"Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you"
It has been awhile since I posted and much has happened lately to inspire a new topic that is not only prevalent to blended families but also stay at home parents.
Ive noticed in society, and among social media, there is a lot of taboo on being a "stay at home" parent or a "step parent"... which is just as much ignorant as it is blind. Even in my current loving relationship, there has been an absolute shift in power since becoming a stay at home mom, and also "labels" from others as far as raising my three "step" children.
For those parents who are being labeled for staying home, I feel an undeniable urge to remind our people how important and priceless our role is! Not only are we the most highly influential people in our children's lives, but we have sacrificed a lot of our own wants and needs to "stay home".
I dont know how some people could think any adult would want to stay home all day long, only to be cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, cooking meals that are largely choked down and fantasizing about having conversation with another grown up. It's not necessarily always the easiest job, and it's vastly under appreciated.
Not to mention the actual financial value to an individual who stays home. I mean, let's crunch the numbers!
So, even if as a parent you are only doing half of these items, your spouse or partner should consider themselves lucky! Your job is so crucial to the development of your kids, the consistency in your home and most of all, a gift to those around you. It's hard work and society needs to catch up on this concept! It's ignorant to consider this sacrifice anything less than selfless.
Secondly, there has been so much negativity cycling around about "step" parents. As in, criticizing the role, putting down the individuals value and making that person potentially feel subject to replacement. Even for me personally, I have had so many people look down their noses at the investment I've made, either calling me "crazy" or "warning" me about potential risks. Even in my own home, there have had to be reminders that I chose to step up and step in, when I didn't have to. I believe that certain people reading this blog need encouragement today!
You should know that your courage to become a step parent is valient. It is not a roller coaster ride that most people can handle. Why? Because it's hard!
Furthermore, even though you may never get credit from the biological parent, you're still going strong! I'm here to say, keep on keeping on! You will never get the accolades you deserve and it's especially hard being compared, but you are amazing and people see it! Don't give up!
Finally, your kids will know it one day. They're not your "step" kids in Gods eyes. Family is not defined by DNA but by love. It is human nature to look back on and trust in the people who were there for us, not just "related" to us.
So to all of my "stay at home" parents and "step parents", you just hold your head high! You are taking on the impossible and doing it by choice! If that is not strength and courage then I don't know what is! Don't let anyone take your crown, parents! You have worked hard to earn it and strive hard to keep it!
"Patience is bitter but it's fruit is sweet" -Aristotle
Mothers Day or Father's Day as a step parent is always hard. There is question about whether you will be acknowledged, whether or not your commitment is seen, whether or not the biological parent will be involved and how to approach the awkward day altogether. For me every year it's like, "I made it! Another Mothers Day here and gone".
In a lot of situations, step parents get all of the criticism and none of the credit. I remember for me, I would be the one to take the kids to the doctor but yet I wasn't authorized to access their health insurance so I'd come up short. I was the one who managed the kids' academics and sacrificed my time, yet I was blamed if a signature was overlooked or an assignment had gone missing. It's very difficult being the one who assumes all the responsibility and yet gets all of the backlash when something small comes up. It can be a brutal position to be in and somehow failures seem to outshine accomplishments when it comes to step-parenting.
The solace in putting in the time and doing the work is that it does eventually pay off if you stick with it. Not with every child or in every situation, but in most cases there will eventually be some recognition. As I'm seeing, after the kids leave the home.
My step son has been away to college for a year and there is a complete shift in our relationship. He calls me to let me know about his accomplishments. He includes me in most things he shares with his dad and he seems to appreciate things so much more than he did when he lived at home. We have certainly had our ups and downs but the transformation has been reassuring and I feel that despite any adolescent issues we faced, I did help to mold him into the well rounded individual that he is today. That is definite growth and a reminder that the time I put in to establish our family was worth the heart aches that came along with it or the shortcomings we face as a blended family.
It's like that good old fashioned quote:
So, for all you step parents out there... YOU are making it! Progress is in action as we speak.
I also want to take a brief moment to say that for all the women who have miscarried, this is your day too! At one time there was a dream and a life inside of you and though be it hard, on this day you are a mother too! Take heart.
Speaking of miscarriages, I am passed the safety point with my pregnancy! Baby heart beat is strong, lab work is great and my appetite is up. I'm now 11 weeks today.
The baby is the size of a lime, moving a lot (though I can't feel it) and all of its bodily functions are in effect. The baby is digesting food, urinates, sucks it's thumb, kicks, smells, and can do most other essential things we all do. Toothbuds have formed and if the baby is a boy, he is already producing testosterone. If the baby is a girl, she is already creating eggs that will one day become her own child! Fascinating stuff!
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Thank you for reading everyone and I'll be in touch soon!
"For this child I prayed, and God answered my prayer." -1st Samuel 1:27
Amazingly enough, IVF worked! Of course I had hoped it would work & I believed that it could work but I couldnt have anticipated this feeling... IT WORKED!
Seven days after the embryo transfer, I took an at home pregnancy test. I knew it would probably be inaccurate but I just couldn't wait. A faint line showed up but nevertheless, it was there.
Four days later, I went in for a blood draw. If you go to YouTube and type in my name, Taylor Saad, the video announcement is one of the most recent videos I've posted. Sure enough, I'm pregnant!
For the last 3 weeks I have been going in to my doctors and having ultrasounds done. At this current moment, there is a fetal pole, gestational sac, yolk sac and yes, A HEARTBEAT! (video of heartbeat ultrasound also on YouTube)
Below is an image of what the fetus looks like right now & how big it is. All very exciting! Right now there is a high chance of successful pregnancy to full term, but the faster we get to ten weeks, the better.
In the following weeks, I'll continue to get weekly ultrasounds until they pass me off to an OBGYN. I'm so excited to start feeling kicks and seeing more detail on the ultrasounds!
Right now it's all tender breasts, hunger, bloat, occasional head aches and I'm still undergoing all the meds (including the nightly progesterone injection). Can't wait to get this ball rolling along!
We have chosen our Godmother & I've bought a couple of cute maternity clothes just in time for Mother's Day! This will be the happiest Mother's Day of all!
And of course we continue to pray for those who are yet to receive their miracle!
"When it's obvious that goals can't be acheived, don't adjust your goals. Adjust your action steps."
We are so excited today! We just had our embryo transfer appointment and it went perfectly! The doctor was very happy with the process and felt that it couldn't have been more successful!
The process was checking in, changing into sterile clothing and then being wheeled in to the operating room. At that point, they used the ultrasound machine to locate my uterus and from that point on, the process began!
It was super brief and Joe got to be there the whole time. It was kind of bizarre, like how you would feel as a cow being milked or a rare animal being "bred"... Lots of strange apparatuses and devices to make things go to the right places! But nothing too uncomfortable or painful & our doctor was super reassuring. Everything was told to us up front, as it was happening, play-by-play!
Below is the first picture of our little one. It's just what seems to be a clump of cells but believe it or not, the sex, genetics and physical traits have already been determined! The cells will multiply daily and the hope is that it will implant within 72 hours.
In terms of embryos, there is a scale that embryologists use and our first embryo was classified as "G/G". This is the BEST QUALITY you can have in an embryo and it stands for "good good". That being said, we are really hoping that this one sticks! I have to be on bed rest for 3 days and take it super easy. Can't lift anything heavier than a milk jug or do anything laborious so I'll be a "couch potato" as the doctor calls it. Here he is below:
We won't know anything until April 10th. Below is the actual embryo in my uterus! Til then!
"And will you succeed? YES! You will indeed! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!"
Yes, folks! The date is so near! The embryo transfer is the 30th in the morning, confirmed today by the doctor. This will be my last blog until the embryo transfer.
What they look for before the transfer are two things: thick uterine lining and the right levels on your labwork. A uterus that is ready will look like this:
It's funny when you're actually proud of your own uterus but yes, yes I am!
So, tomorrow I start a new round of injections and they're much thicker. They're muscle injections that go in the meat of your caboose 😋:
Then... the frozen egg transfer!
Then, 10 days later we will be praying for a POSITIVE blood pregnancy test!!
We will be crossing our fingers!
Until then... need some inspiration? Here are just SOME of the celebs who have done IVF:
Alright, well I'll be talking to you all again next week after the transfer!!!
Have a good weekend!
"When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just remember the view from the top!"
This week I lost my brother for unknown reasons. In the last year he had lost a lot of weight but it has been undetermined what happened to his 32 year old body. He was found in his bedroom, lying peacefully in bed but had been extremely sick that day.
There are so many ways that grief can affect everyone individually and a lot of things that can cause you to go in the wrong direction to fill the void: alcohol, drugs, gambling, unhealthy addictions and I've decided to honor him by joining a special program who have endured trauma and loss in their lives.
Not only have things happened in my childhood but as you know, I lost three babies last year. I can honestly say that I never truly overcame that grief and I won't be able to live my life to the fullest until I do. Meaning: dig deep and rip off the bandaid.
Life has so many hardships and can be so painful. It's how we become closer, or how we can grow apart. In the past I have retreated out of fear of feeling my feelings, but I believe that the best way I can honor my brother in this situation is to face it all and get that release. To get my fearless heart back!
Therapy is not for the weak! It takes a strong individual to say: "you know what? This is no longer going to own my life and I will no longer retreat. It's time to stand up and stand strong. It's time to cry and let it go. No pride. No ego. No performing. Just FEEL." Whoever said you have to be perfect and go through life's motions is a fool. Wounds need licking.
To honor my brother, I am going to make this pregnancy about freedom, love without strings and my health. My heart will be healthy, my baby will be healthy and I will teach my kids that the strongest people are the ones who don't run from their pain, but those who persevere.
For anyone wounded or haven't dealt with their grief, there are so many resources. Sometimes it takes a wake up call like my brothers death to realize how precious life it. My baby will be a living example of that.
RIP Jordan and thank you for inspiring me to be a better family member and to appreciate my life. I'll be giving my kids and extra kiss EVERY DAY.
"First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. Fourth, DARE!"
It has been a wonderful, exciting and anxious past couple of months! Hormones. YEP! Cravings. YEP! Crying for no reason. YEP! Hot flashes. YEP! But after much medication, many doctors visits and surgery, we finally have some dates to look forward to! But first let's recap how far we have come!
First, Joe and I did our initial lab work and I had my first ultrasound.
Then, I had surgery early January. This was to correct my blighted ovum and cauterize my right tube. The healing process was about 1-2 weeks and this created for a zero ectopic risk pregnancy, plus a healthy environment for a growing fetus! It was a preventative surgery.
Next, I started medications. I had to take a tablet nightly, prenatals and also a nightly hormone injection, which Joe did for me. It went right under my belly button. Then, on the night before my egg retrieval, I took a "trigger" shot, which gave me flu like symptoms and burned!
After a couple weeks of that, I was scheduled for the egg retrieval. 9 were retrieved and again I was put under anesthesia.
Next, my eggs were put in a lab with an embryologist. They were fertilized and 3 made it to the blastocyst stage, which means they are ready to be implanted and the cells have multiplied at a healthy, consistent rate.
After the eggs were fertilized, they were frozen and are now incubating in the lab. My egg transfer date is MARCH 30th! In the meantime, I'm doing estrogen patches every 3 days and estrogen pills 3x a day. The week before transfer I'll be doing injections with a much bigger needle and a more condensed serum that is pure progesterone!
Then my blood pregnancy test will be April 10th!
We are SO hoping, dreaming, wishing, praying and believing that it will be a positive test result!
"Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow."
To all who want to support a cause!
This April 23rd, there will be an event called Walk of Hope that is going to be at Town Center in Sugarland. The walk is going to be one mile long and the event itself will have several activities including snacks, a bounce house and more.
The purpose of the walk is to show support nation wide to all of the fertility institutes in the nation, to create awareness and raise money! If you know someone who has done ivf, you wish to do it yourself or you just want to support the cause, then this is the perfect event to attend!
The event starts at 9 am but you must register at 8:00. Please come show your love and support, bring the kids and get ready to have a good time 😊
The address is : 16090 City Walk, Sugarland Tx, 77479
Today my family and I went to see the movie The Shack. The moving was very touching, very moving and very emotional. It really resonated with me regarding the grudge I've been holding against God regarding my reproductive situation and my personal quest to have answers. Also, the burial of the main character's daughter made me think about the 3 babies that I had to bury in 2016.
A lot of people don't understand the tragedy that it is to have a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. One day you're daydreaming about nursery paint colors, the baby shower and whether or not the infant will have your eyes. The next day, the darkness comes over you with the knowledge that there is a looming miscarriage happening or that your child has to be aborted by method of methotrexate (chemo injections).
In my case, during one of the pregnancies, I had a woman prophecy over me and tell me that my baby was healthy and strong. That my baby would be wonderful and that I needn't worry because I was in good hands. In God's hands. When my ectopic came to be and I was rushed into emergency surgery, it was very difficult to understand what was happening or why!? I have known drug addicts, smokers and heavy drinkers who had the ability to conceive without issue-even some who drank or smoked during their pregnancies- and yet myself, as a healthy 27 year old, had severe issues.
Over the last year, every time I came to accept my circumstances, I got pregnant again. My hopes would build up, my heart grew excited, and I did daily readings about how to both embrace and nurture my pregnancies. Words can't describe the newfound faith I had and what it was like to have my husband gaze deeply into my eyes in adoration, knowing that I was carrying his child.
Well, that joy dissapated and the anger quickly began to build up again with every lost baby.
In the movie, the main character struggles greatly to accept what has happened to him and wishes to place blame on anyone who resembled the perpetrator of his story. He blamed his God who did not intervene and could not understand why in Gods infinite power, He did not protect the victim from her heinous fate.
Much to my surprise, I found myself pondering on my own situation and wondering if I have judged God too harshly, too. Have I blamed what I could not control on the One I expected to take control? And has my anger been disabling me from living the most fruitful life with freeing love that I can?
Ultimately, the man in the movie gets to bury his daughter in a beautiful garden with the Holy triad: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It was absolutely beautiful and I wept as I thought about really never getting a proper burial for the 3 unfortunate deaths in my loss. The loss of my innocent babies that I now hope are waiting for Joe and I in heaven.
This blog is absolutely meant to bring hope, inspiration and open dialogue about all of these experiences because there is no shame in all this pain! And much like in the movie, the main character could not be healed until he went back to the place where he got "stuck", where his tragedy took place. He needed to face those fears and allow himself to feel those feelings before he could forgive himself, let go of the situation and move forward into healthy, aspirational living.
Thankfully now with IVF, I can put my best foot forward and thank God that I have both the health, the egg reserve and the financial means to do this process at all. I can use this time to let go of what could have been and share these thoughts with you all. I may even do a little ceremony to bury (metaphorically) the spirit and vision that I have of those babies who I'll never meet. Its been a long time coming saying goodbye.
I hope you all see The Shack because in one way or another, we are all grieving something. We all harbor anger or resentment about something. We all have questions about the Holy triad and what it is to forgive the unforgivable. There is not one individual who would not gain insight and cleansing from this movie. Especially those experiencing any kind of fertility issues! It's one of the hardest things for a yearning mother to deal with. Death of the unborn or not being able to conceive at all!
Below: my HCG levels as my miscarriage occurred. Blow after blow with every blood draw:
"I think it's absolutely necessary to let kids get bored once in awhile-that's how they LEARN to be creative."
The reason for writing this blog tonight is that I'm discovering some parenting issues as my 10 & 12 year olds are getting older. As time goes along, I'm seeing more and more how dependent they have become on electronics and how distracted it has made them. I'm wondering: how do I fight this culture and is it a fight worth having?
I see a lot of memes about "when I was your age, I drank out of hoses, walked to school and rode in the back of my dads truck." Well, I undoubtedly agree that it's awesome to have had a more open minded concept childhood and that it creates for extremely resourceful people but times have certainly changed. There are stipulations, stigmas and laws on everything from babysitting, to spanking, to food with certain products to disciplining.
When I was young, my parents were not my slaves nor my play mates. We had our family moments but we learned to cook, clean, do laundry and entertain ourselves at a young age. We used to ride skateboards outside, play baseball with grapefruits, write plays and perform for our parents, play capture the flag, pretend we were professional gymnasts doing competitions in the grass and play touch football. If you'll notice, none of these things require electronics or "stuff". We didn't have the latest, greatest electronics and yet our childhood was fulfilling, creative and fun. We MADE life happen around us and imagined we were in another world! This is lost on my kids.
In the past years, all of the kids have had all the electronics they could desire (lap tops, tablets, tv's etc), plus toys they asked for, popular items they wanted, board games, game consoles, and outside things such as footballs, baseballs, tennis rackets, trampoline, tetherball, hoola hoops and more. Yet, if we take away their electronics, they linger around like zombies without a thought in their heads. They say, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do," to which I respond, "make up a game, do an obstacle course, build a bird house, make up a dance, do sidewalk chalk, play tag," but nothing clicks. What is happening?
So, the issue I'm having is: how do I give them the delight of electronics but yet keep them on a schedule of using their time to PLAY when they seem to no longer know how to play? How do I encourage having fun when I literally send them outside for two hours and I find that my daughter sat on a bench staring at the sky the whole time or my son took a nap on the garage floor? This is not my idea of healthy excersise or play. This culture is killing their beautiful minds and shutting down their imagination.
Im a very artistic individual and I'm trying to encourage them to paint, draw or create things. They have full access to all of my supplies, my daughter has a sewing machine, a pottery set, and tons of craft supplies to do whatever she wants. My son has nice, designer drawing pencils and Lego's, plus "how to" books on paper airplanes or replica comic art. I just don't understand how they are so dependent, if not addicted to technology, because since they were little, we encouraged all sorts of positive creative or athletic and musical talents they showed interest in.
It genuinely feels that the younger culture is becoming like mindless drones. I don't want to be a crippling parent and cause my kids to rebel. I also don't want to be the lazy and liberal mom who wants electronics to consume them.
So, parents and step-parents, what is YOUR fine line? How do you maintain that they use both their own imaginations and their own passions to find hobbies outside of x-box and social media? Is there a time limit that is reasonable or fasting periods that should take place? Do you let your young kids use electronics strictly on the weekends and during weekdays focus on school, playing outside, family dinner and reading time?
It's really becoming more difficult as the kids get older and other parents just cram "stuff" down their throats. Games, phones & iPads, which I feel is also building up to severe entitlement.
So parents, what do you say when your child comes up to you and declares, "That's not fair! Alex gets to use her phone every night until 10 pm and she's allowed to text during dinner!" Or "why can't I get that video game for Christmas? Everybody my age is getting that game this year!" (Even though it's extremely violent with serious profanity for ELEVEN year olds!)
Thoughts!!?? How do we raise our kids during this time and maintain some normalcy? My husband thinks we need to BUY them more things to entertain them but I whole heartedly disagree with this. They have so much stuff that every 6 months I am taking a car load to Goodwill. They have so much stuff, many Christmas items never even make it out of the boxes and clothing never even gets the tag torn off.
I want to be the best parent I can be and I don't want my kids to be mindless or co-dependent. I want them to be resourceful, creative and know how to survive a day without a phone or video game.
I am all ears, friends!! Chime on in!
With the divorce rate at 50%, that means many blended marriages and "step" children to follow..Someone needs to voice this! It's tough! Nitty gritty! Hardcore and without exception of blame! This blog is to not just inform but solidify how difficult, awkward and how severe the power struggle can be as a "step-parent"