Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
It's hard to see in this picture, but the stockings all have our names written in glitter. YAY fancy DIY projects. =)
Luke's Christmas present. It's under the tree. Yeah. I'm the world's best wrapper. I got this thing on craigslist for 20 bucks. It was originally 100. Score. P.S. it's taking great self-discipline not to stick him in this thing until Christmas. LOOK AT ALL THE TOYS!
This is our cute, tiny, artificial tree. As soon as we got this up, Shem said, "Wasn't this bigger last year?" We can both touch the top without so much as going on tippy-toes. And we're short. (Don't tell Shem I called him short) But it is the cutest tree of all time. We put twinkly lights on it and a beautiful star which this photo doesn't entirely capture, and it makes me so ridiculously happy. I have this thing plugged in just about all of this time.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
I'm homesick for Utah.
I know, I know...the grass is always greener. And honestly, I would NOT be doing well in Utah. I don't know how I would even be functioning. Being here has been the biggest blessing of all time. I have so much support and love here from family and friends and I just can't imagine raising this boy without all of this help. So I'm not saying I wish I had stayed there, but I do wish I could pick up and take a week long trip there.
I miss everyone there so much.
I miss Sarah and Marie and Jana. I didn't get to play with them as often as I should have, but being there briefly was long enough to make me realize how much I love them and I LOVE hanging out with them. I cherish the times we had together. They threw me a 21st birthday party seven days after I'd gotten to Provo and didn't know anyone or have anything to do that day. Jana's birthday is the day after mine, so she threw us a combined party. How amazing is it that she was willing to share that day with me? I just love those girls. All three of them. There are few people in this world who can make me laugh so hard my abs hurt, but almost every time we play, I leave feeling like I've had a good work-out. I love their taste in music and movies and books. I love how Sarah laughs. I love how Marie tells stories. I love how Jana throws parties. I love how they all kind of took me under their wing while I was transitioning from here to there. And I miss them.
I miss Kyla. She's sort of a soul sister of mine. Our friendship was some sort of weird destiny. It had to be. She's one of those people in my life that I KNOW was put there for a reason. Our meeting was just so beautifully bizarre. I love that girl. She is one of the kindest, most giving people you will ever know. You have to consider yourself blessed to have that girl in your life. My heart literally breaks for missing her so badly. =(
I miss Shem's family. I can't even name them all individually because there are just so many that I miss. But I do. I miss them. I miss driving down to Bountiful on Sundays and visiting with them.
I miss Jake and Shana. I'm sad we haven't met their newest little girl and they haven't been able to meet Luke.
I miss BYU. I miss being a Cougar. I miss that life that I almost had. I miss the mountains and the fall weather.
I miss my roommates; Melissa, Camille and Siara. I miss our late-night talks.
I miss Raintree. I miss hanging out until all hours of the night and being silly with strangers who come over to our apartment just because they want to be social.
I miss that life.
Don't get me wrong...I am SO happy. So, so happy with my life. I am head-over-heels in love with my husband. I am absolutely smitten with Luke. I love where we are. But every once in a while, my heart aches for that life we almost had. The one where we finished school in Utah. Shem at UVU and me at BYU. The one where we had a little more money and a little more time to be just us.
And then I see my little boy...my perfect little boy who I know is supposed to be here now and is my pride and joy....and I feel awful for missing that life. I feel so guilty for having this little part of me that wonders what it would have been like if our plans had turned out the way we hoped they would.
I just need to remind myself that this is my truth. This is my life. This is my son. And I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. And I wouldn't trade where I am and being around the family and friends that I have. I am so grateful for them. I am so grateful for this place and these people. These are the people who made my heart ache when I was in Provo. I missed them so much. And see...this is why sometimes I hate loving so much. Why does it always have to hurt?
I guess it's not the loving that I hate. It's the missing that I hate. It's the miles that separate us that I hate.
So, I have a plan. Everyone that I love needs to agree upon a location and just move there. Capiche?
What a blessing to love so many people so much that I wish I could split myself into a million pieces and be with everyone all the time. It really is a wonder that our hearts can get so big.
So. I'll take suggestions for locations. Ready? Go.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
1. Having this baby in my arms.
Yeah. This is pretty much the best part of it. He's my favorite new thing. I'm still twitter-pated. I am obsessed. I'm obsessed with singing to him and talking to him and making him dance the Macarena (because I'm the coolest mom ever) and taking pictures of him and giving him so many kisses that he spits up just to get a break from all the lovin' and telling him how beautiful he is and letting him hold my pinky and nursing him and all that jazz.
2. Losing weight like a mad, mad fiend.
Never in my life have I dropped poundage this rapidly. It's the bees knees. All I've done is cut out sugar and it's like, 'WHABAM!' Yup. Whabam.
3. No more swelling.
I enjoy being un-puffy.
You just can't understand the joy of picking things up until you haven't been able to for a good several months.
5. Getting out and wearing some of my favorite 'not pregnant people' outfits.
It was like Christmas going through that box. Oh the outfits!
6. Being able to eat a normal amount of food and not hungering for more after feasting ravenously.
I love feeling full!
Okay, that's it for my list. Here's how the first two weeks went:
Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Couldn't move. Couldn't sleep. Much anxiety about my brand-new, very tiny baby child whom I loved more than I could stand. He was terrifying. It is absolutely THE most unnerving thing to love something so vulnerable. His fragility plus lack of sleep equaled a certain amount of insanity. Also, my hatred of hospitals began during the first day of his life.
Ouch. Pain continued. Worsened slightly. I struggled to get out of bed and was bleeding more than I felt was reasonable. This was a dark day. A dark, dark day. They wouldn't release us after the fist 24 hours (thanks to the crummy hospital pediatrician that I can't even talk about lest I start crying. We hated him. All three of us.) so we were stuck in that same room again and I'd gotten no sleep because hospitals don't let you sleep. Apparently they think that it's okay for brand-new families to be disturbed every hour on the hour. Day two was marked by many tears and the beginning of my insanity.
Finally we were released and home. But I was still losing my mind due to lack of sleep. Bouts of crying fits continued. Nightly. I would just dissolve into hysteric tears. I had anxiety attacks about my baby dying and other such irrational calamities like Shem getting into a horrific car accident and being hospitalized or dead. It was bad. Bad. Also, there was much pain.
I reached my limit this day. I was either sobbing or choking back tears from the moment we got up. The baby had nights and days completely mixed up and I hadn't gotten more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep since labor had started five days previously. That night, I asked my dad to refer me to a therapist. I was convinced that I was literally losing my mind. To my dad's credit, he didn't laugh. He just explained that I was suffering from sleep deprivation and that the cure was simple: I needed sleep. So, I went home and did what? Oh yeah, dissolved into torrents of sobs and told Shem that I thought I was losing my marbles. He is amazing! Have I ever told you guys that?? My husband is amazing. He gave me one of the sweetest blessings I've ever, ever gotten. That night, for the first time since going into labor, I slept for long enough to regain some of my sanity.
Day five was excellent because of the sleep I'd gotten the night before. This was the first time since he was born that I was really able to enjoy my little boy. My anxiety about him disappeared and I was becoming more accustomed to the new tasks I had and was loving loving him. But that night was a rough one and I hadn't gotten enough sleep in that one night to make it okay that I was up with him all night.
Another rough day in which I thought I was on the fast track to crazy town. That night, a miracle occurred. My wonderful cousin, Shannon, who has a 2-year old little boy, brought me some things of hers that literally changed out lives. She brought a swing and a breast pump. She brought a great many other things as well, but those are the two things we'll focus on because they are largely the reason that I sit here today...alive. First of all, I started pumping and Shem agreed to give him a bottle at some point in the night. Second of all, Luke LOVES that swing. Loves it. He sleeps in it. Soundly. So this was another night in which I was able to sleep. And THEN my husband showed the world once again what a gallant, sexy, wonderful, amazing man he is by creating a schedule that goes thusly: He takes the first half of the night armed with a bottle and patience and stays up with our little boy until around 1:30 or 2:00. He feeds him and then puts him down at which point Luke then usually (usually) sleeps for another 2 or 3 hours and I wake up around 3:30 or 4:00 (sometimes even as late as 5:00) and am usually up with him for the rest of the night unless he goes back to sleep after I feed him in which case, he likes to sleep in. SO. Starting this night (with only a few exceptions) I have gotten anywhere from 5-8 hours of sleep. AAAAAmazing. Seriously. I feel SO much better these days. And granted, my sleep is usually interrupted and spacey and isn't always the deepest sleep, but compared to the fog I was in the few days after giving birth, this is NOTHING. I am so blessed.
The following few days have been very enjoyable for the most part. We've had our ups and downs and occasional gassy nights, but on those days, I've got a wonderful mother and sisters who watch him while I take naps. We also have amazing people in our ward who have brought us meals and have checked up on us. We've been so blessed. And life is so good. Thank you all for your prayers and help and well-wishes. We are doing VERY well. =)
Sunday, August 28, 2011
This is Luke. He is pretty much my favorite thing in the entire universe. I'm a little tiny bit obsessed with him. He makes faces. He LOVES nursing. He sleeps a lot. And poops. And cries. And is absolutely lovely. Here's how he came into the world:
Tuesday, the 23rd was a normal day in the life of 10 month pregnant Alicia. I went to bed that night, excited for the next day which was my due date and doctor's appointment. I had high hopes that my 'false labor' from Sunday had moved things along and I'd find out I was really close to meeting my little boy. Little did I know how close I actually was.
2:30AM the morning of the 24th, I woke up with horrific contractions and immediately knew that this was no ordinary contraction. Looking back on it, I'm pretty sure I must have slept through the majority of early labor and was only awakened when I was in the throws of full-blown active labor. Shem, who had stayed up late that night having no idea what that next day would bring, was awakened by me after I'd gone to the bathroom and had some DEFINITE sure signs that I was in labor. (I will spare you the gory details) We talked for a bit and I decided I needed to let him sleep for another little while so that he could have the energy to go through the next however many hours of labor with me. So I labored on my own for an hour or so. It was the worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life, but I was so excited about it that every contraction was easy to think and breathe through. I also took a shower which helped a ton.
Around 3:30, labor had gotten to the point where I really needed my coach, so I got Shem up again and we finished packing up some things for the hospital and called labor and delivery. They told us what we should watch for before coming in, and I knew that I was already to that point. We decided we'd leave for the hospital at 5:30. Got to Memorial around 6:00AM and by this point, I'd thrown up about a million times and was shaking uncontrollably. Labor was really rough on my body. My mind was handling the contractions fairly well still, but my body was going into some form of shock. It took what felt like forever to get checked into triage. In the time it took us to get checked in, my contractions were coming fast and furious and I thought I was about to die. My mind was beginning to react poorly to labor in addition to my body reacting poorly. At this point, Shem became the most excellent resource I had. He was the best coach of all time.
Finally, around 7:30, I was checked for the first time and the nurse gave me a shocked look, "When did you go into labor?"
"2:30 this morning."
"Holy crap, girl, you're at a 7 already." (That was an exact quote. The triage nurse was an exciting character)
So we started calling family. Shem talked to my sister-in-law, Mylinda, who is a labor and delivery nurse in Bountiful. She offered the BIGGEST saving grace of all time which was a technique where Shem would push on me knees during contractions. I have no idea why that was as miraculous as it was, but I'm convinced it's the only thing that got me through the next hour. I was still shaking and vomiting regularly and was fairly miserable.
Upon hearing that I was already a 7, my mom rushed to the hospital. She arrived right as the nurses in labor and delivery were giving me some pain meds through my IV to tide me over before the epidural. That stuff? Amazing. I thought I would hate it, but I absolutely did not hate it in any way. It definitely didn't take the pain away, but it calmed my body and mind and I was able to relax in between contractions. It was also nice to have it while they administered the epidural, because I hardly remember feeling anything during the epidural procedure.
Once the epidural had taken effect, I dozed a ton and was SO relieved and grateful for that medication. However, it did come at a price. My labor, which was ridiculously fast for a first baby, slowed down to almost no progression. I would have been discouraged by that, but I was too busy relishing in the relief that the epidural brought. It was definitely a trade-off, but I didn't mind the price. They, unfortunately, had to administer Pitocen to get my labor moving again and I didn't love that because I really was hoping to do this whole thing without Pitocen, but I knew it was part of the price I'd paid to have the relief from pain.
I did feel bad that my mom had rushed to the hospital early that morning, though, because for the next 5 hours, I stayed stubbornly stuck at a 7. Eventually, it slowly started to move and around 5:30, they finally had the doctor come in and break my water because my bag was too thick to break on its own. After the water broke, it was time to push.
That was 2 hours of the hardest work I've ever done. I had all kinds of unhappy things happen to me due to the size of the baby (which was fairly large) and the size of..well..me (which is apparently very tiny), but eventually and happily, my son was born at 8:08 without the need of any sort of vacuum or forceps assistance. It was a miracle. My recovery was going to be very not fun, but I was okay with that because he'd been born how I was hoping he would be. The doctor was awesome. He was such a good coach and it wasn't until the baby was out that he told me he had been thinking from the beginning that this baby was going to have to come via C-section because of how tiny I was. But he said I was such a good pusher that he was able to deliver me. It made me feel like I'd done really well and that it was ME that had brought this little one here. Most satisfying experience of my life.
There were things about the experience I loved and things I will definitely try to change for the next birth, but overall, it was an amazing experience and the end result? Well, you saw the picture.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Yesterday morning I woke up feeling strange. Slightly nauseated, a little dizzy, just generally 'off'. I didn't think much of it until we got to church at 9 and the feeling of 'offness' increased greatly. At 9:10, I started having contractions. No biggy. I get them all the time. Sometimes I get them one on top of the other, sometimes they're few and far between, but I get them every single day at least 4 or 5 times; usually more. But there was something different about these contractions. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but for some reason, they felt like they were somehow accomplishing something significant. So at about 9:25, after I'd had three in what felt like a consistent amount of time, I started timing them. Sure enough, every five minutes like clock-work I was having a contraction that lasted for about a minute.
These contractions weren't super painful. They were just 'uncomfortable'. So, I kept timing them, but tried not to get my hopes up. For the next hour, they stayed steady. Shem and I decided to head home after sacrament meeting because I still wasn't feeling 100% and the contractions were consistent enough that I wanted to be able to go home and start walking to see if I could get them to come stronger.
We came to my parent's house (air conditioning. It's the stuff) and I paced a little. For another 20-30 minutes, they remained consistent and a couple of them were even border-line 'painful'...but I knew they were nothing like what I'd be feeling in active labor.
And then the pattern shifted. The contractions were longer and less frequent until finally...nothin'. 18 minutes of nothin'. I was so depressed. They never completely went away. They stayed all day long...sometimes non-stop...but they were never regular again. I walked and walked and walked and walked and contracted and contracted and contracted, but I knew at that point it wasn't the real deal and that this boy would be staying in me for another little while. Part of me still held hope that I'd go into labor in the middle of the night since I'd literally been having contractions for 11 hours...but no such luck. No contractions even woke me up. (yay for good sleep! boo for no baby) And so far today? My uterus is the epitome of calm.
BUT! I will say this: though they didn't send me into labor and delivery, the contractions seemed to have helped move my little Luke down a considerable amount. There has definitely been progress made. I don't think that means he'll be here today or even tomorrow...he might be stuck in there for another week for all I know...but it does mean that things are moving and progressing and that my body works. Hooray! Here's hoping we get to meet him in the next couple of days!!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
On the upside: I'm ridiculously relieved that I'm so busy I don't have time to blog because that also means I'm too busy to wish this baby would COME OUT OF ME ALREADY. Which is nice. Maybe I'll write a REAL entry later this evening while Shem plays StarCraft. Genius.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I know I shouldn’t feel like I have to justify my decision to get an epidural during this upcoming birth, and no one has really specifically made me feel horrible for choosing this path, but I have a lot of friends and family members who have been blessed to be able to give natural child birth and have loved the experience. They seem somewhat disappointed when I say that I’m absolutely planning on receiving pain medication to help me through this process. So, I decided that I’d post a blog about my thoughts on the subject and would share the reasons behind my decision.
There are a lot of people in the world that believe that having an epidural is a selfish decision. I’m subscribed to a pregnancy updater on facebook that I’m fairly certain believes that epidurals are a tool of Satan. I thought I’d share their little quip about epidurals so you can see what I mean:
”In terms of labor and birth, studies show that getting an epidural greatly increases the risk of needing an emergency c-section & can delay labor if given too early on.”
It then continues for several paragraphs about how labor pain is good pain and that women need to embrace it and let their bodies experience this natural process and how fighting the pain goes against nature. This is a short version of the long version of what some people believe about epidurals. I’ve heard some other very scary arguments against them from different sources. I’ve heard that there are risks involved for the mother and that they can cause on-going medical problems if administered incorrectly, they limit your mobility during labor, they slow labor, they cause the baby to come out drugged and unresponsive and unable to breast feed immediately, etc… There are many more.
First, I’d just like to establish that I am in no way trying to argue against these beliefs and studies. I’m sure that all of these things have happened as a result of receiving an epidural during some medicated births. I have nothing but respect for mothers who choose to birth naturally. I admire them and respect their decisions and the reasons behind them. All I’m asking is that they do the same for me.
I’d also like to point out that everyone is different. (Hi, I’m Captain Obvious and I’ll be conducting this portion of the blog) Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Every mother has different pregnancies. Every birth is slightly different. Every mother handles discomfort in their own unique way. Some people (like my Chelsea friend) have a very high threshold for dealing with pain. Some people (like yours truly) have a very low threshold for handling pain.
One last point to make before I explain my decision to receive an epidural: Receiving an epidural does NOT make the process of labor ‘labor free’. There will be a great deal of laboring before the epidural and there will be pain involved (albeit slightly more muted) during the actual delivery and there will be pain involved for weeks after the delivery while I heal. I am not making the decision to get an epidural based on the fact that I have an unhealthy desire to avoid pain. Pain is a part of life. I acknowledge that. I’m not trying to avoid it by receiving medication. I don’t consider receiving an epidural to be ‘chickening out’ or ‘taking the easy way out’. Anyone who believes that the process of having a baby can be made ‘easy’ by being numb for a portion of labor is kidding themselves. I do not believe that getting an epidural will make me less of a woman or will make me numb to the experience. I will still experience contractions that I will have to figure out how to handle and breathe through and labor through until I’m far enough along to get the epidural and AFTER the epidural is administered, I will still have to push the child out of me. Granted, it will be a more muted sensation, but it does not make the process pain-free.
Having discussed these three points, we have now arrived at the moment wherein I will try to explain my reasoning behind my decision to have a medicated birth. The reasons are thusly:
1. 1. PEACE OF MIND:
I have never had a high pain tolerance. In fact, I’ve had a very low pain tolerance since I was a wee, tiny child. I don’t see this part of myself changing in the next five weeks. When I experience a great deal of pain, my body tenses, my mind shuts down, I become unable to process ANYTHING around me but the pain that I’m in. My mind zeros in on and focuses unrelentingly on the pain. In high school, I actually developed a phobia about pain and have had therapy specifically to deal with my anxiety surrounding medical procedures. As a result, I am now to a point where I can mentally wrap my mind around the fact that I have to get this child out of my body without experiencing a debilitating amount of fear about it. One of the tools that I have that are keeping me relatively grounded about this upcoming task, is the thought that I will be able to receive an epidural to help me deal with the pain later on in the process.
2. 2. MOTHER KNOWS BEST:
My mom has had four children. Of the four, three were brought into the world using an epidural. Andrea came too quickly for her to receive one. My mother’s birthing experience with Andrea was horrific for her. The birthing experiences that she enjoyed the most were the ones that she’d been medicated for. She was able to bond with the baby afterwards because she wasn’t overwhelmed with the pain and exhaustion of delivery.
3. 3. SLEEP:
Receiving an epidural will mean that I will be able to sleep during part of my labor, thus enabling me to regain a little strength that will be needed later during the pushing process. (which, for those of you who don’t know, can last for hours. I did not know this prior to being pregnant. It shocked and horrified me. Hehe)
4. 4. RELAXATION:
Remember how I said pain makes me tense my body? Guess what the number one thing you’re not supposed to do during labor is? (Okay…other than like…shooting yourself in the face or smoking a doobie or something) Oh yeah, get tense during contractions. It slows the process. There will be a certain amount of time during labor that I’m convinced that I’ll have the mental capacity to stay relaxed and in charge of my body while it’s contracting. But after 6-12 hours of this, my mind will undoubtedly become exhausted and unable to allow my body to cope as well with all of the pain. At that point, I believe it will be beneficial to me to have the epidural so that I can relax and let my body do its thing.
I am sure that there are very well-founded arguments against each and every one of the reasons that I'm deciding to have an epidural...but let's just say that I really don't care. This has been a decision that I've put a lot of thought and prayer in to and I feel good about deciding to take this course of action. Now, I'm aware that birth plans can sometimes be changed. Maybe Luke will decide that he's going to come way faster than anyone is expecting and it'll be too late for me to get an epidural. Maybe I'll go into labor and realize that I really don't NEED one and I'll decide instead to do it naturally. I am open to these possibilities. If it does happen that I don't or can't get an epidural for some reason, I will be okay. I will make it. I will survive. My child will come out just as healthy and happy as he would have with the assistance of the epidural and my body will heal. If I GET the epidural and end up hating it, I will have the option of doing it naturally during my next birth. I'm not against natural birth. I just haven't experienced either and so am trying to make the best decision I can about something I've never experienced.
I'm planning on laboring without the medication for as long as I possibly can. I have a pretty good ability to stretch myself past what I think my limit is. (That's one thing I love about running) So part of me is really excited to see how long I can make myself go without receiving the epidural. That being said; the comfort of knowing that those drugs will be available to me when/if I need them is highly valuable to me and my mental health and I will be clinging to it with a vengeance come my son's birthday.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I'm putting Mickey in my son's room. The reasons for this are thusly:
1. I love Mickey. And all things of a Disney nature.
2. The curtains that are going in his room are the perfect Mickey colors.
3. I have a large and in-charge colorful framed painting of Steam Boat Willie that matches the aforementioned curtains. (See picture above. That is the very painting.)
4. I'm determined to brain-wash him from birth to be a Disney lover.
I'll put up pictures when his nursery is finished. P.s. Have I mentioned how flipping excited I am to FINALLY be able to give in to these nesting urges?? Oh man.
On an unrelated note:
Yup. I didn't make it through all seven books before the release. I'm depressed. I'm SO CLOSE! I suppose I could still make it. I mean, it is more than possible...I read number six in seven hours and I've only got another 400 pages in book seven... however, I just don't know if I want to dedicate my entire day to the project and as it's my fourth go-round anyway, it's not at the very tippy-top of my priority list. Despite my unfinished business, I am ridiculously excited for this premier. And I'm ridiculously excited that I'm doing it in Bakersfield with all the people that I've gone to these midnight showings with since the third movie release. It's a good way to say goodbye. There will be much weep-age. Also, stay tuned for pictures of my Potter T-Shirt.
Lastly, but not leastly: Shem started work today! Hip, hip, hooray! He's there RIGHT NOW. I hope things go well and that he comes home pumped up about this new job. I also hope they don't keep him until 7, because we're supposed to be Pottering tonight slash going on a double date with my brother and his girly-friend to Mexican food. =) I miss him. It's been nice having him around. However, I am BEYOND grateful that he's finally starting. What a relief.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
So, on Sundays I sometimes like to make weekly goals. They're usually something small and very doable that I can work on throughout the week to better myself or fix bad habits or start good ones. Last Sunday, it was to start reading my scriptures every day again. I've neglected that habit for far too long lately which I tend to do when life gets crazy which is completely backwards thinking because scripture study tends to help calm me down a whole lot. But I digress. Back to the story of my incurable illness.
So. Two Sundays ago, I decided that my weekly goal would be to stop worrying. I decided that I need to just hand things to my Father in Heaven and when that familiar panic rises up inside of me, I would stop and say a prayer and ask that He take away that fear and replace it with faith. I think worrying -to a certain degree- displays a lack of faith and I dislike that quality in me.
Well, that first week went rather well, actually. Mostly this was due to the fact that there was little to worry about that week. I mean, it was craziness being as we are in the middle of this huge move and are trying to get things figured out, but things went smoothly in general and were pretty predictable which cuts down my anxiety levels significantly. That being said, however, I will give myself a proverbial pat on the back for my accomplishment that week because I tend to find chaos and confusion in the simplest of situations. So when those moments arose, I really did take some time to just pray and think and be quiet and still and remind myself that my Father in Heaven was watching over me. It was a nice week and good practice. I decided that I needed to continue to practice this goal until I'd perfected it. And then Heavenly Father stepped in. It seems He is going to help me meet this goal. And I'm not loving the process, but I really think that I'm going to love the end result.
This week has been the complete opposite of last week. (Is it really only Tuesday??) NOTHING has gone right. Everything that you could possible think of has gone wrong. I feel tiny and the world feels huge and unconquerable. I feel like I'm running out of time and that deadlines are pressing on me and suffocating me. I feel like my brain is overloaded and I'm bound to neglect something necessary by accident. I feel insignificant to my tasks. I feel alone in having to figure out how to complete these tasks. I feel neglected and abandoned and helpless. And I feel scared because I have a little life who is going to come out and be entirely dependent on this mommy who currently feels like she might as well be four years old.
When I was 17, I was diagnosed with anxiety. It's been a struggle since high school for me to maintain my anxiety levels, but I've done well at training my mind to re-direct in positive ways and have curbed a lot of the side-effects of my anxiety. I haven't had a panic attack in a good two and a half years. I've been able to sleep. Nightmares have subsided. My brain allows me to think through things clearly and reasonably. And I've been, overall, able to live life happily and uninhibited by panic and fear for some time now. Then I got pregnant. I wasn't expecting that. I didn't feel ready for it. It wasn't part of my 'plan'. And so this anxiety thing has started slowly creeping into my brain again. I'd forgotten what it felt like to feel trapped in your mind. I'd forgotten what it felt like to wake up at five in the morning and be unable to go back to sleep because you can't stop your mind from going over and over things for hours until the sun comes up and you finally give up and get out of bed. I'd forgotten how lonely it was to live in constant worry and fear. (Literally, it is constant. It doesn't matter what I'm doing; my heart is beating, my brain is spinning and I'm thinking about a million different things all at once. There is no rest, no break, no time-out...I am in constant panic.) But I'm starting to remember, unfortunately.
It's so frustrating because I feel like I'm doing the same things I was doing last week; stopping, praying, etc, but they aren't having the same effect. No matter how often or how sincerely I ask Heavenly Father to take away this panic and worry, I'm just not giving it to Him. I'm harboring it and stewing in it. I'm not allowing myself to have faith that He is watching me...that He loves me...that He will provide for me. Why? Why do I do this so often? When I have so many life experiences that have shown me that He DOES love me and DOES provide for me. I worry and stew and fear and then time passes and everything works out (usually better than I could have made it work out) and then I go, "Man. I need to stop worrying about stuff. It does no good. Everything always works out. I am so incredibly blessed. Why do I ever worry about things?" And then in another week or so, I begin the vicious cycle of fear all over again.
I'm so done! This is why I set the goal. And by gum, I'm sticking to it! I'm sort of excited that Heavenly Father is helping me with this goal. It makes me think that He believes in my ability to do it. I have to teach myself how to think through these types of things in a completely different way than I ever have. And that's going to take some time. I need to be patient with myself and realize that I'm not going to 'chill out' over night. This is a major part of my personality that I'm trying to change. It's imbedded in my brain and this kind of behavior doesn't go away in one week. So, I'm going to take this little time of stress in my life as a learning opportunity and try to learn and grow from it. I hope that my faith will be strengthened and that I'll remind myself how to rely on my Father in Heaven. I hope that it will strengthen my relationship with Him and that my testimony and understanding of the Atonement will grow as well.
I'll let you know how it goes. Prayers are highly appreciated, byyyy the way. Especially in regards to my figuring out how to get medical care before Luke makes his grand entrance into the world.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I am 34 weeks pregnant. In two weeks, I'm considered full term and can technically go into labor at any point after that 36 week mark is reached. I have no doctor. I have no medical coverage. I've been in the process of applying for medi-cal since April and still have no reached the end goal. On top of the fact that I have no coverage, I've also heard a lot of really exciting rumors that finding a doctor when you're this far along is it's own special circle of Hell. Why doctors don't want to take you when you're just about to pop is beyond me. It seems counter-intuitive that they would deny you medical care when you've never been in more need of just that. On top of all of THAT, I don't even know who the providers are in Bakersfield who accept Medi-Cal so I can't set an appointment with anyone. And that brings us to this point where I've been on hold with them for almost an hour in attempts to talk to a human who will tell me how to get a list of providers so that I can set up an appointment. Assuming I can find a health-care professional who is willing to take me despite my impending due-date.
Also, Shem has a job, but for whatever reason, they keep delaying his start date. So. No money. Also, I haven't heard back from the apartments about our application. No idea if we're moving out tomorrow or not. Again, child coming into the world in 6 weeks. I'd really hoped we would have a house set up for him by now. Also, the government says I owe them 430 dollars for taxes in 2008. What? Also, they want me to renew my registration which includes a smog inspection this time. Goody. Again, no money. So. Right. It's all good. It only feels like the world is falling in on me. I probably shouldn't even be posting this because I realize it's extremely whiny. And this is one of those times that I'll look back on after it's all worked out and I'll think: Why did I stress about all of that stuff? But for right now, I'm sitting in the middle of it and I'm having just the slightest bit of a melt-down. And honestly, that STUPID VOICE ON THE OTHER LINE IS NOT HELPING! Man.
I irrationally hate her.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Stories of my trip to California (which included meeting eccentric fellows on the free bus system in Long Beach and finding free tickets to the aquarium and Shem pwning -that's right..I said pwning...-an interview AND GETTING THE JOB and going camping and creepy cabins and the best bon fire of all time and swimming a ton and the best baby shower ever and epic last-minute swim parties complete with s'mores) are all LOST. LOOOOSSST!
....but I'm not bitter.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Anywhoo, I just thought I'd take this moment to let everyone in the blogger world know that my life is so ridiculously blessed that sometimes it makes me a little nauseated. Let me lay this down for you:
For the past few weeks, I have been a basket case. (Frequently I am a basket case, but for the past few weeks I have been showing extra extreme symptoms of basket case..ness.) The top two reasons were thusly:
1. We are moving to Bakersfield in less than two weeks. This has turned me into a hot mess of stress for the following reasons:
a) We are quitting a job and moving to a place where we have no job.
b) We are leaving my full medicare coverage just in time for me to start my bi-weekly pregnancy check-ups. This means that I now have to (QUICKLY) re-apply for Medi-Cal which is both tedious and complicated since we don't live there yet and the baby is supposed to come a mere 8 weeks after we arrive.
c) We are moving in with my parents only to have to turn around and find and move into an apartment and get semi-settled before the baby makes his grand entrance into the world.
d) We can't afford a moving truck. We have many possessions. This presents a problem.
2. For some reason that I could not figure out for the life of me, we somehow didn't have rent money this month.
For every main stress listed, there are sub-categorical stresses and for every sub-categorical stress, there are several branch-off stresses. But this blog entry is not about all the various stresses, it's about the miracles that have occurred and about the blessings that we've received despite completely not deserving them AND not being the most faithful ever about these various stresses.
Though not all of the sub-categories of stresses for stress number 1 have been solved, the biggest one seems to be almost solved because Shem just received a call about an interview for a position that we know he can get. It's not the most ideal situation for us, but it is something and at the very least, it will enable us to survive while he continues to look for his 'dream' job. Not only did he get an interview, but it just so happens that the interview is scheduled for Friday...which just so happens to be one of the days that we will be in Bakersfield. Quoi?! Miracle. MIRACLE.
The second miracle has to do with a long-forgotten check from my days at The Parlor. Short story...ready? So. The Parlor had a closing night party on April 30th which my husband and I attended in order to say our final goodbyes to the beloved pizza joint which was owned by my lovely cousin, Marie and which I had worked at until my morning sickness became unmanageable and my days were spent with my head in the toilet instead of flipping pizza dough and listening to music with Marie. Sad day. ANYWHOO...so at this closing night party, Marie handed me an envelope and said, "Look what I found!" It was a long-lost check of mine that I'd somehow not picked up. I heard a little voice in my head say, "This is going to be a miraculous check somehow," But I kind of dismissed the thought by thinking, "YEAH it is. We always need money." Foolish me...I had NO idea what kind of a miraculous check this was going to be.
For various reasons, I kept forgetting to cash that check. By the time I finally remembered, I actually was needing to wait to cash it for an entirely different reason and so the check stayed un-cashed in my purse for weeks. Then, this month, I got the green light to cash it and that's when the miracle really hit me: If I had been able to cash that check right away, it would have been spent by this point in time. Because we had to hold onto it, we have miraculously scraped the last few dollars we needed to be able to send out our final rent check. QUOI?!
How is the Lord this good to us?? It's absolutely miraculous. And the thing is...I've been such a whiner about things recently. My prayers have actually been kind of ornery... "Heavenly Father, we're paying our tithing...why can we not afford rent this month??" As though He somehow owes me anything...sheesh...ungrateful child. But the thing is, after I'd pray I would always get this sense of comfort. I knew that because we were faithfully paying our tithing even though we really can't afford it, we would be blessed to be able to keep up with our other financial obligations, even though we really can't afford those. And sure enough, the Lord had been providing for us months before we even knew we'd be in trouble.
Things like this make me realize that I really don't need to worry. "All things are continually before me". He sees the future and the past and the present more clearly than I can and He knows what we need currently, what we'll need later and He often provides for us before we even know we need providing for. What a loving Father in Heaven! I can't believe how blessed we truly are.
So, even though a LOT of those categories are still flashing stressful, red danger lights in my head, I am so comforted and so at peace and I know that the Lord will provide for us.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
That Ralph Waldo Emerson really knew what he was talking about. I stumbled upon this quote today and subsequently had a revelation of sorts which I will now share with you:
This morning, I got mad at my husband. I think it was the first time in our 7 month marriage that I've ever been really upset with him. At the very least, I know it was the first time that I've ever wanted to behave in a way that would hurt him so that I could 'get back at him'. The thing was, though, that it didn't start out as anger; it started out as hurt. Man, he hurt my feelings. And then I got embarrassed. And then I cried. And then he didn't apologize. And then he rolled over and fell asleep. And THEN...anger.
Interestingly, for some reason I was really in tune with my emotions during this entire fiasco. I remember very clearly the transition from being hurt to being embarrassed to being angry and, more importantly, I remember consciously deciding that I was going to say angry until he woke up so that I could 'show him'.
An inner battle began to rage as I went back and forth in my mind with myself about this decision:
The rational/reasonable part of my brain which ironically sounds a lot like my father:
This is ridiculous. He is sleeping. So literally the only person who is being hurt by your anger is you.
The emotional/dramatic part of my brain which is responsible for all of my mistakes, but which also gets kudos for many of my creative endeavors:
You're right. I need to let it go. *pause* No. No! He needs to make a mends for the mistake he made and for making me cry. He made me cry!
The rational part:
But you could be happy right now.
The dramatic part:
That's ridiculous. I'm not happy. He made me be not happy. I'm going to make him be not happy until he fixes things and makes me happy again.
The rational part:
You're not even comfortable on the couch.
The dramatic part:
What care I for such trifles as comfort?! (Told you she's dramatic) I'm taking a stand! I'm making a point! I want him to feel sad when he wakes up and I'm not there! *evil laugh* *bitter sigh*
The rational part:
So I stayed angry. To my credit, I didn't say anything mean to him when he got up and came over to talk things out. I didn't try to punish him or anything, I just talked to him and told him what had happened and why my soul had been crushed by his actions. (okay, I'm not gonna lie to you people, I rule at guilt-trips. Curse my dark gifts!) But I decided to stay angry because I wanted him to come over and find out what was wrong. I think part of the reason I chose to stay mad was because I just didn't know how else to be taken care of by him in the way I needed to be taken care of. *light bulb* Maybe I should talk to him about that, actually. Because honestly, I still don't know a more effective way to begin those kinds of conversations besides pouting until he asks what's wrong. But there has to be a better way. Hm. More pondering to come. But I digress.
The point is, that was one of the many times in my life when I made a conscious decision to choose a certain mood. I became very aware that I was choosing it and that it wasn't making me happy, but I decided to choose it anyway.
So then this evening, I stumbled upon the quote I referenced at the beginning of this entry and that's when it hit me: how sad is it that I gave up those few hours of happiness this morning? There aren't very many hours to live on this earth and I consciously chose to give away a couple of those precious hours to anger. What a dumb choice. There I lay, stewing in my own bitterness, just so that I could stay angry so that he and I could figure things out later. Miserable.
So. Lessons learned:
1. When that rational part of my brain pipes up, I should listen more frequently.
2. I need to find a different way to communicate what's going on in my mind to my husband other than pouting until he asks what's wrong.
3. I'm going to decide to be forgiving and happy in lieu of being bitter and angry. I'm not going to waste anymore seconds on anger! (okay...maybe sometimes I will...but I'm gonna try really hard not to. Especially not on purpose.) Who's with me???