Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009

I only have a few minutes to post today, but wanted to get one last word in before the year ends.

This year has been one of trial and hardship for many people I know, including myself. Financial, health and marital issues seem to have been a common theme. This year has been, without a doubt, the most difficult year of my life. But, all things considered, it has also been one of the most wonderful.

My goal for 2010 is to PRESS FORWARD. To continue working through the problems I've been faced with, to maintain a positive attitude, to take the bad with the good, to take better care of myself, to enjoy every day I am given with my family, to learn to slow down, to appreciate the small things, to go to church more often, to take too many pictures, to say "I love you" as much as I can, to dance in the kitchen, to sleep in, to eat that extra piece of cheesecake, to laugh often, and to be less critical of myself.




Wishing the best to you and yours,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The annoyed eye roll

So, this morning I took Morgan in for her 4 month checkup and was surprised to find out that she has an ear infection in both ears. She's had a bit of a head cold: runny nose, a sneeze here and there. But she certainly hasn't acted like a sick baby.

I haven't decided if this makes me a good parent, that I have such a happy baby even when she isn't feeling well, or if it makes me a bad parent for not seeing the signs that she was getting sick. Either way, she starts a course of antibiotics today that should clear things up pretty well.

Near the end of the appointment I'd grabbed a tissue and started to wipe away some of the snot that had started to pool under Morgan's nose when the doctor laughed and said "She just rolled her eyes at you! I've never seen a baby roll their eyes like that!"

And then, as she turned to leave she mutters: "She certainly is her mother's daughter, isn't she?"

I'm still trying to pretend like I don't know what she was talking about.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our tax dollars at work

Today I had my first "WIC Education Appointment"-a mandatory class for all women who recieve WIC benefits. I put that in parentheses because that's technically what it's called, but I find it rather laughable. If I were the one to choose the name of the class I would have called it Morons Anonymous. The "literature" (again, their words, not mine) they gave me to read along with the class was a green paper with a picture of a cartoon bear that read: Scrubby Bear says "Good hand washing means using soap and warm water, scrubbing for 20 seconds and rising well". Just in case I didn't learn that when I was 4.

Some other things I learned today:
- Some people don't realize that it's not okay to give your 4 month old an entire carrot to snack on.
- Some people think it's completely acceptable to take your infant outside in just a onesie when it's three degrees below zero.
- Some people don't know that an infant with a fever of 104 is cause for concern.

Please understand that I don't for one second think that I am any better than these women, but I do think I may be more capable of making better decisions. All four of the other mothers still had their pajamas on. I wish I was kidding. It was apparent that at least one woman had recently showered because her hair was still wet. And it's the MIDDLE OF WINTER. And she had to go OUTSIDE in the COLD to get there. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture? Coincedentally enough, she was the same mother whose baby was dressed in a onesie-just a onesie-no pants, no jacket, no socks. Two of the women stepped outside at one point, leaving their babies alone inside, to take a smoke break. They're here to recieve assistance getting groceries for their families, but somehow they have no problem affording cigarettes. I was really struggling not to judge these women, but as I looked around I realized that I was the one being judged.

Apparently I don't LOOK like I need government assistance. Apparently for people to believe that I'm poor I have to wear my pajamas in public and dress my child like an orphan. As these other women openly stared at me I could feel them wondering why I was there. I kept fighting the urge to stand up and say "I'm sorry my husband and I both work full time and we STILL qualify for WIC! I'm sorry that buying warm clothing for my baby is more important to me than buying cigarettes! I'm sorry that I showered and got dressed before I came here this morning! And I'm sorry that I can't bake cookies on Taylor Lautner's perfectly sculpted chest!"

Okay, so I wasn't actually going to say that last part, but I do think it's rather tragic.

I'm grateful that programs like WIC exist. The benefits they have provided our family have really been a help. I mean, have you priced baby formula recently? Ounce for ounce, I'm pretty sure it's more valuable than gold. Although I think it's a great program, it makes me sad to think of how many people out there may be taking advantage of it, and what that's costing us as taxpaying citizens. And it makes me even more sad that there may actually be some people who, before today, didn't know they needed to wash their hands after they used the bathroom. Thank God for Scrubby Bear!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our dysfunctional family

When I was younger, as all little girls do, I used to dream about how life would be when I grew up. I never really bought into the whole Prince Charming delusion--dirty pirates and outlaw cowboys have always been more my thing. But oh how I loved to make believe! Sometimes I'd imagine living on a tropical island in a giant tree house. Sometimes I was a rock star's wife, lounging by the pool sipping a colorful drink from a tall glass as the maid asked "Is there anything else I can get for you Mrs. Bon Jovi?" And I'm pretty sure that once or twice I even imagined myself in a black leotard and red high heels dancing around on carnival rides singing to my leather jacket wearing, greasy haired, bad-boy-about-to-reform-his-ways boyfriend. But never, not even once, did I imagine that I'd be married and have a stepchild before I was 20.

Because the very nature of a stepmother/stepchild relationship is such a delicate thing, I've been hesitant to post about my stepdaughter, Shylee. But I think it's time to break the silence.

Confession: Being a stepmom is undoubtedly the most difficult challenge I've ever willingly accepted. It's also been one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences I've ever had. Shylee is, at the same time, one of the most wonderful and most frustrating people in my life. It's hard to explain the indignation I feel when she looks me in the eye and says "You aren't my mom so I don't have to listen to you". But it's also hard to explain the way my heart swells when she wraps her arms around my neck, kisses me and says "I love you Jenny-mom".

Shylee never knew her parents together. They were never married so I don't think she'll feel like I "stole" her daddy, which I believe is a significant source of resentment between children and stepparents. I have been in the picture as long as she can remember. I will be a part of her earliest memories. Even so, I can't help but expect things to get worse as she gets older. In the back of my mind looms this terrible image of Shylee at sixteen: the rebellious teenager from a broken home, always in trouble, always resentful. And of course this will be my fault because I'm the stepmom and all stepmothers are evil, don't you know?

"Dysfunctional families breed dysfunctional families". I don't even remember where or when I heard that saying, but it's tattooed into my memory. I come from what many would call a"dysfunctional family". But the dysfunction in our family tends to be a little different than the normal dysfunction, if such a thing even exists.  We don't harbor the hateful feelings that are so common in families of divorce. There has never been the fighting and backbiting that most people expect from a broken family. There are a lot of steps and exes in my family, but there's also a lot of love and quite frankly, people think that's odd. For example: my divorced parents lived three blocks away from each other for several years. My mom was right there in the sealing room of the temple when my dad and stepmom got married. My grandparents still consider my dad, their ex son-in-law, a part of the family.

The introductions at my baby shower went something like this:"This is my mom and my Grandma. That's my mom's half sister, Carrie and her daughter, Whitney. Over there is my stepmom, Candy and my stepsister, Mandy. My sister in law, Megan and my step sister in law, Ashley are in the kitchen with my sister, Teresa. Now here's where it get's tricky: This is Christy, my stepsister's stepsister-the stepdaughter of my stepmom's ex husband. And my stepmom's sister's daughters are pulling into the driveway as we speak."

And there we were, all the exes and the steps and the step-steps (or whatever), sitting in a room laughing and chatting over refreshments with absolutely no tension, resentment or discomfort. Um...yeah. People pretty much think we're either insane or high.

If the saying holds true and it's inevitable that we pass our issues onto the next generation, then THIS is the type of "dysfunction" I hope to breed into Shylee. I want her to know it's okay to love her mom AND her dad. To feel comfortable coming to me if she has a problem, knowing that I love her and want to help her but also knowing that I'll never try to replace her mother. I want her to feel that she doesn't come from a broken family-she just comes from a big family.

Although this life isn't what I planned or imagined, I love it and I feel that we try to make the best of our situation. I hope that, with enough effort and love, Shylee won't turn into that troubled teenager. I hope that we will always be able to maintain the civil and often times friendly relationship that we currently have with Jessica (Shylee's mom). I hope that Shylee will always feel secure knowing that she is loved by so many people and that she will never be asked to choose one family over the other.

I'll admit that after Shylee stayed with us last week and the time came to take her back to her mom's, I was more than a little relieved. I was completely exhausted after three days of hearing "I want a corndog. Can I hold the baby? How about now? Is my corndog ready? I'm really hungry. Will you get me a drink? Can I hold the baby yet? Can I have another corndog? I need more juice. Can I hold the baby now?". I was really looking forward to returning to a somewhat orderly house. One without a four year old jumping off the back of the couch or trying to feed the baby beef jerky.

But after Adam took her inside and we pulled away from Jessica's house, I found myself thinking...Come back to us soon baby girl, I love you.





Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 2009 Newsletter: 4 months

Dear Morgan,

You're four months old. FOUR MONTHS! Can you believe it, because I sure can't. Due largely in part to that dreadful two week hospitalization, the past month has been an enormous blur. Much to my surprise, when I was in the hospital a strange thing happened... LIFE WENT ON. It seemed to me like everything should have paused until I was home and functioning normally again, but it didn't. And the most incredible part of it all is how much you grew in just two weeks! I came home to a baby who not only was a bit older, but one who sprouted a few more hairs on that bald head, who no longer fit into her 0-3 month old clothes and who somehow acquired at least two more chins.


Last week you were playing on the floor, arching your back struggling to see the TV as you so often do, when all of a sudden and completely by accident you flipped onto your stomach. You glanced around for a second, confused, then looked up at me and your dad like ‘What THE HECK just happened?' Over the next few days this became your favorite thing to do. I'd lay you down on your back and two seconds later you'd be on your tummy, propped up on your elbows with this giant, proud grin on your face.



Another new thing that you really enjoyed was your first bath in the ‘real' bathtub. I've been bathing you in a small plastic tub in the kitchen sink, but you're suddenly too big to fit in it. I thought you might be a bit nervous being surrounded by so much water for the first time, but I was wrong. Not only were you naked AND in water- two of your favorite things!- but there was just SO MUCH room to kick and splash around! I think that just for a moment the veil was lifted and you caught a glimpse of heaven again. The only way you knew how to adequately express your excitement was by shoving all of your fingers into your mouth and squealing for five minutes straight.



I was very concerned about how you would cope while I was in the hospital. Two things that worried me in particular were you having to quit nursing cold-turkey (even if it was just temporarily) and having to sleep by yourself. I never planned on co-sleeping, but I discovered very early on that you slept surprisingly well when you were next to me. So since the first week you were home you've been sleeping in our bed with us. Most nights you would only wake up once to eat, and since we were literally right next to each other you would pretty much feed yourself. I can't count the times we both fell asleep mid-feeding and I woke up with my boob out and you still attached, sound asleep.

When you were about three weeks old I started giving you a bottle once a day. Not because you needed it, but because I knew I would be going back to work and wasn't sure I'd always be able to pump enough milk to send with you to the babysitters. I wanted to be sure your tummy was used to the formula in case it ever became necessary. And thank goodness I did! Because while I was away it suddenly became necessary, and you took the bottle without hesitation. By the time I was able to come home you were even sleeping through the night- all by yourself! All that time I spent worrying about you was just time wasted. Morgan, you are so young and so small, but already I admire your strength. You handled those two weeks with much more grace and composure than I did.



So, not only are you sleeping in your crib, you're sleeping in your own room. My heart broke a little when I realized that you no longer needed to be next to me through the night. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that you'll be breaking my heart quite regularly from now on. Often after you've drifted off to sleep I'll stand in your doorway and watch you. I've known religion most of my life, but I've never experienced a moment as reverent as when I quietly stand there in the dark just listening to you breathe, hearing your life in the air. And that, Morgan, is all the proof I'll ever need that a loving God exists. More than anything I've known before, YOU have made me a believer.

Love,
Mama


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Home, where I belong

I AM GOING HOME!

Never in my entire life have any words sounded so sweet.

I don't think I'll be posting much in the next little while. I plan on devoting my time to treatments, exercise, more treatments and RIDICULOUS amounts of cuddling with Adam and Morgan.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thinking...

Life is hard. And then you decide to breastfeed, suddenly become seperated from your baby and end up having to pump.

Morgan owes me big time for this one... when I get home, she'd better let me nibble on those cheeks extra long.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wherein the sarcasm gets a bit heavy

Sarcasm is a beautiful thing. I know that some people strongly disagree (Hi Mom!) but a little bit of sarcasm goes a long way in getting me through each work day, and I'm convinced it's what's kept me sane during this hospital stay. Nothing brings out the sarcasm in me like stupid people, which seem to be in abundance here. Don't get me wrong, they're all very nice. But no amount of nice can replace dumb.

Some of my favorite things I've heard so far are:
"You're only 22? What a short life."
"That cough doesn't sound good. Are you getting sick?"
"You have CF? Have you had it long?"

Please keep in mind these comments are coming from people working ON THE CF FLOOR! Seriously. The whole situation reminds me of every time I see Lady Gaga perform and I feel like grabbing her by the shoulders, violently shaking her and saying "Lady Gaga, PLEASE tell me you are joking! This is ridiculous!" Unfortunately, Lady Gaga and the nursing staff here ARE NOT JOKING.

Although, I will give credit to the few good nurses I've had. The ones who actually know what they are doing and how to work the equipment. The ones who don't ask a single stupid question all day. And that one male nurse in particular who just happened to smell like heaven. I'm very happily married so I won't say that he was attractive, but I will tell you that my heart rate was unexplainably a little high all day. (Hey, I may be married, but I'm also human.)

Something else that's fun...Today when I woke up I noticed a bit of a rash starting on my thighs, right near my bum. By this afternoon it had spread to my arms, chest and stomach. Now it's literally everywhere, including my face. I'm pretty much just one giant, walking, talking, itchy, red hive.

The good news is that I've successfully been weaned off oxygen! When I came in I was on 6 liters, so the fact that I'm no longer dependent on it at all shows that I am indeed making progress. There is finally an end in sight, and I couldn't be happier. Because if one more nurse asks me how to work a CADD pump I'll be very tempted to just pick up my things and start walking home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Update

I just wanted to give a quick update. I did PFT's on Thursday and my FEV1 was up to 40%. Still very disappointing and incredibly low, but much better than 27%. When my doctor stopped by my room this morning he told me he thinks I've made a lot of progress in the past three days especially. He said he can see that I'm improving physically and emotionally each day. He is very optimistic and thinks that I can be up to 70% by the time I have PFT's again this Thursday. I, however, am not quite so optimistic but at least it gives me a goal to work towards. I'm terrified at the thought of going home with such low lung function, so I hope he is right.

I'm still having quite a bit of chest/back pain. After extensive observation, it has been determined that the pain isn't coming directly from my lungs, but that it's more muscular. They think that the tissue between my ribs has become sensitive from all the coughing and heavy breathing and that the muscles throughout my back have just been so overworked that they spasm every now and then. Also, my body is quite intolerant of the hypertonic saline they've been giving me during treatments. It tightens my chest up almost immediately and the pain just worsens from there.

The last blood test they did showed that my Tobra levels are high. Four days ago they were right where they needed to be, but at some point over the past few days that changed. They were so high, in fact, that it had started to affect my liver function. Needless to say things have been adjusted and I'm now being given a lower dose fewer times a day.

Overall I feel SO MUCH better. My energy is slowly returning and I feel a noticeable difference in my lungs every day. My sister in law and my dad both told me that I finally look like "Jenny" again. Things are getting better...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Is that a ray of sunshine?

My mood has improved considerably since yesterday and I credit it to three things.

Number one: I had a wonderful visit with Morgan yesterday. Tommy and Megan stayed here in Salt Lake with Megan's parents so they could be close and I was actually able to see Morgan two days in a row. My doctor explained to me that even though there is a ludicrous amount of medication being pumped into me 24 hours a day, the amount that would pass through my breastmilk was not necessarily harmful or easily absorbed through the baby's stomach. So not only did I get to see Morgan, I was able to breastfeed her! Now I'm sure there are some people out there who think it's just terrible that I would knowingly pass the medication on to her, but before you judge me for that you may also want to know that I regularly leave her home alone with a bottle of Mtn. Dew surrounded by various sharp objects and porn.

Okay, now you can judge me if you want, but all things considered I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this situation. I feel that the medications aren't necessarily the best thing for her, but I don't believe they will harm her. Also, if she can breastfeed even one or two days a week it will help me maintain my milk supply (pumping isn't nearly as effective) and it will help her remember what to do. I was afraid that two weeks on the bottle would make her forget how to breastfeed, or that by the end of my stay in the hospital she would just prefer the bottle. So, it was very comforting and encouraging when she latched on without hesitation. She's missed my boobies as much as I've missed her chubby cheeks.

The second thing that has put me in a good mood is that I actually ATE TODAY! Anyone who knows me knows that I do not lack an appetite. Nor am I picky. But I cannot bring myself to eat 90% of the food here. It's that terrible! I understand that they are producing an insane number of meals each day and that they need to take into consideration the diet of certain patients: low sodium, high protein, low fat, lactose intolerant, etc. But really, all I ask is that my milk is cold and that my grilled cheese sandwich doesn't resemble a dead goldfish.

Well today the recreational therapist asked if there was ANYTHING she could do for me. I was totally joking when I told her I'd kill for some good food, but the next thing I know she's standing in my doorway with TWO large orders of french fries...and they were STILL WARM! She also brought about six vitamin waters, some juice (I can't get enough juice!) and a fridge to store them in. I'm convinced she's an angel sent directly from heaven. And guys, I wish I was kidding when I tell you that I ate EVERY LAST ONE of those french fries.

The third thing is that I thought I was going to be on TV. Last night my doctor came in my room and asked if I was willing to be on the news. Apparently he's done a lot of research on a trial drug that would, if successful, completely change the lives of those living with CF. Last week there was a huge article in the Salt Lake Tribune (that I just read) and Channel 4 News is also doing a story on the research he has done. As part of that story they wanted to see interaction between Dr. Liou and his patients and also get a feel for what it's like to live with CF.

Well, I agreed. After all, it's not like I'm exactly new to this whole TV thing. During one of my stays at the Children's Hospital one of the local news channels was doing some sort of telethon fundraiser. As part of that I was interviewed in my room, then later I read the names of some people who made significant contributions. So see, there's a perk to having CF that not many people think about: it gets you on TV.

Anyway, the news crew visited another patient before me and apparently they got all the footage they needed. They stopped in my room and visited, but no cameras were rolling. The whole time I'm talking with them I'm thinking I PUT MASCARA ON FOR NOTHING??? No really, that's actually the part that made me a little cheerier today. Because I thought I was going to be on TV I actually got ready for the day. I put a little makeup on and I actually dried my hair after my shower! It's funny that when I'm home I won't leave the house without full makeup and my hair done. Here in the hospital, I don't care what I look like, so I do nothing. But today it felt nice to get gussied up a bit even if it ended up being for nothing.

I'm really trying to focus on the positive. It's quite a task, but I'm honestly trying. I opened my blinds and let a little sunshine in today. Into my room and into my soul. Tomorrow is another day and I WILL make it a good one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Broken down

This is a difficult post for me to write, so I apologize in advance if it's not put together very well. I also apologize for all the negativity.

For the first time in almost a decade, I am in the hospital.

Almost two months ago I started feeling a little ill. In the mornings I'd wake up feeling considerably well, then things would gradually get worse throughout the day and by about 6:00 each evening I had terrible body aches and a full blown fever. I kept putting off going to the doctor because a) I'm stubborn b) I had used all my vacation AND personal time in the weeks leading up to Morgan's birth and for maternity leave, and c) because I felt well in the mornings, each morning when I woke up I was just sure it was THE DAY that I'd be better.

Finally, when I took Morgan for her two month check-up I told my doctor what was going on. She immediately told me I most likely had the swine flu and ordered some chest x-rays to be sure this "bug" hadn't moved into my lungs. Those x-rays revealed a small spot of pneumonia in the lower lobe of my left lung. I was put on oral antibiotics which made me feel okay within 24 hours, good within 3 days, and pretty great by the end of the week. I honestly thought I had caught swine flu and just as it moved into my lungs, but before it could cause any real damage, we found and treated the pneumonia. No big deal, let's just move right along with life. Right?

Last week I realized just how very wrong I was. The antibiotics I had been given were able to get the infection under control just enough to make me feel better, but they never actually killed the bug. Inside my lungs the infection continued to rage. I was admitted last Thursday with severe pneumonia in the upper and lower lobes of both lungs.

When I got here I was unable to walk into the hospital. I had to be wheelchaired everywhere we went. My oxygen sats were sitting at 73, so I was immediately put on oxygen. My FEV1 was 27%--by far the WORST it has ever been. I was experiencing crippling chest pain and was running a fever of 104 degrees. My heart rate was anywhere between 140-155 beats per minute. I was sicker than anyone anticipated, including myself.

I was put into the Intermediate Care Unit (just under Intensive care) for the first few days. Being in the IMCU wore on me quickly. It was embarrassing and annoying to have to ask for help anytime I needed to use the bathroom. By "bathroom" I mean a toilet sitting out in the open about 6 feet away from my bed. I was so incredibly tired, but unable to sleep. I got so sick of being asked if I could stand on my own. I got even more sick of having a nurse pop in every 20 minutes to be sure I was still hooked up to the moniters correctly.

I'm now in the new CF unit. From what I hear it was just opened last week. I keep hearing how nice and new and wonderful it all is. I guess since hospitalization is such a rare thing for me I don't truly appreciate the niceness or newness. To me it's still a boring, lifeless room. A place that reaks of illness. A place that isn't home and will never be comfortable. Most of the nurses on the floor don't seem to have much confidence in what they're doing. I'm not sure if they're new to CF, new to the floor or just plain new to nursing, but they keep asking ME questions that I feel THEY should know the answer to. I feel so out of place here. I don't know any of the hospital staff except the few people I've worked with in clinic. I don't know my way around. I don't know where to go for rehab tomorrow. I don't know the hospital lingo-I had absolutely no idea what a CADD pump was until a couple days ago and I still don't know what my nurse meant when she asked if I want my NS on at night. (I'll have to hit her up about that one.) This just isn't something I do. I'm not familiar with the hospital scene at all.

I miss my husband and baby more than I can describe. My heart breaks a little more each morning when I realize today isn't the day I can go home, and tomorrow won't be either. I feel like I can't get better physically when I'm so emotionally drained. I can't sleep when I miss the warmth and weight of Adam's body on the bed next to me. I can't concentrate on treatments when I'm biting my lip to keep from crying because I miss Morgan's smile. And I almost can't breathe when I realize there isn't an end in sight yet.

This is so hard and I've never felt so alone.

Disconcerting

So, my nurse today looked ALARMINGLY like film director Tim Burton (see photo below).

I'm not sure what bothered me more, the shocking resemblance or when he told me he couldn't sleep the previous night so he stayed up watching TV and sharing a can of corn with his cat.


Monday, November 16, 2009

November 2009 Newsletter: 3 months

Dear Morgan,


This month I think I should start by telling you how desperately I wanted to have you. My entire life I've been told that I may never be able to have children and that thought was absolutely heartbreaking. I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant, but I wasn't entirely sure this body of mine would be strong enough to provide for you. Sometimes I look at you and still can't believe you're actually here. When you're old enough to read and understand the things I've written, I want you to know how loved you are and what a miracle it is that we have you.

Before you were born I used to lay awake at night trying to imagine what you would look like. Would you have my eyes? Would you have your dad's nose? When you were finally born you were nothing like I imagined--you were so much more! Before seeing you, it was impossible for my mind to conceive the idea that anyone could be SO BEAUTIFUL! My entire life I've heard parents say that they have the cutest kids in the world.  There were times that I wasn't sure whether or not they honestly believed it or if they felt somehow obligated to say it. Now that I'm a parent myself I realize that anytime a parent has ever uttered those words they were said with the purest honesty. Morgan, I sincerely believe that you are the most beautiful person I have ever seen.


In the past month I haven't felt very well (more about this later) and twice you've also come down with a runny nose and an upset tummy. Most sick babies are absolutely miserable to be around and let's face it, you get a bit more fussy and clingy than usual but you're still an angel. You don't understand what's making you feel so yucky, but between your cries of discomfort you're smiling and laughing like, I'm so happy and cute but WHAT IS THAT TERRIBLE FEELING??? I don't mind when you're clingy because cuddling with you has quickly moved to the top of my list of favorite things to do. Right along with smelling the top of your head and nibbling on your chubby cheeks...or pretty much any other part of your body I can get in my mouth. Your little fat rolls are just-oh-so-enticing and sometimes it's very hard to stop myself from gobbling you right up. But I haven't given in and eaten you quite yet. I mean, how awkward would it be when your daddy asked where the baby was to have to admit "I ate her".


You are changing and growing so quickly, it's unbelievable! It seems like you are learning something new every single day. Those near giggles have turned into full belly laughs. Those hands that used to stay balled into fists near your face or stuffed in your mouth are now open and exploring everything they touch. You coo more and more every day and you're really finding your voice. Your daddy and I love to sit and listen to your "stories". But in finding that voice of yours, you've also learned that you can screech. Can we please talk about the screeching? When is that going to stop? It's not quite a squeal of delight nor is it a cry of discomfort, it's just a loud high-pitched scream. The first few times I heard this noise I came rushing to your side to be sure everything was okay. You quickly learned that it grabs my attention and now it's become a game for you. As I leave the room you screech and just wait for me to come back, then you wave your arms and smile when you see me. Since I know this is what you're doing, that you're not really sad or uncomfortable, I could easily just go about my business but the look of pure ecstasy on your face each time I come back to you is more than I can resist.

These past few days have been the hardest days of my life--physically and emotionally. I've been very sick and have had to stay in the hospital far away from you and daddy. My heart aches for you, Morgan. I can't make it through a single minute of my day without missing you--pining for you. I'm no longer whole without you. Your plump little toes, your delicate fingers, your beautiful blue eyes... There isn't a single thing about you that I don't miss. Grandma is taking care of you while I'm away and more than once I've called her in tears. During those phone calls I can hear you crying or cooing in the background and it eases my soul just a little. Then I imagine you laying on your blanket screeching, waiting for me to come back to you...

Morgan, sometimes it may take longer than others, but I will ALWAYS come back to you.

Love,
Mama

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thinking...

Adam is TOTALLY going to be that dad who sits in the living room cleaning his guns anytime one of his girls has a date.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not happy

Winter has officially made it's appearance in Utah. What happened to fall? We woke up to about two inches of very wet, very cold snow this morning. I think it's safe to say that my mood has effectively been ruined for the next few days...at least.

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 2009 Newsletter: 2 months

Dear Morgan,

How is it possible that it's already been two months since we brought you home? I feel like it was just yesterday that you were laid on my chest and I marveled at how small and sweet and perfect you were. And I'm pretty sure it was just a couple months ago, not almost a year ago, that I saw two pink lines on that pregnancy test and had to take several more over the next few days...just to be sure. It completely blows my mind that I've suddenly found myself the mother of a TWO MONTH OLD! Where does the time go?


After you were born and we were leaving the hospital, I was hit with the startling realization that we were going home where I was the mom--the primary caretaker. There would be no nurses to help me or show me what to do. You were entirely dependent on me, and to be honest that scared me a little. While I was pregnant I read everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy. I had learned how to be a great pregnant woman, but none of the things I read taught me how to be a mother. Thankfully, you took the lead and quickly taught me how to take care of you. You were patient with me as I learned to distinguish between your different cries. You slept for sometimes 5 or 6 hours straight, which allowed me to get some much needed rest. (Thanks for that.) Although I was a bit apprehensive about breast feeding, you took right to it. You were born with your entire fist in your mouth, ready to eat. Within minutes of being born, you latched right onto the breast and have been eating quite skillfully ever since. You've given me confidence and along with that, the gift of truly being able to enjoy taking care of you. Not very many women are lucky enough to have such a good baby. I'm not just lucky...I hit the jackpot!

You've grown and changed so much since we brought you home. You're no longer that wrinkly little newborn who spent the entire day sleeping, eating, pooping, and then sleeping some more. Now you're aware of everything that goes on and you've really begun to react to the world around you. You've recently discovered how much fun it is to suck on your hands. At every possible opportunity, you have one or both hands in your mouth, just sucking away. Your hands are the most marvelous creations you have ever seen... well, besides mommy's boobies, of course. When I'm getting you dressed and have to pull your hands away from your face for a few seconds, you kick and grunt and get this very sad look on your face as if you're worried you may never see them again. But then you're reunited with them, oh wonderful hands, and you shove them back in your mouth with such force you nearly choke on your knuckles. Aside from being very cute and very noisy, this new fascination of yours is also very drooly. Where did you learn to drool like that, kiddo? Another thing you've sure taken a liking to is that beautiful baby you sometimes find in the mirror. Every time you see her, it's just as amusing as the first time you actually noticed her staring back at you. You love to coo and smile at her and I just LOVE it because Morgan, your smile is brighter than the sun! Just this morning, I rolled over in bed to face you and was greeted with a smile so huge that there was barely enough room left for us on the bed.




Another thing that's worth mentioning is your ability to pass gas like a pro. You may be asking yourself, is she really talking about farting? Yes, indeed I am, and you'd better get used to it. Bodily functions are the norm in this family. We're not shy. There are times that I'm not sure whether it was you, your daddy or me who tooted. But let's face it, regardless of who it really was, you usually get the blame. We can totally let one rip, then point at you and say ‘dude, THAT BABY'...It's a perk to having a newborn around that we didn't even know existed. Not only do you fart like a champ, your burps are also pretty remarkable. They're surprisingly adult-like in volume and duration–very impressive. You'll fit right in around here, baby girl.



Your daddy is having more fun with you now that you're getting a little bigger. I think he finally realizes he's not going to break you. It's so much fun to watch the two of you together, although it can be a bit disconcerting at times how similar you look. In case nobody's told you yet, YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR FATHER. There are times, like after daddy has rocked you to sleep and your head is resting on his shoulder or you're in his arms looking up at him and smiling, that I am completely floored by the resemblance between the two of you. But moments like these are fun because they force me to realize three things: 1) How stinkin cute you are 2) How devastatingly handsome your father is, and 3) Just how lucky I am to have both of you.



Morgan, In the past two months you have taught me how to love more than I ever thought possible. You've taught me how to cherish the little things, like feeling your fuzzy head on my arm during those 2 AM feedings, hearing your sigh of contentment when you finish a particularly long feeding session and seeing your sunshine smile when I kiss your little toes. You've given my life more meaning and more purpose than ever before. You are my heart, baby girl. You are the best gift I have ever been given and I am forever grateful to God for trusting me enough to put you in my care. I promise you that I'll always be the best mommy I know how to be. I know I'll make mistakes, but I hope you'll be able to forgive me and always remember that I have your best interest at heart. Our life together is just beginning, and although I'm very eager to see you learn and grow, I will always treasure this phase of your life and the time I've had with you as a precious baby.


Love,
Mama

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thinking...

Don't you hate it when you lactate all over yourself in public?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Post delivery

Originally posted Aug 23, 2009


Right after Morgan was born I felt incredible. In fact, I was experiencing such an emotional high that I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever seek that feeling from illegal substances. Wanna feel good? Wanna get high? Have a kid. There's no better feeling in the world.

But about an hour and a half after delivery I was hit with a headache that was so intense, it really felt like someone was stabbing a knife through my skull. It was one of the most painful things I've ever felt. And keep in mind that I JUST GAVE BIRTH! Turns out, the epidural gave me a "spinal headache". I was leaking spinal fluid from the tiny hole where the epidural was inserted. The treatment for this is what's called a blood patch. It's basically the same procedure as an epidural (HONKIN' HUGE needle in the back) but instead of using anesthesia, they fill that space with your own blood in the hopes that it will clot and stop the leak. About two minutes after the blood patch was given I felt 100% better and was able to go back to enjoying my newborn.

But the next day as we were getting ready to leave the hospital the headache came back. It was gradual at first, but by the end of the day it was almost as intense as it had been the day before. I was told that sometimes the blood patch provides relief but doesn't actually heal the leak, and if that happened to be the case for me I would just need to wait it out for two or three days which is pretty much the longest this thing is supposed to last. Well... eight days and one trip to the emergency room later, I still wasn't feeling any better.

(Something related: The doctor we saw in the ER seemed to think that the solution to my problem was simply taking a ludicrous amount of pain medication [two Lortab 7.5 and one IBUProfin 800] every four to six hours. Are you kidding me? It's no wonder people have prescription drug addictions.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, THE PAIN. Guys, I cannot even tell you how terrible this headache was. As long as I was laying flat on my back, the pressure on my spinal cord was relieved and I actually felt okay. But as soon as I sat or stood up the pain was absolutely crippling. I couldn't even take Morgan into the next room to change her diaper. I was suddenly a burden on everyone around me. I couldn't even take care of myself, there was absolutely NO way I could take care of a newborn. I only had the epidural in for about 40 mintues before Morgan was born. Looking back I can't help but wonder if I should have just dealt with the extra 40 minutes of pain rather than the eight days of hell that followed. Had I known things were going to happen so quickly after my water broke, it's very likely I would have skipped the epidural. The high I felt after she was born was replaced with a feeling of terrible inadequacy that I knew I couldn't shake until I was feeling better. Not the way you want to start motherhood.

Finally, after a second blood patch and about 19 cases of Mtn. Dew (I was told the caffiene would help), I'm feeling MUCH better. My back is still a little sore from having three needles the size of Texas stabbed into my spine, but the headache is completely gone now and I can actually take care of my baby... something that gives me a sense of satisfaction that is beyond compare.

On another note, I have a serious bone to pick with every woman out there who has ever given birth. Why did no one tell me just HOW MUCH it hurts "down there" after giving birth? Maybe it's common sense and I should have just figured it on my own... but, well, I didn't. It's like EVERYONE will talk about the pain of labor, but there's this cone of silence surrounding the subject of postpartum recovery. I mean, while I was pregnant nobody hesitated to tell me how terrible labor would be. In fact, one day, some completely random woman I'd never met before stopped me in the produce aisle of the grocery store and proceeded to tell me a needlessly graphic labor story that terrified me to the depths of my very soul. But no one ever once mentioned that after you give birth every sneeze and every cough will cause you to double over in pain and immediately start praying that none of those stitches tore. No one felt the need to tell me that I would seriously consider NEVER sitting down again because of how sore things are. And the first time you go to the bathroom after giving birth? Who knew it could be so terrifying?

Ladies, let's never keep a secret like this from one another again, okay?

A labor story

Originally posted Aug. 23, 2009


Labor. I'd always heard it was the worst thing a woman would ever have to endure. But for me, it was absolutely and without a doubt the most sacred experience of my life.

The Monday following my due date I had an early morning appointment (that's right... after months of hearing how my baby would most likely be born premature and under NO circumstances would I be allowed to carry past my due date...three days after I was due, I was STILL pregnant). I was starting to believe that I would be the first woman in the history of the world to be pregnant forever. My doctor tried to assure me that wouldn't be the case, but I'd already lost hope. However, after checking me, she told me the good news that I had FINALLY progressed past 2 cm and was actually in the perfect condition to be induced. She then asked me the most ridiculous question I've ever been asked in my whole life... "Do you want to have this baby today?" Under different circumstances I would have jumped up and shouted "HELL YEAH!" but my doctor is very mild mannered and also very Mormon, and since I didn't want to offend the woman who would soon be holding sharp instruments near my vagina, I simply said "Yes, please".

The labor experience I had pictured in my mind went something like this: I'd wake up in the middle of the night with contractions every 3 minutes and I'd have to try to wake Adam up which is not unlike trying to rouse a hibernating bear, or my water would break in the middle of the grocery aisle and I'd try to pretend I dropped a jar of pickles or something. On second thought, I'd totally tell EVERY one that MY WATER JUST BROKE...then I'd ask the zit faced stock-boy if he'd be willing to cut the cord, just to freak him out. Anyway, driving to the hospital would be complete madness, speeding, running red lights, cutting people off. We wouldn't even bother with trying to find a parking spot, we'd jump the curb and pull right up to the front entrance and as we burst through the hospital doors Adam would yell "My wife... She's having a BABY!". Everyone would drop what they were doing and come scrambling to my side. I'd then be rushed down the hall in a wheelchair screaming in agony and pleading for something, ANYthing, to take away the pain... an epidural, morphine, some bourbon on the rocks, PRONTO! Then we'd arrive in the delivery room just in time to see the baby's head crowning. There wouldn't even be any time to process what was happening, it would be so fast and intense!

In reality, my labor experience was very much the opposite. I calmly drove to the hospital in absolutely no pain and pulled neatly into a parking spot. I sat patiently at the front desk while the receptionist casually took my information and got me checked in. When I got to my room I was promptly hooked up to IV's and then I laid there...and waited. Although I immediately started contracting, about every 4 minutes in fact, I wasn't quite convinced that this was the actual thing. I've always heard that when they hook you up to the Pitocin your contractions are hard and fast and very, very painful. In fact the woman on my childbirth DVD’s describes an induced labor as an F&F labor. "Fast and Furious and you can use all the F’s you need to get through it." However, the first painful contraction I felt was 13 hours after my labor had been induced. I’m thinking, this is labor? That was a contraction? That little thing? No, really when do they start hurting? I hear it gets worse.

By about 3:30 am I was finally feeling like I was in labor. I could feel each contraction build up, reach it's peak, then gradually disappear. It was in no way a pleasant thing, but not bad enough yet that I felt the need to wake Adam up. He just looked so darn cute drooling there on the pull out bed and I knew he had a long day of family ahead of him. And besides, my nurse was coming in to check on me very regularly at this point so it wasn't like I was alone. It was close to 7:00 am when I decided that I needed Adam there with me and I may want an epidural. I'm definitely not one of those women who go into labor with these noble plans to do it drug free. I'd technically been in labor for 18 hours at this point and my cervix had only dilated 5 cm...2 cm more than when I got there the day before. I figured I'd given it a pretty good go and had absolutely no guilt about wanting to do the rest of it more comfortably. Who knew how long this would take? My nurse contacted the anesthesiologist and informed me he "should" be there in about half an hour.

My doctor happened to have a meeting at the hospital that morning and, being the kind woman she is, she decided to stop by my room and see how things were progressing. Discovering I had only progressed 2 cm in almost 20 hours, she decided to break my water in an attempt to help speed things along. This is where my labor took a dramatic turn. She explained to me that breaking my water would cause my contractions to get stronger and come quicker and that there would no longer be that cushion between the baby's head and my cervix, but she assured me that it would take about 15 to 20 minutes for me to really feel these changes. YEAH. FREAKING. RIGHT. The very next contraction was unlike anything I had ever felt! THIS is what labor is supposed to feel like! THIS is what all those people had been talking about! It couldn't possibly get worse now because pain worse than this is DEATH! A mixture of the Pitocin being pumped into me and my water breaking had sent me into the transitional phase of labor which isn't supposed to happen until you are dilated to at least 8 cm. The contractions were coming about every minute and a half and lasting about a minute each, so I had about 30 seconds of down time followed by a full minute of torment. The anesthesiologist should have been here by now. Where is he? And where the heck is that glass of bourbon???

Up to this point about the only piece of coaching advice Adam had really been given was that at no point should his face come within a foot of mine. I have a strong sense of personal space and I imagined that would only be magnified by labor. But suddenly all I wanted was for him to be RIGHT there. In fact I NEEDED him there. Adam and my nurse Kathy (who, by the way, is the most amazing nurse and quite possibly the sweetest human being to ever walk this planet) were right beside me, guiding me through each contraction. Adam providing the support of a loving husband and a hand to squeeze as the pain got worse. And Kathy stroking my leg and saying things like "Breathe" and "You're doing it" or "You're almost through this one." They are such simple words, but you can't even imagine how much they mean when you aren't sure you're going to live through the next contraction.

I'm not even sure what time the anesthesiologist finally showed up. It was taking every single ounce of energy I had to pull through each contraction, a bomb could have been dropped right on top of the hospital and I'm not sure I would have even noticed. The epidural was something I had feared and stressed about for weeks, but it turned out to be a very quick and absolutely painless procedure. Ten minutes after he got started, I was able to function and think clearly again. Twenty minutes later I was completely pain free. Earlier I mentioned how I felt like I had "experienced" labor and was okay with getting the epidural. Looking back, I am SO glad things picked up like they did and I was able to experience that intense "just kill me now" labor. I had never been in so much pain, but I had also never experienced anything with such a purpose. Realizing that level of pain was necessary to bring our baby girl here and having my husband right next to me sharing in such an extraordianry experience, knowing that within moments we would have our little angel here with us... honestly, it was the most spiritual thing I have EVER experienced.

Once the epidural worked it's magic my nurse checked my cervix again and found that I had dilated a full 3 cm in the 45 minutes since I was last checked. Realizing I was at an 8, almost a 9, my nurse literally ran out of the room to get my doctor out of her meeting. By the time she was in her scrubs and things were set up for the delivery, I was fully dialted and ready to start pushing.

I'll never forget how I felt looking around the room. Things were happening so fast it was a bit chaotic, but I've never felt more at peace. I was ready for this. Adam was holding one leg, Kathy was holding the other. My doctor was coaching me and telling me how and when I would need to push. The baby's nurse and respiratory therapist were there ready for the moment she would be passed to them to be cleaned up and checked out. My mom and mother-in-law had just enough time to poke their heads in and let us know they were there before the nurses rushed them out of the room. Kathy could see on the monitor that a contraction was starting. I took one last look at Adam who already had tears in his eyes and then...I PUSHED.

At 9:41 am on August 11, 2009 I heard my baby cry for the first time. It was by far the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. I cannot even begin to express the love I felt for her from the very first moment I laid eyes on her. I was crying, of course. Adam was crying too, and suddenly more handsome than I'd ever seen him. Morgan was here and she was absolutely perfect. This was, without a doubt, the most defining moment of my entire life.

We had just created a family.


~Morgan Paige Livingston~
 7lbs 6oz~19in long

The point where every post will be me freaking out about this pregnancy

Originally posted July 20, 2009

I had to apologize to my baby when I left the doctors office this morning. It’s not her fault that this pregnancy has been such a roller coaster. It’s not her fault that I have a cervix of steel that refuses to efface (get soft and thin) or dilate (open up!). And I guess it’s not even her fault that she’s not dropping into my pelvic area like she should be at this point. I realize that nothing that is going on is her fault, but in the frustration of it all I may have told my unborn child to "suck it up and just get the hell out of there already".

I came to a very scary realization today. This medical induction just isn’t going to happen. At this point there are too many factors that lead my doctor to believe it will be easier and safer if I go into labor on my own. That means this baby’s got two more weeks to just get bigger and bigger (translation: harder and harder to push outta there!). And I’ve got two more weeks of this shortness of breath and being hooked up to oxygen machines. And two more weeks before I can hold her in my arms. But, the scariest part of it all is: now it’s entirely up to me to convince this baby she wants to come out. I won’t have the help of a very strong intravenous drug to convince her it’s time. She threatened to come early multiple times, but now that we’re right at the end she seems perfectly content to stay put. It is now a battle of will. Me against her. Mama vs Baby. And, to be honest, that scares the shit of me. This baby may not even be born yet, but she has a combination of Carmody and Livingston DNA, which basically means I’ll be dealing with the MOST STUBBORN personality to EVER walk the earth. I don’t know that I can match that kind of willpower.

I think the hardest part about this is that it’s just so completely unpredictable and I have a very hard time being put in any situation where I’m not in absolute control. One thing I have learned through my extensive (almost obsessive compulsive) studying is that labor, by nature, is a total unknown and it's absolutely impossible to predict what my personal experience will be like. But being induced meant that I would be given a date and time that this would all be happening and it would be in a somewhat controlled environment. Now there are no definite plans. I realize that most women don’t get any kind of plan when it comes to delivering a baby, but I thought for a tiny second that I might be the exception to that rule. Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. See, she’s already one-upped me!

Baby: 1
Mama: 0

Another way

Originally posted July 8, 2009

For a while now "the plan" has been to induce my labor at 37 weeks (which is next week, by the way) but the plan recently changed. Apparently my doctor has some pressing issues out of town (like an issue even exists that is more pressing than a completely clueless first time mom nearing her due date). So the induction has been pushed back at least a week and a half. Initially I was a little disappointed by this, but as I’ve thought about it I’ve realized that I’m perfectly happy staying pregnant for these last few weeks. I've weighed the facts, conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis, looked carefully at all of the details and made a very important decision: In the next couple weeks I’m going to come up with a new way of getting this baby out of me.

Since I began reading and trying to educate myself about labor and delivery - which is pretty much mandatory at my stage in the game - I’ve basically come to the conclusion that pushing a baby out of THERE is quite similar to trying to squeeze a watermelon through ones nostril. But, the alternative to expressing another human being out of my lady parts is the dreaded C-section. Having my stomach cut open and my insides taken out of me- while I’m still awake- somehow sounds even less appealing to me. There’s just GOT to be another way!

I know I can’t put this off forever. I’m pretty sure that at some point my doctors are going to insist that I let this child out. They also point out that there are about six billion people on this planet, which means this whole birthing thing has been done, oh I don’t know... A LOT! And women all over the world just keep doing it, so there has to be some sort of silver lining.

This is going to happen at some point- that’s inevitable. And I'm honestly VERY excited (albeit a little terrified) about it. But all things considered, I’ve decided that my doctor having to leave town is actually a blessing in disguise. I’ve been given the gift of time. Time to purchase those last few things we need, time to appreciate a good night's rest before those sleepless nights get here, time to enjoy a few more dinner dates with my husband, and most importantly- time to work on that alternative birthing plan.

A little bit mushy

Originally posted June 25, 2009
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that Adam is pretty much my favorite person in the entire world. Sometimes I make myself sick with how mushy I get talking about him, but lately it’s become increasingly hard to even think about him without silently gasping, My God, I am SO in love with this man!

Sure we have our issues, who doesn’t? I mean, it drives me crazy how he lets the smallest things ruin his entire mood. He hates the way I nag him to take the garbage out. When he squeezes the toothpaste tube from the top, even though I’ve showed him a million times how to correctly squeeze it, I seriously consider leaving a bag of dog poop on his truck seat to get back at him. Oh, and by the way, the fact that I absolutely love using the word ‘poop’ drives him insane! See... issues.

But when it comes right down to it, he just makes it too damn easy to love him. So easy, in fact, that it should be criminal. He is a good person, someone who cares deeply about his friends and family, someone who works incredibly hard day in and day out so he can provide for our little family, someone who loves to lay with his head on my belly to listen for and feel those little kicks, someone who calls me everyday at lunch just to see how my day is going, someone with strong hands to open stubborn pickle jars and hold me tightly when my emotions get the best of me.

As the weeks have slipped by and we’re inching closer to the day we’ll bring our baby girl home, I just can’t help but feel more and more grateful that HE is the father of my child. I know that I’ve posted quite a bit about pregnancy in the last several months and those posts have been heavily laced with sarcasm, but underneath all the exaggeration lies an unbelievable feeling of gratitude. I posses a very real appreciation for the beauty of this whole experience and I feel so lucky to have been given this responsibility. And I’m even luckier to have a loving partner to see me through the whole nine months–someone who is just as excited as I am about this baby and who has been there to support me from day one. I know there are so many women who go through this experience alone or with a partner who’d rather not be a part of the whole process. I can’t thank my husband enough for all he has done and continues to do for me. I finally get to have his baby, and nothing makes me happier!

I’m sure in these last few weeks I’ll have more to say about the thrills of pregnancy– like the fact that recently I’ve been feeling an intense need to pee, only to sit on the toilet and have like 3 whole drops come out. Or that due to the constantly changing size of my boobs I am convinced there is no longer a bra on the entire planet that would fit me. But the closer I get to my due date the more I’ve felt the need to communicate just how happy I am to be in my current situation and how much I really do love the man that got me here.


I've become one of the crazies

Originally posted May 19, 2009

Pregnancy is a weird thing. Beautiful, sure, but weird as hell.

At this point in my pregnancy, although things are rapidly changing, I’m actually feeling very comfortable in my body. Yeah sure, it’s getting harder and harder for me to get in and out of bed, up and down stairs, etc. And it’s true that I now have to sit in the shower to have any hope of getting my legs shaved and my belly button has recently taken on an identity of it’s own. I looked down at my belly the other day and realized it had an erection. It’s not always there. It depends entirely on what I’m wearing and the position of the baby, but when it pokes out, it really pokes out! I just love it when I’m having a conversation with someone and I notice them trying their hardest not to look at it. Sometimes I feel like saying "It’s okay, just look at it. Do you want me to lift up my shirt so you can see it closer? ‘Cause I totally will. Look, if I bend this way it looks like it’s talking..." But rather than calling them out on it and making them uncomfortable, I usually just start scratching or rubbing my belly so they have a reason to indulge in the fascination and take a peek.

As summer closes in I realize that rather than wearing a cute bikini and doing fun summery things, this year I’ll be wearing something that closely resembles a mu-mu and supervising rather than participating in a lot of activities. In the next few months, if you happen to drive by my house and spot a large inanimate object laying in the middle of the yard, don’t be alarmed, this is NOT a beached whale- it’s just me laying in a kiddie pool full of ice cubes eating popsicles. Which I plan to spend the majority of the summer doing, by the way. But, all joking aside, I actually feel great! I’m not at that point where I feel SO fat that I’m miserable. I actually enjoy my belly bump and am very maternal towards it, always touching and rubbing it. The various aches and pains I have are definitely bearable and it’s not been too hot yet. I’ve recently stumbled upon more energy than I even know what to do with...a pleasant change from the exhaustion that has been plaguing me since December. And I can’t even explain how much I LOVE feeling our baby growing inside of me! So, really, things are good on the physical front.

The part that’s really weirding me out is the emotional and hormonal whirlwind I’m constantly in the middle of. And I figure since Adam is equally responsible for the condition I’m in, I have the right to suck him down with me. When people talk about pregnant women they often mention how crazy and completely irrational pregnancy makes them. Well, I just have to say THEY'RE RIGHT! And I've totally become one of those crazy women! I mean one minute I’m totally happy. Ecstatic, in fact. Then someone can look at me just the wrong way or say something completely innocent that for some reason just annoys the hell out of me and the next thing you know I’m crying.

Also, I suddenly have the uncontrollable urge to clean anything and everything in our entire house. Over the past week or so I’ve become a hermit, locking myself in the house completely cutting myself off from humanity to accomplish the most mundane household tasks. And the crazy thing is that I’M LOVING IT! Things that I used to dread doing now give me such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The adrenaline rush I got from organizing my desk drawer, I imagine, was quite similar to the rush an addict gets from snorting a line of cocaine.

And then there are the times that I am literally on the verge of tears ALL DAY LONG. And you’re wondering why? Do you even have to ask that question? Last week it was because McDonalds got my order wrong and I was SO looking forward to that Double Quarter Pounder with cheese and NO ONIONS! A few nights ago it was because even though I only saw it on 30 second advertisements during commercial breaks, you could just tell that house they were building on ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ was just so damn beautiful and that family was going to love it so much! And just this morning it was because while I was brushing my teeth I dripped the tiniest bit of toothpaste on my shirt. Every attempt I made to wipe it off made the mess substantially worse. The next thing you know I’m standing there with drool and toothpaste all over myself, my shirt, and the sink, crying uncontrollably because in my mind this was the WORST thing that had EVER happened to ANYONE and I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly go on. But then, just as soon as the crying started, it stopped when I realized we still had corn dogs in the freezer.

Yeah... pregnancy is definitely weird.

First scare


Originally posted Dec. 12, 2008

This week we had our first pregnancy scare. I started bleeding pretty heavily on Wednesday night. I called the hospital and was told to stay in bed the rest of the night and the next day until I could reach my doctor. The nurse explained that bleeding in early pregnancy, especially to the extent that I was experiencing, usually means one thing- miscarriage. For hours the bleeding wouldn’t stop. I immediately wanted to call my mom and tell her how scared I was, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking that if I ignored what was going on it would just go away. If I acknowledged it, that meant it was really happening and I wasn’t sure I could deal with that. But the bleeding just wouldn’t stop.

After a few hours of trying to deny reality, I finally called my mom and we cried together. She suggested I ask for a blessing. It had been years since I'd recieved one, but the situation seemed to call for it. My dad came over immediately and gave me a blessing of comfort and peace. It was all very nice, but nowhere in the blessing did I hear what I wanted SO BADLY to hear--that the baby would be okay. I started thinking that maybe this was it. Maybe the nurse was right and I was miscarrying. I haven't been active in the church for years, but out of the blue I suddenly remembered all those Sunday school lessons we had about the cycle of wickedness in the Book of Mormon. The people have things pretty darn good and eventually they start to get a little forgetful of who gave them all those blessings. Slowly they give in to the ways of the world and start living in wickedness. After a while things get really bad and they start remembering how good things were back when they were righteous. They call on God to help them out a little and God's like 'Sorry guys, I think I'll have to let this one play out. You get to deal with it on your own and maybe next time you won't be so slow to remember me, eh?' (Okay, so that may not be a direct quote.) I couldn't help but wonder if it was my turn, if this was my lesson to learn.

But, as the night went on I started to feel very comforted and just at peace. I knew that WHATEVER happened, I would be okay. It may not be easy, but I was confident I would pull through. And before I went to bed that night, the bleeding had stopped.

Thursday morning I contacted my doctor. She was very worried and, like the ER nurse, prepared me for the worst. I went in for some blood work and then anxiously awaited the results. Even though I had been bleeding heavily, my hormone levels had continued to rise as they should. This means that the fetus is still alive and well. I hadn't miscarried.

I feel like this was just the first of what will probably be many scares like this. I haven’t necessarily been on great terms with God these past several years (which is completely my fault, but that’s a whole other story) but I feel like he does remember me. He knows me. I feel like this experience was just one of those things that he’s going to hand me to be sure I'm willing to do my part and remember Him.

Internet, I'm craving corn dogs for breakfast

Originally posted Dec. 10, 2008
Lately I've been very passionate (some have even used the term ‘angry’) about babies, pregnancy, and anything even remotely related to either of these subjects. It's something I've wanted since I was a little girl, but something I have always been warned may never happen for me. Well, it still amazes me that I can say this, but I AM 5 WEEKS PREGNANT... and wanting to eat everything I see!

When we found out early last week we were completely surprised! I had all but given up on the possibiltiy of getting pregnant, then suddenly--- WOW! It couldn't have been more out of the blue or more unexpected. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to say anything, even to the people close to us. There are just so many possibilities that it's a little scary to be too excited at this point. But, Adam and I decided together that we have every reason to be happy and to share that excitement with the people we love Sure, we may be setting ourselves up for huge disappointment if things don't go well, but if that were the case it would hurt regardless of how many other people knew about the pregnancy. We are going to be happy and optimistic, and just take it all in. This is what we have always wanted- we have to be thankful we've made it this far and hope and pray for the best!


There have been a lot of questions regarding my Cystic Fibrosis and the risks involved. Yes, there are risks for me and the baby. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is the risk of the baby having CF. We will get Adam tested to see if he’s a carrier of the gene and that will give us a better idea of what we’re looking at there. At this point, we just don't know. The doctor I have chosen to see has never treated a pregnant patient who also has CF. It will definitely be a learning experience for both of us. I will have to be monitored a bit more closely than most women, but all things considered I feel like I am healthy enough to handle this. We are VERY optimistic about it!


I have wanted this my entire life and I feel like God finally trusts me to handle it. I've always said that I was willing to take whatever was handed to me–whatever it takes for me to have this opportunity. Well here's my chance! I am ready and more than willing to do this!

Baby Blues


Originally posted Nov. 19, 2008


So, generally I’m a pretty optimistic person. I try to see the bright side of everything and focus on the positive, but lately I'm having a hard time seeing anything positive about my current situation... I'm talking about pregnancy. Or, in my case, the lack thereof.

Long story short, because of my Cystic Fibrosis I have always been told there’s a good chance I may never have children. Granted there are some women with CF who carry and bear children just fine, but it’s just not the norm. Maybe it's my optimistic nature, maybe I'm just delusional... but I've never taken that to heart. I've always thought I would be one of the ones who could have babies. But lately, I've been feeling like I'm just totally kidding myself.

It seems to be a pretty common opinion among the medical community that women with CF maybe shouldn’t have kids. Pregnancy takes a toll on any women’s body, and how harsh could that toll be on an already weakened body? I’ve never really expressed this desire to have kids to my doctors because I’m afraid they wouldn’t be supportive. I’m also afraid they would have all these statistics and studies to show why I shouldn’t get pregnant. And after sitting there listening to someone explain just why having a baby would be the dumbest thing for a woman in my position to do and why would I want to put myself at such risk, how could I look them in the eye and say "I still want one"? Honestly, I’d rather live in ignorance.

Adoption is definitely something we have considered, but I just don't think I'm ready for that yet. Even if I didn't give birth to the child, I could definitely love it.. That's not even an issue. (Take Shylee for example...) But I just don't think that adopting could cure this insane desire I have to carry a child of my own. I want to feel that baby growing inside of me. I want to be able to look into the eyes of that baby and see not only Adam, but me too. I want to see what we can create together. I want to go through it all.... the morning sickness, the aches and pains, the stretch marks, the delivery... the whole thing! I know the end result would be more than worth all the pain. It's something I've craved since I was a little girl. I have always wanted to be a mommy! And I feel like we are ready. I feel like we are already good parents to Shylee, and I know we would be a good family for a new little baby to join.

It's becoming harder and harder for me to see other people getting pregnant. When people tell me they're expecting, I'm honestly very happy for them. But I'm also insanely jealous. In the past couple months I’ve been invited to three different baby showers!!! (Yeah, rub it in my face a little more, would ya?) After going to the first one, I immediately knew I had to find excuses to get out of the other two. I just can’t bear to watch these women with their perfectly plump little bellies unwrapping all these cute little outfits and baby blankets. And when she puts her hand to her belly and laughs because "the baby’s kicking again!"... Oh just shoot me now! I find myself daydreaming about a way to steal that baby. Should I wait until they’re in the hospital and sneak it out under my coat? Or, ooh, I once watched a show on TV about some woman who went crazy and cut a baby out of it’s mother with a set of car keys... Hmm, but I bet that would really put a damper on the celebration and I’m not one to ruin a party.

I find myself becoming very bitter toward these girls who marry just out of high school and are pregnant three and a half days later. Even more so towards the people who randomly hook up one night at a party and end up pregnant. Then I see people who are terrible parents and I think "I'd be so much better to those kids, why do they get to have them and I don't?" I realize that God has a plan for everyone and that I shouldn’t be thinking those things, but... I’m human.

I've received all sorts of advice, with the best of intention, I'm sure. I've heard everything from which vitamins to take and what foods to eat to what positions work best. Then there's the classic: "Just stop trying and it will happen". The truth is though, that the first two years we were together we weren't necessarily trying. We've never really used protection because we've always thought "well, if it happens-great!" But it wasn't until a little over a year ago that we decided we were actually ready and really started trying. So, I'm not a big believer in the 'stop trying' idea.

I realize I sound very pessimistic and this entire entry has just been me complaining. I know I'm not the only person out there with similar problems and feelings. It's just been on my mind a lot lately, and sometimes I feel better getting my thoughts written down rather than just obsessing over them in my head...

Friday, September 25, 2009

So ridiculously behind the times

No really. Let me tell you JUST how far behind the times... Adam and I DO NOT own a computer. Seriously. When I was growing up our family had a computer that could have very possibly been one of the first computers ever built. I think it could complete a total of maybe six functions. (Remember that weird air hockey game with the drunk alien? And how many times must we have played Oregon Trail?) We never even had internet access on that computer, but at least the computer existed. It's a little depressing to me that I can't even claim an old dinosaur of a computer like that one.

However, I work on a computer every day and sometimes I can sneak a few minutes of mindless internet play into my work day. I'm still a MySpacer... not Twitter, not even Facebook. MySpace. How lame am I? But through my pregnancy with Morgan I started blogging and posting those entries on MySpace. After a while it became almost theraputic for me. I found it really helped me to express what I was feeling, and I didn't even care whether or not people read what I wrote. But apparently people did. And apparently they liked what they read. So I've decided to actually start a blog.

Since I'm so ridiculously behind the times and don't own a computer I can't guarantee that I'll be able to post very often. And as far as posting pictures??? Well... let's not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Just bear with me and I promise I'll try.

The first few posts on here will actually be some of the pregnancy posts I'd written in the months before Morgan's birth. (Maybe with a bit of editing...) My pregnancy was just such an important part of my life and since during that time is when I really caught the blogging bug, I feel like it's a good place to start.