Monday, November 4, 2019

DISNEY JUNIOR review | Guest Featurette by the fabulous Kristin Cruz

A brand new Mickey Mouse experience just arrived! If your littlest ones love all
things Mickey Mouse, then Disney Junior’s “Mickey Mouse Mixed Up Adventures”
was made for you!

Complete with an all new version of that catchy “Hot Dog Song”, this new TV show
from Disney Junior captures the attention of your youngest Disney fan, just as
Mickey has captured our hearts for so many years. The theme song for Mickey
Mouse Mixed Up Adventures is an absolute toe-tapper. I posted videos of the
happiest littles dancing to the new tune inside the Disney Channel building last week
during a private screening.

If you’re a Mom with kids in Los Angeles and you're always on social media
(like me!) then you might have been at our special screening event. If so,
please give yourself a shout out in the comments below! I want to thank you
for joining us for such a fun morning. Disney Junior designed a decked-out
Mickey themed room filled with new merchandise and endless hot dogs made
by the Disney chefs. We ate hot dogs for breakfast and danced out hearts out!

Are you a Mom looking for shows that won't disappoint? (I know, as a mom, we
are always looking for something good to watch on TV!) I can promise this is a
fresh new program your smallest critics will get excited about! Fresh fun episodes
of Mickey Mouse Mixed Up Adventures are new each week on the DIsney Now App.
I keep that app on the front page of my iphone because my kids always take my
phone. Always! If you ever call me and you’re sent straight to voice-mail, then I bet
a kid has my phone and declined your call. Leave me a message so I can call you
back when they are 18.

Here's what you need to know:
Disney Junior's Mickey Mouse Mixed Up Adventures debuted Monday
October 14th on Disney Junior, Disney Channel and Disney now. Currently
available in their regular programming rotation and on demand.

Pro Tip: 
Get that Disney Now App because we downloaded it on all of our devices and now it's the go-to App
on the front page of the kids’ iPads. By the way, I personally approve of all the shows that are available
on there for my kids to watch, unlike some other apps that are supposed to have kid-friendly
entertainment. The Disney entertainment apps are a sigh of relief for moms who worry, like me.
This is good quality entertainment, while also being digitally super convenient.

The show takes Mickey and the Gang along with friends Chip and Dale on zany new adventures all
around Hot dog Hills in fun locales. Each episode features a mid-episode dance break in which Mickey
and the Gang invite viewers to dance along to the newly updated Hot Dog Song. Getting the kids
moving their bodies is a priority for so many of us moms and this show is a wonderful way to shake the
mom-guilt of letting your kid have screen time instead of playing outside. IMPO of course. Hey
sometimes we have stuff to do in the kitchen and we need to keep our little one busy nearby us, so the
iPad is a good way to do that. With Mickey Mouse Mixed Up Adventures the kids will be invited to get
up and move with their favorite friends! To me, this is really smart indoor entertainment, or take-
anywhere entertainment. 

On a personal note: I've done the Hot Diggity Dog Dance and I swear I am burning calories. I say we
should be able to add a couple points to our Weight Watchers tally because I was workin’ it! That
counts as cardio, right? 

The new “Hot Dog” Song was so popular with parents and kids that during the month of September
when Disney had their hot dog dance challenge, there were literally millions of video views on
Instagram and YouTube. Everybody went nuts for the new updated tune!

If you are a Mickey fan and you check the show out, please let me know what you think about it online.
You know I live on Instagram and Twitter so hashtag your post with #MickeyMouseAdventures and I
will let my friends at Disney Channel PR know that you're talking about them. Who doesn't love to hear
someone has said nice things about them, right? Mickey wants to hear all about what you have to say
and I bet he'll hear! I mean he's got the most famous ears for listening ever!

Mickey and Disney have definitely been listening to us parents, that's for sure. Because, when we
wanted more great programming with positive energy, healthy lifestyle concepts, interactive
entertainment with good role models for our kids, they really came through! I think Mickey Mouse
Mixed Up Adventures is another modern take on a true classic, the way only DIsney can do it. 

Check out the new “Hot Dog” Song here in this video for yourself!
WARNING: It will be stuck in your head all day today & make you smile. You’re welcome.


Written By Kristin Cruz - @kristincruz for momtourage® media brands

Photo Credit - Disney Junior

More pics are in the HOB NOB App with your invitation

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things...

Now that baby #2 is three months old, I'm finally able to catch up a little bit on things I planned to do before I realized how much busier I would be with two boys. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite things that either didn't exist when I had my first, or I just didn't know about them. As they say, when you know better, you do better.

Diapers: So this is a no-brainer, because I actually used these with my first.  I absolutely love my Smart Bottoms 3.1 Organic one-size cloth diapers. I love the fact that I bought them years ago, used them with number one, and they are such high quality that I get to use them again.  A few brands I went through prior to finding Smart Bottoms didn't even last through a year. I expect these to last through this little one's whole journey and then still be able to get some money back selling them used. I did start with some newborn Born Smart diapers, but I didn't prep them enough and never really got a good fit with them.

Car Seat: Despite the fact that my little guy is currently hating all car rides unless he is sleeping, I do not blame this on the car seat, but rather my baby just hating car rides, as most do. I have the Uppababy Mesa in Henry, the ONLY car seat on the market made without ANY flame retardant chemicals. They get around this requirement by making it with wool, a naturally flame retardant material. They even have a patent on their process, so no other car seat manufacturer can do this for another number of years. Not only is it chemical free, but the base is completely fool proof to install, less than a minute! The seat itself looks very rich and the material is very soft. There is a lot of padding to keep the little guy comfortable for when he is sleeping in it.

Playard (Portacrib): I am loving my Nuna Sena Mini. The size is perfect for the limited space we have.  It is extremely light, and did I mention, it is free of hazardous chemicals? I even got an organic crib sheet for it too. Granted my little guy only sleeps in it for the first stretch of sleep at night because he needs to be with me after that, I am happy to have it and plan to use it for him on trips, rather then relying on a hotel portacrib option. Despite it's small size, it is definitely big enough to fit him for as long as he would need it.

Co-sleeper: When the little guy is in bed with us, I definitely feel safer when he is snuggled up in the SnuggleMe Organic co-sleeper. I love that it is organic, that the cover sheet is very easy to wash and the way the sides curve in around him when I place him in the "hammock-like" center really helps to cradle him and curb some startle reflex that wakes him up when he is not in it.

Swaddle: Every baby is definitely different. My first loved being swaddled until he didn't need it anymore and slept very well in the SwaddleMe Velcro Organic swaddles.  This one would fall asleep okay in them, but as soon as he woke up he HATED the fact that his arms were stuck down by his sides and I couldn't get him to go back to sleep.  Enter the Love to Dream Swaddle Up Organic swaddle.  Besides being a cinch to use (just stick the baby in and zip up) it is awesome that my little one can self-soothe with his hands in his mouth.  Because he can move a bit more, he still wakes with a little of the startle reflex, but it's better than the way he would scream from not being able to move at all.  Another genius element of these swaddles is that it has two zippers.  Although we are no longer doing diaper changes in the middle of the night (thank you Smart Bottoms) when we did, zipping up the bottom zipper and not having to take off the entire swaddle was great for getting him back to sleep easier.  Nothing wakes a sleeping baby faster than ripping open Velcro.

Diaper Bag: Last time it was very important to me to have an organic diaper bag.  I liked the one I used, it served it's purpose, but with the amount of time I'm wearing it, I wanted something more comfortable this time around. I am very pleased with my Ju Ju Be BFF backpack.  It not only holds a surprising amount of items, it also has so many sections to organize like a wiz. Although I have to admit I needed a Ju Ju Be expert to show me how to best utilize all the section and pockets. The ridiculous amount of prints are fabulous and the fact that it is machine washable is amazing. I don't worry about taking dirty diapers around with me because if necessary, I can through my diaper bag in the wash.

Nursing Supplements: Although I thankfully haven't been having as much of a supply issue as last time, I at least now know that there are some really yummy options out there to support milk production. Munchkin has partnered with MilkMakers and their lactation bars and cookies are pretty yummy.  Who doesn't want an excuse to eat cookies and sweet treats in the name of milk making goodness? The chocolate salted caramel have been my favorite by far.

Baby Carrier: I have to admit, I thought I was all set in this department. I went through a number of different baby carriers with number one and saved my favorites. Well, just like technology changes in only a few short years, apparently so do baby carriers! I am in LOVE with my Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier.  Not only is it an adorable Hello Kitty print (so what if people assume my boy is a girl because of it) it is so supportive and comfortable.  I have even worn him in it in the heat and it hasn't seemed to bother him. Being able to nurse in it is also a huge bonus, especially because we tend to be out and about more than I was with my first at this age.  I am looking into trying out their new linen carriers as well, but for now, I will sport Hello Kitty all day, every day.

Bath: I saved my bathtub from my first, but our bathroom is completely different than it was last time around and a big jacuzzi tub and a very shallow double sink do not lend themselves well to a traditional plastic bathtub.  Enter the Blooming Bath. The padded flower sits extremely well in our shallow little sink and I don't have to worry about my little guy throwing an epic fit when it is bath time. I typically bathe him when number one is taking a bath already, which warms up the ambient temperature of the room nicely. In addition, I also love my Scrubbee by Big Bee Little Bee. It is very easy to hold, I feel like it cleans the little one very well without hurting his delicate skin AND it helped get rid of his cradle cap as well, win-win-win!

Events: Now this may seem like a silly category, but I didn't know about any mommy events until my first was almost a year old. Through these awesome mommy events I've made some great friends, learned about a lot of these products, and even won some of the items above! I highly recommend checking out Mommycon. They are a mom convention that travels around the country, bringing cloth diapering and babywearing experts with them. I have attended almost every year and am looking forward to this year as well.  In Los Angeles, I love going to SoCalMoms events, including their Great Big Family Play Day. Even with a little baby in tow, I had to stay the whole day from 9am-5pm in the crazy heat, because it was just that great of an event! Another awesome yearly event in the Celebrity Red CARpet Safety Event that focuses on car seat safety and all around safety. Their gift bags are ridiculous and the giveaways are huge!

Thank you for taking the time to read all about my favorite things.  Be sure to comment below with some of yours. As my little one grows I'm sure I'll have many more things to add to this list.  Looking ahead I'm trying to decide which Activity Cube to go with. If I can avoid more "lights and sounds" and "replacing batteries" as he gets older, that will be great!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Preschooler Milestones and a Game That Helps Reach Them - Building Character Through PLAY!

I had the pleasure of attending the SoCal Moms Wellness Event last weekend at the beautiful Marion Davies Guesthouse on Santa Monica Beach. I was excited to bring my son to this one because not only was it a smaller enclosed event, but I knew there would be activities to keep him busy, and one of his good friends was also attending. I always love learning about new products for babies, but getting to meet creators of products for big kids that don't involve technology tend to really peak my interest.

Although my son, and most five year olds, can be very sweet, they still have a tendency to see the world through self-centered eyes. As much as we try to model empathetic behavior for our kids, we don't always see the results of this as quickly as we would like. At this age kids can notice what emotions others are going through and put names on those emotions. But when it requires a child to put another person's needs first, they don't always follow through with an empathetic act demonstrating true understanding of wanting to help another through a difficult time.

Enter Meghan DeRoma, Cofounder of Wannaplé and creator of the board game Silly Street. She had a simple toy was on display where the kids had to figure out how to swing a ring on a string to catch on a distant hook. As simple as it was, it held their attention for a very long time, almost as long as the LeapPad! While my son played, determined to win like his older friend already had, I had the pleasure of talking to Meghan DeRoma.
silly street
Not only is the board itself a big puzzle (big win for my puzzle loving kid) but the images and graphics on it are very eye catching.  The game pieces are wood circles with cute animal faces and the cards you draw to play with do not disappoint visually either.  This award-winning game inspires creativity, encourages healthy competition, promotes strong communication and rewards all around silliness.  In addition, it also helps promote empathy and social skills through the activities they have to complete on the game cards.  After my son finally caught the ring on the hook, he was overjoyed to be able to take the game home.  In fact, he even got an opportunity to try out the game on the spot with Meghan while I visited other vendors at the event.

We brought the game to a friend's house and my son, who normally has to always go first, offered to let his friend go first. And when my son didn't win a round, he didn't get upset. The friendly competition throughout the game really has improved his ability to work with others in a more positive manner.  When his friend was having difficulty completing a task on her card, my son was encouraging and tried to help her, even though that meant it would help her get closer to winning.

Although being able to read isn't necessary in order to play the game, encouraging my son to read the cards he draws in order to complete each task has been great for his sight word recognition as well as building his confidence. I love that some of the cards require the player to create a story about a character pictured on the card. Silly Street creates a fun environment where my son gets to demonstrate his ability to invent a story with a definite beginning, middle and end, including exposition, conflict and resolution has made this storytelling mama extremely proud.
Preschool Board Game
Overall, I highly recommend this game. As much as I love traditional board games from my childhood that help with counting, color and shape recognition, this game has a great balance of learning and fun. I am a huge advocate of play-based learning and this adorable board game fits in-line with those principles. After all, who doesn't love a friendly match of Rock Paper Scissors or a Thumb War now and then, especially after a visit from the tickle monster?  You can get your very own copy of Silly Street online at Target, Amazon, Toys R Us or Barnes and Noble this holiday season!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why You Should Capture and Document Your Birth

Having the honor and privilege to be invited into my clients lives to capture one of their most intimate moments is an opportunity I do not take lightly.  During my own labor, my husband was able to film the entire process with a helmet cam and I know many times I looked up at that thing and wished it was not on.  I said some things that are now memorialized that I probably will not ever want my son to hear.  Labor gets uncomfortable, frustrating, disappointing, and sometimes ugly.  But ultimately it is triumphantly beautiful.  My own birth video does not have the best angles, the sound could be better, both my husband and I are never in it together, but what it does have that could never be replaced is the exact moment my son entered the world from my husband's point of view, gently being guided into this world in his daddy's hands: absolutely priceless.

Prior to becoming a mom, I was a professional filmmaker and freelance documentarian, filming a wide array of projects over the years. But once my son was born, I knew that if I was going to leave him in someone else's care, there had to be good justifiable reason to do so. That was when I redirected my focus to birth, newborn, and family videography, helping parents without the knowledge or equipment to professionally memorialize these moments that they can never get back.  I make it my mission to help others to understand why it is important to capture birth and share some of the best ways to do so.

Being able to edit others' birth videos, I realized even more how special that instant is when parents meet their child for the very first time.  Even the first moment after a C-section birth is nothing less than amazing.  Before our children are born,  we spend so much time thinking about what they will be like, who they will look like, how our family dynamic is going to change, what they'll be when they grow up...but all of those thoughts dissipate in that instant when we hear our baby cry or finally have our child in our arms, all we want to do is just be in that moment and experience a loving connection for the very first time. You will never be able to know what that moment looks like from the outside, unless it is captured on film. And being able to look back on photos or videos of that moment you will actually be able to relive that emotion again and again. Another amazing sentiment that needs to be captured is the triumph of completing the daunting marathon that is birth. Labor is no easy task on the body, so once it is completed, the rush of positive emotion that runs through the room is palpable for all and comes through in video and photos.

As important as it is to capture the moment baby joins the world, the hours of labor prior to the big event are definitely extremely special as well.  The breaks between the surges or contractions are filled with such emotion, both positive and negative.  The positive ones are important to capture in order to remember how strong a mother truly is. The negative ones are just as important because the final triumphant result is proof of how much a mother overcomes bringing a child into this world. Whether someone has taken a birth class or not, nothing can compare to actually experiencing labor. Preparation and practice does definitely help, there's no question about that. But how a woman gets through those difficult moments truly is a testament to how strong she really is. Being able to look back and see yourself hitting a wall but then pushing through it can inspire you long afterwards in many other facets of life. Capturing images of a mother in labor and her support team can be some of the most beautiful images to look back on.  A birth support team can provide such strength and motivation to a mother and those images will forever be a reminder of the love surrounding the day baby joined the world.

One of the easiest ways to capture and document your birth would be to hire a professional filmmaker and/or photographer. I am obviously partial to video because of my ability to capture words and sentiment in each moment, however some photos that birth photographers take need no caption to explain what is going on at that instant.  Another option is the hire a doula who can take photos and or video.  The downside to this is that the time she spends taking photos and or video will be time taken away from supporting you in your birth.  I definitely discourage having a birth partner capture these moments, unless they can do so passively like my husband did with a helmet cam Another option would be to have an additional friend or family member documenting, however as they are not a professional, they do not know what to expect and cannot always anticipate the moments you will want captured.  Finally, another option would be to set up a camera in the corner of the room and just let it record.  You may not end up with the best angle for a lot of the time, but at least you'll have something to remember the moment by.  Keep in mind that if you are having a hospital birth, you will have to get clearance to have someone else in the room filming and/or photographing prior to hiring someone. Different hospitals have different rules and you will need to respect them.

Professional photographers and videographers are an expected hire for milestone events, yet birth isn't usually considered one of them.  But what is more life altering and a greater milestone than bringing another life into this world?  The details of this once in a lifetime event will fade faster than you can imagine and there are no do-overs. It is so much better to have it and not watch it, than it will be to wish you had captured it after the fact.

Monday, November 6, 2017

More Stuff! (Part 2) -- Covering the LA Baby Show 2017

I had the pleasure of attending the LA Baby Show downtown at the Reef this weekend. Having attended last year as well, I can honestly say that this year did not disappoint. Not only did the organizers bring in more vendors, but they also had more speakers, demonstrations and an even better organized event, spread out over two floors, instead of one.

I got there early, and found out I wasn't the only early bird excited for the event to start. The line  started even before check in with anxious parents and parents-to-be.
I headed straight to the blogger lounge to take advantage of the awesome services offered there before snapping any selfies. I got my make-up done by @chicstudios, who also offer classes on how to do your own make-up. After a lovely conversation I shuffled to the next chair over so I could get my hair done by @petitemason. I learned that their West Hollywood salon keeps hours that give us moms no excuse to give ourselves a little pampering (open late and on weekends too!) Now that I was camera ready, I could take the beautiful @SilverCrossUSA luxury stroller for a spin.
Once on the showroom floor, I ran into brand reps, that I've grown to call friends, saw new products from companies I already know and love, and learned about new products that one could even consider a "must-have" despite saving everything from baby #1.

I already have a jogging stroller and an umbrella stroller, and never quite found the need to for a portable playpen. But after chatting with the friendly folks @SummerInfant, I realized that an outdoor secure play space may be very necessary with an active five year old that is not planning on slowing down any time soon. Theirs even has a SPF cover, which is great if you want to avoid re-applying sunscreen throughout the day. I also checked out their 3DTote Convenience stroller.  You have to check out the amount of storage on this light stroller. Although it's not officially an umbrella stroller, it does fold pretty small and store like one.  Not only does it avoid the dreaded constantly dirty canopy that drives me crazy with my current umbrella stroller every time I fold it, but it also has special hooks on the handle that can hold a EXTRA heavy diaper bag that doesn't make the stroller flip over every time your kid gets out of the seat. How smart is that? 
The extremely knowledgeable staff @diaperDekor introduced me to their new line of reuseable cloth pail liners for their already famous diaper pail. I used this pail with number one for disposable diapers, but once I switched to cloth, I had to have a separate hanging bag because they didn't fit right into the pail. Well now the problem is solved! It comes in a pack of two, which is perfect because while one is being washed with your soiled diapers, the other is in place for interim changes. Way to make it easy on us #clothdiaperparents. Their parent company, Regal Lager also has a line of @LovetoDreamUSA swaddles that come in three stages, the first of which allows babies to keep their arms up, similar to how they sleep in the womb. Genius, right? When my little guy first wriggled out of his swaddle, that was the exact position he was trying to get into. Their stage two has wings that zip off, allowing one or both arms to be free. Despite having a supply of swaddles already, I will definitely be adding an Organic Stage 1 Love to Dream swaddle to my collection.

Another really unique product I discovered is an adorable doll all the way from Iceland. It's called @Lulla_Doll and not only is it soft and snuggly without any sewn-on hazardous parts, it has a sound feature that mimics mom's heartbeat and breathing sounds to help baby fall back asleep. It runs for a full eight hours too! Fingers crossed I win their raffle for this adorable little guy, otherwise I will just have to get one shipped over across the Atlantic. Really ingenious idea!
There were so many other great items I found, but these were some of my favorites I just had to share right away. If you're a parent who has saved everything from your little one and think you have everything you need, you may just find you will want more stuff this time around, especially five years later!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shoemaker Without Shoes This Time Around

It's definitely been a long year of hurt, healing, acceptance and moving on.  Being able to finally bring myself to write down my feelings and share about my missed miscarriage last year was difficult, but definitely much easier to write about than it would have been six months ago.  But an unexpected difficulty came out of that experience as well, and that has been finding the courage to document this little rainbow I'm now carrying. I knew that I wanted to try again as soon as possible and was given the go ahead a month after the loss. But the fear of another miscarriage stayed with me more than after my first loss.

Last year I wrote about my feelings when I first found out I was expecting, I tracked my feelings as I shared the news and I took regular bump photos.  However, when I was fortunate enough to see that second line on July 6th, 2017, I quietly went to sleep and kept the news all to myself.  Would I be devastated again? How could I handle another loss?  It took five months to get pregnant last time, seven months this time, how long would it take again if this one didn't work out? How would I feel if I didn't see a little heartbeat at the first appointment? Instead of thinking about all the amazing things that were about to happen, I was already preparing myself for all the negative things that could happen, and therefore not allowing myself to be excited, which led to not feeling like documenting my thoughts. Somehow writing about my fears would make them more of a reality. Or conversely, writing about my excitement would only make it worse if it didn't work out.

Because my son was the first to learn of my loss last time and he didn't even know that I was pregnant to begin with, I decided to share the hopeful news with him early on and capture it on video.  One of my favorite parts of that video is him saying with such excitement in his voice "what if it works this time?" Even my four year old understood my trepidation. I shared the news with my husband by showing him that video. I told him that I didn't want to tell anyone, not until at least seeing a viable pregnancy. But then after seeing a heartbeat at 8 weeks, I still didn't want to share the news. I would wait until the results from my NIPT (non-invasive prenatal test).

I think nature plays a cruel joke on us preggos by causing so many horrible first trimester symptoms (especially at 40), all while you feel like you can't tell anyone why, especially after experiencing a loss, or in my case, two losses. I was hesitant to write out my feelings along the way, even though with each passing day of symptoms getting stronger, I had a strange feeling that everything was going to work out fine.  I don't remember that inkling of optimism last year.  So eventually I took a bump photo here and there, but refused to move into maternity clothes until it was absolutely necessary. I continued to hide my symptoms and exciting news from everyone, except my chiropractor, acupuncturist, and dentist (all for obvious reasons).  On a side note, I really feel like this pregnancy was helped to fruition by regularly seeing my chiropractor and acupuncturist, complemented by herbs and consciously trying to reduce my stress.

One thing I felt badly for not capturing with X's pregnancy was a gender reveal video. My husband and went for an elective 3D ultrasound at 13 weeks because we really wanted to know.  Our reactions aren't on video and after creating video baby books for clients that had this special moment, I knew I wanted one for this rainbow.  Despite the fact that I was still in my first trimester, we set up my "real" camera on a tripod and filmed ourselves biting into cupcakes with blue icing for our own little gender reveal, since no one else knew our news yet.

After the 12 week nuchal translucency scan combined with the favorable results from my NIPT, I knew it was finally time to spill the beans, at least to immediate family anyway. We captured video of sharing with both sets of grandparents in person (both of which had to have my big reveal t-shirt explained--clearly being vague is not the way to go if you want an immediate reaction).  I made a transfer of the image below and ironed it onto the back of my son's Batman t-shirt.  They thought it was a movie coming out next year??

I've also captured other family members reactions on film as well.  And now ss I've started to obviously show, I can't really keep the news to myself anymore.  Hopefully the few videos I've made and the journal entries I am finally getting to, will make up for my lack of documentation through the first half of this pregnancy. My little rainbow will have to forgive Mama, pregnancy hormones are crazy things! 20 weeks down, 20 to go!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In Honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month....

 A year after my loss, I decided it was finally time to share, not only help myself heal further, but help others who may have experienced or may be experiencing the same thing.  Warning, detailed triggers regarding loss to follow.

I started a blog a little over a year ago called "Fit Pregnancy Pursuit." Last spring started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and a few months into my new active lifestyle, I found out I was pregnant. I decided that this time around I would not gain almost a third of my weight, I would work out hard and continue to stay strong throughout the nine months and document what I was going through to inspire others to stay healthy during their pregnancies.  I purposely kept the blog "private," planning to share it upon reaching the second trimester. After experiencing an early loss before I had my son, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay before blurting the news out into the webiverse. But since I preach the importance of documenting everything, I didn't want to be a shoemaker without any shoes and started my blog about my experience early on.

I distinctly remember one of my last posts.  I had been having a particularly rough day at the gym, feeling frustrated from nausea and annoyed that I wasn't able to "push it" like I had prior to that second little line showing up.  Later that same day, I got to see and hear my little one's heartbeat on an ultrasound.  Because my first miscarriage was a blighted ovum, I thought that seeing a strong heartbeat, even at only six weeks, was a sign that all was good, I felt a huge sense of relief and excitement about the next seven and a half months and beyond.  I still hadn't broken the news publically, but started planning for a big reveal at Thanksgiving, when the whole family would be together. I was just about ready to make my blog public.

Fast forward two weeks, I pulled out my handy home doppler that helped me keep my sanity during my first pregnancy, and I wasn't able to find a heartbeat.  Although I knew it was early, I still was disappointed I couldn't find it. A week later I decided to go into the OB because my symptoms had started to wain and that got me worried.

The doctor and I chatted, I mentioned that I had seen a good, strong heartbeat at six weeks and we talked about usual early pregnancy things. I requested an ultrasound, even though she said there probably wasn't anything to worry about.  To this day, I'll never forget the look on her face as she scanned my abdomen, first routinely, then desperately looking for something. I felt the tears start to form. I knew before she even uttered a word. My son, who had no idea I was even pregnant, inherently picked up on the mood in the room and came over to me with great concern. My heart dropped. My tiny baby had passed.

Prior to that appointment, I was unfamiliar with the term "missed miscarriage." I thought that miscarriages only meant cramping and spotting.  I never knew that the embryo could pass and I would have no idea. A google search of the term made me realize just how common they are.

The doctor took me back into the examination room and gave me the low down on my choices: misoprostol or a D&C. I was devastated, and without my husband by my side to help me take a step back and analyze, I was lost.  I knew that I didn't want to have any surgery right away, and luckily the on-site pharmacy didn't have any misoprostol in stock.  Making a decision at that exact moment was not necessary.  The doctor told me that waiting too long could cause an infection, and even though my baby had passed two weeks prior, I still had some time to do my own research.

Ultimately I chose to give my body the time to figure out what had occurred on its own, hoping that route would help me to more naturally conceive sooner.  I had to make an appointment for two weeks later and really hoped that my body would figure itself out by then.  The next two weeks were excruciating emotionally.  Having to tell the even the small group of people I had shared the news with was like opening up the wound over and over again.  Knowing that I was still carrying that little tiny body inside and my body not doing anything about it made me frustrated and angry.

I returned to the gym with a vengeance, hoping that all I had done to avoid a miscarriage in the previous weeks would help bring on the miscarriage.  I tried acupuncture, herbs, essential oils and supplements to help my body move things along. Every time my son would see me cry he'd respond with "oh no, not again." I'm sure it was difficult for him to see his mommy so upset, and despite my trying to explain to him how that comment made me feel, it was just too much a four year old to empathize with.

The "not knowing when" was almost as hard to deal with as the loss itself. I hoped I wouldn't be alone with my son when it happened or that I wouldn't be out in public. Then thankfully, as if my body knew it was safe to do so, on a Sunday morning, I started to feel uncomfortable cramping. Thankfully my husband was home and able to keep my son occupied, although unfortunately that meant that I would have to deal with the pain, both physical and emotional, all on my own. It was so much like labor, but without the beautiful, amazing gift at the end. I knew I could do it physically, as I had given birth to my son without any medication, but without the natural high of knowing the light at the end of the tunnel was a beautiful child, it was emotionally excruciating.

Once I knew that it was finally over, I felt a sense of relief, but also a sense of further loss, as I was suddenly all alone once again. The physical pain ended long before the emotional pain dissipated. Ultimately though, that too began to fade. All loss is difficult, all loss takes its toll. With every comment of "is he your only one?" and "when are you going to have another?" I felt the need to let that person know that I had experienced a loss, even if it meant opening up that wound all over again. With time I was able to reply with "I guess I'm just meant to have two rainbow babies." Finding the hope in all the negative was the start of moving on.  Finding a way to celebrate others' pregnancy announcement and be truly happy for them got easier as well.  I still find my thoughts sometimes turning to "what might have been," but choose to consciously stop them and be happy now for what will be as I move forward.