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“Your baby wasn’t breathing”-Renee’

Hey! Hey Young World,

I’m writing to you in a sleep deprived  haze because……Darren K.W Smith is here!  I’m literally holding him in my arms as he decides if he wants to nurse again or go back to LaLa Land….but with all things…things are not what they seem

Birthing Story

It’s no secret that I wanted to do a TOLAC ( Trial of Labor after a C-section), because my recovery from my emergency c-section with Lennon  was waaaaay harder than that of my natural delivery with Daniel. For 40 weeks and two days…i had one pregnancy complication….hyperemesis gravardium which was about 80 percent controlled by Diclegis (an anti-nausea medication) for 6 months and then I just managed the systems by powering through because although I felt nauseated I didnt actually get sick everyday any more.. I digress…

Hubby and I were watching a Kareem Abdul Jamar documentary on  Tuesday, July 18. We were laughing because we just kicked the boys out because they were so hyper. Lennon wanted to literally lay on me…head on my shoulder leg around my belly…didnt work, Daniel asked 2340988 questions before the first credit rolled and Landyn well he really wanted to shoot hoops so…yeah they went to their rooms. All of a sudden i felt a…it felt like pressure and literally heard a pop! I looked at my husband like…i think my water broke! Sidenote it’s actually a rare occurrence to have that happen as a first sign of labor.

I stood up… and yes…there the Niagara falls flowed.  I was shocked. I’d done everything to encourage Baby Darren to emerge and there i sat at 2 cm dialated noooooo effacement for 3 and a half weeks…I had Hubby look up pressure points to induce labor earlier Tuesday night and did a membrane sweep that Monday.  Something worked lol.

Oh Baby!

In the elevator on the way to triage

So we gather all our things and head to the hospital. Laughing, joking, calling family. I had zero contractions the first hour. I change into my gown, get hooked to the monitors…..and wait. My contractions came on strong and Baby Darren was not happy; his heart rate would slow pretty significantly. The nurse had me lay on different sides to take pressure off the lil guy but…it would only work temporarily. In triage, I was about 3 1/2 dialated and 50%effaced around 11pm.

Moving into the LD room, I was in good spirits. My mom had arrived and she and hubby were keeping me focused on breathing and other pain managing techniques. Again I was told to lay on various sides because of his heart rate. At 1 am I was about 4 1/2 dialted 75% effaced. During this time his heart rate dropped pretty low and the c-section  convo began. Which I already knew because this happened with Lennon. They were going to put more water in the womb thinking that would give him more cushion but never did. Around 2am his heart rate dropped again with heart tones in the 60s so…off to the OR.  I cried because as with Lennon, i was progressing well physically  (I was 6cm and 75% effaced) but yet again the baby wasn’t doing well. But I was ready. The problem was no one explained 2 things:1) we are going to put you under general anesthesia* this is a huuuge fear of mine, I’d never been put under and…I would miss the birth completely. 2) my husband would NOT be in the room

In OR I kept asking for my husband. If I couldn’t see the birth I needed him to. People were everywhere, telling me to drink this, breathe into this. But not one question was answered and I was petrified. But God sent my labor nurse who had been in my room monitoring me into the OR. She held my hand, got me to slow my breathing and helped me swallow whatever the heck was in that vile. Sidenote 2.2…how does one drink laying flat? That seemed like a bad idea.

I wake up in a blurry haze asking for my baby. I’m told, he’s in ICU….wait,what? What happened? Did my husband see the baby? No. And you have to stay here for atleast an hour. One hour…he was housed in my body for 40 weeks…and not only did I NOT see him, no one has. No real updates. Nothing. Im a weeping mess. Like my husband wasn’t there in my room. Nor my mom, nor my bestie which had made it in by then. They were able to come back about 20 minutes later.

He was born at 234 am. I met him at 5:00 am. I was rolled down with pain pump, catheter and oxygen monitor in place. Hubby,mom and bestie were my escorts.

The first time meeting my child was pretty emotional. All the wires, and random people  (which of course are staff) and him being so pale and not alert….I cried yet again.

The pediatrician’s first words to me were “They saved your baby’s life”, before I held him, before I got to process the scene that was now my birth story.

Here’s the thing obviously I knew he was in distress. Lennon had been as well. But once the cord was unwrapped he was great. Well, Baby Darren did not have his cord wrapped and the placeta was sent off to see if we can find out what happened. No one can really tell me the cause of him not getting oxygen while in labor. But essentially he was suffocating. His APGAR scores were 4,6 and 7 (which are low). And because i was put under he also had some anesthesia in his system. The ped. doctor said they’d be monitoring him for neurological abnormalities since no one knew how long he wasn’t getting proper levels of oxygen. Oh the comfort.

First time

Meeting Baby Darren for the first time. I was swollen from crying and had to have constant monitoring due to taking pain mes

I was dumbfounded how did we get here. How? A full term baby with no prior issues was in the NICU.

I had prayed in the recovery room and in his room because although it seemed like chaos, I knew God is in control. I would have to leave my love there. And despite having a csection hours before i breast fed every 2 to 3 hours. The first 2 times i was wheeled in my wheelchair but the hospital was so busy the elevators were too full for all of my equipment. This meant waiting for a clear elevator for several cycles. The third time I walked. 6 hours after the csection, I grabbed my IV pole and slow walked from 6th to 3rd floor (using the elevator). That’s how I spent my first 24 hours.

As the day developed, i found out more details. Baby Darren was not crying when he was born, they spent 7 minutes giving him oxygen. It also took about 7 minutes to get him out. Later he would pass every single test they do for well baby checks ūüėĀ it appeared he had no deficits!

God honored our prayers. Baby Darren started flourishing. In fact, after the pediatrician gave his report I had nursed him. His color started returning, he ooened his eyes, he turned towards my voice. By Thursday, talks started in on him FINALLY coming to my room. And at 8 pm, he was there!

For him to have such a dramatic start he’s a very chill baby. It’s scary to know that my litte guy entered this world fighting for his life, but I’m glad it’s a fight God allowed him to overcome!

I’m forever thankful for my husband  mom and  bestie Danielle. They helped me relearn walking, changed my dressings, helped me shower. Walked down 45 million times to nicu, wiped my tears. Thank yall so, so much!!!


Also a special thanks to Simone Plus Photography for the beautiful family pictures! It was such a healing experience after our ordeal.


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Just Hanging On- Renee’


It’s¬†been awhile since I’ve blogged because honestly the past month and a half have been …lets say challenging.

Darren was sick for two weeks and I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. He was having breathing issues and if you read our birth story you’ll know why this is such a stressor for me. Come to find out…he had pertussis.¬† Scared me to death.

Then Lennon ran back to back fevers for two days the highest being 104.2 and back to the ER we went. He had walking pneumonia and last mom was in a car accident.

This year has been a season of loss for me. A season of pruning and it’s hard. Every time I feel like I am about to take my first deep breath something else hits me in the gut.

I’ve not blogged because I didn’t want it to be so negative…but what I realized is that’s what makes this blog different. We all aren‚Äôt just the perfect Christians that never doubt God. Or get angry at Him…we have real emotions; real stressors.

Plus when God does fix it so sweet and I‚Äôm sure He will…this will be my testimony.


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Free-Trial Marriage- Renee’

The picture above was taken 24 hours after Darren was born. As you may know it was very  trying. I was blessed to not go through that alone.

When many people envision marriage the first thing that usually comes to mind is the actual wedding. Weddings are the celebration of two people joining together…a marriage is the verb of said commitment. 

What? You didn’t know marriage was a verb? Oooooooh yes it is the very definition of what a verb is. A marriage is a living breathing entity of two people who choose each other and for many bring forth life because of said union. 

Marriage is also a combination of you and your thoughts and ideas as well as what you’ve been exposed to and downloaded both subconsciously and consciously.

Mant times we don’t even realize our expectations are unreasonable until our partner is like…um that’s just not me.

There’s no 30day risk free trial in marriage. You say “I Do” and…you’ure.

In my almost 5 years of marriage Ive been blessed to grow as a woman. Growth comes with a very steep price  Ive been humbled more times than I can count. If you read some of my previous blogs you know I am in recovery for yelling. I’m sure it’s not a real thing but for me it should be  working on extending grace can be hard. Especially when you’re tired…I am not one of those people who functions well when tired. I’m irrated quickly when I’m  tired. 

But I’ve been working on not using that (being sick, tired, overwhelmed) etc. Instead I try and center myself for a few minutes. I find myself a quiet spot and just focus myself. My yelling has gone down quite a bit. Not perfect but it’s definitely decreased. 

Trials will come. That’s just life, but how you choose to deal with them…

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Collateral Beauty-Renee’

I finally got a chance to watch the movie Collateral Beauty. Well really not got the chance but actually wanted to watch it. When I first saw the trailer I was like nope, seems too sad. But… I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised. 

I wont spoil the movie but the premise is a man loses his young daughter to cancer. He’s unable to cope and turns into a recluse. He speaks to no one but writes a letter to death, time and love everyday.

It got me thinking… 

What would I say to those entities if  they were a person. We all in one way or another fight with these entities our whole lives. We try to forget someone we no longer want to love. We try to hold onto someone who is slipping away by death either slowly pulling them from us…or worse they are gone in a flash. And time….time creeps by and then you look up…and you’re 30 wondering how you got here. 

The older I get, I realize how precious life is. How quickly things change. I see my parents getting older everyday. I am blessed to have both sets of grandparents still walking this earth. I see the wisdom they hold and fear I won’t get enough time to dip into their wells of knowledge. I see my boys and realize in the blink of an eye they will be adults. I see my husband and think a lifetime isn’t enough time to spend with him.

When I think of all the bittersweet moments in my life I see the beauty. When I lost Baby Smith, I began to appreciate the true gift of motherhood. When I REALLY struggled with HG, sick everyday and how my husband comforted me. How tender and loving he was.  When Darren wasnt breathing I got to appreciate life in general. How this precious soul fought his way into this cruel world and reminds me to never give up.

I am reminded how bloodied my Saviour was for me and how that act of sacrifice is beautiful although it came through so much pain.

It all has a purpose….

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The Last Couple of Months ~Venus

Hey everyone! There has a lot of things that have been going on in my life over these last couple of months. That’s why I’ve been a little M.I.A. w/ my posts. I’m going to try my best to sum up everything so this post won’t be super long. In September, I was in pain for a few days. I was so much pain that I could barely walk & had to walk hunched over. I ended up having to go to Urgent Care. One of my co-workers was nice enough to take me there. I found out from the doctor that I had a risen also know as an abscess on my butt. I was prescribed antibiotics & told me to bath in Epsom salt. Around this time, I found out that I had to to move into a new apartment. I ended up going back to Urgent Care because it didn’t seem like I was getting better. I had to call out of work that same day so I could move into my new apartment. The doctor at Urgent Care told me to go to the Surgical Clinic because my risen got big & that I needed to get it lanced. I had to be off from work for a week. When I went to the Surgical Clinic, they lanced the risen & and it hurt really bad!! I had to get a drain & go back to the doctor in a few days so he could remove the drain. On the day I went back to the Surgical Clinic, the doctor removed the drain & told me that I would have to get surgery because he found a pilonidal cyst. He told me that to come back in two weeks to let him know my decision regarding surgery. So I went back in two weeks & told the doctor that I was going to have surgery. His nurse went over the things that I could & couldn’t to the day before/the day of surgery.

In October, I went through a few things before I had my surgery. There was confusion regarding my leave of absence from work so I had to work at another place on campus because I couldn’t work in the building that I usually work in. I worked at the other place for a few days. While I was working there, I got into an argument w/ my former roommate about final bill for the power bill. The power bill was in my name. My former roommate did end up giving me her half of the power bill.

On October 16th, I had my surgery. Both of my parents came. I was really nervous about the surgery but it went well. I stayed at my mom’s house for a few weeks so I could recover. My throat was really sore the day of the surgery from the breathing tube. I had to eat soft foods for a while. While I was recovering, I had to sit & lay on my side because of the stitches. I had to file for family medical leave of absence during the time I was recovering. It felt weird not doing anything because I’m use to working. On October 30th, my stitches were removed by my doctor’s nurse. I went back to work on Nov. 10th. I was off from work during the week of Thanksgiving for the break. I’ve had a few check ups since my surgery so the doctor could see how well I was healing. I go back to the doctor next month.

At the beginning of this month, I was laid off from work. It’s been rough. My food stamps got cut off for a reason that wasn’t my fault. I had issues w/ unemployment but everything is okay now. I’ll be glad when I go back to work next month! I have applied to a few jobs this month but I need to apply to some more. As you can see, I have gone through a lot. Keep me in your prayers! I hope that 2015 will be a better year for me!

God bless!


Written Dec. 31, 2014
Happy New Year!


Journey to Myself – Rene√©


Fall is officially here and as I’ve written about many times before fall is my season for change.  Some big changes always happen around this time.  I’ve found out about new jobs, new babies, got engaged, lost a baby, etc. all during this season.

This fall/winter I am looking forward to bringing new life into the world through my precious Lennon.  I haven’t talked much about preparing for birth and since one of my goals is complete turn around in my thinking,  I thought I would share my thoughts.

I’ve been working on mentally preparing both my body and mind for birth for about two months.  I’ve been working on some hypnobirthing techniques and am really empowered and encouraged by what the mind can do. I plan on a completely natural birth with Lennon and look forward to the experience.  I had a pretty unassisted slightly medicated birth with Daniel and I hate I didn’t stick to my original plan. I planned to do a completely natural birth with him, but after 6 hours of labor I asked for pain meds intravenously.  If I had really been focused I would have realized that the closer contractions meant my baby was coming,  but I panicked and actually stopped breathing through the contractions  which in turn caused more pain. The pain meds actually did little to alievate the pain, it just calmed me down and slowed my contractions which probably prolonged my labor.

Side note – I’m not one of those women who looks down on other women who have medicated births or have no desire whatsoever to even try natural labor. Your experience is just that, yours.  As long as the baby and you make it through the journey happy and healthy more power to you.

I also will not feel guilty if I do decide to get pain meds either; a birthing plan is just that..a plan and can be altered at any point.

For me, this is more about empowerment. I was unable to do anything with my pregnancy with Baby Smith,  absolutely everything was out of my control. I’m hoping through Lennon’s birth I’ll be better at being my own advocate,  which I did not do previously.  I felt I should have asked more questions and not have ensured the 4 plus weeks of emotional and physical pain I endured during that time. But thats neither here nor there.

I just want trust that God has equipped me with everything I need in my doctors,  support system and most importantly in my own body.

Here’s to a healthy delivery #5moreweeks


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Sometimes you need to be reminded.

1. My brother may be in a rehabilitation center learning how to rewalk, HOWEVER he us blessed to be breathing on his own and talking.

2. My car may not be working right now HOWEVER I am blessed to have a loving mom who let me use her car.

3. My car may not be working right now HOWEVER I am sending good vibes and praying that a problem will be fixed and Betty (my car) has some fight left in her.

4. I may be uncertain where my career future lies HOWEVER I am greatful for his mercies and new beginnings.

5. I may be scared HOWEVER I am learning how to try anyways.

6. I may fall HOWEVER I’m learning to smile on the way back up.

7. I will fall HOWEVER it’s great to know you have a support system who’s willing to give you a hand and a couple of giggles.

8. I am imperfect HOWEVER I serve A God who is perfect.

9. I am not there yet HOWEVER I’m still pushing.

Dani G.


Check-check-checking- *Gem*

Hello world,

I am back to update you on my progress and assure you that while I have not blogged recently I have not deterred from my goal of being radical, even in small ways. I think I have been doing fairly well and I am always reminding myself to push myself out of my comfort zone knowing that God’s grace will carry me through whatever temporary discomfort I may be facing. Let’s jump right it, shall we!?

Learn to cook at least 10 new meals –¬†I have so far learned to make a delicious chicken fried rice, and I have also started to try different salads along with my meals. I now know how to make a mean cucumber salad and a red,yellow,green and orange bell pepper salad. It has taken me a long time to even attempt to introduce something different to my usual meals so this is a start.

Decreasing Debt/ Increasing my savings- I imagine this will be a continuous work in progress. My finances are more or less the same. What I have done is given myself more accountability by putting my finances under a microscope. I have pulled my credit report, enrolled in credit monitoring and I have an account on , a wonderful website full of the BEST financial guidance that I have ever come across. They track your credit and spending (once you link your bank account) It is completely secure. It also helps you calculate based on how much you make , how you should save, spend ,etc. As you can see, I really love the website because it  helps me feel as though while I still earn the same amount of money, I can manage what I have better.

Find a home church-¬†I didn’t realize how much anxiety I had about finding a home church until I started looking and thinking about what it was that I was looking for.I currently tune in to TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen who in my opinion really lay things out in a way that I can receive and understand it. I have many of their teaching tapes that I listen to in the car and DVDs that I watch at home that really provide guidance for me as a continue working on my relationship with God. I have identified a church that I would like to go to and I have a good feeling about it. Since I will be out of town this weekend my first visit will be on 4/7/13. So stay tuned!

Create a home office- I have a designated space for my home office and I might say. MOST of my work is in that area. I occasionally move my laptop around. But my scanner, printer and work material all stay put and if I need to access them- I sit at the computer desk and take care of business.

Volunteer-¬†I have not been at a specific place and volunteered. My sister and I were talking about volunteering and giving of self in a way where you feel as if you are contributing but you are not in fact “getting paid”- I realized there are sooooo many ways to give of your time without signing up on a “volunteer sheet” – I keep this in the back of my mind always when I am at work. I do many things that are for the most part not my actual job but just something that I want to do for my client that I feel will be helpful. I enjoy being a therapist that provides in home services and also has the opportunity to provide community support…this enables me to go the extra mile-or 2 miles-or 3 miles (whether I’m being paid or not)

Meditate-¬†It’s as natural as breathing to me now to use meditation as a stress reliever and a way to restore balance. I am currently participating in Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 day meditation challenge that began on March 11th. For more info check out the website. Registration and Participation are FREE! It is so amazing!

Overcome Guilt-¬†I am doing fairly well I would say. I try to stay in the here and now, so when I begin feeling guilty about something , I almost immediately examine why I feel guilty. I ask myself questions such as “Am I hurting someone?” “Do I feel undeserving?” ¬†The more I examine the source of the guilt the easier it is to address the fact that doing something for myself because I want to do it …is certainly NOT a reason to feel bad.

Overall , I feel proud of myself for moving forward . I remind myself that even if the moving forward is slow…it’s still in the right direction. I hope you too, (baby steps or giant leaps) have your eyes fixed only on the road ahead.

As always

One day at a time,



Phrase of a lifetime:febrile seziure-Renee’

When I first thought about my post this week I thought for sure I was going to mention my radical moment-I tried out for a part in a short film series (and got it praise God) but that all changed Monday at around 4:26 pm..I got the call that every parent dreads…something is wrong with your child. I was at my sons daycare in two minutes the scene that I walked upon I will never forget. There in the arms of the daycare director was my baby, my first born limp,unresponsive. Hours before when I dropped him off he was in good spirits didn’t even cry when I dropped him off. Now here he was not moving,not blinking…was he even breathing! A million thoughts rushed through my mind. I immediately ran to him and asked what happened. No one minute Daniel was playing the next he was laying out. Did he swallow something..they weren’t sure, they didn’t see him swallow anything. Should we call 9-1-1? Yes! I kept trying to pry open his mouth to see if I could see anything back there but his jaws were jammed shut and it was like prying open a shark’s mouth. I felt absolutely helpless. The director prayed outloud and all I could do was pray in my heart. When the fire rescue responders came they checked all his vitals and that’s when I was told he had a febrile seziure and how this was “common” for babies…. anyway I drove daniel to the hospital and after a million and one tests and hrs waiting his dad and I were given the diagnosis pnuemonia and the flu. After picking up daniels meds and laying in bed all I could think about was how fragile life is. True this time this was something “common” but I never thought Monday morning when I dropped daniel off that in 8hrs I would be rushing him to th ER. I now have the flu and can’t return back to work until wed..meaning I will be out of work for a week and a day. I’m antsy because I’ve never been in the house this much ever, but after the ordeal this past Monday I def enjoy my time with my little man. I thank God that he is healthy, recovering and back dancing,singing and doing all the little goofy things he does. I couldn’t (and don’t want to) imagine my life without him. Sometimes we lose focus, we worry about things that don’t matter. Jobs,clothes, homes those can all be replaced but loved ones, true loved ones are priceless. Ones that will force you to go to the doctor (my mom) have a million people praying on your behalf (HIS, my dad and mom), for people to text,call and fb you just to make sure everythings ok. I can’t even tell you how many people were praying for Daniel an entire elementary class, my church, his godgrandmother,godaunts, aunts on both sides of the family, family friends…no lie I bet over one hundred people were praying for daniel. Praying for my baby. Sometimes as a single parent you see things very one sided, its me and D, but to realize there’s so many people out there that really love you and are praying for you means a lot. The same day daniel went to the ER another little girl lost her life to pnuemonia, i’d ask that you pray for that family for God’s healing hands of mercy to be wrapped around them. My true radical moment this week was just trusting God to take care of my baby, there was nothing I could physically do, all the medicines in the world are nice but I know who the ultimate Physician is. Prayer changes all things ūüôā peace, love and trust Renee’


Gem’s Progress Report

One thing that I love about being part of the Radical7even journey is the accountability factor. I am more conscious of my behaviors and I am definitely more inclined to try to do things differently. Of course there have been ups and downs but I am proud that I am still pushing and determined to finish strong. So here are the upates on my goals.

1)Better manage my stress level/anxiety and need for control- I am definitely calmer than I was 5 weeks ago. I can attribute that to a great deal of “self talk”. I have a¬†consistent internal dialogue in my head, primarily consisting of whatever I can think of to remind myself that things will be ok and it’s not the end of the world. For some people this is easy but¬†for me it’s a minute by minute challenge but I’m taking it in stride and definitely feeling less overwhelmed. I am also journaling alot more. Sometimes I just jot down a random thought that comes to mind.

2) Be more open to change-this will be an ongoing process for me. So many things have changed over the past couple months and I am still adjusting. I remind myself to try to stay in the moment. It is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t :-). What God has in store for us at any given moment will be ours.

3)Exploring alternative methods to improving health- Currently I am on no prescribed medication for pain management. I do deep breathing sometimes. I am also taking a highly recommended combination of supplements that neurologists and other headache specialists use as alternative migraine meds. High dose of Vitamin B2, Magnesium and Feverfew. It is recommended that you give the supplements 90 days to fully be in your system. It has been almost a month ,I will definitely give it a chance. I have tried and been patient with many other meds in the past that would knock a linebacker out, so I can be patient and see how this goes.

4) Reaching out to other people- I am an insanely private person so just by participating in this blog I think I have come along way with reaching out. Also I don’t have the need to act like eveything is perfect in my life. So I’m ok with admitting that I had a rough day or I am stressed.

5) Paying off credit cards- As soon as my financial situation improves this is definitely on top of my list.

6)My own place- same as above, lol

7) Widen my palette- I have not done such a great job on this because I am just cooking the things that I know how to cook. I think that when I am no longer sharing a kitchen I will feel more comfortable experiencing. This is probably just a weird hang up that I am having but I hope to report some new dishes that I have made/tried in the coming weeks. Oh, I made meatloaf with ground turkey instead of ground beef.In my mind- Epic fail. It looked good but tasted gross to me. My relatives that it was awesome though. Also I eat oranges now( The only fruits I eat are apples,pineapple,watermelon and grapes) So I will say a little progress here, right?

Also I forgot to mention this but I went to see Joyce Meyer live two weeks ago! I am a huge Joyce Meyer fan, I watch her on TV daily , read her devotions and listen to her itunes podcasts. It was really nice to actually be in the same space and listen to the sermon live. That is something that I definitely would not ordinarily do. The devil was really trying to stop me too! That morning I woke up feeling like crap on a stick, I was in a lot of pain the night before and prayed that it would subside by morning but it didn’t. I had not gotten much rest either but I kept telling myself¬† “step out of your comfort zone”. So it was challenging. I got lost on the way there too. But I made it and it was nice.

I wanted to recommend that if you are feeling overwhelmed stop whatever it is that you are doing and take a couple deep breaths in and out. Be aware of the space that you are in. Get in touch with all your senses, very slowly. What can you hear and smell? Visualize something peaceful. What do you see? Be present. Invite God into the moment. Ask him to provide clarity, ask him for peace. Sometimes this helps to slow things down in your mind. The moment that just passed you can’t get back, the moment that is to come, you can’t control. Now…is what you have. Think about now.

One day at a time


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