Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Genealogy Obsession

I'm pretty bad about keeping up with this blog because, in all honesty, I don't really think my daily life is all that amusing or entertaining.  I've been pretty tied up with work and what not, and never really had the energy to document my life.  I mean.... I just work, ya know?  Nothing too glamorous going on here.

I've been planning to do this for a very long time.  I'm completely and totally obsessed with my family genealogy.  It's the only thing I really want to get into more.  But, it's overwhelming.  So I created another blog dedicated solely to my genealogy research - and basically starting from scratch.  Well, not totally from scratch, but basically making sure I am doing it right.  I'm learning all over again.  It's been something I've wanted to do for years.  Since I have some free time now, I'm cleaning up and reorganizing.  I just wanted to share it:  The Chronicles of Cheri

Feel free to follow my journey to discovering the past! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Very First Tattoo

Welp, I got that tattoo! My very first one!  And it's perfect. I love it. And now, I want more! Here's my beauty:

Honestly, it did not hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would.  I don't know what I was expecting.... Like, I figured I'd walk in, and they'd laugh at me for being this itty bitty little thing.  Or that it was going to hurt so bad, I'd cry.  It tickled in spots, I didn't feel it at all in others, but man, I did feel it when he was working on my shoulder blade!!  But all in all, it was a fun experience and I'd love to get another one.

Some people have asked me why, and this tattoo has such a long, complicated meaning for me that it is too long to describe everything in a short, simple, and sweet way.  So I am going to tell you what everything means in my tattoo.

For starters, it's obviously a dreamcatcher.  I chose to have a dreamcatcher because, growing up, I always had a dreamcatcher.  My mother is very big into superstitions, and she still held some of the beliefs that her Native American grandmother held.  So of course, I growing up, had a dreamcatcher always beside my bed.

I chose the wolves in the dreamcatcher because I use to have this intense, scary reoccurring dream of a wolf with bright green eyes.  This dream scared the living daylights out of me.  The wolf was always calm towards me and never hurt me, but this wolf always hurt a family member or a friend of mine.  When I say hurt, I mean kill.  It haunted me.  I wanted the dream to go away.  But, someone once told me that wolves are a powerful spiritual guide.  He told me I needed to listen to the wolf and pay attention.  After that, no joke, I noticed this wolf was hurting people that ended up hurting me in real life.  It was like a premonition.  Either they hurt me physically, emotionally, or verbally.  When I realized this, I found the wolf to be much less haunting and scary.  I saw this wolf as a protector.  The wolf was protecting me against those that would hurt me.  Once I got older and started decorating my room with wolves, I stopped having the dreams.  I still have wolf decor in my home.  I do believe that the wolf is my guide - my guardian.

The reason why I chose to only have the green eyes in color is because I will never forget the grey/silver wolf in my dream and its bright green eyes staring directly at me.  It was mesmerizing.  I actually kind of miss it.  This is where it might get a little weird.  Ironically, green eyes are a recessive trait in my family.  Only 3 people in my family that I know have green eyes.  They are my sister, my great-aunt Juanita, and my grandmother Oleda.  Oleda passed away when I was 2 years old.  I never had the pleasure of meeting her.  I strongly do believe that Oleda is watching over me.  She was feisty and fierce.  She always protected children, no matter what.  I will never forget the stories that I heard about her.  Growing up, I knew my grandmother and her strong love for me and my sister, and how she protected children.  My great-aunts and my mother and my aunt told me stories about her and reminded me all the time of how much she loved me and she'd always watch out for me.  And because of that, I believe she is my guardian angel... my spiritual guide... my wolf with green eyes watching out for me.  She's always got my back (hence the placement on my shoulder blade).

Wolves are also a very beautiful creature.  Wolves have 1 mate their whole life.  They take care of their "family" or their pack.  They always stick together and they even mourn when a member of their pack is lost.  They are also very caring and loving parents.  As you notice, this wolf is not alone.  This wolf has a baby with her.

Typically, feathers on a dreamcatcher symbolize breath and air - which are of course essential to life.  I chose the owl feathers because, as some traditional dreamcatchers are designed, owl feathers are a feminine feather (eagle feather for masculinity).  Owl feathers also represent wisdom.  I chose to have 3 feathers.  One feather for each baby that I have lost.  Each feather symbolizes those little lives that I carried for such a short while.

This tattoo is symbolic of my grandmother watching over and protecting my little angels who are no longer with me.

Some say "why so depressing?" But I don't think it is.  I am never going to forget my angels.  I'm happy to know that my grandmother is taking care of them in Heaven.  It's a happy reminder that my babies aren't alone.  And it's commemorative of my grandmother and my babies who played such a huge part in helping me become the person that I am today.  I'm in love with it.  It makes me smile.

Wedding Memories

So I realized, I'm not a very good blogger.  I suck at it.  I'm sorry.  I'm just going to catch ya'll up on what's been happening in my life so far.  Majority of the time I was away was helping plan my brother-in-law's wedding.  He and his bride had a wonderful, gorgeous wedding downtown.  I was a bridesmaid and the wedding coordinator.  It was a lot of work, but it turned out lovely.  My husband was, of course, the best man.  He was such a huge help!!

Here's pictures of the bachelorette party:

Beginning of the night :)

We got this fun couple out on the dance floor with us!

The girls!
Now here's pictures of the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner.  The guys were entertaining themselves.  
The groom & groomsmen at the rehearsal.  I love how Nick is saluting in the background.

My hubby and I being all cute and shit.
The wedding party... it was massive. :)
I didn't get many pictures of the wedding ceremony - since after all I was coordinating it and in it.  But I was able to get a few fun shots of the day's events.
Getting ready to send the guys out!
A pigeon came and crashed the party immediately following that picture.  They had been waiting in that stairway for a good 20 minutes and the pigeon didn't make a sound and didn't move that whole time.  Until we took a picture, then it came flapping around like crazy.  My husband was able to get a hold of it and take it safely outside.  Silly pigeon.

The beautiful bridesmaids posing for photos.

The wedding party (missing Amber & Jessica)

My husband and I <3
It was a fun time.  We all had a blast.  So I am going to leave this awesome video that took place at the end of the night.  Everyone had pretty much left... it was last call... and those who stayed huddled together for one last song...  It was awesome.  Maybe you can hear us all singing... with all the slurring and stuff... :P

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nothing Left to Lose

This is going to be a positive post!  Depending on whether or not an opportunity arises, I am planning on going back to school for a career change.  It is scary, but I'm very excited about the journey.  I know it will not be easy, but I think it will do me well to pursue it.  It is set for me to go to pre-nursing in January 2015.  Until then, I am going to continue on my search and see what happens.

Also, I won a $100 gift certificate for a tattoo at a local studio.  This is the first time I have ever won anything.  So on Saturday, this girl will have a new tattoo.  The tattoo has a lot of symbolic meaning behind it, so I will be giving it its own post this weekend.

I also went to the grocery store and won a 3 year supply of cleaning product and a new mop.  Might not sound like a fun prize to win, but that's free stuff!!  I'm a sucker for freebies.  Plus, this cleaning product has actually proven to work!  We've been using it quite a bit.  That's money saved in cleaning supplies, like toilet cleaner, window cleaner, stain removers, carpet cleaners, and tile cleaners.

Travis and I have also decided to give ourselves a honeymoon/babymoon.  We are going to Disney on September 22nd.  Currently, the only thing we need now are plane tickets.  Everything else has been set and is ready to go!

This year may have started out difficult.  It started out like a nightmare.  But I have faith.  I have found a church that I feel is a good fit for me, and I think that has played a lot into my new view of life.  It's amazing, but I feel that God is changing me.  He is doing work through me to help me become the person I am supposed to be.  It's a confusing and daunting journey to embark on, but I think it's worth it.  After all, I don't think I have much else to lose at this point.  Travis and I have been through a lot together.  We've proven that we can survive.  It's now time to start listening to God and letting Him into my life again.  Only then, do I believe, that things will change for the better.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Keeping Up with the Joneses

April always hits me hard.  It was April 5th, 2011 that I lost my first baby at 11 weeks and 6 days.  So of course, I am incredibly sensitive to a lot of baby topics.  April Fools Day is like salt in the wounds.  I came across this very popular blog post from Scissortail Silk, and I wish I could give her a standing ovation.  Thank you!

Three years ago, on April Fools Day, I saw the ultrasound and heard my baby's heartbeat.  Everything looked fine.  I had been going into the doctor's office for weekly ultrasounds to monitor the baby.  I had finally received the clearance that I would only have to go every other week now that I had reached the second trimester.  Little did we know that 4 days later, I would lose my child.

I have been surrounded with baby announcements lately.  I love my friends and family, I do.  But with the memories of my 1st miscarriage, and with the 3rd miscarriage so fresh in my mind, I feel like I'm going through the grief again.  Coworkers have brought their newborns into work for everyone to dote on - and they are really precious.  I'm happy for them.  They bring in pictures of their babies in cute outfits, and we all "aww" in the office.  But deep down, my heart is falling into my stomach.  I run to the restroom to hide in a stall and let my sobs out so no one will know.  I'm in a wedding this June, and 2 of the bridesmaids are pregnant.  One is due a week before my due date.... with twins.  I have no idea how I will survive the bridal shower, the planning, and the wedding being with them all day with their beautiful baby glow.  And I have two friends that are pregnant as well who I see often.  I can't get on Facebook or Pinterest without seeing a new ultrasound or update - or pins for maternity outfits and nursery decor.  Meanwhile, I have a drawer full of baby shower decor, baby books where only 1 or 2 pages are filled out, scrapbook pages of my ultrasounds and baby bump pictures, and maternity clothes that I can't wear.

I know this sounds bitter, but it aches.  I'm happy for them, and sad for me.  I know Travis and I have decided to not try anymore for a while, and we have a wonderful honeymoon planned for Disney this September.  But I'm looking around, and I feel anger, sadness, jealousy, sickness, and confusion.  Why is it that everything works out for everyone else but us?  It feels like God is taunting me.  Why is it that everyone else can have a baby without even trying?  Why is it that one bridesmaid is getting TWO when I only want ONE?  Why does she deserve a baby and I don't?

It pains me to hear some of the comments I get.  "It's God's will."  "At least you can wear a bikini this summer."  "I'll let you borrow my kid for a day.  You'll change your mind forever on having kids!  He/She's being a brat all day!"  "At least you know you can get pregnant."  "At least you can drink whatever you want!"  These comments only dig at the wounds in my heart.  When someone passively blows off their children in front of me - knowing what I've been through - it's like salt in the wounds.

Maybe I get too far ahead of myself.  I have to keep reminding myself that I don't need to turn this into a competition or a contest.  I have to keep telling myself that this time has worked for them, just not for me yet.  My day will come.  I don't have to keep up with everyone else.  I can't lie and say that it isn't killing me, because it is.  I'm crying nightly, wishing I had my babies.  But that wasn't in the hand I was dealt, and I don't need to make this about me vs. everyone else.

I wish it were easy to move on....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chromosomal Abnormalities

I followed up with my doctor in regards to our fetal tissue testing.  Turns out, there are chromosomal abnormalities.  My doctor gave me a lot of medical terminology that I just could not understand.  But the basic information is this:  my miscarriages are a result of chromosomal abnormalities.

The next step was for me to get some bloodwork done.  During a first trimester miscarriage, it is very well because the chromosomes of the fetus do not equal the required 46XX or 46XY chromosomes.  When there are frequent, first trimester miscarriages and the chromosomal abnormality is present, it could be because one of the parents' chromosomes is not offering the correct number or arrangement for a fetus to grow.  Small excerpt taken from

Chromosomal abnormalities usually result from an error that occurred when an egg or sperm cell was developing. It is not known why these errors occur. As far as we know, nothing that a parent does or doesn't do before or during pregnancy can cause a chromosomal abnormality in his or her child.
Sperm and egg cells are different from other cells in the body. These cells have only 23 unpaired chromosomes. When an egg and sperm cell join together they form a fertilized egg with 46 chromosomes.
But sometimes something goes wrong before fertilization. An egg or sperm cell may divide incorrectly, resulting in an egg or sperm cell with too many or too few chromosomes.
When this cell with the wrong number of chromosomes joins with a normal egg or sperm cell, the resulting embryo has a chromosomal abnormality. A common type of chromosomal abnormality is called a trisomy. This means that an individual has three copies, instead of two, of a specific chromosome.
 I still have not heard back from those results yet, but they may take up to 2 weeks.  If I am not the carrier here, then Travis will have to be tested.  However, it is highly likely that I'm the carrier.  Travis thinks he is "at fault," but I've been born with multiple birth defects.  It's more than likely me.
Travis and I are just taking it day by day.  We've definitely stopped trying to conceive until we know what's going on.  Until then, I'll keep posted on this journey.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What to Expect...

I'm super antsy today.  Tomorrow is the day we find out the results from my test.  I'm a nervous wreck.  Really, though, I shouldn't be.  I don't think I will get terrible news.  I'm just *afraid* that I'm going to get bad news.  I can conceive.  We know that.  I just don't know if I can carry a pregnancy.  That's the scary part that we're going to have to find out.

I wanted to write an informational blog regarding Mullerian Anomalies.  But let's be honest, I'm not a nurse, I'm not a doctor, and I definitely did not pass a science class with A's or B's.  So, maybe I can explain what we are facing in my terminology.  Please bear with me.

I have a bicornuate uterus, which is also known as a heart-shaped uterus.  This means that the shape of my uterus can contribute to complications during pregnancy and labor/delivery.  It can also contribute to cervix problems.  It seems that my cervix issues are opposite of what most women experience, where their cervix is weak.  Mine is pretty tough, so hopefully, I have that on my side.  This is just a comparison between a normal uterus and a bicornuate uterus. Miscarriage Myths

I was always told to be prepared to go into labor at 6 months pregnant due to the shape of my uterus.  My doctor is running a few tests to see what is causing my miscarriages, because I've been hemorrhaging.  There are many women in my family that are infertile or have had multiple miscarriages.  My doctor strongly believes that there could be a genetic factor playing into my ability to conceive.

For years, I was treated for endometriosis.  After my D&C and speaking to my doctor, it is apparent that I never had endometriosis.

Another worrisome factor in pregnancy is that I have intestinal malrotation.  This is a birth defect where my intestines did not make the correct turns that they were supposed to, and therefore, formed backwards.  My intestines could potentially get in the way of a growing fetus; however that is very rare.  The biggest issue is if volvulus occurs during pregnancy.  In order to treat volvulus, a lot of times it involves a surgical procedure called a Ladd's Procedure.  This is not a good procedure to have during pregnancy, and *could* potentially abort the pregnancy.  However, there are women out there that were able to have the Ladd's Procedure during pregnancy and everything turned out ok.  There are women who have had intestinal malrotation and had full-term, non-complicated pregnancies.

What is so scary for me is wrapping my mind around all of it.  I'm not getting any younger - which also worries me.  I don't want to cause more problems than necessary.  I believe that the worst part about all of this is that even if I do find answers.... NOTHING is guaranteed.  I don't know if I'm ready to face that thought just yet.  My miscarriage is still so fresh in my mind.  I'm not ready to face this battle.  I'm not ready to go through the worry, the fear, and the uncertainty of what's to come during pregnancy or trying to conceive.  Not to mention, the financial stress of a miscarriage.  I can't go through the financial pressures to have multiple miscarriages.  This is why Travis and I have agreed that we are *not* ready to go back to trying for a baby again.  We are going to give ourselves until after the baby's due date (August 13) - because I know that day is going to be one of the most painful days waiting for me.

Just get through step one of this process.  Find answers.  All I have to do is listen to the answers tomorrow, and then we'll figure out step two.