HG: A dark side effect of being pregnant

I was very hesitant to have another baby because I had such a difficult time with Elle (for a lot of reasons). Even from the beginning, I had uncontrollable morning sickness. It lasted all day long. Medication took the edge off but only limited the number of times I would get sick. Nothing actually took it away. I was pretty miserable and it lasted the entire time I was pregnant.

At first glance you might think “then why did you do this again?” and that’s a fair question, but it doesn’t color my entire experience. I look at my daughter and I am glad she’s here and if I had to repeat it to get her, I absolutely would. You definitely have to mentally work yourself up to it though.

Hyperemesis is not a very well known condition and it’s not something that affects a lot of people. It doesn’t get a lot of attention unless you’re Kate Middleton and a lot of doctors just think it is run of the mill nausea. When it requires IVs and medical intervention to avoid dehydration, it’s not really run of the mill anymore. Some people experience some relief when they get further down the road. I definitely felt a little bit of relief, but I was still sick up until the day I actually had Elle and that was with medication.

One of the biggest issues is what it does to you mentally. You literally feel like there is no end in sight. You start to question whether or not you’re going to be able to make it. It freaks you out. Eating something is a complete curse and it makes you leery of any food whatsoever. It hurts your brain. I can’t count how many times I would just sit in the bathroom and cry, upset that I still felt a certain type of way and wishing that I would get some relief. I lost weight. I had to try and gain that back. My diet wasn’t great. I can’t say I really look back on it with a lot of fondness.

1-2% of women experience that. Many experience it much, much worse than I actually experienced it. It’s unanimous that it’s painful, difficult to explain and hard to navigate. This go around I have three different nausea medications and have required IV fluids to keep me afloat. I’ve lost about 10 pounds (which is around 12% of my body weight) and I am working on gaining that back. I come home every day and immediately head to bed, thankful that I had enough energy to make it through the day. I feel guilty because I am not helpful in the way I’d like to be, I don’t have so much energy to play with my daughter as much, but I know that it’s just a small season of life and we will all get through it. I am remaining more positive about it now because I understand it so much better and I was better able to advocate for myself as a result. It’s been better, but yet it’s been oddly more difficult for different reasons. It’s just a season. It’s just a season. It’s just a season. Everything will be worth it in the end.

We’re having a baby!

We’ve now officially announced to the world that we’re having a baby, which is both exciting and terrifying. I am generally not someone that likes to talk about being pregnant or draw attention to myself about it because I am awkward about it (I don’t know why, I just am), but since so many of my family members and loved ones live across the country, we had to do an announcement.

We actually found out several weeks ago, like almost two months and for the most part we’ve been keeping it to ourselves. It’s actually a pretty funny story.

I woke up in the middle of the night and I don’t know why, but for some reason I just felt like I needed to take a pregnancy test. It was like 2am and I took one and thought I saw a line, but also thought I was really tired and was just seeing things. I woke up again to start my day around 6:30. Ryan was getting ready. I took another test then and thought I saw a line, so then I took a digital and it officially confirmed. Ryan was getting ready for his second job interview at a firm he really wanted to work for, and later that day we were traveling back home to NE for the weekend.

I caught him before he left and jokingly (or maybe not so jokingly) told him he better land that job and then handed him the digital test. He went off to his job interview, came home and we headed to the airport.

Later that day, while we’re waiting for our flight, we’re talking about everything and he gets a phone call that he got the job! Literally best Thursday of my life. 🙂 I thought the plane was going to crash because how can you have such good luck all in the same day.

We didn’t tell anyone that weekend and I waited several weeks before I even mentioned it to anyone. I would’ve continued to wait to mention it but I’m starting to get leery about what I wear for fear people might start asking, so I decided to just nip it in the bud.

We’re especially considering ourselves lucky because we do have a history of loss (I will go into this in a different post). It’s a little bit bittersweet, knowing that we basically got pregnant with this baby right around the time we should’ve actually been having another one, but I know we’re both still thankful for the opportunity and glad that we can go through this together. We don’t foresee further expansion of our family for many reasons (I will delve into later), so we’re savoring every moment of this!

Public shaming your significant other – maybe not the best look

Everyone’s spouse irritates them at some point in their lives (some definitely more than others). In the current day and age that we live in, it seems like people can’t seem to step away from the computer when it comes to airing both the positives and the negatives, but really, should we be publicly shaming the person that we’re dating or married to? I’d argue that those things are best kept private.

There’s nobody in this world that’s going to forgive your spouse/SO for their transgressions against you faster than you are. Posting something in the moment creates an opportunity for other people to come together and voice their opinions on a situation that really doesn’t involve them at all. In general, it either results in dog piling the person that you married and may or may not be in the wrong (it really depends on the situation) or it results in a lot of people telling you that you shouldn’t be feeling the way you’re feeling. Neither of those are solutions. Neither of those are helpful.

Not only did it not solve anything, now it’s out there for the world to see. This is the face that you’re putting forward. I am not saying avoid being real. Be real. Post whatever you want on your timeline, but consider your audience. How many people do you have on your Facebook that are going to see this? How many of those people do you talk to regularly? How many of those people get their news about YOUR life from your timeline? Now ask yourself what you want to them to think about your spouse? Do you want them to think that person is a bad person? People make rash judgments. I’d venture to guess that you might not always put out there the good things that person does, so if you taint their reputation with the negative, nobody is going to remember the positive. It’s the same reason scandals make headlines over those feel good stories. They get clicks. They get views.

Even if someone doesn’t comment on your post, that doesn’t mean they didn’t read it. It doesn’t mean they didn’t screenshot it and it sure doesn’t mean they didn’t send it to 15 of their closest friends to discuss it. How do you feel now knowing that it is potentially immortalized somewhere and that someone somewhere is possibly talking about your family and maybe not with the highest regard? It’s not great. It’s just not a great look.

In my marriage, I have friends that I vent to. I am not immune to getting irritated. In fact, I am probably more irritable than most people. I don’t go venting to the world, though. I respect my husband enough to keep what is truly between us, between us. It’s none of their business. I find my close friends who not only know me well, but know my husband well and are friends with both of us and I ask their advice, or I tell them that I just need to vent for a second. These are the same people that I tell all the good things to as well. They don’t get a one-sided depiction and these people provide a level-headed response if I need it and they sulk with me when I am just looking for company. At the end of the day though, they forgive, knowing that the brief snippet they just saw is not the main storyline of my life.

I do not vent to my husband’s sisters about my  husband. I don’t vent to my own mother or my family member about my husband. There are people out there that are CHOOSING to love my husband and I want them to love him. I don’t want them to ever think that he is less than he is and I don’t want them to ever get some idea in their heads that one day he was having an off day and that’s what the color of his personality is. It’s not. That’s not fair to him at all.

Protect the people you love – and that includes their image. It doesn’t mean post sunshine and rainbows when that’s not truly what your life is like, it just means don’t do the opposite either if that’s also truly not what your life is like. You don’t want that bad day to leave a  bad taste in everyone else’s mouth and I’d venture to guess that once it all boils down, you’re not going to want people to dog on your husband forever. What feels good now might now be the recipe for the best future.

We all need someone to lean on, so definitely lean. We also all have different levels of tolerance for how open we are with our lives in a public setting. I would never publicly blast my husband about anything because it doesn’t solve my problem. Going and talking to him about the issue is what is ultimately going to solve our problem – in private. Where (I personally feel) it is more appropriate to hash things out.

We don’t keep things to ourselves anymore. I understand wanting to share your joys with your family members. I live 1500 miles away from all the people I love most in the world. Facebook keeps us together and we’re able to talk to each other and stay in the know about things that are going on in our lives. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse, but considerations absolutely need to be made about when and how people use it. The last thing you want is to slander your own reputation by being “that wife” or slander your husband’s in the heat of the moment.

Untitled.

I am not a sentimental person, but sometimes there are things that even get the best of me. When I run into these situations where I find myself getting emotional about something, it is so foreign to me I almost don’t know what to do about it.

For example, Thursday morning I was laying in my bed minding my own business drinking a coffee and enjoying an hour of peace before I headed to a doctor’s appointment and up pops a picture from 2013 of a status I made about my grandma Leslie sending me a new “sick blanket.” Cue me bawling my eyeballs out because I was relaxing  under that exact blanket.

It seems like the reminders this week continue to come because just this past Sunday, Tula Baby Carriers released the first and only official Harry Potter Tula, called “Spellbound.” Seeing it and knowing my love for wearing my daughter around, I immediately needed to have it, but I also knew I would be up for stiff competition and sure enough, I was not able to score. One popped up on the BST page for an absurd amount of money and I cursed, sat on it, cried a little about it (stupid, I know, but you never know what is going to trigger you) and then finally bought it, terrified that I would never get the chance to get my hands on it again.

My grandma died only a few months into me being pregnant with Elle and it was probably the hardest loss I’ve ever had because it was so unexpected. She was expected to leave and beat the cancer she had and she didn’t. The night before she died, I tried going down to Wichita to be with her, and she told me on the phone not to come and that it would all be okay. I know she didn’t want me there because I was pregnant and she was scared the stress would be too much for me.

When I went through all the difficulties in my pregnancy with Elle and there was a period where I honestly was not sure I was going to live, I wished she was there more than anything in the entire world. It is one of the saddest things to me that she never got to meet Elle and she will never meet any of my other children. That’s not something I pictured or was prepared for and it’s not something I will ever be able to get over.

It may seem silly, but Harry Potter is one of the biggest reminders I have of her. Since I was 7 years old, she’d buy me all the books, encourage me to read them and escape, take me to openings and call me to talk about how quickly I read them. It was OUR thing. We had it together and it was the biggest blessing.

Fast forward to now and it seems like this week  has been full of sentiment. In my head, having this new baby carrier completes a circle for me, like wrapping my kid in a warm hug from my grandma – something she will never be able to do. It’s bizarre and it’s just a thing and I feel a decent chunk of ridiculous for feeling the way I do about it, but I guess sometimes you just aren’t always the one in control of how you feel or what makes you feel anything.

“I am not worried, Harry,” said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. “I am with you.”

Dear Children of the World, it’s not supposed to be like this.

The world isn’t supposed to turn on itself.

People aren’t  supposed to open fire on large crowds of unassuming people.

None of this is supposed to happen, yet it seems to be the norm these days. There are so many sad things that come from it, but among the saddest? Indifference. People becoming numb to tragedies. Lack of compassion.

It  hurts my heart to think about it as an adult and it hurts worse to know that I am raising children in this world.

I remind myself not to let the bitterness steal my sweetness (thanks, Maya). I remind myself not to let his hatred in my heart. I remind myself that we CAN make the world a  better place by being better than just tolerating each other, by loving each other. I remind myself that I can make a small difference by raising good human beings who are strong, who are compassionate, who care about other people, who look outside their own neighborhood and see the world on a larger scale. I remind myself that small things can create larger tides.

Today I have to remind myself just a little bit harder. Today I have to be thankful that last night I was sleeping in my bed with my toddler and my husband. Today I will remind myself that it isn’t the end of the world that said toddler won’t sleep in her own room. That we all need a little bit of compassion and that snuggling can in fact turn a bad day into a better one. Today I remind myself of so many things, but among them, I remind myself not to forget about the people who cannot hug their loved ones anymore. That had their entire world ripped away from them. I remind myself that people still don’t know if their loved ones are alive, but I know exactly where my people are and they’re all safe. I remind myself that although I take that for granted so much of the time, it is actually the biggest blessing of them all and it is not something to get used to, because in any moment it can be stripped away much like it was for so many families last night.

These tragedies come in all shapes and sizes. I hope we learn from them. I hope we grow. I hope we reach out and I hope we try to comfort other people in this terrible, horrible, no good time. I hope we don’t use this as our frame of reference when we judge the whole world. I hope it doesn’t cause people to live in fear and I hope it helps me teach my kids NOT to be afraid.

I hope it does a lot of things – and all of them good. I hope that everyone affected finds peace in whatever shape or form it might come in and I am praying for all of them.

Stop telling people how to protest

I am not overly political on social media and as such, I am probably part of a widespread problem. If you engage me in an issue, I will gladly have a conversation with you about. I will not call you names. I will merely state the facts as I see them and provide my opinion on the matter. While this sounds all good and dandy, it often results in name calling among other things and I’ve  learned that it is simply not worth getting into an argument about. People have to be willing to understand another side and even possibly, accepting that side and if they’re not, it just goes awry. I pick my battles accordingly.

But seriously, here’s some food for thought.

I work at an insurance company. I have attended some political events. I wear overtly political shirts that say things like “Who needs a glass slipper when you can shatter the glass ceiling” or “Girls just want to have fundamental rights.” I have an opinion on these things and you know what? Nobody is telling me to stop and go back to my day job. Heck, I wear these IN my workplace and you don’t see a single person bat and eye and I have yet to be told that I need to keep that to myself. It’s my small way of taking a stand.

So, knowing this and knowing that we don’t put other people in a box and decide how they express their beliefs, why are people up in arms about a bunch of football players kneeling during the national anthem? This is THEIR way of using their platform to further their cause. People keep telling them to just do their jobs, but I don’t see them saying that to the people that OWN the football teams. That are also high profile but also donate tons and tons of money to political campaigns that they believe in. I don’t see people saying that about the recent KKK rally, which I think most can agree was a disgusting display of racism. All those people have day jobs and nobody is telling them to go back to them, so why?

You don’t get to pick how people peacefully protest. You just don’t. And guess what, I don’t get to tell you how to peacefully protest either. That’s your right. If you want to go to a KKK rally, I will roll my eyes six ways to Tuesday because I think it’s ridiculous, but I am not going to encroach on your freedom to express yourself. I will keep my thoughts to myself and my friends, but I will never try to take that freedom from you and lord knows I don’t believe in that cause.

When you have a privilege (and if you’re sitting here and you’re white, you do), you have a responsibility. These NFL players HAVE privilege. They’re rich. They’re televised. They have an opportunity to speak out against things that they don’t believe in and endorse things that they do. Didn’t y’all just see one of the Seahawks visiting the Seattle Children’s Museum? He’s encouraging donating to that cause. IT IS THE SAME THING. The difference is that you don’t agree with it for whatever reason. I don’t see you getting mad at him that he’s supporting sick kids. I don’t see you trying to take his right away to endorse something he believes in, but when he kneels to take a stand because he’s felt injustices in his life, people try and tell him how he should feel. They try and tell him what he should do. They try and tell him that he should be ashamed. He is not disrespecting the flag. He is not burning it to send a message. He’s not trampling on it. He’s not walking on it. People make bikinis out of the American flag. They make that print in underwear you know? Go talk to them. Be upset. Don’t watch the games. Heck, don’t go to them and maybe now I’ll be able to afford a ticket (thanks for that), but consider how very NOT different this is from many of the other things people are keeping silent about.

That is wrong. That is encroaching on someone’s freedom.

Freedom isn’t free. It comes at a price. There are people in our own country right now that are also paying that price. That are being called things because they’re fighting for freedoms that I as a white woman have always experienced. You don’t get to tell people how they feel. There  may be African American people out there that say they’ve never felt any prejudice and maybe they haven’t, but that doesn’t mean that every other person that is speaking out and saying that they have is wrong. They’re not making this up for attention. Do you realize life is harder for them BECAUSE they’re speaking out. Does anyone actually do anything to make their life harder intentionally? I mean really? You would CHOOSE a life of oppression? I highly, highly doubt it. Think that one through.

Privilege comes in many shapes and sizes. I grew up completely broke. Telling me I had privilege when I was younger, I would’ve laughed at you. It is such a privilege to wonder if there is any food in your fridge at home. I simply didn’t understand. Privilege doesn’t mean you life a life of luxury. It means nothing of the sort, actually. It just means there are things that happen to you every single day that you might not even notice (and probably don’t) because they’ve always happened for you like that. Some of these things are super small, but regardless of how small they are, there are people out there that are not afforded the same “small” privileges. How different the world might be if people took the time to truly understand what that means. You may think this isn’t your circus, but it is. It is mine too. If you want to understand even a little bit, research and learn for yourself. It is not a minority person’s job to educate those of the majority race on what their issues are and why what might be occurring is racist. They’re actually doing you a service by even informing you at all.

Just please, stop telling people how they’re supposed to feel. I am not telling you how to feel. I am telling you to stop discrediting everyone else’s experience just because yours is different. And maybe, read some of the links below.

http://code.ucsd.edu/pcosman/Backpack.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-crosleycorcoran/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person_b_5269255.html

One Year Down in WA

A few weeks ago we came up on the one year anniversary of our move to Washington.

One whole year spent 1500 miles away from our friends and family.

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. I would be lying if I said the entire year was easy, but it wasn’t for many of the reasons you might initially think.

Being a little pod of three people was hard. Most of our tribe is back in NE and KS (though I have tribe mates all across the United States these days and am lucky for it). Still, we were three in every sense of what that means. We had to rely on each other for everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

When Ryan and I got somewhat backed up or had a rush of orders with our online business, there wasn’t really anyone readily available that we could call to take Elle for the afternoon. We have friends that would do it here of course (and bless them for being so willing), but we never wanted to bother them. We had to power through that struggle alone and that meant many, many late nights. It meant so many nights where we didn’t go to bed at the same time followed by other nights of purely crashing and not waking up till someone forced us.

We didn’t go on a date outside the house this entire year. Ryan and I had one solo time together during our trip to Denmark, but outside of that, I literally cannot think of a single time we intentionally left the house, just us, to go hang out together. I might be drawing a blank, but the fact I can’t remember any of those times at all is hardly a good sign.

That doesn’t mean we didn’t spend a lot of time alone. We spent many, many nights in together – every night actually. Our weekends were filled with finishing schoolwork, working on side business (which is no longer a thing we have to do on the weekends and we’re finding so much peace with that). As a whole, our first 9 months here, we literally worked 7 days a week save for a handful of trips where we worked remotely. We didn’t see as much of what we wanted to see for the first 6-7 months. Ryan didn’t have a job the first few months, making his social circle somewhat challenging and then when he did get a job, we were faced with the new challenge of childcare and making sure our schedules worked with Elle’s schedule.

It was hard. I get fatigued even thinking about it.

But, there was so much growth. There is nothing like only having each other to rely on. Where many might go crazy, we spend so much time away from each other, we’re really just looking to reconnect again by the time the weekend comes. In our marriage, this has without a doubt been the most challenging year, but it has helped us see what we can work through and what we can accomplish together. I’d be lying if I said that we were in the best place that we’ve ever been. We’re not. We need to work better on making each other a priority and we need to start doing that ASAP. We are too quick to push our needs off to the wayside.

But where we lack in some areas, we make up for in others. We are a strong family. Ryan is the best dad I’ve ever met and I think even if I was outside looking in, I’d still think that, seriously. I can handle things on my own. We are used to working things out between the two of us to better life for the three of us. We are ready to take on so many more things that we otherwise took for granted back in NE. The challenges weren’t so much in missing family. The challenges were in really understanding what it feels like to be alone and have to make conversation. To develop a new friend circle and no longer have people around you that know your entire background. The challenge is opening up and putting that effort out there even when you’re exhausted and drained and it’s so much easier to go home and chill. The challenge is in staying connected with the people far away and reminding them you love them, that you didn’t move to hurt them and that they’ll still be a part of your life and they’re still a priority.

The challenges are many, but the rewards are so much greater.

I am so proud of us for even doing this. For saying yes on a literal whim without much thought. For trusting that it would all work out and that even if it was hard, we owed it to ourselves to give it a shot. For convincing ourselves that children are portable and that even though it would be hard to raise our kid without her family surrounding her, we are her family. We are her sense of home. Home is not geographic. It is found within your people.

We’re doing the exploring we always said we would out here. We are challenging ourselves. We’re meeting people who are challenging us and we are challenging them. We are carving out our own little slice of Washington and building ourselves a family here for as long as we’re allowed to stay (cause you know, we’re mobile and everything). We moved as far away as we could because we knew if my job ever moved us again, no matter what we’d be closer and that would feel nice.

We’re living by our own definition and even though sometimes life pulls and we feel like we’ll break. We’re not. We don’t. We’re coming out ahead, stronger and ready to take on our next challenges.