My Worst Enemy

In my earliest memories as a child, I remember being very shy. Anyone that knew me growing up would probably say that about me. I’m sure people would say that about me to this day. I have always been rather quiet and even scared to open my mouth at times. Unfortunately, the shyness and fear I had in my childhood, I had carried into my teenage and adult years. I’ll admit, it still takes me a little while to warm up to people. I’ll usually give myself a pep talk before meeting someone new. I’ll tell myself to stay open to conversation and to ask questions so I can get to know people. I’m usually very uncomfortable in these kinds of situations, but I press on because I have to.

I tell you all this because it wasn’t until recently that I realized how much shyness and fear has held me back my entire life. I’m sure somewhere deep down I already knew this, but I had finally admitted it to myself. For me, my shyness has always been related to fear, and fear of what exactly? Fear of what people might say about me or think about me. What if I say something stupid; what if I cause confrontation; what if people don’t like me; what if I fail; what if I get hurt; what if I end up humiliated? All these fears have burdened me since I can remember. Fear has held me back from speaking my mind, it has allowed others to walk all over me, and it has kept me from pursuing many of my interests, dreams, and goals. Fear has allowed me to keep people at a distance, and it has kept me from experiencing new and fun adventures. Honestly, I am fearful every time I go to click “Publish” on this blog. Fear is crippling and it robs you of who you are meant to be. We are all meant to live big and meaningful lives, lives that influence and change the world. We are called to leave this world better than it was when we entered it. We should always be looking for ways to improve ourselves, others, and the world around us.

We should not let fear keep us from forming new relationships, making new memories, exploring new adventures, and most importantly, we shouldn’t let fear keep us from realizing our dreams. We all need to press through our fears — myself included — make something of our lives and make a difference in this world. I know I will probably be fighting fear for the rest of my life, but my hope is that it will get a little easier each day, and maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll conquer it.

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fear quote

 

 

 

 

When Reality Hits Home

My belly is small? I thought.  Couldn’t we just have a small baby?  I mean, neither my husband nor I are big people.  Sure, a lot of friends and family had commented on how small my belly was, but I didn’t think too much about it.  To be honest, I thought it was normal.

As my OB took the monitor out to hear the baby’s heartbeat, like she did at every appointment before, my thoughts were going haywire.  What on earth could she mean by that?  The monitor picked up the baby’s heartbeat, and then, I guess the baby moved because the heartbeat had been lost.  The finding and losing of the heartbeat would happen a couple more times after that.  As my doctor struggled to keep the monitor on the heartbeat so she could get an accurate reading, she told me she was going to fit me in for an ultrasound today.  Now my thoughts were really going crazy!

This must be something serious for her to fit me in today, I thought.  Shortly after, I was led into another room as I waited for an opening to have my ultrasound.  I kept taking deep breaths so I wouldn’t start crying.  I knew if I started to cry I wouldn’t stop.  I text messaged my husband, Anthony, and my mom what was going on, hoping I wouldn’t freak them out.  I was trying not to freak out myself.  I’ll admit, I started to tear up thinking of all the possibilities of why this could be happening.  I tried to shut my brain off, I tried to tell myself to remain calm and just wait and see, but I just couldn’t kick the terrifying thoughts that plagued me.

I waited about an hour until I was finally brought back to the ultrasound technician. That hour was so excruciating, it seemed like forever.  The technician, my OB, and another medical personnel were in the room when I entered.  I got up on the table and the technician started the ultrasound.  As they all looked at the screen, pointing and talking in some sort of code and saying things like, “do you see that,” I began to lose it.  I started to cry hysterically for a reason I didn’t even know yet.  They asked me to take some deep breaths to calm down because they couldn’t see the ultrasound clearly.  You know that uncontrollable cry where you have to take multiple breaths in between sobs? Yeah, that was me, and it was making my stomach shake, and thus, the picture hard for them to make out.  I tried to gain my composure, but it was so hard to stop myself from crying.  After all, I was a hormonal pregnant woman and I was terrified.

Finally, they were done with the ultrasound and they took me in another room until my OB would come in to talk to me.  When my doctor came in the room, she explained that our baby girl was 2 weeks behind in growth, and there could be one of three things causing this: something genetic; something viral; or something going on with me, for example, preeclampsia or diabetes among other things.  I couldn’t hold back my tears, and she knew I was probably in shock because she explained it to me a couple more times.  I couldn’t think of any questions in the moment.  I was so stunned, I didn’t really know what to think.  Upon leaving my doctor’s office, she scheduled me for a Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment the following week.  I got in my car, called Anthony, and even though I could barely utter a complete word, I tried to explain to him what had just happened.

Purpose For A Season

It’s crazy how becoming a soon-to-be parent, who will be responsible for a little human being, can really make you reevaluate your life. It’s really embarrassing to admit, but if I’m honest, I had been feeling stuck career-wise long before we conceived; however, once we were expecting our little bundle of joy, that feeling of being stuck intensified.

When 2017 came along, I was feeling pretty down and defeated when it came to my career. All I could think of was, I’m 30 years old and I don’t have a career yet. And what is my purpose in life? I am my own worst critic, and I’m sure there are millions just like me. Instead of focusing on all the important things that I’ve accomplished already, I started thinking about all that I hadn’t, and really regretting a lot of decisions I made in the past regarding my career. Reflecting on all this, I realized that I had never prayed about what path God wanted me to pursue. I had explored a lot of my interests and discovered that, whatever it was at the time, it didn’t really fulfill me. I knew I needed to make a change, so I began to brainstorm, pray, and hope that a lightbulb would just go off in my head and I would know, okay, that’s what I should be doing. After a week of really seeking God on this, that’s when we found out that Gabriella had stopped growing at 23-weeks gestation. To no surprise, finding my purpose was put on hold as we began to pray for our little girl’s health.

Fast forward to Gabriella being home for about two months, and us finally getting a routine down, that feeling of being stuck began to surface again. At this point, I knew I wanted to do something that would help people, that would give people hope, and give my life more meaning. While Gabriella was still in the NICU, I had thoughts of doing something helpful for NICU moms, and somehow telling people about our little miracle. One evening as I was cleaning up the kitchen, the thought popped in my head that I should write a book about Gabriella’s birth story. I knew God was putting this on my heart. I immediately told Anthony my thoughts, and the tears began to run down my face as I realized that this is my purpose for this specific season in my life. My purpose doesn’t have to be just one thing for my entire life. It will evolve as I get older, grow and experience new things. But in that moment, those were tears of joy because it was like I finally had an idea that I was truly excited about.

Since that evening, the ideas have been numerous and the passion for it has flourished. I tell you all this because this is the reason I started my blog. It’s the beginning of the purpose that is meant for my life in this moment in time. A purpose that I hope will make a lasting impression for years to come. Though my goal is to write and publish a book about our little miracle baby, and to start a nonprofit for NICU moms, I’ll be sharing my heart with you all as well. I’ll be posting about the lessons that I’m learning about life as a mom, life in general, faith, and of course, some really fun stuff as well. I really hope you all enjoy the ride with me, and I encourage all of you, if you are feeling stuck in any area of your life, do something about it. Take a step towards that dream you’ve always had, but never had the guts to act on. Be brave and step out of that comfort zone, and I promise, amazing things will happen.

I also wanted to share with you all two books that my friend Brittany suggested I read. (I totally listened to the audiobooks, but I love them so much, I will be purchasing the hard copies as well. ) These two books have changed my life and I hope they will be life changing for you, too.

                              The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard

                             Stop Saying You’re Fine: The No-BS Guide to Getting What You Want by Mel Robbins

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Back to the Start

It’s hard to know where to start on this journey of Gabriella’s birth.  I guess I should tell you all that I was pregnant before Gabriella.  It was very brief, but I had a chemical pregnancy.  I took five pregnancy tests and got one slight positive.  Yes, it could have been a false positive, but I’m sure there are many moms out there that just know when they are pregnant, and I just knew.  A couple days after the slight positive, I woke up in horrible pain and I knew what was happening.  I sat in the bathtub as the tears ran down my face uncontrollably.  Even though it was not a fetus yet, that pain was still there. The feeling of loss, of what could have been.  Little did I know that that feeling of loss would also follow me during my pregnancy with Gabriella.

We were beyond excited when we found out I was pregnant again.  Not only did I have that feeling that I was pregnant, I got three very dark positives.  All I could think of after finding out I was pregnant was making it passed the first trimester.  Many people said to relax and try not to worry, but that is so hard to do.  Thankfully, the first trimester was over and we could breathe.  We could finally tell EVERYONE.  The following weeks were incredible.  I loved being pregnant and couldn’t wait to see my belly grow.  The best experience was finally feeling our baby kick.  The first kick I felt was the same evening of our gender reveal party.  That was pretty amazing to me.  I am pretty sure she was telling me to stop calling her “he”!  I was convinced our baby was a boy because I had a dream that it was.  I won’t even get into those crazy pregnancy dreams!  You moms know what I’m talking about.

Gabriella was really active in the womb and I loved it!  At our 19-week anatomy scan she looked great.  This was the ultrasound that revealed our baby’s gender, and most importantly, let us know that she was looking healthy and on target.  A few weeks went by and I went in for my 25th-week appointment and a glucose test.  Upon seeing my doctor,  she told me that my belly looked rather small.  That’s when our journey began.