Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday Joy!!

It's been awhile since my last blog.  Life is crazy busy right now (in a good way!) and I have been focusing so much of my time and energy on Cameron and our time together! 

Since I last wrote, Cameron has been sleeping much better, he's eating solids (started at 5 months), and has reached so many milestones to include sitting (even from a crawl position), crawling, standing up, cruising, waving hi and bye, high five, and is just started to babble and make "real" sounds!  We've also done some family hikes and even too our first family vacation to Lake Tahoe!  Oh, and we enjoy going to story time at the library every Tuesday...it's specifically for babies and he LOVES it!  Finally, we are in the process of moving...we would like to be closer to Lloyd's work and be in a city that has much more convenience.  Our house is listed and we are looking for our future dream home!  Selling a house with a baby is tough but I'm keeping my eye on the long term benefits of a much better quality of life in our new city!  Oh, and my period finally returned a couple weeks ago...here we go again (we aren't actively trying but aren't preventing...we will officially start in a couple months when Cameron turns 1).

Anyways, the real reason for this blog...today is October 6th, which was our due date for Joy.  There's not a day that goes by that I'm not reminded of how lucky we are to have Cameron and for all that we went through in welcoming him into our family.  I think of our other two babies all the time...but it's also different now.  The pain and heartache has been replaced with a love and joy like no other.  I now know what some people meant when they said I would understand once I had my earthly baby in my arms...it would all finally make sense.  I remember our other two babies and love them and miss them so much but I also cannot fathom life any other way right now. 

I was reading Jesus Calling for kids to Cameron this morning and thought it was very practical and appropriate for today:

Yes Lord, I will! Even when it's hard and I can't see up, down or sideways, I will continue to walk by faith and trust in Your Word: Be willing to follow wherever I lead you.  Follow Me with your whole heart- even when you don't know where I am taking you.
You want to see, you want to know what's coming so that you can be ready.  But that is depending on yourself.  Put your faith in Me instead, and I'll make sure you're ready.
You don't know what lies ahead, but I know- and that is enough!  Some of My best surprises are just around the corner- out of sight but very real.  To receive these blessings, you must walk by faith, not by sight.
This doesn't mean you close your eyes to what is happening all around you.  It means trusting Me- your invisible Shepherd- more than the things that you can see.
This devotional very much describes our journey to have Cameron...there were many days we couldn't see what lie ahead, why we were hurting so much, and we were full of questions, doubts, and fears.  Ultimately, God kept calling us to trust in what we could not see and I'm so thankful for all the ways He blessed us then and continues to bless us now!  God is good, always!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weeks 13 thru 21

Our 1st Easter!
Yikes, it's been a really long time since I've had time to update this blog. 

Cameron is 21 months old and as adorable as ever!  Truly, I just love him so much and find joy in the most simplest of things with him!  I love our time in the morning where he holds my hand while feeding, wants to cuddle, and can't stop giving me kisses!  I love reading to him and going on walks!  I love having "conversations" with him!  I love watching the world through his eyes!  I love how his face lights up when he sees me!  I love his cute little laugh when I blow raspberries on his belly!  Life is truly good and I'm incredibly blessed to be his mommy!

Cameron & Mommy @Easter!
So, what has been going on these past couple months???  From the previous posts you can tell that we were having some major sleep issues.  We ended up seeing a GI specialist to rule out any medical issues and then met with a post-partum doula.  She was awesome and gave me the courage to start sleep training.

Hanging out with Mommy!
The night before I met with her, Cameron was asleep at 8 and up at 9, 10, 11:45, 2:08, 4:45, 6, and up for the day at 7.  This was night #9 like this and I was completely and utterly beyond exhausted.  I seriously thought I was about to lose my mind.

4 months old!
So we started sleep training.  I was at my dad's house and we started right away with naps.  First nap took about 25 minutes but he eventually soothed himself to sleep.  Each nap got better and less time.  So I was on my own and ready to tackle bedtime.  It took 45 minutes (with a couple checks) but he slept.  That night I fed him at 10:30 and not again until about 6:30.

Mommy and me!
Second day naps were much better but night #2 of bedtime was ROUGH.  I remember calling Lloyd from my parent's bathroom (on the other side of the house) and talked to him until Cameron finally fell asleep, one hour after I first put him down.  Lloyd came around dream feed time that night and was there for the rest of the weekend to help with sleep training.

I <3 my jumper!
All in all, it was a very smooth process and I'm so thankful I did this.  It has saved me so much energy and sanity and, most importantly, has helped Cameron to learn the skill of self soothing and being able to put himself to sleep.  Now, he takes 3-4 naps daily and sleeps a good 11-12 hours every night with only one dream feed at 10 pm!

Happy Mother's Day!
For those interested, I would change his diaper, swaddle, and place him in his crib (rock n play in the beginning but was easily able to transfer to the crib after 1 week of sleep training!) and give him his pacifier while patting his stomach and saying "night night time Cameron".  I also use white noise for all sleeping.  First check is after 5 minutes and consists of eye contact, words (night night time), and touch (patting stomach).  Next check is 10 minutes of continuous crying (if he settles the clock resets) with only words and touch.  Final check is 10 minutes (never had to do this one, thankfully) with only words, no touch or eye contact.

We are 4 weeks in now and things are so much better!  He's a much happier baby and I'm a much happier and healthier mom!  Oh, and we were able to change up his feedings so that he only eats every 3 hours during the day (compared to every 2)!

He loves his Gramma!
Basically, that has been our life these past couple weeks!  Besides sleeping we enjoyed our first Easter as a family of three and I enjoyed my first real Mother's Day!  Speaking of, Mother's Day was awesome just being able to celebrate with our little guy!  That day brought back so many memories of all we have gone through and to finally have our little baby in my arms and here...it's the best feeling ever! 

Everyone says that there is no love like that between a mother and child...I knew I would love Cameron but truly did not realize how full of love and joy my heart could feel!  Life is so good...GOD is SO GOOD! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weeks 11 and 12

Mommy's Little Monster
Time sure is going fast these days!  We really haven't been doing much except having some friends visit, trying to get outside for walks, visiting with my mom, and breaking Cameron's nap habits by having him nap in his room and in his rock n play (instead of walking outside with the baby carrier while Cameron naps).  Oh, and we checked out our local MOPS group and met a great group of women and heard a wonderful couple talk on "better understanding our husbands"!  I'm so glad we went and am already looking forward to next month's meetup!

Even so, our days seem to fly by and before I know it weeks have gone by as we live on a two hour schedule of feeding, wake time, and nap time.  This "routine" or "schedule", whatever you want to call it, is so much different than I imagined our days to be.  But, this is just a season and it reminds me to just stop all else in life and enjoy these precious moments with our son!

As for sleep, daylight savings time really effected little Cameron.  He went from sleeping through the night most nights to really having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep for longer than 4 hour stretches.  He is constantly overtired these days and it's pretty exhausting and frustrating. 

Not helping the matter is his horrible napping, which has been bad since Day 1, but is worse now that I refuse to walk him in the baby carrier as he need to learn how to nap in his rock n play.  Most naps take a long time to get him down (up to an hour) and he literally only naps for 20-40 minutes each time because he wakes up during each sleep cycle.  I feel so bad and wish there was something I could do because I know that better napping is good for his health and will also help him sleep better at night.

Mommy's Little Peanut <3 - 12 weeks old!
Even though he's struggling with sleep, he truly is the best little boy ever!  He's so sweet and precious and his smile just melts my heart!  Some of my favorite moments with him are when he first wakes up and just want to cuddle with me.  Then we have a few minutes of diaper change and putting on clothes while he just smiles away and talks to me!  I love his little conversations we have these days...he'll say something (and he's very intentional with his words!) and then he'll laugh, as though what he told me was funny!  It's absolutely the cutest thing ever!

I'm so in love with our little guy and still can't believe that he's here and he is our's!  It's true what people say...there is no greater love than the love a parent has for his/her child!  It's the perfect example of God's love for each and every one of us and a daily reminder of His great and abundant love!  I'm truly blessed beyond words that God gave us our sweet little Cameron...it's an honor and a privilege to be his Mommy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

2 Years Ago...

'Do you believe God's path is the best path?'March 12, 2013 was a life-changing day.  We were pregnant, expecting our first child.  We had seen the heartbeat just 3 weeks earlier and I was feeling very much pregnant when I walked into my routine prenatal appointment.

My OB did the ultrasound and I was completely blindsided when we couldn't find the heartbeat.  In that moment I knew we had lost our precious child. 

I was sent to the hospital to confirm our loss and I can remember looking at the screen and praying so hard for a heartbeat.  But then I watched as the ultrasound technician wrote the words, "NO FETAL HEARTBEAT".  That was truly the worst moment of my entire life.  Two years later and I still feel the pain in that moment like it just happened yesterday.

But in that moment I felt God like I've never felt God before.  Yes, I was beyond devastated and didn't know how I was going to get through that season.  I had to call my husband at work and tell him the horrible news.  I had to decide how to miscarry.  And then I had to start the journey of grieving and the spiritual journey of growth that followed in the many days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

'God wants to show you the abundant life He has for you! Type YES if you will trust Him!'All the while God kept challenging me to TRUST in His plan and daily reminded me that everything works out for His good.  As I sit here and write this blog today I can affirm that that is very true...God used our journey to not only forever change me and Lloyd but to also reach out and support others who have gone through a similar journey.  I have been tremendously blessed with opportunities to be there for friends, both real-life and those I've met on our online forum.  Every time I have the honor and privilege to walk alongside a friend going through a loss or being pregnant after a loss(or losses) it reminds me that God took us through that season of our life for a reason...there was a purpose that is far greater than we could have imagined.

I was reminded of all this as I was reading through my old emails from my OB.  Just after my first loss we were emailing back and forth (I was sharing with her the message we had heard at church "Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience even if I never tell you why") and she responded saying that right now we don't understand but in the future we will and God will use this season in our life for good, whether I help others through a loss or that I see more beauty in the world. 

'Don’t give up, because God has not given up on you!'Both of those things could not be more true!  I have been so blessed to help others and to share our story (this blog was very much a prayerful decision, one that I argued with God many times before submitting and starting it...and I'm glad I did because sharing our story has helped so many people).  I also see things so differently now and am a completely different person because of our losses.  Whether it be the small things in life that used to bother me, letting go of "my plans" and letting God direct my life while I wait patiently (or at least try to...I'm still a work in progress!), cherishing moments and memories with family and friends, or the moments when I'm outside on a walk and soaking in all of God's beauty!  I definitely appreciate "life" a lot more thanks to the path we've journyed these past two years...Joy had her own purpose for our life and I'm so incredibly thankful for her (and James too)! 

'How has God shown His perfect timing in your life?  Tell us!'Most importantly, I'm thankful for God who kept challenging me to TRUST and reassuring me of his faithfulness all the while showering me with love, peace, grace, strength, and mercy!  I've said it many times before...I am thankful for all that we went through.  Yes it was hard but it's a road we needed to travel, that led us to our sweet Cameron, and we will forever continue to share our story as a testimony and to help support others during such a hard time.  God is good and He is faithful...He has a plan and a purpose for every season of life!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Week 10: Shots, Sleeping, and Soccer Game

Cameron and Mommy <3
This week was super busy!  Cameron had his 2 month appointment.  He is doing great and now weighing 9 lbs 10.3 oz- up nearly 2.5 lbs this month!  As his pediatrician stated, "He's following his small little curve"! 

Cameron with Aunt Annette
She is always concerned about how small he is at each appointment.  It never really phases me though because he keeps gaining according to her 1-2 lbs per month guideline.  So when I came home I googled growth chart calculators and learned that he's in the less than 5th percentile for both height and weight.  Oh well, she's not too concerned since he's growing so I just need to relax and realize that my baby is just small (which isn't too surprising since both Lloyd and I aren't exactly tall/big people!).

Cameron with Uncle Ken and Aunt Diana
He also got his shots (3 in the legs and 1 orally).  That was SUPER hard to watch, probably harder on me than him.  Afterwards, I fed him in the nursing room to comfort him (and it was time to eat again) before heading to Walmart to pick up some baby Tylenol. 

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and trying to soothe him.  He sure was pretty fussy and I was terrified with how the night was going to go.  Before bedtime, I gave him more Tylenol and, to my surprise, he fell asleep pretty fast and slept really well (7 1/2 hours straight).

The next two nights were also "Tylenol" nights and he continued to sleep well.  I knew I couldn't keep giving him Tylenol every night and stopped on Saturday night...and again to my surprise he slept 10 1/2 hours!  Nighttime sleeping is going so well these days (daytime napping, not so much) and I'm truly loving and thankful for the extra sleep!

Kaylie <3
On Saturday, my little cousin Kaylie had a soccer game so Cameron and I ventured there to support her and see a lot of my family (my mom, aunt, cousins and little cousins, and brother and his wife).  Cameron did great- falling asleep on the way there and napping for another 30 minutes in the stroller, hanging out with family once awake, ate the second half of the game, and fell asleep on the way home!  It was so wonderful to get out of the house and have a joyful day (typically getting out with Cameron is really stressful as he tends to cry when doing almost anything, especially traveling in the car).  Everyone enjoyed their visit with him too- it truly was a great day!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 9: Naps are for Chumps!

Cameron is already 2 months old!  Where is the time going!?! 

Well, these days we spend a lot of time walking!  That's right.  The only way little Cameron will nap is if I put him in the baby carrier and walk out the door.  Even so, he fights me for at least 10 minutes (sometimes longer) before finally falling asleep.  Once asleep he'll nap anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  We do this about 3 times every day; therefore, I walk A LOT!  And, my neighbors are slowly beginning to know me as the lady that walks and that has a crying baby!

Night sleeping is going a lot better now, although getting Cameron to fall asleep can be quite the challenge.  The fastest I've been able to complete bedtime is 50 minutes and the longest is 3 1/2 hours.  Once asleep he typically sleeps for 3 1/2-6 hours (he slept 6 hours once) followed by another 3 hour stretch and then the remainder (til 12 hours since bedtime) until waking up for the day.  Basically, he's sleeping a lot longer and only waking up twice in the middle of the night!  This is such a huge improvement from just a couple weeks ago!

Always putting his fist in his mouth!
Other than that there were quite a few firsts this month:  first smiles, first Super Bowl, finding his hands, first family picnic, first trip to Oak Glen, being able to stand on his feet (while holding onto my fingers) and taking steps, and first time (and only time so far) sleeping through the night! 

Also, Lloyd and I had our first date night since having Cameron!  We are so thankful that my mom was willing to watch Cameron for a couple hours so Lloyd and I could go to a very nice steakhouse near my mom's house.  Dinner was delicious but most importantly it was very nice to spend some good quality time with my husband and best friend and to have a little break from Cameron!  

And, it just so happened that we went on this date on the 6th anniversary since our first date!  Time sure does fly and I am humbled by how much God has truly blessed our marriage and our family!  We have enjoyed so many adventures and created so many memories these past years- some of the most precious ones just recently as we've welcomed Cameron into our family!  Life is good and God is simply amazing in how He continues to love and answer our prayers on a daily basis!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 8: Fun with Grandmas, Valentine's Day, and Nighttime Sleeping

Mr. Adorable enjoying Grandma Linda
Week 8 was quite busy!  We were lucky to have two visits with my mom and a visit with my step mom!  Cameron enjoyed all the attention and it was nice to have such great visits with everyone as Cameron was much happier and content!

We went to my mom's on Friday to surprise her for Valentine's Day!  Cameron wore his onesie that she bought him that says "Mommy's Heart Breaker"!  We also brought her flowers and a card and just enjoyed being able to spend time with her!

Playmat fun with Annette and Gramma!
This week was also very focused on getting a handle on nighttime sleeping.  Cameron and I moved back to the guest room to accomplish this and things seem to be much better!  He has gone from sleeping on me (and not in long intervals) to the first three nights doing a 4, 3, 3, 2 schedule, all in his rock n play.  It's amazing how much better I feel now that I'm actually getting some decent sleep!

But, now his naps are much worse so we need to work on those next!  He seems to only want to nap while I wear him in the baby carrier!  I am getting a lot of exercise these days between tons of walking for naps and my running in preparation for my half marathon in May.  With all this exercise I am now down to within 6 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight!