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Dear Baby Skye,

If I knew 10 weeks and 2 days ago that today would be the day we would part ways, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Baby Skye, to be honest, the deepest fear I have ever carried is the one that I wouldn’t be able to conceive. I think it goes way back to when I found out I was adopted and I searched for identity in any possible way. Even though adoption is so big on both your fathers heart and mine, we still desired to create something magical together. You.

 

I couldn’t believe it when I took that test the morning of February 18th. Two strong lines in less than 15 seconds. I was absolutely stunned. It was Election Day in Uganda and there was this fear looming in the air but suddenly, the sky’s opened up and brightness shined into our lives.

 

Your father was teaching your sister how to play rock, paper, scissors over breakfast. I hid the test in the back of my pants and sat down with them, my heart beating while thinking of clever ways to share the news. All of sudden he turned to me and said “wanna play?”. I knew this was it. We actually played this childhood game at our wedding ceremony to decide who would say our vows first, so it was quite sentimental. Rock, paper, scissors…show!

 

He cried. Ohhhhh, how he cried. Skye, I have never seen him so instantaneously happy in his life. We hugged forever…maybe you felt it? Although you were the size of a poppy seed then so probably not. He was so happy to learn about you.

 

Me on the other hand…I felt so many things. Shock mainly. We just decided to start trying and already we were pregnant. I felt relieved that it didn’t take that long. Of course I  was incredibly happy not only at the thought of our growing family but now I could kick that lifelong fear to the curb. I could officially get pregnant.

 

Then I felt this sadness. Sadness for the people we know who can’t. Sadness for our loved ones who have been trying forever…really fighting is a better word. Friends who have been fighting for their family.   My heart has broken time after time hearing of their struggles and now here we are, pregnant right away. I was happy but so confused on how this all worked.

 

Then, I felt fear. Fear because I remembered the other times my heart has broken for our loved ones. The times that we got that phone call or text that they no longer were pregnant as they unfortunately miscarried. This was all too common for me to grasp and it seemed like so many people we knew in 2014/2015 all experienced miscarriages back to back. The truth hit me…miscarriage is a possibility because nothing in life is guaranteed.

 

Anxiety and worries consumed me. I googled everything because I didn’t want to do anything wrong that could hurt you. I wanted to give you all the loving and care I possibly could as you grew in my womb. I thought filling my brain with other people’s experiences seemed like a good idea. Actually, it was the worst. Pregnancy boards really felt more like miscarriage boards and again, my heart broke into more pieces. I couldn’t get over how common miscarriage is…1 in 4 women. Four weeks, nine weeks, sixteen weeks, twenty-two weeks, one time, two times, three times. Despite this common tragedy amongst a sea of strangers, I saw strength more than loss. These women have endured so much whether it was infertility, pregnancy loss and even healthy pregnancies. I know those websites weren’t the best for my mind but goodness, I got to know the heart of a woman in a way I have never known. I felt strengthened through everyone else’s vulnerability.

 

I decided to surrender it all to God. I was tired of feeling fear more than joy. As I was praying one day, the lyric “He gives and takes away” came into my heart and it’s played through every day for the last month. Skye, I have learned to count every day together with you as a blessing. 6 weeks and 6 days, 7 weeks and 4 days, 8 weeks and 5 days, 10 weeks and 2 days. That gratitude has spilled over to your sister as well. Every day I thank God for one more day with you two blessings. You are surely His, not mine.

 

During the last 6 weeks, your father spoiled the heck out of us girls. My main symptom was serious fatigue and every day at 2pm it hit hard! He made sure two fans were blowing on me as I rested and worked from bed most days here in Africa. He handled everything with taking your sister to school, making food for us, paying bills and helping with homework. The little things were so hard for me and he never once made me feel guilty for resting and growing your sweet life.

 

Your sister, well she was so excited to finally have someone to play with. So many of our friends around us are pregnant and she got used to the idea that babies grow in bellies and then come out into the world to play. She couldn’t wait for her “baby brudder” to arrive. She would pet my tummy, talk about how she was going to show you her imaginary “pink house” and she even spilled the beans to a couple of people. Needless to say, she couldn’t wait to meet you.

 

There were many things you didn’t enjoy me eating. Avocados, bananas and chicken were just a few. And all of a sudden I was craving food from my childhood…Chex Mex, Nutty Bars, Taco Bell. Thankfully they don’t sell those things here in Africa and I made do with olives and lots of fruit!

 

When I would share the news that I was pregnant with others, they were so excited but there was something in me that held back. It didn’t feel real yet. I just felt like I was sick more than pregnant as I couldn’t see you, feel you or hear you. Our 10 week appointment was the day that I had been waiting for because I knew then that I would finally hear your heartbeat.

 

The day after Easter we met with a midwife in Kampala and she instructed us through everything we could expect. I already knew all of these things because like I said, Google taught me so much in those early weeks. When it was time for the ultra sound, my heart started beating fast. This was the moment I had been waiting for. I invited God to hold onto my fear because I didn’t want it looming in that room with us.

 

He peeked into my body through his ultrasound device and showed me my surrounding organs. Then he placed it over my womb. The machine was outdated but I could make out your tiny body. There was a white dot on your chest and I excitedly asked if that was your heart. I looked up at the technician and could see that something wasn’t right. Everything else was a blur. The technician left. I had tears streaming down my face and I asked your father if he had any idea what just happened.

 

The report said that you were a missed abortion. I had no idea what that even meant but all I knew was there wasn’t a heartbeat. The midwife suggested we wait a week before making a decision on how to move forward…just in case. She also said now that my mind is aware of the situation, my body might begin the miscarriage process on its own. I was still in shock.

 

The long car ride home was filled with different thoughts consuming my brain. I hung onto the midwifes hopeful words…”let’s wait a week, just in case”. That ‘just in case’ showed me hope. I mean, the ultrasound machine WAS pretty old, the technician didn’t have the BEST bedside manner and we are in Uganda after all…lets just hold on to hope for a second opinion.

 

Your father was sitting in the front seat and put on Bethel’s Without Words album. There is a song that goes into “It is Well” towards the end and he lost it. That song is so special to us but especially your father. In the window reflection, I  watched him try to keep it together but the shaking seat told me that he was caving in. I could hear his muffled cry and wrapped my arms around him from behind. I had to be strong for him like he has been strong for me.

 

The next morning waking up felt like a dream but all of a sudden I realized I didn’t feel pregnant at all. My bloating was gone, my chest wasn’t sore and something in my heart just told me that I wasn’t anymore. Seeing as we were going to get an ultrasound for a second opinion that day, I focused on the hope. MAYBE these symptoms were fading because I was nearing the 2nd trimester. MAYBE we could hear a heartbeat.

 

My friend Taylor rushed over to be with me. She listened to me recount the experience from the day before and then asked if she could pray. She prayed for answers, whether it was a heartbeat or bleeding to begin. I told her I didn’t think I could wait weeks to know especially if you passed away already. Thirty minutes later I began to miscarry.

 

When I saw what my body had begun my heart of course sank but I was also amazed at how quickly God answered our prayers! Of course this is the more devastating option but goodness…we had an answer. To be honest, I think I knew this was the case all morning but now I was certain it was reality. While this could seem like a painful realization…I knew where you were and that made me so happy.

 

At midnight I woke up with tight, painful, rhythmic cramps that would last about a minute and then let up before they started again. I quickly realized these were contractions and I was technically in labor except there was no baby that would come out of this. Through these painful contractions that lasted for the next 16 hours I envisioned you in the arms of Jesus. You are smiling, He is smiling…you both look so happy to finally be together. This vision showed me that you were where you were meant to be. Oh Skye, I cannot wait to join you two. I cannot wait to hug you and finally hold you in my arms.

 

It’s been a week of rest and time spent with loved ones. I must tell you Skye, we are all so loved. The last thing we have felt in this experience is lonely. All of your Aunties, Uncles, Grandma and Grandpa have reached out to remind all of us that we are so loved and prayed for. And those prayers, I know you can hear them and we can certainly feel them. All around us is joy, hope and a strengthening of faith. In the moments filled with sadness, anger and sorrow…we focus on those prayers. We focus on the light. We focus on our loving Father.

 

My regrets are that I wish I celebrated every single day with you instead of holding onto fear. While I let go of that anxiety early on, I couldn’t shake the truth of what could possibly happen. I think I disconnected from it all and oddly enough, now I feel closer to you than ever. Should there be another baby brother or sister down the line, I promise to celebrate their life from day one…no matter what the outcome may be.

 

Alas, our time together physically is coming to an end but you will always be in my heart. You will be remembered throughout all of our lives and celebrated every single day. Like I said before, if I knew 10 weeks and 2 days ago that this would be the day we would part ways, I would do it all over again. You certainly have changed me in ways I never thought and I know your life was definitely not wasted.

 

Love always,
Your Mommy
bda
  • April 2, 2016 - 12:48 pm

    Lauren Kovacs - Hi there Mary,
    I sit in the car while our little one naps facing Audubon park in new Orleans while dreaming of our one on the way and remembering our first whom we met and lost in September of 2014. Somehow through Instagram I found you. Your photo of the Daisy and the ultra sound picture captivated me. I had a feeling our stories were similar and they are. What hope we have in the Cross of Christ who gives and takes away for his glory. And for our good.
    I too found that writing my experience with David, our first, was freeing and healing. I had no idea how it would touch others and like you said how many women experience this.
    Reading through your story was a blessing. Thank you for your vulnerablitly, and trust in our Father you’ve modeled. It reminds me of his faithfulness. Know that while reading your story I am praying for you and your husband and little lady. Please let me know how we could serve you and pray for you more.ReplyCancel

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When Cynthia of We Are the Jaquezes reached out to me, it was God’s perfect timing.

JP and I just had this crucial moment when we realized that we needed to surrender our worries and fear when it came to our financial situation. Since moving to Uganda in November, nothing has been certain. We have had to sacrifice more than 60% of our potential wedding photography and dj work by living in Uganda full time. Are we complaining? Not at all!! We are finally all together as family and we couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of expenses and huge student loans to be paid on a monthly basis. So we have been working our tails off taking photo and video work here in Uganda, having our associates in America holding down the fort and carving out time that we will spend in America working. Alas, we knew it was time to get creative and JP and I got down on our knees. We prayed that God would keep us looking towards Him with hopeful hearts full of gratitude and faith. We handed it all over to God and since then, He has blown us away!

One of the biggest ways was when Cynthia reached out (the very next day of us surrendering on our knees) and said that God laid it on her heart to bless our family through her passion of connecting others with essential oils! She has offered to donate 50% of all earnings to our family when you enroll with her and purchase your own starter kit!


Check out her Essential Oil page on her website for more information!


To be honest, essential oils were something I was very weary of at first. Everyone and their mom was jumping on board and usually with things like that, I am more skeptical than intrigued. BUT, I finally caved and bought a bottle of peppermint at a local health food store. I instantly saw all of the wonderful things it could do for headaches, stomach aches, colds and even cooking! ( I once baked peppermint macaroons with it) Peppermint was the only one we had for a long time but before we moved to Uganda, I decided to buy the Young Living Starter Kit just in case.

We have used it every day since.

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The common oils that we use are peppermint, lavender and thieves. We are usually diffusing peppermint in our home whether it is because one of us is suffering from a headache or because we just enjoy the aroma.

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Thieves is a huge hit in our home especially with our little one! Whenever she comes from hanging out with friends who might have sick kids, we rub thieves on her feet every night. Or when we hear a sniffle coming on, we run and grab the thieves. It’s the cutest thing to hear her say “time for oils!” before we read a book for bed. Our 4 year old has definitely appreciated the benefits of oils as well!

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Lastly, one of our most favorites is Lavender. I can confidently say that we use this oil the most as it’s our first bottle to run empty. We use this on any mosquito bites, burns, cuts or irritated skin. We have noticed immediate results and it comes in handy for our lifestyle! It is also a favorite to blend with other oils or diffuse around the home.


I honestly never thought I would be one to be obsessed with oils but now I cannot picture our life without them! Whenever a symptom arises in our home, I just go to google and there is a recipe for cure with essential oils! I promise you investing in a starter kit through Cynthia would not only help our family out in big ways, but also bless you and your family as well!

Check out her website for more information!

bda

I couldn’t help but post that as the title haha. It has been ages since I blogged and I’m sorry about that. Last year, I was inspired to dust this thing off and make it more of an every day lifestyle kind of blog. Well, then every day got really crazy (good and bad), busy and hard.


RECAP of 2015


January // We welcomed 2015 in one of our favorite places, Uganda. Our visit was meant to be 6 weeks but I ended up extending it as long as I could to two months. We came to say good bye to this country as we had been going back and forth quite a bit for the last few years. Our hopes were to stay local and still in Los Angeles, grow some roots and connect with our community. As our desires going to Uganda were to make sacrifices for stability, God did just that in His own unique way. He lead us to looking into what the needs were for a little girl. While we were hoping it would be finding her a family member to live with and we would pay for her school fees, it then lead to foster care with hopes of adoption. Our minds were blown. This was not our plan…but it was God’s and for that we had to sit back in awe and give Him all the glory. Oh and we also went to Cape Town and fell in love.

Uganda, Africa

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Cape Town, South Africa

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February // It wasn’t easy going back to Los Angeles and filling everyone in on the news. Yes, our loved ones were so excited but people were also really sad. The community we were hoping to stay local for to spend more time with was the same community we were now telling we were moving far far away. Not only were we moving far away but we were starting our family as well.

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March // Knowing we were going to be moving out of the country next year, there were a few things we knew we had to take advantage of. Two of those things happened in March. A road trip with two of our best friends Bethany and Ryan through Utah and Arizona. Another trip was to Norway to visit our friends Maria and Oystein and explore their magical land!

Road trip from Arizona to Utah back to Arizona

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Ålesund, Norway

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April // April was all about spending time with our friends. Luckily, my best friend Asher was visiting Los Angeles from Uganda. It was so wonderful to spend time with her and her husband Dru, show them around the city we love so much and dream about living in the same town in just several months. Another perk was spending time with our closest friends who lived 10 minutes away from us. We had a lot of dinners, celebrated me turning 28, and many last minute coffee/frozen juice trips

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May // Wedding season started back up and I got to photograph all the pretty couples with this amazing girl, Kate Edwards, joining my side! It is such a blessing to be able to work with one of your closest friends!

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June // Knowing we were moving to Uganda in November, we were trying our hardest to clean up all loose ends. When laying it all out on the table..that came down to a trying to pay off a lot more credit card debt than I knew we had accrued. It totally seemed impossible but our goal was to glorify God more than anything. We lived pretty frugally the next several months but luckily I had some work to bring us up north. We drove all the way to Seattle to stay with our friends Julie and Andy with a stop in Portland to see our good friends, Peter and Kate on the way home.

Seattle, WA

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Portland, OR

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July // Along with a busy work month, we ventured to Alaska for a wedding over the 4th of July. We also headed to Nashville for a job interview later in the month. It was a short trip but luckily we got to stay with our friends Tom and Susie and spend sweet time with Tyler and Felicia.

Ketchican, Alaska

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Nashville, TN

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Oh ya! We paid off our car in July too!

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August // We headed back to Uganda for some work with Amazima Ministries. This trip was pretty fulfilling in so many ways. Every single day we heard God tell us that Uganda was where we needed to be and for two people who were uprooting their lives to move halfway across the world, we were grateful for all of His confirmations. We were able to get situated with a home for when we moved, see friends in the community, visit our sweet girl every single morning and document the amazing stories of Amazima.

Uganda, Africa

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September // I wouldn’t allow myself to start preparing for our move until September so this month was the beginning of a crazy season. We started packing, selling, purchasing and giving away things. Not only were we still in the midst of paying off our debt radically, we were also starting to fundraise towards our move and work as hard as we could to save every extra penny. Luckily, we got to visit my best friend in Minnesota and this was also the same month that the NINE retreat happened in LA where I was able to have my first speaking engagement!

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Minneapolis, MN

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The NINE Retreat

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October // We hosted a Go With Love fundraiser in Costa Mesa at Wolfcamp Studios. It was amazing to see so many wonderful artists and vendors come together to support our move. People came from all over and not only did that help our cause but also supported so many other causes/small businesses as well!

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November // This was the month we left. I was facing some really hard times emotionally as every single feeling I could feel came to the surface. Every day was so exhausting as I was severely missing our little one, getting rid of every single thing we owned, packed up the remaining items into bins that we would bring, worked as hard as we could to make every dollar we could, saw as many friends and family members as possible and still tried to get some cuddles in here and there. It was the most exhausting month of my life. Alas, we got on the plane Thanksgiving day and headed to our new home, Uganda.

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December// This was the first month as family and it was everything we dreamt of and more. We were so lucky that our friends spent months working hard preparing our house for us before we arrived. The night we landed we slept in our own beds and cooked food on our stove the very next day. Once we were all together as family, we began practicing Advent together and celebrating Jesus every morning. Oh, so many sweet memories were made in December…memories I will never forget. We chose not to work the month we arrived so this time was purely spent bonding and attaching to one another and that was such a blessing. I longed for this time for so many months…ever since the beginning of February to be exact. After a few months of darkness, God truly delivered and we have been celebrating his beautiful blessings and promises since.

HOME

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Thank you for your continual support through this past year of our lives! We seriously and literally would not be here, in Uganda as a family,  if it wasn’t for your many blessings both financially and through prayer! Happy 2016 to you all!

bda
  • February 21, 2016 - 11:39 am

    Micah - Mary,

    I cannot even express the joy at reading through the past year of your life. I don’t know if you remember, but I wrote a few months back, and I’ve been following your family’s journey since the beginning. It is a joy to see the faithfulness being poured out, and your little daughter is absolutely precious. I cannot wait to see where the Lord takes you three and all the good things in store for you guys. This New Zealand-born girl living in Mexico (long story!) has been and will continue to pray for you all.

    So much love coming your way.

    xx
    MicahReplyCancel

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When I received an email from umano, my heart jumped with glee! I couldn’t get over these amazing shirts and the beautiful mission behind this company!

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“umano believes in the unlimited potential of a kid’s imagination and that art inspires kids to create their own path. art education is not about learning to draw, it’s about learning to see. kids draw the art and with every product you purchase, umano will give a backpack full of school supplies to empower a kid to unleash their creativity.”

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I fell in love with this elephant shirt, The Tiny Dancer, that Emanuel created. To have a look into the artist behind this beautiful design and to hear about his love for elephants made wearing this shirt more of an experience rather than luxury.

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Check out umano’s website for all of the amazing shirts designed by inspiring children!

bda

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I am a HUGE fan of Pons by Avarcas USA. 

Like…I wish I had them in every color and I can’t help but wear them until the sole is worn down. I could not think of a better sandal for my lifestyle and personality. They have especially become an essential staple for my travels to Uganda! The structure of these sandals is the best for those rocky red dirt roads and are easy to slip on and off as a sign of cultural respect for when you enter a home. I am also in love with them because, well, it’s a rare opportunity to get a pedicure in Uganda so the beautiful leather hides the not so pretty underneath. #keepingitreal

I have gone through two pairs of the brown and just recently added the forest green to my Pons family. I think the taupe are next. 😉


I am so excited to share a discount code for 20% off with you all!!

WANDERPONS

www.avarcasusa.com

That code will be available until July 31st!

bda