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March 25, 2015

{Coming Clean}

I have contemplated whether or not to write this post for a month now. In true "Taylor fashion", I have decided and learned that sharing my experiences and not keeping them to myself have helped so many people. I know this because I get random messages from people saying that. To those that have messaged me, thank you. I am so glad that anything that I have written has helped you put obstacles in your own lives into perspective. As mothers, it's important to support one another instead of judge. It is important to realize that none of us truly know what we are doing and are all just trying to do our best and make the most effective decisions in raising our beautiful babies. 

As I sit here, I am watching my daughter play with a cardboard box with The Backyardigans on in the background. This post may take me a while to write. She is now VERY interested in outlets, cords, the scarves that sit in my bottom drawer and any piece of furniture that allows her to pull herself up on her feet. So, up and down, up and down for mama. :)

Most of you that have followed my blog for a while now know about Millie's birth story and my experience the morning of her birth. After she was born, I was on this extreme high that I had never experienced before. It masked the pain from the c-section, it made me feel like I wanted to have 10 babies, it made me feel invincible. I guess they call that "falling in love." I had truly fallen in love and felt this love come over me that I had never felt before…a deep love for my sweet Millie. That's why when people asked me if my c-section hurt, I told them it really wasn't that bad. The adrenaline masked the pain to the point where I was refusing pain medication.

Millie spent her 7 weeks in the hospital and there wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't there for at least 7-8 hours a day. Sometimes I was there from 9am until 10:30 that night. I just wanted her to know me. It wasn't an ideal situation. Most babies know their mamas right away. They are put on their mama's chest directly after delivery, they begin breastfeeding and then are never separated. Millie was being fed through an NG tube and I didn't even get to hold her for the first time until she was 2 days old. So, after that 7 weeks spent in the NICU, Tyler and I brought her home, put her in her crib and when we stopped filming her "going home video", we looked at each other and both said, "Okay, now what?!?"

That's when reality set in for us and that "dream period" was over. There was no nurse to step in if we were doing something wrong. There was no one there to remind us of diaper change time, feeding time or vitamin time. We were completely on our own with a 5 pound baby that felt breakable to us.

As the days and weeks went by, I began to notice I was different. I just attributed it to the little sleep I was getting, the fact that I could never really shower and I knew my hormones were completely thrown off from just having a baby and the breast feeding. I noticed I cried every day. Sometimes for no reason. I think I even mentioned in one of my posts that my favorite time to cry was when I was in the shower and no one could hear or see me. I just kept telling myself, this is the new norm. You are just adjusting and it WILL get better. 

All of my motherhood posts for the most part were completely positive, hopeful and faithful. However, I was always completely real and honest when it came to adjusting to life with a new baby and all the trials that come with it. That's just who I am. I am not the type of person that only shares the good things. I share things that are true and that really put things into perspective. Life raising children is not a cake-walk. 

One night, in the middle of the night, I awoke from a terrible nightmare. I sat straight up and realized I had just had the most vivid flashback of the worst 5 minutes of my life. You all know those 5 minutes... the rush from my pre-natal hospital room into the operating room and the 3 minutes where they couldn't find my baby's heartbeat, were trying to insert a catheter, a nurse's entire arm was shoved up my cervix holding my baby off her cord, the anesthesiologist no where to be found, and the last thing I remember: the doctor looking at me saying, "We have to get her out now because we can't find a heartbeat" and me screaming and crying out "Just do it!!!"

I continued to have these nightmares for months and I never told anyone. They even began occurring during the day. I would daze off out of nowhere and then snap back out if it after it was all over. It brought chills up my spine every time.

My mother, God love her. She is a psychologist and has always psychoanalyzed everything in my life. "Tabey, I think you have anxiety." Tabey, I am worried about you. You seem somewhat down lately (finals week in college) and I am worried you are depressed." "Tabey, you just cleaned your bedroom and vacuumed yesterday. I think you have OCD." "Tabey, you are eating really healthy lately and exercising a lot. Are you sure nothing is going on?"  

Haha. Love you mom.

She knows she does this. I've just gotten used to it. And every time she did it, I would snap at her and tell her to "just be my mom and stop analyzing everything in my life!"

A couple months ago, I got a random email in my inbox from her. The subject line stated: "The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)".
There was no message from her…just a link.
(She later would tell me she was scared to death to send that article because she knew I was going to rip her apart.)

I immediately rolled my eyes and closed the email. Then, later in the day, while I was putting Millie down for her nap, I decided to check my email and I clicked the dreaded link. I began reading each symptom the article listed and felt my body go numb part by part. Then I felt my eyes welt up in tears. Then, I felt extreme fear and embarrassment. "Oh my God. I have this. She is right. What do I do next? Can I fix this on my own? How am I supposed to share this with my husband? I want him to think I am strong and that I would never let anything like this happen to me."

My husband returned home from work a couple hours later and I was standing in the kitchen holding the baby and I immediately began to bawl upon seeing his face. (Poor guy. He told me later he thought something terrible had happened like I had dropped the baby or something.) He came over to me, hugged me and said, "Whats wrong?" I mumbled, "I think I have postpartum depression." I showed him the article and realizing the signs he had noticed as well, without hesitation, he was on the phone calling Millie's pediatrician. When they told him to call my OBGYN, they directed him to call my General Practitioner. When they referred him back to the OBGYN, they began to say that it had been 10 months since I had my baby. I didn't have postpartum depression, I was more than likely just depressed. Feeling very frustrated and like we had been sent in circles, he got on the internet and began researching therapists for PPD. We came across a woman named Meeka Centimano. This is a woman who has not only experienced this but decided to point her specialty towards childbearing women who have had preemies and difficult and traumatic deliveries. He made a quick phone call, and within 15 minutes, I had an appointment set up for that week.  I began to think, no wonder women never get help and are afraid to come forward. We were sent in so many different directions from the healthcare professionals that I thought were supposed to take things like this seriously. This disappointed me greatly. 

I have to pause for a quick moment and say how incredibly thankful I am for my husband. He didn't judge me. He didn't get mad at me. He acted. At that time, I didn't have the strength to call or speak to anyone. He was my rock that entire evening and did everything he could to take action.

My first appointment, Tyler joined me. I explained to Meeka that instead of feeling extreme gratitude that my baby, my beautiful healthy baby was perfect and what could have been a horrible situation turned into a great one, I felt resentment. Not towards anyone or anything in particular. I just felt resentment that I didn't get to have that perfect birth. That perfect first moment where my baby latched on to form that perfect bond between a mother and her child. After we told her our entire story, she began to tell me that she believed my Postpartum Depression and Anxiety was brought on by something called Post Traumatic Stress. 
Those 5 minutes. 
I can't believe 5 minutes of one's life can change everything and make someone's brain completely shift from being normal to "off". 
After that revelation, I felt so validated in just knowing what had been wrong with me for the past 10 months. I finally felt relief that it was nothing I did to cause this. I have continued to see Meeka and am slowly but surely healing from the inside out. She has helped me to realize that there is no correct way to parent. Expectations in life will ruin you and that I am in fact a strong woman and just because I am dealing with this right now, does not make me a lesser person.

What made me write this post? 
Simple. 
Education and awareness. 

Had my mother not sent me that article, who knows how long this could have gone on for? My marriage could have suffered. My ability to cope with certain situations would have gotten worse. I would have gone on being miserable and missing out on soaking in experiences and my life's greatest gift. My baby. I do need to say that of all the symptoms I had, I NEVER ever felt like I was going to hurt myself or my baby. That would never in a million years cross my mind. But unfortunately, that is the case for some women which is why awareness and education is so important. Some women don't have the support I received. 

I have shared my story with 5 people. My mother and father, my husband and two friends. So the fact that I am posting this today, is going to be a shock to most of my friends and family that I speak to on a regular basis. It just felt like the right time to share and I know that my words come out better through writing. 

If you or anyone you know is showing signs of PPD, PPA or PTSD, please share this blog or the article I linked in this blog with them. Be aware of the women around you. Look for signs. You could be their saving grace.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for constantly praying for our family and for following along on our journey raising Millie. She is a special little girl. She has that spark. And since she was born, I just have had this feeling that she will make an impact in her lifetime. I am so proud to be her mommy and will love her to the ends of the Earth and back again for as long as I live. 

March 2, 2015

{Winter Lately}



Every season, Tyler and I like to make little videos of Millie to remind ourselves just how far she has come. By capturing these moments on video we will forever be able to follow her progress as she grows, learns and buds into a beautiful, strong young lady. The music overlay is a song entitled "Midnight Swim" by recording artist St. Grandson who resides in Ghent, Belgium. As soon as I heard the song and it's lyrics, I wrote to him immediately asking permission to share his music with my readers. He was so gracious by allowing me to do so and asked me to send him a preview in advance. And he liked it! Phew!

I chose this song because, like Millie, it is endearing, gentle and beautiful. Not to mention the lyrics really hit home for us with our feelings raising Millie the last 10 months.

We hope you enjoy watching as much as we did filming it over the past couple months. For those of you that know the long road she traveled, these clips are a reminder of her strength and tenacity. 

I am busy planning Millie's first birthday party, a fruit theme. :P 
Stay tuned.

I have attached the video in this blog, but for better viewing quality, please click the You Tube link for the ability to watch in HD! Also, please check the description box in You Tube for more detailed information.



Published March 1, 2015

Millie: Winter 2015
"The one where Millie crawls, "rides", discovers snow, swims for the first time, eats and flashes lots of baby smiles."


We owe a special "thank you" to St. Grandson for giving us permission to use their amazing music for our video. Please take a moment and go check them out!

Music:
"Midnight Swim" by St. Grandson

Credits:
https://www.facebook.com/St.Grandson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbons...
https://soundcloud.com/st-grandson
https://instagram.com/stgrandson
https://twitter.com/stgrandson

Millie's bows: Harper Kate Boutique
https://www.etsy.com/shop/HarperKateB



xoxo,

February 16, 2015

{2 Ways to Wear the Stella & Dot Palmia Necklace}


So, I had some free time on my hands one day and decided to put together a little blog post showing you how to wear the Stella and Dot Palmia Necklace two ways. Now, I know it is a tad bit on the pricey side, but I wanted to show you how it can be dressed up or dressed down. I didn't have anyone around to photograph me in the outfits, so I had to get creative and use a mannequin. Ha! Don't laugh. It worked, though.


The first way is to obviously dress it up. This necklace is so beautifully detailed and is such a statement piece. I would wear this to a wedding, job interview, or to church on Easter Sunday. I love color and this outfit allows my personality to shine right though. 

Skirt // Banana Republic (no longer available)


Ruffled White Blouse // Manon (no longer available)
Similar: Ruffled Blouse

Jacket // Asos (no longer available)

Heels // Emilio Pucci (no longer available)



The second outfit is a dressed down date night outfit. Some skinny jeans, an oversized cable knit sweater, a fabulous statement necklace, and some statement shoes….hello gorgeous! This necklace has metal mixing going on with the gold band and the silver 'V' detailing. I decided to pair this necklace with silvery, grey pieces and I love how it turned out.  

Clutch // Hobo (no longer available) Similar: Hobo Vida Clutch
Silver Metallic Oxfords // Zara (Ebay)


Anyway, thanks for reading. This was a fun, random post. More to follow as I have tons of ideas of things you can wear with the new Stella and Dot Spring Line. Please visit my stylist website anytime and have a look for yourself! You can also follow me on Facebook or Instagram for more fashion inspiration. 

www.stelladot.com/taylorjenkins


XOXO,



January 24, 2015

{It's the New Year. Where have I been?}

Hello everyone…

I keep getting questions from friends, family and subscribers/followers why my blog updates have been halted.

Since, deciding to stay home full time with Millie, my priorities have completely shifted…to her.

I also just needed a break. The past 9 months has been quite possibly the most challenging period of my life. But, it has been OH SO WONDERFUL and eye opening at the same time.

Instead of putting up scattered content on on my blog that I wasn't even sure my readers enjoyed skimming, I wanted to take some time and figure out the ambience of my little internet place going forward. Before there was Millie, this was a place where I shared my thoughts about faith, passions in fashion and beauty, life lessons learned, fitness (which let's be real…that never happened as a serious topic), recipes and unsolicited internet therapy. 

When I learned we were expecting, I thought it would be fun to update weekly on my progress so we could look back at the rapid changes and exciting things happening as this little gift grew in my tummy. Then, with her unexpected pre-term arrival, it became a place where we could update family and friends on her progress as she grew bigger and stronger in the NICU. It was just too hard to get back to everyone with our main focus being on her health and development. 

So, now that I have had a couple months off…what's my plan going forward? What am I doing with my life these days? Where do I see my focus shifting in the next year?

Firstly, this blog will be undergoing a complete renovation. There are so many things I would like to do with this space, however, my template just will not allow it. I don't know if this will take a month or 6 months but I want it to be somewhere that I can cover every topic my heart desires. I will try to still post unless I am halted by construction.

What am I doing with my life these days? 
Three months ago, I signed on to be an Independent Stylist with Stella and Dot. Everyone does it for different reasons so here are mine:

1. I wanted something that could bring in a little extra money for our family due to the fact that I was staying home to watch Millie. See number 4.
2. I wanted to do something that involved fashion and creativity. I have a bachelors degree in Textile and Apparel Management/Fashion Merchandising and a Business Minor and I really wanted to use those skills even in the smallest way possible.
3. I love Stella and Dot jewelry. Seriously, I am not just saying that. It is beautiful.
4. Since Millie was born, the amount of medical bills that were accrued are ASTRONOMICAL. We spent the past 9 months fighting with the insurance company over a $50,000 bill (that's just one of them) that they refused to pay. Here is the story. 
I was set to deliver full-term at Liberty Hospital where we made sure all of the providers were covered under our insurance. When my water broke at 28 weeks, we went to Liberty to seek medical attention and were immediately transferred by ambulance to St. Luke's Medical Center on the Plaza. We had no choice. Liberty did not have a NICU that could care for a baby born that early. 
Well, come to find out, none of the doctors or neonatologists were providers covered under our insurance plan. But, we had NO CHOICE. I had no where else to deliver. The fact that we even had to fight this and be rejected not once, but twice, was ridiculous and just shows how screwed up our country's medical insurance companies are. 
But praise be to God, we just found out last week that we won! This bill as been completely wiped away! What a relief. 
Now, onto the other bills! This is why Stella and Dot has been great. It brings in just that extra income that we can put towards things like this.
5. Since we have no extra spending money for a fashionista like me to go shopping for new clothes and shoes, it has been nice to take what I already have and get creative with the FREE jewelry I earn through Stella and Dot. I have always said, you can make the simplest outfit and dress it up with accessories and you will look like A MILLION BUCKS. 

Which brings me to my next point:

6. If you want to do something where YOU decide the time you put into a job, signing up for Stella and Dot is perfect for you. Everyone has their different reasons for joining. If you are interested in any way, I would love to hear your reasons and talk you through any pros and cons you may have in starting your own creative business. Seriously, I would love to have YOU on my team. It is so fun. And positive. Always positive.

7. In addition to Stella and Dot, I have spent the past 2 months studying to get my Missouri and Kansas real estate license. Again, this is something I can do that is flexible and allows me to do my number one job…and that is be Millie's mommy. I will be licensed by Spring and will be ready to put "sold" signs in yards all over the Greater Kansas City area. HA!

I've been busy as you can see. You can also see that I'm a dreamer, I'm a doer, and I'm a thinker. I see possibilities everywhere.

Where do I see my focus shifting in the next year?

Well, first and foremost, I want to be a great mommy and teach Millie things that she will use her entire life. Things like confidence, independence, healthfulness, appreciation and assertiveness. I want her to be outgoing, intelligent, thankful and Godly. This is my primary focus.

Secondly, I want to be successful in my two business ventures. I find I am the happiest when I am productive, successful and creative. I love people and interaction and truthfully, there hasn't been much of that the past 9 months and that's my fault. But, my focus was elsewhere and that's okay. I would love your support and encouragement as I prove to everyone that I can make something of myself in my career all while being a mom and a wife.

My blog going forward?
I have a few ideas for my blog but I want to hear from you what you would enjoy seeing and reading.  Please leave a comment and tell me what inspires you and what brings you joy when following a blog. Is it fashion inspiration? Is it beauty advice? Is it home decor ideas? Is it family life? Is it my silly little homemade You Tube videos set to music? Is it faith? Is it covering life topics that we all struggle with internally but we never address because we are too embarrassed or shy? 

As always, thank you so much for subscribing and following my blog. I have met so many incredible people from all over the world who inspire me and offer support you just never expect to get without begging for it. So, thank you again for being a Taylor supporter. 

Happy New Year!
Love.