Postpartum checkup and Rafiki

Yesterday I had my 6 week postpartum check up. It has been 7 weeks since she came and went. I had convinced myself that things would be easier and that I’d be “okay”.

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Well I’m not.

I’m actually just starting to feel again.

I allowed myself the sadness and pain then slowly I numbed myself to where I can actually talk about her with a straight face and not feel.

This week I realized that I sound like a robot. I look like a heartless woman when I talk about her because instead of concentrating on how I feel, I try to make things less awkward to whomever I talking to.

Thursday I allowed myself to feel as I spoke with someone and although I felt a deep sorrow and longing for my baby, I felt their sincerity and deepest sympathy for my loss.

Yesterday as I was at Central Utah Clinic’s Women’s Center (which I absolutely love), I allowed myself the emotions I usually try to hide. I felt sadness because I was alone and had no baby to show off. I felt anger, because I had gone through the whole 40 weeks and she was gone and there was nothing I could have done about it. I felt anxious, because I saw the little heart beat finder thingy and my heart stopped for a minute. This was where I found out she was gone. One week before finding a heart beat was so easy and the next week it’s gone….

I was so grateful that they gave me an appointment with the midwife that had been through the same thing. She had two boys, one a still born and the other died a week later. Being able to talk to her and listen to how she dealt with her struggles was so comforting. I know that all the midwives cared for and felt for me, but she had been there. She knew where I was and what I felt and she let me know it was ok. She was extremely sincere and empathetic towards me and I don’t think it could have gone any better.

Yes I was sad.

Yes it was scary.

Yes I missed my baby.

Yes I dreaded going and didn’t want to be there.

But it’s ok to do hard things.

It’s ok to be somewhere that reminds you of something difficult.

It’s ok to see things or people that remind you of difficult things.

A month before baby was born I was stressing out because of things that reminded me of past issues. I thought I was ok, I thought I was fine, and then something’s came up and reminded me and I was in “that place” where I try so hard not to go. I felt hurt, insecure, sad, depressed, stressed out and just not in a good place. After I had baby Maria those issues seemed irrelevant, small and extremely insignificant. I felt ok and was full of love and comfort. Weeks later I found myself struggling with the same issues.

I’m not perfect, neither do I have a perfect understanding. I don’t know how baby died or why she died or why anything bad happens to anyone. But as a wise blue butt baboon said:

Ahh, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I look at it, you can either run from it or learn from it.
So what are you going to do now??

I could have just not gone to my appointment (which I was so tempted to do). I could just hide from the world in my sorrow or become so busy I don’t feel anything. Which I kind of did. Or I could bury my feelings deep inside and hope they never come out. In which they always do in a very unpleasant way.

I chose to go.

I chose to feel.

I choose to not hide from the world but embrace it and welcome it.

I choose to express my emotions through crying, writing, dancing, singing, playing with my kids, arguing with my husband, reaching out to old friends, teaching my primary kids, going to the temple, being open and allow all that God has in store for me into my life. Blessings, trials, joy, sorrow, the good, the bad, all that He deems good for my potential, my eternal happiness, my life, my learning experience, my perfect self, whatever will teach me to become the best me possible, be it blessing or trial (or both since they can be one in the same depending on your perspective), I choose to LEARN FROM IT.

At 7 weeks I can tell you I’m ok but not ok. It may seem like I haven’t progressed but I guess it depends on your perspective. I’m still sad, I still cry, I’ll never get over it.. But I accept it, I value this trial and I look forward to the day I can see her again.

7 weeks has been quick but has also felt like an eternity. 7 weeks down, eternity to go, I think I’ve got the right perspective.

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So what are you going to do? Run from it? Or learn from it? The choice is yours alone.

6 weeks

This Saturday baby Maria would have been 6 weeks. I usually do ok but I still have my moments of sadness and grief. I have so much time on my hands now I’m not exactly sure what to do with it. We had prepared ourselves some free time to take care of a new born and without one we are a little unsure of what to do.

I have had lots of nieces and nephews and neighborhood babies to hold and love and that always seems to make me feel better. I have always loved holding babies even before I had my own. They are just so sweet and precious and perfect and cuddly and everything else that’s wonderful.

Having family members and friends who weren’t/aren’t able to have children, I have always had an appreciation for my fertility. Also having family members and friends who are on bed rest because of the toll that pregnancy takes on their bodies, I have appreciated my “easy” pregnancies as well. Baby Maria has given me a new appreciation for my own personal trials and struggles.

We stayed at a host families home in Virginia who’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was like 2 or 3. They had a book made for her about her journey. As I saw the picture of their sweet little girl with tubes and things in her body and loosing hair or gaining weight because of steroids and being put through scary things I could never imagine, I became so grateful that my sweet little girl didn’t not have to suffer. We watched The Ultimate Gift and my heart ached for the sweet little girl with cancer. Baby Maria didn’t have to suffer the pains of this world. She received her perfect little body and was needed elsewhere. I am so grateful to have had the chance to carry, love and hold her, even just for the short time we had.

I feel that my trials are hard. Life hasn’t been kind to me but The Lord definitely has. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs and I am grateful for my “downs” because they have reminded me to look up. I don’t appreciate them in the moment and have my days of “why me”, but in the end or through the sweet tender mercies of The Lord, I am reminded that I am never alone.

My amazing friends gave me this perfect gift:

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I bawled my eyes out after opening it. Josh has a key chain with their names and symbol as well. A perfect little reminder of what forever will be like for the both of us.

I can’t begin to express how blessed I feel even in trials. I have always felt alone and carry burdens that I can’t share or express freely like I do with Maria. Yet this trial alone has helped me feel my Fathers love and my Saviors love and even the love of those on the other side. I am so grateful for my sweet Maria and all those who have helped me remember, celebrate and love her. For those who share with me their burdens and remind me that I am not the only one to those who let me hold their babies and let me have a small piece of their heaven, thank you. I’ve learned so much in the past 6 weeks and have grown so much closer to my little family.

My sweet Joshua… Poor guy had to deal with my emotional battle the last few days of tour and a few days after. Yet, he supported me, loves me, doesn’t think I’m crazy, and still tries to make me the happiest me possible. I couldn’t imagine going through this with anyone else.

6 weeks has seemed like forever. Yet I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by… When I see a baby around the same age my heart breaks a little thinking of how big my Maria would have been if she were still alive. But I know she is still here, watching over us. 6 weeks may have gone by and who knows how long we’ll have to go, but at least I know forever is where I’m headed.

Monday Reflections

I’ve had a weekend full of crying and writing, not sure what to do or where to go or even what to think.

Last week was a great week. I finished my first week of 100 days of running. 94 more days to go! I completed my flush and I seriously can’t believe I did it. I went back to school and at least I won’t be failing 2 classes. I felt great and almost like a new person with the goals I reached and the success I had in making new habits. But it didn’t erase the hurt I still feel inside.

I’m totally not okay. I’m a huge emotional mess.

I realized this when I finally allowed myself to tell someone “I’m a huge mess and I’m going crazy! I’ve started crazy things like running everyday and doing a gallbladder flush”. I realized the truth in these words.

If you know me, you know I am NOT athletic. In any way shape or form.

I’m not a healthy person.

I hate the gym.

I hate exercise.

I hate even THINKING about anything healthy.

Being married to a health guru, I’m seriously sick and tired of what is healthy for me, what I should or should not be eating, how to stay active or have more energy and blah blah BLAH.

But I ran everyday last week. For HALF AN HOUR.

I completed a gallbladder flush. Something I needed to do 3 years ago and couldn’t because of how disgusting the drinks were.

I went to the gym every night with Joshua.

I ate clean for 4 whole days. No meat, no candy, NADA.

What. Is. Wrong with me!

Then I realized what I was doing. Thanks to my sweet baby girl.

I’ve been in a bad place before where I moped around, begged for death and hated life.

I don’t remember much of the first 8 months after my son was born because of postpartum.

I remember crying almost hourly for a whole day and multiple times a day for weeks because of a difficult trial I’ve been through.

I know what it’s like to feel so much self hate, take so much self abuse, that I didn’t want to live any more. At all. Life did not feel worth it.

And I do not EVER want to be there again.

I could not let myself feel that way again. Or be in at state of mind or “place” as I call it.

A few weeks before baby, I let myself “go there”. I beat myself up for past things and was just really in a bad place.

After I realized my sweet Maria was gone, I couldn’t believe how unhappy I let myself be.

What more could I ask for in life??

I have an amazing husband, 3 healthy, happy, beautiful kids, a wonderful home in a great neighborhood, I’m healthy and fine, I get to go to school, I have awesome friends and life is just great.

How selfish am I to keep bringing up past issues and things I can’t change when I could have been celebrating life and living in a way that would show the ones I love that I love them.

I needed to change my thought process.

I needed to change my habits.

I needed to make a change so unlike me, that I could rewire my head. Just so I don’t “go there” again.

I decided on running because not only was everyone doing it and could keep me accountable, but it was so out of my comfort zone, so not something I would do. It’s been great. I feel great. I can think about things and cry and let it out all at the same time. Instead of concentrating on the physical pain, I think of the emotional pain I’m going through and have been through and I simply let it out.

I’m still trippin out because I actually did the gallbladder cleanse with a 3 day clean eating. Something I told myself I could never do. I totally proved myself wrong! It was so empowering, even if it didn’t work and I didn’t have a single gallstone release. I did it. I actually did it!!

I have been a huge mess. My house is a mess. I can’t think straight half the time. I forget things a lot. I look like I’m out of it half the time, and I probably am. But I’m okay.

I’m okay cuz I’m not okay and I’m okay with that.

I’m doing things to rewrite the things in my head. Or to rewire since I don’t want to allow myself to go back to the same motions and ways of thinking.

Life can be hard. But it’s okay to do hard things.

I don’t have a choice, other than to keep going. There is no options. You either live or you don’t. I choose to live.

Days and minutes can be hard. I still cry and let myself feel that pain and sorrow.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since we buried her. It feels like an eternity yet I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by…

We leave for New York in two days and as excited a I’d like to be because I’m going I can’t be because now I can…

I know I’m feeling guilty because I can only go since she is not here but I just wish she were here…

I know I just miss the physical part of having a baby because she will always be my daughter and she will always have a special place in my heart. I will always miss her until the day I can be with her again. I feel her presence all the time and I know she is constantly with me.

Saturday night as I ran in the dark I felt afraid. But I wanted to reach out and grab her hand because I knew she was with me, watching me and protecting me. I was probably scarier to everyone around me as a dark figure with big hair running in the dark, but it was comforting to know I wasn’t alone. I know now I’m never alone. I have my angel. My sweet Maria.

I feel different, I look different and I see things differently. I feel like I’ve lost something and I know people see it… But I’ve also gained more.

I’ve gained a new perspective on life and how short it really is.

I’ve gained a new love for my husband, my children, my family, my friends, even those who I don’t really appreciate. (I don’t really hate anyone I’d just rather they fell off the earth. And I’m pretty sure you know who you are. 😝)

I’ve gained an angel, one I love dearly and can’t wait to see.

I’ve gained a greater testimony that God lives, His Son is my Savior and that They have a plan for us all.

And I’m trying to gain a new habit of running and being more active.

All thanks to my sweet Maria. I love you 😘 I miss you, everyday I miss you more.

Day 4 / emotional roller coaster

Yesterday was day 4 of my 100 days of running and the first day of my actual flush.

I felt like crap the whole day. I did ok with clean eating (minus my IHOP trip the night before) but I just wanted a burger. I seriously was tired of fruits and veggies and apple juice. I wanted a number 1 from mcdonalds, LARGE with Dr Pepper. I needed to eat a big breakfast because I would start my fast at 2pm. I went to school so instead I just ate my whole first class. I failed my Spanish test miserably and ended up eating the whole time. I still wasn’t full because it wasn’t what I wanted to eat.

Yoga felt great. I felt like I could move more. I felt more strength in doing the moves and it was just really nice to feel flexible. At least somewhat flexible and not like a board. On my way home I began my fast and as soon as I get home here’s soup and bread for me on my doorstep from a neighbor. 😞 I seriously love my neighbors, but this seriously had me rethinking my whole endeavor. Instead I decided to use it as my first meal after the fast. A simple soup lunch.

I was busy the rest of the evening and I had Naa make dinner because I knew I’d eat something if I did. I nearly did so many times… But I held strong!

I ran before dinner and man did it feel great!! I have been taking it real easy these last couple days but today I pushed myself to really run. It was awesome! My time wasn’t much better but I felt great. I was SUPER slow and probably looked like an idiot running barely faster than I walk. I realized my original shoes were hindering me. I’d get blisters and would be so sore after all over my feet and knees. I wore my vibrams and man did the difference feel like night and day! I had been running wrong and shifted my weight over to the front of my body and let my feet fall but not pound into the ground and the pain and soreness went away! Took me like 10 min to figure that out but man it felt good.

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I noticed as I ran that it was easier just to see a few steps I ahead of me instead of looking straight and thinking of how far I still had to go. I counted just the two steps I needed to take to get further and that seemed to push me more. Knowing “One Step At A Time” was how I needed to take it. (That was my jam this run, thank you Enrique and akon!)

I took my first Epsom salt at 8pm. Wasn’t as bad as I thought. Then another one at 10pm right before josh and I hit the gym. I did some weights because my lower body strength is 10x my upper body strength and I really want to change that.

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After the gym and after my kids were in bed I took my grapefruit juice and oil at midnight. Talk about the most disgusting drink ever.. Ugh. I nearly gagged it back up but it stayed down.

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Before my kids slept baby Na’a hugged me and said “I love you mom” then turned to lay on my stomach and said “I love you tummy mom”. I looked at her and said “oh Naa there’s no baby in there, she came out already”. She looked at me confused and said “aww baby crying”. I wanted to start bawling thinking about the new born cry I love so much and wished I was able to hear. I wanted to cry thinking of if my baby Maria did cry in my womb before she died. What if I hurt her and caused her pain and suffering before she died… Did I make her weep?? I know I won’t know til I see her again and I know it doesn’t matter cuz there’s nothing I can do or could have done I wish there was. I cried in my run because I missed her. I cried watching the NILMDTS video remembering how good it felt to hold her. She fit perfectly in my arms. I could have literally held her all day… I will never forget it. If I do, I have pictures to remind me.

With the fast I knew emotions would come up. I was angry, annoyed, happy, sad, depressed and hopeful all at the same time.

I spoke with my mom too yesterday and she said “I was looking at your pictures and you look different. You look like you lost something.” My husband said this morning I look different as well, but I’m not sure in what way. I totally wear my emotions on my sleeve, even if I’m trying to hide them people always know. I miss my baby Maria. Even though I know she’s with me all the time, she’s a funny, bright and happy girl, but I still wish I had her here with me. I’m broken with a piece of my soul taken with her. That’s ok. I know it. The world can tell. And I’m ok with that.

I run to make a change in my life. I’ve always wanted to be a runner. Now I know I need to start now or I never will be.

I’m doing this flush to get rid of the crap I know I’ve had for years but have never gotten myself to do it. I know I’ll need do it if I don’t do it today.

I blog to keep me sane. I blog to share my experiences and thoughts about life. I blog to remember and rewrite what’s in my head. I blog to get it out.

I’m making a change because I miss my little girl. I wouldn’t have changed if she were still here. I would have gone through the motions of having a baby and done what I’ve always done. With Maria gone I feel different, incomplete, as if something’s not right. I’m making changes to “make things right” or at least make them bearable. Things aren’t the same without her. I’m not the same. And that’s why I needed to make this change.

For my Maria.

Day 2 / missing my Maria

Yesterday was a little harder for me. I had a hard time with my “run”. I biked the night before and just finished my yoga class, which completely kicked my butt. I did yoga the night before for 20 min and felt great but at my yoga class I felt like a block of wood. I seriously could not move. During my run, my legs hurt and were sore afterwards. I didn’t feel anything the previous day so I’m going to blame the bike. Lol.

I struggled with clean eating. I had a kashi bowl of cereal with 2% milk and lots of carrots and apples. I also had the other half of my go-dough. I did have a salad for dinner which I complained about on my fit_auntylala IG. I did have a protein bar later in the day but other than that it went ok.

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I say I struggled because it was a hard day emotionally. And I’m an emotional eater but I pulled through! I went back to school and people didn’t know about baby. They all knew I was pregnant and would feel sorry for me the longer I was pregnant. Probably because I looked like a whale and waddled everywhere. Seeing them again, I saw the excitement and anticipation grow as they walked towards me. I felt horrible having to burst their bubble and let them know the baby we were ALL waiting for didn’t make it…

I noticed that has been a pattern in this particular trial. Not that my own sorrow wasn’t painful but seeing others sympathize and empathize for me always got to me.

I felt bad for my midwife knowing the news she would have to tell me. I could sympathize for her knowing it was difficult having to come in to tell a mother that at 40 weeks and a day, her baby was gone and there was no explanation.

I couldn’t control myself telling my husband our sweet baby girl was gone. I actually did such a horrible job telling that he misunderstood me and didn’t realize what was happening until our delivering midwife came in and said “baby is gone, there’s nothing we can do but wait for you to have her”. Watching him weep over our baby girl and knowing I couldn’t comfort him in anyway was extremely difficult. I knew he was the only one who missed her nearly as much as I do.

Telling my children wasn’t easy either. Although we had talked about stillborns and miscarriages before, I never imagined having to tell them about our own baby…

I wept at the thought of telling family and friends that the sweet baby I “was still pregnant with” would not walk with us in this life. My ROC family who watched me grow from the first week we found out to the year end show, all were anticipating her arrival that morning after our assembly. Little did they, or I, know that my sweet angel was with us, but not in the body that she was given.

I knew this cleanse would bring up emotions and that my run wouldn’t make it any easier. I had other things come up and felt like crying my eyeballs out. I didn’t cry at the time and once my head cleared I was able to see the flaws in my thinking. I was able to feel my emotions and let them go. I was able to find clarity in the fog.

I still miss my baby. I cried for her last night seeing my 3 kids watch a movie. I knew she should have been in my arms with me. Instead I held baby Naa and I slept next to josh. He likes the floor and I don’t but I needed to be next to him so I just dealt with it. I wished that my baby was here and that I could hold her but instead I’m grateful for the ones I do have.

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I feel her often and I know she’s always with me. That’s why I decided to do this fitness journey. I felt her push me and prompt me to make a change. So here I am, going on day 3. Here’s to a better today and a better Aunty Lala. Thank you my sweet baby girl… My Maria.

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“Don’t Forget Josh”

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We have received so much love and support the last few days it has been extremely overwhelming. One of our greatest supports was a new found dear friend Sarah. Sarah, you are amazing and I don’t think I would have gotten through this trial very successfully or sane without the love, support and help you have shown me and my family. Having gone through the experience a few months ago, your help and knowledge has made things SO much easier on me and you’ve really lightened my burden. One of the greatest piece of advice you gave me was, “don’t forget about Josh, you two are in this together.” And you are totally and completely right.

Much of the messages, notes, letters, helps and acts of kindness were geared towards myself. As the mother and carrier of baby Maria, it would seem natural and logical that it mainly was towards me. But Joshua, as the father of baby Maria, hurts just as much as I do. If you know my husband, you’d know his love for children, ESPECIALLY ours. He is probably the best dad out there. He loves our children with a fierce love. He is constantly playing with them (which causes some problems because they just don’t know how to take him seriously and he literally has the hardest time saying no (unless it’s McDonald’s)). He is so thoughtful of them and their needs. He seriously is the sweetest daddy ever.

But in all honesty, this trial hasn’t been easy for him. Loosing his baby girl, our sweet Maria, has literally left an emptiness in his heart that won’t be filled until we see her again. Even with the knowledge of the plan of salvation, the faith he has in our Savior, the love he has for the gospel and the work, not having her here to hold, love, and care for, is difficult. Trying to be strong yet I know he hurts inside.

I don’t write this to make him seem weak or to ask for sympathy for him, but I write it for others who may go through the same or similar trial. This is one we’re facing TOGETHER. Don’t forget about your spouse, your children, your parents, your family, who all share the same, yet different burden as you do. For our parents it’s been hard because they feel helpless watching their child struggle over the loss of their grandchild. Our children mourn over the loss of their sister while trying to understand mommy and daddy’s sorrow. Our family and friends mourn just thinking about the pain, the sorrow, the emptiness that most of them do not understand. Then there are those who have had similar trials that would never, EVER, wish anyone to struggle the same.

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
-Mosiah 18:8-10

Whatever trial you’re going through, whatever struggle you’re facing, whatever difficulty or road bump is blocking your way, it is not yours alone.

We’ve faced many struggles together, nearly getting divorced in 2011. But some how we managed to pull through and got sealed the following year. It was a hard time for me and my children, my family, my friends, they all saw it. They struggled with me yet I thought I had to bear that burden alone… This time, with the sweet reminder “don’t forget Josh”, I realize I’ve never had to struggle alone. Not only do I have my Saviors merciful love to rely on, my Father in heaven’s all knowing compassion, but the love and support of a sweet, nothing-short-of-amazing husband, beautiful and loving children, caring and concerned parents/in-laws, supportive and ROD siblings/cousins/friends and an amazing community full of people who understand and have been there or try to sympathize for my loss.

Whatever you’re going through, there are people who love you. Maybe not the same people that I have, maybe it may not seem that way or maybe it is a trial you might have to face “alone”. There is always a loving Savior and understanding God who will support, guide, strengthen and love you through it all. If you follow His example and let His will be done.

I’d like to say I’d change things if I could… But I’ve tried to do things my way and it didn’t work out quite so well. Actually, it turned out so bad that I’d take any trial The Lord would give me not to go through any of it again. This is a trial He chose for me and I thank Him daily for not letting me do it alone.

My sweet Joshua… The only person who annoys me more than my brother Fatso, simply because I love you so much it irritates me. Thank you for being my rock, my love, my strength, my friend, my shoulder to cry on and my partner in this trial and our lives together. This trial has really changed my perspective of life and of you. It has strengthened our bond as we’ve come to rely heavily on The Lord.

“Don’t forget josh”… Don’t forget those who are struggling with you. For they might need comfort too.

A Fathers Grief

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since “men don’t cry”
and “men are strong”
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she’s all right
And what she’s going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
“My friend, but how are you?”

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But “stays strong” for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-
He lost his baby too.

Thank you Tina for sharing this poem.

Thank you love for mourning with me, for struggling with me and for being strong when I’m not. I love you.

A Mothers Regret

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I’m a bit lost, I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be doing. I constantly wake up a night, my body still searching for the new born I wish I could hold and nurse at night. I’m so filled with milk my chest looks like it’s about to explode. I still feel the cramps and contractions getting my uterus to its normal size (if only it’d do that with the rest of my “baby fat”). I have been so busy the last couple days I haven’t had time to think. Which has been good. Thinking is where it hurts most. But I hope in writing what I think, I’ll have some closure and stop regretting so many things. Yet I am writing the things I do regret.

If you know me, you know I complain about EVERYTHING. I’m agitated most of the time, and my face shows it. I can be rude, I don’t really think about what I’m saying before I say it and I’m just a brat. With that said, I have complained so much during this last pregnancy over NOTHING. I get no morning sickness, I have tons of energy, I eat like a whale (and then some), I’m out and about like I’m not pregnant and I basically feel like I have this huge basketball in my belly. But I complained about every little thing….

And I regret it.

I wish I had cherished every moment with Maria alive inside me.

I wish I had talked to her more.

I wish I had sung to her.

I wish I had allowed my kids to kiss her goodnight more often.

I wish I had let them talk to her and hold her every night.

I wish I had taken more maternity pictures, it’s a miracle I even took any!

I wish I had felt each kick, each push, each time she moved and enjoyed it, instead of complaining and telling her to sit still.

I wish I had taken a 3D ultrasound like my husband had asked.

I wish I had just sat there with her and enjoyed her presence instead of being absorbed in how fat I was (still am).

I wish I had paid more attention to how I felt with her. I was such a girl wanting to dress up, go shopping (and everyone who knows me knows I HATE shopping unless it’s for food), do my girls hair (I don’t even like doing my own) and watching chick flicks.

I wish I had let myself cry. I have never been so emotional in my life over nothing. But I wish I had just allowed myself to just let it out with her.

I wish I had appreciated her more and told her how much I loved her while she could hear me.

I regret just complaining and thinking only of myself.

I regret not giving her the love and attention I could have given her.

I regret so much…

Yet I have hope.

Hope that when I see her again I can apologize.

Hope that when we reunite I can do everything I have regretted not doing.

I know she sees me and hears me now.

I know she watches me with her siblings and I think of her when I’m with them.

She is my constant reminder to love more fully, to forgive more often and more easily, to be more compassionate and sympathetic, to not get offended so easily, to love more fully and to appreciate it ALL. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the pleasure, the pain, the joy, the sorrow, everything in life as it is.

Tell those you love that you love them NOW.

Treat others kindly and know they too struggle in their own way.

Forgive often and forgive easily, forgiveness is for you not them. Allow yourself that gift of freedom.

Enjoy life as it is, and learn to find joy in ALL THINGS.

My sweet baby may be gone physically, but I feel her presence often. I think of our times together and am grateful we had time at all. I may not be able to hold her anymore but I will cherish her in my heart til the day I can. I have not lost a child, I have gained an angel. I may miss her, I may grieve a long time and I may regret many things… But I will remember the lessons I’ve learned from her and the strength I’ve gained through this trial.

I will keep my Savior close for I know she is with Him. And to see her again, I need Him. Because of Him, I have hope. And I need not regret. Only remember.

Maria, Maria, Maria, I can’t believe I hated that name when my kids decided (on their own after watching West Side Story) that was her name. Now I will forever cherish the sweet sound of Maria. I will remember and I will try not to regret.

My Sweet Angel Maria

I am a writer. Words flow easier, I feel I can express what I am really feeling, it comes naturally to me and I can reread my thoughts and rewrite and edit and all that good stuff. With that said, please forgive me for writing such a personal post on this blog. I am in mourning, I am using this to help me mourn and I hope you will appreciate my need to do so.

I gave birth to a sweet perfect little girl at 2:59am Saturday morning. At 7 lbs and 1 oz, 21 inches long, my angel Maria was absolutely perfect. So perfect that our loving and understanding Father in heaven decided that she needed to stay with Him. After 40 weeks of being pregnant, I went in for a check up and they could not find a heart beat. My precious baby girl was gone.

During this pregnancy nothing showed up to be concerned about. All my vitals were great, baby’s vitals were great, there was nothing that came up to cause concern. Even at my 39 week check up, baby’s heart beat was great, her size was great, she was head down, everything seemed ok. So to hear, “baby is gone” at 40 weeks and 1 day and not know why or how or what or anything, is just about the worst thing any mother could hear.

Yet The Lord had prepared us along the way. We knew something was different about her. The doctors, vital signs, everything logical and practical said baby would be perfect. And she was/is. But I guess she was SO perfect that she was needed more on the other side. There had been miracles, promptings, dreams, feelings that prepared us for this news. It prepared us in a way that we knew without a doubt, that this was the Lords will.

Does it make it any easier? No.

Does it make sense? No.

Are we happy and enduring and completely fine? No, no and no.

But we are faithful.

We are hopeful.

We are enduring as well as we know how and leaning on The Lord to help us make up the difference.

It’s not easy being home and realizing there is no baby that you have been preparing for.

It’s not easy having to explain multiple times to your daughter that baby isn’t coming home.

It’s not easy watching your sweet husband mourn the loss of his beloved child. (If you know josh you know he would walk to the ends of the earth for our babies! She is no exception.)

It’s not easy trying to be strong yet being open with your kids. Having to tell them it’s ok to be sad but to also remember to rejoice in our Savior.

As I sit here and write, eyes swollen, heart heavy and physically not completely well, my heart is full from the love, support and acts of kindness we have received. The hospital had many gifts for us from previous mothers who had been in similar situations. The Lord sent us sweet angels whom we had just met a week before (Malo Tucanos) to guide us in mourning our loss. We began to see the tender mercies of a loving Father in heaven as we thought about how things had played out. He really does have a plan for each of us and if we are faithful and endure well, He will grant us peace, strength, understanding and love that we could never imagine possible.

Loosing my baby at full term made me angry. Why did I have to wait this whole pregnancy just to have her gone??!

I felt guilty. Was it MY fault? Did I do something to harm her??

I feel empty and lost. Why am I even home? What am I supposed to do now? How could I leave my baby??

I feel sorrow and grief. I miss her…

She fit perfectly in my arms. She is my baby.

I’m not as strong as I may seem. I am quick to do iniquity and slow to remember my God, yet at this time, who else could I turn to?? Those who have similar situations can only help me cope and to try comfort me. They are going thru the same thing and are trying to find that peace and serenity that we all long for. It is Our loving brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has, is and will continue to carry us through each of our burdens and trials that we face.

I believe there is a master plan in heaven. The plan of salvation, so perfect, so detailed, so thought out, that each of us as individuals have a part of that plan. We all have our different versions, facing our seperate trials that will strengthen, uplift, teach and guide us to become the people that Heavenly Father knows we can be.

My sweet little Maria has had a short time here. But I know she has touched many lives, mine being the one she has touched the most. I carried her and she has carried me. She will be my ROC, my constant reminder, my North Star, my angel that will remind me of what I need to do and who I need to turn to, to see her again.

I’m still filled with grief and sorrow, I’m still mourning, I still miss her dearly and I still wish there was something I could have done differently. But I am also trying to make this a learning to experience, to use this time to strengthen my faith and to remember the hope and love our Savior can bring to us if we allow Him.

Thank you all for your kind words, you thoughts and prayers, your sweet acts of kindness and for your love. We feel so loved and so supported that we know without a doubt that The Lord lives and loves us. Thank you for comforting us in our time of need, mourning with us and sharing our burden. It has only been two days since she was born and we have felt the love from all of our friends and family members from all over the world. From Afghanistan, Bali, Japan, El Salvador, New Zealand, Tonga, Qatar and more. This sweet little angel has reminded us of how loved we are and we are forever grateful.

My sweet Maria,
My angel, my baby, my little girl. I miss you. I wish you were here. I love you and I pray Heavenly Father will allow you to be near to me. I can’t wait until the day I can see you again. I will be on my best behavior and will remember what I need to do to be with you again. I love you.

All my love,
Mama Lala

The Importance of a COACH

Over the years, I’ve had various coaches. From a vocal coach to a speech/debate coach. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how important “coaches” are in our lives.

Last night, my sister and I had the opportunity to meet with a new vocal coach. It was an amazing experience. Now if you’ve ever heard Na’a sing , you know that she’s pretty legit. But for a few years now I’ve been trying to get her to meet with a vocal coach. She’s met with one a few times but not one like the one we went to last night. It was so amazing to watch this coach work at her craft. In a class of 6, each with a different style, she could hear where the improvement was needed and lead them to where she wanted them to reach. For my sister, she helped her open up and her sound became clear and so strong. She sang “Joyful, Joyful” and was able to reach up higher and stronger than she thought possible. She even helped me do the same. I’m a bit shy when it comes to singing, I’ve always been the background or the harmony, so solo is not my thing. But she was able to help me open up as well and find my voice in a way I never thought possible.

Recently, my husband and I started a real estate investment business and we are so privileged to work with mentors and coaches who are MASTERS at their craft. The founder, Kris Krohn often shares his story of success. He didn’t come from a family of money. He realized early on in his college career that the “plan” everyone else had (school, degree, job, retirement) wasn’t going to give him the financial freedom he wanted. So what did he do? He went and found 3 multimillionaires in real estate and asked them to be his mentors. He followed their plan to the TEE, and retired a year after graduating with 25 homes under his belt.

Coaches, mentors, leaders, whatever you want to call them, are masters at what they do. They’ve seen the solutions to problems you’re facing. They’ve been through what you have been through enough to know how to get you out of it. Knowledge isn’t enough. Knowledge is great, learning is great, but having someone show you HOW TO IMPLEMENT makes life so much easier!

Yes, you can learn it on your own.
Yes, you can try and try again.
Yes, you can get all the knowledge you want and try to implement what is being taught.

BUT, you can also be lead to where you want to go.
You can be taught exactly how to do things.
You can have someone show you exactly what you need to do to get where you need to go.

Yes, it takes work.
Yes, they can’t do it for you.
But they can help you along the way so you aren’t feeling out your way blindly.

In January, my husband and I got to be mentored by the infamous Setema Gali Jr . It has been a privilege to learn from a master about how to create the life you want. He led us to many books, insights, thoughts, processes that we weren’t even aware of. We finally realized we didn’t have the “tools” we needed to create the lives we wanted. He gave us those “tools” and we have been implementing them in our lives. Our lives may not be where we want them to be, but we have a plan set to get where we want to be. We would have been oblivious to this plan if it weren’t for the coach/mentor who lead us to it.

Life is full of coaches. Many whom you may not see as coaches, who are just a part of your life (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, teachers, friends, ect), and some who you can find and emulate your life after (role models, life coaches, ect).

Who are YOU allowing to mentor you in your life?
Who are you looking up to?
Who are you living your life after?
Who are you looking to for advice?

Like a voice coach, a business mentor, a life coach, what thoughts are you allowing into your head?
Do you believe in success? Or are you just watching others succeed and thinking you can never get there?

Is your social media filled with “haters” who you know watching their feed just drains the life out of you? Or is it filled with those who inspire and uplift you?
Is your circle of friends the group who gossips about everybody and they momma’s momma, or do they push you to see past your limits and realize your potential?
Is your head filled with “I can’t” “I’m not good enough” “why me” or are you filling it with “I can” “I am amazing” “life is beautiful”?

I can tell you right now the specific times in my life where I was the later. It’s only been recently. It’s because of the voices I decided to listen to IN and OUTSIDE of my head. The mentors I sought out help me find the right voice to listen to. They helped me see beyond my potential and realize life really is as beautiful as you perceive it to be.

Find the people who are living the life you WANT and get them to coach you, to mentor you, to help you see what’s going on in their head that got them to where they are at.

Get crazy and reach out to people you would never reach out to!

We did. And our results are starting to get pretty crazy.

What about YOU?