Baby on Board

I wrote this on New Year’s Eve but wasn’t quite ready to share it yet. We realized that TODAY everything is going perfectly and that should be celebrated without fear. My heart is full. Enjoy…

Reflecting on the past ten years and oh what a decade it has been!

In 2010 I graduated with my master’s and Ralf and I got engaged. I began my career as a speech-language pathologist.

At the beginning of 2011, we bought our home and at the end of 2011, we got married.

2012 was mostly a year of just enjoying each other and being newlyweds.

I think it was the beginning of 2013 that we bought our boat and started enjoying our sunset cruises around the lake.

I had a health scare in 2014 when I got diagnosed with my lymphoma that turned out to be a lot less serious than we originally thought. We decided to try to get pregnant shortly after and Mason was conceived.

The beginning of 2015 was the absolute hardest time of my life. I lost Ralf suddenly to brain cancer while I was 7 months pregnant. My little man made his debut in May of 2015 and saved me in more ways than he will ever know. He was the force that kept me going and hoping for a better life for both of us. Toward the end of 2015, I met Vinnie in person after connecting through a Facebook group for young widows and widowers. Our connection over similar losses sparked a friendship that grew into more.

In 2016 Vinnie moved down from New York to be with us in Florida. At the end of 2016 we decided to move to a new town where we could start our own story together.

We suffered through our first miscarriage in 2017.

In 2018 we had another miscarriage shortly after we decided to get married. We had a perfect, intimate, and very emotional wedding in September.

The beginning of 2019 brought a wonderful job opportunity for Vinnie. We decided to try again and had our third miscarriage. It was devastating. We underwent testing to search for some answers and received none. Everything was absolutely normal. Mason started asking for a sibling incessantly and so we decided to try one more time, despite being very scared.

Now at the end of 2019 we find ourselves 9 weeks pregnant with a baby whose heartbeat is very strong. This pregnancy has looked healthy from the beginning (as evidenced by my nausea and fatigue). We know so very well that nothing is guaranteed in this life, but we are ending this year full of gratitude and hope.

In my heart I believe that 2020 will be the year that we become a family of four.

2020 will be the year I get to witness Mason become a wonderful big brother.

2020 will be the year that I will get to welcome a new life into this world with my husband at my side, holding my hand, as it should be.

And with all the surprises, new blessings, and challenges that are sure to come our way, the one thing I know for certain is that we will get through it all.

Cheers to 2020!



From Ashes to Beauty

You were never supposed to happen to me.

This is a love that was not part of my plan.

But then life happened the way it did.

It shattered.

Into a million jagged pieces on the floor.

Fragments of broken dreams that could never fit back together the way they once did.

And they don’t.

But that’s the point.

Somehow you helped me revive the remnants of my heart, by intertwining them with yours.

You gave me the courage to dream again.

To hope for the future.

I can’t promise you that it will be free of pain, but I can promise to hold your hand through every challenge and rejoice with you through every blessing.

I can’t promise you that loving each other will always be easy, but I can promise to always fight for us.

I can’t promise to be the perfect wife, but I can promise to always have your best interest at the core of every decision I make.

I can’t promise that I’ll be here for the rest of your life, but I can promise to love you, to cherish you, to be loyal to you, and to honor you for the rest of mine.

And together, hand in hand, we shall continue to build beauty from our ashes.
Photo by Michelle Guzman

A Love Without Limits

Mason is finally asleep and I am very uncomfortably lying next to him in his Lightning McQueen bed. What a challenge bedtime was tonight! He is currently obsessed with legos and was building a firetruck with Vinnie as I told him it was time to go potty and then night-night. He threw a huge tantrum because there was one tiny little piece missing and he didn’t want to leave the truck unfinished. We tried reasoning with him and explaining it was already late and that we’d look again in the morning because the piece was nowhere to be found, but in true “threenager” fashion he dropped to the floor and screamed bloody murder for the godforsaken lego piece. (Can you tell what a huge fan I am?)

I was left with no other choice but to pick him up kicking and screaming and bring him to his bed. At first it was that defiant, exaggerated, and – for lack of a better word – bratty cry that small children often use when they don’t get their way. After a solid half hour or so, though, it turned into a genuine sob. He cried as if he’d lost the most important thing in the world to him. His cheeks were covered in his salty tears and his little squeals of agony were absolutely heart wrenching. So much so that the disciplinarian in me took a backseat to the nurturing mother that could not stand to see her baby in so much pain. I pulled him close, told him I was sorry he was so sad, and cried with him. Then I held him until he finally calmed down and closed his eyes.

He won’t remember this moment when he is older. Hell, it’ll probably be forgotten in the morning when he wakes up. Lord knows that legos are not worth that kind of heartache and that’s a lesson he will inevitably learn as he faces real challenges in his life, as we all do.

The truth is, it wasn’t about the lego for me. That little white snap block will turn up somewhere in this house and all will be right in Mason’s world once more.

What I was really thinking about in those moments was all the things I won’t be able to protect him from as he grows up. I hope he lives a wonderful life and that future struggles are minimal, but many things will be completely out of my control.

And then I thought about my mom.

What she must have felt witnessing me go through the darkest moments of my life and not being able to make it all go away. Watching me bury my husband with a huge pregnant belly and all the difficult changes I had to endure in such a short period of time thereafter. I know she would have traded places with me in a heartbeat to spare me from the pain I was feeling.

But she couldn’t.

There was nothing she could do other than to be there, listen, hold me as I cried, and support me unconditionally as I started to move forward with my new life. I hope, from the very bottom of my heart, that she knows that was enough and that the gratitude I feel for her during that time of my life is second to none.

And I hope one day Mason will look back on his life and remember a mom who’d do anything for him – even if it meant helping him build the same lego firetruck a million times to see him smile.


Photo taken by Melissa Perez of Simply Captivating

Open Letter to My Love

My Love,

Our little angel has finally arrived, but I know you already knew that. You did, after all, have a special conversation with God and request for his birthdate to be on none other than Mother’s Day. I have no doubt that was your doing. You not only wanted to further ensure the special bond that I will always have with our son, but you also wanted to give your own mother a beautiful distraction on what must have been a difficult day for her. Not to mention, his birthdate – 5/10/15 – will always carry a piece of both of us since you were born on the 5th, I was born on the 10th, and together those numbers add up to 15. You + Me = Mason. Perfect.

What can I tell you about this amazing little person that our love created? Mason Ralf Garcia entered the world at 2:08pm, weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches in length. I was in labor for a total of about 14 hours. Our parents took me in to the hospital once my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. The doctor examined me and found that I was only 1 centimeter dilated, so he had me walk around the hospital for 2 hours to see if that would speed things up. Our moms took the first hour shift, and our dads the second. They comforted me through contractions and made me laugh. I even managed to do some lunges in the hallway with my huge belly. After all the walking, I had dilated some more and the doctor decided to admit me. I had an epidural (which, I must say, was magical) and then the doctor broke my bag of waters. After that, I dilated to a full 10 centimeters in just a couple of hours. All signs pointed to an easy, natural delivery. However, things didn’t turn out as we’d hoped. I pushed for 2.5 hours and the baby just wouldn’t come out. Turns out my pubic bone was in the way by a fraction of an inch and he wasn’t able to squeeze through. So, I ended up needing a c-section.

Our moms went into the operating room with me. I couldn’t see what was going on, of course, but once I heard him cry my own tears began to flow uncontrollably. We all sobbed. I felt you in that moment – not just your spirit, but I swear I felt a physical presence. I could feel your hand rubbing my head, your warm breath in my ear as you whispered, “He’s here and he’s okay.” When they placed him on my chest, the very first thing I noticed was that he has Daddy’s eyebrows.

It’s still too soon to tell who he will look like, since I know he will change so much from week to week and month to month. But I can tell you that I see so much of you in him already. He has your hands and I’m so happy that he does. You know how much I loved your hands. I complemented them all the time- so strong, so masculine. He has the same little dimple on his left cheek. And he already looks at me in that same way that you used to – a look of pure, innocent, unconditional love. He has become the center of my universe, just as you were before you left. I know that I will make mistakes along the way, but I promise you that I will love this child with everything that I am and will do whatever necessary to give him everything he needs and deserves.

I can’t lie to you – the experience has been bittersweet. I have moments when I just cry out of frustration that you aren’t here to help me with the late night feedings or the diaper changes. I cry because I miss you so much that it makes my body ache. I cry because even though I continue to have so much support from both of our families, having them around constantly is a reminder that they are here because you aren’t. But I know I’ll make it through- you will give me the strength to do so. I know that you have given me the strength that has brought me this far, because there really isn’t any other explanation as to where this strength has come from.

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Love you to the moon and back,