Break Through

They call it breakthrough bleeding –

There’s a leak in our bathroom sink
and I’ve had a fan blowing for two days,
as my aunt’s fancy kitchen towels brine in musty water.
It blows a brisk breeze on my bare calves –
my skirt billowing out around my ankles,
puddled on the floor,
with my berserk little hormones
borrowing into the floor under my feet.
My breasts hang low and drag across
the peel and stick tile
until my bloodshot eyes finally focus
and find the bleak little ray of light –
shining simply because it’s switched on.

They call it breakthrough bleeding
and I know it means I’ve lost you somewhere in this dilapidated bathroom.
You have scattered your cells across the pad floating,
there,
on the floor between my feet.

They call it breakthrough bleeding,
but it’s really a leak
and the floor’s gone soggy,
so one wrong move
and I’m tumbling down with you.
Break.
Through.

© Laura A. Lord, September 2018


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their prompt.

Wishbone

There is a space right in the center of a woman’s breast,
stretching between her waiting arms,

that craves a baby. It aches to be filled with the
soft bounce of new flesh, the warmth of new life.

It was here that I felt the wishbone break and
suddenly Thanksgiving was over. Celebration was

tossed aside as I snapped apart and became empty.
The hollow of the marrow leaked a plague stain –

bright red between my thighs. The world was silent
noise, all scurrying and rushed, while whispers passed

and the nurse stepped back as I shattered on her table.
She said, “There is no heartbeat.” and I thought instantly

of a washing machine – the steady thwump, thwump, thwump,
and knew that someone had turned it off.

Someone had snapped the wishbone and I was all
hollow marrow and no heartbeat.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


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When Are You Evicting that Baby?

1509069_893607897324302_6571898719524823997_nI have no idea! But maybe you do?

It’s time for a new contest and at 30 weeks, what’s more fun than a round of Guess the Due Date!

So here’s all the stuff I’m sure you are going to ask about my pregnancy:

– The doc’s predict he will be here January 22nd.

– This is my third full term pregnancy.

– I have a history of going into labor a couple of weeks early.

Got your guess ready? Good, because the winners will get a free e-Book copy of the book, Loving in Shadow, by Ashlyn Kingsley (my pen name). One person will win the chance to receive a copy of my children’s book, The T-Rex That Ruined My Day.

How can you win?

The 5 closest guesses will win copies of Loving in Shadow.

The top (one) guess will receive the book, The T-Rex That Ruined My Day.

To leave your guess – just leave a comment with the date you choose! 

Ready?

Set?

Guess!

To Watch Him Love

I went through a year of horrendous online dating before I met the man who became my husband. I wasn’t exactly a poster girl for the most eligible bachelorette, but none of my hold-ups were much excuse for the sort of men I met. I was 24 years old and a full time student. I worked part time, lived with my parents, was divorced, and had two children under the age of five. I’m not an unattractive woman, but men weren’t exactly beating down my door to date me. More so, I knew that I needed a companion, not just a boyfriend.

I couldn’t seem to even meet a normal, down to earth man. Things became enough of a joke around the house that my mother would sit up at night and wait for me to get home, collapse on her bed and giggle while sharing all the terrible details of my odd nights out.

There was the man who was allergic to everything. I gave him an innocent kiss after our date, forgetting that I had eaten a piece of chicken, and almost killed him.

Then there was the guy who asked me to hold his belt while in the mall so I wouldn’t get lost.

The man who took the menu out of my hand and ordered food for me like I was three.

The guy who took me to a movie and proceeded to move down to the front row where there was only one open seat to “see better,” leaving me alone.

The man who figured out where I worked and spent an hour walking around the store trying out different women’s lotions before finally admitting he was one of the men I had denied a date request from on an online site.

The guy who took me shopping and then proceeded to tell me how I should dress.

The gentleman who stripped naked in his parent’s living room while I used their restroom.

The dude who attempted to suffocate me on my parent’s couch.

By the time I got around to talking to Mak, I was pretty wary of dates. A whole year of these kinds of dates will do that to a woman. I had a whole safety set-up – complete with emergency friend phone calls lined up and pepper spray.

Mak invited me over for dinner. I had such a good time that I ended up coming home and looking him up on Google and the case search program to see if he had some shady criminal past hiding. There had to be something wrong, considering my past history with online dating. He had a speeding ticket. That was it. Needless to say, I was impressed.

The next morning we had a quick conversation.

“I’m not really interested in playing around,” he said. “I like you. Let’s make this serious.”

If any other man I’d gone on a date with had said that to me I’d have gone running for the hills.

“Okay,” I said.

I don’t know why. I’d hate to chalk it up to some sort of fate thing, but maybe part of me knew he wasn’t a psycho killer. Maybe there was some deeper connection. Maybe I was just really brave.

Within a few weeks he had met my children and included them in our outings.

541497_397525856932511_2036391058_nA few months later was Easter and I was scrawling ‘I love you’ onto an egg and hiding it in the fridge.

“Go get the orange egg out of the fridge,” I told him.

He got up and I heard the fridge door open. After a moment it closed again and he came back to the couch.

Silence.

“Well…” I started.

“Well what?” He asked.

“What did you think?” I asked. It was the first time I’d attempted to tell the man I loved him and he was being completely stubborn about the whole thing.

“It’s cute,” he said.

“And…” I lead him.

“I love you, too,” he said. “You know that.”

By the end of the year he had moved in. We were blessed in our relationship. There hadn’t been many of the big challenging moments. His father passed a few weeks before our wedding, but it was expected, and while we mourned it hadn’t surprised us. Their relationship had been so strained, for so long. It was the first time though that I ever saw him cry – a moment that I think is imprinted in my memory. There is something about seeing a strong man mourn, something heartbreaking and frightening and so real it hurts that one simply doesn’t forget it.

I remember standing by his father’s bed. He sat in a chair across the room from me. I went to him, but he didn’t reach for me. I stepped back – gave him space. I didn’t know how to handle his grief. He took a few moments to himself and I watched him. I watched the years, the pain, the neglect from that relationship wash away. For those few moments there was love.

There hadn’t been many of those bring-you-to-your-knees moments. We didn’t even really fight or argue. We were thankful to have found a companion in one another that shared a similar sense of humor. Laughter got us through any time things seemed to be getting dark.

He stepped into the role of father as if it were all he’d ever known. It was never a look-at-me exercise, but came naturally. There was a gaping hole in our little family25248_108453875839712_7044406_n and he saw it, stepped into it, and never looked back. It was in the quiet way he made that transition that still never fails to amaze me.

He has a silent strength in him. A code of ethics that can’t be argued or even discussed. They simply are.

Perhaps it’s because of his quiet nature that people find him intimidating. Combining that with the sleeves of tattoos and long dark hair, it’s quite understandable. However, anyone watching him drink tea from a tiny porcelain cup with my daughter would realize how wrong they are.

Four years after that first date and I was talking to my brother in California, planning his trip home to visit.

“When is he coming home?” Mak asked.

“The end of June,” I said.

“Good,” he said. “We’ll get married then.”

Proposal. Date set. End of discussion.

I had a month to get everything planned and ready.

I love you, too. You know that.

After our wedding we decided to have a baby. A few short months later and I was excitedly waving those little pink lines around in the air. We were so excited we told everyone.

We were at his mother’s for a belated Thanksgiving dinner when I started miscarrying. My husband had the kids in the car while I stood white knuckled on the phone with the emergency room and watched my father-in-law toss the kids’ toys into their book bags. Hours and many tests later the doctor gave us the news.

“There’s no heartbeat.”

I’d known when I saw her face. I’d been crying since she came into the room. I looked across the room at my husband. I expected him to get up, to come to me. The doctor left and he still sat there for a few moments. In that space between us I watched him break, hit his emotional knees, mourn, and grieve. I watched him as he cared for himself and then he came to me. He put himself behind and cared for me.

For the following days he held me while I cried and found whatever ways he could to make me smile. We found laughter in the darkest moments. We suffered. We healed.

We spent months talking back and forth about whether or not to try again. The entire process had frightened him so badly. I learned to appreciate what pregnancy can do to a man. It’s a terrifying situation, especially for one who tends to like to be in control of things. There is no control with pregnancy.

He couldn’t see what was happening inside my body.

He couldn’t control what was happening.

He couldn’t stop me from being in pain, from hurting.

All he could do was be there and hope that I would heal.

“I’m not sure we should try again,” Mak said.

We were lying in bed, the lights off and waiting for one or both of us to become too tired to keep talking.

481829_525481010803661_775093643_n“We’ve got a girl and a boy,” he started. “You know? Maybe that’s enough.”

“You don’t want one of your own?” I asked.

“They are my own,” he said.

A few nights later we were repeating this whole thing again. It was like a record skipping, playing backwards, flinging all over the place. I never knew where we’d end up.

“We could try again,” he said.

“We’re not doing anything to stop it from happening,” I answered.

“If it does, it does,” he’d agree.

Three months of this back and forth indecision plagued us.

Finally he said, “I don’t think we should try again.”

“I’m pregnant,” I said.

We collapsed against one another laughing. For weeks we were quiet. We were so careful not to tell people too early. We went to each appointment with our heart in our throats. Every test was a negative, dangerous thing. Every symptom I had was cause to worry. We struggled to find joy.

Mak kept warning me not to get my hopes up.

I kept countering that he needed to not think so negatively.

We flew past each other, both of us on separate ends of our own emotional roller-coasters.

“Are you happy about the baby?” I finally asked him.

“Of course,” he said. “You know that.”

I love you, too. You know that.

I am five months pregnant today. A few weeks ago we went to the doctor and we got to hear the heartbeat. The tiny whomp whomp whomp sound filled the room. I was942205_603602919658136_1585711832_n laid back on the bed watching my husband. He didn’t stand up and come to me. For a few moments, he sat there and smiled. I watched him in this moment of joy and excitement and relief. I watched him take that moment for himself and then he came to me.

He kisses me every morning before he leaves for work. He tells me he loves me before we fall asleep. He doesn’t have to say that he loves me. I know he does. All I need are those few moments, where there is space between us and I have the chance to really see my husband. It is in those moments that I get to watch him love.

Mutant Babies and Free Stuff

Yesterday I had an appointment with the doctor for an ultrasound and blood work and all those wonderful things.

 

Yeah…it basically went like that.

babyBy the end of it though, we got to see baby and find out that everything looks good. Baby is healthy and active and looking just right for 12 weeks.

I showed the husband the pictures and he laughed and said it still looks like a mutant. I told him that he wouldn’t be very pretty stuck in water for that long either.

Silly man.

In his defense, the 3D images of the baby were relatively frightening (hence why I am not posting them). Baby will be beautiful…in a few more months when it gets here and we can dry it off and dress it and such things.

What?

You want me to be one of those women who “Ooo” and “Aahh” over little grey film of something I still need help deciphering as to what part is what of this amazingly ever-changing little being?

That’s not me.

I’m not even the happy pregnant type.

I’m the…give me my baby and let me get on with the mommy thing type.

It drives me nuts to keep saying “baby.”

I’m ready to say a name. And we’ve got names picked out. So let’s have some fun with this, since I can’t find out for six more weeks if this is a baby Lily or a baby Tommy.

I want you to guess!

Leave your guess in the comments below and in six more weeks all those who guessed right will win a free ebook copy of my newest book, Perjury.

p1

 

Empty Brain Syndrome

It’s been forever since I have really written anything. Maybe it’s the baby brain. We’re at 12 weeks and I can’t seem to make coherent thoughts on anything close enough to a regular basis to even consider posting. I’ve been doing alright with 140 characters though. Go figure.

 

I mean, I went to visit my mother-in-law.

Twice.

And took my car to the shop.

Oh and we celebrated the Fourth of July!

I hid a few things from my husband.

And ate a lot of food.

My son got me to watch cartoons with him.

Got a flash glimpse of what life will be like with my daughter as a pre-teen.

Oh, and I’m remembering all the wonderful things about pregnancy I tried to forget.

So I guess I say all that to say this…if you’re missing me come find me on Twitter! Right HERE!

Bathing Suits and Birthing Hips

I have not worn a bathing suit in public since I was 13 years old. That next summer, I grew five inches in only 4 months and went from a size 0 to a size 6. I immediately realized there was something wrong with my body, something that was easily seen by holding up a mirror and looking backwards—it was right below my waist and just above my ass and it sprung out on either side like the golden arches of McDonalds.

I decided my body was misshapen and started wearing baggy clothes. No one had ever explained that becoming a woman often involved developing hips the width of Texas. The entire concept made me feel like a foreigner grasping to understand a new word. The topic of womanhood was never discussed in the den of masculinity where I was raised.

unnamed (1)

Eventually someone explained that I’d been blessed with “birthing hips.”  I could only assume this was a good thing, considering I’d been told that the sole pride of a woman was in having babies.  My Mom used to write letters of protest to churches with daycare programs because they were enabling women to work outside the home.  It was always understood that I’d eventually grow up, get married, and have my own babies to stay at home with.  I have to admit, I never really thought about pursuing a professional career or traveling because that’s what selfish women did and we felt sorry for them.  We definitely felt sorry for their children.

It took me quite a few years to realize that being a woman is not defined by any one single act or right of passage.  I’m 28 years old, I’ve never been pregnant, and I can assure you I am most definitely a woman.  If someone wants to ask me how many babies I have then I’ll list off all 17 countries I’ve traveled to.   I don’t feel that I need a man to put a baby inside of me before I can claim the honor of being a woman.  My family, on the other hand, may disagree.  My sister-in-law periodically sends me articles about how likely it is that my children will be born with Downs Syndrome.  On my 25th birthday she sent me a statistic on just how many of my eggs were dead and floating about my ovaries like the burned bits of quinoa in the bottom of a pan.

It’s not that I don’t like kids, because I do.  I actually happen to be the Best Aunt Ever.

unnamed

I’m hoping to eventually make my own babies—just not yet.  I have an agreement with The Boyfran that for every year past 32 that I don’t get pregnant, I get a new pet.  I’m currently in the market for a kitten, a baby goat, and a turtle so I figure I have plenty of time.  When I do have children, especially if I have a daughter, I won’t be passing on this limited definition of femininity and womanhood.  Being a woman is amazing—whether you’re pregnant (let’s talk about your lesbian sex dreams) or have kids (let’s talk about their cuteness) or are still trying (let’s talk about how hard that is) or have chosen not to (let’s talk about how great it is to do whatever the hell we want).  There is no single thing that ranks any of us above the others or plots us in some chart of achievement.

Watching my nieces in all their feist and cleverness makes me think we’re born with an awareness of our capacity but that its often stripped by someone who gains from our limitation.  I wouldn’t trade anything for this journey, but if I could go back and tell 13 year old Aussa what it really means to be a woman, I’d borrow a few of the same words that I plan on telling my nieces and maybe, someday, my own daughters:

 

 

*****

10259992_1461639377402038_8238494803804831722_nHi I’m Aussa. I don’t make good choices but I do have good stories.I work at a psychiatric hospital– but the patients aren’t the crazy ones.I don’t ascribe to the “Eat. Pray. Love.” mentality that flitting about the world collecting passport stamps will grant you some sort of spiritual enlightenment. I ran away from my life because I’d lost control of it and had to forcibly relocate myself to a place where no one spoke my language or knew I existed.My attorney first called me a “Hacker.Ninja.Hooker.Spy.” in the midst of a court battle against my abusive asshat of an ex.

Hacker Ninja Hooker Spy

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Moms: Stop Judging & Start Supporting

mommyI suspect we have all felt discriminated against at one point in our lives. Someone judged you for whatever reason because something made them feel superior.

I have been judged too many times to count, but never as much or as often as when I became a mother.

From the moment I became unexpectedly pregnant at 35, the criticism began and it has never stopped.

I am a mom at “Advanced Maternal Age”, an actual diagnosis now that goes on your medical paperwork.

I am a mom who was already overweight prior to becoming pregnant after suffering through a period of depression.

I am a mom who chose to return to work after maternity leave.

I am a mom who chose not to circumcise her son.

I am a mom who chose to vaccinate her son.

Perhaps the biggest issue of them all, I am a mom who chose to bottle feed.

I have my reasons for all of these choices, none being made lightly, and all having led to conversations and arguments that we now refer to as “The Mommy Wars”. And the fact that this is even a phrase, hurts my soul. Why oh why must everything be a competition amongst women? Why must we judge one another? What purpose does it serve?

For instance, here is a screen shot from an actual “friend” of mine on Facebook. She didn’t know my age prior to this and assumed I was younger although she never acknowledged my response. This is only a snippet of the ignorance and judgement I saw that day:

unnamed (2)

I thought long and hard about my response before I commented. As much as I wanted to post an emotional response, rationally I knew that wouldn’t change things. The only way we can try and stop these mommy wars, is to educate and support each other; to stop the emotional reactions; to stop breeding judgment and spreading hate. We need to be objective and rational so we can have these important discussions. We need to realize that because you went with choice a and I with choice b, neither makes one of us a better mother than the other.

This is not a competition.

So, this was my response:

unnamed (1)

I could’ve done better, but it’s a start and it’s how I always respond to these kinds of things. I remind them that it’s just another line drawn in the proverbial sand separating one mother from another, telling one she is better and criticizing the other.

And yet, why does no one see the irony in all of this?

We ALL have one HUGE thing in common: we love our children. We want the best for them and our natural instincts are to protect our children. It’s a natural emotional response to become defensive if you hear choice a is better than choice b, especially if you opted for choice b. Immediately the thoughts race through your mind about how you could’ve hurt your child or not given them the best option or not provided the best opportunity or even stolen from them in some way.

I know because I have thought those thoughts and felt those feelings.

But, they aren’t rational. It’s emotion and it’s misleading us, steering us away from the potential we have to come together as a united force to be reckoned with.

We should be having these discussions about breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding, circumcision, vaccinations and so on.

We should want to learn the pros and cons of all the options available to our children.

But….

We should respect everyone’s right to make the best choice for their child and for themselves.

We should love ourselves and each other more and without judgment.

We should understand that no two situations are the same. We are all unique individuals and that includes our children. What works for you may not work for someone else.

We should consider that everyone has walked a different path and until you have walked in their shoes, you can’t fully understand their journey.

We should fight together for better research and education.

And most all….

We should support each other, hold each other’s hand and help one another through this adventure of motherhood. While it’s beautiful, it’s still not an easy road. Why make it harder?

*****

unnamedDeanna Herrmann is a freelance writer blogging her way through motherhood and unemployment. She is also Managing Editor of the online literary community, Tipsy Lit. Join her on Facebook or Twitter for some free therapy sessions and help her justify those degrees she’s still paying for and not using.

 

The Dog Bite

*Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse and miscarriage

I was twenty, in college, working two jobs, and living at home.

He was eighteen, rebellious, on probation, and my mother hated him. In other words, irresistible.

We dated in secret. When my mom found out, she kicked me out of the house in an act of tough love. Unfortunately, this only increased our resolve.

I moved in with him and lost myself in the process.

I quit my jobs, school, my family, friends….everything, but him.

He was uncaring. Manipulative. Controlling. And despite intense jealousy, he cheated constantly.

But I loved him, and protected him with tsunami intensity.

tsunamiI had zero backbone and even less confidence. Raging insecurity took over any shred of logic, feeding the belief that I didn’t deserve to be treated better.

Not long after our two year anniversary, we moved into a tiny garage apartment in seedy East Dallas. The owner had a dog who was always tied to a long chain in the backyard.

One morning, I walked through the backyard towards my car when the dog  – not realizing who I was – attacked me. I can still feel his teeth driving deep into my leg.

Later that day, it was clear I’d have to see a doctor. The bite ached and throbbed.

I didn’t have insurance, so I went to a tiny doc-in-the-box. Before administering a tetanus shot, the nurse, as a precaution, asked if it was possible I could be pregnant.

I remember laughing and telling her no way.

I hadn’t had a period in months, and my stomach was beginning to protrude from my far-too-skinny frame.

Denial. Maybe if I didn’t think about it….it would just go away. We couldn’t take care of ourselves, much less a baby.

A week after the tetanus shot, I noticed spotting and assumed it was my long-lost period. Relief is the understatement of the year.

Four days after that, I doubled over in the worst pain I’d ever felt. I popped pills for days to sleep through waves of cramps. I bled tremendously.

I knew what was happening.

After days of bleeding and intense pain, I finally had him take me to the emergency room.

He was annoyed with the inconvenience.

I’d lost so much blood I couldn’t even get out of the car. They had to come get me with a wheelchair.

They confirmed I was miscarrying. He was furious with me for losing the baby. The baby he had known about for all of five minutes.

He left while I had a DNC.

I woke up in a hospital room.  Alone.

Hours later, I was released. He wasn’t answering my calls, so a friend gave me a ride home.

He wouldn’t get my pain medicine from the pharmacy.

So I laid there for days with nothing. He didn’t make me food, or help me to the bathroom.

That was the Last Straw. Something inside me began to boil with rage, and I knew I had to get away from him. I finally believed I deserved better.

It took time, planning, two attempts and an actual covert operation, but I finally left him for good, ten weeks after the dog bite.

The dog bite that led to a miscarriage. The miscarriage that led to rock bottom. The rock bottom that led to ENOUGH.

Ironically, the loss of one life was the birth of another.

It’s been over twenty years since then. I can hardly believe I was ever that girl, which is why I tell this story.

I have a lovely eight year old niece now, and if there’s one thing I want to teach her, it’s to never underestimate your value.

Believe you matter, and protect that belief with tsunami intensity.

 *****

CaptureBeth is a day dreaming introvert who managed to acquire an amazing husband and co-create two lunatic boys. She’s a writer, artist, and recovering crazy cat lady who probably doesn’t day drink at all. Writer B is Me is where she unleashes all the shiz in her brain. Consider yourself warned.

Blog: www.bethteliho.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizabeth.teliho

Twitter: @beth_teliho

She is Raging

Trigger Warning: This post makes reference to miscarriage, loss, pregnancy. 

RAO_web

I want to sit back and write something witty. I want to grab you on the first line and take you along some story’s path, so we can come out together at the end, holding hands and feeling quite proud of ourselves. I want to have words to give you, sprinkle around your mind like beautiful confetti.

But I don’t have it today.

I’ve got nothing to give.

I think all in all I’ve been handling this well. I mean, by the definition of “well” that everyone around me uses.

“Oh, she’s good.”

“She’s fine.”

“You look well.”

She’s not good. She’s staring at her Facebook and seeing post after post of baby bumps and nurseries and baby showers and count downs and newborn photos. She’s not good, because she’s angry and she’s jealous. It’s not that she isn’t happy for them. It’s not that she doesn’t wish them the best. She just wishes she had what they do. She wants in on that little world again.

She’s not fine. She’s standing in the checkout and people keep opening their mouths.

“How far along are you now?”

“You’re barely even showing.”

“How’s baby doing?”

When are you do?”

And so she has to say that the baby is gone, again and again and again. The words stick in her throat and she’s choking on them, bending over to let them fall out of her mouth with a delicate thud. She’s not fine and she’s sick with speaking of it.

She looks well. She lost what weight she’d gained and she has more energy. The pregnancy had made her so sick. She looks healthy again. There is color in her cheeks and her hair has regained its bounce. She gets dressed a little more often. She paints her face. She crawls into bed with her husband, aching and needy and everything is back to the way it was and her world has settled into a muted thing, because she is well and so she is waiting. Waiting for her body and his to have that tiny moment of collision that will breathe new life into her womb and it terrifies her.

But she’s raging.

She wakes up and groggy eyed checks her email. Entirely too many messages, but it’s the morning routine. And she sees the words:

You haven’t purchased anything off your baby registry. Sign in now to get everything baby needs! 

So the company attached a coupon to ease the burn behind the idea that she is such a bad mother-to-be, she hasn’t even bought anything off her list. She has no crib, no carseat, no newborn diapers. She has no bouncing chairs, no teething rings, no footed pajamas. She has no formula, no Tylenol, no soft and fleecy blankets.

But she has rage at seeing it.

She has pain that sparks behind her eyes and they’d call them tears, but they burn hot streaks down her face and she thinks she could set the entire world on fire with her emotions overflowing.

She is raging.

And her husband comes home and kisses her on the head. He asks, “What’s wrong?” And she tells him, “Nothing.” 

And she pushes the rage back long enough to kiss him. To make him his breakfast. To prepare herself for getting the children up. It’s a matter of survival now and she can’t be the woman she’s supposed to be with everything snapping apart. She shoves it down, like a pill stuck in her throat. She buries it deep.

Congrats on the new baby! He’s beautiful.

The nursery looks wonderful. You all got a lot of work done.

Good luck at the hospital. You and baby are in my thoughts. 

Look at that bump! Any day now. . .

Click this button to unsubscribe from future BabiesRUs promotions. 

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Herstory Lesson: “You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” – Ernest Hemingway