Journey to Parenthood · Our Pack · These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Our Little Blessing

Sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but we’ve been a little busy growing a human!!! πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸŽ‰

Once we got the go ahead from the Repro Specialist, we began trying again. We were blessed to conceive again right away! 
Here’s our announcement we shared on my personal accounts….:

“God is so good y’all! We are so excited to finally announce that Baby Longmire is on the way ❀❀❀ We’re by no means ‘out of the woods’ yet…but we’ve been open about things thus far and want to continue to be. We feel really good about this baby and have a feeling this is the one! We’ve seen baby twice now and so far, everything is perfect!

We have appreciated everyone’s prayers over us up to this point & would love continued prayers for our sweet double rainbow baby πŸŒˆπŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸŒˆ #doublerainbow #expecting #October2017 #Octoberbaby #babyLongmire”

We didn’t want to wait any longer to announce because why keep this precious little life a secret any longer than we had to?? We’re so exteremely excited and couldn’t wait to share the news, though it was a very scary leap to make.

We’ve been very lucky in the sense that our specialist doctor has kept a super close eye on us thus far. We found out at 4 weeks along. They then had us do blood work twice a week to check my levels and make sure everything was rising as it was supposed to. Then once we hit the 6 week mark we were able to have our first, early ultrasound.

Up until this point we had never had a successful ultrasound so we were both a bit terrified. Each of the other times the ultrasounds had confirmed that we had lost our babies. But we had a different feeling this time and while still scared to death, we tried to remain positive and hopeful.

We went in at 6 weeks and 3 days and immediately when the ultrasound began, we could see the little flicker of a heartbeat pounding away ❀❀❀ That was the most reliving thing that could have happened. Our doctor said usually you have to look a second to find the heartbeat that early but there it was right away, showing us that things were okay. We stared on in awe as we watched the little heart pound and we were even able to listen to it, though it was hard to hear that early on. The heartrate was at 107 which is good for that early. So far, everything was looking perfect! (Below you can see the little heart looking like a bright, shining light!)


(Might be able to hear if you listen closely!)

​​
Though we were thrilled by most of the news during our appointment, we also got a little not so good news. There had originally been twins. You can see the “collapsing” (as the Dr. called it) sac above the one holding baby. It appears lighter gray and more fuzzy. He said this one didn’t have a viable baby as there was no heartbeat and that it was in the process of collapsing and re-absorbing.

While we were saddened by this news, we knew that we were still tremendously blessed to have one healthy baby on our hands and that we needed to keep our focus on that. Maybe had there been two, there would have been more complications. Maybe my body wouldn’t be able to handle carrying two. Whatever the reason, we believe God knows what he’s doing and that for whatever reason, this pregnancy needed to be one with our single baby. So we are trusting in that.

We went ahead and took our announcement pictures with a friend of mind and decided to share our news after our 8 week ultrasound if all went well. Below are our pictures with our 6 week ultrasound

As we finished up pictures and were leaving, I was talking about the pretty sunset that had happened to come up in the middle of our little shoot and went on to say, “THANK YOU GOD!!” (Referring obviously to the beautiful sunset he gave us for the pictures) But looking back now I realize subconsciously I was thanking God for MUCH MORE in that moment πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Not long after I started to get the dreaded morning sickness (which is false, it’s all day for me). Luckily I haven’t actually gotten sick, it’s just been pretty regular nausea. My doctor even offered to give me medicine to relieve me of this symptom but, strange as it is, after going through loss you begin to crave these symptoms! Symptoms like these reassure you that things are progressing and happening like they should. So I continued on without medicine, enjoying (???) the nauseous feeling of my baby growing on! Never thought I’d be grateful for feeling so sickly πŸ€’πŸ€’πŸ€”

We then waited a longgggg 2 weeks until our 8 week ultrasound. We were dreading this one a bit as the 8th week is the week where things had gone wrong in the past.. We hoped and prayed for a still strong heartbeat and a growing baby.

God put our minds to rest once more as we heard a stronger, louder, much more clear heartbeat than the previous one just 2 weeks before! (It really is insane how much a little babe can grow in such a short period of time!) Our baby that was about the size of a pea was now the size of a strawberry! This time we had a heartbeat of 157 which is perfect for that far along! You can already see the little head, body, and arms ❀❀❀

We left feeling relieved but also still cautious. After all, we were just at 8 weeks and 3 days. That still left several days in the dreaded 8 week zone. To say getting through that week was easy would be a complete lie. But I found comfort in sharing our news with the world. Though it felt very risky to do this early on and not even out of the week we feared most, I knew now was when we needed the extra prayers the most.

As I sit here typing this now, I’m glad to say that I’m now 9 weeks and 1 day along. I feel good and think that everything I well at this point (though we won’t know for sure until our 10 week appointment). I’m still feeling nauseous and exhausted so I like to think that that’s a good sign! πŸ™πŸ»

A friend of mine that I’ve met through this process (makingamomma) recently wrote on her blog being “frustrated that the innocence of pregnancy has been ripped away by the loss of a pregnancy” and that hit home for me. I don’t know that I’ll ever get to a point in this pregnancy where there isn’t fear in the back of my mind or where I don’t worry about every pain or symptom or lack there of. But I do know that going through the losses that we have will make us a thousand times more greateful for these future little blessings we get to carry and raise β€πŸŒˆπŸ‘ΆπŸ» 

Please pray for us in our continued journey and for this little miracle (cause all babies truly are) growing in my belly to continue to thrive! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»

Journey to Parenthood · Loss · Our Pack

Our AnnouncementΒ 

Several months ago, we hit huge bump in the road. Not once, but twice. We lost something we had longed and prayed constantly for. We lost our two first babies.

Once we got married, we wanted to wait a little while before expanding our little pack of a family. What I didn’t know was that I would become ready not too long after that decision. All of a sudden I had a strong urge to be a mother. This was probably half a year to a year into our marriage. I had agreed we should be married a little while first and adjust to that and enjoy that phase a little first. But then..out of nowhere..it hit! This urge and want and need and longing to be a Mama, and it didn’t lessen from that point on. It just grew!!

I told Clayton of my feelings but knew that we would probably still wait a little. He wasn’t quite ready and it was a huge decision to make and I wanted us to both be fully ready (or as ready as you can be). So we continued to wait and pray about it and had occasional coversations about it to check in and make sure we were both still somewhat on the same page. I was impatient, but I knew that this couldn’t happen before he was ready as well and that it for sure wasn’t something I wanted to rush or pressure him into. So I tried my best to be understanding while my urges grew stronger and stronger with the time that passed.

Finally, one day we talked and he said that he was ready!! I didn’t think he would be saying that as soon as he did, so I was shocked and thrilled!! We didn’t waste any time. We started trying.

Things took a turn from that point on.. If you follow me on my personal social media accounts, then you know the gist of what happened. Below I’ll share our announcement that was made on social media. It wasn’t the announcement we hoped and planned for, but it was one that after everything I felt needed to happen. I will go into more detail of each pregnancy and where we are now in my next several posts. So for now, here’s our announcement…:

“It’s with a sad and heavy heart that we’re about to share what has been going on in our lives the past several months. Social media has become a place of perfection where everyone posts the happy and the best parts of their lives, but I believe that we should also share our struggles and be real and vulnerable from time to time to truly be able to share in the happy and the joyous moments when they do come.
8 months ago we decided to expand our family, and we were quickly blessed to find out shortly after that we were expecting. We then, unfortunately, went on to lose that sweet baby due to miscarriage. We tried again and shortly after were blessed by another baby. And this week we have just lost our second angel baby to miscarriage. Along with the loss of my dad, this is the hardest thing I’ve had to go through. And all 3 losses in our first 2 years of marriage.

We never thought miscarriage was in our future. Why would it be? We’re both very young and healthy. We thought we were lucky, we conceived the first month we began trying. And then even after our first loss we thought surely our pain and suffering was over. We again counted ourselves lucky when we conceived on the first month back trying again, but the fear of miscarriage loomed in the back of our minds throughout the second pregnancy, only to have it happen again.

It wasn’t until our first loss that we learned how common miscarriages actually are, and that’s because they are never talked about. Whether it be because it makes people uncomfortable or because it’s hard and painful to discuss. It being so seldom talked about also makes going through one very lonely. You feel as if you shouldn’t talk about it for other people’s sake, when in reality it should be a time to talk about it for comfort and sake of healing.

I learned only after telling people of our loss that many, many women I knew had experienced this loss as well. And otherwise I would have never known it. Even men I knew had experienced it with their own wives. That is where I found some support and comfort. In the people that had been through it and experienced what I was now experiencing. I then learned just how common it was and then wondered even more why it was something that wasn’t talked about when it could truly be so healing to put your thoughts and feelings out there and to just have them be validated and understood. I realize that talking about this loss might not be what feels right to everyone and that if not comfortable with doing so, then that’s definitely their choice to make, but to me it feels right.

The first pregnancy, only the people whom we had let it slip to when we were excited later came to know of our loss. And I regret hiding that part of my life from everyone else now and didn’t want to do that again this time around. Going through such joy and then through such loss and grief truly changes you and who you are. It isn’t a bad thing for people to know why and to share in your journey. I want to be able to help those that go through this in the future and I can’t do that if no one ever knows of my own struggles. I don’t want going through losing a child to feel lonely and like you should feel guilty to open up about what’s happening in life for fear of making others uncomfortable. 

Any life, no matter how short, should be able to be acknowledged and celebrated. I have two angels in heaven that otherwise wouldn’t be known about because I was doing what is more comfortable socially. But now, I’m celebrating my babies and everyone else’s angel babies that are looking down on them. We’ve prayed throughout this whole process and talked to God the entire time. We know that He has a huge plan for us, the hardest part now is just patients. I also want to ask for prayer from whoever chooses to read this. Prayers for Clayton and I and our journey to parenthood, prayers for successful future pregnancies, and prayers for all who have to go through the same thing. 

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” πŸ™πŸ»β€οΈπŸŒˆπŸ‘ΌπŸ»πŸ‘ΌπŸ»”

Married Life · Our Pack

The Wife of a Firefighter πŸš’πŸš¨πŸ‘°πŸ»

Many people don’t know that being a firefighters wife is any different than being any other persons wife. In many ways it isn’t. In many ways it’s an amazing job with great benefits, awesome perks, and as I hear all firefighters say, “It really is the best job ever.” In some ways, though, it can just downright suck (excuse my frankness).

When Clayton came to live with me that summer before we got engaged, we got spoiled! We were spoiled the summer before the engagement, the rest of the summer afterwards, and for several months past summer until he became employed by the fire department. We saw each other every day and every night around school and work. That became our new norm after the year and a half of long distance apart. And then our real life began.

When you’re with a firefighter, depending on where they work, they will have certain shifts. In our city, they do 24 hours on, 48 hours off. That means that I go 24 hours without having my husband around. While that might not seem so bad, for us it was a bit of a shock after getting used to being constantly together.

Date nights with other couples then depend on what nights your husband is home and can make it. Your everyday dinner plans change from one night to the next depending on if it’ll be for two, or if you’ll be eating alone that night. You worry about the line of work they’re in and if they’ll be safe through out the night depending on what calls might arise. You get used to sleeping alone a good part of your nights, which seems weird once you’re married. You never think ahead when you think of married life and imagine yourself sleeping alone like you did when you were single! And then if shifts need covering or if they get overtime, that adds on another 24 hours of away time.

I’m not going to lie, at the beginning I missed him a lot! I missed having him to myself every night and being able to make plans after work or school without having to think, “Oh, is tonight an off night or will he be gone for the night..?” And then what about when kids come? Would I feel like a single mom for a good portion of the time, raising my kids every 3rd day by myself?? Not to mention the fact that sometimes that day in falls on a big holiday. I started to feel like 1/3 of the time I was single again even though I was a newlywed! It just didn’t feel like I’d imagined marriage would.

Now, I know thus far it sounds like all cons..right? It did seem a little like that to me in the beginning. But then I had a change of heart after I got used to this new life. This is what I signed up for as a wife of a firefighter! This is part of their job which then, in turn, becomes part of our wife job as well. I know a lot of firefighters wives that ask how it’s so easy for me. I wouldn’t say it isn’t easy by any means, but I do think that the majority of our relationship being long distance probably made for some good practice for us!! I started to think of all the people that look up to firefighters and respect them for what they do. They really do make sacrifices to be there every third night. It doesn’t only take my husband from me on those nights, it also takes all of those men away from their families.They sacrifice family time, they sometimes sacrifice sleep (those all night long calls sound awful for a girl who loves her sleep), and at times they’re sacrificing their lives. I then realized that the least I could do was stop thinking about how it was affecting me, and start thinking about all of the other positives.

A lot of women I talk to find it difficult to find time to balance ‘friend time’ and ‘boyfriend/husband time’. A pro I realized was that I could begin to capitalize on this time I was going to spend away from my spouse regardless! I started making lots of plans with my girlfriends on nights that I knew Clayton was scheduled to be away at work. That way I was still having my girl time, without it needing to take away from my family time.

I also realized that I enjoy an occasional day alone! I’m an only child so I was used to always having time of my own that I could fill however I chose. Now I take advantage of that time and go get my nails done, treat myself to some occasional shopping, read, binge watch shows that I know my husband can’t stand…the sky is the limit for my ‘me time’ and I actually enjoy having that time back! (Not that I wouldn’t choose my husband home every night over all that ‘me time’, buuuut since he can’t be, might as well enjoy it!)

Where future children are concerned, I thought about the fact that I’ll probably be staying home with them. On days that he is off, we will both get to be at home all day raising our children together and spending that time with each other! Not many other jobs get that many days off with their kiddos. So though we’ll miss him dearly when he’s at the station (which we can still go and visit him at), it’ll almost make up for it with the days that he will get to be home and with us all day! They also get a lot of freedom with choosing time off or trading time so that they can be there for family vacations, family functions, kids activities, and be off at the drop of a hat if an emergency arises. The department really does try to make the guys jobs as family friendly as possible.The men are also there for each other. The bond between the guys at the stations are very neat to see. They become each others families away from home with all the time that is spent with each other. They have their own ‘house’ (station) where they basically live together during every third day. They hangout together, cook and eat all meals together, sleep there (in separate bedrooms) together, workout together, watch movies together, basically they do it all — together! How could you NOT become like family with that being the arrangement?! Most importantly, though, they all have each others backs. When they go on calls, they take care of each other and make decisions in the best interest of their team so that everyone stays safe and so everyone can make it back home to their other families. Who wouldn’t feel proud and comfortable with sending their spouse off to that every third night??So yes, there are a few cons to being married to a man that you don’t see as often as you’d choose to if you could.. But at the same time, it’s a job my husband loves and I couldn’t ask for more than that. Besides, doesn’t some distance make the heart grow fonder?! πŸ˜‰

Married Life · Our Pack · These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Our Love Story

Clayton and I met by chance through mutual friends. My freshman year of college I happened to be in Abilene, his hometown, on a road trip with two of my sorority sisters. We were there to see a friend of one of my road trip buddy’s that happened to be Clayton’s roommate! 

Though he was around for just a short while that weekend, I took notice. He was handsome and had an attractive, deep voice, an easygoing way to him, and a talent with the guitar (swoon). But the thing that appealed to me most was the open bible he had left laying out one morning before he left. This caught my eye because most guys our age didn’t seem to have religion at such a high priority. From that point I was intrigued.

I attempted to play it cool during the brief time we saw him before we left. I thought that surely I would never see this guy again since I had no reason to ever be back in Abilene, TX. So we all said our goodbyes and headed back to Lubbock. We stopped at a gas station to fill up on our way out of town. I’ll never forget it because, little did I know then, that’s where our story would begin. I mentioned casually that I though he was attractive. My friend then took it upon herself to let her friend know this piece of information and of course, he then told Clayton (yes, I was embarrassed, but also slightly giddy at the thought that he might then be interested as well).

Apparently he was at least the slightest bit curious, because not long after I had a Facebook message waiting for me. The gist of it was that I seemed like a “pretty cool girl” (cheesy now, it still makes us giggle) and that he’d like to get to know me better if I was interested, along with his phone number. Of course the three of us girls lost it in the car ride back after we read that! πŸ˜‚ 

A little unsure because of the whole distance thing, and hello!!!, I DIDN’T hardly even know the guy…but nonetheless, I sent him a text the next day. We then went on talking, all day everyday, for the next several months. We didn’t know where anything would go and at one point I was even so bold as to ask. I was a little deflated when he answered that he just saw us as friends for now, because I had gotten past the ‘just friends’ feeling by that point. But stubborn as I am, I knew that there was more to this relationship than friendship, even if he didn’t yet (haha)! πŸ˜‰ 

He then went on to visit me several times in Lubbock. Our first (I call it date, he didn’t know what to call it) was to a movie premier. But it wasn’t just any movie….it was one of the Twilight series premieres…you know, the vampire ones that girls for some reason loved and men for sure did not…..(oops) and it was with about 8 of my sorority sisters πŸ™ƒ (bless his heart). I knew he was a good guy when he went, was the only guy, didn’t complain, AND actually seemed to enjoy himself with us! Another trip he made to Lubbock was for a date party (usually themed sorority parties where you bring a date) and the theme was “Once Upon a Time”……. Every girls dream? Probably. Every guys dream? Not so much. But he was still a trooper and even helped me come up with our costume idea, Woody & Bo Peep from Toy Story! (And trust me, that was not the end of all of the dress up parties. Ohhhh no, that was just the tip of the iceberg!! *some pictured below) He then went on to visit me another time or two in Lubbock and I went a few times to see him in Abilene.

Not even a month after our ‘just friends for now’ conversation, I noticed that our topics had gotten much deeper and our tone much more than pure friendship. I knew that I was falling for this guy that I’d met just two short months ago and I knew that there was something on his end as well. He let on that I was right and that there were feelings that had built that he had been denying, and I knew that this was indeed going to turn into something. We then developed a more romantic relationship and were seeing each other every weekend from that point on, but we still weren’t a ‘couple’ yet by label terms.

So my bold (slightly impatient?) little self decided that I did, indeed, love him and so why not just say it?! 😱 Nervous as all get out, I was home in Amarillo for Christmas break and lying in my old bed in the bedroom of my childhood house. It was Christmas Eve and we were talking until the wee hours of the morning. We said our good nights and then, with a racing heart, when I knew he would be asleep…I typed out a text saying, “I love you” and hit ‘send’. πŸ˜±πŸ˜­πŸ˜–πŸ˜³πŸ˜πŸ˜œπŸ˜†πŸ™ƒπŸ˜°πŸ˜± Yes, I said I love you first. And yes, I panicked a little after doing so!! But with the damage done, I went to sleep leaving the effects of that message to be determined the next day.

To my (surprise? delight? all of the above?) I had a text waiting for me when I woke up. “I’ve been wanting to tell you for awhile now but wanted it to be in person, but I love you, too :)”. I just about died when I read those words, and then with it was another message, “Oh, and Merry Christmas!” Ummmm yeah!! Merry freakin Christmas to me indeed!!! πŸ˜† From that point on, we were inseparable (and official)!

Fast forward a year and a half of long distance (which truly does suck, if you were wondering) we were still living apart and having a hard time with it. His school kept him in Abilene and mine kept me in Lubbock. But after he finished paramedic school, we decided we didn’t want to do the distance anymore. He was going to move!! I still had some school left to go so that’s why he decided to come to me.

Marriage had been discussed at this point and we said we would most likely go back to Abilene once I finished up with school. We were ready to start our new chapter together and to FINALLY be done with all of the distance! We had shortly lived together over the summer while he was between school ending and his graduation, but I was nervous about the situation becoming permanent. I was wary about living with him just because I was a little old fashioned in that way. I wanted to be married, or at least engaged!, before I made that huge step with someone. Luckily for me, we had a little trip planned!

Our moms had gotten to know each other through us on a few occasions by that point and got along very well. We thought that a trip with the four of us sounded fun so we set off for Mexico! Once we were on our way, all of my friends were anxiously texting me little well wishes. They were all convinced that we would be getting engaged on this trip (because, hello?!?!! What better place than Cabo for a romantic engagement?!). I have to say, I too was hopeful and a little anxious.

After our first day there, I told my mom that while I was hopeful..I just didn’t see an engagement happening on this trip. We had just had an amazing day exploring Cabo but I just wasn’t feeling ‘it’. I wasn’t feeling that something big was coming and I didn’t want to waste away our vacation being anxious waiting for something or disappointed if nothing happened. So then and there before going to dinner that night I decided that I was going to drop it and just enjoy myself and my time with my people.

I somehow didn’t notice that Clayton wasn’t eating much at dinner and also didn’t notice that he wasn’t saying much. We were all just enjoying our dinnertime show that the resort put on. After we finished eating he asked if I wanted to take a picture on the beach. (Um, YES I do!) If you know me at all, you know that I, 1. Have a horrible memory and 2. LOVE to take pictures of EVERYTHING (perhaps subconsciously so that I can help with #1 and have all the pictures to remember the memories by!) So we walk down to the beach as the sun starts to go down and I notice that he’s walking a weirdly far distance away from me. I also notice he isn’t really talking and wonder what the deal is. He finally turns and comes towards me as I turn and get ready to pose for a picture. He then stops me and kneels down on one knee and I really wish I could tell you what was said after that point because honestly I just remember seeing trembling and tears and hearing myself say some shaky, choked out version of, “yes!!!” 

So yeah, that helped put my mind to ease a little about the living together situation…….and the whole being engaged part wasn’t too terrible either πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

We then had a year and three month long engagement filled with Clayton graduating and moving, me finishing school, him working as a paramedic, decorating our rental house, wedding planning, and spending time with our fur baby Sandie (whom I had had since high school).

Towards the end of that long engagement time, we bought a new furry addition to our family (Tuff) and bought our first house!! Clayton also got on full time with the Lubbock Fire Department, which has always been his dream job!

Fast forward to September, 27 2014. We got married in Canyon, TX just outside of my hometown at a place called Country Home Weddings. It was the most beautiful night and everything that we had planned came together flawlessly as we finally joined together as one and left as husband and wife!

 

Two years later here we are! Clayton is still a firefighter (which is why we chose Lubbock as our permanent home) and works part time as a paramedic in two small surrounding areas. I’m now working at a daycare and work with babies that are newborn-2 year olds and am absolutely in love with it! Sandie and Tuff are as spoiled as ever and we are currently working on expanding our little family (but that is a whole other story that has yet to come)! 

Married Life · Our Pack · These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Our Little Pack–

Hi Y’all!,

I’m Stephanie. A twenty-four year old who resides in Texas with my husband Clayton and our two pups!

Clayton & I were married in September of 2014. I attended Texas Tech University and graduated with a Bachelors in Animal Science in May of 2015. I then went on to work with kids and adults with disabilities at a therapeutic horseback riding facility where I remained for about a year and a half. It was a job that I loved because I got to be around animals, a huge passion of mine, as well as work with children which have always been close to my heart. Circumstances then lead to a job change and I began work at a daycare where I currently work today!

This blog will be all about being a newlywed, marriage, our lives together, our amazing friendships, and our struggle and journey to become parents. We love our “pack” dearly and look forward to sharing our lives with you on our way to expanding it!