Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Three Little Blessings

My children are my world. Before I had them, I had no idea what life was about. All I focused on was cheerleading and having fun with my friends. When we found out that we were pregnant for the first time, I was nervous, but I was also excited for the new adventures that lied ahead for us.

Gannon was our first child and he changed my life forever. I’ll never forget the first time I held him. I remember holding him and thinking that I have never loved someone as much as I loved him. He is very special to me and Josh because we almost feel like we got to grow up with Gannon. He has been around for all of our big life changes and it has been special to have him by our side as we have evolved over the years. There’s something special about having your first child. I remember feeling scared for if we ever did have any future children because I was afraid that I could never love someone as much as I loved Gannon. Watching him grow into the young man he is today has been such an exciting ride. This little boy of mine loves anything to do with hunting, fishing, and rodeos! He is like a mini version of Josh and it is so fun to watch them together. There are times when I think back and realize how unbelievably immature I was raising a child at the young age of 16. However, he changed our worlds for the better. We became a family and we got the chance to grow up with Gannon.

When we got pregnant with Jaxie, I was nervous because I did not know if I was capable of loving another child as much as I loved Gannon. I was also nervous about having a girl. I had always imagined myself only having boys. I was nervous that maybe I wouldn’t be a good enough mom to a little girl. Josh fell in love with her from the start. Part of my fear was looking back and realizing how tough it was for my mom to raise me. I was nervous that having a girl would be my payback for how much of a pain I was to my mom. I was also nervous about having to dress her up and having her be a girly-girl. Much to my surprise, Miss Jaxie is quite the opposite. Let me tell you, she is such a tomboy! She loves to go hunt and fish with the guys. Sometimes she will run around without a shirt on just like the guys do! She will do everything with the guys and acts just like a guy sometimes, which is funny to watch. She rarely plays with dolls or girl toys. She would much rather play with Gannon and her daddy. This little girl has changed my world. She loves horses, loves running around and rarely dresses up.

Broncs was our third and final child. My two pregnancies prior were pretty easy. Gannon and Jaxie were big babies (both around nine pounds) but that comes with the territory of being a Type 1 Diabetic. Broncs' pregnancy, however, was a different case. He was by far my hardest pregnancy physically, mentally and emotionally. I remember being in so much pain and I would scream for help sometimes. People thought I was being dramatic or having anxiety attacks but I was just in so much pain throughout the whole pregnancy with Broncs. I knew something was wrong all the way through the pregnancy. We also were saddened because Josh and I both had a lot of opportunities before us when we found out we were pregnant again. I had my heart set and was training for NPC shows. I had modeling gigs lined up and I had competitions to prepare for. But once we found out we were pregnant again, all of these opportunities came to a crashing halt.

I went to the doctor for my 36-week checkup and they told me that my baby had a bad heart. My parents ended up taking me to the hospital and Josh met us there. I remember walking into the hospital and there were nine nurses with trays of needles and scissors. I remember being wheeled back into an operating room and within 30 minutes, Broncs was out of me. I remember lying in bed and my family was around me. I remember being extremely confused, wondering where Josh and Broncs were. At this point, everyone knew more than me. My mom had walked in and everyone thought that she would be telling us that the baby didn’t make it. I remember my mom saying that they were letting Josh see Broncs, but that Broncs was not okay. Josh ended up being kicked out of the room because of Broncs’ condition. Josh informed us that he had heart problems.

I remember nurses kept coming in to check on me over and over again. Every time I told them I was fine and that I just wanted to see my baby. For 8 hours, they didn’t tell me anything about my baby. Any questions that I asked about Broncs their answers were “I can’t tell you”. I was beyond frustrated, scared and angry at this time because I thought they would say that my baby was dead. Josh finally snapped and told the nurse that he would break down the doors in order to see if his son was okay. She finally agreed and said that she would go get some news on Broncs’ condition. I remember dozing off and around 3:00 am I woke up crying because Josh wasn’t there and I still hadn’t seen Broncs. I cried out to my nurse to have her take me to the room where they were. The nurse rolled me back and warned me of the equipment I would see around my baby. She also told me that neither me or Josh were allowed to touch Broncs.

When I walked into the room Broncs was in, my heart instantly broke. He was in an incubator with so many wires and equipment around him. It was a horrible sight to see and I had never experienced anything like that. Any mother will know that seeing your baby struggle and be sick is one of the worst feelings to ever have. I remember Josh would not leave his side. Josh prayed and cried over Broncs. That was a side of Josh that I had never seen before. Going through our struggles with Broncs together helped our marriage grow into what it is today. Broncs stayed in the NICU for about a month and then we finally got to bring our perfect baby home.

Broncs is a blessing that we did not know that our family needed. I’m actually having a hard time letting him grow up because I know that these will be the last baby experiences that I get. I got my tubes tied after him, so I know that I need to cherish every moment that I have with my last baby. I had a really hard time after I had Broncs and getting my tubes tied because I had the worst case of post-partum depression after having him. Thankfully, with the help of Josh and my family, I have gotten a lot better. 2017 has been the best and most successful year of my life. I have a happy husband, happy kids, and a happy life and I am so blessed with the family that I have!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The McKee Love Story

Many people have asked me over the years about my and Josh’s love story. Well, it all started back when I was fifteen and he was sixteen. A friend of mine took me to a high school basketball game that was a school near mine. I was very nervous because I didn’t know a lot of people at this school other than the handful of my own friends that were going. When I walked into the gym, I saw one of my good friends talking to Josh. When I walked over, my friend introduced us and I shook his hand. I don’t remember a lot about what we talked about, but I do remember thinking it was love at first sight. We literally couldn’t stop looking at each other! The one thing I do remember is when I looked down, I noticed that Josh was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy belt buckle! I instantly had a flashback to when I was a little girl, I remember I told my parents that I always wanted to be a cowgirl and that I needed a cowboy husband! I knew right then and there that I had to get to know Josh better.

The next day, he added me on MySpace. Yes, I know if you’re reading this you’re probably laughing because MySpace isn’t even around anymore! We got to know each other a little bit and we went out on our first date to a movie. I remember we went to the movies and saw “Valentine’s Day”. I remember feeling butterflies in my stomach whenever I was around him. I, like many other people when first getting to know someone, felt nervous to tell him certain things about myself. I remember waiting to tell him that I was a Type 1 diabetic because I wasn’t sure what he was going to think or how he would react. We got to know each other better and ended up having a serious relationship.

We had a very non-traditional relationship when we were young. We loved each other so much, but we definitely did some things that we probably shouldn’t have. Looking back on our relationship, I wish I would’ve saved myself for marriage. I was the youngest in my family and all of my siblings ended up saving themselves for marriage. Josh and I had many obstacles when we found out I was pregnant at 16. Many of you may remember us on ’16 and Pregnant’ and ‘Teen Mom 3’. One of our many obstacles was being on TV and the stress that came from it. It was hard to let people in on our lives and it was extremely hard for both of us to be as vulnerable as we were at the time. I was sometimes jealous when I thought about my siblings saving themselves for marriage because they didn’t have to go through the heartbreak, the stress or the emotions that Josh and I brought upon ourselves.

Like any other couple who gets pregnant at 16, we also were nowhere near ready to become parents. Josh and I both had a lot of growing up to do. We found out we were going to have a boy and decided to name him Gannon. Having our relationship and our child on TV for everyone to see was extremely stressful. Many people inserted their opinion into our lives and into our child’s life that it put a lot of stress on Josh and me as parents. We constantly asked ourselves if we were doing what we were supposed to be doing as parents, we questioned ourselves when it came to being together and we questioned our futures together.

One day, Josh and I were lying in bed after putting Gannon down after a long day. I mentioned to him that we should get married at the chapel in the morning. Josh agreed, yet I felt he was just saying it and that maybe he was nervous to become husband and wife. The next morning, I was getting all dressed up and Josh came in all decked out in his boots and his cowboy belt buckle. I remember thinking back to the first time I had ever met him and how I fell in love with him right then and there. I remember taking this as a sign from God. Josh and I had our ups and downs as parents and in our relationship, but somewhere deep within, we were still the same young couple that fell in love with each other the first night we laid eyes on each other. When we got to the chapel, Josh and I sat in his truck for a while and talked about marriage. We made sure that getting married is what we both wanted for our futures. I looked at Josh and asked him if I was the one that he wanted to be with forever. I remember him looking back at me and being so sincere and he told me that I was everything he ever wanted. I remember being so happy to hear him say that! We got married at the chapel and when we said our vows, I remember looking into his eyes and seeing how much he meant it. I knew that no matter how many hardships in life we would face, that we would always overcome them because we loved each other and we were taking on this life together.

A month after our impromptu chapel wedding, we ended up having my big, dream wedding ceremony. The ceremony was everything that I had ever dreamed of as a little girl. Quickly after that though, things took a turn. I’m here to tell you guys, that it is SO true what everyone says. The first year of marriage is the hardest. In fact, I would consider mine a living hell. I had an expectation in my head of who I wanted Josh to be as a husband and a father and how I expected me to be as a wife and mom. Right after our big ceremony, we found out we were pregnant again with our little girl, Jaxie. This pregnancy put a lot of stress on us because we were just trying to figure out how to become the husband and wife that we needed to be. Now we were adding another child into the mix. After we had her, we still struggled as a couple and tried many things in order to make our relationship easier for the both of us.

We felt that maybe in order to be the couple that we needed to be, that we had to chase our dreams and support each other. I chased my dream and became an NPC fitness model. During this journey, I became pregnant with our third child, Broncs. He was a very big surprise, I actually didn’t end up telling anyone that I was pregnant until I was six months along. After I had Broncs, I struggled a lot with trying to be the wife and mom that I needed to be. I also had my worst battle with post-partum depression after I had Broncs. I ended up getting my tubes tied which didn’t help. I had so many emotions that Josh and I were still struggling with our roles as spouses and parents. I honestly considered leaving in order to change myself to be the wife that Josh needed and the mom that my children deserved. One day when I was by myself, I knew that something HAD to change or my family would suffer from who I was becoming.

 That day, I decided to live a happier life. I tried to focus on the positive things. Instead of focusing on who I wanted Josh to be as a husband and father, I focused on how I wanted to be as a wife and a mom. I changed who I was entirely! I went from being one of the most negative people to being a positive, optimistic and hopeful person! My whole outlook on life changed over time. I enjoyed the time that I had with my family and I embraced the struggles I had with the support of my family. I became so positive about everything that I also decided to chase my dream not only as an NPC model but also as a business woman with my fitness program called #BodyByMac. As I became the wife and mom that I wanted to be, Josh became the husband and dad that I had always dreamed of. We are supportive of each other, we are great parents to our kids and most importantly, God is in the center of our relationship. He supports me every week as I chase my dreams of being an NPC model and a business woman, and on weekends we support Josh as he chases his dreams at the rodeo. We have made it through obstacles that life has had to throw at us, and now we are stronger than I ever dreamed was possible.

As I think back, sometimes I wish Josh and I had done things a little differently. I also think that God has a sense of humor with who he does place in your life and how they end up being there. If I had never gone to that basketball game with my friend, Josh and I would not be married and we wouldn’t have our three beautiful children. But at the same time, I am thankful for how Josh and I lived our lives even with the struggles that were thrown our way. I will say that no marriage worth being in is easy, but there are tactics that I wish we had thought of earlier in order to lessen the hard times that we endured together. Our love story is different than many, including my own siblings.  Josh and I got to grow up together, not many couples get that opportunity. We went from being crazy in love teenagers, to parents just trying to make it work for our child, to struggling as a married couple, and now we have our three beautiful children and we are both living the life that we always wanted. I am so thankful for our journey so far and I am looking forward to seeing what our future still has in store for the McKee’s!