Guest post:

This post is bound to tug at anybody's heart strings. Mary from Building Our New Normal has quite the story:

“Congratulations” is what I wrote him in a text message early on that Sunday morning. I was congratulating him because I had just found out that in 8 months, we would be welcoming our third baby into this world! He was thrilled, he even said that his toes were doing a “happy dance” because he was cutting his hair and he couldn’t.

I was staying with my family in Indiana while he was getting ready to leave for his fourth deployment. He left in April of 2011, and time was flying by with this pregnancy. I had chosen to take a more natural path with this time and had decided on using a midwife instead of a doctor. Things were going great, the baby was right on track, and in June we found out that we were having ANOTHER baby boy! He was so proud to know that he was going to have three boys. He loved to dress them like little men, and teach them to act like gentlemen. Things were going great, until that 5:30 am phone call on August 1st, 2011.

As soon as I looked at the phone number, I knew who it was. He had been injured in Afghanistan. Hours went by with no new information. I prayed and prayed, hoping that he’d call me, or someone would call me. After all, it’s good if they call, bad if they visit, right? Right.

Wrong. About five hours after the initial shock, I received the news that the love of my life had been killed in Afghanistan. I was left with two sons, ages 2 and 4, and I was 5 months pregnant with our last. I remember being told over the phone “On behalf of the President of the United States…” I stopped the Gunnery Sergeant and told him I knew what that meant. I grasped onto the bed and cried out “Oh, God, no!” But the reality eventually set in later that day; I was now a 25-year-old widow with almost three children. My main concern was the boys, how was I going to tell them, and was the baby ok?

The day after he was killed, my friend took me to the Naval Hospital to get the baby checked. He was great, as strong as ever. Hearing that heartbeat was so amazing, I knew he was ok. Over the next 4 months, I continued care with my midwife back in Indiana, and was planning on having a home birth in my new home. I wanted a small, intimate setting, as I knew this would be an emotional delivery.

December finally came; I was due on the 6th. I was so anxious to meet baby “Q,” as his daddy called him. But, I wasn’t ready to not have him inside of me. While inside, I could feel his every movement, his every nudge and kick, even his little hiccups; they were like “I love you’s” from his daddy. He was my last link to My Love, and I wasn’t ready for it to be broken.

Little Quentin finally arrived 16 days past my due date. He was not born at home; he was born on the way to the hospital in an ambulance due to the fact that we believed he had a condition called gastroschisis. Thankfully, he was born perfectly healthy, weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs, 5 oz. The Lord knew what he was doing when I went into labor, as he was born within 2 ½ hours from my first contraction. There was not enough time to focus on the fact that My Love was not there, that he would never meet his son, and that our son would never meet his earthly father.

Quentin is now 13 months old, and every morning and every night while walking through the hallway by his room, we stop to see daddy’s picture on the wall. Quentin puts his tiny, little hand on his daddy’s face, looks him in the eyes, and leans in to give him kisses.

This is when I am reminded of what is important and life, and not to take the ones we love for granted.

Again, if you would like to follow Mary, here's her link: http://www.buildingournewnormal.com/

Thank you so much for the guest post Mary. I will never forget it!


Guest post: Being a Healthy Veteran

I was contacted by a lovely lady named Emily Walsh about her guest posting on the blog and since I pretty much can never say no to a guest post, I agreed. Emily is the community outreach director for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and has a great message to share:

How to Lose Weight and Be a Healthier Veteran

Many veterans who have served in the military forget about how important their health is after coming out of service. They may become very sedentary or consume the same amount of calories they did when they were excessively working out, except for the fact that they aren't working out as much. Type two diabetes is an incredibly common problem that veterans young and old are having to deal with. While it is true that mesothelioma and PTSD are also just as common, weight gain and type two diabetes is one of the most common conditions that veterans are now facing.

One of the major causes for veteran weight gain and the onset of type two diabetes is because of the two varied lifestyles the veteran has had to live. In the military, the servicemen or women are incredibly active. They may workout for hours a day and eat a ton of food just to fuel their busy lifestyles. Once out of the military, the man or woman often becomes sedentary while adjusting to civilian life. They may not workout as much or at all but they might still be eating the same as they did while in the military. These two varied lifestyles create a recipe for weight gain and eventual type two diabetes.

Being overweight is unhealthy and can lead to more than just the onset of diabetes. People who are overweight tend to be depressed, have sleeping disorders that result in the need for breathing machines and have an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Losing weight can reverse many of these problems and prevent new ones from happening. This is why you should definitely consider losing weight in order to be a healthier and happier individual. There are a few ways that you can lose weight that does not rely on surgeries or pills.

Just making small adjustments to your diet will help tremendously when it comes to losing weight. Another thing is to change your sedentary lifestyle into something a little more active. While it's true that you'll probably never workout as much as you did while in the military, just exercising for a half hour a day will provide you with enough physical activity to promote weight loss. You should make sure to speak with a doctor before you start a workout regimen or make changes to the way that you eat each day.

Being healthier is more than just looking good and taking daily multivitamins. You need to actually make drastic changes to your lifestyle in order to be healthier inside and out. By watching what you eat and how much you eat, you can promote weight loss. Exercise will also help you to lose weight and will also tone your body as you continue to lose weight and get rid of excess fat on the body. You will love the opportunities that open when you make the decision to lose weight and become a healthier and more fulfilled veteran.

If you are interested in learning more or reading more of what Emily has to say, here is her blog: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/emily/


Focus on the future

I try to focus on the future so hard because, well, the future is absolutely beautiful and stunning in every way. In the future we get to meet our beautiful baby girl and raise her. We get to be parents to this tiny person. We get to watch her get older and we get to be sad for every year older she gets because we never want our baby to stop being our baby.

Yet, I still think about the past. I still think about Baby Dawson number one. I still get incredibly sad when I hear Gravity by Sarah Bariellis. I still have days when I just want to get the tears and pain out of my system until next time. I still miss that baby. I know, that baby, and losing that baby was all in preparation for this one. We will cherish her more because we wanted and longed for her for so long after losing her older sibling. We have been through much pain on our journey to become Abriellas parents.

I really think that's why I get such bad anxiety when I don't feel her for a while or I start to feel like I might be coming down with the flu. We don't just want her and long for her, we love her and we need her, also.

I don't think I will ever forget about Baby 1. He/she is FOREVER etched in my mind and memory and heart. That loss will always have an effect on me whether it be good or bad, I will always feel something from that loss. I just hope the waiting and the pain causes us to be fantastic parents for Abby because she so deserves it.


Time to get it together

Sometimes someone else gets a harsh reality check and it affects you, too.

I have a friend who I started talking to on Instagram who knows how long ago. We both found out we were pregnant about the same time and she is due one day before me. All of my other friends have found out they are having/or have had a boy but she and I are both having girls.

So, yesterday she got her anatomy scan done and everything was great EXCEPT her amniotic fluid was low. They checked to make sure he water didn't break and thankfully it didn't so they think it's because she is dehydrated from not drinking enough water.

That's where I come in. I have been HORRIBLE at drinking water in my second trimester. I literally started drinking it again yesterday. Yes, I suck terribly.

Knowing that not drinking water like you should be can cause the fluid Abby lives in and drinks to be low makes me want to cry because I could have caused harm to my baby because of my own selfishness. I WILL drink lots of water every day from here on out.

Everyone please say a little prayer for my friend, please!


Going crazy already?

Just, maybe! I want to see Abby again. It drives me nuts that we only have one more ultrasound in NINETEEN weeks. I know I probably sound like a big baby but I just can't wait to meet our baby girl and until then, ultrasounds are the only way we get to see her and the last one is in 8 weeks. That leaves 11 weeks between that ultrasound and her due date. I just don't know if I can wait that long!


Life Lately!

We all know how my life has been lately but here is a recap on the last 2 months!

Celebrated Thanksgiving :)
Went to Washington DC! (In front of the White House)

Went to see the lights on the boardwalk!
                                  We got a 4D ultrasound and found out this doll was a girl!
Announced that she was a girl on facebook with this photo!
Saw snow for the first time in 2 years!

Celebrated Christmas!
Celebrated the new year!
Hit 19 weeks!
Got the anatomy ultrasound and Abriella was putting on a show! Sucking that thumb <3 p="p">
And confirmed a girl!


Our Life in Pictures (updated)

I did this once before BUT our life has changed so much since the last time so I decided it was time to do it again. 

Our life in pictures:

 In the beginning was one boy and one girl:
New years 2009
New years day *2010*
St. Patricks day 2010
My sleepy head <3 2010="2010" div="div" march="march">
Our first extended period of time apart as a couple. Joint Warrior March-May 2010.
And the end of that 2 month underway!!! May 2010.
Photo op! May 2010.
Taken shortly before my Sailor changed my life May 31, 2010 <3 div="div">
Taken the day after I said yes! June 1st, 2010
A few of my favorites from our engagement photoshoot <3 div="div">

Our photographer did such an awesome job!


You can't catch me! June 7, 2010
Our engagement announcement. June 2010.
Random photo op! July 2010.
Husband and wife! July 31, 2010 <3 div="div">
Wedding night! No we aren't naked, unless you remove the towels lol <3 div="div">
Busch Gardens August 2010.
Kiss sammich! Lol. Ryans birthday party/housewarming party August 2010.
The day before deployment. August 16, 2010.
D Day. Look how good we faked being happy! Haha. August 17, 2010.

Pardon me while I fast forward 6 freaking months.................................

HOMECOMING!!!!! 2.16.2011 <3 div="div">
Patiently waiting for the ship to pull in!
This is my "Uhmmmm... Everyone and their mother is off the ship, WHERE IS MY HUSBAND?!" face lol.
Our first hug in 6 months!
Our first kiss in 6 months!
This is what TRUE HAPPINESS looks like =D
<3 div="div" happy="happy" so="so">
So happy to be together again <3 div="div">
We went to DC for a short getaway when he got back. This is the Iwo Jima memorial <3 div="div">
Feb. 2011 photo op!
A few of my favorite from a photoshoot we did in March 2011
Feeling like kids again <3 div="div">
Hahaha I'm happy he's sad, just like the masks :p
<3 div="div">
My fave <3 div="div">
St. Patricks day 2011
At our friends hockey game in May of 2011
At Patriotic Fest Va. Beach ocean front seeing Darius Rucker in June 2011.

The BIG wedding 5.31.2011 (1 year after we got engaged)
My daddy walking me down to my Sailor <3 div="div">
Lighting the unity candle
We're married... AGAIN! Lol.
<3 div="div">
July 18th, our lives were changed by this test <3 div="div">
At 5 weeks and 5 days we got to see our baby for the first and last time :'( RIP Angel Baby
North Carolina September 17th. 
October 15th we released balloons in memory of our angel baby
October 31st we had a Halloween party.

We spent Thanksgiving on the ship

We went to the ships Christmas party
We had a Christmas party at our house for our friends that weren't going to be with family.

New Year 2011!
Went and partied in North Carolina in Jan 2012
We got Mocha in Feb!
I broke my toe on March 20th :/
We celebrated Memorial day by having drinks in the pool!
We got new rings in July!
We had a going away party for Ryan's old ship mates who were about to deploy in July as well.
We became homeowners and unlocked our house together in July also!
Our friend got married in August!
We found out I was pregnant a few days after my birthday September 18th!
First "bump" picture at 6 weeks. It was just bloat but I wanted a bump so badly!
Our first ultrasound! Estimated as 7 weeks and 1 day in October with a heartbeat of 163.

October 15th we released paper lanterns in memory of our angel baby <3 p="p">

A hurricane side swiped us at the end of October as well.

Got our second ultrasound at 11 weeks on November 5th!
Thanksgiving 2012!
Went to Ryan's command Christmas party in early December. Forgot to take a pic with each other, lol.

December 10th: Found out baby D was a GIRL!!! 

It's a GIRL!
Went to see the lights on the boardwalk in early December

Saw snow for the first time in 2 years December 22nd!

Christmas 2012!

Our last full day in Indiana and it snowed again!

New Year 2012!

Got Abby's anatomy scan done January 3rd!

Confirmed a girl!
Finally, the most recent baby bump! 19 weeks and 4 days!

It's so crazy to see how much our life has changed in the last 3 years but we are loving every minute of the ride!