The Year Without Fall

Letter to Finn: 9 Months Old

Dearest Finn:

You have officially been out in the world longer than you were in Momma’s tummy, and actually have been for a few weeks now! I have no idea how we got to this marker, especially so quickly, but I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that we are here.

You are learning at such a quick pace now. You say Momma, Dada, and every once in awhile we’ll get a “Hi!” In the last two weeks you have learned how to wave and to clap and I’m sure that has a lot to do with your recent obsession with your hands.

You are not crawling. You sit really well on your own but you would much rather be lounging on the floor. If you want something out of reach, you roll to it. We were sure you’d be walking by now, but it’s okay, we always know where to find you!

You have such a kind heart. We were sitting and playing like normal when you offered me your toy. I did not ask for it and I did not teach this to you, you just wanted to share it with me. AND you do this every single day now, as if to say “my teeth hurt mom, do yours? This helps!” And you smile up at me as you hand a teether (you father calls them chew toys) my way. I hope you stay this giving and considerate, son. People forget these traits as they grow older.

You have six teeth and several on their way. Teething is not your favorite, or mine really. You’re such a happy boy but when you are upset, you are UPSET! We get up at least once in the middle of the night; I’m sure part of that is teething, part of it is being a bit spoiled for snuggles. You have been so much better about sleeping in your own crib at night, but you would rather not spend the entire night there. That’s okay with me, for now. We have found out what works best for us.

We have your 9 month doctor’s appointment today, and I’m sure that you have caught up to your age group. You’re already wearing 9 month size clothing, and size 3 diapers BUT we’re upgrading you to size 4 soon.

I love you, son. I love being your momma. I never thought I would be this lucky. Everything about you, everything about who you are becoming, everything about the day to day to the middle of the night snuggles: I love so very, very much.

XOXO, Momma

The “M” Word

October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month. The ribbon is half pink, half blue. The ribbon is tattooed on my left wrist.

I am 1 in 4. Some statistics actually say that as many as 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage if you count those that occur before even getting a positive pregnancy test. I have lost four pregnancies, one in the early second trimester, the others in the first trimester.

My first known miscarriage happened at about 14 weeks. We had been trying for a little over a year (give or take since the Army was involved). I had just recently been diagnosed and was receiving treatment for my pituitary tumor. We had told my entire family we were expecting on Christmas Day. We were so very excited for that pregnancy. I had bought a Christmas stocking for baby, and already starting picking out unisex clothing. January 11th, I began laboring. It was violent, it was gruesome, it was the worst experience of my life. I was in extreme physical AND emotional pain. Other than my husband, I felt like I was completely alone.

That following May, on Mother’s Day, I took a pregnancy test and it came up positive. In June, I began experiencing cramping and spotting. We lost that pregnancy as well. After that loss, I realized that everything I had gone through that particular time, was exactly what I had experienced the previous year when I never knew I was pregnant (I might write about this another time). 

I suffered from postpartum depression. I hard time coping with people announcing that they were pregnant, or wanting to be around people with children. I know that this is hard to understand from the outside, if you have never been through infertility or miscarriage.

My forth, and last, miscarriage happened in February of 2015.

I’ve written a lot about my experiences in the past (Link to my older blog posts here). It never got easier emotionally or physically. I still struggle with the emotions of losing them daily. The TTC (Trying To Conceive) and Infertility Support communities like to worn each other if a song, book, television show or movie have “triggers” or topics that could relate and upset you over the matter. When you lose a child, you have nothing to show, no badge of heartbreak to signify what you have been through. I will never forget how I felt going out into public the first time after losing my first pregnancy. I was in a store, walking down an aisle, when I saw a mother and her newborn baby. It is considered inappropriate to be angry, jealous, or extremely saddened, in that situation, but I was all of those. There’s no warning for real life triggers. So there I was, with my invisible badge of loss that no one could see or understand, crying a few aisles down from the lady and her new baby, the lady I wanted to be.

In May of 2015 I found out I was pregnant again. Excitement and hope was always clouded by fear and anxiousness. A healthy pregnancy did not cure those fears, I was nervous about losing my son the entire time, right up until his birth. I think that our experience with infertility and pregnancy loss contributed a lot to me developing postpartum anxiety.

Angel. Avery. August.Orion. I have seen them smile, I have seen their first steps, I have seen them live. I will always wonder who they would have been.

October 15th is the wave of light. No matter where you are or your time zone, if you light a candle at 7 pm and let it burn for at least an hour, there will be a continuous wave of light across the globe. More information is available at October15th.com and there is a Facebook event you can join here.

If you have suffered through infertility or miscarriage: please do not feel that you have to be silent about it. People you may be closest to will not necessarily understand what you are going through, but there are women out there who do. Find them, build your tribe, find yourself again. Do not suffer in silence.

Anniversary in Paradise

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My husband and I are not your typical military couple. Steven and I met, dated for four and a half years, and got married, before he ever made any oath to the Army. We both have college degrees. We only have one child. We are so much older than most people around us.

For our one year anniversary, Steven was at basic training. For our second anniversary, Steven was deployed. Our third we FINALLY got to spend the day together. Our forth, I was pregnant! This year, for our fifth anniversary, we spent the day together as a FAMILY.

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Our anniversary marked 3 months in Hawaii for us. It has been a bit difficult taking in the full Hawaii experience with our little guy, but I would not have it any other way. For our anniversary, we made our first trip to the East side of the island.

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We first ate lunch at the He’eia Kea Pier General store & Deli. It is extremely quiet, just a store and some picnic tables outside, and it is absolutely breath taking. The food is very good, and I highly recommend stopping here if you are in the area.

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We then found our way to the Byodo-In Temple. If you are a fan of the television series LOST, the location might look familiar. Most notably, at least for me, this is where Jin and Sun got married. LOST aside, this temple was established in 1968 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. It is a Buddhist temple that welcomes all religions (and non practicing humans alike) to enjoy its’ beauty. There is a lot of information available on the official website here.

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From there, we did not have set plans but, you can NEVER go wrong with making time for a little shave ice.

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We walked around Kailua. Went to Whole Foods for the first time since being on the island, and to Target for the umpteenth time.

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We ate sushi at a new place. It was not the best, but it was pretty good. Also, people did not seem to mind the loud baby talk happening in the back.

We came home and FINALLY got to enjoy a bottle of champagne we got while on our honeymoon. We were originally going to drink it on our first anniversary, but I’m glad we had to wait this long. We really have so much to celebrate lately.

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We ended the evening binge watching the last few episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix. Yes, you should watch it.

Five years down and an infinity to go. We have been through so much together (and apart, really) and every experience has only made us stronger. I cannot imagine myself without Steven. Thank you, Hubbers, for sticking with me all this time. I love you!

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Well, hello there!

Hi! How are you? My name is Kristen and I’m doing better than I have been.

I updated the “about” page but since this is the first post here on my new blog, I figure I should introduce myself, or re-introduce myself for some of you.

I’ve been posting journals and blogs and what-have-yous since I was in high school (hey-oh! That’s about 14 years of internet overshare). I took a break from writing about myself towards the end of 2014/beginning of 2015 when my miscarriage(s) induced postpartum depression and anxiety. I put up my guard then, and I have not been completely comfortable without it.

So what do you need to know about me? Well, I have changed a lot in the last three years. I’ve misplaced pieces of me, things I have enjoyed, and goals I have had. I am currently trying to put the pieces back together. I think this blog is a good first step. I’m not going to lie to myself or to you, though. When I decided to blog again I got SO EXCITED, and then, I got completely anxious and wanted to give up before I even started. BUT LOOK! These words are here and you are actually reading them! First: thank you! Second: Yay for fighting my inner demons!

For the the other things you may want to know but do not necessarily need to know:

I’m thirty – and no, I don’t know how it happened but I have accepted that it is just a number. Most days.

I’m an Army wife. My husband and I are currently living in Hawai’i. We are often lost but the view is always gorgeous!

I’m also lucky enough to be married to my best friend. Not to get super mushy, but, I could not imagine my life without Steven. He balances me out in a way that I just could not thrive without.

Finn, is our son, and I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot about him and everything having to do with him as he grows up – much faster than I would like. He is currently 8 months old, teething like crazy, and an absolute goofball!

I enjoy writing in all forms, putting on makeup, bookstores, antiquing, thrifting, a good book and especially coffee. I go to Target more than I need to. I collect Starbucks “You Are Here” mugs. Indie rock music makes me happy.

I have never seen a single Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. I do not understand people who do not like chocolate (How?!? Why?!?). I really wish I enjoyed cooking, but I am just not there yet. I’m dealing with a bit of anxiety and get easily discouraged lately.

I want to be a patient, thoughtful, and confident mother, wife, and woman. Some days are better than others. Every day I want to push myself a little harder and accept myself no matter which way the day goes.

I want to support all women to do the same. We are all doing our best to do what works best for us. I think that is something to be celebrated and encouraged.

As far as this blog goes, I’ll be sharing my story, both past and present and goals for the future. I’ll share what worked for me, and what did not. I will share things that make me happy, numerous photos and adventures, and all that happens in between. Like I said, I’m not big on cooking, but if I find a recipe that works – who knows! You just might find it here too.

Pour yourself a cup (or glass, if you are fancy), and let’s figure out this crazy life together.