Sunday, September 11, 2011

Letter #3 to Bella: September 11th- A somber day to remember

Hey angel,

Today's letter to you is difficult to write, but my heart tells me it needs to be done. Your dad and I feel that when you are ready one day, we need you to be aware of what is happening around you. Of course we don't want to scare you or cause you any undue harm; we simply want you to be aware, ready and in complete understanding of why we do what we do and who we want you to be. And throughout your lifetime, you are inevitably going to face heartache, pain and loss; this might make you question "where is God and why does He let this happen." So with this letter, I hope I can answer those two questions for you so you can see how much you are loved and what good can come out of such immense tears and extreme grief.

As you nap peacefully without a care in the world, there are many people in the United States that are mourning right this very second. Today marks the 10th anniversary of "9/11." It was one of the scariest days in our nation's history. Around 8:45am a decade ago, started a series of terrorist attacks upon New York City and the Pentagon. Altogether there were four separate suicide missions that resulted in almost 3,000 US casualties. At least 2,000 of those casualties were working in the Twin Towers that ended up collapsing and over 300 of these losses consisted of firemen. Dads, moms, cousins, sisters, brothers and friends were quickly taken from us that day.

Bella it sounds terrifying correct? You will probably read about it for several years in your history books and you might even watch movies and television shows capturing this painful event. But what we want you to take from this is… through all of this sadness and loss, heroes were made that day, families came together, and our nation (which often is torn in many directions) ended up putting their differences aside and depending on each other. During one of these terrorist attacks, passengers came together to produce a counter-attack and bravely sacrificed their life to divert the plane that was heading for our nation's capital. These simple civilians ended up saving possibly thousands of lives. And as men and women were trapped in the towers, and people were running for their lives as far as possible away from the devastation, policemen, EMT/paramedics and firemen were running full force into the destruction. They didn't hesitate. They only ran faithfully into the unknown to help. And many did not come back out.

Bella, largely as a result of these terrorist attacks, your daddy ended up committing to a powerful tactical unit in the US Coast Guard where he helped put away several evil men. And now he has made another commitment to do exactly what the NYFD did on that horrific day ten years ago. He has become an amazing fireman and everyday he chooses to not hesitate in the face of danger. I do not doubt that if he were one of those men on that plane, he would have devised a successful counter-attack to prevent even more destruction. And please know that just because he makes this sacrifice, it doesn't mean he isn't thinking of you. It is because of you my angel that he does what he does. He is amongst a great group of men who choose to fight and protect in the darkest of times to help the ones they love and to provide another day of life, of breath, of laughter and of joy.

And as our pastor Mark Lee mentioned today in this morning's service, God was there that day. While we know He could have stopped these planes from crashing, He did not. You will probably ask why God chose to not intervene and why He seems to not be around when bad things happen. However, if He did interfere each time and dictate how our lives should be run, then He isn’t truly showing us that He loves us. He is a God of unconditional and eternal love who lets us make our own choices. He is not a tyrant or a dictator. He also is the most masterful “chess player” of all and as you will soon find out, He makes miracles out of the pain and loss. While we often sit confused and are left questioning in the face of tragedy, little do we know that just down the road there is something being created even better than we could ever have imagined. As thousands of lives were torn apart on that September day a decade ago, millions of people came together. Our president recited Psalm 23 that day to millions as he addressed the nation. I guarantee that believers were made that day! Heroes were created, families united, and all of us watching became more patriotic. I believe many leaned on God that day and for the many months that followed. I also know that your daddy would not be where he is today if that horrible day did not happen.

So angel, I will finish this letter off by reiterating how much we love you and will fight for you to live another day. You are part of a powerful nation, and even better, you are loved by an all-mighty God that will carry you through the pain you might face one day. While it scares me, and all I want to do is protect you from any pain, I know as I look at how strong you already are that you have your daddy’s fighting and heroic spirit. And I, nor your father, will ever stand in your way of wanting to help and save, in whatever form you may show it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Letter #2 to Bella

Hey pretty girl! You've made it into the big world! You are officially 11 weeks old today and you blessed me and my sanity by sleeping almost 8 hours in a row last night! I woke up absolutely confused as to why it was bright outside and why I was feeling so rested. So thanks again sweetie!

I wanted to record here in this blog some updates and memories for you since you have been alive for almost 3 months. First of all, you are quite a healthy baby...and being that you weighed almost 10 pounds at took significant effort to deliver you. At moments, I almost threw in the towel and begged doctors for a C-section. But guess what?!? Your daddy, Auntie Mo, and grandma were there coaching me through the most difficult experience ever...and after 36 hours of made your official entry!

When the doctors put you on my chest for the first time, you were screaming, but you immediately calmed down as soon as I touched your forehead. Just like love being touched on your face! I was amazed at how much I already loved you and how dang beautiful you were. You had a full head of hair as well, pouty lips and chubby cheeks! Bella most infants don't look so swell...well honey you looked like a Gerber model just coming out of the womb! Your daddy then took you to get a sponge bath and swaddle you up. He just immediately fell in love with you and was so excited to take you home.

We took you home a few days later and you loved meeting your grandparents. You slept for most of the remaining hours of the day as long as you were being held close to someone's chest. For the next several days you continued sleeping upwards of 18-20 hours a day! Little sleeper! This quickly changed however after just a week or two...boy how I miss those days ;-) already.

For the next few weeks, you and me became more and more acquainted. We definitely had some difficulties learning how to breastfeed, and I definitely had some tears and call outs to God begging for help with this artform. However, persistence and faith won and we are now settling into quite the feeding rhythm.

As you approached weeks 3 and 4, we realized that you loved your car seat and would fall into a narcoleptic trance as soon as we turned on the car engine. What a treat! However as soon as we stopped at a red light, or hit some traffic, you let us know that waiting is not your specialty. You also weren't a big fan of your expensive swing that I worked so hard at getting, but thankfully much to your father's liking, you fell in love with the cheapest swing available given to us by a good friend! Ha ha...what a crafty little saver you are!

By weeks 5 and 6 you were being swooned over by friends and family. Many were amazed at how alert you already were. You didn't care much for sleeping during the day anymore, but you loved sleeping at night. This...helped your mommy regain some sanity...thanks sweetie yet again! Around this time as well...we realized you were growing really quickly as you were no longer fitting in newborn sized clothing and screaming to be fed every 1-2 hours. These growth spurts were no fun at all, but the end goal has been a blast to see.

And back to current times, you are officially 11 weeks old now. You are almost 15 pounds and about 23-24 inches tall! You are stunning, with the same pouty lips, biggest blue eyes I have ever seen, and a fro of light brown/dirty blonde hair. You hate being swaddled, love wearing headbands, and you giggle 5 billion times a day. You melt our hearts each time you look at us, you wipe our stress away as soon as you smile, and you show us what life is truly about each time we hold you. Thank you Bella for renewing, refreshing and rebuilding your daddy and me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A letter to Bella

Hi beautiful girl,
I wanted to write you a letter to let you know what is going on in the "outside" world as you prepare to enter into it in a few days.

First of all, everyone is anxiously awaiting your birth! I'm receiving emails, texts, facebook messages and phone calls almost every day from handfuls of friends and family asking if you have arrived yet. Can you believe how popular you already are? Hey and by the way... your MOM is having an extremely difficult time remaining patient for your arrival. A lot of this impatience is being created from the discomfort of pregnancy. But there is also a lot of impatience occurring because I want to see you! Almost everyday over the past 9 months, I have wondered what you would be like, what you would look like, and what your personality is going to be like. While I can make some guesses based on my own genetics and your father's, I'm still super curious! So anytime you want to say hi in the "outside" world, I'm awaiting your arrival with open arms.

There are some people that are here in your house that I should probably introduce you to because they will indefinitely be in your life more days than not. There is also your amazing Heavenly Father, who I can't wait to teach you about. He is brilliantly and masterfully knitting you together in my womb. He knows every hair on your pretty little head, and He will never leave or forsake you. He also will love you unconditionally! How fantastic is that? You will never be alone and will always be loved!

In addition to your Heavenly Father, you have a really cool earthly father. His name is Beau. When you see him, you will probably be taken back by his size. He is one muscular and handsome dude! But don't be afraid, because no matter how big his muscles get, his heart is as soft and loving as you will ever experience. He will sacrifice his own life without any hesitation to protect you and make sure you are taken care of. He also can't wait for you to grow up a bit so he can teach you about this "outside" world. This might involve fishing and camping trips, as well as simply jumping in his big ol' truck with your dogs and driving up to the local mountains. Bella, I can't even begin to tell you how lucky you are to have him as your dad. You will always be loved and protected by him. And he is already proud of you.

You also have some really cool grandparents who have already started to spoil you. While your dad's parents live far away, they are going to do everything they can to visit you as much as possible. You dad's mom is colorful, creative and passionate. She has been here over the past week or two helping get your bedroom ready so you feel warm and safe. She is looking forward to teaching you about gardening and designing as well! Your dad's dad and his wife can't wait to meet you in a few months! It kills them to not live closer, but you will talk with them on a regular basis and feel loved by them no matter how many miles separate you. They will probably teach you a lot about the Bible as well as cooking...two things you can't live without! On my side, you are going to learn about medicine and sports from my dad. He is undoubtedly going to teach you how to throw a curveball and shoot a free throw. And just like your daddy, despite his size, he is quite the get ready to be loved a lot! My mom already has fallen in love with you and will probably be involved throughout most of your life. She has a bit of a problem preventing herself from buying you gifts, but I can't seem to stop her! She also can't wait to teach you about being a Christian woman, a great friend and an amazing wife.

The other three living "things" in this house are your uncle A.J. and your two dogs, Chick and Dude. A.J. is in charge of teaching you about movies and music. He is insanely brilliant as well, so I'm excited for you to learn about the world through his eyes. Your dogs, who are so smart that they are more like humans, will protect you from any harm and swim with you for hours in our pool.

Oh and to describe your mom a bit, you know, the person you have been growing inside for the past 9 months...My new found purpose in life is to love, protect and provide for you. I promise you that you will never feel unloved or alone. I can't wait to teach you about friendships, family and surviving day to day life. Yes, I'll screw up on occassion, but I promise you, that I will constantly strive to be better by you and learn how be the mom you need me to be.

Alrighty beautiful girl, as you can see, you are coming into an "outside" world full of people who already love you and can't wait to teach you the best of life's lessons. I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Be careful what you ask for

So remember about 3-4 months ago when I was whining about not really having a "true" pregnancy belly. I was complaining because I was hoping for this basketball belly that looked cute and perfectly round poking through my pregnancy tops. At the time I found it frustrating to have this soft "pudge" that was occurring because it wasn't really showing that I was pregnant; it was more so showing that I was drinking too much beer or simply eating too much chocolate. Well crap! I now have got what I asked for.

As I enter my 37th week, I have achieved the basketball belly status. However this basketball feels oversized and is slowly approaching watermelon craziness. Not only is it obvious that I'm pregnant, about everyone and their mother seems to comment on how pregnant I look. Just a few days ago, a woman working the gates at the NCAA basketball championship tournament told me that there is special parking for women who are "12 months pregnant." She said this with so much pleasure and was obviously impressed with her humor. Ha! Well I wasn't laughing. Then the dressing room lady at Target last night asked me when I'm due because she felt like I was about to go into labor based on the beautiful waddle I was sporting.

Not only do you get unwanted comments and stares from everyone around you at this stage in pregnancy, you also have a hell of a time trying you any movement that requires you to bend at the waist. Holy crap! Tying my shoes feels like I'm trying to do the splits. Any why is it that I seem to drop everything now that it is almost impossible to bend over enough to pick it up off the floor? I also am finding now when I'm eating, I have to drop my belly between my legs so I can move forward enough to reach my food. Wow!

Now my fear is that I sound ungrateful and hormonal. Ungrateful no...hormonal yes. I know this is all part of the process and I'd carry Mt. Everest of bellies to make sure little Bella is growing the way she needs to be. But I do admit, I can't wait to get my flat stomach back if it is possible, be able to pick stuff up off the floor, and gracefully tie my shoes without ripping a hamstring. Just a few more weeks...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bed rest restlessness

So God tends to send messages. I believe He chooses to whisper, nudge, scream and even knock us on our all depends on our level of stubbornness. Well being that I'm obstinate as a mule, and couldn't quite understand the concept of taking it easy, God finally needed to get my attention a week ago.

For the past two months I have been going in twice a week for non-stress tests to make sure my amniotic fluids are where they need to be. And while these tests are a pain in my pregnant ass, they are painless and do allow me to see Bella a lot. Everything usually goes smoothly, but last week's test showed extremely intense contractions that the nurses believed were labor contractions. When the nurses told me what might be happening, I immediately freaked big surprise right?

I got on the phone and called Beau in tears. Of course he was on his way to Big Bear to fish the day away. I tried to act strong and begged him not to come home; I didn't want to take him away from such a special day. But being the great husband he is, he immediately turned around and was at our house within the next hour. As we both waited around to see what the day was going to turn into, my contractions didn't let up and eventually were happening every 11-12 minutes. This was pretty alarming for me because I usually didn't have such intense or frequently occurring contractions.

We eventually were asked to come in and see the doctor so he could check my cervix. While my cervix wasn't found to be dilated, he sure wasn't happy with the work I was taking on and the commute I was making to my Newport Beach office. He looked at Beau and me asking if I could stop working, and Beau ecstatically replied "YES"!!! While I wasn't as excited as my husband, I knew it was time to start acting pregnant.

So that is what I'm doing right now. Acting pregnant. Feet are up most of the day, trying to keep little Bella in for what the doctor is least 1 1/2 more weeks. I also haven't worked out in 9 days...I think the last time I skipped a week of workouts was when I was in junior high.

Am I good at this bed rest thing? Heck NO! I even cheated the past two days and went into work...SHHH...don't tell my doctor. But all in all, I think I'm doing a good job of obeying the doctor's orders when you compare it to the pace I was traveling at earlier this month. It's truly not about me anymore...and I know it hasn't been about me for the past 9 months. I got to listen, and most importantly...I need to stop moving so little Bella can cook a bit longer. Bare with me ya'll...due to this new pace called bed rest....I might blog a bit more and I might sound a bit more crazy than I usually do. Not quite used to sitting.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I usually start off my blogs with some kind of humor or significant growth that I'm experiencing. But today's blog is a bit different. I guess I'm reaching out, venting my emotions because I know keeping them in won't help me in the least.

As I sat in the doctor's office this morning, now in my 31st week of pregnancy, I found myself thinking of the baby we lost in late January of 2010. Thoughts spun around in my head of what s/he might be like, what s/he would be doing right now, and what I could be teaching her. These thoughts bring a certain level of sadness and I know it is probably just grief...which is tricky and seems to pop up at times when you least expect it.

In addition to sadness, I think I am experiencing a sort of fear, or guilt, that I'm forgetting this baby that miscarried. Now that most to all of my thoughts consist of Bella and getting ready for her April arrival, I feel as if I'm leaving behind this little child who was not meant to see the world. So maybe this is why I am blogging about our first child...capturing his or her memory in writing...

I am comforted however through all of this...Bella would not be growing in my tummy right now if this first child had made it throughout the pregnancy. And Beau and I wouldn't have gone through such a spiritual and emotional journey of growth...There are too many blessings that such sadness brought to our lives...too many to list here.

Overall, I'm just feeling a sense of heaviness today. I just looked out at the little fruit tree that Beau planted in our backyard in honor of this little fallen angel after the miscarriage happened. It still is quite little...dainty when compared to the other trees that surround it...but it is standing strong despite its size and continues to grow. Just like the little angel who only lived a few months, it serves a purpose and is powerful and loved despite its appearance.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nesting mania

I'm realizing that there are many stages to pregnancy. It's almost as if you can experience an entire lifetime in this 9-month period. Initially you start out scared, completely dependent on anything but yourself. You don't know what to expect next and you can't quite get your feet under you. Then you start educating yourself and you gain some confidence. Throughout this journey, you are shedding off old parts of yourself, developing into a newer, more mature version of your once young self. By the time you enter the final months, you reflect back on what you have learned and realize that you are nothing like the person that started out on this scary adventure. Overall, I am really thankful for this process and praise God for molding me over the past 7 1/2 months. I'm feeling more and more ready for this process called motherhood.

Okay, now that I typed the positive stuff and have tried to acknowledge what I have gained so far...let me confess about this nesting mania that has taken over my life. Wow! They weren't kidding! As many of my closest friends and family know, I am not exactly an organized, neat individual. I tend to leave trails wherever I go and my car is usually weighed down by 100 pounds of leftover trash, books, makeup, etc. But something takes over you when you are approaching the final days and weeks of pregnancy. From a mental health standpoint, (sorry I had to go there), it is somewhat a sick form of obsessive compulsive disorder. A heightened neuroses...I have started making lists of everything I feel needs to be done before little Bella arrives. These lists drive me nuts and have resulted in hormonal meltdowns. Sorry Beau! Each room I walk into only makes the lists bigger as I see never-ending projects that I think need to be completed before her arrival. I've begun to keep a tidy kitchen, and I now know how to use the vaccuum cleaner! Lysol wipes give me more enjoyment than my iPhone. Disgusting huh?!? Amazing that I feel the need to clean and finish all these projects when Bella won't even know the difference when she arrives.

In addition to nesting mania, I'm struggling with the lack of independence that this pregnancy has created. When my doctor told me to not lift over 20 pounds and stop exercising as much as I have been, a large piece of me has been put to rest! Ha! You see, I've always been the strong girl, the one girl who people don't seem to go out of their way to assist. My husband knows this best; we literally have never hired movers to help us. He knows that I can hang! But now, this weird phenomena has taken over where people all around me rush to open doors, lift something for me, and help me get up off the couch! It is really odd! Well I guess I should savor it, because it is all going to end in about 10 weeks.

Alrighty, overall, I love the growth and what I'm experiencing. Yes, I continue to struggle, but I am very grateful for all the difficulties as well. I do feel the growing pains...yep...I'm growing up. It is nice. I want to be as ready as I can be for this little girl. Can't wait to meet her.