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Everyone's miscarriage story is different—here's mine

Even though my experience led to my rainbow baby, I can still always connect to the heartbreak that I felt those several months.

Everyone's miscarriage story is different—here's mine

[Trigger warning: This essay discusses one woman's journey with miscarriage.]

I'll never forget Mother's Day weekend in 2017 when I found out I was pregnant for a second time. For four additional weeks, I silently celebrated the good news (along with my husband, close family and a few friends). I felt amazing. My son, who had just turned 2 years old, was going to be a big brother.

Although it was early on in the pregnancy, I found and bought the perfect big brother shirt for him. I was excited for all of the pregnancy reveals, ultrasounds, shopping and nursery planning that would join me for the next nine months. For those few weeks, I was on cloud nine.

But, then everything changed.

It was like any other Monday— I was working and taking a quick break for lunch. Something about that day was different, however, I just didn't feel pregnant. Was I overreacting? Maybe. Even though I was not having the common miscarriage symptoms like the bleeding or the cramping, I still had a gut feeling that something was wrong. And I was right.

That was the day I found out I was miscarrying my baby at nine weeks. I'll never forget the ultrasound. There was no little flicker of a heartbeat and before the doctor said a word, I knew what was happening to me. The moments after that appointment are still a blur. There was crying and a lot of it. Then the actual miscarriage happened over the course of that week. It was the longest week of my life.

I cried for days, then weeks and did my best to pick myself up and move forward. No matter my emotional state, whenever I was with my son, I would put the tears aside to be his mom. It didn't get easier right away. I had many sleepless nights which turned into nightmares about getting pregnant again. I remember my husband even saying to me that if another pregnancy was too painful, it was okay.

I was never a fan of the expression "everything happens for reason" until September 21, 2017. Only a few short months after my miscarriage, I found out I was pregnant again. This time it was different. We didn't run and tell people right away. I was more cautious than ever before. Once the pregnancy symptoms came, I felt a huge relief. The nightmares didn't stop just after the first trimester, but with each passing day, the pregnancy was a little bit easier for me.

Fast forward to June 2, 2018, almost a year to the miscarriage date in the same hospital, I held Scarlett Paige in my arms at 10:37 am. This time holding a baby felt slightly different. Of course, I felt all of the similar happiness and joy like I did with my son, but this time I was holding my rainbow baby. All of the internal pain that I went through for the past year began to fade away.

Even though my miscarriage experience led to a happy ending, I can still always connect to the heartbreak that I felt those several months. I don't think about it as often, but whenever I hear or see the word miscarriage, it crosses my mind. Every experience is different. Even if you were only pregnant for a day before you found out you were having a miscarriage, that's one more day that you thought you were having a baby. Do not be afraid to grieve longer than other people who have had miscarriages. Every story is unique.

My "everything happens for a reason" is my daughter. A painful experience led me to her. Each time I hold her, I feel a special kind of love. A love that came at a time when I needed it the most. Every time I hold her, I am in awe of her beauty. I cherish the snuggles no matter how tired I feel that day. I stare at her big round eyes and imagine what she will be like as a toddler, a teenager and a grown woman. When I am holding her I feel comfort like no other.

If you are expecting your rainbow baby, cherish the first time your child is placed in your arms. All of those ups and downs led you to this moment. Your experience most likely will feel different than mine, but no matter the differences I can promise you it will be just as magical.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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