Friday, September 22, 2017

Things I Wish I Had Known When My Daughter Was Stillborn. This Is My Story.


If you are a long-time reader, you know who I am. My name is Bre, and I am the face of stillbirth. On April 10, 2013, our sweet 20-week gestation daughter Aubrey was born sleeping. This is a day that changed my life for eternity. A day that changed me forever. Changed my husband forever. We are not the same people we were before this happened. I wanted to share my story again because it had been so long since I last spoke of it. I want to let my new readers know they are not alone.

As for the backstory, very early on in our pregnancy, we were told our daughter was going to die and we were told we needed to abort. This is something that I could not do. We were told she had no chance at life and carrying her would be painful for me emotionally. I started blogging our journey when we found out. We went to several follow-up ultrasounds and we were told she had Anencephaly.
Anencephaly is a condition that prevents the normal development of the brain and the bones of the skull. This condition results when a structure called the neural tube fails to close during the first few weeks of embryonic development. The neural tube is a layer of cells that ultimately develops into the brain and spinal cord. Because anencephaly is caused by abnormalities of the neural tube, it is classified as a neural tube defect (NTD).If the neural tube fails to close properly, the developing brain and spinal cord are exposed to the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus. This exposure causes the nervous system tissue to break down (degenerate). As a result, people with anencephaly are missing large parts of the brain called the cerebrum and cerebellum. These brain regions are necessary for thinking, hearing, vision, emotion, and coordinating movement. The bones of the skull are also missing or incompletely formed. Almost all babies with anencephaly die before birth or within a few hours or days after birth.
To put this in perspective- She did not have skull bone around her brain and her head did not close from the forehead to the neck. In my ultrasound below, you can see what I am talking about. In a normal ultrasound, there would be a thin white line around the skull in a perfect round shape. 


We were asked again if we wanted to abort and we said no. We wanted to meet her. We joined support groups, we asked questions and we found so many couples that were in the same situation that we were in. We even MOURNED their babies when they had them because we were all so close-knit. We went on to our gender ultrasound finding out it was a girl. Then I went into early labor at 20 weeks and had her. I had a history of pre-term labor, but because of her condition, they did not stop labor. 
That morning, after 24 hours of labor, Aubrey Elizabeth Brown was born sleeping. She was the most beautiful, fragile and perfect baby. When we found out she had this condition, I was terrified after googling and seeing other babies in our support groups with this condition. Oddly, it did NOT bother us. We looked past it. We did what normal couples do- counted her toes, talked about who she looked like. Kissed her nose. The nurse even put the smallest gown on her. She had a bonnet. Oh, my she looked so sweet. I did not realize how formed she would be for 20 weeks. She looked like a micro-preemie. Her skin was so red because of her age. Everything about her was so well formed. Her feet were big like daddy, her tiny fingers were perfect. She had my nose and Her little lips were so sweet.

We were able to spend the whole day with her until we had to call the funeral home. Watching them walk out with her was the most devastating. We decided to have her cremated, and we did so. We have the perfect urn for her. A baby shoe. I have a necklace with her ashes in it that I wear on my neck too. 


There are some things that I wish I had known when I had her. There are things that I wish I had known. You can't even begin to prepare for this.  Things that I do not wish anyone to go through, but women DO go through these and it is time to talk about it! If you are facing the situation that we did, and you decided to carry, read this!

  • You will feel like your marriage is failing. Here 4+ years later, I am surprised my husband and I made it. I am surprised we are still married. According to a study found, compared with couples who had successful pregnancies, those who had a miscarriage were 22 percent more likely to break up, and those who experienced a stillbirth were 40 percent more likely to do so. We fought and took our anger out on each other constantly. STAY STRONG for each other. HE or she WILL want to grieve alone. And THAT IS OKAY. Give them space.
  • You will regret not taking photos. Some people find it taboo or morbid. I do not at all. She was our baby. I refuse to post a full photo of her, because sadly, the internet can be cruel, but we CHERISH these. Please, take photos. Take moments to hold and snuggle your baby. You do not want to go through life wondering "what if".
  • You will go through the stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining (struggling to find meaning and reaching out to others to share your story), Acceptance. I was stuck in anger for an entire year. I hated everyone. I am finally, four + years later, at acceptance. 
  • Triggers will happen often. I often smell scents or see babies and pregnant people and it can trigger flashbacks. During the first year, I had breakdowns in the middle of the store and I had to leave my buggy and run out crying. 
  • Don't be afraid to talk about your baby. I would often get asked how many kids I had and would hold back mentioning Aubrey because I did not want an awkward conversation. One day I said screw it and mentioned her. Little did I know, the lady had also lost her baby that same month I lost Aubrey. I talk about her when I can. But holding back IS NORMAL. You will learn to open up over time. 
  • There will be days, maybe weeks you stay in bed crying and not showering for days at a time. It will happen. No one talks about it. It happened to me. That is the depression part and it is NORMAL to go through. 
  • Everyone always talks about mom, and asks how she is doing. They do not mention dad as much.  I often got the "How are you?" but there were times no one asked about him. Make him involved. There were several occasions I diverted the conversation toward him. He wanted to feel involved. He wanted people to ask how he was doing. 

My husband was sent the tag and bear above, it is one of his cherished possessions too! 

  • It is okay to have keepsakes. We have a memory box full of items. I even have her umbilical stump in a ziplock baggie. When going through our box tonight, I found the piece of paper we used when we found out we were pregnant. We were discussing baby names! It is okay to keep all of those memories! We open our box every anniversary. 
  • You WILL want to punch those in the face that say "She/he is in a better place. IT is normal. I still get those comments. The worst one has been "At least you are still young enough to have another child". I want my baby. Mine, the one I lost. Who are you to say that to me? It is okay to say how you feel to someone that offended you with a stupid comment. I do wish I had spoken up more.
I am crying writing this post, so I have to end it now, but I wanted to share my thoughts and let you know that if you are going through a loss, you are not alone. A loss is a loss, not matter how far in your pregnancy you were/are. I am an email away. Thank you for reading. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Visit Chuck E. Cheese’s for National Pepperoni Pizza Day!

My family loves Chuck E. Cheese's! Our location is amazing and so friendly! I am stoked to share with you another amazing offer from them! Visit participating locations on Wednesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 21 to celebrate National Pepperoni Pizza Day. Buy any large pizza at menu price and receive a FREE personal thin & crispy pepperoni pizza. Use coupon code #5485.

I will be there, will you?!

Be sure to stop by Chuck E. Cheese's on their social channels to stay up to date with the latest below! 
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

{#DIY} Toilet Paper Bat Halloween Craft!

Halloween is going to be here before we know it! There's nothing more fun than decorating for the Holidays! Halloween is my favorite one! Before I tried this craft with Lydia, I wanted to give it a run myself and see how simple that it was. See below what you need! Now, paint brushes and scissors are not pictured. You will need them.
You need a toilet paper roll, scissors,  paint brushes, glue sticks, black and white acrylic paint, construction paper, wiggly eyes. Paint your toilet paper roll black and set aside to dry.
I folded a piece of construction paper in half and made my wings. I did this so that both were identical.  You can use your child's hand prints and cut them out  instead to add a personal touch. 
 I used Crayola brand paper and wasn't too happy that it wasn't as black as I wanted it to be. I decided to paint my wings. I liked this better.
 While most of my toilet paper roll was dried, I took my white paint and made the fangs and mouth.
After my wings dried I glued them on the back of the toilet paper roll. Then added my wiggly eyes!
I used my gold pen and added a personal touch on the wings. I also cut out a bow for a girly effect. Super cute! We plan to put this on our TV stand when we decorate next week for Halloween! I can't wait to do this with Lydia! We have so much more in store too! If you don't want to use paint, another option would be to wrap the construction paper around the roll and staple. Then you can staple or glue the wings. This is more of a mess free option. I prefer the mess because it is more fun for the kiddo! 

EDIT 10/1/14 Lydia gave this a shot by herself today after school! This is a super easy craft for the kids! She used her hand prints as the bats wings! Check it out!

 She was so excited she finished this all alone with supervision.
 She painted the mouth and used my gold pen on the wings. I figured it was her project so she can add whatever touch she wanted. She said she wanted my girl bat to have a boy bat give her company. HA!
 Is this not adorable??? Try it yourself! It is so much fun! Like this post? Feel free to hover over my bat and Pin to Pinterest or share via one of the buttons below! Thanks for reading!

Mini Bathroom Makeover With RoomMates Decor- Easy Removable Decals!

As many of my friends know, I have shared my journey to a Mickey themed bathroom with everyone for a few months now. I have went as far as painting my own canvases. My love for Disney keeps growing more and more. I discovered RoomMates Decor, and I was stoked! RoomMates offers a variety of wall decals that are removable and reusable. They don't peel off the paint. They are easy to apply! Applying them is pretty easy. If you are looking to move into a new home or browsing apartments and you need to give a space in your home a makeover, they are for you

Scope out where you want it to go, make sure you apply on a clean and dry surface and place it. If you don't like where it is, or how you applied, you can peel and place again! I did this several times and I was stoked to see how sticky that it remained!
I seen that they had the cutest Mickey Mouse Decal! They had three pages to look through filled with Mickey themed items! I chose this cute Typographic Mickey Mouse Decal. It had 17 decals included in the pack.  As you can see, the before and after gives a small makeover and adds what was needed in the room. I needed that "last touch". Since we live in apartments, we cannot paint. This is just what I needed because they don't do any damage!
RoomMates Peel And Stick Decor is my recommended GO-TO for any room accessory. The decals came on 1 sheet of 18" x 40". The mickey came in pieces and they had numbers to tell which went where. It was so easy to assemble! I do plan to move it to the right just a tad, I am still debating on that now.
I was excited to see how that this came together, and I placed the mickey heads in the bathroom randomly. Some on the shelf above the toilet, on the mirror, wall and door. 
 I am happy with the end result and I can't wait to WOW my guests when they come over. 
 I even added some onto the bathroom mirror.
This inexpensive makeover can be yours for only $18.49! That is such an amazing price, compared to what you would pay to paint, and repaint over it if you choose to change the theme! Visit RoomMates Decor on their website to see the other products that they have to offer to get you started on your room makeover. You won't regret it! You can also visit their social channels to stay up to date with the latest below!
Do you plan to give a room in your home a mini makeover with RoomMates Decor now that you have seen my post? I would love to hear!
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You have to see The Nightmare Before Christmas Cuckoo Clock! Great gift idea too!

I am always looking for new and fun items to feature here on the blog, when I came across this I was so stoked! I received the coolest item from Hammacher Schlemmer for a review. If you haven't heard of them, they are America's longest running catalog. They offer the best, unique products since 1848. Not only are their products high quality, but they have the most unique and innovative collections of products available anywhere in the world. I had the honor to work with them for a gift guide review and I am stoked to reveal what it was. Since Halloween and Christmas are both around the corner, this is the perfect time to show you The Nightmare Before Christmas Cuckoo Clock
This is hands down one of my favorite movies! I am so stoked that I have this clock because it is a GREAT addition to my home. You don't see ghost-dog, Zero, because on the hour, he pops out of the top of the clock and the theme song "This is Halloween" plays! 
This clock has all of the beloved characters from the movie! The detail is just amazing! Jack and Sally are front and center, of course!
In the film,  action centers around a cobwebby town hall, which is topped by a ghoulish green clock with off-kilter digits and a spiderweb background.
 The haunted pumpkin patch is even on here. You flip a switch and parts of the clock light up. You can chose to have it turned off or on all of time. There are three modes. 
 The detail is just amazing! I love every bit of it. 
 All of these characters are memorable in the movie and to have them all in this amazing collector piece is just awesome. 
The pendulum features the town’s iconic Spiral Hill on it too! Check out these guys hanging on! What a cute feature! This clock is part of a collector series and comes with a certificate of authenticity too. Wondering how much it will run you? You can purchase for the price of $199.95 on their website. Visit the Hammacher Schlemmer website for other collectibles they have to offer. Overall- we ADORE this clock. This price is totally worth it. This makes the perfect addition to any home. You can also check them out on their social media to stay up to date with the latest!
Have you seen the movie? Is this clock amazing or what?!
*The Small Things received a clock to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own*

DIY Tulle Halloween Wreath With Oriental Trading!

*Disclaimer: Oriental Trading provided products to review. All opinions are my own*

One activity that I love is CRAFTING! There are SO many possibilities in the crafting world. Oriental Trading is one of the places that I love to shop for supplies! Now, if you haven't heard of Oriental Trading, you are missing out! When I was a little girl, my Mammaw used to have the catalogs and we would circle what we wanted and get so excited when they came! My 10 year old now does the same! As an adult, I still get excited when they come!

Oriental Trading has so much to offer for any occasion, however, they are our one-stop shop this Halloween for fun toys, games, candy treats, crafts, party supplies and our Halloween costumes & accessories! I made a Halloween wreath and I can't wait to show you how!  
With Fall and Halloween right about the corner, I wanted to get a head start on making things so that I am not rushing last minute. I can't believe how much Halloween crafting products that they have!

 What you need to get started:
Hot glue gun and sticks 

Getting Started

Each Section is going to take about 30-40 bundles of tulle. I cut each tube completely into pieces to make it easier. Measure 7 inches wide.
Stack one of each color on top of each other like seen above. Now pinch in the middle like below.
Take a pipe cleaner and cut it in half and tie it around the bundle of mesh.
Add the bundle on the wreath and wrap the pipe cleaner around the metal.
Each "level" took 10 across and 4 down to complete the whole wreath. Your progress will show through shortly.
Here is how I tied it so that you can see an example.
The back should look like this below when you have it full!
Take the tube ribbon and cut it about 12 inches long and knot around the wreath and pull through the front. Do this until you get it to look how you want. There is no wrong way to do this. It is a personal preference on how full that you want it.
After you tie your tubing around the wreath, poof it out and pull the mesh to neatness. 
You can now begin hot gluing your spiders all around it. Again, this is not a science, there is no wrong way. Glue as many as you want or don't want!
After you glue your spiders around the wreath, add the spider webbing around it in small amounts or large amounts. I didn't add much, just enough to give it effect.
Add generous amounts of hot glue on the back of the head, wings and feet of the bat and place in the middle of the wreath.
 Your wreath is now ready to hand and enjoy! 
Was it fun? How cute is this?!! I can't wait to do one for Christmas! Overall, these products were SO SIMPLE to use! If *I* can make one of these wreaths, you can too! Visit OrientalTrading.com to see what other products they have to offer! You can also visit their social channels to stay up to date with the latest below!


Do you plan to make a Halloween wreath with products from Oriental Trading now? I would love to hear!

Please give me feedback on this tutorial and how I did explaining it!



The Models Own A.M. Kit- Exclusive To Ulta

The Small Things received product to facilitate this post.


A few weeks ago, I shared the all-new Models Own Celestial Collection with you! This week, I wanted to share with you another new Models Own release! This is called the Models Own A.M. Kit! The A.M. Kit is exclusive to Ulta! This means you won't find it anywhere else! 
 I love the packaging of this kit.
The amazing thing about this kit is that all of the colors can be used all over your face. You can highlight, cheeks and even eyes!
This kit comes with 6 Neutral shimmer and matte eyeshadows. I do wish they had names, but it isn't a must for me. The blush has a peach tint to it. Very cute and all of the colors compliment each other. Several of these colors can also be used to highlight your face! The shimmer is pretty!
I did a swatch of the colors and you can see they are glittery. I did notice unless you wet your brush that they are not very pigmented, but they are still gorgeous! This palette is cute and the brushes are included. Get it exclusively at Ulta and Ulta.com. 

GO GET IT NOW!! IT IS A MUST! The price? $17.99! VERY AFFORDABLE! 

Visit Model's Own via their social links below. Thanks for reading!

Welcome To My 2017 Holiday Gift Guide!

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Welcome to The Small Things 2017 Holiday Gift Guide! I hope that you enjoy these items are much as we do! Everything you see here has been personally sent to me, or I have bought! Items will be added up until the second week of December! 

If you would like to be featured, email me at bbrown@thesmallthings89.com. See guidelines for being on the guide HERE

In this gift guide, you will find gifts for everyone in your life! I hope that you enjoy! If you are curious, 2016's Gift Guide is HERE, and 2016's Sephora Gift Guide is HERE. This guide may contain affiliate links. Prices are subject to change at any time.


Gifts For Her

Vanity Planet Cue Curling  Wand Buy It $59.99
Vanity Planet Blend Party Brushes Buy It $129.99
Pressed 4 Fun Holiday Monogram Shirts Buy It $20+
Models Own A.M. Makeup Kit Buy It $17.99
Models Own Celestial
 Collection Prices Vary
Perfectly Priscilla Flying South Maxi Buy It $55
Perfectly Priscilla Misty Skies Top Buy It $32
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Gifts For Him


Destiny 2 Collectors 
Edition Buy It $249.99
Themesis Luxury 
Business Set Buy It $49.99
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Gifts For Tweens

Nano Metalfigs Scene Buy It $42.04
Star Wars Cross 
Stitch Projects Buy It $13.43
Modern Macrame: 10 Simple Projects Buy It $16.82
Klutz Make Your Own Bathbombs Buy It $16.34
Klutz Make Mini Pinatas
Kit Buy It $19.99
Fingerlings - Interactive 
Monkey Buy It $8.60
Klutz Stitch & Style Pouches 
Kit Buy It $21.99
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Gifts For Baby

Kangaroo Karry Little Hopper Buy It $95.00
Little Tikes 3-in-1 
Sports Zone Buy It $49.44
Motorola MBP855CONNECT
Baby Monitor Buy It $249.99
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Gifts For Pet

Origami Owl Paws
Collection Buy It
LeBowls Pet Bowls 
Prices Vary Buy It
Petlinks pet bed 
Buy It $149.99
EQyss Detangling Spray
Buy It $9.99
Puffsters® Air-Puffed Snack Chips Buy It
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Like this guide? Comment with your favorite product below! Feel free to share via one of the buttons too!