Thursday, October 22, 2015

A New Chapter in the Journey, a goodbye

Six years ago I made a decision to create a blog. Previous to, The Journey of a Navy Wife, I would post notes to Myspace and Facebook. Never in a million years did I think anyone read what I had to say. After all, I was rarely politically correct, and nauseously positive most of the time. If you have followed my blog long enough, you know I evidently fart rainbows and poop glitter... according to one cynical critic. While my journey still continues, we've opened a new chapter in our lives, in that same journey. This is the official "goodbye" to "The Journey of a Navy Wife", the blog.

If you are for some reason sad... cry no tears. I will continue blogging about my adventures and most of all, be blogging about my amazing son. He's taught me so much and has inspired me more than anything in this world to be the best I can be. That's where my heart is 100% and I could talk about being his mommy 24/7, that is if he lets me. He's currently on an extended nap strike. :)

The domain, is available to transfer to whomever wants it. The other domain, I will not link (just add 'the' to the beginning of the link above), because google wouldn't give me access to renew it, and I could never get any responses. So.. unfortunately, a less than family-friendly site took it over. I do not advise anyone to visit it, unless you're  into Japanese erotica.

Anyhow, This blog will be up a few more days before it will be gone forever. The new site is in the building process as we speak. It'll be all about my journey as a new mom, and my obsession with taking pictures of my son every single day. Poor kid didn't know what he was getting into when he chose a photographer for his mom. ;) I'll also share our NICU journey, what it's like to be a preemie mom, our struggles, our adventures, milestones and more. No worries, if you followed my blog for the military life aspect, that will be there too. We've just added a mini me to the journey.

If you'd like to keep up, "Like" the new facebook page: and keep an eye out for when is officially live.

Later Gator!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Journey Home

The last time I updated my blog was June 25 with my letter to my son, Dear Cash William. I was still pregnant and was measuring 34 weeks. Little did I know that shortly after that post, I would meet my little boy. This blog is about our journey home. Trigger warning for Preemie and NICU moms. This will be a long post. 

On June 26th, I went to my OB for a followup and to have my blood pressure monitored. First, I had my weight checked. I was shocked to see I had gained nearly 30lbs in less than 2 weeks. I knew I had gained, but never would have imagined so much. My blood pressure was high when first checked. They opted to do a manual blood pressure reading and it read higher. I was sent to labor and delivery in hopes they could get my blood pressure down.

I was at the hospital for several hours being monitored. At first, they had no plans to keep me over night. They were getting my discharge papers for me and sending me home on strict bed rest. Then, as I got up to change out of the hospital gown, my blood pressure jumped to the 180's and I was admitted.

It was a miserable night. Every hour I was woke up for tests and monitoring. I started to have contractions, although I wasn't feeling them. My blood pressure was up and down all night, even when resting. The following afternoon, my doctor came in with the news I had severe preeclampsia. My protein shot up from 45 to 4500 in less than 2 weeks. Then, she told me I was being transferred to a hospital in Fresno that handles high risk, preterm, preeclampsia patients.

I was in the hospital for a few days. The goal was to keep me there, on strict bed-rest, for 2 weeks. Of course, this was totally dependent on my body and how much I could and was willing to push it. I was willing to stick it out far longer than the doctors ended up letting me. 

On Monday, June 29th, about 8PM PST, My blood pressure shot up to 188/110 while on medicine to lower my blood pressure. At the same time, my oxygen levels dropped. Both the blood pressure and oxygen monitor alarms went off and 2 nurses ran in. One of the nurses put an oxygen mask on me and as she was doing so, the doctor came in. He told me my liver and kidneys were showing stress and, at that point with my blood pressure jumping and oxygen levels diving, he had no choice. He told me he was going to have to take my baby by emergency c-section and it had to happen as fast as possible. I freaked out because my husband wasn't there. I had sent him home because I was feeling fine. Keyword, was. I asked the doctor if my husband had enough time to make it to the hospital, nearly an hour away. The doctor said, "Tell him to drive fast". My husband walked in as they were rolling me out to the operating room.

Leaving my hospital room and rolling to the operating room, I was scared to death. I was only 32 weeks, said to be measuring 34 weeks. What if he was only 32 weeks? I was terrified. NICU was unavoidable at this point, whether 32 or 34 weeks. I just wanted my little boy to be ok. I wanted to keep him in and let him grow more. But, that wasn't possible. My placenta was attacking my body.

My c-section wasn't pleasant. I had a rough stick with my spinal block and during surgery I could feel more than just pressure. I didn't really hurt, but I could feel pinching and pricks in my abdomen. On top of this, I felt like I couldn't breathe. My son was up in my ribs, so they had to push down to get him out. It's not like they just cut you open and pull the baby out. They push the baby to the hole in your stomach. The worst part of it all, is wondering if he was going to be ok when he came out. 

The 5 seconds I got to see my baby
While in the O.R.
When Cash William was pulled from my stomach, I literally felt empty. I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. All I could see was my husband to my left and what looked like a tarp over top of me. I couldn't see what they were doing and worst of all, I couldn't see my baby boy. Then, I heard him cry and I lost it. He was breathing. He was ok. My husband had to calm me down because I was sobbing so hard. The nurse brought him over to show me my baby boy. He was perfect. I didn't get to hold him. Only 5 seconds and he was taken out of the room to NICU. He was only 32 weeks and weighed 3 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 16 inches long. 

I was taken to recovery. I wasn't going to get to see my baby boy that night. Once NICU had Cash set up in his room, My husband was able to go in and see him for a bit. I however, didn't get to see him for 2 days. TWO DAYS. It was torture. I was on strict bed-rest due to my blood pressure, the magnesium I was on and intense swelling. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life.

Photo my husband took while
visiting with our son.
Thankfully, my husband went to NICU and sat with Cash. While there, he skyped me. He took tons of pictures for me on his phone too. Not only is it hard not getting to see your baby other than by phone.. It is even harder seeing your baby in an isolette with wires and tubes all over him. 

We had no guaranteed timeframe of how much time we were going to be making the NICU our second home. They told us to expect his due date, which wasn't until August 22.. could be earlier, could be later. 

The day I finally got to go see my son, my husband took me by wheel chair. I was still having blood pressure issues, severe swelling and was only taking Motrin for pain. Rolling down the hall and seeing the doors for the NICU, I was extremely nervous and scared. Of what? I'm really not sure. None of those feelings existed when I laid eyes on him. 

His doctor came by his room immediately when we came in.  She said Cash was doing well. He had been taken off of the oxygen at this point, yay! The steroid shots I received before my transfer to Fresno helped him SO much. He was so tiny. His doctor allowed us to do skin to skin and we were able to feed him the colostrum I pumped through a syringe. During his NICU stay, learning to eat was his biggest challenge. 

I was discharged from the hospital after a week. The same day I was discharged, Cash was moved to NICU II. I cried. I was happy he was moved a step up.. but tortured by the fact that he no longer had a room and I couldn't stay with him. We stayed until shift change and then we had to make our drive back to Lemoore. I cried walking away, I cried being rolled to the car and cried the entire way home. I felt like I was living a nightmare. 

Discharge day!
Every day, my husband and I made the drive to the NICU. Every day for 5 weeks. It was like a roller coaster where you're being drug by your ankles... and I never thought it was going to end.

We had set backs with digestive issues, Jaundice, Aspiration, and the length of time it was taking him to learn to eat. We were literally having to teach him how to eat. The day we were told we'd be discharged, they found a heart murmur and almost didn't release him. Thankfully, he was allowed to come home and we scheduled a follow up for his heart (All is well! He has a narrow valve and it'll either grow with him or he'll grow out of it!).

After NICU we had an ER visit via ambulance with a seizure-like episode. Little man has severe reflux. He still has the digestive issues, so he is off Neosure because it makes his reflux so so so much worse and is only strictly breastmilk.

This is the short version. I wanted to blog sooner, but I was a bit preoccupied. Cash is now 3 months old today! He left NICU weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces and today, He weighs 10 pounds, 1 ounce! He's classified as a rapid gainer and will likely adjust by 12  months vs the 2 years expected! Woot! Grow Cash grow!

Our journey through pictures: 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dear Cash William

Dear Cash William,

We are just shy of 34 weeks now. It's crazy to think that very soon, you will be in my arms and no longer in my belly. I'm full of emotions. I am beyond happy and excited, but so very nervous, anxious and terrified.

Your Dad (hehe.. dad.. ) and I and tried so hard over the past several years to become parents. We were blessed with a few pregnancies, but at the time, God must have thought it wasn't the best time. Honestly, we gave up. We were no longer hopeful we'd be parents by a birth from my body. Then, God gave us a miracle, he gave us you. I can't promise you a baby brother or sister in the future, but as you know, God is in control.

The past few months we have had some scares. The doctors didn't know if my body could keep you. Even with all the scares, you've shown just how strong you really are. When I'm not feeling well, and I'm worried.. you give me a kick, a push or a stretch to say, "Hey, I'm still here and we're doing this". Thank you for that. Just like your dad always says, you tell me everything is going to be OK.

You're not even here yet and you've taught me so much already. I have a lot to learn still yet, and I'm so sorry that with you, there will be a lot of trial and error. I promise I'll keep learning and do what I feel is best for you at all times.

I find myself wondering who you're going to look like more. I wonder how much like your 3D pictures you'll really look. Will you have a head full of hair, or be bald until you're 3 like I was? Will you have your dad's nose like it appears in your 3D images? Will you get my creative, need for artsy things or be more athletic like your dad? I hope you get your dad's sense of humor and my need for planning. I hope you get some of the height from your Nana's side of the family and little curls from your dad. Only time will tell.. I know, but my mind never quits. No matter what, you will be you and absolutely perfect.

Being on a temporary bed-rest and feeling you squirming around, I can't help but smile. Even with all the problems with my body, you've remained strong and I've loved every second of carrying you. Now, this isn't me saying I'm ready for you to come out just yet.. I need you to stay as close to your due date as possible. I know the doc says likely around 35 weeks because mommy was made different... but we've come this far, let's see if we can keep going.

Soon Little man, soon you will greet the world and I will be the happiest person on the planet.

Mom (hehe.. mom.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Different Journey

The past few days I have been cleaning out the room that will become baby boys nursery. Among the items to move out are all the baby items I've hoarded over the years that are not meant for a little boy. I have quite a bit of little girl clothes and even crib bedding in paisley. The truth then set in, and oddly I find that I'm very content.

The truth is, Baby Boy may be our only child to come from my belly. At first, looking at all the adorable little girl clothes, I felt a little sad. But then Baby Boy kicked and I felt absolute calmness and extreme happiness. Fact is, even if I can carry again, we'll be facing the same journey it took to get where we are now with little man. While I'm happy I made it through everything we faced, I really don't want to go through it again, even if in the end there is an absolutely amazing reward. I don't think I can do it mentally nor physically. I'm being blessed with an absolute little miracle right now. God gave me what we've been praying for for 7 years almost. And Baby Boy is our, "Lucky number 7". I think God is pulling us in an alternate direction for baby number 2. He answered our prayers, and now, he's talking another direction for the future.

The topic of adoption has come up many times over the past several years. We had finally become content with that as our only option... but little did we know when we had that last talk, I was already pregnant (God sure does have some oddly perfect timing!). We had the talk while we were out shopping for the foster kids we adopted for Christmas. My heart felt so full (I was super emotional, and now I know that some of that is attributed to pregnancy hormones! LOL). My husband I spoke about fostering and eventually adopting. I was at peace we were on the same page and we had accepted a different journey, then God blessed us even more than we could have ever imagined.

Today, talking with my husband, we agreed to part with all the baby girl stuff we have packed away. We'd rather it go to someone who could use it now, vs it being in space saver bags stored in a plastic bin. We spoke about the realization that Baby Boy may be the last pregnancy. Then, we talked about adopting a baby girl down the road. I honestly think this is the path for us. It's a path we both agree on. 

I feel at peace and absolutely beyond blessed. This pregnancy has it's complications, but I was blessed with no real morning sickness and healthy growing boy who gives me little kicks to make me smile throughout the day.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Life since the PCS

My husband and I have been in California for 7 months, going into our 8th month now. In just this short period of time, SO many things have changed and I've been blessed in so many ways.

As many of you know, I run my own photography studio, Christina Rush Photography. A couple years ago, I had a big project in my mind. The project being working with women and showing their natural beauty. I joined other photography projects catering to women, but nothing fulfilled my idea. Every project seemed to cater to a specific look for women. To fit a project's idea of beauty, they had to be curvy, have a mom body, be fit.. etc. Everything EVERYONE, was labeled by a specific body type. In 2014, after hashing my ideas with a beautiful momma, Jessi, I decided to start putting together a plan and execute it for launch in 2015. I shut down my boudoir site, Just a Little CRush and headed in a wonderfully new direction. In January of 2015, a nationwide project called Raw Beauty Sessions was launched. Thank you Jessi for pushing me to do what I wanted, and what I needed.

Raw Beauty Sessions is on a mission to show all women, they are beautiful, just as they are. No matter a woman's body type, no matter if a woman has what society calls, "Flaws".. all women are beautiful. I'm proud to say that as of May, 1, 2015 we have photographers in 7 states and we are growing! Yeah!

Another awesome growth for me since our PCS to California? My photography newsletter is now sent to more than 40 people. While I don't send newsletters regularly, this is something I'm very proud of. This means people are looking at what I'm doing, and people do enjoy my work. I can't wait to announce a HUGE adventure I'll be taking after our baby boy arrives in a few months.. oh yeah, I still haven't blogged about that either, have I? Man, I'm behind! :D

So, the MOST EXCITING thing to happen in my life since the move and.. well, pretty much ever... We are pregnant! My last posts about doctor visits and seeing where we were heading with our journey to have a baby were actually follow up baby appointments. While there are some scary things going on with this pregnancy and a  lot of risks for premature labor, our little boy is healthy and currently thriving at 24 weeks. I feel his movements, his kicks. He there, he's alive and he's ours. We finally got our little miracle I've been praying and begging for for almost 7 years. Almost 7 years, and 6 miscarriages.. He's our lucky number 7.

We'll have more images, better quality, next weekend :)

Life is is so amazing right now.