15 years ago when I was a freshman in high school I was bullied by a particular group of girls. Like most bullying cliques there was a “ring leader”. For no good reason she would nudge me into lockers. Purposely walk really fast toward me in the halls; almost knocking me over with her shoulder nudge. Since it was my first year in high school I was still struggling to “find myself” and get used to the new flow of a bigger school. I was terrified and I lived every day in anxiety hoping to be able to avoid her but it was sometimes impossible. I had no friends and this put me into a bad depression because I felt so alone. The bullying got so bad that my parents had me change schools, and of course the administrators did nothing, and just allowed everything to continue. When I got to my new school the next year during sophomore year; everything was great; no problems.
Fast forward to 15 years later… a couple of days ago I was taking care of a sick preemie. This baby was 39 days old born at 24 weeks gestation. The secretary called my unit phone and told me the mother of my patient was coming in. I was told that the mom has been an inpatient in the hospital for 40 days (the whole time her baby has been alive and in our NICU). She has been in the trauma ICU with pancreatitis. I was excited she was coming to see her baby, because she can’t come often since she is so sick. When I came into the room she had a mask on and a huge nasogastric tube and tape all over her nose. I updated her on her baby’s status and then asked how she was doing. She told me they were going to put drains in her abdomen and that she still can’t eat food and can only have tea. She told me she recognized me because she knew one of my friends. She didn’t seem familiar to me until she took of her mask when she was about to leave. It was like a moment from a movie. When she took off her mask I couldn’t believe that it was HER. The mother of my patient was the ringleader of my bullying in high school. It was crazy to think that she tormented me so much and showed me no mercy; and 15 years later I am caring for her critically ill preemie while she is hospitalized a and critically ill herself.
I thought to myself “I wonder if she knows what she put me through?” “does she have remorse?” “how does she feel?” but really, I’m at peace…. it doesn’t matter. I am in a wonderful place in my life and I’ve come to the realization that I’ll never get answers; and I don’t need them. Everything that has happened to me has made me more humble and appreciative of the good people on earth; and has made me a very empathetic person. At work when teaching new nurses; I take extra caution to be sure I am not a bully or harass… because I know how it feels. I called my dad on the way home from work and told my mom about this crazy “coincidence” they still remember her and how horrible she made me feel. My dad told me “Life comes to us in full circle”…. what we do to others comes back to us. It made a lot of sense to me…I know horrible things have happened to me…. but I’ve done whatever I can to put my feelings aside, continue to do good toward others, and be positive. Because of my outlook on life, I feel like I have been blessed in that sense, and why I have have been shown so many in so many different situations that God is so good and will always take care of me.
These were the photos we used for our wedding thank you cards. These photos were taken by my cousin-in-law ShotByBlanco . I wanted to incorporate some of my roots somehow. My aunt was able to mail me one after her visit to the Philippines, and luckily this one fit perfect. My mom called it a “saya” but I’ve seen it called a “terno” or FIlipinana dress. The translucent tux that my hubby is wearing is called a “barong”. Men usually wear this top for special occasions. You can find more on the history of the Philippine terno here and the barong here.
Our Engagement photos were taken by my husbands cousin; Steven . He’s a photographer here in the area and super talented as you can see! Believe it or not it was cold and rainy on this day, but we made it work. These were taken at botanical gardens; it was beautiful there. I purchased a burgundy long gown from NastyGal to stick to the theme of our wedding.
My wedding was all DIY. My hubby and I set a budget since we had to pay for this wedding on our own, save up for medical issues, and our first home. We didn’t have any financial support so there was a lot of creativity and thought I had to put into this wedding. It was difficult with little to no help, but it’s definitely doable; if you know what you want, anything is possible! I had the wedding of my dreams, all within budget, and the pictures are priceless.
Venue: Potomac Point Winery Photographer: Danielle Real
Wine Barrel Backdrop
My DIY flowers purchased in bulk from a wholesale club
Filipino Money Dance- Instead of a slow song we decided to kick it up a notch and dancing to salsa and merengue music
Rustic Bridal Party Flowers- Made with bulk flowers 2 days before- garden roses, standard roses, carnations, and mini carnations alongside sprawling silver dollar eucalyptus
Sand ceremony with hourglass. Sand from Michaels Crafts and Hourglass from World Marker
Personalized from Etsy- Featuring our Pitbull and Mini dachshund pups
All decor on this table was purchased form MIchaels Crafts
Personalized Hangers for my girls
I wore flats to be comfortable; DSW
Wine barrel background
Bridesmaid robes to wear while getting ready
DIY ceremony signs and “Reeved” tags for immediate family members
DIY groomsmen and wedding sponsor boutonnieres, supplies purchased at Michels Crafts
Reeses White chocolate Peanut Butter cups, cupcake tower, 1 single round cake
Old Mirror- I hand wrote the seating chart with metallic sharpies
Mrs & Mr Wood signs Hobby Lobby
Wedding Coloring books for the children
Coyote Wine Cave
Hand made table numbers, printed out; glued corks together to hold them up; XL wine glasses w/ corks topped with burgundy flowers, burgundy candle in a hurricane glass w/ burlap bow, and 4 tealights
Sparklers; purchased online
DIY brides bouquet- garden roses, standard roses, carnations, and mini carnations alongside sprawling silver dollar eucalyptus,
Her Vows Booklet printed from a PDF
Table settings; No chargers, Mewallic gold napkins with burgundy table cloth
For Bridesmaid Proposals I bought photo boxes and filled them with goodies;
Bridesmaid thank you gifts
“Will you be my” boxes
“Will you be my” boxes
For bridesmaid gifts; I chose to give them all an individual] bags filled with gifts that I knew individually fit them (one of the girls got a special bible, another got some high end makeup, etc- I was sure to include a very special handwritten note w/ a Polaroid Pic in each of them). I was trying to avoid giving the typical personalized gift with their names or “bridesmaid” on it.
I walked into the fertility clinic and waited about 20 minutes to meet my primary fertility nurse to tell me the results of my MRI and help me fill out some paperwork for a fertility grant I am applying for. I had been exchanging phone calls with her many times but have never seen her. Today it was nice to finally put a face to the name and voice of my nurse. Every time I was in the clinic she was with another patient or not at the office. After meeting with her; I now know that I have a confirmed unicornuate uterus. WTH?! Click here to learn what a unicornuate uterus is. She said it also common to be missing a kidney as well. So I have to get a renal ultrasound to confirm that I actually have two kidneys. WOW. I wasn’t expecting that. My world went silent again like I was in a dream; but of course I walked out with a smile. I can’t change this; so why not keep on a smile, and keep it moving. I need lots of prayers right now. My heart is broken again….But I can do all things through God, and we will get through this.
What is an MRI? Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create detailed images of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures (MRI Info). This morning I had my pelvic MRI with/without contrast. The office location wasn’t that difficult to find; and only about a 35 minute drive from my house. Luckily traffic was not bad. I checked in and filled out more paperwork. After the technician “interviewed” me, I changed into a blue gown. I remember a long time ago my mom told me how she didn’t know she was claustrophobic until she had an MRI; which kinda set me on edge. I was nervous, but of course not as nervous as for the actual results. I put the sound earmuffs on, the tech put a big pad with “coils” on top of my pelvic area for the pictures, and I laid down on the skinny table. I was wheeled into the tunnel and I didn’t think it was that tight of a space (at first). The exam lasted about 30 minutes but it felt like eternity. I had to lay completely still with my hands crossed over my chest, the pad on my pelvis got really warm. There were 2-3 minute intervals of really loud bursts of noises (the machine taking the images) in which I had to hold even “more still”. The sounds were a bunch of really loud thumps, banging, knocking, and clicks, like a construction site. There were a few moments were I was instructed to hold my breath for around 20 seconds while the machine was taking its pictures. I was told to breathe normally during most of the exam, however, I couldn’t help but breathe very shallow., I was scared to breathe and mess up the images. I held so still, that for the last half of the exam my legs went numb. The tech spoke to me through an intercom device, I felt like I was in a white casket, buried alive. I couldn’t imagine the elderly or a little child having to do this exam. During the imaging, my mind wandered. I was thinking about how I place the results of this exam in Gods hands; and if this is what I need to do to try to have a baby, then it is hisplan. Many women are blessed and can just “get pregnant” with no effort. But this is Gods path for my husband and I to “just get pregnant”. I found myself thinking positive thoughts despite all the negatives I’ve been told. I was also mentally preparing myself for the worst news so I won’t be disappointed; Because whatever the results are, I can’t change them. I’m hoping for results soon, because as a patient, 1 day of waiting feels like forever.
Yesterday I went to get my blood work and uterine lining ultrasound done at the clinic. Still pending the results of my blood work but the woman who preformed the ultrasound stated that my lining was what they “wanted to see” and that it was “beautiful”. I asked her what she thought about my uterus. She stated it did look unicornuate-like, and that they could for sure put a baby in there, but the only risk was “just” having a baby prematurely (as if that is nothing, when you already work in the NICU). . It’s one more thing to add to my list of things to be anxious about. But really… it is all in Gods hands. I just pray for a smooth fertility treatment, and healthy born baby, that is all I want at the end of the day. My fertility nurse called me toward the end of the day and she said that the lining looks great, thats exactly what they were hoping for. The estrogen that I’m taking grew my lining as expected; and it appears to be 8.6mm tri-laminar appearance, and they like it to be greater than 8mm. It seems like this is the most positive news I’ve heard in a while.