When My Life Became Meaningful by Kristen Wilson

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In November of 2015, I had a strong suspicion that I may be pregnant. So I did what every girl would do; I went to the pharmacy and bought as many pregnancy tests that I could carry to the register. Well, I went 6 for 6 that day; all of the tests were positive. My husband and I could not believe it! We were ecstatic. About 12 weeks later, we found out the gender. I was finally getting the little girl that I’ve always wanted. From then on, I rushed my pregnancy. Her nursery was finished a month later, and her closet was full of pink. We decided to name her Isabella Kate. Bella for short. Friends and family were all thrilled and patiently waiting for her due date: August 11th. I, on the other hand, was having a tough time with all of the not so wonderful pregnancy issues: elevated blood pressure, swelling, and clothes awkwardly fitting to name a few.

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On May 3rd, I decided to go to St. Francis Hospital for a few of the issues mentioned above, not the clothes awkwardly fitting part (although it felt like an emergency at times), but for swelling and high blood pressure. I was there for a few hours while hooked up to a baby monitor and blood pressure machine. After my lab work was returned with no indications of any potential issues, I was released and told to take it easy. On the following Saturday morning, I woke up with severe stomach cramps and blurred vision. I sat up in bed and began rubbing my eyes, trying to figure out why my vision was blurred. Why could I not see? I got up and grabbed my blood pressure machine. It was through the roof. I immediately called my doctor who told me to go straight to the ER. I stirred my husband while crying in pain and told him we needed to go.

We checked in at St. Francis Hospital, again, and waited for answers. The doctors determined that I had developed severe preeclampsia (high blood pressure and swelling). I was immediately hooked up to an IV while I was in nearly unbearable pain. We knew that my vision was blurred due to my high blood pressure, but we were unsure of the reason for my severe stomach pain. After reviewing my blood work results, the doctors informed me that I would need to be transferred to Greenville Memorial Hospital, where they would hopefully be able to postpone the delivery of Bella until 28 weeks. At this point, we knew Bella would ultimately be delivered prematurely.

When I arrived at Greenville Memorial, there were nurses and doctors everywhere. As the doctors were speaking with me about anesthesia, the risks of it, and how we were “going about it”, the emergency tone of my baby’s heart beat monitor pierced the noise in the room: Bella’s heartbeat was no longer detected by the medical equipment. After a few minutes that felt like hours of trying to relocate her heartbeat, the doctors decided to do an ultrasound. The doctor stared in confusion at the computer screen while taking pictures of it with his phone. I asked if everything was okay and was told yes, but he wanted to show the image on the screen to another doctor. He told me to plan on delivering via C-section within an hour or two. At 26 weeks, 14 weeks early, we were going to deliver Bella. Was this really happening? With the suddenness and uncertainty of the situation, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “will we survive this?”.

My husband, mother, in-laws, and husband’s grandpa joined me in the hospital room. My husband’s grandfather came to pray over Bella and I, and I couldn’t have been happier that he did. After he finished, the doctors returned to say I would be delivering within 30-45 minutes. The doctors began preparing my bed, and my husband received his blue scrubs. While looking around at a room full of worried faces, I told my family I loved them. At the time, I was experiencing fear. Not fear of the surgery or spinal tap, but fear for my unborn daughter’s life. After being moved to the prep room, the doctors prepared me for the spinal tap. After being pinched, pricked, and poked, they decided the spinal tap was not working fast enough, and I would have to be put to sleep. I asked for my husband and was told he could no longer be in the room with me. I cried as I felt the oxygen mask touch my face.

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Hours later, I woke up in the recovery room with my husband by my side. Isabella Kate Wilson was born that day at 2:54pm, weighing in at 1lb 14oz and 13.5” long. Although I wasn’t able to see her, I was assured that she was perfect and beautiful. That night was long; I was extremely sick from the medicine and sore from the delivery. It wasn’t until the next day, Mother’s Day, at 4pm that I was able to see and hold my precious, miracle baby.
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I was later updated with more details regarding my C-section. The severe stomach pain that I was feeling was coming from the placenta detaching. The rush to deliver was not only because of the placenta but my kidneys were releasing toxins into my body and starting to fail. Aside from occasional stomach soreness, I have since fully recovered.

Isabella Kate has been in NICU for 2 months and counting. She has been through two blood transfusions, three different oxygen machines, a ton of lab work, four different NICU rooms, two different NICU levels, and a lot of nurses. She has grown from 1lb 14oz to 4lbs 6.5oz and from 13.5” to nearly 16”. She has finally reached the weight requirement for clothes, and as of this week, she was moved to an open crib. Bella has not required surgery, and for that, we thank God. This little girl has been a true rock star since the day she was born!

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With her being in NICU, patience is of the upmost importance since we are unsure of when she will come home. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret rushing my pregnancy. Through this difficult time in our lives, we have witnessed a beautiful miracle. Bella is perfect, despite her sassy personality, and I could never thank God enough for blessing me with her.

May 7th was a life changing day for me, and it will forever play in my head like a movie. Something special was formed: a never ending bond between my husband, Bella, myself, and the Lord. On that day, my life became meaningful.

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From Faith: Kristen Wilson is a first time mommy to a beautiful little girl and an amazing wife to her husband, Austin. She is a believer in Christ, and through her story, I hope others in her situation will know they are not along. Premature births affect nearly 380,000 babies in the United States alone. March of Dimes has made one of the worst experiences for a mother more bearable. Not only did they help this family, but they continue to help fund research for other families who will undergo this same experience. Kristen has signed up to walk in the March for Babies in October 2016, and she is raising money for her walk. Here is a link if you feel led to donate for her cause or walk alongside Kristen. More than anything, please keep The Wilson family and sweet Isabella in your prayers as they look forward to bringing their baby girl home.

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The Best Day

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The title to this post may be misleading; I am still hoping to go to Disney World one day, but until then, this has been one of the best days. Since I became a mother, I have worked every Mother’s Day. This time, I decided I was going to enjoy the day. I didn’t realize what I had been missing out on.

Today was better than my birthday, even better than opening presents on Christmas morning when I was 5 years old. Being a mom isn’t always an easy job. In fact, there are days I find it rather difficult. While I am learning how to parent, she’s learning new ways to drive me to gray hair. After all, she’s just like me: an opinionated, bossy, little ball of energy.

Despite the hard days, I am grateful that God chose me to be her mother. Out of all of my jobs, being her mother is my favorite and the most rewarding. It’s my calling, and I can’t remember life without her. She gives me a reason to wake up and the inspiration to chase my dreams.

Women don’t become moms to have a day of celebration; we become moms to leave behind a legacy: our children. I want to wish every mom out there the best Mother’s Day, but don’t get wrapped up in a single day. Know that you are special everyday and mean the world to your babies, both young and old. You are appreciated more than you know.

Now, more about my day. It started with breakfast in bed. Well, food was brought to me in bed. Since syrup was involved, we decided it was best to utilize our kitchen table. If you know me then you know syrup is my kryptonite. Evan captured this beautiful moment before heading downstairs.

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We then rushed off to church which was followed by a lunch date. Then came a shopping trip. I only made it to one store, but that was plenty. Evan was such a good sport that I even let him go to the golf store.

After coming back to the house to let Ella nap, we had a mini photo shoot in the front yard where we snagged these beauties. Ella is in love with the camera and even tells me how to pose.

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Evan prepared us a beautiful meal. Dessert wasn’t even necessary, and I promise it tasted as good as it looked.

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Today was long, eventful, and simply the best. I enjoyed every second of being pampered. The best part about my Mother’s Day was when Ella told Evan, “Today isn’t about you, Daddy. It’s mommy’s day and Ella’s day!”.

What was your favorite part about Mother’s Day? Did you get the perfect gift? Did something funny happen? Share in the comments; I’d love to hear what made your Mother’s Day special!

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Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies

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After my daughter had a run-in with the stomach bug, we decided to take the following day off to recuperate, which meant she would have to miss her school Easter party. She was heartbroken. So I decided to bring the party to her and do a few of her favorite things. We played on the swing set, fed the ducks, and then made cookies.

In this house, dessert makes any day better! I’m a fan of cake batter cookies, so I of course have several boxes sitting around waiting to be used in the cabinet. Ella goes for the funfetti mix every time. This is one of my favorites, so I don’t mind. It’s super easy and yummy. Got to love simplicity! I found the recipe here.

We gathered all of the supplies and got to work. We wanted to have them ready by the time daddy made it home. Ella loves to help in the kitchen. She turns baking, one of my passions, into bonding. These are the moments I cherish, and I hope when she gets older, she will do the same.

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Afterwards, Ella and I decided to take cookies to our neighbor, keeping a few for ourselves of course. It makes my heart happy that she’s learning to share and be kind to others. She was so happy to hand them over to Mr. Chuck, our neighbor, even if it meant there were less cookies for herself.

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies

What you’ll need

  • 1 box of funfettie cake mix
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

What you’ll do

Preheat your oven to 350º. In a large bowl mix the cake mix and baking powder, set aside. In a smaller bowl mix together the eggs, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil together. Combine the smaller bowl into the larger one. Use an ice cream scoop to place dough onto a cookie sheet adding a few sprinkles to the top for a more colorful look. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown along the edges. Let cool on pan for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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When There Is Nothing You Can Do

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I used to be a selfish person, but the second I became pregnant, that all changed. As a parent, everything you do affects your child, and you want to be everything you can for them. You want to be a role model, best friend, and confidant. But what happens when your child is in pain and there is nothing you can do? I’ve been in this situation too often, and let me be the first to say, it sucks. My child is only three, and we’ve already been to the ER four times.

I hate it. I hate not having the ability to take her pain away. I know she’s looking to me for comfort, and I can’t help but sit there with tears in my eyes wishing there was something more that I could do. It’s a sickening feeling. You can’t just kiss it and make the pain go away. These are real, life-threatening situations where I don’t have the answers or cure.

I knew she had a high probability of developing allergies and asthma, but I didn’t know how scary it would be to watch her go through it. My heart sank when they had to put tubes in her nose. She was pitiful, and my only comfort was to hold her in my arms. After she received a breathing treatment, she was quickly on her way to recovery, but those first minutes felt like a lifetime of torture.

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What scares me is knowing it can, and more than likely will, happen again. All I can do is pray that God will give me strength to be the rock she needs in times like this. I want her to be able to look me in the eyes and feel like everything is going to be okay.

Ella has made a full recovery and is back to her normal self. She convinced daddy to not only play dolls with her, but to also take her to get pancakes with “shaving cream” on top.

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When is Daddy Coming Home?

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Being married to a traveling husband is hard, no doubt, but a firm family foundation takes some of the edge off. When my husband took a job in public accounting last January, we knew the traveling was coming, we just didn’t know how hard it would be for Ella. For me, it was harder the first year; we had to make a lot of adjustments. It was like our lives were put on hold those weeks he spent away. Now that Ella is getting older, it’s getting harder for her. She doesn’t understand why daddy has to leave for weeks at a time, and she constantly asks, “When is daddy coming home?”.

Now that I’ve bashed the traveling, I am here to say that it’s possible. It’s not always fun and some days are harder than others. However, we are blessed that Evan gets to come home most weekends, and this year, his employer has cut back on his travel. Thinking about families with fathers fighting wars in foreign
countries really puts things into perspective; we are truly blessed.

How do we manage? We stay busy! This is where my four jobs play a role. After work, our nights are filled with dinner dates with girlfriends and mommy-daughter time. We take this time to spend with friends, which helps to free up our weekends for when daddy is home. We also live on Facetime, and we make a lot of sweet gifts to cover daddy’s desk.

When Evan is in town, we spend as much time together as we can. The traveling has truly made us cherish our time together, and we don’t waste a minute of it. Even if it’s just hanging out at the house or going for a walk, it’s together!

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When Daddy comes through the door after being gone for a two week business trip, the best part is the excitement that fills Ella’s face. There is nothing like the love of a little girl for her father. We don’t love the traveling, but we make it work. Our family is full of love, and we continue to build on that every time we send daddy off. Our hugs are a little tighter, and our prayers are a little strong during this time.

 

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Meeting Ella

My daughter is my world. She, without knowing it, saved me from myself. I used to be such a carefree, nothing worse could ever happen kind of girl. I see the world from a whole new perspective, beginning the day I found out I was pregnant. I want nothing but the best for both my daughter and myself. Even though I work four different jobs, she gets to be my sidekick for most of the day. She attends the preschool I teach at and then tags along the rest of the day. She’s such a good sport and does her best to behave, but it’s just hard being three, I tell ya!

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I found out I was pregnant before finishing college. More specifically, a week before I was about to walk across the stage, so Evan and I kept it a secret until then. We were young and scared, but we knew everything was in God’s hands. Looking back, I think this was his way of saying the world didn’t revolve around me and life wasn’t about living for the moment.

Ella was born a month after my 22nd birthday, and she changed our lives forever. I didn’t know where my life was headed, but in that moment, I knew she’d be the one to show me. These past three years have been some of the hardest, yet most rewarding years of my life. I wake up wondering what adventure she plans to take us on. She’s a fireball that never seems to take a break. She can light up any room, and on any bad day, she quickly brings a smile to my face. I don’t think she’ll ever fully know the impact she had on my life. She is my rock, and without her, I’d be lost.

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