Thursday, August 2, 2012

Diamond Candles is accepting bloggers for reviews/giveaways!!!

Diamond candles is a soy based candle that smells heavenly! If you haven't heard of them before, what makes them unique is the fact that they have a ring inside of every candle & the ring can be valued anywhere from $10 - $5000!

They're hosting reviews/giveaways with bloggers again! The first 100 bloggers approved by the Diamond Candles company will be given this opportunity to review and host a giveaway on their site! It is asked that you complete the review/giveaway within 30 days of receiving the product. Please visit the link below for more information & to apply.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sorry I haven't posted recently

Life has been crazy - some good & lots bad. This is where I wish I had somebody to ask if they wanted the good news or bad news first.

The good news - we moved at the end of May & beginning of June! We're in a much bigger house, in a much better neighborhood, & since my dad is our landlord now we're not struggling as much.

The bad news is that my Dad fell & broke his hip in 4 different places as we were in the midst of moving & required surgery to place screws in it. He was in the hospital for over a week, but he's recovering nicely from it considering he's 75 years old. He's actually getting around with just a cane in just this past week!

Further bad news - about a week after his release from the hospital he followed up with his GP who was not happy with the fact that he'd lost 18 lbs in a month's time! He wanted to do a CAT scan & blood work because he suspected the big c in his digestive system somewhere. All of the results were negative, so he prescribed appetite enhancers & we figured it was related to pain from his fall.

Worse news - 2 or 3 weeks after the fall he was out eating lunch one day & suddenly felt ill. He couldn't make it to the bathroom in time with his walker, so asked for a bin & vomited bright red blood. He rushed to the ER, where they performed an endoscopy. He was admitted to the oncology dept because they found a burst blood vessel in his lower esophagus & a mass beneath it that was biopsied. They assumed it was cancer, & a few days later it was confirmed. He was released the next day.

In the past week he's had many Dr's appointments - with oncologists, thoracic surgeon's, etc. A couple of days ago he had an ultrasound done of his esophagus & to determine what stage he's at. They also placed a chemo port just in case he'd need it. We went into the surgery hoping it was stage 1 or 2 based on his lack of symptoms, but at the moment it loos like it's stage 3. It was heartbreaking to get the news, but then I had to be the one to break the news to him which was even worse. The Dr talked to him as he was coming out of surgery, but he had no memory of the conversation because he was still groggy from the anesthesia. When I went to see him in recovery he looked at me with hope in his eyes & voice & asked if I'd heard the results. That was the most difficult news I've ever had to deliver!

I try to stay positive when I'm around him & have asked other family members to do the same, but I'm scared for him. They're going to do a PET scan next to determine if it's spread. As long as it's isolated to his esophagus they will do a combination of chemo & radiation. The thoracic Dr said that he stands a chance of being cured - though not as great with stage 3 as it would've been if it was stage 1 or 2. However, even if he isn't cured he'll be able to extend his life by years vs months if he does nothing. I'm clinging to that, but I'm so so so scared of what the chemo & radiation will do to him. Surgery is out of the question because he's lost so much weight. The Dr said he wouldn't do surgery on anyone with stage 3 anyway.

I remind myself daily that my Dad is one tough old fart with the most positive outlook of anyone that I know. I just wish I knew how he maintains such a positive outlook on life! It's a skill I continue to work on. He says that he just places his troubles in God's hands & trusts that he will find a solution. I do that too, but I still worry.

I apologize to I See Me & Niapads. I promise that I will do the reviews!!! Please be patient with me. I also promise that I will do more reviews & giveaways as my life settles down into a more normal pace.

Here is a picture of my family with my Dad on Father's Day, outside the house that we rent from my Dad.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sharing a special giveaway by Howler Monkey Bums!

In celebration of hitting 500 fans on Facebook, Callie is doing a giveaway! I just had to share this with you since I love her diapers! Think I'm kidding? Look how many of them I own!!!

This was my very 1st order.

And my 2nd order.

And my entire stash (minus the one my baby was wearing when I took this pic) of diapers from Howler Monkey Bums! 

Enter Howler Monkey Bum's giveaway now!

Friday, March 30, 2012

FREE 5x7" Picture with the Easter Bunny at Walmart!!!

This Saturday & Sunday at any Walmart with a one hour photo center you can get your child's picture taken with the Easter Bunny from 10 am - 2 pm. Click here for more details.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm back!

I'm so sorry for the lengthy absence. We've had a lot of family drama lately. About a month & a half ago my 14 year old daughter came down with a nasty cough & other symptoms that were very flu-like. I brought her to the pediatrician & they tested her for the flu, but it was negative. I was told that it was a virus. I was holding my not quite one year old daughter in my lap at the time of the Dr visit.

About 2 weeks later my baby became sick. I spoke to the nurse on the phone, who said that the symptoms sounded like RSV & suggested that I bring her in to be seen. I quickly rushed her to her pediatrician & low & behold she had a nasty case of RSV. They taught me how to do breathing treatments & sent me home with a nebulizer. Let me just say that I love my baby's pediatrician, but can't really say the same for my oldest daughter's Dr. My baby's pediatrician felt that they should've tested her for RSV since they knew a baby was in the house & RSV was going around at the time. Oh well... It didn't really matter anyway because it went through the house knocking us all down one by one.

My baby stopped eating solids during the 2 weeks she was sick. Thankfully I'm still nursing her because that's ALL that she wanted to do! I believe that she lost about 2 lbs as a result of being so sick. It was a scary & heart breaking 2 weeks, but she recovered just in time for her 1st birthday, which fell on Mardi Gras day!

We celebrated by going to a parade together & counting down to her actual time of birth. When we hit the time of her birth I sung Happy Birthday to her through teary eyes & gave her a huge hug & kiss.

Happy & awake for a bit.

                                       This is how she spent most of the parade - sleeping.

Me singing Happy Birthday to my little miracle baby.

     Trying to get the attention of the people on the floats - it worked. They bombed us!!!

Her 1st taste of cake - a King Cake! She won't pick things up & put them in her mouth yet, so we still have to feed her.

We had a small party (mostly family) for her the following weekend. I baked cupcakes & stuck with the Mardi Gras theme since her birthday will only fall on Mardi Gras day a handful of times in her lifetime.

The cupcakes I baked.

Patricia's special cupcake.

The birthday girl at her party.

Anyway, we're back. :o) I hope you're all doing well. I'll be posting a review of Niapads shortly.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Win a 3 color custom baby/child's TuTu Skirt by new WAHM Business Monkey Sew, Monkey Do

This giveaway is open to residents of the US who are 18 & older. Monkey Sew, Monkey Do is offering a TuTu skirt for a size 6 month to 4T in 3 colors of the winners choice! The giveaway will end on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:01 am EST. As usual, this is a Rafflecopter giveaway. The giveaway will be at the very bottom of the review. Please look for the box & follow the instructions. You'll need Javascript enabled to view the Rafflecopter entry form.

About Monkey Sew, Monkey Do:

I'm happy to introduce you to Georgia Goeken - another talented Mom from my due date group! Georgia is a stay at home mom of 6 trying to earn extra income with something that she "LOVES doing". She has 4 girls and 2 boys, so she lives a pretty full & busy life. She taught herself to do all of the beautiful & creative things she sells. She said she was motivated to learn to make Tutu's because her 5 year old daughter thinks she's a princess, so has to have everything. :o)

Georgia founded Monkey Sew, Monkey Do in January 2012 with Amy Graham, & they can be contacted at with any questions or requests. There are 2 different ways to view & purchase their products - Monkey Sew, Monkey Do on etsy & Monkey Sew, Monkey Do's Hyena Cart. You can also visit them on Facebook.

She makes TuTu skirts & dresses for your daughter & also dolls! She does custom gemming of T-shirts & other garments, blankets, capes, Princess Wand & Crown sets, Dinosaur Tails & Hoodies, Bags, Personalized Easter Baskets with your choice of theme, Baby Milestone Sets, Custom T-shirts & onesies, Custom Onesie Dresses, Custom Burp Cloths, & I'm sure that more will be coming! Georgia & her partner Amy add new things to Monkey Sew, Monkey Do all of the time!

My Experience With Monkey Sew, Monkey Do:

About a month ago Georgia & I started talking about doing a review/giveaway. She offered me a 2 toned TuTu skirt for my baby girl & a 3 color TuTu skirt for the winner of the Giveaway. My baby's 1st birthday falls on Mardi Gras day this year! I thought it would be fun to use Mardi Gras as the theme for her little birthday party, & of course she'll wear her birthday TuTu to the parades Mardi Gras day as well! 

I eagerly awaited the TuTu skirt. I stalked the Monkey Sew, Monkey Do Facebook page and was so excited when I saw a picture that matched the color description I gave Georgia!

This is the pic that was posted after Georgia finished making it!

I had a nice little surprise when I opened the package from Monkey Sew, Monkey Do & saw that it came with a matching purple daisy for her hair!

This is how it was shipped:
 This is how it was packed:
And this was my very 1st glimpse of it in person!

We'll probably do her party the weekend before Mardi Gras, but I dressed her in the TuTu skirt about a week ago to take pictures for you all to see. Georgia did a GREAT job! This TuTu is so cute! I requested the colors purple & green & added a onesie I had special made elsewhere. At the time I didn't know that Monkey Sew, Monkey Do could make custom onesies or else I would've ordered one from them! I'm sure it would've come out much nicer if they'd done it - especially if they added some gemming to it.

I nearly squealed when I saw how cute she looked! I had fun taking pictures of her in this - so, so, so cute! Even more than that, the tulle was super soft! The crocheted waistband has a lot of give in it, so I think it will grow with her & fit for years to come.

This was a photo flop because she was starting to fall backwards, but I think it shows how full the skirt is.
 This shows the flower clip nicely & how pretty the colors of the Tu Tu skirt blend together.
It was so soft, that she couldn't resist touching it & playing with it.
The wind made it blow around nicely in the breeze. This will give you a good idea of how soft the tulle is - not that stiff scratchy stuff at all! 
 The wind blowing the tulle skirt around.
Isn't it so cute?!?
 Because the waist is a made of a soft crochet, she was able to move around easily.
I can't wait for her birthday pictures!
 I got her to stand for about 10 seconds by herself to take this picture for you, so you could see what it looks like standing.

The Bottom line:

You won't regret working with Monkey Sew, Monkey Do. The prices are fantastic!!! The things offered are very creative & different, & Georgia & Amy are constantly adding new & even more original items. I highly recommend them. 

The Giveaway:

The giveaway is open to residents of the US who are 18+. It ends on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:01 am. The winner will have their choice of a 3 toned TuTu skirt in a size 6 month to 4T.

You may also be interested in entering to win a $40 gift certificate from my Forever Child, toward the purchase of a customized piece of remembrance jewelry. Click here to enter. The giveaway ends on Feb 10.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Remembrance Jewelry by My Forever Child - Review/Giveaway

This giveaway is a very special one, meant to bring a sense of peace & comfort to those who have suffered the loss of a child. My Forever Child is offering a $40 gift certificate to one of my  readers, so that a personalized piece of jewelry can be purchased in remembrance of your child. It's open to anyone over 18 WORLDWIDE & will end at midnight on Feb 10, 2012.

Sue is offering a SPECIAL GIFT for my readers! Get a FREE "Always In My Heart" Pin with a $25 purchase from My Forever Child. This is an $8 value. Use the code HEARTNBUTTERFLY at checkout to receive the free gift. It will be valid through Feb 10, 2012.

Warning: Some might find this gruesome or uncomfortable to read. This review is bittersweet for me, & has been very difficult to write. I should warn you that I'm including my miscarriage story at the bottom of the review. My  story will be long & about a very painful time in my life, so if this subject is too touchy or personal for you, you might want to scroll past it to the giveaway. I can't explain to you why my experience with My Forever Child is so important & soothing to me without going into details that might be unpleasant for some to read.

What Led Me To My Forever Child:

Sometime in the days that followed my miscarriage I started searching online for remembrance jewelry - not even sure that such a thing existed. My ex husband gave me a Mother's ring when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter & I wanted something similar for this baby. Even though I never got to hold it in my arms or kiss it's cheek, I did hold it inside of me for almost 12 weeks. Those 12 weeks were precious to me & I wanted something tangible that I could lay my hands on & caress in place of my lost baby.

I came across a few websites, but the one that really touched my heart was My Forever Child. I decided to make my purchase there because the jewelry was beautiful, I liked the fact that I could customize my piece of jewelry so it held special meaning for me, & because Susan Mosquera had a very painful & personal reason for making loss keepsakes. She understood the importance because her third child, Matthew Kristopher, was stillborn two weeks before his due date in 2002, nearly killing Sue as well. It was this painful loss that led her to begin making loss keepsakes. I emailed Sue a couple of times before placing an order & she was wonderfully kind. She even pointed me in the direction of some grief support for miscarriage online. I felt that My Forever Child had special jewelry with extra special meaning because it was made with love & compassion by a Mom who understood first hand what it's like to lose a baby.

My Forever Child believes that jewelry should tell a story and be meaningful for the wearer. Susan handcrafts your jewelry upon order and customizes it to your specifications. She has a large selection of keepsake items: for miscarriage, pregnancy loss, & infant loss. She also has remembrance jewelry & other keepsakes for men!

Sue also offers pregnancy jewelry and fertility jewelry, so when you're ready to try again you can wear a piece of jewelry to help you stay positive.

I also love the fact that Susan donates a portion of every sale to charitable organizations committed to child advocacy and the prevention of future losses. My Forever Child strives to promote awareness, research, education, and activism. Her original lapel pins are donated to hospitals and memory box programs for newly bereaved parents.

About My Forever Child:

Sue's current jewelry line started in 2004 & her website launched in 2005. Most of the pieces are handcrafted by Susan Mosquera, GIA Graduate Gemologist and jewelry artisan since 1999. She's a Mother of 4 young children and 1 stillborn baby boy. Her journey of grief, healing, and hope was the inspiration for My Forever Child. Susan’s passion is to be able to help other’s through their life’s journeys with jewelry pieces meaningful for them. 

You can follow My Forever Child in the following additional ways:


Product Lines:

~Custom engraved handprint jewelry and footprint jewelry from your child’s actual prints. This is a special and unique way to celebrate your child’s life, and to carry with you a treasured keepsake made from their creation!
~Personalized Remembrance and Memorial Jewelry to honor your lost loved ones and keep their memories close to your heart.
~Memorial Jewelry for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Pregnancy and Infant Loss to honor the tiny souls that touch and change your life, but gone too soon.
~Pregnancy and Fertility Jewelry with genuine gemstones and symbolic charms.
~Hand Stamped and professionally engraved unique Mother’s Jewelry, Family Jewelry, and Men’s pieces to honor ALL your children, both on earth and in Heaven.

Here is a picture of her specialty handprint & footprint jewelry.
Visit this product line here.

Here is a direct quote from the website:

About the Child Loss Keepsakes: 

The My Forever Child™ Collection was born out of a desire to create unique keepsakes for those touched by the loss of a child. No matter what age the child died at, it is very important for the grieving parent to have their child remembered and acknowledged. Even though the child is not with them physically, the parental feelings of love do not disappear. Parenthood is not measured by the length of time spent raising a child. The child is always in the parent's heart, hence the phrase "My Forever Child™".

My Forever Child creates personalized jewelry from the heart, rich with symbolism and meaning. Specializing in tangible reminders to honor and acknowledge our loved ones, while celebrating their life and the love they have bestowed to us. We believe that jewelry should tell a story and be meaningful for the wearer. Our personalized keepsakes are handcrafted upon order in our studio and customized to your specifications. Treasured memories will always be in your heart forever.

Susan wrote a beautiful poem after her loss, & this poem is available for purchase with every piece of personalized keepsake jewelry you order. 

You are a Precious Child
Created out of love,
a blessing from above.
I've adored you from the start,
and your little footprints
touched my heart.
A single teardrop represents the
millions I have cried
My life never the same since you died.
I wish you could have stayed
longer with me,
I'd watch you grow into
all you could be.
Although we are apart,
You are Always in My Heart.
I dream of a joyful time when
we will be reunited once again.
Thoughts of you make me smile.
You will always be My Forever Child™

~© Susan Mosquera~

My Experience with My Forever Child:

As mentioned earlier, I emailed Susan a couple of times before making my purchase. Her help & support meant a great deal to me. I'm sure she doesn't remember it, but I will never forget her kindness & sensitivity. 

I very carefully selected my necklace. I chose a silver heart with a separate silver butterfly to lay on top of the heart. The back of the heart was engraved with a personal message. I wanted it on the back so that I could wear this meaningful necklace without having to answer a lot of personal questions. This way I could remember my angel when I wanted to, but to the rest of the world it appeared to be just a beautiful piece of jewelry. I chose 3 stones commemorating the month of conception, the due date month, & the month of loss.

My necklace arrived quickly & was packaged in a little black velvet bag. I also purchased a silver polishing cloth from My Forever Child & Sue's poem on a business sized card. I was pleased to see that the chain was a nice sturdy box chain! I couldn't wait to put the necklace on! Once I put it on I never took it off! I wore it constantly, even through the pregnancy that followed my miscarriage. It gave me such a sense of comfort in the early days. It made me feel closer to the baby I lost - almost like I was still carrying the baby with me wherever I went. I would find myself reaching up to touch the necklace whenever I was sad & missing the baby. Just touching the necklace made me feel like I was filling the empty hole in my heart, something tangible to symbolize my lost baby in a very personal way.

I received so many compliments on the necklace! Everyone said that it was beautiful & not a single person knew that it was remembrance jewelry unless I told them so.

The front of my remembrance necklace.

The back of my remembrance necklace.

My experience with My Forever Child doesn't end there. I was extremely pessimistic about the possibility that I would ever conceive again. Much to my surprise & delight, about 2 months after my miscarriage I conceived my baby girl! On June 5, 2010 I had another positive pregnancy test! I was still charting, so I know that my girl was conceived around May 24, 2010.The due date was Valentine's Day 2011.

I was extremely happy, shocked, thankful, & scared. I was consumed by the fear that I might lose this baby too. The fear of loss led me to purchase a pregnancy charm bracelet from My Forever Child. I'm a large woman & Susan was even able to put an extension on the bracelet! 

A quote taken from the website:

Our Fertility Jewelry and Pregnancy Jewelry is created from natural genuine gemstones with special metaphysical properties and sterling silver charms with symbolic meaning which have been traditionally used to enhance fertility, conception and healthy pregnancies in cultures around the world. The genuine gemstones we use have mineral properties and energies which are thought to decrease negativity, stress and fear; while promoting positive energy, relaxation, tranquility, confidence, love, luck, hope, reproductive health, emotional and hormonal balance. Our Fertility and Pregnancy Bracelets, Pendants, Necklaces, and Charms are soothing to the touch and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  All of our Fertility and Pregnancy jewellery is created with .925 Sterling Silver, and is Lead-Free. A jewelry pouch and card explaining the gemstones and symbolism is included with each purchase, perfect for sending as a gift of encouragement!

Once again, I chose charms that appealed to me. I chose a rose quartz heart because it's thought to reduce the risk of miscarriage, be soothing, heal broken hearts, & enhance relationships. I chose the turtle charm because turtles are fertility symbols & they're known for patience, endurance, vitality, tenacity, and longevity. Momma turtles protect their eggs by burying them until they hatch. The baby bunny charm was chosen because not only do rabbits symbolize fertility, but the rabbit is the luckiest sign in the Chinese Zodiac!

Here is my pregnancy bracelet.

Still wearing my remembrance necklace at the hospital after my daughter's birth.

The necklace continues to give me comfort & makes me feel close to the baby I lost. It doesn't make me sad to wear it - it brings a sense of peace. I would highly recommend keepsake jewelry to any Mom who has suffered a loss!

My Very Long Miscarriage Story

Ignorance Is Bliss

My husband & I were married when I was 38. He didn't have any children of his own & I had a daughter from a previous marriage. We both wanted a child desperately, but felt that the odds were stacked against us. Without going into our personal lives too much, we had very good reason to believe that we would never have a baby together.

My husband & I had been trying to conceive for over 5 years, & due to our history we'd reluctantly come to terms with the fact that we'd never have a baby, & so for a long time we weren't trying, but we weren't preventing either. We decided to genuinely start trying again before our time was up, since we were both in our early 40's. I had a positive pregnancy test on January 15, 2010! My husband was in total shock & refused to believe that I was pregnant - even when I did a digital test 2 days later that clearly spelled out "pregnant". He came with me to my first OB appointment a few days later to have it confirmed. He was genuinely stunned! We were both so happy that we wanted to shout it from the rooftops! It never occurred to either of us that there could be a problem with the pregnancy. We'd waited for a baby for so long that we believed that our prayers had finally been answered. We proudly & happily told everyone that we knew that I was pregnant.

The Problems Begin

On January 23 (a Saturday; why do bad things always happen over the weekend?), I started spotting. The Dr ordered blood work & we discovered that my  progesterone was a little low, so he started me on oral prometrium. We did an early ultrasound which showed a nicely formed amniotic sac, but there was no fetal pole or heartbeat yet. The ultrasound tech told me not to panic because it was still a little early to expect to see that. There were many more ultrasounds to follow & each time I was told that while there was development, the baby was developing slower than they'd like.

During this time I spent a lot of time online doing research & getting support from some wonderful ladies at misdiagnosedmiscarriage, the miscarriage message boards at Fertility Friend, & the miscarriage boards on Daily Strength.

Finally the Dr told me to pray hard for a heartbeat during the time waiting for my next ultrasound. It was heart breaking to me - incredibly stressful. I wanted to be positive, but I just couldn't. I instinctively knew that something was very wrong. My husband was in complete denial. He said that he couldn't believe that God would be that cruel to us. He genuinely believed that everything would be fine at the ultrasound. It wasn't...everything was deteriorating at that point. The tech couldn't tell me at what point the baby died - only that it had never been developing at a normal rate & finally just stopped developing at all.

I was given the choice between having a D&C or miscarrying naturally. The Dr said that it wouldn't be pleasant, but I should be fine with it since I was still in the 1st trimester. I decided to miscarry naturally. He wasn't a wealth of information as far as what to expect, but I had the ladies online at misdiagnosedmiscarriage to rely on for brutal honesty. My Dr simply said to call his nurse once the bleeding started & she'd tell me what to expect & the warning signs to look out for. I asked about pain relief on 2 separate occasions, & I was told that it shouldn't be necessary, that I should be able to handle it. He said that it could take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to miscarry. He suggested that I come back in to see him in a week & that he'd even do another ultrasound at that point if it would make me feel better. I said that I didn't see the point in that & asked if I could see him in 2 weeks if I didn't start bleeding by then. He agreed. I remember going home, curling up in bed with my husband, crying, & telling him that I didn't know how to let go.

2 weeks passed & I had some light spotting, but no actual bleeding. I went in to see him & he was pressing for a D&C because he was worried about my emotional well being. He said he'd only give me another week. I told him I wasn't the kind of person to go into things blindly & would like to know what to expect with the miscarriage rather than waiting until it started to find out from the nurse. I was also concerned that the miscarriage might begin over the weekend when I wouldn't be able to reach his nurse! He told me that it would be like a very bad period, with a lot of heavy bleeding, some clots, some tissue, & some cramping. 

I cried a lot during those 2+ weeks waiting! I was beyond depressed - couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, & more than anything I couldn't understand why this was happening. It was so unfair & such a horrible place to be! Mentally I knew the pregnancy was over, but my body didn't seem to understand that & was playing tricks on me - making me feel as though I were still very much pregnant. My 2 best friends had suffered miscarriages also, & they both gave me support & advice during that time. They gave me a better idea of what to expect both physically & emotionally. The support & love that I received from them was much appreciated & there's no possible way that I could ever repay them. 

During this time I became a hermit, pulling away from all family & friends - except for my husband & my 13 year old daughter, & the 2 friends who understood the hell that I was going through. Nobody else seemed to understand & always seemed to say the wrong things to me. They meant to be supportive, but the things that came out of their mouths were at times insensitive, selfish, invasive,  cold, & cruel.

Some examples of things said to me: 

But it wasn't a real baby. (Really? Tell my body & my heart that! This was our long awaited & much wanted baby & it was very real to me.)

Why are you this upset? You weren't that far along after all. You were barely pregnant! (With every day that passed, every symptom that grew stronger, every twinge of nausea, round ligament pain, cravings, seeing my growing belly, breast tenderness, etc, I grew more & more attached to the baby.)

It's just hormonal - you'll get over it. (No; actually I haven't. I still miss & love it. I still wish it was here & it's been a year & 10 months since my loss. I still wonder what that baby would've been like. I also wonder if it knew that I loved it with all of my heart.)

It's just a small tadpole - not even human yet! (I can't believe that anyone would be so ignorant & cruel to say something so completely insensitive to a grieving Mom, but it happened!)

It's for the best because something must've been wrong with it. (That's probably true, but that statement doesn't take my pain away. There's no room for logic when your heart is breaking.)

You can always have another. (Really? It took us 5 years to successfully conceive, so pardon me for being skeptical. Besides, you can't replace the one you lost.)

Maybe it wasn't in God's plans. (This was such a touchy one for me. On the one hand I prayed constantly, but on the other I wondered why God was doing this to us? I was angry & questioned my faith, so this statement rubbed me raw. I was angry & confused, & needed to go through the ugly side of grief & experience what I was feeling to get to the healing side of the grief. Sometimes in my darkest depths I felt that God was cruel. I don't feel that way anymore, but when you're hurting it's hard to think past your pain.)

Why are you putting yourself through a natural miscarriage? Don't you just want to get it over with so you can move on with your life? (Invasive! It's a very personal choice that only a woman can make for herself. Besides, as much as I was hurting emotionally, I knew I'd have to deal with my grief regardless of how the pregnancy ended. For me personally, a natural miscarriage was best for me - end of debate.)

Aren't you scared of the pain? (Well yes, actually I was. But what a way to calm an upset woman down! Jeez; Talk about insensitive!)

Not acknowledging the loss-  (This was perhaps the cruelest/coldest way that anyone reacted to my miscarriage. I didn't expect lengthy speeches, but a simple & heart felt "I'm very sorry" goes a long way. Ignoring my pain felt like you were ignoring my baby's short existence, & it DID exist - even though you couldn't see it or touch it. It was very real.)

Criticizing the way I grieved - (Everybody is different in their reactions to grief & what they need in the aftermath. I was told that I needed to stay busy, so I wouldn't have time to think about "it". I was also told that I shouldn't isolate myself, & should force myself to socialize & get out. Saying those things to me only succeeded in making me pull even further away.)

Kindness in the midst of hell

One of my best friends said that she wanted to offer some advice that might seem morbid, but she wanted me to be prepared for how I might react during the miscarriage. She said that I should prepare for the fact that I might not feel emotionally able to flush the baby down the toilet, & gave me some tips, & a "just in case" shopping list. I thanked her & followed her advice. That was the most depressing shopping trip I've ever made, but I will be ETERNALLY grateful to her for having the courage to broach that delicate subject with me! I won't post the details here because some might find it gruesome, but if anyone wants to know please don't hesitate to ask.

Ready for the beginning of the end

I was angry that my body didn't seem to understand that it was over. Why was I still feeling very pregnant? I was still nauseated, my belly was growing, my boobs felt like they were going to explode, & there was no outward sign that anything was wrong inside. The anger & endless crying for weeks led to me finally accepting the fact that it was over & our baby was gone. I was ready for the pregnancy to end, but still wanted it to end naturally & in the comfort of my own home.  I didn't see the sense in continuing to carry a dead baby inside of me. 

I prayed a lot, & as strange as it sounds I talked to the baby. I told him (I believed that it was a boy) that it was ok to leave me now. I also gave some holistic labor inducing methods a shot. I figured that if they helped pregnant women progress to labor in healthy pregnancies that they might work for unhealthy pregnancies awaiting a miscarriage as well - I gave acupressure points a shot, I walked a lot, & did other things that I know you've all heard about, as well as something you might not be familiar with. I tried massaging my abdomen & lower back with Clary sage oil mixed with a little lavender to help me stay calm through this extremely upsetting time. A few drops of Clary sage in bath water has been known to bring on labor safely & effectively, so the day my miscarriage began I decided to give it a shot as well. It worked...

My 13 year old daughter went to spend the night at a friend's house across the street earlier in the day. I'm so thankful for that! She missed seeing me in pain, scared, & so upset. Unfortunately, that meant that I was all alone in the house for a few hours & that was a little scary. Looking back on it, I wish that I would've demanded that my husband leave work to be with me, but he was here for the worst of it & was wonderfully supportive as I was going through it.

The miscarriage

Late in the afternoon on March 11, 2010, at 11 weeks & 5 days gestation I started to lightly bleed. It wasn't bad at first, but by early evening it was horrible - far worse than my Dr led me to believe! I was so glad that my friends had been honest with me about what to expect (both in real life & online). I would've been terrified if they hadn't been so honest with me. It was an incredibly painful ordeal that seemed like it was never going to stop & it was far worse that just "a heavy period, with lots of bleeding, clots, tissue, & some cramping". Fortunately, one of my best friends offered me a few leftover Percocets from a dental procedure, & I needed them! I was passing clots the size of my fist & at 4 am on Friday March 12, 2010 it ended with the passing of a softball sized "piece of tissue".

I was so thankful for my friend's warning that I might not feel emotionally able to flush the toilet, & for her special supply list. Something inside of me broke that night & I just couldn't flush. It was my baby, & even if it was gone I still loved it. I placed it in a plastic container with a lid with the intention of burying it in the back yard later.

My husband was wonderful during the ordeal. He helped me to & from the bed to the bathroom a few times, brought me clean panties as needed, kept me hydrated, & held me.

The emotional aftermath 

Men & women grieve differently after miscarriage. I think that women take it harder because we carry the baby inside of us, so to us the baby is more real than to the Dad. To him pregnancy is like a dream like state, where he is just an observer. It's not real until there's an actual baby to hold in his arms. Many women interpret that to mean that he didn't love the baby. He is grieving in his own way, but he's also probably trying to remain calm & "strong" so that you can crumble in his arms.

I'd read & been warned that it's common for a Mom to have a severe emotional crash within 24 hrs or so after a miscarriage & to lash out at those closest to you - especially your husband. I knew to expect this, but I had no idea just how intense it would be! 

Saturday the hormonal crash of no longer being pregnant hit me! It was a slow & steady build up. I don't remember everything about that night, but I believe that I had an emotional breakdown. I'd been warned that I'd likely lash out at my husband. I did everything that I was warned that I would do & more. All sorts of horrible things flew out of my mouth like venom. I accused him of not caring about me or the baby, of not really wanting the baby, & many other things I don't remember. I even grabbed my keys & tried to leave the house. I don't know where I was going, but I wanted to escape. He held me & refused to let me go. I ended up struggling with him, trying to break free, & begging him to let me go. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I started crying again, & then I became aware of the fact that he was resting his head on top of mine & crying too. I felt his tears wetting my hair. I was still struggling to get free when the pain hit me & I doubled over. We went to bed & he held me. It was a horrible night, but in a way it was good that I exploded like that. I got it all of my system instead of burying it deep & trying to "be strong". 

My husband & daughter were wonderful. I tried not to lean on my daughter, but she kept coming to me wanting to "snuggle" & telling me how much she loved me. My husband let me say whatever was on my mind without judging me, & the oddest things flew out of my mouth. It brought us closer together. It was a terribly painful time in both of our lives, but we went through it together, & we're much stronger as a couple for it!

I wanted to be held & hated to be alone during that time. Yet the only people I wanted near me were my husband & daughter. At night when he'd hold me I often felt like the only thing holding me together was his arms.

Remembering my Angel

That Sunday we went to Home Depot to pick out a rose bush. My husband dug a deep hole in the back yard & gently placed the plastic box in it, my daughter dropped wild flowers on top of the box, & the rose bush was planted on top of it. A small baby angel statue was placed next to the rose bush. Some might think this a very strange thing to do, but for me it gave me a sense of peace knowing that I could visit my baby whenever I wanted to.

My baby's rose & special garden.

If you are reading this because you are going through this I want you to know that my heart goes out to you. As you're hurting & feeling alone in your pain, please know that you have an angel baby looking out for you from above. You aren't alone! Please don't feel like you have to be brave, like you have to carry on as though nothing happened, & above all else don't bottle your feelings up. There are some wonderful support groups online & if you'd like you can always shoot me an email. Sometimes it helps to talk to others who understand & have been there. I'm sending cyber hugs & prayers your way! Also, My Forever Child's jewelry really does help! 

If you're reading this because you have a loved one who is suffering with a broken heart from the loss of a child, God Bless you for caring! 

Some Tips For Dealing With This Delicate Situation:

Encourage your friend to wait until at least 11 weeks before making any decisions - Current research shows that early ultrasounds can't always predict miscarriage. Many women have been diagnosed as having an early miscarriage, but by 11-14 weeks a healthy baby was found. Click here to read current data.

Acknowledge the loss - Please tell your loved one how sorry you are for their loss! Yes; it will make them sad but they're already hurting. You really won't make the situation worse. You don't have to say anything face to face - even a simple sympathy card will do. Flowers or a plant are a nice touch too. 

Don't mention it at work - It's extremely difficult to stay focused & composed after such a loss. You might mean well by wanting to express your sympathy, but it's best to do this in a more private setting. If you give them a sympathy card at work, please tell them to wait until they get home to open it otherwise they might break down publicly & that would just embarrass them.

Don't criticize the way they're grieving - Everyone is different. If they need space, give it to them. Just let them know that you care & you're there for them when they're ready.

Don't force them to be social - If they want to be alone, you need to respect that. Just send emails, text messages, & leave voice mails telling them you care & will be there for them when they're ready.

Offer a shoulder to cry on - Believe it or not they might not think that you want to talk about the loss since it's a touchy subject. People tend to back away from delicate subjects & they might not have anyone to offer support. If you feel comfortable talking to them & seeing them extremely emotional, then please let them know that they can talk to you!

Understand that the medical community offers very little support - & your loved one may be confused or angry. They have every right to feel let down. Dr's need to seriously work on this!

Understand that anger is a part of the grief process - It's totally normal. Please don't take it personally. 

Encourage them to name the baby (With a miscarriage or stillbirth) - If they feel comfortable with the idea, & especially if they know the gender of their baby it can help in the grief process.

Encourage them to do something to remember the baby - If they have the remains & want to bury their baby, please encourage them. Just like it gives some people a sense of comfort to visit lost loved ones graves, it might also give comfort to visit a lost baby - even a miscarriage or stillbirth! With a full term baby you will have the ability to bury at a cemetary, but did you know that with a miscarriage you can bury on  your property (depending on state laws)? If you miscarry at a hospital you can ask to have your baby's remains returned to you rather than disposed of by the hospital. This right is actually protected in some states! You can check your rights by the state that you reside in at Adam's Song.

I found a very touching video on youtube about the loss of a child. It's called "Gone Too Soon" by the band Daughtry. I'd love to share it with you. Please click here to watch it.

Though this has been incredibly difficult to type out (I'm actually crying at the moment), if it can help somebody, I feel like I've done a good deed. May anyone who has suffered the loss of a child find peace & blessings. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Harmony aromatherapy's BRAND NEW Lavender/Peppermint Foot Care Set - Review/Giveaway

I'm so pleased & happy to be the very first one to review this! Thanks Amy! One lucky reader will win a sample size of the brand new Lavender/Peppermint Foot Care Set - sea salt soak, pumice scrub, & renewing cream. The giveaway will end at midnight on January 16, 2012. This is open to residents of the US & Canada.

Before we begin, Amy wanted me to let you know about her New Year Special! For the month of January she will be offering a FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation with the purchase of any oil! 

Plus; she's shared some exciting news with me! Amy will be offering foot care parties!!! If you've ever attended a Pampered Chef or Scentsy party, you'll understand how this will work. She'll send the host a full size set of the Foot Care Set for the guests to use during the party. The host will collect orders & has the opportunity to earn an incentive. Contact Amy for more details -

She also wants me to let you know that she's selling some of her products on eBay at a discounted price. It's a great way to get a bargain! Click here to visit Harmony Aromatherapy on eBay.

About Harmony aromatherapy:

This isn't my first time reviewing a product by Harmony aromatherapy. (See my review/giveaway for essential oil protection.) Amy Lapierre is the owner & licensed aromatherapist behind the business. She uses only pure therapeutic grade essential oils in all of her products. She offers several different essential oils & can even do custom orders! Amy gets her oils from all over the globe, & they're tested through gc/ms for purity. Her oils are classed as therapeutic grade. Harmony aromatherapy is a family owned business that operates out of Utah, & it's growing by the day!

About the Foot Care Set:

The Soak - is formulated with therapeutic grade peppermint & lavender essential oils that are blended into sea salts. "It not only refreshes, but also invigorates your tired feet." 

The Scrub - The scrub is made with fine pumice & is designed to help slough off dry skin to help start the renewing process to help you obtain the softest of feet.

The Renewing Cream - The renewing cream puts nutrients back into your feet. It's Paraben free, & enriched with Sweet Almond & Jojoba Oils, along with therapeutic grade peppermint and lavender essential oils. The essential oils help to heal and soothe tired feet. "Our luxurious renewing foot cream is deep, long-lasting moisture protection that softens even the driest skin."

 My Experience With The Product Line:

The box from Harmony aromatherapy arrived just before Christmas break. It was a cute Christmas-sy design, with snow falling in the lid whenever the box was moved. The mail came just before I had to leave to pick my 13 year old up from school. I brought the box with me, so I could examine the contents while waiting for her. My entire car smelled yummy! As soon as my daughter opened the door to climb in she said "What smells so good?!?" She thought I had peppermint candy in the car.

Look at the cute box!
And the contents packaged with sparkly tissue

I will be the first to admit that I have horribly dry & ugly feet.  That's probably due to the fact that I wear flip flops 90% of the time - year round! (I live in a suburb of New Orleans). My problem areas are my heals & my big toe. I'm almost ashamed to show you my before shot, but this wouldn't be much of a review without one.

*Note* Don't worry; both my daughter & I were wearing shorts for the following pics. LOL

What the Foot Care Set Looks Like. You use the salt soak first (in the middle), the scrub 2nd (on the left), & the renewing cream last (on the right).
My ugly feet before.
 And the dry heal & big toe

My 13 year old daughter & I decided to do a girl's night last night. We have a jacuzzi tub, so I filled the tub with warm water & let the salts dissolve. As soon as the sea salt was put in the warm water a yummy combination of peppermint & lavender filled the bathroom. Not only did it smell good, but it also did wonderful things for our sinuses! We sat on the side of the tub & soaked for a while. It felt so good - a contrast of warm water mixed with the cooling sensation of the peppermint. By the way, if you don't have a jacuzzi or foot bath, don't worry. You can still do this at home! Just use a plastic dish washing container. It works just as well.

Here's a before shot of my daughter's feet
 Me soaking in the sea salts
My daughter soaking her tootsies

After soaking for about 5 minutes,  we moved on to the pumice scrub. It wasn't like any other scrub I've ever used before. It was gentle & had moisturizers in it. Many scrubs I've tried in the past have left me feeling like I've been scrubbed raw with sand paper. This was super smooth & gentle. It also had that yummy peppermint & lavender scent! In fact, I liked it so much that after doing my feet I massaged it into my hands.

My daughter massaging the pumice scrub on her foot

After massaging our feet thoroughly, we rinsed in the water again.  We used the same water we originally soaked in - the water with the sea salts in it.

Me rinsing the scrub off my feet
Look at the dead skin floating in the tub near my daughter!

After rinsing our feet, we simply dried off with a towel & then massaged the renewal cream on. This cream was just as surprising as the scrub!  It's very dense, so I was afraid that it would be super greasy & overpowering, but it wasn't! You only need to use a little bit to get the job done, but it goes on SUPER smooth! I just put dabs on & added as I needed more. I also rubbed it into my hands after doing my feet. It left both my feet & hands super soft, but not greasy! I tend to walk around the house bare foot & I was concerned that I would slip, but I didn't. :o)

My daughter massaging the renewal cream on
My after shot

 And an attempt to show you my heal & big toe (it was cramped in the bathroom with both of us in there!)

My daughter's after pic

My impression of Harmony aromatherapy's Foot Care set:


1) The scent! I LOVE it! It smells heavenly, it's super gentle yet effective, & it makes you feel like you're getting pampered in a spa - only you're doing it for yourself at home! 

2) For someone with good feet like my daughter, no extra treatments are necessary. She noticed an immediate improvement! Even someone with challenging feet will notice an immediate improvement - you just might need to do the steps a few more times to see a dramatic improvement of your trouble spots.

3) Both of our feet smelled so good & felt cool after using the set. 

4) And it's gentle & healing for those with sensitive skin! My daughter & I tried another brand a couple of years ago. I don't want to name names, but it came from a very well known chain store that used to do sales parties as well. My daughter complained that her feet felt like they were on fire after using that other brand. After using Harmony aromatherapy's set, she felt nothing other than a pleasant cooling sensation.


None, but I want to point out that if you have feet like mine you might need to use the scrub a few times to see a major improvement in the trouble spots. If you're impatient, you might be tempted to use a pumice stone on your rough areas. However, this stuff rocks! I like the fact that it's gentle & moisturizing because I believe it's better for my skin than scraping it raw.

The Giveaway:

One lucky reader will win a sample size of the brand new Lavender/Peppermint Foot Care Set - sea salt soak, pumice scrub, & renewing cream. The giveaway will end at midnight on January 16, 2012. This is open to residents of the US & Canada.