Our G-Tube Journey

Its hard to believe that it has already been a whole year since our Gtube journey began- but I guess it’s been almost a whole year and a half since my boy has been primarily tube-fed!

A few days after Judah was born, he was able to take a very (VERY) small amount of my breast milk, via an ‘NG’ (Nasogastric) Tube- a small tube that was inserted through his nose, into his belly for feeding purposes.

After Judah’s breathing tube was removed at 50 days of life, he then switched to an ‘OG’ Tube (Orogastric)- a small tube through his mouth.

Judah has always had a strong suck, which we discovered just days after his birth- even though he was intubated, the NICU has a way with figuring out how to squeeze a soother in there too, and he loved it.

Since we knew he loved his soother, and even took it while on his long course with CPAP, we knew that wouldn’t be an issue for him.

However, since babies like Judah are at high-risk for aspirating their foods, we needed to conduct a ‘Swallow Study’ to make sure everything was functioning properly before we could try bottles on Judah. Since he was already getting so big though, and we couldn’t wait to see how he would do on a bottle or even give him to time to learn, the more serious discussions began for Judah to receive a ‘Gtube’ (gastrostomy tube) for long-term feeding needs.

So on December 29th 2016, Judah was prepped for surgery with mama by his side. To be honest, I hated that he had to get this thing. And I was so scared of it too. I will never forget kissing him goodbye in the hallway as they wheeled him into the OR- after 166 days of fighting for his life, I was trusting yet again that this was the right step for our boy.

I waited as close to that OR as I physically could and when the Dr’s came out, I jumped to my feet to have them tell me that my boy did ‘exceptionally well’ in surgery and was well on his way to recovery. When I got to see him back in his room in the NICU, it was hard to see him intubated again (3rd time’s a charm?) but he was already waking up so the RT took it out within minutes of Judah being back in his room. #champ

Koby and I had to receive official training on how to use his Gtube- how to clean it, set up a feed, and change it out in an emergency situation.

About a week after receiving his Gtube, it was time for the Swallow Study which took place in Radiology where they placed a taste-less ink in some formula, and had Judah drink it, all while taking a continuous x-ray image of his swallow. He passed with flying colours- the radiologist actually said in all her years of practice, she had never seen a 25-weeker do THAT well. #champAGAIN

We were discharged shortly after that, and so our Gtube journey continued at home. Throughout this almost-year of being home with Judah, we have only had one ’emergent’ situation where Koby accidentally pulled it out- I nearly passed out, but we got it back in with no troubles.

Judah has had 90% of his nutrition come via his Gtube… I don’t know where he would be without it. This thing that I was so scared of having- this thing that I thought we would have for maybe 3 months (HA!), has been so beneficial to Judah’s growth and overall health.

Within the past few months, we have been able to transition Judah to being fed by bottle during the day, and so we are only using his Gtube at night. Its been a BIG step, that we weren’t sure we would ever accomplish, but dude LOVES his bottles now! He has had trouble in the past with reflux, so that caused him to not like the taste of formula so much!

We recently also started to ‘amp-up’ Judah’s calorie intake at night, by adding some ‘real’ food to his tube feeds. Basically, I have been blending up avocados, coconut milk, chia seeds, apples and cinnamon and adding it to his formula. If you’ve got a high-powered blender, then its awesome to have your Gtube baby experience some real food in his gut! Thankfully he has tolerated this so well.

Its amazing how something that can seem so daunting, turns out to be something you are so thankful for- its actually life-changing!

We expect Judah to have his Gtube for quite some time still. Its always a good back-up to get fluids in him if he were to get sick. And it has also been the way we administered all his meds since he has many oral-aversions. My goal now is to have it gone by the time he turns 5, but we will have to see how he continues with solids since thats been a SLOW-go 🙂

All in all, we are so grateful for this little hopefully-temporary button on our boy’s belly! If you’re a ‘tubbie-mama’, let me know if you have questions, or perhaps some fun recipes for your blenderized feeds!


Giving Back

I still can’t believe we actually got to do this!!! Last year on Christmas Eve when we showed up to spend the day with Judah at the BC Women’s NICU (where he had been since early November), we were blown away to find tons of gifts awaiting us in Judah’s room. I assumed they were from nurses and staff- people who knew Judah- but I was wrong. These gifts were all from past NICU families, as they were the ones who knew what it was like to have a baby in the hospital over Christmas.

I remember Koby and I looked at each other and decided right then and there that no matter what Judah’s journey looked like, we too would share our story and give a gift… however we could. I am crying as I type this, cause to see something that’s been on my heart for a whole year come together, is just out-of-this-world!

I knew I wanted to give each family a ‘Just Breathe’ onesie from our shop, but wanted to see just how we could expand the gift to be as much of a blessing as possible. As soon as I put the word out, the response was overwhelming with how people wanted to contribute- so thanks to some kind people for their generous financial contributions, and thanks to the amazing companies I have linked below, we were able to put together SEVENTY gifts- 56 for each family at BC Women’s, and then 14 to our other favourite NICU (where Judah spent his first 4 months!) at Surrey Memorial.

A huge thanks to my sweet friend, and fellow preemie mama Leah, for helping me put these gifts together. Also a huge thanks to my lovely friend Julie of Julie Christine Photography for documenting this super fun day!!!

This is something I pray we are able to do for years to come- and who knows… perhaps we will be able to expand this idea (even to the staff???… it’s so on my heart to do!!!)!

We are so thankful for this place!!! (for those of you wondering, BC Women’s and BC Children’s Hospital are attached and work together- very efficiently I might add!)

This was most definitely a ‘labour of love’ 🙂

We included a little card to share our story…

And these beautiful contributions:

Organic Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blanket from Samantha of Modern Burlap

‘So Loved’ New Testament Bible from Cheryl of Girl365

Custom ‘Just Breathe’ Drinking Jar from Marie of The Mason Jar Merchant

‘I Get To’ Legacy Chain from Jenny at Whole Way House

And a ‘Just Breathe’ onesie from our own Shop

Of course we snuck in some snuggles with some of our favourites!!!

We had made up 70 gifts (as that is the maximum capacity at BC Women’s), but since there was only about 56 there, we were able to bring the last 14 to Surrey Memorial Hospital’s NICU- we hope to fully cover both hospitals next year!

Our kids think this place is home- we obviously snuck in some snuggles here too!

Our family is just so thankful we were able to do this… WHAT A DAY (as you can see below, Judah was pooped!!!)

 

If you received one of these gifts, we pray you have some hope for your journey- wherever you’re at. Please feel free to message if you need another NICU mama to chat to 🙂

Love from The Liesch’s XOXO


Dear Mom- Self-Care Series- All About BROWS!

Hey ladies!

Continuing on with my Self-Care series for us mamas, and today is all about MICROBLADING!

I’m so excited to share this post with you because believe it or not, my brows (and Judah of course!) are what I get asked the most questions about! ‘what product do you use?’, ‘do you get them professionally done?’, ‘who does them?’ are just a few so here is the post to answer all your questions!

First off, allow me to explain what microblading is exactly. I’ve had everything done to my brows over the years- waxing, sugaring, threading, shaping, dying, trimming…. you name it, I’ve done it- both professionally, and at home (keep in mind I WAS trained in a bit of brow essentials in hair school!). So when I had the opportunity to work with my new friend Adelle and have my brows Microbladed, I jumped at the chance!

Microblading is a semi-permanent makeup technique, that ‘implants colour pigment beneath the surface of the skin to produce the appearance of hair strokes or makeup’. You want a SKILLED artist to perform this task for sure!

As a busy mom of 4, I’m up for anything that will help with making my daily routine faster. If there is a product or service out there that will allow me to take time off my makeup routine, and help me to feel my best, then its worth it to me.

I have a confession to make too- I used to be a serial-plucker. My grade 9 school photo proves this, and only my mother has access to THAT shocker. So since fuller eyebrows have made a comeback, I have been spending a lot of time and money trying to make them look fuller because unfortunately, not much grew back.

In steps Adelle over at Bee Pampered in beautiful Fort Langley. Adelle is just the sweetest, and has the most lovely space to pamper you!

Adelle is not only a highly-certified Microblading artist, but is skilled in the art of BROWS! As you walk into her salon, you’ll see many before-and-afters of her amazing work.

I had my first appointment with Adelle a few months ago, and it was no where near as painful as I expected. She starts with drawing out the shape on your brows, and setting her map with pencils, before she applies a numbing cream.

Soooo pretty right?? 😉

Adelle continued with adding the hair strokes with the Microblading pen, and within an hour, I had seriously beautiful brows! Over the 10 days that followed, I applied a Vitamin Ointment a few times a day as they were healing. I went back for my touch-up appointment just 6 weeks later, and couldn’t be happier with the results.

I now often leave the house with nothing on my brows- even a lady at the gym said ‘you always look so put-together’ to which I LAUGHED at (cause I look HAGGARD at the gym!), and she said ‘its cause your brows always look so good!’. And thats all thanks to Adelle!!!

Here’s my before and after of my first session, and below is the finished result! I still use a bit of brow pomade- you can read about my favourite one to use here, but I am so happy with how natural, and how filled out they are now.

Take care of yourselves mamas! Splurging on yourself on something that will make your life a little bit easier is worth it in my books!

Thanks again to Adelle! XO


Ohhh Tidings Of Comfort And Joy

Happy Friday evening friends!

I just finished hanging some fresh garland over my fireplace and now my house officially smells like Christmas! I wish it was all fun and games over here but sadly it is not- June had a pretty wicked flu bug earlier this week and we thought the rest of us escaped its nasty blow but alas- Koby made me cry with how badly he was puking- sorry- TMI! So feel free to pray for our fam jam!!!

Back to GOOD NEWS…

Its been a big week over here (more on that below!), and like I wrote last Friday in this post about HOPE, I will be writing out of some lines of my favourite Christmas carols this month as we get closer to Christmas Day- these are phrases that have grabbed my attention over the years and today we are digging into this one we all know:

‘God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
OH TIDINGS OF COMFORT AND JOY’

It would seem from this song that COMFORT and JOY would go hand in hand. And sure- they most often do come together like cake and icing. Moments of joy bring comfort, and when we feel comforted we are most often feeling joy.

How amazing is it that the birth of Jesus, brought ‘tidings’ (news, word, intelligence) of comfort and joy. Not destruction and anxiety- comfort, and joy- its a picture of who He is!

As a family, we are finally in a season of joy that has brought such comfort to our hearts after such a tough season, but I also know and have experienced that JOY can still come, and is fully able to come, amidst the most UNcomfortable seasons of our lives.

Two Christmases ago, was definitely one of the hardest Christmas seasons I have ever experienced. I was pregnant with our 4th child, and gearing up for Christmas when on the 11th of December, at a routine midwife appointment at 16 weeks gestation, our baby had no heartbeat- you can read Joseph’s story here.

But can I tell you? Even amidst my grief through ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, I experienced JOY. And sure- that joy brought comfort too.

In order for us to experience joy through EVERY season, we need to understand that joy isn’t a byproduct of our circumstances. Lord knows our circumstances aren’t always that joy-filled! #4kids #marriage #LIFE #HELLO!!!!

Joy must become the stance of our heart- afterall, if Jesus dwells in us, His Spirit within our hearts, then JOY is a fruit of His spirit in us- we can have joy in every season!

There is no joy, like the joy that comes from knowing Jesus. And there is no comfort like the comfort that comes from the Holy Spirit- ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;’ – John 14:16

I pray that you would find comfort and joy in Him this season- no matter what your days may look like in these weeks before Christmas. I pray that you would find unexpected joy in the little things that only God can reveal to you.

In regards to Judah’s hearing test this week… talk about JOY!

What was supposed to be an appointment to start the process of getting him fitted for his hearing aids, turned into ‘let’s test him a few more times because he may not need them afterall…’. JOY my friends… just JOY.

To explain a bit further- Judah had his 4th/5th (I forget… there’s been so many!) Behavioural Hearing Test, and then we were going to be doing the molds for his hearing aids. After 15 minutes of testing, the Audiologist stopped the test and came in to chat with me, explaining how Judah’s hearing loss had gone from ‘severe-profound loss’, to ‘mild’. He was reacting to 35 DB (see the pic below), which he had never done before.

So because of this improvement, they want to continue testing different types of sounds and tones. Yes- he still very well may need hearing aids, but THIS… this is a MASSIVE improvement.

So just remember friends- GOD IS ABLE… to improve Judah’s hearing, to help you experience joy amidst pain, and to bring you the greatest comfort you will ever find.

Its why He came 🙂


Go-To Tuesday- My Top 3 Beauty Products

Hey friends! Ok, you’ll have to be gentle on me as this is my first ‘beauty’ post! I had a few people over the last couple of months ask me about certain products I use, so I figured it would be best to answer all questions in one little blog post! Who knows… maybe I will do up a YouTube tutorial one of these days 🙂

So here we go!

My first GO-TO is my mascara, and I actually have 2 that I interchange, depending on my mood! The first is CLINIQUE’s High Impact Mascara. I love it because it gives my short, stumpy lashes a really full look, and it doesn’t get clumpy!

The second is Benefit Cosmetics’ ‘They’re Real’ Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara. I actually feel like I’m wearing fake eyelashes when I’ve got this on… they aren’t kidding when they say ‘lengthening’!!!

My second go-to product that I have been LOVING is Maybelline’s Baby Lips Balm in Pink Punch. Its sheer and light, like applying lip balm, but adds the perfect hint of colour!

Ok now my 3rd product is what has become what I ‘can’t leave the house without’… Anastasia Beverly Hills’ DIPBROW Pomade… however, I use WAY less of this since getting my eyebrow’s Microbladed, which I will be doing an entire post about soon!!! But this stuff is the BOMB- stays put, and when applied with this brush, it gives the most natural look!

Ok, now I’m curious- what are YOUR go-to products??? Comment below- I love trying new things, especially when it has worked for someone else!!!

ALSO- side note… I am always looking to change my products to be on the more natural side, so if you’re got recommendations then send them over!

If you’re curious about my other Go-To Tuesday posts, you can click here!

XOXO


Go-To Tuesday – All Things Whistler

Us Liesch’s are big fans of little getaways. After Koby and I got married, we loved taking short trips that were within driving distance, and have now made it a tradition with our kids! A few times a year, we will try to plan a quick little getaway- but here is our FAVOURITE Go-To spots that are only a couple of hours from Vancouver.

Ever since we spent our honeymoon in Whistler at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, we have fallen in LOVE with Whistler and all that the village, AND our favourite hotel has to offer.

We have been back almost every year- including a little ‘attempted’ getaway while Judah was in the hospital! This past trip was definitely one of the most special times, as we got to surprise my parents and bring them along too. Whistler in the fall, is a must-see!

So what’s so great about this place we love?

WELL… Whistler Village is one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. Most of the village is closed to cars, so its a beautiful walk at any time of day- great shops, coffee, restaurants, and our favourite hotel happens to have the best spot at the end of the village, right at the base of Whistler mountain.

Let’s talk food…

Our favourite breakfast spot by far is Crêpe Montagne – great coffees and breakfast crêpes.. the 2010 is our fav!

Our favourite lunch or dinner or anytime spot is Splitz Grill… THE best burgers that you can personalize any which way you’d like!

Our ‘Go-To’ for a casual dinner is always pizza and beer in our hotel room, and so our favourite Pizza spot is Avalanche Pizza… actually, I think Avalanche is my favourite pizza place, PERIOD.

Our favourite spot for a beer or appies is located right at the base of Whistler Mountain, and happens to be inside our hotel (I like how I call it ‘ours’ as if we own it! But it seriously feels like home to us!) is Dubhlinn Gate… best pub in our eyes!

Lastly, if you’re wanting a bit more of a fancy spot, or even just the BEST Oysters in town, we recommend Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar. Best service and amazing food!

Ok obviously we like to center our trips to Whistler around food! HAHA! Besides food, when we bring our kids up with us, we spend a lot of time at the Whistler Olympic Plaza Playground (which is conveniently located right beside one of the Starbucks’ in the village #parentshighfive), which is located in Village North. We also spend a LOT of time pool-side… more on that below!

Many people have asked us ‘what is there to do in Whistler in the fall?’ and let me tell you- we have gone to Whistler in EVERY season and there is always so much to do! There is SO MUCH to do with kids too- you can find out more over at Whistler.com!

Like I said- we fell in love with Whistler, and the Pan Pacific back on our honeymoon. Whistler is also such a romantic spot for a getaway- take a stroll through the village and then enjoy some hot tub time… need I say more?

This last trip, we had the opportunity to stay at the Pan Pacific Village Centre location, and were again blown away by the hotel itself, the staff, and the atmosphere they have created. One staff member even stopped us in the hallway as we were on our way to the pool, and ran to get 3 kids-sized robes for my babies! How sweet is that?!!!

 

The Village Centre location has an amazing pool area, which you can see how much our whole family LOVED! They have not one, but two great hot tubs to choose from too. Their gym area is great too- had everything I needed to fit in my workouts while away! We usually stay at Mountainside, which you can read a little more about here!

Our suite included a beautiful kitchen, spacious living room with unreal VIEWS (as you can see!), and the comfiest beds and beautiful full bathrooms too.

We love the Pan Pacific so much that we plan on going back for years to come! And now I am dreaming of Whistler and snow and pizza and hot-tubbing…..

XOXO


Health & Wholeness

Koby & I have always aspired to be leaders in every area of our lives- from church life, to family life, to our personal lives- our marriage, our selves, our health (body, mind and spirit!).

I have always juggled with that ‘body’ part.. HA! I have had seasons of health, and then seasons of pregnancy… ok- 7 years of pregnancies! I somehow managed to train for a half-marathon in between Jacob and June, and had some seasons of yoga in there too.

But in the last 2 years, a lot of stuff took a toll on my body. Loosing a baby, and then getting pregnant soon after and having 18 of those 25 weeks with Judah in my belly as a ‘high-risk’ situation, and then being on bed rest for 6 weeks, and THEN 6 months by his side in the hospital…. let’s just say I was like a bear in hibernation! (Add ALL THAT LASAGNA baked by the sweetest friends and ladies in our church!). I wasn’t proud of where I was at physically, and was tired of excuses – no matter how ‘valid’ they may have been! I wanted to be able to say that I took care of my body… that I took care of myself too.

I’ve always been a ‘big girl’, and am thankful for the body and shape I have. I don’t really care about the number on the scale, but I know when MY body is not where it could be. I am not driven to ‘skinny’, but driven to HEALTH.

So when My Reward Fitness’ ‘Best Body Challenge’ became a possibility to me (you can see my previous post on it here), I had to ‘jump’ on it (no pun intended!), and here I am now, at the end of 8 weeks and feel like my life has changed.

These photos below, were taken in July and though Stephanie (our photographer) is AMAZING, it was like a ‘moment of truth’ for me. I cried- I looked at this girl in these photos and thought ‘Jenna, its time!’.

I’m proud to say that I’ve lost 20 pounds and a bunch of inches, and have definitely gained muscle (which was one of my goals because when you have a special needs kid who can’t support his own weight, you need strength!), but I have noticed a huge change in my mindsets towards food and exercise… I’m actually LOOKING FORWARD to my gym time!!! Who knew! And I feel as though this is just the beginning… onwards and upwards! Its an amazing feeling, knowing you are doing little bits every day to take care of your body- to take care of your HEALTH!

A HUGE thanks to Meray and Paige for all their help and work and motivation… you ladies are amazing!!!

If this has sparked an interest for you- they will be launching a new #bestbodychallenge in January so head to Meray’s website by clicking here for more information!!!

XO


#MarriageMonday – Love & Marriage Through Trauma

I have had it on my heart to bring this blog post to you for a while, regarding this subject that is oh-so fragile. Many of us have been through ‘stuff’ in our marriage- whether that ‘stuff’ was self-inflicted by one or the other, or whether that ‘stuff’ was unforeseen circumstances- marriages, like individuals, will go through STUFF!

The bible encourages us in James 1 to ‘consider it an opportunity for GREAT JOY… when troubles of any kind come your way’. And it goes on to say ‘for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So LET IT GROW, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’

SO MANY people have asked Koby and I how we have made it through this season STILL MARRIED… and sometimes I had to ask myself! Its most definitely by the grace of God, but at the same time, we felt that we were living IN this very scripture- we had to let our faith be tested, and let our endurance grow… still do my friends! We knew we were going to have our moments. We knew we needed each other, and others as well. We knew we needed God to get us, our marriage, and our family, through the trauma of a very premature, sick baby, and a 6+ month hospital stay. And friends, we didn’t do it perfectly, and we are still, and always will be, working on it!

Through our own journey in this, I have discovered many new friendships who have also had to navigate their marriages and families through some TOUGH stuff, which is the biggest reason why I am so excited to bring this post to you- it features 3 of the strongest mamas/wives I know. I pray and hope that whatever season you find your marriage in, that these words will bring encouragement and hope to you today!

I asked these 3 wives, to answer this one question-

‘WHAT IS ONE THING THAT HELPED (OR IS HELPING!) YOUR MARRIAGE MAKE IT THROUGH THIS SEASON?’

Meet Jessica…

‘When Ronnie and I were told that Lewiston wouldn’t make his first birthday he was just over 2 months old at the time it was the biggest blow any parent could ever face. We didn’t have a choice to not get through. I mean yeah sure you can throw up your hands in the air but we ain’t quitters. We got through and are getting through because of a pact that we made together after getting the most horrific news a parent could ever get. We promised that no matter what, we would weather the storm, we would communicate, and we would choose joy. We would remain faithful to God and trust him in all circumstances. Hard to do when weight of the world is bearing down on us. It isn’t always easy but we are making it through and I am thankful for that.’

I had the privilege of meeting Jess, my ‘instagram friend’, face to face this past summer while we were both visiting family in Winnipeg. Jess is THE MOST raw, honest, real chick I know, that has the MOST genuine faith in Jesus I have ever seen. Jessica and Ronnie live in Calgary, and have 2 babies- sweet Swayzie, their 2-year-old daughter, and amazing Lewiston, who is dancing to Justin Timberlake in heaven with Jesus. PLEASE do yourself a favour and go discover the Olstad’s story over on Jess’ Instagram, as well as visit their website Love for Lewiston and support them in any way you can! I adore you Jess!!! #12sleepstillHAWAIIIIIIII

 

~ ~ ~

 

Meet Laesa…

‘I’d say the one thing is constant communication. And I mean constant. We tell each other everything. Everything we experience together, and even apart. Feelings, thoughts, fears. When we are in “hospital mode”, we take time each evening to debrief the day. We ask each other hard questions, and we give each other space to feel whatever they need to in each moment. Its important to recognize that communicating isn’t always talking though- sometimes communicating is sitting still, its physical touch, its being aware of the others body language. And in that, its our constant.’

Laesa has been a ‘church friend’ of mine for a few years, but most recently has become one I have grown close to, as we share similar, yet different, stories. Laesa and James are from Surrey, and are the proud parents of Noah, and Evelyn, who was born at 31 weeks with a Congenital Heart Defect and has been capturing the love of many ever since. They are 2 of the greatest and wisest and strongest parents I know- follow along with their journey over on Laesa’s Instagram as they continue to navigate an extensive hospital journey with sweet ‘Baby E’!!! You’re amazing Laesa Kim XO

 

~ ~ ~

 

Meet Michaela…

‘I still remember the first time our daughter, Florence, was hospitalized. She was on the regular floor, the one and only time. After that, she always stayed in the intensive care unit. So, the third floor was luxury! We had a cot for ourselves, our own room so we could eat takeout, and they even brought us baby food for her, since she didn’t have a feeding tube yet. My husband and I both stayed over. We shared the cot. We snuggled and laughed and even kissed a little. We CLUNG to each other. We were terrified, but our baby girl was going to be okay. We knew it, and the doctor was hopeful. We didn’t have “rounds”, just a friendly visit from our pediatrician. 

It all changed when she was 13 months. She almost died, and we did too. At least, that’s how it felt. I was sure I wasn’t going to make it through the night. It was the most traumatic event in our lives, apart from her death. It was the early AM hours and we were alone in the PICU waiting room. Saltines and hot water. Stiff plastic coated couches. Eerie fluorescent lights. And down the hall, they were trying to stabilize our baby girl. That was when we realized we may not win this war. 

There is nothing more intimate than being with your spouse in a traumatic moment like that. The journey of being parents to a medically fragile child either pushes you together in desperation our pulls you apart, bit by bit. Either way, most parents are scared. They feel out of control. It can manifest in different ways in a marriage and we certainly had our moments when we were both reacting in fear and brokenness and taking it out on the other person.

Somehow, we made it. Somehow, we are still making it. It’s grace, for sure, it’s supernatural, too. Our faith in Jesus has carried us, but not always because we’ve asked God to. Others prayed for us. Their prayers carried us. Because we were silent. For a long time. Prayers and utterances barely escaped our lips. We couldn’t believe the nightmare was our story. We are still picking up the pieces. 

Our love for each other survived. 

We respect the other’s grief journey because it’s not the same. 

We are a team, but our hearts experienced the trauma in different ways. Learning to hold space for the other person is so important. I’m just processing a lot now and going through postpartum anxiety because of it, meanwhile, my husband doesn’t quite understand it. He’s not in my place. He’s not the mama. But his patience and love for me is carrying us through it. 

And it goes both ways.

I don’t need rescuing and neither does he. We do it together.’

Well before I was even pregnant with Judah, I discovered Michaela’s journey through some friends on facebook. Though I have yet to meet her face to face, Michaela has been a constant source of HOPE to me through life with Judah. Michaela and her husband Jay discovered that their beautiful first born baby girl, Florence Marigold, at just 3.5 months of age, had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that would graduate her to heaven not long after her 3rd birthday. #FlorenceMarigoldinBloom ‘s story, and that of Michaela’s #mamagrief , has reached far and wide and now with a 3rd sweet boy on her hip, Michaela writes in the most beautiful and honest way about their journey on her Instagram and also on her oh-so-lovely website, MichaelaEvanow.com .

 

~ ~ ~

 

Happy #MarriageMonday friends!!!

xoxo

 

 


Dear Mom- Self-Care Series

Hey mamas!

I have wanted to add to my ‘Dear Mom’ series, a little on self-care for quite some time now, and since these past 2 weeks have been quite the change for me, I figured now is the perfect time to start.

I got the opportunity to join this challenge the day before it started (insert all the shocked emoji’s here), and I could NOT say no. I had actually been praying about what would be the next step for me as far as exercise goes, and this seemed like the perfect fit. A little more on this below!

As for us mama’s, one thing I have always been able to do since having little people, is take time for myself. I know this doesn’t come easy to some of you, nor is it even possible. But I hope to encourage you to DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. We spend 24 hours of our day at times, giving of ourselves to the people in our world, and if we are depleted, then we are of no good to anyone!

I have always pushed myself to carve out some time for the little things that keep me sane- for example, for me, doing my nails is the perfect little thing that makes me feel good about myself, and allows me some time to de-stress. What could be a little thing YOU could do for yourself this week? And trust me I get it- some seasons, just a SHOWER is all you need! You do you, boo boo.

Koby and I are always pushing ourselves and each other, to be examples in ALL AREAS of our lives, including our overall health. This has most definitely been a tough one for me in these past 2 years.

I adore my ALL-PURPOSE MAT from GATHRE!!!

So this SELF-CARE post is dedicated to caring for our health, and stay tuned because I’ve got some FUN self-care posts coming up in the future!

After I had Jacob (and during my pregnancy with him I went a little ‘buck-wild’…aka Timmy’s Double Double EVERY morning! AHH!), I got back into being active as much as I could. I would do yoga at home, and go for long walks with him, and then an opportunity just like this one that I am currently in came up- a bunch of ladies were getting together to run a half-marathon. I was the 3rd person to sign up and never looked back. Apparently ‘running makes you fertile’ though, so I got pregnant with June, JUST before the big half-marathon. My Dr suggested that I hang up my shoes, and I did.

My pregnancy with June felt a lot more active as I was still picking Jacob up (he only learnt how to walk when June was a week old… they are very close in age!). After my 6 weeks was up after June’s Csection, I was very busy at home with the 2 of them. And then came Jed, and I thought I was busy with 2… hahahaha! And then we moved and bla bla bla. Life took over and I never got back into any sort of groove for exercise and my body was feeling it.

I got pregnant again with our 4th, who I ended up loosing at 16 weeks. So after that obviously heartbreaking time, I was resting a lot and then quickly got pregnant with Judah, where I was basically in and out of the hospital until I was on official bedrest at 19 weeks. After I was admitted at 22 weeks, I was given blood thinners to avoid blood clots since I was on such strict bedrest (only getting up to pee, and short showers!). And then you know the story… but 6 months in the hospital beside your baby’s bedside isn’t exactly my idea of ‘exercise’ 😉 And then add in all that amazing and generous food all the ladies in our church made us… bad combo for this bum bum of mine!

So this fall was it for me… TIME TO GIT’ ER DONE. In steps my new ‘friends’ (which I have yet to meet face to face!) Meray and Paige. You can read more about Meray here on her beautiful website, where you’ll find amazing recipes and all that she does to help people live a healthy life.

PHOTO BY Taliah Leigh

So this challenge? I’m up for it. I’m ready. And I’m pretty sure after all I’ve been through with Judah, that I’m more determined than ever!!!

Why am I doing it? I want to be HEALTHY- body, mind, and spirit. I want to be STRONG, for my kids (cause carrying Judah isn’t for the weak!), and for myself. I want to feel confident in this new body… no I don’t want my ‘pre-baby-body’ back! That’s gone. That was 7 years ago. This body has carried 6, birthed 4, and has handled a lot over the last few years. I want to take care of it the best that I can. That’s why 🙂

Here’s to more pop squats and planks (that make me cry)!!!

 

XO