle to keep the “tumor” from coming back. A lifestyle I have come to love. I LOVE being able to walk anywhere for miles at a time without being winded. I love being active with my family. I love going on walks, and starting to run. I plan on running a 5K for my 1 year “Sleeve” anniversary in October.

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I love summer, and being out in the hot weather. I love knowing what I’m going to eat everyday and planning ahead. I love being attuned to my body and listening to the signs it gives me and I know I have had enough. I eat now for nutrition, not to suffocate my emotions.

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I love being able to express who I’m with my clothing choices. Not just wearing black and what fits! Its so fun to look ahead to different things and be excited about what is coming up, not dreading it because you will feel uncomfortable, or you just want to hide in the corner and hope no one sees you! I love sharing my story so I can inspire that one person like me, that feels like it is too overwhelming and there is no way out.

Almost 9 months post surgery, I have lost 137 lbs, my BP is normal and I no longer take any medications for it. My liver enzymes are normal, I had fatty liver disease. I have lost 45 inches, my cholesterol is now excellent, I’m no longer pre diabetic, and I’m getting closer to a normal BMI every day.

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The non-scale victories are too numerous to list, but they make everyday worth living!! I love LIVING life, not just existing. Sometimes we have to take drastic measures to live our best life!

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The biggest thing I have learned in this journey, is to trust the process and find other things to fill your bucket and that give you JOY. My faith in God has never been stronger and I find myself going to him and his words in those moments when I used to turn food to fill the voids. I know this is a lifelong journey, but with this tool I feel like I finally have a chance to be successful with a full lifestyle change. I no longer feel like someone trapped inside looking out, and wishing.


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Mollie is a Registered Nurse in the NICU at St. Johns and Ridges hospital. She’s been married to Jimmie for 14 years, and mom to Liam (12) and Shane (7). At almost 45 years old, she feels like she’s starting a new beginning and finally finding out who Mollie really is. She loves being active, being out in her garden, walking and exploring the lakes, spending time with her family and fur kids, Joey and Murphy. 


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, be a working mom andbe a breastfeeding mother. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!

what it’s like: to be a breastfeeding mother.

There’s so much to say about my friend Marilyn, and none of which will be strong enough to express how much I adore her! Marilyn and I have been buddies for ages and it’s hard to believe we’ve never actually met! She’s an infertility sister and now, momma to the sweetest little thing. Mar is real, authentic, and as gorgeous as a sunset. Love her to pieces and so thankful she’s sharing with us today What It’s Like to be a breastfeeding mother! Enjoy!


Hi Friends, my name is Marilyn, and I am so honored to be featured today on my dear friend Chelsea’s blog.

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First, I want to thank you for sitting in this quiet space with me. I am about to be raw and I am so deeply grateful you are here to listen. Not many women talk about breastfeeding and what it is like, especially at the beginning.

It was a given. This was going to be my thing. After 5 ½ years of battling infertility, breastfeeding was the one thing I was going to control.

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I envisioned myself with long cascading black wavy mermaid hair grazing my plump pale bosoms, while holding my little rosy-cheeked cherub as she suckled my breast. In my mind, I had painted this glorious scene. Like a classical masterpiece, an interpretive dance between my little baby and I, and it was angelic.

This, my friends, was not the case. At. All. Not in the beginning anyway.

Mila was born via emergency c-section. I was dilated at a 10, she was making her way down the birth canal and turned her little head into face position. Meaning her head was tilted back and her coming out vaginally was neither safe nor possible. I was one thousand percent okay with that. I am happy she was born the way she did. I wouldn’t have changed it, and actually I had a really positive birth experience. God is so good, all glory and honor to him.

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When I was transferred to my hospital room, the nurses handed Mila (who was wrapped like a baby burrito) to me, along with a chart to keep track of how many times she breastfed and for how long. You might as well have given me a book in Chinese to read because I did not know what I was doing, nor was I remotely prepared. The hospital room had a TV above the foot of my bed playing a “How-To” breastfeed video on loop. All I remember is the narrator saying, “Hold your breast like a sandwich”. I followed each step, left hand sandwich, right arm hold baby, guide baby’s mouth to nipple, baby latches, baby suckles, and then….nothing came out. NOTHING CAME OUT. My glorious vision did not manifest, and here I was again being sucked into a dark place where my body betrayed the crap out of me again. But I am a fighter, battling infertility made me a warrior and now that my miracle girl was here, and she was in my arms, there was nothing that would get in my way from being able to provide the best nutrition possible for my baby. I could do this. This was for her.

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The first 24 hours after Mila’s birth consisted of nurses squeezing my nipples trying to get something, anything more than a grain of colostrum for Mila. It was rough. Nipples were raw, bloody, and I did not like breastfeeding. It hurt and no milk was coming out.  After we were discharged (a few days later), my husband desperately searched for, and hired a lactation consultant. She came to our home. She saved me. I was in hysterics my first week as a new mother. First, hormones and post-partum, second, Mila had lost almost a pound her first week and we were desperate. We supplemented with formula, but I wasn’t going to give up on breastfeeding. Julie, my lactation consultant, did a thorough check on Mila’s latch, tongue, positioning, and then put me on a strict pumping regimen to get my milk to come in. I honestly felt like I was about to enter the Olympics for pumping vying for the gold medal. Julie looked me in the eye and asked, “Are you ready to do this, this is going to be hard, but I guarantee your milk will come in by tomorrow if you do this”. I tearfully responded, “Yes”. Julie had me pumping every 2 hours 24/7. It was hard, I’m not going to lie, but she was right. My milk came pouring in by the next day.

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After getting the hang of it, (a few weeks later), breastfeeding became one of the most beautiful and heavenly experiences I have ever had. I became that vision I had during pregnancy. My exposed plump bosoms, my long black hair cascading around my shoulders, as if it were my shield while I held my rosy-cheeked baby in my arms. Gazing into her eyes while she nursed were my favorite moments, a gift from God. Thank you Lord!

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I was a proud breastfeeding mama. I quickly realized how people were still shocked to see a woman at a park or in public breastfeeding and how we need to do more as a woman-hood, tribe, to normalize it and support each other without judgment. I am not a let-it-hang-out kind of woman, I wish I was, but I had no choice. Mila was not the kind of baby that liked being under a nursing cover, ever.  She wouldn’t nurse, she would kick, pull, and I had to be bold and nurse my baby in the open, which made her happy. I am glad she pushed me out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to engage in many conversations about breastfeeding and not feel ashamed that I was feeding my baby in public. I was able to breastfed Mila, until she was 17 months old. I have nursed her just about everywhere. Especially when she would sign “milk”, with her little chubby hands, it didn’t matter where we were. I was ready to give her my breast, for comfort, for nutrition, for bonding. I still get teary-eyed. It was so beautiful and I loved breastfeeding.

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What I learned throughout this process are the dozens of support and resources available to us.  Also, many hospitals have a lactation consultant on-site, and some insurance companies cover the cost of a lactation consultant.

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Here are a few of my favorite resources:

  • Lllusa.org
  • Womenshealth.gov (search for breastfeeding)
  • Kellymom.com
  • Usbreastfeeding.org
  • Breastfeedingusa.org

Remember, no matter what you decide to do, whether breastfeeding or not, fed is best. Having a fed baby, whether through breastfeeding, donated breast milk, or formula, is most important.

All my love sisters.

xo Marilyn


IMG_4294Marilyn Gómez is a wife and mama of her miracle girl Mila. She enjoys traveling, real estate, interior design and kickboxing. She loves to cozy up with her favorite panda blanket, a glass of white wine and a good Lifetime movie. She is fearless, gritty, and brave, and is in love with Christ, her savior. She sees the glass half full in every circumstance and is a lover of people. She’s addicted to vulnerability, being real with others, and long talks about the Law of Attraction. You can connect with her on her Instagram page @lacasagomez and at her blog lacasagomez.com


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth,  be a police officers wife, and be a working mom. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!

 

 

 

 

what it’s like: to be a working mom.

Earlier this summer, Lindsay shared with us what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom, and I just knew my friend Laura would be the perfect person to share with us what it’s like to be a working mom! I’ve known Laura since high school and she’s such a hard working and amazing momma. She’s supported me and my family over the years as we tried to start our family, sending encouraging words + songs my way, and I love when I get to hang her cute family Christmas card on the fridge each year! 

Now, even though we live states apart, I love that we can stay connected through social media AND I love following her Deals for Moms page on Facebook where she shares tons of great steals and deals! If you aren’t already among the thousands following her, you have to go check it out!

PLUS! We are teaming up and offering a $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway over on Instagram through Monday, so hop on over to my IG page and enter! 


Being an adult is a lot of work.

Being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work.

Being a working mom is a lot of work.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way (most days).

After I had my first son, and my second son, and my third son, I got the unavoidable question…

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Are you going back to work?

And yes, I was. Each time. Each time I was headed back to work after my maternity leave.

When you’re asked that question, it seems like there are a bunch of follow up questions and comments that people want to say.  Sometimes they go unsaid but you know it’s what people are thinking.

“Do you have to work?”

“Are you looking forward to going back to work?”

“Must be nice to get a break from your kids.”

“I don’t know how you manage everything.”

“Is it easier to be at work than at home?”

“Aren’t you worried you’re going to miss out on milestones?”

“I stayed home and wouldn’t have traded those years for anything.”

“Don’t you think it’s better for you to stay home with your kids during these early years?”

It doesn’t take long for the guilt to set in. it’s there even before the questions are asked.

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“No, I don’t have to work but it does help us live a little more comfortably.  No, I’m not really looking forward to going back to work but if I was, is that wrong? I love every day at home I get with my kids. I couldn’t do it without my husband and we ask for help when we need it. My work is challenging, so most days are not easier than being at home.  It’s inevitable I’ll miss out on some milestones but I thank God for technology. I don’t think it’s better or worse to stay at home vs. working but what I do know is this is best for my family right now.”

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I had my first son 7+ years and have been a working mom ever since. For about half of those years I was a third grade teacher and the other half I’ve been a reading specialist for kindergarten through sixth grade students. If having three kids and being a teacher wasn’t enough, I decided to start working from home too. A year and a half ago, I started a Facebook group called Deals for Moms  where I share some pretty killer deals for the whole family and more recently started blogging (mainly fashion deals) at LittleBlueJeans.

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Being a working mom is busy. It’s funny to think how busy I used to feel before I had kids. Now I wonder what I did with all my free time. The life of a working mom is full. And hard. And yet, rewarding.

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The most challenging part for me is feeling like I can never give 100% to any part of my life. I constantly feel like I want to be a more present mom to my three boys but at the same time, wish I didn’t have to run out of work to get home. It would be nice to make all my blog dreams come to life. I wish I had more time  just to relax with my husband rather than finishing chores and working out logistics. I would love to go on more play dates with my stay-at-home mom friends. My house is never in the state I want it to be and there’s always laundry to be done. I would love to be able to volunteer more at my kids’ school and at church. But there just isn’t time for me to dedicate all my effort to each of those things.

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It’s also exhausting. With both of my jobs, the work is never really done. Even when I leave the physical work building; I’m never actually done with work. Every “free” minute of my day could be spent working – writing lesson plans, reading the latest professional development book on literacy, responding to Facebook messages, searching for a deal, writing a blog post. I have to make the conscious decision to say “no” to work.

When you’re a working mom, you learn to use and appreciate every minute. Since time with my kids and husband is precious, I’ve been working on putting my phone and laptop away so I can be fully engaged. I wake up early and stay up late so I can get a lot of work done when my kids are sleeping. It’s amazing how little sleep you can learn to function on.

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While I could sit and focus on all the challenging parts of being a working mom, that doesn’t do me any good. It certainly does take more thought, but there are also many reasons I love being a working mom.  

8 reasons I Love Being a Working Mom:  

  • I always have a good excuse why things aren’t perfect. My house is never spotless. My kids’ hair is often uncombed. There aren’t homemade meals at the dinner table each night. Sometimes I don’t get school handouts turned in on time. But thankfully nobody expects perfection from a working mom of multiple children and I’ll happily accept that free pass.
  • I’ve been able to prioritize my life better. Before kids, I stayed at work from 7am until 7pm on a regular basis. Now that I’m a mom, I want to get home ASAP to see my kids. The work will be there persistently, but my kids won’t always be little.

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  • The kids spend more time with other adults that love them. Our kids are passed around throughout the week between me, our babysitter, their grandma, and dad. If they’re not with me 24/7, that doesn’t make them any less loved. Instead, they get to spend quality time with other people that love them unconditionally and that extra time has fostered some really beautiful relationships.

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  • Working makes my life more interesting. I’m one of those strange people that never seems to tire of being with my kids but I also like that I’m able to go to work and use the skills that God has given me. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a teacher so I’m thankful that I still get to use my brain in that way (even if it does seem foggier now). I have work friends that I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t teach. I’ve also enjoyed the online community that Deals for Moms has created. It’s been exciting to take my hobby of finding deals and turn it into a way to make a little extra cash for my family.  When my husband gets home from work, we both get to talk about work stories. I think he finds my work stories slightly more engaging than hearing about changing diapers, cleaning up toys, and playdates.

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  • I’m more disciplined. Working has forced me to be more efficient with my time. While I’m perfectly content wearing pajamas all day, I can’t do that since I work. I have no choice but to get up early, shower (most days), and get out the door. I have to be purposeful to make time for working out, devotions, cooking dinner, and dates with my husband.
  • It makes me a more empathetic person. Being a working mom is busy and stressful but it could be harder. I have more empathy than ever before for single moms, moms dealing with an illness, military moms, and moms that are alone most of the week while their husbands travel. It takes a village. We’ve got to help one another.
  • I have a few extra bucks to spend. Could we get by without my salary? Yes, I think so. We could drop our data plan, forget the family vacation, stop buying trendy clothes, and eat out less. While we don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, I do enjoy the occasional mani/pedi and overpriced taco. I like that life is a bit less stressful because we don’t constantly have to be budgeting every dollar.
  • My kids are some of the happiest kids I know. Being a working mom is not making my kids miserable. It’s not ruining their childhood. Believe me, I would quit my jobs if I felt my kids were suffering but it’s quite the opposite. People are constantly telling me how my kids are always smiling. They’re independent. They adjust easily to new people and situations. They love their life and so do I.

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featured photoLaura is a wife, mom, teacher, and bargain hunter. She’s married to her high school sweetheart. They’ve been together for over 16 years. Together they have three awesome boys (ages 3, 5, and 7) who make every day wild and fun.  Laura is obsessed with finding a sweet deal and loves to share them with her highly addicting Facebook group, Deals for Moms. You can connect with her on her Facebook page Deals for Moms, website LittleBlueJeans, and Instagram page @Little_Blue_Jeans


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, and be a police officers wife.  Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!

 

what it’s like: to be married to a police officer.

I am so thankful for Alicia’s willingness to share today what it’s like to be married to a police officer in 2018. I personally am so thankful for the service of those who protect us and for the families who watch them walk out the door each day. Alicia, thank you for sharing a glimpse into your world with us today and please, thank your spouse for his service! 


Babe,

I am so proud of you. I can’t believe you are going back to school! That’s so amazing! I know it’s gonna be hard since we have a baby now and we are both working, but we’ll make it work. Again, so proud of you! Love, A

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Babe,

Gosh I wish I could call you right now! I know you just left the house five minutes ago and are only blocks from home. I REALLY need you right now. Little Man got his hand pinched in the door and I need to get him to the ER. It’s bleeding pretty good and he’s gonna need stitches. Ugh, this is so hard without you here!! I will call my aunt to come drive us because I know that you have a test at school that you can’t afford to miss. Keep on plugging away at school. We will make it through this, but it’s so hard! Wish you were here. Love you, A

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Babe,

This CAN’T be real!!! How did this happen?!! How did we lose someone from our department?!! This is so messed up!!! He was just here today and now he’s gone! I can’t imagine how difficult this will be for his wife and kids. What can we do?!! I will keep praying for them, but I feel so helpless. You keep watch outside their house, and I will see you when we can. Hang in there, Babe. Keep the faith! Watch your six and PLEASE come home safe! Love, A

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Babe,

What a special day it was today seeing you graduate! Me and the little man were cheering you on from the stands! He was so excited cheering for “Daddy!” I can’t believe that we will have another little one this time next year. Wow! Love you and we are so proud! Love, A

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Babe,

Tonight, was a night that we will never forget! How cool to be surrounded by our family, at your swearing in ceremony! Also, cool that the kids and I got to hold the bible during the ceremony. We are so proud of you and all your hard work! All that time as a volunteer police reserve has paid off in experience and now you have a job! Keep it up! Love, A

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Babe,

Today is a day I have dreaded since you became a cop. I don’t like the fact that we will have a gun in our house with small kids still at home…I HATE this!!! I wish it didn’t have to come to this. I wish there was a better way. Hopefully, it won’t take me too long to get over this fear. But it scares me. Nothing is more important to me than you and the kids. NOTHING! Love Always, A

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Babe,

Can I tell you that the nights are so lonely when you are working? The kids and I miss you, and I don’t sleep well without you home. I think it’s time to get a dog. I just don’t feel safe. And if I’m completely honest, I am so jealous of my friend’s who have their husbands home safe at night, while I lay awake, checking my phone every hour to make sure I didn’t miss a call from you. I hope you are okay. I pray for your safety and that of your partners. I think about you always. Watch your six and please, PLEASE come home safe to me. Love, A

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Babe,

The kids and I were driving today and we saw a squad and an ambulance and thought of you. They were going lights and sirens. So today we started a new tradition. Every time we see a squad or an ambulance or a firetruck, we are going to say a prayer. We will pray for the first responders, for the victims, for the doctors, for the families whose lives will be changed. In a time and place where we feel so helpless, this is what we can do. Love, A

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Babe,

Today is Father’s Day. I have a big surprise for you. After church my parents are coming to watch the kids and we are going to the range for “Date Day.” Today you will teach me your skill. Today I will learn how to shoot and handle the guns. It’s time to face that this is our reality. Time to get over this fear inside of me. I feel sick to my stomach and have butterflies. You will tell me that it will be okay. You are so good at this. It will be okay. Love, A

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Babe,

Tonight, the kid’s school program was so cute! You would have loved it. I wish I didn’t feel like a “single parent” at all these functions. It’s so hard to have you miss out on so much. I know the kids really feel it too. I love you and wish you were here. Have a good night. There’s a plate in the fridge. Love, A

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Babe,

It’s been hours since I heard from you. I know you are holding perimeter, but it’s pouring rain out and the lightning and thunder has the dog hiding in the bathroom. You must be so cold and wet. Please eat something when you can. I wish you could just call in sick on days like today. We need you at home. Take care of yourself and watch your six! Always come home to us! Love, A

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Babe,

I don’t usually feel like this when you are at work. But you have me worried today. I know you are on a SWAT call. I know too much. I know that the person you are dealing with is a sniper with PTSD and he is armed. I know you are trained well, and gosh you are so good at what you do. That is the only reason why I haven’t made you quit by now. But please, please call me when you can. I need to hear your voice. I don’t usually worry like this. Thankfully Trisha was up, and she is praying with me. I am so thankful to have my sisters in blue. I feel like nobody else understands. It’s an isolating feeling. I just really miss you. Please be careful. Call me. Love, A

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Babe,

I think it’s time to move. I can’t believe you had to deal with parents from the kid’s school again today. That has to be super awkward and uncomfortable. And I don’t know if I can deal with our “anti-cop” neighbor much longer. He just gives me the creeps. He doesn’t even smile when the kids wave to him. And what about the damage to our car out front and the eggs that we never cleaned off. The toilet papering of the house was pretty funny though. The kids and I did get a good laugh about that one, but it took FOREVER to clean up! Is Just wish we weren’t a known “Cop’s House” in the neighborhood. But hey, at least you and your partners can always drop by during meal time! I do love that about living in the city. Or when you forget your lunch, you can pop on home. Have a good night, see you in the morning. I miss you. Love, A

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Babe,

I turned on the radio today and heard about the shooting. My heart is broken. I bawled the whole way to work. How did it get to be this bad?!!! Officers being targeted. The public is in fear of the police. And the media is the driving force that wants to sell a story. Why do people keep believing you want to cause hurt and pain? Don’t they see that you are just a dad, and a husband and a man? Well that’s what we see. We know that even though this is your calling, that you are amazing at what you do, that at the end of the day, to us, you are just “Daddy.” We love you for that. I know that this job is thankless. That you are overworked and underpaid and underappreciated. We are here to say that “WE see you.” We love you forever, please ALWAYS make it home safe to us. We need you. Love, A

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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

 


Alicia was born and raised in Minnesota. She loves her life making people beautiful in her two salons, doula-ing on the side, raising her kids and loving her husband and family. She is reminded daily how precious life truly is, and is grateful for all of God’s many blessings.


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, and experience a late pregnancy stillbirth Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!

what it’s like: to experience a late pregnancy stillbirth.

Sometimes these introductions are easy, and other times, there aren’t proper words to introduce a piece. This is the latter. Today we’re inviting you into a sacred place and I am humbled and grateful for my friend Anna’s willingness to let us into this part of her story. She shares with such grace and beauty in the brokenness that I know you will walk away not only with tears in your eyes, but also, deeply moved by her faith in the heartbreak. Anna, thank you for sharing about Lillian with us.

Here’s what it’s like to experience a late pregnancy stillbirth.

*Trigger warning for anyone who has lost a child. Check your heart today and skip if needed.*


“I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.” These six words irrevocably changed my life. At 35 weeks pregnant, they were the last thing I expected to hear. I naïvely thought my daughter was safe, since we’d made it past all the viability milestones. On July 16th, 2016, at 7:52 a.m., Lillian Ruth was born. I’ll always remember how the sun was peeking over the trees as I gave a final push to deliver her. It was followed by a piercing silence. No newborn crying, no rush of activity, no wishes of “congratulations.” She was petite, at 4 pounds, 2 ounces, but as beautiful as can be.  Time stood still during the hours we spent with her, but when we left the hospital with empty arms, we realized it had gone by all too quickly. Life veered off course, as I was thrown into an ocean of grief, its vastness is unknown to those who haven’t experienced it. The last 23 months have been a crash-course in navigating its waves — a process that I’ve found will last a lifetime. It’s messy, painful, scary, and lonely, but filled with more beauty than I’ve ever known.

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If you came to my house, you’d see the candle we light in her memory, and the vase of flowers with her name painted on it. In our bedroom, you’d see pictures of her (the only ones we’ll ever have), and the shelf where we keep her urn. I would unlock the fireproof safe that holds a lock of her hair, her footprints, the only dress she ever wore, and even more pictures. I could tell you what happened the day she was born, and how all the fear I had during labor melted away the first time I held her. I’d share what it was like trying to fit a lifetime of “I love yous” into a few hours. I’d tell you how people came together and surrounded us with love, bringing us meals, or watching our son while we made arrangements at the funeral home. But with time, people fell away. They stopped asking about her, and grew silent anytime I would bring her up. Nowadays, I often feel alone in my grief; isolated from those who have never experienced loss. I’d explain how different my motherhood feels from that of others, and how exhausted I am parenting my sons on Earth while trying my hardest to honor my daughter in Heaven. Her absence is felt everywhere.

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Despite the isolation, fear, and heartache, I see so much of God’s beauty, more than I could’ve imagined possible in fact. I see it in the juxtapositions of pain and joy; hope and hopelessness. I know He hasn’t forsaken us, because the pain hasn’t taken away my ability to feel joy. I used to think happy was happy and sad was sad; that one could only exist without the other. The mixture of the two is extraordinarily profound. Right now, I am both the happiest and saddest I’ve ever been, and I don’t know how that can be, without God having created us with such a great depth of emotion. Yes, my sense of joy now looks so very different than it did before, because there’s pain in it, and I’m realizing there probably always will be, but I am undeniably joyful. It seems impossible that a broken heart could feel full, yet mine is overflowing with hope, love, and gratitude.

I feel the deepest sense of gratitude, for each day we spent with her, all 246 of them. Watching my belly grow and feeling her kick was magical. While the pain is deep, and will forever exist in some capacity, I would go back and experience all of this again in an instant. It’s worth it just to have known her, and to have held her for those few short hours. In some ways, I’m grateful for the pain, too. My grandmother used to say, “It would be a shame if it didn’t hurt so bad, because that would mean you didn’t have such a loving heart.” How true I’ve found that to be… the grief I feel, no matter how painful it is, is born from the love I have for her. How beautiful it is to know a love that grand.

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I’ve written and rewritten these words countless times, trying to figure out how I can articulate what stillbirth is like. It’s pain, heartache, isolation, fear, hope, joy, love, and so many other things. Trying to describe something so multifaceted, that occupies every corner of my life is challenging. Human life is complex, and so too is the loss of life. There are so many parts of this I could write about (grief, friendships, pregnancy after loss, parenting after loss, etc.), and these paragraphs hardly scratch the surface.

People sometimes ask me what they can do for a friend or family member who has lost a baby. My answer is simple: talk about his or her baby. Not just at the beginning, when grief is fresh, but in the months and years that follow. It isn’t painful to remember her, it’s quite the opposite. What’s painful is thinking that people have forgotten her. The small circle of friends and family members who remember Lillian, and speak her name without inhibition, are more precious than gold.

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My life is unfolding in many unexpected ways, and looks entirely different than I thought it would before her death. On days when the grief is especially heavy, she feels far away. I wonder if she ever existed, and the pictures seem like a window into someone else’s life. The weight of her absence reminds me that she was present. In her life, she knew nothing but love. The tears, suffering, and my broken heart are proof that she lived. As is the love that binds us together until we meet again in Heaven. Experiencing this kind of love is one of the greatest joys in my life, and the joy of loving her will forever outweigh the the pain of losing her.


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Anna is a Navy wife, and has been married to husband, Mark, for almost 7 years. Together they’re raising sons, John and Lawrence, on earth and loving daughter, Lillian, in Heaven. True to her Minnesotan roots, she loves fishing, skiing, and cold winter days (spent either outside or wrapped up in a blanket with a good book). She’s passionate about connecting with other parents who’ve lost a child, at any age or gestation, and passing along words of hope and encouragement. You can follow her on Instagram, on her blog, and visit her Etsy shop.


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriagesand have a surrogate.  Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!

june crushes.

 

Happy June! This has been such a full summer so far! I don’t get to share updates often, so here’s a few summer highlights followed by our June faves and crushes!

  • I traveled with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to Washington DC for our annual girls trip! Josh and his dad crushed the twin parenting game back home, and I so enjoyed the time away to refuel and adult! Trip highlights: seeing Waitress, yummy food I didn’t have to cook, lots of laughing, time to connect with family, and sightseeing!

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  • We made our first trip to the library to get library cards! They had a ball seeing all the books and other little people!
  • We started a Keto lifestyle in efforts to lose weight, gain more energy, and help with PCOS. I have been using this book for recipes and tipsand have found it INCREDIBLY helpful. Nearly 3 weeks in and it’s been going great!

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  • Kirsten and Logan got their first real bad bug which landed Kirsten in the ER and doctor’s office within a week span. I got it too, but good news is we are all better now!
  • Cali had her last day of school, hehe! (We LOVE our new letterboard from Rustic Rooster Home Goods … grab one on Amazon while the price is discounted and in the process, support a small business owned by our good friends Andrea and Ricky!)

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  • We celebrated Father’s Day, grateful that K & L have the best dad in all the land.

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  • My cousin Brittany and her husband Brad, and their 2 year old son Hudson came up to stay with us for a few days! The kids LOVED the time together. SO. MUCH. FUN.

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  • My sister entered her 3rd trimester and we are getting closer and closer to welcoming our NEPHEW into the family!

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This post includes affiliate links which means if you choose to use a link below to purchase something, our family will receive a small commission. In no way does this affect my opinions or crushes! I thank you in advance because twins ain’t cheap! :) 


Now time, for some June favorites! Click the bolded title to check out the links!

1) LifeDinnerPDF: My friend Maria from @RiaRambles shared this amazing tool (LifeDinnerPDF) her and her husband created and use for date nights and I LOVE IT. One thing Josh and I have learned quickly, is that if we aren’t intentional to keep up with our marriage, parenting together gets a whole lot harder. We love to invest in date nights and these PDF’s outline an awesome way to do that, whether it’s monthly or quarterly. Send it to your significant other and get a reservation on the calendar and CONNECT!

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date night in june!

2) Day Designer Monthly Planner: For those who use academic planners, I love this Target collab from Day Designer and Blue Sky Planners. The monthly is perfect for our family to keep out and share and it’s only $6.99. Hard to find in stores because it goes fast, but in stock online. This is my third year using it as a simply monthly planner in addition to my normal bulky daily one.

3) Soft summer feet: My friend Jana told me about this foot cream and these loose heel socks for sleeping and it has done WONDERS for my heels, especially in the summer when we are wearing flip flops and going barefoot more often. A little goes a long way and it has softened some ugly cracks and dry spots overnight!

4)My Soul Sings Out album: My church Eagle Brooke released a worship cd and me and the kids love singing along and praising Jesus! One of our favorites is “No Not Once.”

5) Starbucks at home – Keto style: My friend introduced me to this drink and I am in love! I make a big pot of Tazo Passion Iced Tea (grab the bags here for cheap!),and then add alittle lemonade Mio drops (find them here)and then I love to add some La Croix for a little fizz! (Berry is delish, but Tangerine is fun too! I don’t discriminate, they are all great!). OR to make it a Keto pink drink, sub the La Croix for a little heavy whipping cream! You may want a touch of Stevia to sweetened … or not! But it’s SO yummy!

6) Native Deodorant: Okay, months ago I reached out and asked for suggestions for a natural, well-working deodorant because mine was NOT cutting it. And you guys gave me soooo many suggestions, a repetitive one being Native! Well, months later, I’m here to say thank you! I have been using it for months now and it reallllly works. Paraben free, cruelty free, aluminum free, free shipping, and they even offer mini sizes perfect for your perfect or diaper bag … I have been so impressed. If you want to grab some to try – free returns if it doesn’t float your boat.

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Now onto the kiddos recent favorites!

1) Stack and Tumble Elephant: My kiddos got this toy for their birthday from family friends and it’s a daily staple! We have so much fun putting the rings on and taking them off (repeat x 1000) and making them fall off, and twisting the ears, and kissing it’s nose … they LOVE him!

2) Little Tikes 4 in 1:The kiddos have been loving their bikes this summer! Bonus for us – there’s an adjustable handle and cup holder so we can strap them in and push them. Since they can’t reach the peddles yet, there’s a foot rest that comes off when they can. It will adapt itself all the way into a little trike for them as they grow. An investment but so well worth it!

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3) Matching shirts: Because is anything cuter than matching kids? Girls tank here and boys tee shirt here. We got to match our cousin Hudson too! So fun!

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4) Just a Handful of Olives:My kids love olives and I love throwing these Trader Joe’s packs in my purse to feed on the go (cut in half so they don’t choke.) .99 cents a bag and delish!

5) Declan Roe: We just found out about this adorable boutique that sells children’s clothes and also, donates 15% of profits  to IVF and adoption families. Check out these PRECIOUS outfits my kiddos wore this weekend from them!

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BONUS: Hanna Andersson jammies … because we just love the quality and well, matching. Lemon jammies are a must! Here’s a coupon for 20% off your order. Don’t forget to use your Ebatesto save even more (and if you’re a first time user, get a free $10 cash with this link!)

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Whoa, that’s long. If you’ve stuck around, thanks for reading!!!! I appreciate you! Sometimes I just need to brain dump!

Upcoming posts this summer in addition to the What It’s Like series:

– surviving exclusively pumping – tips, tricks, and how to manage.

– traveling guide for Washington DC

– tips for teething toddlers: what we’ve learned

– favorite books + resources for quiet time as a busy mom. What does it look like?

– marriage tips + transitioning into parenthood … as we celebrate 13 years of marriage next month!

Thanks for staying along for the ride!

what it’s like: to have a surrogate.

Erin is a joy to know and someone who is in the dictionary next to the word “warrior”. Her story is honest and vulnerable and I am so thankful for what she does for the infertility community. I am so thankful for her willingness to share her story as today’s What It’s Like feature and am proud to call her my friend. Here’s what it’s like to have a surrogate. 


When my husband and I got married in October 2012, I never could have been prepared nor envisioned all we would go through over the next almost six years of marriage.

Having wanting to start a family right away, we did what most “normal” spouses do. I did my research, started tracking my cycles, my basal body temperature, and testing ovulation. I downloaded every fertility app you could think of to track the best days to have sex.

After a year of never seeing those two lines we so prayed for, I saw my OB & I was diagnosed with PCOS. At this time, it was also discovered that my left Fallopian tube needed to be removed. It was removed via laparoscopy surgery in 2013. After a recovering from surgery, we began Clomid to induce ovulation. With no luck after three months, we made the decision to go to a fertility clinic.

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From June 2014 through October 2017 my husband and I would go on to try three IUI’s and nine IVF embryo transfers (with fifteen embryos). Over four years, we would spend our days at the clinic in the morning for monitoring and pumping myself full of hormone injections by night. Five egg retrievals in total. We would get pregnant six times, only to lose all of them.

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Around our fourth loss, I began thinking of other alternatives to fulfilling our lifelong dream of becoming parents. How much more could my body handle? How much more heartbreak could we endure? How many more embryos would we have to “waste” to get our miracle baby?

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Around the same time, one of my best friends had so generously offered to be our surrogate, if we ever wanted to take that route. While I knew deep down, ultimately, it would most likely be where we would end up, I just wasn’t quite ready to give up on my body just yet. After all, isn’t that the most beautiful thing about a woman’s body? That we can carry our own children and create life?

For our fifth and sixth transfer, we made the decision to consult a reproductive immunologist, Dr. Kwak Kim. Desperately searching for answers as to why my body was rejecting our babies. Through extensive testing, she discovered I had MTHFR and high NK cells. Essentially, my body thought the fetus was foreign and wanted to get rid of it. Crazy, right?! For those next several months, we made quite a few different trips to several different clinics weekly. It got hard juggling all of it with our work schedules and life, but we always made it work. My husband and I were the living definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But, we knew it would all be worth it.

We tried a few different protocols (steroids, blood thinners, intralipids, etc) with Dr. Kwak Kim and just when we got pregnant and thought things were looking up, they would come crashing down on us in all too familiar fashion. We went on to have our fifth and sixth final loss in June 2017.

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We were emotionally and physically exhausted. We had literally continued to do back-to-back cycles for almost four solid years. After every loss we went through, I would somehow find the courage, strength, and hope to get back up again. I always had that glimmer of hope from within me, but not this time. It was time to take our journey to three on a different path.

I often get asked how we found our surrogate and while I wish I could say I had the courage to ask her, it was her that approached us. Can you imagine just how hard and scary that must have been for her? Offering to your best friend, the gift of life, but not wanting to hurt my feelings by taking away the joy of pregnancy? It did help that she knew we had been toying with the idea, so the next steps on our journey were fairly easy and painless. I should also note that Rachel lives in our hometown in Wisconsin and we are living in Illinois, so there would be a lot of traveling, but all worth it of course.

In August 2017, we would begin the surrogacy process. And boy, there was (and probably still is) so much that I did not know. It wouldn’t be as simple as just putting our embryos into our surrogate. There would be health history, medical checks and tests, psychological exams, lawyers, court dates, etc. Woah. For starters, our fertility clinic would only work with us if we went through a surrogacy agency, per FDA requirements, and they recommended us to Pink & Blue Surrogacy out of Waterloo, WI. I am super grateful that we are using an agency – it has made this journey so much easier!!!! Jesse, the founder and owner, has worked with us since day one and we couldn’t have gotten more lucky.

My husband & I had no embryos left so we went through our fifth (and hopefully final) egg retrieval in October 2017. The cool part, is that I get to share with our future child(ren) that they were conceived a day before our five year wedding anniversary! On our fifth egg retrieval, seven embryos made it to day 5 or 6 and were biopsied for genetic testing. Of those, we were blessed with four coming back PGS “normal” and two of those were mosaic.

Prior to our retrieval, our surrogate Rachel, had to see her OB for a physical exam and all of her medical history was sent to our surrogacy agency. Our surrogacy agency then sends all of her paperwork to our fertility clinic where they “cleared” Rachel to be our surrogate! I was never worried that Rachel wouldn’t be cleared. She has three children of her own, all healthy pregnancies with zero complications! One hurdle done!

After we knew we had embryos, the legal portion could start. Our surrogacy agency contacted a legal team and set us up with our prospective lawyers/attorneys. Each of our lawyers spoke to us and went over what we wanted/didn’t want out of the agreement, which took about a two hour phone call for both parties. After that agreement was drawn up, and we both had very little changes to make, we both signed and we would be cleared to prep Rachel and her body for our transfer! Yay!

Legally, I can’t talk much about what is in the contract, but it’s truly a lot of general items such as no alcohol/drugs for the surrogate (duh, lol), stipends for some things for the surrogate, the intended parents (us) cover all legal/medical fees – which is all very typical. Quite honestly, the legal portion was extremely painless and went pretty quick.

Our legal was completed on December 8th, 2017 and we scheduled transfer for January 12th, 2018. We were all equally excited and couldn’t wait for transfer to get here! Rachel would begin her meds (and injections) right after legal was done and she would make several trips down to us and our fertility clinic for monitoring appointments. She came down for her baseline appointment, lining check, and then transfer.

Rachel & her husband came down the evening before transfer because we needed to be at the clinic early the next day. I was a ball of nerves. I’d stepped foot into this clinic, probably more times than I can count, but transfer day was different. I went in with more hope than I had ever had. We transferred two PGS embryos into Rachel. Later we would find out it was a boy and girl embryo! Here are some pictures from that magical day, thanks to our photographer Jessica Weinstock.

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Rachel’s blood beta pregnancy test was on January 21st – we already knew she was pregnant from her taking home pregnancy tests, but now it was confirmed. Our clinic had her do a repeat beta two or three more times and then we waited for ultrasound. On February 7th, we had our first ultrasound and it was confirmed that one embryo had implanted and Rachel was indeed carrying our rainbow baby! We got to see the flicker of the heartbeat, just beating away. It’s a moment I will never forget.

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We had agreed with our legal team that within 90 days of a confirmed heartbeat we would provide life insurance for Rachel and also have an estate plan drawn up for her family – which we were more than happy to do. There’s so much more that goes into surrogacy that I never expected!

We were released from my fertility clinic at our 9 week 3 day appointment and have now been seeing Rachel’s midwifes at her clinic. She will also give birth at the hospital that she has delivered all her children at as well.

At twenty weeks, we will be contacted by our surrogacy agency and we will begin the process of going to court for a “parentage” agreement with our legal team. I don’t know too much about this yet, I just know that we will all have to go to court and it should take about thirty minutes in the court room. Once that is complete, I’m 99% sure everything will be taken care of and we just wait for our daughter to arrive this September!

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In all, our surrogacy journey will have cost us $30K+, but we have been extremely blessed and lucky to enough to host a lot of fundraisers that have really help offset the cost. You can’t put a cost on happiness and I know when our daughter is here, nothing else will matter and our hearts will be exploding with love.

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Throughout our surrogacy journey, I have to be honest and share that at times it has been hard for me to cope with not being the one to carry our child. While I know, without a doubt, this is the path we needed to take to reach our dream of becoming parents, it still stings a bit that I am not the one carrying her. What Rachel is doing for us, is the greatest gift anyone could give us and is extremely priceless, we are forever grateful for her. We text every day and she always keeps us in the loop too, which is wonderful.

I have a difficult time going into baby sections and/or baby stores because when I tell people we are due in September they immediately take a glance at my stomach and notice no bump. I feel like I don’t belong most of the time. People have told me to be thankful that I am not carrying our child because someone in their family had a rough pregnancy. I have been told during our surrogate’s first trimester that whenever she got sick from the baby, I should force myself to be sick too. Sometimes, people just need to bite their tongue. It can be very discouraging going through this process, and please don’t for one second ever think I wouldn’t give ANYTHING to have carried our child.

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I will never discredit the strength it takes to carry a child, let alone carry a child for someone else. Rachel has shown us so much love, strength, grace and she’s a true warrior. Not once has she complained about the morning sickness (or all day sickness), the injections she took, or the meds she had to take. Her strength has helped me keep calm. She’s giving us our miracle.

I continue to hear how we have “beat” infertility and I’m here to say, no we didn’t. Infertility took a lot from me. Years of pain, loss, time at clinics, etc – but I’m still not the one carrying my child. So no, we did NOT beat infertility, we simply went around it. But, I will tell you that our daughter was worth it. Worth all the pain, all the years, and worth every single penny.

There were days I didn’t think I could keep pushing, but it took those days to show myself the unbelievable strength I had to continue our journey. This journey isn’t always easy, it will test you in every way possible and you will feel every emotion known to man, but I promise you, you have the strength within you to keep pushing. All of us are warriors.

Thank you to Chelsea, for inviting me to share what our journey with surrogacy is like and for helping to raise awareness and bring attention to all our different journeys. I truly appreciate it!


 

ID Pic.jpgErin Boelhower is 33 years old and resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two dogs. They are currently expecting a daughter, Scottie, later this year. You can follow along Erin’s journey on Instagram @journeytothree_ivf, on her blog, or on Facebook.


PS – Don’t miss a thing with this series! Follow along on Facebook and Instagram to catch each of the upcoming stories! I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called In the Wait’!

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PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child and experience multiple miscarriages.  Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!