Friday, February 27, 2015

My health...or lack there of

This morning I went to the doctors to discuss some treatment options for a condition of mine; I have started to faint/almost faint on a regular bases when I stand up. It has been scary and we haven't really talked to anyone about it because I didn't know exactly what was going on and if it is something that was permanent. Apparently it is, what the doctors believe to be, a condition called PoTS. Here is an article about that.

Luckily I don't have it super severely and I just have to be very cautious of my salt intake (have eat a ton of salt), water, and get up as slow as a grandma. Even with those precautions I may faint so don't be to surprise if you are around me and it happens. We are still trying to find out why I have it but they do not always find an underline cause. They believe mine could be related to my prolonged amount of time on bed rest with my last pregnancy.

Which brings me to the next topic on my mind

 Having babies has made me, someone who once was super healthy, active and happy with herself, feel broken. From PCOS and hormonal problems, HG (violently ill throughout entire pregnancy) and 6 months of bed rest which led to a host of other problems such as losing bone mass, weight gain that I have been unable to loose, and PoTs (some of which I am just learning about) I have asked myself on rough days if I did the right thing. Of course I always end with a resounding yes, but still, it has really put me through quite a lot and hasn't left me feeling super great.

I am so glad on rough days that heavenly father decided to send me a super snugly little boy!

Okay lastly I have been seeing a psychiatrist for a while now for my PTSD symptoms. I didn't even know I had PTSD until a couple years ago but it wasn't surprising to find out considering my past. It is really helping to find out my triggers and work through ways of feeling safe again. It feels great to feel more in control of my emotions and to understand them. Especially in the areas of anxiety/depression. I feel like there are times in my life where people where not seeing the real me, they would be seeing a reaction to something they did and neither them or I would understand why I was being 'emotional'. Things such as someone raising their voice, even in excitement (but especially frustration), would set off alarms and put me in flight or fight mode. Luckily knowing these things and others now helps me not to get set off easily (mostly) and helps me have better relationships with others.

So why, you might ask, am I telling the world all of this?
One, because I feel like if you and I are going to be friends you should know these things. If I have to cancel a plan on you it may be because I have fainted or because I am feeling unsafe. I am never doing it because I am flaking out and I will always be there when anyone needs me. It also helps you to better understand who I am.

Two, I think to often people don't talk about their problems, especially when it comes to mental health. It should never be something people are ashamed of because then people will refuse to get help. I know, trust me. Be open about your struggles and rely on friends and family who care and want to be invested in you to get better. I have a great support system outside of the normal 'family' that most people have. With both parents in heaven now I rely heavily on my husband and others I consider family to be my support system.

Anyways, feel free to ask me questions in a private message, phone call, etc. Some of this may be news to you and others will feel as though they have wasted their time because they know all of this. :) If you are reading this and feel like you have no one to talk to about your condition (be it mental or physical) please reach out to me or someone else you trust. You would be surprised with how many people are struggling in silence.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

When did the tornado touch down?

Cranky, tired, and overwhelmed are just a few of the titles my close friends and sweet family may describe me as the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately I didn't even realize I was in such a bad mood until the last few days. Michael has been saying the word "go" a lot. I could not figure out where he got it from, then I thought about it and had an a-ha moment! I have been telling the dog to "go to bed", I tell Emily and Michael to "go to the playroom" and many other times I say we are going here or (my least favorite to admit) "go away!" It made me sad that of the few words he knows go is one of them. Not because it is a bad word but because that means it is a word that is said frequently in our home. I want him to be saying things like, yay, happy, boo (for peek-a-boo) and other games we play. Which he does know a lot of other sweet words, but this one is just a bit concerning for me.

I was talking to a good friend of mine and was reminded of why I have been feeling overwhelmed and it helped me to put things into perspective. Our family is going through a lot of large life changing experiences along with some extra not so pleasant things. Looking at it this way helped me to prioritize some things and realize that it is okay to be overwhelmed. I just need to go about things a little differently than before, the house doesn't always have to be perfect. I can have Michael help with the laundry for a little bit, even if that means he makes it a little harder to get things done. I can put off making a home cooked dinner for a frozen pizza if I need to. 

I want Michael to say more kind and loving words, and I want to be the one who teaches him! Sometimes it just takes talking to a good friend to realize that you don't have to be perfect and by trying to be perfect it is really just bringing more stress onto yourself, which in turn makes you (well me) more crabby.

As for what is going on with us that is making me so crazy; I will start off with the good things. We are buying a house for the first time! We are beyond excited but I have never realized how much work it is! There is so much paperwork and meetings that we have to fit into Tylers work schedule. We are also looking at the foster to adopt program. We start an 8 week class in the next couple of months that you have to take to get into the program. Before we start the class there are a ton of hoops, aka paperwork, that you have to jump through to get started. Last but not least, drum roll… I am starting college classes again at UMUC (online classes). But of course it requires transcripts to be sent, lots of paper work to apply for grants, and scholarships. Also lots of paperwork to get instate tuition for being a military dependent. These are all such awesome things going on but all together, happening in the same two months, they have a lot of stress that comes with them. 

Now for the ugly, we have been dealing with a neighbor who threatened our family's life. There is an investigation going on right now so I can't say much more about what happen but it was scary and at the time and we are still living next to them. It keeps me awake until late at night and I spend a good amount of time triple checking to make sure the doors and windows are locked tight. There has been a lot of dealing with that which has me on edge and accounts for the reason I am so tired! But I know in time this to shall pass and we will have a new house, new neighbors and sun shiny skies ahead!

Well that was my a-ha moment and some new things going on with us! It feels a bit like a tornado has hit us and I don't even remember it happening. Luckily I have an awesome husband by my side to clean up the crazy that it left behind! Until next time ~

Friday, June 13, 2014

Unexpected feelings

  As fathers day approaches my first thoughts go to my dear husband. He is such a great dad to our sweet children, he encompasses all the attributes a good father should have. However, after thinking about how I married a kick-butt man I think about my own father.
  When I think of my own father I get overwhelmed with emotion. He wasn't always the best person, he has done things that he shouldn't have, especially to my brother and I. That being said, I always knew he loved me. I am sure it was hard raising us as a single parent for so long. But he was always there for me and made me feel like I could accomplish anything with a lot of hardwork. Loosing him was so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I thought it would be almost like a relief, after all he had put me through I wasn't expecting to feel so torn up about it. I miss being able to call and talk to him about my situation and to get genuine advise on things, granted some of his advise was a little out there, but it always came from a place of love.

  I am glad that I was able to tell him how much I love him before he passed. Losing people you love is hard and confusing. There is no way I could accurately describe my emotions associated with losing my parents but it is like loosing a piece of yourself. I hope they are happy and thinking of me as much as I think of them. They are no longer in pain and are together after so long apart. I love and miss them a ton especially my dad. Happy fathers day to all the important guys in my life past and present.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lets play catch up

So my babies had their birthdays recently and it was such a bitter sweet occasion. Em turned 4 and Michael turned 1. They have both grown up so much in the past few months and although it is great to see them explore and learn, the time seems to be flying by. Em will be in school next fall, when did that happen??? She sang her first song in primary up on the stage for mothers day. She mostly did a lot of smiling and looking around, but it was adorable nonetheless. That girl loves friends, which is anybody that will talk to her. She also loves to dance and help mommy cook. I just love this gorgeous girl to pieces.
My little guy, who just a few months ago could barely take a couple of steps, is now running around and getting into everything. He is such a little firecracker! These two have such distinct and different personalities which has been so much fun to watch. Em is pretty laid back and easy to deal with, she only has the occasional tantrum and is a great helper. Michael loves to cuddle (when he is not screaming and running around like a crazy person) but is really so much harder than Emily. He screams all the time, if he is happy, sad, frustrated, or just feels like screaming. It can really drain my patience some days. We are learning how to keep him happy but also trying to get him to realize it is not okay to act this way. So pretty much I am driving myself crazy. hahaha I think (or at least hope) this is all just another phase and once he can communicate better everyone will be happier. Even if I have had the hardest day with him, when he gives me a kiss and curls up for a cuddle with me my heart just melts and it makes everything worth it.

Thats the catch up with the littles! :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

We need a change

I woke up in a sweat last night, with tears streaming down my face. My heart was pumping through my chest and I was curled up into a ball. This happens from time to time for me, it's normal. Well, it's my normal. I took a deep breath and tried to push back the dream, the nightmare, the memory.

When I was young and naive I thought my life was normal. I thought everyone lived in silence, in fear. I thought my bruises and the harsh words thrown at me were my fault for not being a good girl. Surely I wasn't the only one being tied up and left in a hot room alone because I didn't do a good enough job when I cleaned the dishes. Every ones dad likes to shower with their daughters, that's normal, right?

Now that I know this and many other things I went through were not normal I wonder why anyone could have let my brother and I live that way. I went to school with bruises and black eyes. Social services were called frequently by neighbors who would hear us crying and screaming for help. Then we would move, to a new area where no one would ask questions, for a while. Why didn't the teachers speak up? Why did people not say something to my dad when they saw him openly hit us in public? Why did the Social workers always give him just one more chance?

I write this for the purpose of making people aware of what is going on in the world around them. Please, we need to change. If you are a teacher, a neighbor or a bystander do not turn a blind eye to these children. They need you more than you will ever know. Their spirits are weak and they need your strength. If you have children, look into their sweet eyes. Think about their smile, their laugh. Think of their sweet spirits and innocence. There are people and parents abusing children of all ages, taking their innocence and everything precious from them. Treat these children the way you treat your own. Do not just stand by and feel sorry for them, stand up for them!

If you are someone that is being abused or has been abused, my heart hurts for you. Know that my prayers go out to you and to soften the heart of your abuser everyday. Turn to the Lord to help ease your burdens. Most of all, get out! Find someone you trust and get out of that situation as soon as possible. You are smart, you are strong, you are beautiful/handsome and you have more worth than you know. There is another world out there that is kind and loving, seek after it.

I am so grateful for the special person in my life who gave me the strength with the shortest and most simple of letters to get out. Because that person had the courage to tell me I am strong enough to get out of the situation, I believe she truly saved me. She gave me a life that I could have only dreamed of growing up. I hope that we can all learn to be more like her. Helping those that need our help even when it may inconvenience or be hard for us.

The last thing I ask is that you love all children (and people in general). I am not going to hold my breath and wait for a change in the states system. It is up to all of us to try to compensate for these children who get lost in the never ending statement of: "I will give you one more chance to prove you won't abuse your child, again." You have no idea what any child is going through. Their parent, the person who is suppose to love them the most, could be tearing them down at home. We need to be building children up. Be kind, be understanding, be slow to judge and quick to help. Listen to them, you could be giving them more love and hope than anyone else ever has.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Emily Part I

I wanted to write a little bit about my experience with my pregnancy, my daughter Emily, and how she came into our lives through what now seems like a whirlwind of events. Some of this is not for the faint of heart so read at your own risk!
First let me start out by saying how crazy we were to start trying to have a baby a couple months after we were married. Sometimes I just laugh, what was I thinking? My close friends and family thought we were crazy too. But here we are today and I wouldn't change a thing.

My husband and I use to go to the temple weekly, before we had kids. One night as we were sitting alone inside the temple, drinking in the quiet peaceful feeling, I told him I felt this crazy prompting that we were suppose to start having kids, now. After only one month of marriage. He stared at me like a deer in headlights, then he laughed. When I told him I was serious, he was a bit freaked out. I did NOT want to start having kids and neither did he. I love my husband but the beginning of our marriage was not all cheerful and exciting like some and adding a kid to it did not sound like a great idea, but that is what I felt. I encouraged him to pray and fast about it. He came back with the same answer, even though we were both sort of hoping otherwise. That is one out of only a couple times I have ever seen him upset with the answer he received. haha! I will make this part of the story short and not chalked full of the juicy details, I was pregnant 2 months later!

Then just a few short weeks after that came the misery of my pregnancies. Vomit. That pretty much sums up my pregnancy. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) or severe Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, there is no real way to treat this condition. I was throwing up about every half-hour (even at night) and just stayed curled up in a tight ball with the shades drawn as much as possible. It was so miserable and it made me lose 10 pounds. I remember crying and wishing that I wasn't alive anymore. I got put in the hospital from dehydration multiple times and passed out a few from being so weak. 
Slowly there were good days sprinkled in with the bad, not after the first trimester though like I had hoped. Around week 21-23 I finally started to feel a little better, only puking a few times a day at that point. Yay,that so great right!? She can finally start enjoying her pregnancy. Wrong! 

At week 24 my husband and I packed up to go to his parents house for a few days. It was only a couple hours away and I was finally feeling like I could do a car trip without getting too sick. We were going to head off right after my checkup with the Dr. We went in like any other checkup, he asked a couple questions and if everything is okay I would go on my way, no exam was suppose to happen. My husband was sitting in the room with me, the doctor asked if I had any spotting and I said yes a little. He said that was normal especially since I throw up a lot. For whatever reason (later my husband tells me it is a strong prompting) my husband says he wants me to get an exam. You know, with what we call in our house the "duck lips", otherwise know as cervical exam. Well I can tell you no woman wants to volunteer to get that unless something is seriously wrong. I was reluctant and so was the doctor, but my husband insisted. Little did I know that prompting would save our daughters life. 

So I am sitting there getting my exam and it is silent. My doctor normally jokes with me or talks me through things, this time he was silent and focused. It was probably the longest 2 minute exam of my life. I felt my heart sink when I asked if everything was okay and he didn't answer right away. Finally he let out a heavy sigh and helped me sit up (which he also doesn't normally do, since I was so small I didn't really need the help) something was clearly wrong and my heart was pumping. Most of what he said after that was a blur after he told me, "you need to go straight to the hospital, don't go home and pack a bag or stop for lunch, go straight there!". I was bawling at this point, my baby wasn't dead but she could come at any minute. The sweet doctor gave me a tissue and the biggest hug, almost in a fatherly way he told me it would be okay. When I started asking about chances she would make it and his face got sad I decided I didn't want to hear any of that just yet. He ordered Tyler to take care of me and be gentle on the drive. We rushed to the hospital which luckily wasn't far.

I have an incompetent cervix. Pretty much, my cervix can't hold the pressure and weight of a child and growing utereus. I also later found out that I was in preterm labor at the same time with slightly mild contractions which I thought were just constant cramps. These two things together are not good when you are only 24 weeks gestation. I was 3 cm dilated and my water sack was hanging down through my cevix and could rupture at any time. He was surprised it had not already. 
Thank you Tyler for listening to that prompting and giving us some time! 

When we got to the hospital they checked me in right away and put me in a bed in what they call the 'trendelenburg position', which is feet above head. Here is a photo: (My bed was a bit lower on the feet than shown here)

They told me if I was lucky my water wouldn't break and I could stay in the hospital until I get to a safe point in my pregnancy to deliver. There was hope! They started me on medication that made me feel like my skin was really hot and it gave me a headache. They also gave me two shots of steroids (in the bum/hip) to help Ems lungs develop at a faster pace just incase she did come early. Those shots are like getting peanut butter slowly pushed into you, painful! So as I layed there we started to google everything. I wanted to be well informed on my condition, Emily's odds of survival, everything I could. Well have you ever been told not to google health problems because they will make you crazy and feel no hope. Thats true!  When I saw the odds of survival for Em if she was born I cried, and cried some more. (Yes I cried a lot during all of this..) I let Tyler do all the research after that. The days and nights dragged on. Being in a hospital is boring. I had visitors which helped a lot but really being stuck in bed, stinks. I knew it was worth it though so that gave me drive. I felt sick most of the time because I wasn't allowed to eat for about 4 days (just incase they had to do a C-section) so I only had IV fluids and some broth occasionally. I felt like I couldn't move for fear of my water breaking and losing the baby. I wasn't allowed to get up at all so I had to use a bed pan for the bathroom. Using a bed pan while your feet are above your head is a joke! I had two veins burst and they had to constantly rotate my IV needles in my arms because my veins were to weak from the meds.

Six days after being there my water broke… Late at night I yelled at Ty, "I think my water just broke." He was confused from just waking up so I called the nurse for help. She came in and sure enough it was ruptured. Which started even more intense contractions. They put me on a IV medication called magnesium, or the devil drug. It made me feel like I was being rotated above a fire. My heart was pumping and my head was spinning. I don't remember much of the next 24 hours except every time I woke up I was in pain, so I slept as much as possible. They had to start weening me off due to the affects it was having on my body, but my contractions were still heavy and not letting up. Finally, they told me they would be doing a C-section, it was the safest way for the baby to come. So she wouldn't have to go through the ordeal of coming through the canal, we wanted her best chances since she was already fighting incredible odds at being only 25 weeks gestation. I couldn't stop crying, I just didn't want my sweet baby girl to die. I wanted so badly to keep her safe and I felt like I had failed. As a mother, wife and woman. 

They took me back to begin and the doctors introduced me to the team, all of the ones who would be working on me and the huge group of people there to work on Emily immediately upon arrival. They encouraged me and let me know they called in the best for her since she would be so tiny. Everyone tried to keep things light but I was so sick inside (both from the meds and thinking of losing Em) They gave me a spinal block but it didn't work so they had to do it twice. Silly that something like that would have terrified me before that day, but after all the veins popping and different shots and meds that part seemed like a walk in the park. Finally they began and Tyler was there at my side, wiping my tears and crying some of his own. Whatever happens at least I have him by my side, we are in this together. I hear them say, "she's coming…." My heart stops and I hear this dull very, very far away, muffle of a cry. My baby girl!!!!

 I immediately ask if she is okay. I want to hold her, see her, love her. I don't know how much time I will have with her on this earth, I needed to see her. Unfortunately my wants were not on the priority list. They hooked her up to oxygen and whisked her off to the NICU. I cried from happiness that she was alive and sadness that she wasn't with me, in my arms. It seems like it took them FOREVER to finish closing the incision. Don't these guys know I want to see my baby? Finally they are wheeling my bed down to see her in the NICU. Then I throw up everywhere. Darn this weak stomach of mine. The effects of the spinal hit me hard and I couldn't stop throwing up. This was obviously not a safe thing to have happening in the NICU so they said I couldn't go….I was beyond devastated. I went to a recovery room where I was crying because I didn't get to see her. My family was there and they tried so hard to be comforting. I told them to please go see her and take pictures. So they, along with Ty, went down to the NICU to see Emily while I sat there, alone. The nurses gave me a bunch of high dosed pain meds to help me feel better physically and told me they would make me drowsy. I reluctantly drifted to sleep thinking that when I woke up it may be  to news of losing my daughter, whom I never got to hold in my arms. Little did I know that the battle was just beginning for my sweet Emily.

Not allowed to hold her or touch her but we could hold her hand. This is Tys hand.

Her tiny footprint with a quarter next to it.

To be continued…  Part II will be about Em in the NICU

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What not to tell a new mom

I remember those first few days home with my sweet baby. The smell of her skin, the way what little hair she had tickled my cheek. I remember thinking that in that moment, I could not love anyone as much as I loved her. I also, however, remember the long nights of trying to get her to sleep. I remember the worry I felt in my chest when she still wasn't rolling over or meeting all the milestones that other kids were. I think some of the things I wish I didn't remember are the comments that my 'elders' made to me. You know the more experienced moms that have teenaged or grown children. I remember hearing things like, "Just wait until they are teenagers", or "this is the easy part". At the time I remember thinking to myself that I was weak for thinking that this was so hard when in reality, this was "the easy part." How could I complain when I haven't had a teenager to deal with yet?
Well let me tell you mothers, something I wish I would have told myself a LONG time ago. Don't listen to them! So much negativity coming from some of these people. Although I am sure most of them have good intentions, I just don't think they really stop to think about what they are saying. 
Taking care of a newborn and taking care of a teenager are different struggles. Why compare the two? Why make a new mother feel more discouraged when she is already so worn down? If we are telling you we are tired, it is not so you can tell us to bad, it gets worse. We want encouragement. We want to know that someone else out there understands. I think there are few times in my life where I have needed a reality check, someone to tell me to count my blessings. But this was always done best by someone I love telling me to look at the positive, never by someone telling me it could be worse. That is an instant way for me to harden my heart and get even more downtrodden. 
We as mothers should unite and bring "comfort to those that stand in need of comfort". (Mosiah 18:9) Stop telling us to suck it up and wait for the storm thats ahead. Let us know that, this to shall pass. Tell us to enjoy it because it goes by so quick. As a young mother, unaware of what I was getting myself into at the time, some sympathy would have been so nice. I had a very close friend and mother figure in my life cry with me on the phone when I told her about my youngest son who had colic. The first few months were a dark place for me. I was beyond tired, depressed, frustrated and so much more. She told me about her experience with her daughter, she reminded me that I was not alone. She will never know how much that meant to me. That, as a tired sullen mom, it was exactly what I needed. 
Lets stop criticizing each other and lend a hand to each other. Let us uplift one another in motherhood so that we can all make it out of this with a few less grey hairs.

The sweet girl who was a pretty good baby but kept me up with my thoughts while she was in the NICU for three months. I spent many nights praying that she would make it through.

Then my sweet Mikey. He was early and had a couple weeks in the hospital, which to us seemed great.  He was such a difficult baby though. He would scream and scream. He is still difficult but is easier than he was.