I honestly can’t believe I’m sitting here, about to write yet another blog post about miscarriage. I never thought I would suffer not one, but two miscarriages.
It’s been over a week since I miscarried and in many aspects, I am feeling better. But sometimes the darkness sinks in and my heart still hurts. What I’m learning is that it’s okay to feel hurt. It’s okay to feel lost. It’s okay to feel confused.
Sunday, July 8th. The morning of my first positive pregnancy test. For days leading up to taking this test, I had been feeling bloated and extra emotional. I had a feeling that I was pregnant. I woke up that morning at 3am and I couldn’t sleep so I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was faint, but it was positive.
I was so excited. Joseph and I had been trying to get pregnant again. We only want two children, and this pregnancy would have put the age gap at 2 years, 7 months, which felt perfect.
That morning, I told Joseph the news. After my last miscarriage, I had decided that I didn’t want to keep my pregnancies nearly as much of a secret as I had done previously. This is because I felt like I never got to celebrate my pregnancy I lost with anyone. I never got to be excited or let people share my joy. Since we were staying at an Airbnb in Utah with Joseph’s parents, I decided to also tell them.
The following week, we went to Lake Powell. I was extra cautious the entire trip and didn’t do any extreme activities as I didn’t want to do anything that could possibly result in miscarriage. Losing a pregnancy previously will do that to you.
We got home from Lake Powell at 5am on Saturday the 14th. Later that afternoon, I started bleeding. Immediately I started sobbing. I screamed “No, no, no! Not again! I can’t do this again!” Joseph tried to comfort me, reminding me that bleeding during the first trimester can be normal and telling me that I shouldn’t freak myself out too much.
That evening Joseph and my best friend’s husband gave me a blessing. I still felt anxious about the bleeding but I was trying to have faith that everything would be okay.
The next day I didn’t bleed at all. I was starting to feel better because the bleeding this time around was so much different than it had been with my previous miscarriage. It was very light and more resembled spotting than anything else. That day I decided to take a pregnancy test again just to make sure that my hCG levels were progressing. The positive line was darker than it had been a week prior which was comforting.
That next morning, I took another pregnancy test. Obsessive, I know. On this test, the positive line had all but disappeared. It was barely visible anymore. I started freaking out. Since it was finally Monday and my doctor’s office was opening in an hour, I decided to call them first thing. I told the nurse what had been going on and since I have a history of miscarrying, she had me come in right away to test my hormone levels. She told me that the results would take a couple of days to get back to me.
The next couple of days were awful. I was impatiently waiting to get my results back from the doctor. The not knowing was killing me. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster. One minute I would feel fine, calm, and sure that the spotting was nothing. The next minute I would be in tears, pleading with the Lord to save my baby.
Tuesday night, I started bleeding again. This time it was different. It was incredibly heavy and had chunks of tissue in it. That’s when I knew it was over. Up until that point, there was a part of me that honestly believed that my baby was going to make it and everything was going to be okay. My heart was broken. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me again. I felt like my body had failed me. I kept wondering how many more times I was going to have to experience this before finally having our second baby.
Wednesday morning, I called the nurse at my OB/GYN’s office again since I hadn’t heard from her yet. I told her that I had started bleeding again and that it was really heavy this time. She asked me if I had gone to the emergency room but I told her I hadn’t, as I am still paying off the ER bills from my miscarriage I had last year. I didn’t want to go to the ER just to be charged thousands and be told what I already knew. I reminded her that if I was indeed miscarrying, I was going to need to come in and get a Rhogam shot.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rhogam shots, I will do my best to explain it here. Basically, my blood type isn’t compatible with Joseph’s. I have a negative blood type and he has a positive blood type. When I get pregnant, if the baby also has a positive blood type, my body recognizes it as a foreign substance and tries to kill it off. The Rhogam shot essentially prevents that from happening. I have to get this shot at about 30 weeks pregnant, and then again when I deliver if the baby has a positive blood type. I also have to have this shot when I miscarry, and I have to have it within 72 hours of miscarrying.
The nurse told me that she hadn’t gotten my lab work back yet, and that she would call the lab that day and get back to me. As the day passed, I still hadn’t heard anything from her. The next morning I called again as I was running out of time to get the Rhogam shot. The nurse still hadn’t heard from the lab but promised me that she would call me that day regardless of what happened.
She finally called me back Thursday afternoon. She had gotten my lab work back. At the time I had gotten my blood drawn, I was six weeks, one day pregnant. The nurse said that my hCG levels were measuring at only 1-2 weeks pregnant. She had me come in immediately and administered my Rhogam shot. After I got my shot, she had me schedule an appointment with my doctor to check everything out and try and see why I’ve miscarried two pregnancies in a row.
I’ll go in for that appointment on August 7th. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to mourn my loss and move on. Some days I feel okay and hopeful for the future. But other days, like today, I’m scared. I’m anxious that this is something I’m going to have to keep going through. I pray that my doctor will have answers for me and that I won’t have to experience this heartbreak again. My heart feels like it’s been broken into a million little pieces. Nobody should ever have to go through this, but so many do.
And so I choose to share. Not because I want sympathy or attention. I have an amazing support system who has given me so much more than I could have asked for. I share because I want other women to know that they’re not alone. This is normal. As devastating as it is, it happens to so many of us.
If you have gone through this or are going through this, please know that you are not suffering alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence. There are so many of us who are walking the same path as you. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I am here for you. We are here for you.
Welcome back to my blog! The topic of discussion this week is how to cover acne using makeup! Kind of yucky, I know, but it's something that I've gotten very good at.
I'm one of those lucky girls who has had acne their entire life. (Please note the heavy use of sarcasm in that statement.) I got my first pimple in second grade, and in high school my acne developed into cystic acne, leaving lots of scarring and discoloration on my face. Boooo.
As a result, I've developed a process for covering my acne and scarring, and I would say it does the job pretty well.
Every product that I use is linked for your convenience.
When covering acne, make sure you're starting on clean, freshly washed and moisturized skin! This is especially important, as you don't want to be caking makeup on dirty skin. That will just result in your acne getting worse.
Step 1 - Prime your skin
One of my good friends who is a professional makeup artist once told me, "It's a crime not to prime." That is something I carry with me everyday. Priming your skin with the proper product will make a huge difference in the longevity of your makeup, as well as give you an even surface to apply your makeup on.
I recently started using IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores primer and have noticed a drastic difference in reducing the shine that my skin tends to develop as the day progresses. It has a matte finish, which if you have oily skin and large pores like me, is a MUST HAVE. You can find that primer here!
Step 2 - Green Concealer
After priming your skin, the next step is applying green concealer to any spot that you have redness. I apply it to my acne, under my nose, and overtop my scarring. The green works to cancel out any red tones. Don't worry about blending it perfectly into your skin, you'll be layering other products on top of it.
I like SeneGence's green color correcting concealer. You can purchase it from anyone you know who sells LipSense. NYX also makes a great green concealer. You can find it here.
Step 3 - Concealer
The next step is applying a concealer that matches your skin tone overtop the green concealer. This will cancel out the green and add more coverage to your problem areas!
I use NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer and apply it with a concealer brush. You can find it at Sephora, or get it here. I would personally recommend purchasing it in store, that way you can color match it to your skin.
You'll notice that the concealer doesn't appear to perfectly match my skin tone. This is because my face has a lot of redness in it. I'll be completely cancelling that out with my next step.
Step 4 - Foundation
Have you made it this far? Congrats, you're almost done!
The second to last step is applying foundation to your entire face. What you apply your foundation with makes a huge difference in the coverage of the foundation as well as the longevity. I have found that for my skin, I get the most coverage when applying my foundation using a dampened beauty blender and pressing it (not rubbing it) into my skin.
I use Fenty Beauty's Pro Filt'r foundation. You can find that at Sephora or here. I would personally recommend purchasing it in store, that way you can color match it to your skin.
I like Fenty Beauty's foundation as it has a matte finish (extremely important when you have oil prone skin) and is very buildable. I typically apply one layer over my entire face, then add extra layers onto my cheeks and jawline where I have the most acne.
If you have any more acne that is still peeking through, now is when I will apply just a touch more concealer over those especially troublesome spots.
Step 5 - Setting Powder
The final step is dusting your face with setting powder. This will seal everything in and help to give you that "airbrushed" finish!
I like SeneGence's Natural Translucid Powder and and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder (whew that was a mouthful!).
That's it! Notice how much smoother my complexion looks and how the redness has virtually disappeared!
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions at all about concealing your acne, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to help you!
Hello hello! Welcome back to my blog!
This week I want to talk to you about one of my passions, photography! When people find out that I’m a photographer, I almost always get asked, “Will you teach me how to take good photos?!”
Well guess what? Today’s your lucky day! Below I have compiled a list of ten useful tips to help you create better photos!
1- Get to know your camera
Regardless of whether you’re using a DSLR, a point and shoot, or your phone, learn to use the different modes and features that your camera has available.
2- Compose using the rule of thirds
Imagine a tic tac toe grid (or a hashtag) laying over top of your photo.
To create a composition that’s visually appealing, place the focal points of the image on one of those lines, ideally where two of the lines meet.
If you're using an iPhone, you can turn the grid feature on for your camera by opening your settings, going to camera settings, and turning the grid on.
* This tip also applies for selfies!
3- Blur the background
A question I get a lot is how I create images with blurred backgrounds!
To create a blurry background, you’ll want to create space between your subject and the background. The further away your subject is from the background, the more blurry it’ll become.
Next, the easiest mode to achieve a blurry background with is Aperture Mode. This is AV on a Canon, and A on a Nikon.
Next, lower your aperture (the f-stop). The lower your aperture, the blurrier your background will be!
Lastly, step back and zoom in all the way. This compresses the photo and blurs the background.
To create a blurry background on your phone, many phones now have modes that will use software to blur the background. You can also use the app Airbrush and use the “blur” feature to create the illusion of depth of field.
* This tip also applies for selfies!
4- Leave space around your subject
Something I see a lot in photos are limbs being cut off by the frame. I’ve seen so many great photos taken, but the frame cuts the subject off at their ankles.
Allow space around your subject to create a more comfortably composed shot!
5- Pay attention to lighting
There’s nothing quite like trying to get a good shot smack dab in the middle of the day. The sun is glaring down creating huge shadows under the eyes, nose, and neck. YUCK!
When you’re shooting outdoors, cloudy days are your friend! They will diffuse the sunlight and give you soft light instead of harsh shadows. My favorite time of day to photograph is the evening, right before sunset. This will give you great light without crazy shadows. If you have to photograph in the middle of the day, look for shade!
When photographing indoors, big windows letting in natural light will give you the best lighting. Avoid fluorescent lights or bathroom lighting if possible.
* This tip also applies for selfies!
Another lighting issue I see often are photos that are either overexposed or underexposed. That means that they are either too light or too dark. Either one of these issues will cause you to lose details in the photo! Avoid this by making sure you have your exposure correct for the scene you’re photographing. If you’re using your phone, tap on the part of the image you want exposed properly and that will adjust your exposure.
Advanced tip: One of my favorite looks to photograph are photos with soft, ethereal, glowy light. This can be achieved by placing the light source BEHIND your subject!
6- Focus on the eyes
When photographing people, you want the eyes to be in focus! Look for catchlights (the white light reflecting in the eyes) in the subject’s eyes and focus on the eye that is nearest to you.
7- Don’t over retouch
This one is HUGE! When it comes to retouching, less is more. There are plenty of apps that give you the option to smooth out your skin, but avoid going overboard. Too much smoothing will make you look blurry and plastic!
Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that retouching your photos is a bad thing, I am a big fan of editing out my acne in my photos. Just remember that less is more!
* This tip also applies for selfies!
8- Wait for the right moment
This is a tip that has come especially in handy for me when following my toddler around with a camera. It can be easy to rush a photo, but waiting for the right moment will make the difference between a good photo and an amazing photo!
Have patience and wait for that picture perfect moment.
9- Change your perspective
Get creative with perspective! Try taking a photo from either high up or low down, see what happens! When photographing children or animals, try crouching down and getting on their level.
10- Keep lines vertical and horizontal
An important technique that will help take your photography to the next level is keeping the lines in your photos straight.
For example, when you take a beautiful photo of your friend at the beach, make sure the horizon line is straight! This is an easy fix that can even be made after the photo is taken. Most photo editing softwares give you the option to adjust your image rotation in the "crop" settings.
BONUS TIP - The best camera is the one you have with you
Growing up, my dad always told me that the best camera is the one you have with you. If you see an amazing moment, don’t hesitate to photograph it, even if the only camera you have on you is your phone.
Lewis Carroll said that ““In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” This also applies to photos! Some of my favorite photos are ones that I took on my phone because I didn’t have my DSLR with me, yet I am so grateful to have captured the moment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I hope it helped you and that you now feel more confident with your camera! I’d love to see some of your photos that you take after reading these tips! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below!
To my husband on Father's Day,
I'll never forget the look on your face as I watched you become a father. Your eyes were full of love and pride as you began what will perhaps be the most important chapter of your life, fatherhood.
Watching you grow as a father has been a privilege. I remember when Eli was small, you would chew on your tongue as you held him because you were so focused and fatherhood felt so new. Then I watched the two of you get to know each other. You became more comfortable in your role as a father and Eli grew to trust you and rely on you. As Eli has grown, so has his unfailing trust in you.
Each day when Eli wakes up, he immediately asks for "daddy." Every day when you return home from work, his eyes light up as he hears you walk through the door. He knows the sound of your footsteps, and he can't wait to greet you.
I have no doubt that as Eli continues to grow, the two of you will continue to become inseparable. Eli and his Daddy. Daddy and his Eli.
Teach him to be brave. Teach him to love. Teach him to serve others and serve the Lord.
Eli and I love you so much Joseph. Happy Father's Day!
You see, I have always been very in tune with my pregnancies. Call it a gift or call it crazy, I can feel my babies’ spiritual presence in my body, even before taking a pregnancy test.
The next day at 4am, I woke up and couldn’t wait any longer. I took a pregnancy test. I anxiously waited for the results to show. Three minutes later, my feelings from the previous night were confirmed. I was pregnant.
I was immediately overwhelmed with so many feelings. Shock, confusion, joy, fear. I couldn’t believe it. This baby was not planned and felt like a total fluke. Eli was only 9 months old and after quickly doing the math I realized that I was going to have two babies only seventeen months apart. The thought of having two babies so close in age terrified me.
That day I told my husband, Joseph. He was very excited which helped me to feel slightly better about the situation. Even still, the fear crept in. I had a very difficult pregnancy with Eli and was so scared of experiencing that again. I felt guilty for not being excited about having another baby because I know so many would have done anything to be in my position. I was confused by the conflicting feelings inside me. I felt grateful and blessed while still feeling fear and anxiety.
As days passed, the negative feelings began to subside and I allowed myself to truly become excited about the new addition to our family. I began picking names, daydreaming about Eli being a big brother, and discussing potential baby shower ideas with my best friend.
A week later, my biggest fear came true. I was spending the day getting ready to go out of town to see my grandparents. That morning in the back of my mind, I had a strange thought.
“I don’t feel pregnant anymore.”
I quickly shoved that feeling aside. It couldn’t be true. I was obviously just getting in my head and letting my thoughts get the best of me.
A few hours later, I started bleeding. I was crushed. In that instant, I knew that it was over. I couldn’t feel the baby’s presence anymore and I knew I had lost him/her.
I called my husband in a panic. He was at work and immediately left to come be with me. He sat by my side while I shed tears of total devastation.
It was at that point I remembered that we were supposed to be leaving to go see my grandparents in Arizona. My husband asked if I wanted to stay home due to the circumstances but because my grandparents were in poor health, I decided we needed to make the trip.
That was quite possibly the hardest weekend of my life. I mourned in silence. Because it was so early in my pregnancy, I hadn’t told anybody about it. I felt that I had to let my miscarriage happen quietly as to not make anyone feel uncomfortable.
I felt so confused. I felt guilty. I felt like it was my fault. The “what if”s started running through my head. “What if it was because I skipped breakfast that day?” “What if I worked out too hard and that’s why I lost the pregnancy?” Over and over again these thoughts ran through my mind. I was certain I had lost this baby because I had done something wrong.
The worst part was, I felt alone. I was suffering in silence. I had read that 1 in 4 women suffer from pregnancy loss in their lifetime, but even so, I felt like I had nowhere to turn. Nobody to talk to about what I was experiencing. I felt that I couldn’t reach out and ask for comfort because nobody knew I was pregnant to begin with.
Over a year later, and I still struggle with this loss from time to time. I often think about how if I hadn’t lost that baby, he/she would be here now. He/she would be almost five months old. Eli would be a big brother. I’m still paying off emergency room bills from my miscarriage and it feels unfair to me that it cost me more money than the birth of my son. My heart hurts for the baby I never got to hold.
80% of miscarriages happen in the first trimester, usually before pregnancies are announced. I understand this statistic to mean that about 80% of women experiencing pregnancy loss are also doing it alone. To me, that is absolutely heartbreaking. I believe a miscarriage is absolutely one of the hardest things a woman can experience in her life and she shouldn’t have to face that tragedy alone.
It is time to break the stigma. It’s time to talk about the parts of motherhood that are a little uncomfortable. It’s time to speak up so others who are experiencing these hardships know they are not alone. Nobody talks about pregnancy loss, but that needs to change.
If you have struggled or are currently struggling with miscarriage or infertility, please feel free to reach out to me. Know that you are not alone. Speak up. Share your story. There are millions of women walking this path with you. You shouldn’t have to face it in solitude.
What have I been up to?
Stay up to date with my life on my blog!