Posts tagged story
I Lost an Angel on Mother's Day

*WARNING: TRIGGER POST*
Contains details of a miscarriage.

Bumps Ahead | Pregnancy Announcement, miscarriage, loss, infertility, taboo

This is the photo we took on our Anniversary while in San Francisco to announce our pregnancy. We didn't know we would lose our angel upon our return, let alone on Mother's Day.

Near the end of last year, Matthew and I felt prompted to start planning for a third child. In January I was finally able to schedule an appointment with an OBGYN to get my IUD removed. In the past my pregnancies have been quickly conceived with close to no complications. February came and I had a period. March came and I had another period.

I remember having the thought that I was going to miscarry for some reason, but it had never happened before so I completely dismissed the thought.

That's when we decided to try an ovulation test kit. The beginning of April  I started peeing in a cup every day to test if I was ovulating. I kept getting negative after negative. Some faint lines, but on an ovulation test that still means negative. The end of April was drawing near and I wasn't having a period, but I still wasn't testing positive for ovulation. 

Then suddenly I got my first strong positive ovulation test on April 30th, again on May 1st, and again on the 2nd. It seemed so bizarre, but we took advantage of it anyway. Without my knowledge, Matthew did a second test from my sample cup on the 2nd. But not with an ovulation test, with a pregnancy test! That's when he told me that I was pregnant. He knelt down, announced it to me and kissed my belly in the sweetest way. I was in shock and overjoyed at the same time because we were about to go on a vacation to celebrate our anniversary! The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

test.jpg

I changed my period tracking app to pregnancy mode, and there was a digital image of a 5 week old fetus that appeared on the screen. I still couldn't believe it was real!

When we arrived in SF I started spotting. At first it seemed fine, like implantation bleeding, but I had a feeling something might be wrong. It stopped the next day and so I didn't worry about it very much. On our anniversary we took the 'bumps ahead' photo. What I didn't know at the time was the irony that photo would have just a week later. The women taking the photo congratulated us and they were elated by our upcoming announcement. I was starting to accept and believe that this was really happening!

We got home on the 8th, and the next morning I started bleeding again. But this time it wasn't light and it definitely didn't seem normal. I just kept bleeding. The 10th, 11th, 12th, and on Mother's Day I watched as clots and strings of blood left my body. Every time I went to the bathroom I was terrified that I would somehow see a 6+ week old fetus on the pad lining my underwear. 

Throughout the day, I felt depressed and yet comforted. As if in my mind I knew this was going to happen, but my heart still wouldn't accept it. The lessons in church were so incredibly special and applicable to me that day. I couldn't stop sobbing. 

Yesterday Matthew gave me a priesthood blessing and he said that I would be comforted through this loss. As a definite statement, not a question. I had scheduled a doctors appointment for Tuesday, so even though it felt final I held on to a fraction of hope that maybe I'd hear a little heartbeat in there, still beating. 

Today I watched the doctor do the ultrasound. The screen was dark and I saw my empty uterus. It confirmed all of my feelings and fears. To have that excitement start and end in such a short span of time. It's impossible to explain how heavy the loss felt on my heart in that moment. And yet, somehow I feel okay. I feel like God prepared my mind for this all along.

Still.

I lost an angel on Mother's Day.

I don't know why this happened. Why my husband was prompted to do a pregnancy test, and why it was over before I really accepted it. But I do know that God has a plan for me. This loss is a part of His plan and it's a part of my story now.

I'll see you again one day, my angel baby.

Signature (1).png
Do I Have a Story Worth Telling?
 
Do I Have a Story Worth Telling? | A Dash of Salter | Motherhood, Lifestyle, Beauty Blogger |
 

For a while now I've been trying to write more about my life on the blog, but I get so hung up on if I have something valuable to share. I ask myself questions constantly. What about my life could someone relate to or find value in? Could I help uplift someone by sharing my experiences or are they not _______ enough? 

The fact is I've lived a very privileged and blessed life. I grew up in a loving home with two parents who never got divorced. I have a strong relationship with all of my siblings. I've never broken a bone or suffered a severe injury. I've never been personally effected by cancer, miscarriage, or loss of a family member. I have never had strong financial burdens (thanks parents and husband) and I don't feel like I've had a lot of trials placed in my life.

The trials and struggles I have considered as such seem so insignificant in comparison to the problems of many others. How can I even complain and struggle with something trivial when so many others have it much harder and worse than I do?

Yesterday I was watching Jenna's Insta Stories and she said something that really struck a chord with me. "Gratitude and struggle can coexist." You can go through something that is hard and still feel gratitude. My struggles may seem insignificant to others, but to me they are still hard! That doesn't mean I'm ungrateful, I am constantly in awe of how truly blessed I am, it just means my hard is different than theirs. 

I have a strong belief in God, and I know that he doesn't give us trials we can't overcome. For me right now, my biggest struggle is trying to manage my time and teach my children. Having two toddlers and trying to stay on top of housekeeping, self care, budgeting, planning and my business is completely overwhelming most days. I want to be able to do it all, but managing it all is so hard when I've got two little boys who need me 24/7. I am SO GRATEFUL to be a mother, especially to their sweet spirits, but that doesn't make it easy. 

Here I am. Showing up to give it my best shot! I'm a 27 year old mom with two crazy boys who extract all of my energy from me and I love them endlessly. I cherish the time I get with my husband, but I don't always show it. I have an unhealthy relationship with sugar cookies in every form and I'm okay with that. I am enough.

Every time I'm vulnerable about my struggles and my life I hear from someone saying, me too. I know I'm not alone, but it's so easy to isolate ourselves. All of us have different life experiences and struggle in our own ways, but we have more in common than we realize. 

My story might not be heart wrenching or ground breaking, but it is still worth telling. I want to remember all of it. The sweet moments and the things I had to overcome. My story is what makes me who I am. So I'm going to keep sharing it. 

Signature (1).png
Birth Story || Grey Matthew
BIrth Story || Grey Matthew || Second baby

Since Turner's birth was a little traumatic for all involved, we decided around week 36 of my pregnancy to schedule an induction for Grey's birth. My doctor would be out of town the weekend before my due date, so it was scheduled for Monday, April 11th at 9 am. 

That morning we received a call from the hospital that they would be pushing my induction back to 10:30. I was bummed at first, but it was nice to take it slow that morning getting ready, drop Turner of at Grammy's house, and pick up some breakfast before the main event.

We checked in at 10:30 and they escorted us to our delivery room, which happened to be the exact same room we delivered Turner in. I got into the hospital gown and they started to prep my IV for the penicillin. Two different nurses poked me a total of 5 times on my left arm resulting in stinging pain until finally they tried my right arm with no problems. By the time they started the antibiotics (for the Group B Strep), it was 11:30 am. That meant the earliest they would want me to have the baby was after it had been in for four hours, around 3:30 pm. 

Shortly after they started my IV fluids, they added the Pitocin (Oxytocin) to induce my labor and start giving me contractions. The nurse told me to let her know when I was ready for the epidural, but she also told me that at 1 they had a scheduled C-section and I would have to wait until after it was finished if I didn't have the chance to get it before. Around 12:15 I asked when it would be possible to get the epidural, knowing I might want it in between then and when they would be done with the c-section. Unfortunately, they had been called to an emergency c-section so the anesthesiologist wouldn't be available until 1:30-2:00. 

The pain was pretty manageable so I wasn't too concerned, but still a little nervous. My doctor came in several times throughout the day, which I wasn't expecting and absolutely loved. He came in around 1:30 to break my water and asked if I was ready for it. With fear in my voice I said, "But...I haven't had my epidural yet?!" He said it'd still be a while before he could make it in, but the sooner we got things moving, the sooner my baby would be here. That was all he needed to say to have me convinced.

After he broke my water I was glad I hadn't had the epidural yet, because I could feel the sensation that so many woman talk about. I never felt my waters break with Turner and so it was amazing to get to experience it this time around. With every contraction I could feel the warm water that had been surrounding and protecting my chid slowly gushing out of me. Many times I had to remind myself that it was my waters and not urine leaking out of me. Although when the anesthesiologist finally arrived to give me my epidural and I was bending over my belly, putting pressure on my bladder, I'm pretty sure it was a mixture of the two. 

They told me to push the button for another dose every 10 minutes, and so I did. What I didn't hear them say was to stop after I stopped feeling pain. I don't know why I kept pushing it, but I kept pushing that button every 10 minutes for 2 whole hours. Just eating my lemonade flavored pebble ice and pushing that button like an addict. I was SO NUMB. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to be numb, but I couldn't even wiggle my toes!

Around 4 when the nurse came to check how I was progressing, I asked her how often I should be pushing that button. And she said, "Oh, you should only be pushing it if you are feeling pain." I was thinking, good to know, good...to...know. Coolcoolcool. HAHA! I felt like such a dork. So for the next two hours I didn't push the button again.

During that time I had progressed from being dilated to a 6 when he broke my water, to a 10 around 5 pm. That was when the nurse coached me through a few practice pushes. She helped me more in 2 minutes than the whole fleet of nurses and doctor did during my four hours of pushing with Turner. 

When she saw my pushing was helping the baby progress further down into the birth canal, she called the doctor and they prepped me to have my baby boy! They removed my catheter, adjusted my bed, and got everything ready for my doctor. 

At 5:30 my doctor walked in the door and said, "Are we ready to get this party started?" and we both shouted, "YES!" After the doctor had suited up, they set up the mirror for me to see Grey's decent. I looked around and it was just 5 people. My husband, my doctor, the nurse, the pediatric nurse, and myself. The room was quiet and calm. My husband was by my side and we were both at peace. At peace and yet so excited to finally meet our second little boy! It was the opposite of the mass chaos the ensued as Turner entered the world, and I was so grateful. 

My doctor watched the monitor and waited for the signal of my next big contraction. They told me to take a big breath, hold, push, and repeat that three times through my contraction. After the first contraction and only three pushes, I could see Grey's head crowning in the mirror! I was in shock! The doctor told me to do that same thing one more time and my baby would be here! We waiting a minute or two for the next contraction and then I took a big breath, held, pushed, and repeated three more times.

At 6:09 pm, suddenly one by one his head, shoulders, torso, bum, and legs exited my body. They laid him on my belly and I cried tears of pure joy. He was perfect, an angel, everything I had dreamed he would be and more. He let out a few short cries as the suctioned his nose and mouth. They wrapped him in a towel and Matthew cut his cord. They laid him on my chest and I was in heaven. I live for that moment. Holding him so close to my heart and kissing his head after carrying him for so long. They let me keep him there until I was ready to know his specs. It didn't take long for us to be curious enough to have him put on the scale.

7 pounds 12 ounces, 20.5 inches of perfection. No dimple in his chin like his older brother and what seems to be mama's nose. They swaddled him up and put on a little hat before handing him to Matthew. He is the most tender father to our boys. Watching him hold them for the first time is high on my list of favorite moments of all time. I don't know what I'd do without him as their example. He is the most thoughtful, caring, and hardworking man I know. 

Since the delivery seemed like a cake walk and I only received a first degree tear, I thought my baby was going to be in my room with me this time. I thought we were going to have a quick, normal, routine hospital stay. But we still got hit with a curveball.

That night my parents came to see him as well as my sister and brother in law. He sounded a little snorty, but perfectly healthy. He had latched on to breastfeed for 15 minutes on each side like a total champ. We passed him around and talked about his perfect little features. I ordered dinner just before room service closed. I couldn't believe how different my delivery was.

Around 10:30 we were ready to go to bed and Grey was asleep in the bassinet next to my bed. We were exhausted, and yet I couldn't seem to fall asleep. I just kept staring at Grey. Almost as if to read my mind, my husband says, "Maybe we should have them take Grey to the nursery tonight? To keep and eye on him while we get some rest." I wanted him by my side, but I felt that would be best for all of us.

I'm so glad he was prompted to suggest that, because who knows what would have happened if he had stayed in our room that night. Early the next morning they came in to have me feed him and told me he was having a little trouble breathing so they were going to move him to the TLC. 

My heart sank. Not again, I thought. My heart couldn't take it. I held onto the hope that it wouldn't be as bad as what Turner went through

However, the rest of the morning we asked question after question about how Grey was doing and they didn't give us any answers. We knew he was alive, but we didn't know to what extent his breathing was improving or if it had worsened. Finally around 10:30, the TLC nurse called us in to meet with her. She let us know he was struggling to breathe and keep his temperature up, so they would be moving him to the NICU. 

Before I could do anything else, I was sobbing. I never saw Turner as fragile as Grey looked in that moment. His chest was convulsing as he struggled to capture his breath and with every wheeze my heart was breaking. I couldn't do this again. I wasn't strong enough to go through this again. For 20 minutes I sobbed as the nurse tried to comfort me, my husband put his arm around me, and I couldn't stop the tears from streaming or my chin from quivering.

That sweet nurse had no idea the emotions I was feeling in that moment. This reoccurring nightmare coming back from the past to taunt me. When I gained my composure I was able to explain to her how this was our second time watching our child struggle for breath, the most basic necessity of life. She felt so much sympathy for me. I could see it in her eyes. Yet there was nothing she could say to comfort me in that moment. 

A few minutes later the NICU charge nurse arrived. We described to her in detail the nature of his situation, and what we learned from Turner's almost identical experience. She agreed that the bulb syringes had caused swelling and vowed to prevent further use of them. Then she assured us that she would start the same nasal steroid drops that had helped reduce Turner's nasal swelling. Her listening ear and trust in my words gave me my first wave of comfort. As she rolled him away in that incubator, I knew he was going to be in the best hands. 

One of the hardest things about having a baby in the NICU is the nurse in charge of your child's care changes every 12 hours. And at every shift change you pray that the new nurse knows every detail of their situation. Bless the angel nurses who worked with my son. All of them were doing their very best to get my son back on track. They listened to our concerns, and patiently answered all of our questions. 

Within 48 hours he was doing significantly better, and the morning after we were discharged they called us to say we could take him home! I know it was through the faith and prayers of us, family, and friends that he was able to recover as quickly as he did. Going to pick him up from the hospital to bring him home was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was so excited to have him home. All together. As a family. Like it was always meant to be.

Grey has been happy and healthy ever since. He is a complete angel. Breastfeeds like a champ, sleeps 3-4 hour stretches at night, and hardly ever cries. We love him. And we can't imagine our lives without him in it. 

xo, 
Cheree

Anniversary Series || Wedding Photos by Claire Marika

Matthew and I decided to do formal wedding photos before our wedding day so we didn't feel rushed. We had the wonderful opportunity to become the first video captured by Claire Marika Photography, click play on the image above to see it.  I still get emotional when I watch this video because I remember how it felt when Matthew saw me in my dress for the first time. You can tell how crazy we are about each other and I love all of the little moments they captured. So much talent went into this film I will cherish forever. To see more of their amazing videos, go here

I just want to take a minute and make everyone aware that my dress was from the DI. I paid $30 for a dress that had long, poofy lace sleeves and ruffles on the cuffs at the wrist. I had my amazing aunt, who is a very talented seamstress, alter the sleeves and line them with fabric so they weren't see through. I went to her house to try it on and I was blown away by her work. She said I didn't need to pay her, but I did anyway. That dress was a STEAL. The total cost for my dress was $80. Not many people can say that. Moral of the story, look at the DI for wedding dresses, especially if you're looking for something vintage. 

My whole wedding was vintage themed. Lace, pearls, a bird cage veil, typewriters for the guest book, mustache photo props, ice cream stand, a vintage mansion, balloon send off and riding away in a vintage T Model Ford. Peacock feathers were what my color scheme was based on, and they were everywhere at my reception. Matthew and I had custom converse made with our colors and embroidered with our wedding date, May 7th, 2011. We still wear them today!

There are a lot of things I'd do differently if I were to do it right now. Have a professional do my make up, wear heals, use different colors, buy a more fitted grey suit for Matthew, but I am SO GLAD we paid for a quality photographer. They captured our wedding and our personalities so well. I'll always have these photos to look back on and remember the happy moments of the beginning of our lives together. Claire even edited some of our photos to give off a vintage vide which was so fitting to our special day. I can't recommend her enough. View her portfolio on her website, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

It's been such a great opportunity for me to write this Anniversary Series. I'm feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for Matthew and the amazing man that he is. I love him even more now than I did in our bridal video. He makes life the greatest adventure. He has so many strengths and talents that help our family. Not only is he a provider and a protector, he is a loving companion and my very best friend. He is sensitive to the feelings of others and always finding ways to make me happy. I'm so glad I found someone who makes me laugh and smile on a daily basis. I couldn't have imagined a better man to have children with. Turner and I love being around him and spending time with him. He is always setting new goals to help improve our lives, and accomplishing hard things. There are very few people I know who work as hard as he does. He has overcome obstacles and continues to be an example to me of enduring to the end. I love him and will stand by him through everything this life will bring. Together we are an unstoppable force, and I am so glad to call him mine.

Happy Anni, Matthew dearest. 4 years has flown by. I love you, here's to infinity and beyond.

 
Anniversary Series || Engagement Photos by Claire Marika

Looking at these photos makes me realize just how much we've changed in the last 4 years. Not only physical changes, my eyebrows have come a LONG way and Matthew looks like a baby, but we've both become better people in that time. We have let go of things that used to drag us down and taken on things that help us improve. We have a beautiful son who helps us focus on what is most important. So many of our dreams and goals have already been accomplished, and we keep reaching higher and higher. 

I never could have guessed then that I would be where I am now. What I did know is that Matthew was only person in the world I wanted to go through life with. My love for him has grown exponentially since then and I can't imagine my life without him. He brings out the very best in me and pushes me to do things that challenge me. I can't speak for my husband, but I hope that I do the same for him. 

The photos were taken by Claire Marika at the Saltair, the same location we had our recent family photos taken. (view them here or here) Claire was so wonderful to work with and brought so many darling crops for us including that bike, vintage quilt, orange soda and picnic basket. Although the photos seem warm and beachy, in reality it was near 40 degrees with wind chill below that I'm sure. She was a trooper to hang in there through the cold to get the shots we wanted. I highly recommend her talents to one and all. Visit her website, follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook

How does your significant other make you a better person?? Thanks for reading!