The Young Mom.

At 19 years old… most of you are just trying to figuring out what you want in life. That’s totally normal, however there are others who already know what they want. Some people know from a young age what they are meant to do in life. For me, that was being a wife & mother. If you really know me, you know that was my dream for as long as I can remember. Not many people were supportive of that because it’s not the traditional way. Usually you go to college, meet your spouse, establish a great job, then have a baby. I clearly took a different route and I don’t regret it for a single moment. I used to get asked all the time…”what are your plans for college?” And honestly I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t want to lie to everyone but I was too scared to hear what they thought about me not going to school right away. I just ignored the subject for as long as I could.

Back up about 4 years ago, I met my husband. I was a junior and he was a senior in high school. I was taking a few college classes and just going with the flow of everyone else. Cooper was about to graduate but didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do yet. About 2 years into our relationship, Cooper decided to join the military. He shipping off the basic training and a few months later, we were engaged! I had people ask me if I was pregnant, if I was doing it just because I wanted to go with him, etc. Just dumb questions that made me so upset! I married Cooper because I LOVE him. At the time I was a little over 18 years old. People would tell me I was rushing, I wasn’t sure and I was making a mistake getting married so young. But in my eyes, it was more time I got to spend with the love of my life. I knew from the beginning I wanted to be his wife. When you know, you know.

December of 2016, we were married by a close family friend! It was small and special but we knew we wanted a big wedding in the future. We had to figure some stuff out first with the military and then we could start planning! We found out we were being sent to Tucson, AZ and it broke my heart. It was complete opposite of where we wanted to be but we knew that this would be a possibility. August of 2017, we had our big wedding of about 200 people! That was a whirlwind of emotions. That day, August 5th, during our first dance, Cooper told me he was ready. He looked me in the eyes and said “let’s have a baby”. My entire life was just so full of love and happiness. About a month later, we found out we were expecting Baby Goettle!!! MY DREAM WAS COMING TO A FULL TRUTH! I was so excited. I can’t even explain how excited. Most people would be nervous, scared, overwhelmed… I wasn’t. It’s like I knew i was meant to be a mother. I was 18 years old but I knew. I was scared, on the other hand, to tell our parents. It wasn’t the route they had planned for us. But it was OUR route. (Before you think anything bad, they absolutely love jace with every ounce of their being). It just took some time. As it would with any parent of an 18 year old, THEY were scared. And I get that. I totally understand. Having a baby is a scary thing. Starting a family at this young of an age, is scary, but I wasn’t scared. I was ready.

Now, as much as I talk about this, just know it isn’t easy. But honestly, when is it ever? I got SO lucky with this baby. Yes, he throws some challenges at me but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Since I brought him home, he’s slept almost through the night for the most part. He has patches of restless nights but of course that’s normal. He’s the sweetest, my loving, happy baby I’ve ever seen and I truly believe that reflects off of the home. We have a HAPPY home. Yes, I may not be able to go out whenever I want, but I can to cuddle my son whenever I want. I may not be able to leave jace for entire day (well I can now at 8 months) but that’s okay because I miss him. Cooper and I never knew we could love like this. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you want a family and your life permits, CREATE THAT FAMILY! I was 18 when I got pregnant, 19 when I had him, 20 when he learned to laugh at my smile, and I’ll be 21 when he looks me in the eyes and calls me “mama”. And I wouldn’t change in for the world.

•I love you, son.

-mama

Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese Carmel Cookies.

Hello hello hello! It’s been a while but I’m back with a quick recipe that has been SO popular in my household. I’m sorry I’ve disappeared… I’ve started school, Jace has started so many new things that I’ve been focusing on and I’ve been doing a little bit of traveling! I hope you guys can forgive me and I PROMISE I will be back as soon as I can!! Anyways… I hope you enjoy this sweet treat! Feel lucky, these are my secret, special cookies!

Ingredients-

•1 box white cake mix

•1 stick melted butter

•1 egg

•1 stick cream cheese

•1TBSP cinnamon

•Cinnamon/sugar mix

•Carmel sauce

•Sea Salt

Instructions-

1. Mix together cake mix, melted butter & egg on medium for one minute.

2. Add in cream cheese & cinnamon- mix on medium for two minutes until cream cheese is fully mixed in.

3. Let sit in the refrigerator for 30-45 min to become firm.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Spray baking sheet- Roll dough into about 18- 2″ balls.

6. Roll dough balls into the cinnamon sugar mix until fully coated.

7. Bake for 10-12 min.

8. Drizzle Carmel sauce and add a pinch of sea salt on each cookie while they are still hot!

Enjoy! 💙

I Love You, Mama.

You are not alone. Whatever you are going through, you are not alone. Whatever you are worried about, you are not alone. If you are feeling down, discouraged or scared, you are not alone. You may not know it but you have our support. Tonight’s post is going to be not just from me but from all the moms around you. Mom shaming is such a big thing in today’s age and I just can’t STAND IT. Moms do not get the support they deserve. No matter what they do, they are criticized and that needs to end. So over the past few days, I have asked moms all over the world (many are apart of the Air Force community) to add in some words of support. I’m going to briefly start with mine. I know for a fact I’m not the only one struggling with this because I have another mom who has written for us that will explain the same thing. I’ve mentioned it many times before and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it but it got pretty bad over the past week. So as you know, Jace and I have trouble breastfeeding which is not uncommon. Many many many other mothers have this issue. Anyways… I started off with a great supply of milk when Jace was born. Like so much milk that I have close to 100oz. Froze AFTER donating to another family. We’ve always done well and it was something I thought I would never have to worry about. Well one day Jace decided he didn’t want the shield anymore and he was nursing like a normal baby! Everything was great until I noticed he was fussing while eating and wanting to nurse more often. My milk was gone. I sat on my couch for hours and just cried because I knew my baby was hungry. I was so scared to give him a bottle because I knew if I did, he would not want to nurse anymore and once I ran out of milk, he would have to go to formula. Now, I understand that formula is 100% perfectly fine but Jace and I have been working for almost 3 months on nursing. I felt like all of our work went to waste. Cooper, my husband held me as I cried and reassured me that if I had to give him a bottle, everything would be okay. He would still be my son. He would still love me. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t provide my son my milk. I gave him what I could and held in there until my Lactation appointment the next morning. Once we got to the appointment, we weighed him as usual and he dropped down to 9.13lbs. I was devastated. I sat down to feed him and he cried. He screamed and screamed. For the few days leading up to that I was trying everything I could to get my milk back. Literally EVERYTHING… Mother’s milk tea, Fenugreek pills, oats, brewers yeast, Gatorade, pumping…. I tried it all. Still nothing. At my appointment Jace got what he could from me but it still wasn’t enough. It resulted in me feeding him through an SNS tube. Essentially I would fill a big syringe with my pumped milk that had a tube connected to the bottom. I would latch Jace on and feed the tube into the corner of him mouth and pump milk into the tube. This strategy made him think he was getting milk from me. I was told I had to do this for a few days until my milk hopefully came back. As I was sitting in the room crying, feeding Jace through a tube, I had amazing support next to me. Both my Lactation consultant and my best friend. We filled his little belly with milk and he was set for the next few hours. As I left there, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do the tube on my own. I just wanted to give up. But with all the support I had, we figured it out. My milk came back that next feed and he was back to eating full meals again. Two days later at his weigh in, he was 10.1lbs!!!! It took him about 1.5 months to gain about 10-12oz. It’s so hard to hear that your baby needs to gain more weight when you know they’re getting food and they’re healthy. Some people, like myself, just have tiny babies. The moral of my story is, don’t give up. Find the support you need!! Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed to cry. At the end of the day, do what is best for you and your baby and you WILL be happy.

Now I’m going to share a few words from wise mamas all around us. Hope you enjoy and find the love and comfort we are trying to share with you!

PREGNANCY-

1. Okay, so I wish someone told me how hard it would be mentally from the very beginning.

So basically I got ridiculously sick where I couldn’t eat anything or keep things down. Shane would have to help me up and down the stairs. I couldn’t cook, clean, and could barely shower without asking for help from how weak I was. Once I started feeling better I had absolutely no energy to do anything. I went weeks without cleaning and Shane would come home to help with laundry. I felt guilty and felt lazy. I wish people told me before I got pregnant that it’s okay to nap before worrying about things around the house. That it’s not lazy considering how much your body is changing. Another thing for those moms who are pregnant with their rainbow baby’s. I am extremely excited for Isaiah but sometimes I can’t help but feel sad for the baby I lost. Even through the exciting moments, I won’t stop thinking about our Angel. Like when we first heard Isaiah’s heartbeat, I was angry that we couldn’t experience this the first time. September is when our angel baby should be turning one and it’s still going to be hard for me. I wish I knew I’d feel this way & it’s true when people Say that the pain of losing any baby will always be with you but I didn’t know it would make me angry at the same time. And, on a funnier note. I didn’t know how bad cravings would get. Shane and I got into an argument once because I legit cried like a child after he said “it was too late to go to chilis” when at the beginning of the day we discussed going there because I wanted their mashed potatoes. The best way I could describe it to Shane was that it’s like you’re a bratty 5 year old child who wants it their way. And even though you know you shouldn’t react like that, you can’t help it lol.

– Brisa Garcia

2. Everyone has head of morning sickness, but before you get pregnant and experience it, you never really understand what it feels like. Everyone says it feels like motion sickness. What exactly does that really mean? Can you make it stop? Is it only in the morning? When does it end? These are all questions that expecting moms are asking! The answer is….. it’s different for everyone. For me and my first pregnancy it was awful. I found out that I was pregnant when I was about 6 weeks along. I had missed my period by 5+ days before taking a test and had been feeling kinda crappy and under the weather, but not sick sick. Basically the next day I woke up I said to myself “yup, this is morning sickness.” For a couple days I was still able to do and eat basically anything I wanted. I just felt really tired, another symptom of early pregnancy.

As time went by, it continued to get worse and worse. I began every morning waking up and running to the bathroom to throw up. Although I could still eat, I always felt awful.

Eventually it got to the point where I was unable to move off of the bathroom floor. My husband would come in and sit behind me just rubbing my back, not knowing how to help. By this time I was unable to keep most food down, and even had a hard time keeping liquids down.

Eventually I felt so awful that my husband and I decided to go to the ER. If for no other reason, to at least get IV fluids. While in the hospital I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. Which basically means severe morning sickness. There is not a way to necessarily “treat”’morning sickness, but there are things that can help make it a little more bearable. In my case, I was given zofran. Some other options are; preggie pops, psi bands, sucking on mints, or just dealing with it. I am sure there are more, but those are the main ways to make you feel better.

There is a huge debate whether zofran is safe during pregnancy or not. If you look online, you will see many different articles. Some saying it’s perfectly fine and some saying it will cause major birth defects. I was worried about it, but after having my doctor explain it I felt pretty good about taking the dose he recommended. The research that was done on the drug, zofran, was done when it first came out. To summarize, basically women who were given this drug in “testing” were given the highest possible dose, multiple times a day for an extended period of time. By taking that much of the drug that frequently it would cause birth defects or even miscarriage. The dose that I was taking was 1/200 the dose that those women were taking. The same dose, 1 pill every 6-8 hours, has no proven research showing those defects.

After I started taking zofran, my morning sickness got “better.” By better I mean that I still got sick at least once a day, but after getting sick I usually was okay to go out and do things or whatever I needed to get done. Even though it seemed better, I still preferred to hang out at or near home just in case. I had gotten sick in too many restaurants at that point! My morning sickness lasted until I was in my third trimester. It finally just went away. I feel fortunate that it went away and didn’t last my entire pregnancy like some women. It was really hard to continue to feel that love for my baby when I would sit on the bathroom floor miserable and bawling because I was so sick. Zofran was my saving grace, without it I would have been more miserable. I am so thankful that there was a dr who took the time to explain the risks versus the benefits and helped me make that decision.

-Annie Young

DELIVERY DAY

1. Dear mamas who had a c-section

I feel your guilt and I understand the guilt you may feel for not physically birthing your child; and I think it is important that you know you are NOT alone.

The daunting question of “why wasn’t my body strong enough” still haunts me to this day (5 months pp) and I constantly compare my birth stories to that of women who were able to deliver their child. The guilt is easily compared to a mother who wanted to breastfeed, but wasn’t able to do so for a multitude of reasons.

Some women arrive at the hospital knowing their c section is scheduled and has had weeks maybe months to prepare their mind and heart for what it’s going to endure-and then there are the moms like me.. where we push for hours on end just to end up being taken to an operating room.

I remember after hour 3 of pushing I was given 2 options. 1: keep pushing while they use forceps, 2: c-section. After discussing the harms forceps COULD do(nothing against moms who used them♥️)  we decided on a c-section and immediately the thoughts of what I’d miss out on flowed through my head faster than a raging river. I wouldn’t get the ‘normal’ skin to skin right after he was born, I wouldn’t get to spend those first precious moments with him just staring at his glory because I’d be to busy getting put back together and stitched up, I’d miss Tyler cutting the umbilical cord and ect. All of those thoughts added up to a gut wrenching- already failing as a mother feeling that I wouldn’t get that initial ‘important’ bond with my baby boy..

I am here writing this and to tell you that although my thoughts were logical in the time being, they were WRONG- oh so wrong ladies. I got to bond with my baby and you will too! They kept him naked as I’m sure they will for you and as soon as I was stitched up and taken to my room he was brought to me, laid on my chest (just a little cleaner 😉) and was immediately able to latch on me for comfort. Everything happens so fast from the time in between your baby being taken out of you, the initial (quick) cheek to cheek meet before he/she is taken away to be cleaned, cord clamped, foot stamped, ect, and the first time they place your baby in your arms on your chest once you’re stitched up and able.

There is no reason us C-section mamas should feel bad about the way we brought our baby into this world. I have learned that it doesent mean my body wasn’t capable, there are so many factors that play into the decision of getting the surgery.

We still carried that bundle of joy for months and months, and we will still have to deal with the hardships of having a child for 18+ years just like any other mama who had a natural birth! I know that you will feel the guilt I’ve felt, but above anything, recognize that it doesent  make you any less of a woman! Some of you (like me) may of even went through labor and still had the surgery, so I would count yourselves as a double super mom! (Go you!)

I promise you that we are still great mamas and if makes you feel ANY better, know that you’re still gonna have some crazy stuff go on down there even though you delivered through surgery; if you know what I mean- so still get the big pads and the ice packs and the wipes ready because we still get ALL of that wonderful glory.

Love yourselves mamas because every birth story is unique and perfect.

-Haley Pritchett

2. My two pregnancies were completely different. With my first, though the pregnancy itself was pretty standard and uneventful, delivery and the weeks and months afterwards left me dealing with severe postpartum depression and anxiety. My son was sunnyside position, and I pushed for hours for him to get stuck… and then break my tailbone when he finally made it out. I was so worried that if I didn’t do everything by the book with my son, something awful would happen to him. I couldn’t sit or stand for long periods of time without discomfort, and even holding my son became a difficult chore when I should have held him with joy. It was awful when my husband left for basic. I didn’t see a professional until nearly two years later. I learned to come to terms with the fact that my firstborn was unplanned, and derailed all of the plans I laid out for my life.

With my second, he was planned, but we had a few issues throughout the pregnancy. In the beginning, I had to go back weekly because they couldn’t find him on the sonograms. Then they found the hole in his heart, which was later resolved. And then when I hit third trimester, the trauma from my first pregnancy reared its ugly head when the weight of the baby put pressure on my tailbone. I had to walk with a cane until the baby came out. My doctor and I decided together to induce early to relieve me of the pain and pressure. That was the best decision I think I made for myself. Delivery was super easy, I think I pushed for less than an hour with no complications. My mood was even better; I really, truly think that having some control over when and how my son came, and having a smooth delivery is the biggest thing that’s helped me heal. I don’t beat myself up if my second son falls asleep in his swing instead of his crib, or if my house and I aren’t presentable when people come over. It’s all what I make of it.

SELF LOVE

1. It’s okay.

It’s okay to be tired.

It’s okay to want to have 5 minutes to yourself.

And most importantly it is okay to ask for help.

You are no less of a mother if you ask for help.

That’s one big thing I had a problem with after having my son. He was born 6 weeks early so he was pretty small and very very colic when we got out the hospital. I was full mommy mode. I bathed him, nursed him, changed him, made sure he had all the cuddles. But I forgot to take care of myself. I didn’t want to have my husband, who just worked 24 hours at the fire station, hold my son while he screamed and cried but I just needed 5 minutes to wash my hair or eat. I just needed 5 minutes to myself. After my husband noticed I was not myself and looking more sickly he finally told me to give him the baby and just go take a two hour bath and sleep. Which I took him up on that offer but I couldn’t relax. I was constantly wondering if my son was okay. Even though he’s with his father, I was scared that my son would think less of me. Even though he was a newborn at the time, but it was constantly on my mind. It took me a while to realize and to tell myself it’s okay to take those 5 minutes so I can regroup so I can be that awesome super mom my son needs me to be. My son is now 5 months old and we finally have a routine that works for us both. My health is getting better everyday and I’m asking for help when I need it. So it’s okay to ask for it. You’re a super mom already; but you have to remember you are also a person, you’re only human and everyone always needs 5 minutes for themselves. It’s okay.

-Selina Myles

REFLUX & WEIGHT GAIN

1. The fear of having to be induced three weeks before your due date is that your baby won’t be fully developed. My fear was her lungs, when in reality it was her sphincter for her reflux. Because Mya’s wasn’t fully developed she was constantly spitting up and struggling to lay flat on her back while sleeping. We tried to make it better for her by laying her at an incline and burping her longer. That mixed with her tongue tie kept her from gaining weight at a normal speed. Mya was 7 lbs 7 oz when she was born and at her 2 month appointment she was only 8 lbs 2 oz. She hadn’t even gained a pound since birth! At this appointment they decided to cut her tongue tie. Since they did that 10 days ago, she now weighs 8 lbs 8 oz! Only 6 oz more but it’s the fastest weight gain she has had! Through this time I have had to remind myself when I get anxious about her weight, is that 1) she is happy, 2) she is healthy, and 3) she is eating. I completely know what it feels like to go to doctors appointments and to be saying a little prayer that your little one has gained enough weight to please the doctor and put your mind at ease. It’s not easy being a mom and all the stress that comes along with it, but when you get to hold that precious babe in your arms, all the heart ache and tears are worth it!

– Meghan Schvaneveldt

LOVE ALL

1. Having a c-section doesn’t make you any less of a mother. Neither does having a natural birth, getting an epidural, giving birth in a hospital, giving birth in your home, adopting, surrogacy, being induced, whether or not you breastfeed, and whatever else you choose to disagree with. Please stop shaming moms for doing things their way. Raising a baby is hard enough without your unwanted judgment. Sincerely, you bet your ass I got them epidural.

-Trishia Gudim-Neal

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

1. Since becoming a mom, It seems every conversation I have with people in public eventually leads to the question “Is he sleeping through the night yet?”

I am so tired of all the judgement that follows that question. As an adult, I typically don’t “sleep through the night”; some nights I do but sometimes I’m uncomfortable, or hungrier than usual, or the room is too hot or too cold, or I just don’t seem to be tired. But for some reason, we hold infants to a higher standard and don’t expect them to be affected by these things. My pediatrician literally wagged her index finger while scolding me “You need to just buy earplugs and pretend you’re asleep”. That just doesn’t work for me, sorrynotsorry. So, even though according to everyone else he’s “not supposed” to need night feedings by 6 months, we still were. Not that I need to have an explanation, but there wasn’t anything else that would soothe him and mama needed sleep too so after nursing for a couple minutes, we both got some rest. At 9 months we were still at it, not as often but nonetheless. Now at 12 months, we’ve gotten a lot better and sleeping longer periods of time but we’re still occasionally waking up doing the same thing. And guess what? It’s okay! He’s only little for such a little while, so why should I rush it? If he needs mama just a little longer, I’m here, just like I’ll always be.

-Tiffany Marie

SINGLE MOTHER

1. Hi Everyone!

My name is Haley, and I am sure you are here to read a blog post about Breana and her cute little family! But thankfully, she is letting me speak on my behalf of being a single mother! So I guess here we go.. So I may not have a bunch of inspiration for you all on this topic, as this has happened to me about 3 months ago but I am wanting to talk about my experience as I am growing and learning through it!

So, I am a single mother in the Air Force as an MP. That right there should just tell you about how tough already my life has been! Throughout my whole pregnancy I never felt as if I was a mother, it wasn’t surreal. I was doing all this planning, buying clothes, wondering who this little human was going to be. About a month or so before I gave birth my husband at the time got orders to deploy. But luckily, when I joined I got stationed back in my hometown so all my family is here in Tucson! And I am truly thankful! On November 17, 2017 I had given birth to my daughter Treyley Kay with my family by my side. The first night in the hospital was tough, she had jaundice and had to be under the light for 24 hours. Only being able to get out every 3 hours to eat or a diaper change. My mom had been with me the second we left for the hospital because I got induced, so that night she went home to my sisters and I was by myself. I cant express how scary it is being a first time mother, let alone being by alone with your child that you have no idea what to do with. She was crying all night, I barely got any sleep. So from the very beginning, I was alone.  Alone raising this tiny baby, trying to be the best mother I thought I could.

Treyley’s dad came back in February, so I finally was able to have a little bit of rest here and there getting some help from him. But since I was alone for those 3 months by myself with her, I knew every little hint about her. So I was always stepping in, helping out when I was told to rest. Come around to April and I became a single mother. My whole life I thought had fallen apart. I had support from family, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I was struggling within, I had to find a balance with cleaning, taking care of a teething child, work, and just life in general. Little did I know that I just needed to back up and overall look at the bigger picture. My Daughter. As I once had made a post about on my personal Facebook page this is what I had once said.

“As I lay Treyley down for bed tonight, I can’t help but reminisce.

Today, or should I say the past week or so has been rough. My baby girl is 6 months old and I believe she is finally teething. I can truly say, and I’m not being biased. She is the best baby, she isn’t one of those children who just cry whenever just because, she has her moments and let the lord be with me when she gets into her toddler stages and gives attitude🙌🏼 But I remember the day’s when I was in the hospital after I had just had her, those were raw and very real emotions I’ve never felt. I remember just sitting on my bed crying when I was supposed to be sleeping, but because I was afraid of what I was going to do with this little baby. I was 19, and still very much a “child” myself. I was freaking out about how the house was going to get cleaned, when I would be able to do the laundry, the dishes, sleep, eat, etc. I remember my mom telling me that it was going to be okay, and Treyley was a new part of my life and that it’s okay if the laundry builds up for a little, or the house gets a little dusty. I had to get into a routine, and with my OCD she knew I would get into that quickly and it wasn’t going to be an issue at all! Very true that it worked out that way. I came home and that first night home I had friends come visit me and I felt so much support, people asking if I needed anything.

But the reason I am making this post is because I had a very needy baby today. I would lay her down to play with her toys and she would cry literal tears after about 2 minutes. I would pick her up and try to console her and then try again with the toys. After about 3 times of the crying, I stopped my cleaning around the house and just cuddled with her, and let me tell you. She just sat there and watched tv with me. I had plans of doing stuff around the house and errands I needed to run, but then I remembered everything before I came home from the hospital. I always have said that I want to be an active parent. People will say “Oh, well she is too young. So you can go do things and she won’t remember”. But it doesn’t work that way. She is my first child, she was the one who made me a mother and I enjoy spending every moment I can with her, even if it’s just in our pajamas lounging around all day. These are the memories I live for. I feel guilty when I have a day off and I have to drop her off to go do thing’s without her. This was a picture I just took today after I laid her down to play with her toys, I got on the floor with her, and she was so happy to just see me playing with her. So, for those Mother’s and Father’s out there who are stressing over the laundry piling over, the dusty dresser. It’s okay to take the time to be a parent and put aside your other priorities, you will get to it at one point and soak in all of those baby cuddles because one day they won’t fit in your lap comfortably anymore.”

^^ that is what I had been wanting all along. I just needed to put my daughter first in it all. I hope this helps at least one single mother, or even father out there. You are doing the most and even more than you think to talk care of those precious babies of yours! And again, Breana thank you so much for letting me speak on my half!

-Haley Henry

LOVE AND SUPPORT

1. My name is Taylor Williams. I was born and raised in Wasington, where I met and fell in love with my husband Jake. On May 6th, 2018 I gave birth to my first child and son Kingsley. Bre asked me if I would be interested in writing a little snidbit for her blog coming out, of course I was thrilled. So here I am, and thought I would share a few things I wish I knew before I gave birth. On May 6th I thought I was prepared as could be, being I’ve watched hours of YouTube, read several books, asked anyone and everyone about their experiences. Truth is, in my opinion, there isn’t really anything that can prepare you for that day. It was the happiest, scariest, best day of my life. It was a personal goal and preference of mine to have an all natural labor, (I am not apposed to pain management), it was the path my mother went and I wanted to fully experience what I was about to go through. I was mentally ready to go in and conquer the day, until about 9 cm I wanted the epidural. I didn’t take it, and I am so happy I was able to push through it. After almost 3 hours of pushing I was feeling very let down, and disappointed. If I had to explain the way it felt in just one word, torture comes to mind. My step mother told me beforehand to imagine the worst pain possible and then some. Now this is my experience- I’ve heard some women have no problem and hardly feel pain, for me that wasn’t the case. There were two moments the three of us shared within the first 24 hours that made all that trauma seem forgettable. The first one was when he finally came out and was laid on my chest. All I could do was just stare at him euphorically, in disbelief that he was here…forever. The second moment was later that night (early morning) after realizing I’ve been awake for more that 24 hours, after all that, and I couldn’t sleep because i’m afraid my baby will stop breathing. Which in a strange way was comforting, I wouldn’t wish it any other way. I look at the sleepless nights as more time I get to spend with my beautiful baby. (Now I’m just ranting!) The next thing I wish I knew before labor was how hard the recovery was going to be, I won’t get into that too much. But I want other postpartum mothers, soon to be mothers, and even the spouses to know how hard it is to love and embrace your body after this experience. I hope you view your body as a beautiful, life-giving temple. That’s exactly what we are. Everything can be fixed, and most things do go back to normal! If you can find the confidence, and have a wonderful spouse or supporter, you will feel just as beautiful, if not more beautiful than before. Be proud, and let every little stretch mark tell your story. And girl, if you think the mama next to you didn’t endure a little change- you’re nuts! Stand tall, the love and pride you have for your baby is something you can’t get from anything or anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a good spouse who is a loving father to your baby, “dad” has never looked so hot! I wish you all the best!

Truly yours, Taylor

See, you are not alone. We all struggle with something. We all need support. We all need LOVE. Moms far and wide… we LOVE YOU!

What They Don’t Tell You.

Being a mom is by far the most amazing thing… but like everything in life, there are a few downsides. Today I was going to write about a completely different topic but after what I’ve experienced (for the second and third time) today, I decided that needed to change. If you have read my other post about Jace, you will know he has reflux. The way we came about discovering this was one day I was bringing him inside the house in his car seat and when I looked down, he was choking and not breathing. I put the car seat down and ripped him out of his car seat faster than you can imagine. I had to flip him upside down and physically pull fluids out of his throat. After the ordeal was over, I thought that would be it but for the remainder of the day, he kept lightly choking on essentially, spit up. Worried he was sick, we took him to his pediatrician and found out he had reflux. Jace never did that again until today. Luckily I was in the back seat with him and Annie was driving when it happened. I looked over and he was throwing up what just looked like water, all over himself. He was not breathing, he was turning purple and gasping for air. We had to pull over and repeat the process of taking him out of the car seat, flipping him upside down and trying to get all the fluid out. Even though this had still happened before, I was just as scared as the first time. We finally made it home but I had to drive from Annie’s house to my house alone with him. Let’s remind you, we live a total of 60 seconds away from each other. The moment I put him in his base and got in the front seat, I looked back in my mirror and there he was, choking again. There is nothing I can do to help Jace when this happens except tip him over and pat his back. There is also nothing I can do to prevent it, either. Jace sleeps elevated just in case it happens in his sleep and we take extra long “burp times”. He will eventually grow out of this by the time he’s about 5-8 months when he’s taking solids. Now I promise I am not writing this to scare you but to inform you that there are things to motherhood that aren’t all amazing. These are the things that they don’t tell you.

Feeding, it’s not as easy as you think. I’ve got two good examples for this one. We will start with Jace since I’ve kinda brought it up in the past. When he was born, he would not latch on to feed. I saw multiple lactation consultants to try and help but nothing worked. He would not take formula, he wouldn’t take breastfeeding, he was hungry. Most people think “oh I’m just going to pull my boob and and stick that baby on” but that’s NOT the case. We could not and still can not find out why he won’t latch. I had to start seeing a specialist and we finally got him latching with a nipple shield. To this day, he is 10.5 weeks old and still has to use it. I may or may not be using it the entire time I breastfeed which is hopefully a year. It’s a lot of pain, exhaustion and stress. I can’t tell you how many days I cried because I couldn’t get Jace to eat naturally. I have learned to except that we have to do a little more work to breastfeed but I am completely okay with that! It’s just not as easy as it looks. So if you know someone who is formula feeding, make sure they know they are amazing they aren’t any less than someone who breastfeeding. FED IS BEST!! Another obstacles that’s actually very common but a lot of people don’t know about until they’re pregnant or their baby is born… tongue and lip ties. My best friend, Annie, had a baby 6 weeks after me. She was able to breastfeed but she was having issues with the pain. Usually after the first 2 weeks, all the pain is gone and everything is (mostly) smooth sailing. Well 3, almost 4 weeks later it was not gone so she saw the same specialist I did and found out Noah had a tongue and lip tie. They weren’t so much worried about his lip but more his tongue. The reason Annie had so much pain was because Noah could not get his tongue out far enough to get the nipple back to his soft pallet. He was eating on his hard pallet this whole time which caused so much pain. So about a week later, Noah got his tie clipped. Now, it’s not as bad as you think but it still SUCKS seeing your baby in pain. If you’re unaware of what a tongue tie is, lift up your tongue and feel that little piece of skin that connects from the bottom to the floor of your mouth. It was so big he was unable to stick his tongue out. This TINY piece a skin causes so many issues. Luckily we live in a such a high tech world that they’ve come up with a very simple procedure to fix it! Wanna know how they do it? They stick his baby tongue to the roof of his mouth and take a dull pair of scissors and clip that sucker. Noah is now 5 weeks old, has his little tie clipped and his tongue is healing! He’s only had it done for 2 days but he’s already discovered his new abilities and Annie’s pain is slowly disappearing!

Oh, and… your boobs…….. one is a watermelon… one is a grape. That’s all.

All babies are different, of course. Every baby goes through something called a leap. Leaps are periods of time when babies go through a development. Thank goodness for technology because an app was created to give you a general idea of when one would start and end depending on your baby’s due date. It tells you exactly what symptoms to look for and what happens in their development! Each leap can last from a few days to a few weeks. Like I said, every baby is different and some will get through them better than others. Essentially, a leap is a period of time when your baby is just fussy, clingy, not sleeping, etc. because their brains are developing new things. A lot of people don’t know about this and then they wonder why their baby behaves the way they do at that point in time! Granted, it could be a different reason but this app “Wonder Weeks” explains it all. I’m SO thankful a friend of mine told me all about it right when Jace was born so I could expect when a leap would happen!!

There are a ton of things that they just don’t tell you. Things like postpartum depression, epidural lasting effects, colic babies. I was lucky and didn’t experience those but it happens to thousands of families around you. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be surprised. Babies are different…you’re different! You will learn more than you think. You’ve got this!!

Along with there being negative things that people don’t tell you, there are things people do that are not true. When they say you’re tired 24/7…. not true. Well at least not for me. Yes, sometimes mornings suck and I can’t sleep in but it’s not any worse than it was before. I get to wake up to a beautiful baby boy every morning. People tell you, you can’t go out anymore to have fun. Not true. You learn to modify. We take Jace everywhere with us! Yes, we have made a few sacrifices but at the end of the day, all the memories we would have made on our own, we get to share with our son!

Long story short… there are a lot of things people don’t tell you. A lot of things you learn along the way. Children are a crazy ride but they’re the most amazing ones!

Family First.

Let’s be honest here… how many 2 month old babies do you know that have already gone on their first vacation? Yes, I know he won’t remember it but I always will. This vacation made me realize a few things. 1. Jace is a very good baby… like people didn’t even know he was on the plane with me. 2. Traveling with a baby is easy but also so hard. 3. Leaving your family once you have a baby is harder than you can ever imagine. 4. No matter how much you don’t like where you live, you’ll still get homesick because that’s where life is now. Two years ago Cooper and I had visited Tennessee on our way to Cancun. I never would have imagined two summers later, I would be back with my son. Oh, how things are so different now.

The morning started as I was half asleep and stressed out about how the day of traveling was going to go. We had to start the day by driving to Phoenix, AZ at 2:30AM. Thank goodness for my best friend, Annie, who drove us there. I really don’t know what we would do without her! Jace does not like his car seat so I was so worried we were going to have to listen to him cry for two hours straight but to my surprise, he slept every second of the way. We got to the airport around 4:30-5:00AM. The airport was already so full and busy! The first thing that came to my head when I was pushing my baby around in his stroller was “yup. germs. germs everywhere”. If you know me, I am a germaphobe when it comes to my baby. Like every time I pick him up, I HAVE to put hand sanitizer on first. Finally got our bags checked in, heading to the gate and Jace is starting to wake up. The gate seating is full and ready to board. I can’t even tell you how many people stared at my family as we were waiting to get on the plane. I’m not sure if they were worried my baby was going to cry on the flight or just that he is the cutest little baby they’ve ever seen. (Probably the second option). We’re on the plane, settled in nicely thanks to the first boarding group for children and active military. Tip for moms who are traveling with a baby… nurse during take off and landing. While they nurse, it prevents their ears from getting plugged while changing altitudes. We had a 3.5 hour flight and let me tell you, Jace did amazing! Everyone kept commenting on how great he was and that they didn’t even know he was on the flight! We have arrived in Atlanta, GA and it’s time for the moment I have been waiting for! My dad is finally going to meet his grandson for the first time. For those of you who do not know… my dad has 3 girls. Of course he has always dreamed of having a boy so you can imagine how excited he was to have a grandson. The moment my mom saw us, she swooped Jace into her arms and took him straight to my dad. He was head over heals for the little dude! I knew from that moment on that this trip was going to have a hard ending. Now that we’re picked up and my grandparents are picked up, we head out on our last leg of traveling… a 4 hour drive to Rutledge, TN.

Now that the first day is over and we have all gotten some rest, the fun is about to begin. The first full day we were there, we took a trip to Knoxville. Now that Cooper is 21, he is always wanting to go and try all the new breweries. We went to a small brewery downtown for lunch and walked around to explore. Wasn’t much action that day but it was alright with me because I was still a bit tired from traveling and the time change. But that night, my family and I all packed up our stuff and took a trip down to the lake for some fishing. You can’t do much of that here in Arizona so it was a very nice change of scenery. The next day was 4th of July, one of my favorite holidays! We went back down to the lake and just spent the day enjoying the weather and company! Did a little bit of kayaking (well my family did… not me. I’m scared of water.) and dipped little baby’s feet in the lake a few times! By the end of the day it was time for fireworks, of course. A family friend lives right on the banks of the lake so we had front row seats to the lake fireworks! There is a family that lives next door that spends about 2k on fireworks every year to put on a show for that cove in the lake. Within minutes the lake was filled with boats ready to watch and enjoy their nights. It was such a beautiful sight! Jace overall did pretty well until a specific type of firework went off that he didn’t like the noise of. It was so great spending the 4th of July with my family. Being a military spouse means sacrificing a few things and I firmly believe being away from family is the biggest one. July 5th, we took as a recovery day. We were all beaten from the sun and needed some time to relax and prepare for the next week!

July 6th was prep day! Every year my family throws what we call “Barker/Buatte Annual Crawfish Party!” This party takes a lot of preparation like cooking, cleaning and planning. From morning to night, we cooked! So. Much. Food. This was my parent’s first party in Tennessee as they just moved there from Idaho. July 7th, the party. Before I was even awake, my dad and sister were already gone planning for the party and setting up! The first thing they had to do was pick up the fresh little “mini lobsters”. When you order crawfish from Louisiana Crawfish Company, they come alive. This year they ordered about 60 pounds which is roughly 1-2 kiddy pools full! I was able to see a ton of family that I hardly ever get to visit. Now I don’t know if I am the only one that feels this way but I get extremely uncomfortable when my little babe is passed around. Like I mentioned before, germs. Jace just turned 2 months old a few days before and only has one round of shots. I was so terrified that he was going to get sick. At moments I was a little stressed out but I think I handled it pretty well. Overall it was such a fun day! Everyone swam, ate, drank and enjoyed the party. We took July 8th as a recovery and clean up day. That was VERY much needed. Jace slept very well that night, haha!

July 9th, first day in the cabin. My parents live about an hour or so from Gatlinburg, TN so they decided it would be fun to rent a cabin for 2 nights! Let me tell you… now I REALLY don’t like being in Arizona. I forgot how beautiful green trees and colorful flowers were!! The first day there we just strolled down Gatlinburg and explored the shops. Cooper found himself some moonshine, whiskey and wine stores that had tastings! He definitely loved that… but maybe not so much the 128 proof moonshine! The next day, July 10th, we had a lot to do! We started off our morning with breakfast in the cabin and then headed to Splash Country (the water park connected to Dollywood). I have not been to a water park in years and that day made me realize I really don’t get out into the sun enough. Cooper says I remind him of the little boy on Bench Warmers who sits in the closet and eats sun screen, HAHA! I just hate being hot! But I actually had fun and went on most the water rides and enjoyed the sun! Around 3PM we headed back to the cabin to grab some food and then made our way to Dollywood for the evening. I swear, I can never get enough of roller coasters. I can literally ride them all day long! We got so lucky with very short lines and not dying hot weather. By the end of the day, Dollywood had their closing fireworks and they were amazing! It was such a tiring day for our little boy that he slept almost 8 hours straight that night! The next morning we packed up and made our way back to the house. It was July 11th, my dad’s birthday! It was a very odd day for me as I should have been happy it was my dad’s birthday but instead I was sad because I knew it was my last full day with my family. We didn’t do much except for hung out at home and just relaxed. As I was packing my suitcase back up and gathering our stuff, I was already so sad.

July 12th, the day I have been dreading since the moment I got there. Another 4 hour drive back to the Atlanta Airport. It was a quiet, sad drive. We dropped off my grandparents and they flew back home to Idaho. I will see them in a few weeks again so it wasn’t as hard saying “Goodbye!”. My parents, Cooper, Jace and I all sat down to have a lunch together before we leave. Let me know if I am the only one that gets this feeling but you know when you’re only minutes from having to say a difficult goodbye and everything feels awkward and sad? That was the entire lunch. Once we finished eating, I gave Jace to my mom to get her last cuddles and tickle monster sessions in. Well just my luck, Jace blows out of his diaper and outfit. So now I have a poopy baby and sad parents. It was time to say goodbye and I started off so well. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry but failed pretty badly. I said goodbye to dad, said goodbye to mom and then it was time for them to say goodbye to Jace. Mom looks at him and says “Nana loves you, baby boy” and Jace smiles at her. I lost it. If y’all read my other posts (which I really hope you have) you know I am a major cry baby. It was just such a sad day. I have always had a hard time leaving my family but taking their grandbaby away and not knowing when they would see him again is just heart breaking.

So my summary and word of advice from this post… keep your family FIRST. You may not get along with them all the time but they are your family and I promise it never gets easier leaving them. Those of you who have left home or are planning to soon… take it easy on your parents. It’s exciting going out into the world and living your life but as a parent, it hurts when your baby leaves. Yes, Jace is only 2 months old but it already breaks my heart thinking about him being 20 and living somewhere other than the room next to mine. Give your family LOVE and hold them TIGHT!

The First 48 Hours.

11:36PM… Jace just took his first breath in the outside world. I am laying on my hospital bed with a bright light in my face and a real, human, breathing baby on my chest. My world has just changed forever and I am filling with love, shock and emotions over all. The doctor and nurses have started the recovery process… a not so pretty process. But i wont go into detail about that. As Jace laid on my chest crying, I was just staring at the most perfect thing I have ever seen. In the background, phone calls are being made and family is being notified. The “Golden Hour” felt like a golden minute. That was the quickest hour I have ever experienced. Cooper was brave enough to cut his cord but like most new fathers, forgot to breathe and almost passed out. I had no idea he was cutting the cord until I hear the doctor yelling “lay on the floor! Don’t sit in a chair!” and next thing you know, my husband is on the hospital floor. Within the hour, the nurse immedietly tried getting Jace to nurse but he was struggling to latch on. Not thinking anything of it at the time, the nurses told me we would try again later once everyone was in the recovery room. Once the hour was over, they had to take Jace to do his vitals. Cooper’s mom had guessed his exact measurments… 6lbs. 19in. Due to Jace being so small, (7th percentile in growth) they were concerned about his blood sugar especially because he would not nurse right away. While they had him away from me, Cooper was with him the whole time making sure he was getting the best care. Being occupied with my own issues going on, I wasn’t focused on baby anymore. Jace never left Cooper’s side and I am so thankful for that. Now, nurses are very well trained at their jobs and they know what they are doing but I don’t know if I could ever get used to the way they handle babies. Being a new mom, you feel like your baby is a fragile piece of glass but they get handled like dolls. So back to their concern of his blood sugar, Jace had to have his blood drawn immedietly and it was pretty low. In order to watch his level carefully, they had to draw blood from his foot every 2 hours. With that being said if we wanted to leave the hospital and maintain a steady blood sugar, he had to pass 5 tests that were 50 points or above. If he failed one test, he had to start over. So he has had his foot poked within the first hour and then again when we were heading to the recovery room. Now that he has had all his vitals taken, footprints done and he was cleaned up, we were transferred over.

Unfortunately at our hospital, the recovery room was not very nice but we were only there a little over a day so we got over it. Jace is all swaddled up and I am finally settled into my bed. It’s about 1AM at this point and I have no intention of sleeping. I was just so busy staring and holding my new little baby. My brain is so busy being in love that I do not realize how gross my body is feeling. Now if you don’t want to hear about this and the details gross you out, I would just stop reading now. My point here is to inform all soon-to-be mothers on the general process of what they can expect. So down to the honesty of it. Moms, you are bleeding, A LOT. So every few hours for the first maybe 12 hours, a nurse is coming in to check how bad it is. Its gross, its awkward, it does not feel good. One thing I forgot to mention, from the second your baby comes out, every hour for about 6-8 hours, the nurses come in and just push down as hard as they can on your belly. If you had an epidural, the first one or two times, wont bug you too much. Well after that… just have something to bite down on. By the last check they did, I was in tears asking them not to touch me. Two more hours rolled by and Jace needed his levels done again. This is now the 3rd time within 6 hours. His poor little baby feet were black and blue and had band-aids all over them already.

Here came the part I was dreading… time to try and nurse again. From the beginning we just imagined the reason why he was having issues latching was being he was such a small little guy but 2 months later, barley any progress. Try after try, he just can’t get it. The poor baby is crying because he is hungry and I feel helpless because I can’t feed him. It was a very rough time for both of us. I just wanted to lay in bed and cry every single time. It was so painful and what a lot of people don’t know is while you are breastfeeding, for the first week or so, you still have contractions. So imagine trying to feed a baby that is struggling, being 6 hours postpartum, bleeding like crazy and having contractions all at the same time. Failing to feed after 6-7 hours, we called in a lactation consultant to help. Long story short, she handed me a nipple shield and expected me to just know what to do. That obviously did not end well. Well time for level testing again but this time he did not pass due to not feeding. Now he has been poked 4 times and has to start over. The nurse decided we were going to try the next step, a formula bottle. Half of me was totally okay with it but the other half did not want to give up so early. I mean he was like 8 hours old… but of course, he did not want the bottle. Would not take the formula so we were a bit at lost considering my milk wasn’t in yet. We came to the conclusion that I should try to pump. After 30 minutes of pumping and getting pretty much nothing, I wanted to have a breakdown. He didn’t want me and did not want a bottle. He didn’t have the weight to spare in this case. Lactation consultant #2 came in and once again, nothing was accomplished other than pissing off a hormonal, tired, new momma. At this point, I’m so lost and I have no idea what to do other than cry. Thank goodness some smart human invented a pump because I couldn’t live without that sucker (Haha, pun intended). Every 2-3 hours, I would pump and finger feed my now 5lb 8oz baby. And yes, you read that correctly. I would dip my finger in colostrum and put it in his mouth. I mean, how else was I supposed to do it! Don’t worry, the doctor told me to do so… I wasn’t just being weird.

Now throughout the day, it’s been the same thing over and over again. Poke Jace’s foot, check his vitals, check my vitals, make my baby angry, leave. About every 2 hours that routine went about. It was time for his first “bath”! Everyone has seen the videos of the babies super chill getting their hair washed in the hospital all cute and what not. Yeah, my baby wasn’t having it. He screamed bloody murder just about every second of the way. After his bath, we had to do lots of skin-to-skin because his temperature went down due to his size and weight. It’s amazing what skin-to-skin does for a baby. Within an hour I got his temperature back up and his vitals 100% normal again.

I had a rough time adjusting to newborn sounds (crazy to believe, I know). It was now about 10PM or so and Jace starts making a sound that scares me to death. I look over to him in the bassinet and it sounds like he’s suffocating. There are just screeching noises and gasping coming from him. So as most mothers would, I called the nurse in. She checks him out and says there is nothing wrong. I go about my night and maybe an hour later it happens again so I call again. This time I’m told “he’s fine. Babies make that noise. You can stop calling me”. I clearly didn’t have a happy nurse but it’s better safe than sorry. Come to find out the next morning when he gets checked by the pediatrician… babies especially his size have a very small throat therefor when they breathe, their vocal cords rub together causing a screeching noise. Good to know he was perfectly fine and everything was normal! But it was definitely scary experiencing that. It took about 2 weeks to fully accept that noice and be confident that he was okay. Now I’m totally used to it!

Let’s talk about mom instinct for a second. Going to get a little side tracked. You’re always told that you have a mom instinct and you kinda think to yourself “yeah sure that’s a thing. I’m sure it’s common sense”. No… mom instinct is a full on force thing that you will always listen to. You’ll never second guess yourself with this thing. For example… a few weeks back (I’m talking in present time) Jace starting choking on what I assumed was phlegm. He did it once and of course I was worried but I didn’t think too much of it. Well he started constantly doing it for the rest of the day. On top of that, you could hear fluid in his throat. Mom instinct told me no, he didn’t have a cold, it was something else. I went with my gut, took him to the doctors and found out he has a case of baby reflux. So now Jace sleeps elevated, has to have extra long burps and has a close eye on him at all times because he’s a silent choker when the time comes.

You think your mom instinct is smart… are you aware of how amazing a baby’s brain works? I think people underestimate how smart and connected moms and babies are. Babies literally can detect you by your smell. When I had Jace’s newborn photos done, I was not allowed in the room. When I was in there, he would smell and hear me therefor he cried because he wanted me. I left the room and Instantly he connected with the photographer instead of me. They just know who you are. Jace is a very big momma’s boy if you all didn’t know. In a lot of situations, I will hand Jace to someone and he will instantly cry. And there’s not really anything anyone can do to stop him. Well a few minutes later, they hand him back and he stops crying on the dot. It’s so crazy to me that babies just know. I mean you create this bond while they’re in the womb and then later down the road you discover it and it’s amazing. Don’t get me started on the bond you get while breastfeeding. That’s something that makes me speechless. My three things that I firmly believe give Jace the bond we have… 1. Skin-to-skin. 2. Babywearing (my two favorite carriers are Solly Baby and WildBird) and 3. Breastfeeding. All of which have a scientific statistic to help create a bond.

Back to the hospital stay… it’s the second technical night now. They’ve stopped checking me every 2 hours and Jace has now passed 5 blood sugar tests. I have not eaten since I’ve had Jace which was about 26 hours ago. Have only slept one hour (don’t expect to sleep at all) and you smell like you just ran 5 miles. I’ve heard from many moms that bathing in the hospital is so nice. Well personally, I had no interest in it at all so my stinky self waited until I got home. The night ran its course and I was so ready to go home. I finally got my horrid IV out, did all my blood work and passed all my tests. Let’s remind you this all happened at about 3AM. The whole not sleeping part sometimes isn’t a choice.

Finally it was time to go home. Being discharged with a baby isn’t easy. The morning started with a check up for both Jace and I. Jace was pretty low in weight and we almost had to stay another day. Being barely 5.8lb leaving, they were confident I could get his weight up. Overall, we both looked pretty good and were so ready to go home. Now I don’t think every hospital is like this but we had to go to a discharge class. They informed us on how to generally care for our baby and things to watch for in both mom and baby. After the class, we had to wait our turn to get discharged. We had to fill out quite a bit of paper work which was expected and had all of our wrist/ankle bands checked to match. As I’m sitting on the bed dressed in normal clothes, dressing my newborn to go home, the panic starts to kick in. What if he doesn’t feed while we’re home? What if he doesn’t gain weight? What if I’m not a good mom? Thankfully my husband and mother-in-law were there for support and help. Without them, I don’t know how I could have ever done it. I put my tiny baby who is still swimming in preemie clothes, into his car seat and we were off. It was time to figure it out on our own. No more nurse to call when we’re worried, no more nurses who take your baby for an hour while you nap (seriously, thank your nurses. Even if they are a bit cranky, they deal with a lot. Give them a break and thank the heck out of them). It’s time to go! I’ve got my big girl diapers on, nursing pads in my bra and my new baby.

We’re home now and it’s the weirdest feeling. What do you do next? I stared at Jace while he napped when in reality, I should have been napping too. SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS. It was the moment of truth… shower time. What I imagined to be so peaceful and relaxing, ended up making me cry. I assumed all the pain I was having was normal due to pushing a child out of my body (birth story in previous post). As I stood in the shower, I have the worst pain down there like I was being burned repeatedly. I held through the pain but after 5 minutes, it got so much worse due to the throbbing from standing. In better words, it was time to get out and go sit down. Sitting… haha yeah that hurt too. At this point, what didn’t hurt? The worst part… I would dread this so so so much. I would stand in my bathroom crying and have to talk myself into it. It was time to pee. All my pain medication wore off and I wanted to scream. I can’t even describe the pain. Fast forward a few days, my friend had her baby but never experienced the pain I did which I thought was odd concerning she tore as well. Finding out, we both tore in different spots. Well my 6 week appointment came along and come to find out, I tore my urethra. How is that even possible?? So every time I would use the bathroom or shower, I was essentially peeing on an open wound. Even running water didn’t help. The squeeze bottle you’ll get, took the edge off but not much. Just keep in mind both my friends tore in a different spot and they never witnessed pain when coming home. I, on the other hand, still witness it to this day. Word of advice… take all the supplies the hospital has in the bathroom, especially the dermablast. The peri bottle will be your best friend, I sometimes miss it.

Being in the hospital wasn’t the most pleasant time for us. Jace has his foot poked over 10 times, I got maybe 2 hours of sleep within the 36 hours I was there. But I would do it over and over again for my baby. Recovery sucks… I’m not going to lie. But it’s different for everyone! I’m sure there are parts I left out by accident but honestly bits and pieces are just blurs to me. I hope this helps ease some future momma’s minds in what they can somewhat expect! Every experience is different but in the end, we’re all moms and we all have the greatest gift we could ever receive!

For everyone wondering how his feeding turned out… I started seeing another lactation consultant here in Tucson who was able to get him to latch onto a nipple shield. He’s been doing great on that but still not naturally breastfeeding. We’re going onto our 7th appointment with them and we’re still trying every day. He may or may not ever naturally feed but that’s okay because he’s still being fed. Fed is best no matter the way it comes. Jace is now about 2 months old and still needs the shield. So to any mom in my position, don’t give up! I know it’s frustrating but you can do it!

Worth The Wait.

IMG_1161I always wonder why people glorify military relationships. Yes, it certainly has its benefits but there are also some factors that really, REALLY suck. If you are a spouse of a service member, you will understand and are learning more every day. Now, every branch is different so if you’re reading this post for insight of a Navy, Army, Marine or Coast Guard wife, our experiences will be different. I, myself, am an Air Force wife. My husband is part of the Security Forces Squadron here at Davis-Monthan. If you are unsure of what Security Forces is, it’s essentially military police. There are many steps and lots of hours of training before you can become SF. So yes, your spouse is doing the work but it also has effects on the family. I will be sharing the both good and the bad of being a military spouse. Don’t get me wrong, there are some crappy parts about it BUT I never regret marrying into it. I will support my husband every step of the way in his Air Force career. So here we go on a little trip into the first year of our Air Force life.

As all military branches start… you have to go through basic training. The amount of weeks spent in basic will depend on the branch. I personally got it easy and only had to wait 8 weeks for Cooper to finish! That sounds like it’s not very long at all but once you have to experience it, it sucks. I give MAJOR props to the spouses who have to wait 10+ weeks. I don’t know how you do it! I always explain it like the days went by so slow but the overall experience was fast. BMT (basic military training) was kind of a roller coaster for me. The waiting and missing the love of my life was very hard but on the other hand, I am so thankful for the experience because it definitely brought us closer. We had the chance to communicate in letters which was so amazing. Every day I would wake up and the first thing I did was check the mail for letters. If you’ve ever been in my shoes, you know how amazing the feeling is when you open that mailbox and see your name on a handwritten letter. Let me tell you, I couldn’t read a single letter without crying. You all will learn throughout this blog that I am a crier. Happy cries, sad cries, stressed out and want to pull my hair cries. Every day that went by was just another day you were able to mark off your calendar. It was so much fun planning what we were going to do, wear, say, everything once you were able to see them. And let me tell you about the phone calls… those were emotional. You only had a few calls throughout training but Cooper’s flight gained a few extra for doing so well. I looked forward to every Sunday because that’s when you would expect a call. On the 17th day of him being gone, I was sitting on my couch writing him a letter. It was a Thursday evening and my phone was on silent and turned over next to me. Something told me to check my phone at that very moment and when I did, I had an incoming call from San Antonio, TX where he was. So in shock and confused because I wasn’t supposed to get a call until Sunday, I answered. There I was, bawling because I missed his voice so much. Dramatic, I know! Every phone call got a little bit easier and every day got a little less sad. I couldn’t wait to finally see him again. I planed everything so specifically for that perfect weekend. My biggest tip for anyone who is about to go through this or is currently going through it… find a friend who understands. I became very good friends with a girl who was going through it day by day with me. Her boyfriend (now husband) shipped out the same day as Cooper. I am so thankful to have had her because I truly would have been so alone and sad. So not only was I having a countdown to seeing Cooper, I was having a countdown to going on a mini vacation and seeing my friend there!! She ended up becoming one of my great friends and a bridesmaid in my wedding. That was the first thing I learned being apart of the military life… it brings you amazing friends. I have my best friend because of it but i’ll talk about her later in another post. She deserves her own moment to shine!

Finally, it’s graduation weekend! I will try my best and sum up this weekend so I am not rambling about pointless stuff! I was granted 3 days with Cooper. The first day, Friday, we had to stay on base. That is the day of the coin ceremony and it is the day you are reunited again!! The morning started early with their last run as a flight. Yes, I made a 10ft banner with his face and name on it! I stood at the top of the bleachers searching for his face but I was clearly too frazzled to find it! But don’ worry… he saw me! I mean who could miss a 10ft banner with their face on it, haha! Once they finished the run, they went back to the squadron to get ready for the ceremony. There were 888 people graduating that day so imagine being a bit nervous about not recognizing your spouse. I did not think I could spot him from such a distance within all the people but gosh darn it, the second I saw that face, I knew. Bring on the water works again.. you bet ya I was crying! When he turned to get his coin, he had such a smile on his face and in that moment, I realized all the pain of waiting and missing him was so worth it. Most people get cute videos and photos of the moment they jump into their arms. Well I asked my mom to record it but before she even had her phone out, I was gone running to him! The past year, I have experiences some of the most amazing moments of my life. At that very moment, that was by far one of them. The second day, Cooper had a town pass so he was able to come out with us for a bit. He had to stay in his dress blues all day since he had the graduation ceremony that morning. So again, it was an early day. Everyone from the day before, gathered at the parade field for the official graduation ceremony. It was such a beautiful moment seeing everyone! But that wasn’t the reason that day was so important to me. After the ceremony was over, Cooper’s dad went and found him in the crowd, his family and I followed after him. We were surrounded by amazing friends, family and all the new military families who have just entered our lives. That was the moment I looked over and my newly graduated airman getting down on one knee. Yes, you guessed it! He proposed! Everything around me went silent and I was so in shock! of course, crying again. I was marrying the man of my dreams!!!

Now that basic training was over, about a week later, he started his Tech school. This is the last bit of training before you head to your first duty station. Every job’s tech school is different from another. Some people to go different bases, some to different states, some only a few weeks and some at multiple locations for a long period of time. Cooper, however, did his training at the same base BMT was located. Overall, he stayed at Lackland AFB for about 5 total months. Personally, tech school was a fun time for both of us. It gave me a chance to go to San Antonio twice a month to visit him and the amazing city. Before this entire Air Force experience happened, I lived in a tiny town where the highest speed limit was 35MPH. So you can imagine I was pretty inexperienced when it came to driving in busy locations. I am pretty sure I could count of my hands how many times I had driven on a highway before that. It was by far the most stressful thing at the moment driving from Waxahachie (Dallas area) down to San Antonio. I was very lucky that we had family in Austin which was the half way point. I was able to stop there to visit and take a break from the drive. Finally once the 5 hour journey was over, I was reunited with my husband again! At the end of tech school, there is always a graduation for them but Security Forces is a bit bigger than most jobs. Cooper had told me earlier graduation weekend that there was a possibility he would be winning an award but he did not think he would make it. There were a total of 4 awards, 3 smaller ones and the outstanding grad. award. He imagined he would be up for a smaller award because he was certain there were a few other people ahead of him. When the time came, they were giving out these 3 awards and they did not call Cooper’s name so of course I was upset. Being crushed and confused how he didn’t receive one, the outstanding award was about to be presented. The next thing I knew, they called his name!! So can you imagine my reaction?? Yes, you were right, I cried! Not even a little “yay” cry… it was a full on, jump out of my seat and scream his name, cry! I was a VERY proud wife!! It was such an amazing way to end his tech school moving into the first duty station.

Now, it was time to move onto the real world. We were finally going to be together again for good after about 5 months. Cooper graduated tech school March 20, 2017. A few months earlier, in December, he received his soft orders to his first duty station. This was a rough time for me. We had put on our “dream sheet” ALL east coast bases and the last one, Mountain Home AFB. We figured if they didn’t send us to the east coast, they would send us to Mountain Home since nobody wants to be there. It was only about 1.5 hours away from home so we would have been okay with that. Well I remember the exact moment he called to tell me where we were going. I was at a craft fair with my mother-in-law, I was standing outside in the rain with a heartbeat that exceeded its limit. He said “Well, we are going to Davis-Monthan AFB,” and the first thing I said was, “where the heck is that”?! TUCSON FREAKING ARIZONA. Anddddd here we go again with the tears (NOT happy ones this time). To be honest, I cried for the rest of the day. I have been here for over a year and I still cry about it, haha. If you are reading this and are headed to DM soon, don’t let my words scare you because a ton of people like it. It is just definitely not the place for us. We are far from family, it is SO hot and personally, I do not like the town. But we have gotten some great things out of being here. If we were not sent here, I would not have met my best friends and created unforgettable memories. If we did not get sent here, Cooper would not have created relationships and hard working awards from DM. Most importantly, we may not love Tucson but it will always have a special place in our heart. It was our first home as a family and it is the birth place of a beautiful baby boy.

 

Overall, the point I am trying to get across is, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. If you are missing someone who is away, don’t worry, the countdown will end one day. If you feel like you cant handle the distance, please just hold in there because it will make you closer in the end. If you don’t like where you live, you won’t have to stay there forever. You have your entire life ahead of you and this is just a chapter you have to overcome. There will always be something good that outweighs the bad.

The Beginning.

Some people know a couple from the start of their journey and some people catch on along the way. So I am here to share mine and my husband’s story from the beginning. Why, you may ask? Well some people like a good read on a small town love story but quite frankly, I just love to take a trip down memory lane and realizing how many amazing memories we have created. I met Cooper when I was 15 years old. I was going into my junior year of high school and he was entering his senior year. He was attending a small, Christian school across town from my school, Twin Falls High. I was a cheerleader at TFHS and the new girl “again”. (I had moved back and forth between Idaho and California a few times). Anyways, I had never heard of the man who was going to be my future husband, Cooper Goettle. But little did I know, my life was about to be changed forever.

It was football season and as I mentioned before, I was cheering for my school. As all schools go, they have fundraisers to promote and help our athletic programs. Early September of 2014, all high school football players, cheerleaders and friends in town were invited to a downtown school fundraiser. I was lucky enough to still have my best friend, Danika, attend this fundraiser with me as I didn’t know any other cheerleaders that early on into the season. As we were walking around, I happened to glance over and notice this HANDSOME guy in a red hat. But on the other hand, I was confused because I had never heard of Lighthouse Christian School so I had no idea where he came from! Let me remind you, Twin Falls is pretty small so everyone knows everyone. Danika had filled me in on who this guy was and immediately I told her, “He is MINE”. I mean who wouldn’t want him for themselves?? I knew from the very beginning I wanted to be with him. So as a shy 15 year old with a crazy crush, I was way too nervous to confront Cooper. Instead, we followed him around and I drooled over how handsome he was, haha. I went home that day and just could not get him out of my head no matter how hard I tried. But how was I ever going to get to know who he was? Well little did I know… he saw me and must have felt the same way. That night, Cooper found me on social media and expressed to me that he thought I was so beautiful.

Flash back to maybe two weeks earlier, Cooper was at a football game when I caught his eye. He was there with a friend when they were noticing that out of all the cheerleaders, I was the one that Cooper was drawn to. But like me, him and his friend had no idea who I was so there was no way he was going to come and talk to me. (We were both also ending relationships very soon before this event). To this day, I get nervous thinking back to that game because I was a cheerleader in front of so many people and he was watching me that entire time! I’m not one to be very nervous in front of crowds or big groups of people but he was the one person I would have froze in front of.

Okay, back to the day of the fundraiser… that was the day it all started for us. After Cooper told me I was so beautiful, we agreed to officially meet and go on a date. Now, I am going to be real honest here and it’s going to make me sound like such a loser but hear me out. This was my first date where I was going to be picked up by a guy that I had never talked to face to face. I’ve got two words for this story… NERVOUS WRECK. Cooper had asked to hang out but I was way too nervous so I faked a doctors appointment to get out of it… yes, awful, I know. But he stuck around! A few days later, he asked to take me to the movies. Again, I wanted to bail out because I was so terrified he was not going to like me and I was already head over heels for him. But thankfully, a friend of mine’s older sister talked me into it. She told me, no matter how nervous I was, I would never know how it would turn out unless I tried. So I took a big, deep breath and went for it. Cooper picked me up and we headed to the movies. Let me tell you, I didn’t focus on a second of the movie because I was freaking out that he was even sitting next to me. Can you tell I really liked him??? After a little while, I pulled myself together and was just really hoping he would hold my hand. That is when I noticed he was a bit nervous as well. He would constantly look at my hand, assuming he wanted to hold it but didn’t want to make the move. In the end, no hands were held but we found ourselves getting Ice cream and talking for hours when finally the employees kicked us out for closing time. As the night came to an end, it was time to go home. But there was one gesture that stood out to me… Cooper opened the car door for me as we were leaving. I had never had someone do that. Now, I don’t know if that happens to most people and I was just neglected of it all my life or I just got crazy lucky with a gentleman. Because lets be honest, we don’t see old time gentleman gestures very often anymore. So by the end of the night, not only did I know I wanted to be with him, I knew I wanted him forever!

Fast forward a few weeks… we have now been on a few little dates. We had our first kiss on September 27th. A week and a half later it was October 8th, AKA my birthday. Yay, I was 16! We both had school that day at 8:30AM but being the gentleman he is, Cooper woke up extra early to bring me flowers, coffee and take me out to our canyon to watch the sun rise. As we were watching the beautiful sun rise from Evil Knievel’s jump, Cooper asked me to be his girlfriend! Being the awkward person I am, I said, “Finally! Duh!” I remember thinking to myself… How the heck did I get so lucky!

Here is my favorite part… can I say I have the sweetest husband? It was just shortly after Cooper and I started dating, he told me he had plans for us. We were driving his dad’s truck and he started heading out of town towards the country, on the back side of the canyon. I asked him where we were going and he told me it was a surprise. We get to our location and he makes a cozy bed in the back of his truck. The next thing I know, we are under the stars and he looks over at me and tells me he loves me! Oh the butterflies I had at that very moment could have made me float away!!

It is present day… June 24th, 2018. We have been together almost 4 years and married 1.5 years! Now, there are a billion different memories that I am totally in love with but if I sat here and wrote about every single one, you would never leave my page! Granted, that’s a good thing for me and my blog but I know everyone has a life to get back to! I can not wait to share more of our amazing memories with everyone but until then, enjoy this little clip of our lives!

Into The Life.

cropped-img_0130-2Hello, everyone! My name is Breana Goettle, but most people just call me Bre. I am 19 years old, I am married to the man of my dreams and I am a mommy to a beautiful baby boy! I also have two crazy pups, Indy and Obi. We all live in Tucson, AZ at Davis-Monthan AFB. I have a love for communicating with people and sharing life experiences!

 

My Birth Story.

It was the morning of May 5th, 2018… at about 7:30AM to be exact. I woke up feeling very off and with what I thought was just a stomach ache. I decided I was just going to try and fall asleep again in hopes it would go away. About 8 minutes later, the pain came back. After about 40 minutes, I noticed the pain only lasted roughly one minute and it was occurring every 8-10 minutes. That is when I realized I was most likely having my son that day. I was lucky that my mother-in-law was able to make it down just in time. I made myself breakfast, took a shower and bounced on my yoga ball to get things moving along. At about 10AM, my mother-in-law woke up and I filled her in on what was going on. Being nervous, anxious and excited, we just had to take a moment and slow down. She had some breakfast, a cup of coffee and sat down to soak in the thought that she was about to be a grandmother. That is when I called my parents and told them that Jace was hopefully making an appearance soon! 11AM rolled around and we decided it was time to get up and get moving if I wanted these contractions to get start getting closer. We went to grab a few last minute things we needed for the hospital stay and for the baby. My contractions are now about 4 minutes apart. It was now 2PM and we wanted to grab some lunch knowing there was a possibility i wouldn’t have a full meal for a while. Knowing that spicy foods help bring on labor, I threw a good amount of jalapenos on my pizza. After literally not even a full slice of pizza, my contractions were down to 2 minutes apart and I knew it was time to go to the hospital. We headed back to the base to grab all the hospital stuff and more importantly, my husband!! Cooper works the night shift on the air force base so he is usually asleep a little more in the day than most people. So to him it was like “Rise and Shine… Its time to have a baby!!”. It’s now a little after 3PM that we arrive at the hospital and I am 3cm dilated. The nurse tells me the only way I will be admitted is if I progress in the next hour that I am there. Now that brought my spirits down because I was 3cm at my doctors appointment 4 days earlier. I just kept thinking to myself “I didn’t progress since Wednesday… how the heck am I going to in the next hour?!”. I was so nervous for the next hour to come. My contractions are getting stronger and stronger… every 1.5-2 minutes. So for the next hour, I had to walk around the hospital in hopes that I would dilate more to get admitted or I would get sent home. For those of you who have never had a baby… contractions are a completely different pain. To me, they felt like a mix of the worst period cramps you could ever have and food poisoning. Tip for soon-to-be moms… if you’re nervous that you wont be able to tell if you are having real contractions vs. braxton hicks, you will NOT be able to walk or talk through real contractions. So you can only imagine that one full hour of walking I had to do, felt like torture. As the hour came to an end, I started to panic in fear that I was not dilated past a 3. I laid in bed anxiously waiting for the nurse. With happy tears in my eyes, I was dilated to a 4 and now just needing a signature from the doctor saying I could stay! By this time, it’s about 6PM. (There is a ton of waiting when you’re being admitted). We finally got the signature but now I had to wait for the new nurses to come and change shifts which took about another hour or so. But it turned out I was so lucky to have to wait for that shift change because I ended up with the best nurse I could have ever asked for. Luckily now that I was officially admitted, i could get my IV! That was my first ever time having an IV while being awake and let me tell you… I want to say that was the worst part of it all! I do NOT do well with needles. But thanks to that wonderful IV, I was able to get my first dose of fentynal and that helped take the edge off the pain. I got about 3 doses of that, one every 30 minutes to an hour. I was checked one more time before I headed to my room and I was at 5cm! The moment I got to my room, I asked for my epidural. Within 30 minutes, the doctor was in the room, ready to go. My mother-in-law had to leave the room as I could have only one person in there while I was getting it done. As I mentioned before, I hate needles so I was obviously terrified of the massive needle going into my spine. I had heard it was so painful and one of the hardest parts. So here I am bawling because I am so scared. This is the moment I realized how amazing my nurse was. She wrapped her arms around me, put my feet between her legs and made me look her in the eyes while she told me nothing bad was going to happen. If I was going to have a contraction, she was going to hold me down with all her force (You have to stay absolutely still during the procedure). In the end, I didn’t hardly feel a thing! I was so lucky the anesthesiologist was able to do it in under 1.5 minutes because I didn’t have to sit through a contraction! Within 30 minutes I was completely numb. The only side affects I had was shivering and then once the epidural was taken out, I was itchy. I then had my water broken by the doctor. She said to me “if you are lucky, you will have a baby tonight!” Well when she left, the nurse turned to me and said “I wouldn’t count on that… first time moms dilate very slow.” Usually an hour per cm and I still had 5 more to go,  “And it usually takes 2-4 hours of pushing because your body is not familiar with the process”. Anyways, it’s now about 9PM, I am feeling a little sick so I get a dose of Zofran. At 9:30PM my body is so tired from all the contractions so I decide to take a nap. At 11:00, the nurse comes back in to check my dilation… I’M 10CM! She tells me she is going to get permission from the doctor to start pushing! The doctor gives her the OK to start! So she explains to me how to push and at this point I am so in shock that just 10 minutes ago I was napping and now I am about to start pushing. Here we go, I’m ready to push. The nurse is telling me to start and I look at her and say “uhhhh… no…. where the heck is the doctor?!” and she tells me I will be pushing for a long time before the doctor needs to come in. So confused and nervous, I give half a push before the nurse says “OK… don’t push anymore, I’m calling the doctor”! He was coming a lot faster than expected! The doctor hurried in, got her gear on, I pushed one full push, one half push and there was my 6lb little baby!! I pushed for a total of 10 minutes. A small push on each contraction, 2 minutes apart. I didn’t feel a single thing! By far the easiest thing I have ever done! I couldn’t believe it! And since I have been asked by many people, I did still tear. A small, internal first degree tear. I feel SO lucky to have had such an amazing experience. Now the hospital stay and recovery wasn’t the easiest but i’ll save that for another post so stay tuned!

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Jace was born at 11:36PM on May 5, 2018 at Tucson Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona! I had him at 38w 3d. He was 6lb, 19in of pure love and joy!

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