The Hardest Week of Our Lives

It has only been 2 weeks since the loss of a great woman and role model from our family, yet her full absence still hasn’t sunk in for many of us. For those who have experienced a death of a dear one, my heart goes out even further to you after witnessing and experiencing first hand the aftermath of such an event. There is no situation where this is an easy thing to go through, whether it is from a long battle with cancer or a sudden accident.

For us, my mother-in-law’s passing was completely unexpected. There were no clear warning signs, no getting sick, no complaints of pain. She and my father-in-law had been out choosing tiles and carpeting for their newly purchased home when she fell down of a sudden heart attack. On the afternoon she passed away, my husband and I were hit with the news soon after from my father-in-law. It had to be done over the phone, us being on the west coast and them on the east. For me the tears came hard and fast. Instead of shock I understood what the loss meant. It was a wonderful lady who’d been so excited to see her grandbaby never even learn their gender. It was never being able to attend another big life event of her children. It was leaving behind a husband who loved her so dearly that it broke my heart to hear his pained voice over the phone.

My husband mentioned the 5 stages of grief to me – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance – but added that some people go through them in different order or in only select pieces. I have to admit I processed the loss differently than I’d expected. I lingered on denial and bargaining for quite some time, and never hit anger or depression. It is still going to be a ways before we will be ready to fully accept someone who was such a motivational figure in our lives. But from now on it will be important to live through the words she’d once shared and to pay forward the patience and acceptance she’d given us.

To those who may be struggling now: please don’t forget to speak to others or to surround yourself with distractions or laughter until you are ready to deal with it fully on your own. It is okay to laugh, cry, scream, stay silent. It is the process YOU need that can bring the best closure for yourself, no matter how long it may take. Appreciate the little things in life and hug those closet to you. Living life, in the end, only amounts to the kind of impression you leave behind. Let’s all try to make it a positive one.

We love you so much Lisa and will always remember your smile.

Love and best wishes,

Jelly and Bean

 

 

Time Waits Only When It’s Rushed

We are getting SO close to the 20 week ultrasound appointment, and we just can’t wait to find out the gender. It seems that with each passing day time has been slowing down only to annoy me, so I have been trying to keep busy with a few things I’d like to share:

  • Ideas for a gender reveal. We were thinking of a few cute ideas and pinterest has been more than helpful in that process!
  • Ideas for the nursery. We are lucky enough to have a second bedroom at our apartment, and we have decided on Winnie the Pooh! My mother-in-law has already bought cloth for a pooh quilt, and etsy has the cutest decals and furniture for decoration.
  • Thinking of baby names of course! For boys we have picked out: Evan, Henry, John, Graham. For girls: Ava, Emma, Maisie, Freya, Ariadne
  • Indulging in hobbies I didn’t have time for in a long while. I love crocheting so I’ve started a few projects both for the baby and myself. I’m hoping to get as much done as possible which might be 5-6 projects by June if I’m diligent. I’ve also been practicing on the keyboard again to learn a couple new tunes, and reading as much as possible off my Goodreads list.
  • Going through hand-me-downs. When you have an apartment, even a few extra items can certainly cramp up the place! Especially since we’ve gotten a ton of things from a family we’ve adored for over 2 years now, and let’s say that baby toys aren’t the most compact of things haha. Also, categorizing clothing by age, gender, and season can be time consuming!
  • Taking long walks. I was weak and low-energy ever since I was little, and being pregnant has not helped with that one bit. What little energy I’ve been getting lately has gone into writing, house-chores, and baby-related things. I know exercise can be important for the little one and mother alike, so when days aren’t rainy, I’ve been bracing the cold and taking hour long strolls when I can.
  • Reading up on things to expect. Labor? haha I start shaking with a weird, worried anticipation. But the more I’ve been reading about other experiences, the more I think I’m coming to terms with what it may be like for us. Doesn’t help that everyone goes through it differently though!
  • Seeing family. My parents are only a little over 2 hours away, but I only ever see them 2-3 times a year, most of that condensed in the fall and winter for the holidays. With the pregnancy being a new bridge between us, I am trying to strengthen our relationship further.
  • Reorganizing. I was once described as being busy as a chicken without a head. With that sort of visual aid, I suppose I can’t do my reputation any more harm by keeping a little extra occupied with cleaning.
  • Blogging. As a recent past time, it’s definitely been a stress-reliever 🙂

How did/do you mommies pass the time? I would love to hear more suggestions!

Love, Jelly and Bean

16 Weeks!

Baby is the about the size of an avacado, sizing up to about 4 1/2 inches from head to rump. I love being so giddy each week learning about how much our beansprout has grown in only a few days time. Women have been doing this for thousands of years I know, and yet it is so unbelievable that now it is my turn to contribute, that my body is able to do this as well and that I have come so far along. This attempt being our rainbow baby, there is a different sort of relief and joy as we reach each new milestone every single day. I see it when my husband gives me that special smile and his eyes are directed at my growing tummy. I understand it during sleepless nights as I struggle to get comfortable. I feel it when I push myself to eat healthier and go on walks to stay healthy.

My headaches have definitely been acting up, but am hoping that it fades throughout this week to give me some relief. We woke up to a beautiful white canvas this morning and it’s been years since it’s snowed like this in the Seattle-Kirkland area. As we took a walk, mindlessly made snowballs and enjoyed the day off, there was a reminder that had come with this special day. It was to cherish each moment in time because you don’t know when they will come next, and sometimes a snapshot of those moments will be all that is left years later.

Yes there are troubles and there always will be those hard days. But you know what? It can never continue to spiral down forever without hitting a bottom you can get back up from. I think of only a few years back when I was at my lowest and I couldn’t be more grateful or humbled in knowing that I made it out okay. With this child coming closer every day to living in this crazy world, I can only hope to gain as much strength and understanding as I can to support them through all the tough emotions life can bring. Never stop thinking that your life can start anew.

Love, Jelly and Bean.

The Start of Our Journey

[A heads up that I will speak about our previous miscarriage, my past struggles with depression, and my honest thoughts on the pregnancy thus far.]

I am still very young at 25.5, and was younger still when I had our first miscarriage. It was a time when my depression was in a brittle and unstable place, when I was drinking and not taking good care of myself. And though it is hard to admit even to my husband today, I feel as though I let my baby down by not being my best. It was around 6.5 weeks when I found out, and a week later when I had my loss.

I still vividly remember the shock as I went through the motions of a miscarriage as though it wasn’t quite happening to me. Perhaps in a naive way I had thought I would be ‘normal’ and fine. It was a fresh bloom of fear that took over with the realization that this could be a struggle in the future, that I could be the problem. My husband, then boyfriend, wanted children. What if it would be an arduous process that would break us apart?

But it was all in the midst of my panic. My anxiety was getting out of control again and I knew the best I could do was take deep breaths and think of the good I had with me right then, a technique I used when ugly thoughts would creep into my mind throughout the day.

“Well, you were young so maybe it was a good thing.”

As I opened up about my experience over the next year, this was the most common thing I was told. And well, shit. Yes, I see your point and I understand that you meant well. But to someone who felt at the moment she saw the positive test that she was already part mother, it was like a bag of bricks to my face each time I heard those words. But as I thought about it, thought back to all the heart-breaking stories of mothers who struggled to ever get pregnant and to those who never did, I realized that no matter how monumentally tragic my moment had felt, that it could have been worse.

And whether that was the right or wrong way to think about it, it was how I began to cope as I returned to a life that seemed a bit duller than before. When I would see people walking through their day and couldn’t help but wonder if they were concealing something broken. It encouraged me to be kinder, more patient. That way, I could be kinder and more patient with myself.

This was back in 2013. Even before we got married December of 2015, my husband and I started trying ‘for real’ to get pregnant. We hadn’t used protection long before then, but this time, I would be as ready as possible. I started taking prenatals, calculating my ‘ideal times’, and reading up on tips both scientific and a little superstitious. Each month my cycle started was, in all honesty, a let down and growing ball of fear. I knew we had the IVF option through my husband’s insurance and that he would support the hell out of any necessary fertility treatments we might need. But like many women who wants to have children, I wanted it to be done naturally.

It was the morning of November 3rd when I woke up and thought, “Why not, I should be starting my period today. Why not check.” I grabbed a test, and went to the restroom. And then several minutes later I saw this:

I think my heart forgot to heart for a moment. I gasped, I stared long and hard, and I took a second test that also came out positive. I’d always wanted to wait and surprise my husband with a cute pregnancy reveal, but I was way too excited for that. I actually interrupted him mid-shower to show him the tests! I cried so much that day, and took two more tests to make sure it was real.

Later we found out that I was only 3 weeks and 4 days along when I took those tests. We didn’t wait to share the news. I knew week 13 was typically the ‘safe zone’ to tell friends and family, but in all honesty we knew it would never be safe. I wanted everyone to know and share the joy that we were experiencing despite any outcome.

And then the milestones began to pile up. At 8 weeks, I heard our beansprout’s heartbeat with the fetal Doppler machine. At 9 weeks it became a fetus. At 11 weeks we got our first ultrasound photos. Then we reached past and firmly into the second trimester and I began to let myself believe that carrying to full term was more and more of a possibility. The baby clothes and items started piling up and ideas for the nursery began to solidify.

You know when you finally get that one thing you’ve been wanting for a long time, whether it’s a scholarship, pair of boots, a job, long-awaited plane tickets? I felt the rush of it for weeks and still feel like I’m on cloud nine. It’s a cocktail of content, relief and nervous excitement I never knew I could feel before to this affect. And this is what I want to remember for future tantrums, fights, or moments when I know I will want to just put my head in my hands for hours.

Our first pregnancy will always be remembered. The thing about loss is that no matter what, a memory that is a scar can’t be ignored or covered up forever. There are times when I will be doing chores or having a conversation when the smallest trigger can bring up a pang in my chest or a moment of fear. No matter what stage you are at, something can always go wrong. But the good can’t come with some of the bad, and both can benefit us if we take the right lessons away from them. It is how we deal with the bad that shapes us, and helps ourselves become a stronger ‘me.’ Best wishes to the mama’s who struggle, who sacrifice, who fight.

Love, Jelly and Bean

Our September Wedding

We first got engaged in fall of 2012 and got married in court December 31st of 2015, where I remember crying with joy as we took the huge step into the rest of our lives together.

But our ceremony, in front of our friends and family, was on September 2nd, 2016. After almost 7 years together, we were more than ready for our BIG day. I think to quote the majority of those who heard of the news: “It’s about time!”

I had always wanted to have a warm family of my own one day, to become a mother and be an involved parent for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t until I was old enough to start dating that I realized, to reach those goals, I would have to find someone to commit and get married to. I wasn’t one of those girls who’d grown up dreaming about my ideal wedding, and I didn’t want to get ahead of myself until the right man came along. My husband turned out to be the first guy I would ever date, a month into college. I remember the news striking my parents as my lack of studying, but now I can say that all turned out for the best 🙂

Despite the months of planning involved, we never stressed about all the tiny details. We were laid back enough to try and focus on loving each other, to not loose focus on why we were having our special day a second time.

Our venue was in Arlington, WA at The Wild Rose weddings and honestly though it had only been our 3rd scout out location, it was love at first sight. We knew we wouldn’t have to look anywhere else. One of our (my) biggest worries for a venue was the weather because we’d always wanted an outside wedding. Well for one, it was going to be held in September when it was starting to get rainy, and two, we were in WA state which meant one day it could be rainy and the completely sunny the next. And funnily enough it was just that! To my horror, our rehearsal the night before was as dreary, wet, and cold as you could imagine. I remember getting home and praying a good portion of the night that it would clear up the next day, at least so we could hold the ceremony portion out in the gardens. But like my mother-in-law reminded me, the most important thing was that we were going to be there getting married with the people we cared about. Extremely luckily, our day was more perfect than I could have hoped for. We saw two rainbows, and stayed dried for all the important moments. If I could relive that day again and again, I would do so in a heartbeat.

custom shoes by Pink2Blue on etsy.   custom cake toppers from Kikuike on etsy

Our home-made invitations, cover drawing done by our friend Ye-rin who’s instragram is here. 

My beautiful bouquet by my wonderful mother. Her etsy shop is here and she is always willing to do special requests!

Thank you, thank you to everyone who made our day amazingly unforgettable!!

 

wedding venue: The Wild Rose ♥ photographer: Huoy Chen ♥ dress: Essence of Australia ♥ cake: Stone Layne Baked Specilties ♥ Our wonderful hosts at the venue!

As an Introduction to Our Life

Grateful to be here, Grateful for life.

Reflecting on life is a pretty common side effect of the new year I’ve been told, and it completely intensified with the start of our second trimester in January.

My husband Chris and I found out that we were finally pregnant back in November, and it was the best news of our lives! But as soon as the elation came, so did the anxiety and fears of what it meant to bring a new life into the world. How we will raise them, what we will expose, and how we will handle the things we can’t hide – all these thoughts started giving me a panic attack, even long before the baby was born! haha

That’s always been me though, full of anxiety and fear of the uncontrollable. It drives my poor husband nuts (It’s the logical, programming side of him).

Sometimes we get overwhelmed with everything that goes on in our personal lives to the point where ranting to your partner, friends or family helps only so much. Then with the modern day of social media we are bombarded with so much negativity that sometimes it feels like it outweighs the good. It’s a tilted view, sort of a human nature reaction to focus on the bad and to try and somehow make it right. And sometimes that can be frustrating when we’re limited in our resources. But what can you do but keep your mind in a good place? And you can always start somewhere, anywhere to alleviate and help yourself in ways only you know how. For me, writing was always a personal outlet and stress-reliever. And through this blog, I hope to share personal stories and insights that may help, entertain, and distract others in positive ways as well.

We remember to say hello for every goodbye. We extend our love even when we lack it ourselves. We remember to live.