Baby’s First Vacation

I had confirmed I was going to my stepsister’s wedding on Thanksgiving. But between then and early February, I was still so back and fourth as to whether I wanted to go or not. Of course I wanted to go to support her, but with a newborn (back in November) I didn’t know how she (Luna) would be in March. Would she be a good baby, a bad baby, a cry baby- what did I have in store for us and did I want to chance taking her on an airplane for the first time so young?

Naturally, in Kristie Lovelis fashion, I didn’t even get Luna’s passport until two weeks before we left. Luckily it came in two days. And the day before I went to “National Passport Day” in LA, I booked our flight. I thought, “okay, flights are booked, I HAVE to get this passport… No going back.” Anyway, we ended up snagging a good deal for both the flights and the hotel we stayed at in Puerto Vallarta, so I’m actually very glad I waited until the last minute to get everything.

THE FLIGHT//

First off, follow the rules of being three hours early for international traveling. The morning we were to leave, we just weren’t in a rush. Of course, it was the one day Luna decided to sleep in and I didn’t want to wake her. Basically, WAKE YOUR KID UP. THEY CAN SLEEP IN THE PLANE. We missed our first flight but were lucky enough to have caught the next flight- which was awesome because my dad and basically everyone for the wedding was in that flight. Originally, we were to fly through Interjet (they were extremely rude to us about being late. I know it was our fault but they were talking sh*t in Spanish, little did she know we spoke Spanish and understood everything. She tried to scold us about being late). Since we missed that one, our next flight was with Southwest. It was great!! There was no assigned seating so we got to sit with everyone and Luna even got her own seat even though we didn’t pay for one, and the plane was a little newer so it was a smooth ride. I had read up on what to expect for baby’s plane rides and pretty much did as I was told. Thankfully she was sleepy by the time we got on, so when we took off I gave her a bottle to distract her for the turbulence and her ears popping because of the altitude. I brought two outfits in case of accidents (we only changed her once because of all the drool on her pjs). I packed about 6 diapers (changing her at the airport as we waited. Once on the three hour plane ride. And then again when we landed. And a few backups). Wipes, of course. Toys to distract her (because she was awake most of the flight). Tylenol, just in case. And extra bottles. I did read that you should also give them a bottle to distract them from the landed. But she was just in such a good mood, her dad held her and she looked out the plane while we landed.

CARSEAT/STROLLER//

So I didn’t know this and was freaking out a little as it was my first flight with a baby- we obviously needed to take a car seat and stroller because we were going to be taking quite a few taxi rides. The airline tags your car seat and stroller (a tag for each one if it’s a two piece set) free of charge. Really the only thing that you leave at check in are the bags you check in. You take the stroller with you up until you’re ABOUT to get on the plane. You leave it right outside the door. You get on the plane, yada yada, and your stroller and car seat are right out there again when you land. So that was amazing! Again, didn’t know any of this, so it was super cool that it was an easy process.

Side note, listen to all the blogs that tell you to CARRY YOUR BABY THROUGH TSA. The car seat goes through the belt so if your baby is asleep walking through the airport, that’s gonna suck waking them up.

MOM TIPS//

– If your baby is fussy on the flight, do NOT apologize to people about it. You should not feel bad. They’re not used to it, so of course they’re going to be like, “what the hell is going on.” (On the flight back Luna was fussy and I kept apologizing. After we landed the gentleman next to me said, “she’s a really good baby.” I was freaking out thinking everyone was going to hate me for the fussy kid).

– As much as you’ll want to, don’t over pack. You’re going to drive yourself crazy with a zillion tiny outfits and playing Tetris trying to fit everything in your bags.

– Take an extra shirt for yourself. Mom-life, your kid is bound to spit up/throw up/drool all over you as you wait for your flight.

– If your baby is bottle fed, take a travel size dish soap with you! Luna is bottle/formula fed and I forgot dish soap. So we ended up having to go to a supermarket in Mexico to get dish soap to wash her bottles in our hotel.

– Pack an unopened formula with your checked in bags. And for your carry on, take one of those formula holders that will hold formula for about three bottles. We also have these formula holders that helped so so much.

– Take extra pacifiers!!! We took three. One with us (clipped to her), an extra one in my carry-on, and then one with our checked in luggage.

– If you’re going to be in the water, pack a floatie! Most places don’t have them for babies. We got ours on amazon, it was amazing. A swan and flamingo one for $10!

Uh, for now- this is all I can remember. But if I remember more I’ll add more. So check back in a week! Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!!

The Last Year…

The other day I got an email letting me know my “anniversary” for my blog was coming up. Can’t believe it’s been four years since I’ve started this journey; not an entire four years though. I’ve been inactive for the last year, and I didn’t even realize I stopped doing what I love. But coming here after reading that email, I realized that I haven’t written, or even really photographed, since I wrote about losing Alessia, our daughter. Did I stop writing because I had expressed so much and lost so much in that one post? Not sure, but here I am to catch up on everything that’s happened to us since then.

For starters: we lost Alessia on September 29, 2016. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, and the months that followed were not easy. After just a few days I went back to work and school, like nothing had happened. But it was a good distraction. After having the D&E done, I talked with Ruben about possibly having another baby. There was something in me that felt like the time was right. A lot of people might think that it was me trying to “fill the void,” but it was nothing like that. It was a feeling I couldn’t describe. We agreed we would try, and when I didn’t get pregnant again on the first try, I was devastated- feared that I would never be able to get pregnant again. But on January 9th of 2017, we found out we were pregnant.

When I was pregnant with Alessia, Ruben’s sister Breanna and I were only a few weeks apart in our pregnancies. She had her daughter, Arielle, on January 12th… 3 days after I found out I was pregnant again. Naturally, when I went to see her and the new baby at the hospital, I couldn’t keep the secret. She had asked me if I was okay being around a newborn after everything that had happened. I told her I was fine, and had news- she was going to be an aunt (fingers crossed everything would work out this time around). I remember this so clearly- she was in the middle of changing her newborn, stop, squealed, and gave me the tightest hug; her words, “she can be naked for a second, I have to hug you right now, I’m so excited!”

For a long time after finding out we were pregnant, I felt like I couldn’t be excited. I was excited with Alessia, and look where it got me. Everything was “going great” with Alessia, only to find out it really wasn’t. So this time around, I thought would be the same. I don’t think I got “excited” until half way through, after our anatomy scan. But EVERYTHING about this pregnancy was different- I didn’t get sick, all of my appointments were so positive, and soon enough I was 9 months pregnant and ready for baby (it seriously went by so fast!)

We had Luna Mia Bello (yes, she has the same middle name as Alessia) on September 17, 2017 at 6:24 AM. What a wild experience. I labored for like 30 hours in the hospital. They broke my water for me. It was just crazy- I literally pushed for THREE HOURS!! Yeah, most people push like once, or like 15 minutes. But not me. I pushed for THREE DAMN HOURS. But I guess that’s probably because she was almost 9 pounds.

I was lucky enough to have my partner, Ruben, his sister Breanna, my mom, and Ruben’s mom. They were all so supportive, and not just for this moment, but for my entire pregnancy.

I feel very blessed to have had such a smooth pregnancy. Though it was not all rainbows – Ruben had to work up North the last two months of my pregnancy, I finally graduated college at 6 months pregnant (walking around that big in the Summer heat was no joke), and we literally built a room/nursery for Luna. But it has been such an exciting, challenging, and rewarding journey and I feel so thankful that God has given me this opportunity to be Luna’s mom. So I’ll say it like I said it two posts ago- “New Mom Alert!”

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Alessia Mia Bello

On 9/2 we had an appointment – Monthly visit. I took my mom with me. The doctor said everything looked great. She was a little tiny but everything else looked great. Good heart beat and all. She even told us she believed she was a girl- but we would find out forsure on 9/12. 

10 days later on 9/12 (my little girl’s daddy’s birthday) we went to our appointment. The ultra sound was about 45 minutes long. When we were done we asked if he knew the sex (because he got up and just said we were done without saying anything about the ultra sound)… He said he couldn’t tell and the pictures were blurry. And that’s all we were left with. 

The next day I got a call asking if I could come in for a last minute appointment because the pictures “were blurry” and because it was a technician that did the ultra sound, a “specialist” needed to do a follow up… everything felt like it was about to shatter. Every appointment we had been to, I would always ask my doctor if we could hear the heartbeat first. Because my biggest fear was that something would go wrong. I got to the doctors office, sat in the room waiting, and the doctor came in and said “I’m so sorry we have to meet under these circumstances.” I instantly started to cry. She told me what was wrong… Alessia had cystic hygroma with hydrops. It was connected/related to turners syndrome. She showed me what was happening, but I couldn’t watch. I covered my eyes and I cried the whole time she performed the ultra sound to get the measurements of the baby. 

Alessia had a missing chromosome which is why she was two weeks behind in size, had an under developed heart, fluid in her lungs, chest, and all over her body. She was swollen. Everywhere. We either performed a D&E to remove her before her heart gave out or let her fight for another week and give birth to a still born. Because everything was just getting worse those were the only options we were left with. 

We waited about a week or so to get a second pair of eyes, or rather a third. The doctor confirmed what the tech saw and what the previous doctor saw and gave our little girl a 0% survival rate because her condition was so severe. If she were growing semi-normally, and the fluid wasn’t EVERYWHERE, “then I would tell you guys to let her fight. But because it’s this bad so early on in the pregnancy, there’s a 100% chance she won’t make it full term.” 

With that, we left, and cried the whole way home in silence. As a week went by, we were scheduled for a D&E on September 29, 2016. And within that week we waited, we told her how much we loved her and how sorry we were- but we enjoyed her while we could. 

What was once my little girl’s home is now gone, I’m leaking milk with no baby to nurture, and I’m emotionally exhausted. Here I am, a week after giving birth, with no baby to show for it, and I’m sad. I miss her every day. But it’s important to share my story because it’s my story of the days that led up to the birth of my child. 

I love you, Alessia Mia Bello, and mommy and daddy miss you so much. 

New Mom Alert!

Still so weird to say… I’m going to be a mom! I’ve always been a baby person, and my boyfriend always gets mad because, “babies love you more than they love me.” It’s my calling- especially because my mom used to run a daycare when I was in middle school. However, I never thought I would be a mom this soon in my life. I had plans like everyone else. I wanted to graduate, and get married, and travel the world, and then have a family. But life never really goes the way you “plan it,” does it? And today, I can honestly say I’m okay with it because I know things happen for a reason and whatever comes my way I will take control and handle it… As a mother. Having this happen at this point in my life is truly a blessing in disguise; it’s motivated me to continue pushing for a career- I’m loading up on 5 classes in the Fall, 3 classes in the Winter (which, I’ll have the baby during midterms), and finish off strong with 3 classes in the Spring and graduate in June of 2017 with my Bachelor’s in English Literature. So, thank you, baby… For pushing me to be the woman I’ve always wanted to be. I am more motivated than I’ve ever been in my life, and it’s all for the future of my child.

I want this especially to show my child that no matter what people might say, or what people might think, you can always do what makes you happy even if all odds are against you. I will be able to tell this story to my child with confidence and pride… That I had a baby during a time that no one thought was possibly.

At just three-months, it’s been stressful. I have no control over what happens to my child as it “bakes,” and I officially have no control over my own body anymore. But I’m excited for this journey, and I’m excited to share the good, bad, sad, and happy times of it all. Ready for this roller coaster ride…. No, seriously, these hormones are so up and down- help!

 

Asher Who?

Not sure which college Asher Roth attended when he wrote his song, “I Love College,” because, man, my college experience is nothing like his song. 
Sometimes it’s hard and you get discouraged as an adult still attending college. I find myself 6 years down the road and barely considered a college junior. From community college to transferring to a university, my life seems be moving at such a slow pace. Sometimes I question my paths and sometimes I want to give up. I think about how hard I’ve worked to make my parents proud, until I finally realize I need to do this for myself. I live a life full of obstacles and roller coaster emotions but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. And as many times as I continue to fall, I will always pick myself back up until I’ve reached that finish line. 

Monday, monday, monday.

I read something today that I found very interesting.

You don’t hate Monday, you hate your job.

This is something I think not many people think of. Everyone hates that the weekend is over, like they didn’t get what they wanted done. But, I’m sorry to be so blunt, whose fault is that? Um, yours. You’re the one stopping yourself from enjoying your “free time.” And those who say “I would like to do things I want, but I have to work.” Again, it’s your fault you’re “work” isn’t something you love. If you don’t see yourself doing this job for the rest of your life, why are you there? Why are you wasting what precious time you have in this life somewhere you’re miserable? Yes, you may be getting your career figured out by going to school, but thankfully for us we live in a world of opportunity: internships and the power of marketing. Market what you do in your free time to make it your career so you can finally quit your job and solely focus on that one thing you love. Take an internship to whatever you plan on doing in the future, the opportunities are there, you’re just not looking hard enough. Be someone who’s Monday is their Friday. Hell, be someone who doesn’t even know what day of the week it is because life is just that good.

VDAY 2k16

This years Valentines Day photos definitely have to be one of my favorite shoots so far. As a freelance photographer, I’m always looking for DIY projects and anything to capture. Thank to both my sister and my sister-in-law for the beautiful models, my niece and nephew. Also thank you to everyone who puts up with my crazy ideas, helps me do whatever it takes to get the perfect pictures, and supports me no matter what. Little by little, I love my work and what I do more and more; and it’s all because I have a great support system. Ready for more DIY projects and 2016 photoshoots!