Our Rainbow Baby

Our Rainbow Baby

First of all, I want to thank Mari for giving me the opportunity to share my story on her beautiful blog! I am very grateful and I hope my words might bring comfort to any mamas out there who have lost precious little ones. 

I am pregnant with our third baby, our second boy, our rainbow baby.

We have felt such a whirlwind of emotions as I’m sure anyone who has lost a child has felt when they get pregnant again. Utter excitement, hopefulness, faith, and complete fear all wrapped up into 2 tiny pink lines. Oh how those lines can just change your whole world!

We found out in May, and planned on waiting to tell our family in a fun, grand way but if anyone knows us, it is darn near impossible for us to keep a secret! (Just our own secrets of course). We told our family and close friends but obviously have been waiting to announce it publicly until we had a few answers about some obvious health things we have been concerned about.

Almost exactly a year ago my uterus ruptured from my previous c-section scar, causing my placenta to abrupt and sever itself completely from my uterus, which caused my sweet babe to return to heaven much earlier than we possibly could have imagined. While all of this was going on, I just thought I was in labor, (I never went into labor with my first so I didn’t know exactly what to expect), all I knew is I was in extreme pain. I was also very nauseous and dizzy and lightheaded, to put things lightly. Well, to make a long story short, I was bleeding to death internally, so much so that I had 4 blood transfusions, an extremely STAT c-section and more stitching inside and out than I can count.

Therefore, the fact that I could even get pregnant again is a tremendous blessing. But obviously, we have been counseled to go forward with caution and I am being watched like a hawk with this one! Life is so interesting isn’t it? With both Navie and Valor’s pregnancies, life was so easy and good! I didn’t have morning sickness with either, pain was minimal and I was told by doctors I was a dream patient as far as being “non-complicated”. To be honest I bragged about this, and felt for those girls that had rough pregnancies! But in the blink of an eye everything can change. But through it all one of the most important things I’ve learned is to trust in Heavenly Father, and to roll with the punches, even the really really hard and low ones. That is the only option I allow myself to have.

And this brings us to July 23rd, 2018. Valor’s first birthday. The days leading up to this day were hard. Hard, hard, hard. Memories that usually felt distant and almost dream-like suddenly felt raw, fresh and so close. My husband didn’t have work on his birthday so we were still in bed when I got a phone call around 8:30 in the morning. I wasn’t expecting a call from the hospital so I snuck out of bed so I wouldn’t wake Branden and Navie up, but it was my nurse telling me my genetics testing came back normal, then asked me if I wanted to know the gender. Up to this point, you guys, I was P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E I was having a girl…like I just knew it! (By the way I was right with Navie and Valor, so I don’t know why my spidey senses were so off with this one). So I said, (with all the dang confidence in the world), “of course, but I already know it’s a girl”. She said “a girl?” I said, “yes, a girl.” She proceeded to tell me “Well guess again honey, it’s a boy!”

You can imagine my shock. I started crying and told the nurse that exactly one year ago today we lost our first son, so to find out we are having another on his exact birthday…I didn’t even have the words.

She was so kind and celebrated with me briefly over the phone and then we hung up. When I walked back into the bedroom Branden had heard me crying and was up coming to see if I was ok. (Brief side story…I had an MRI the week before so he was thinking the call I had gotten were the results from that and, from the sound of me bawling my eyes out, he didn’t think it was good news! But I am totally fine, nothing wrong with this noggin of mine-yay!)

I looked at him through all my tears and somehow choked out…”it’s a boy.”

Of course he and I were in complete and utter happiness and the hugging and kissing were not in short supply. But above all, there was such a lingering sense of divine intervention. The morning of our son’s death exactly one year ago, was the morning we lost all future tee-ball games. All future cub and boy scouts. All future mud fights, fishing lessons, high school football games, mission farewell, mother-son dances…And then exactly one year later, we were given all of that again. What a glorious gift. While this does not by any means replace our Valor, we know we will have many many memories with him someday, it does give us hope and excitement to have all of these earthly experiences with another son.

I want to share more than anything, with anyone reading this, that there is always hope. There is always sunshine after a storm. I am as confident in that now that I am pregnant with a boy again, but would have the same confidence even if I was never able to have children again. Keep trying, keep hoping, and keep believing and things will always work out. They just do.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Mari, and never hesitate to share! If you’d like to read more, visit my blog at blessherheartblog.com

Much love,

Kenzie

Blissfully Burich: Birth Story

Part 1

This is the first in my two part story of my experience with postpartum hemorrhage. Trigger warning: this post is written by a labor and delivery nurse and some wording may be graphic for some readers.

Thank you Mari for sharing my story!! You can find part two and more about me on my blog https://blissfullyburich.com/!

As a labor and delivery nurse, I thought I pretty much knew what to expect when it was my turn to be pregnant with my first child. For whatever reason my pregnancy was a breeze - I felt great (for the most part), looked cute and really couldn’t have asked for a better nine or so months. If I’m being honest it was probably the one period in my life where I felt the most confident in myself and my body.

I was anticipating a normal delivery and was fortunate enough to plan my birth at the same hospital that I worked at. This could be viewed as a positive or negative thing as all of my business was about to be displayed to my co-workers, but I was comforted by the idea of being cared for by my friends and the fact that I knew my doctor so well.

My Birth Story

Somewhere between 37 and 38 weeks pregnant I had my latest doctor appointment where I was dilated to 3-4cm and was told that my baby’s head was very low (in other words… sh** was about to get real). My doctor stripped my membranes per my request and I went home. Being the labor nurse I was, I then attempted every trick in the book to get my cervix dilating including a very long uphill walk with the dog and about a hundred squats in my kitchen (you know, in case my water broke). None of this seemed to be working and I was pretty bummed by the time I walked into my evening shift at 3pm.

It was about 5pm and I remember being assigned to a complex patient and feeling uncomfortable both physically and mentally. The unit was busy and I was helping out the charge nurse by answering a call light and right as I knocked on the patient’s door my water broke. Not just a little bit, but I felt a pop and water literally gushed everywhere. Luckily I was standing right next to the bathroom so I could run in there and had my friend bring me new scrubs and an ultra absorbent pad (work perks, am I right?!).

For those few moments in the bathroom I remember the reality of what was coming hit me like a ton of bricks. My whole pregnancy I thought I felt ready because I had all of this knowledge witnessing birth first hand but in that instant I realized I was just a 24 year old first time mama about to go through one of the scariest things in my life.

I was admitted to the room next to my complex patient which was an odd feeling because now it was MY turn. I called my husband and he kind of panicked but I told him to go home, shower, and eat something. He did what I said and got to the hospital soon after.

I didn’t really have a plan and I wasn’t feeling any contractions at that point so I did a lot of walking and bouncing on the birthing ball to help get things going. By 8pm my contractions really picked up and I was dilated to 6cm. I quickly got an epidural because I’d honestly never experienced pain like that in my life and looking back I know I was just scared more than anything.

My epidural worked well for me in the beginning, but I had a lot of hot spots and couldn’t really relax like I had hoped. By about 11pm I was feeling so much pressure and pain that I could hardly speak. My nurse checked me and I was completely dilated so I did some laboring down (waiting for the baby’s head to descend naturally) until I couldn’t take the pressure any longer. This was when the hard stuff started.

I pushed for over an hour until I was pretty exhausted and we could tell that the head wasn’t moving very much. Bless my sweet husband and nurse that was caring for me that night as we spent the next 6 hours switching between rotating positions (to help my baby’s head turn), resting, and pushing until I was completely out of energy. Every hour that ticked by sent my mind into panic mode. I knew by 6am that if this baby didn’t come soon I would be headed to a cesarean delivery.

This was one of those times where I almost wished that I didn’t know all that I knew. I knew from experience that this wasn’t looking good and my energy level was about empty. My doctor could tell that my son’s head was positioned occiput posterior, or face up, and also tilted to one side making his entry into the world quite a bit more difficult.

At this point I was so close to the end of either just getting this baby out or voluntarily heading to the operating room because I was so exhausted and scared for my baby and my body. However, my amazing doctor got me through the last, awful half hour that led to the vaginal birth of my son. We were at a point where it was optimal to use a vacuum to assist with delivery of the head and with the help of my doctor, my son was born.

Theodore (Teddy) joined us earth side just before 6:30am and I can honestly say the next few hours were a blur. I remember holding him and tracing every inch of his sweet face, hands, and feet as I recovered from the last several hours of labor and delivery. I’m tearful writing this because those memories just never seem to leave me even amongst the awful parts that were still to come. All of the horrid hours of pushing were absolutely worth his perfect little face.

Postpartum

Typically about two hours after delivery (with an epidural) a woman can somewhat get out of bed and be transferred to a postpartum room. After about three hours post delivery I was still feeling pretty bad: nauseous, no appetite, and severely lightheaded when sitting up. My nurse still helped me to the bathroom, reassured me everything looked ok, and I was transferred to the postpartum side. I wanted to believe her because I knew she was doing all of the correct assessments but I just felt that something wasn’t right.

My family came to visit us and meet Teddy during the morning and I continued to feel off. I was able to get up and use the bathroom and my bleeding all seemed normal but I was still constantly running through symptoms in my head to figure out why I was feeling so strange.

At about 2pm we were visiting with my parents in our hospital room and I felt a huge gush of blood, similar to that of when my water broke. My chest became tight with fear and my stomach was sick because I already knew what was going to happen next. I remember simply saying to my parents that I think they should step out of the room and that I was going to call for my nurse.

To continue reading head to my blog  https://blissfullyburich.com/

Emily

My Birth Story

My Birth Story

At 5:00am on Wednesday, January 31st, my boyfriend, Jesse’s alarm went off for work. I was 40 weeks 3 days pregnant. As I laid in bed listening to Jesse’s alarm going off, I began to have lower back pain… some pretty strong pressure where I could not get comfortable even if I tried different positions, so I got out of bed and started walking around the kitchen. I was going to make Jesse a sandwich for work... but my back pain quickly turned into contractions and before I knew it they were five minutes apart. I remember waking Jesse up saying, “I think I’m having contractions” and I will never forget the look he gave me. He was a deer in headlights. After my indecisiveness, I told him that he should probably call into work. As he got everything ready, I naturally decided to take a shower, because who doesn’t want to look somewhat presentable and have silky smooth legs during delivery. Why, who knows, maybe it was the nerves that kicked in. By 5:45am we were on our way to Maple Grove Hospital, which was only about 5 miles from our house.

            Arriving at the hospital, I was in pain. The contractions were getting intense. Now, I had a game plan not a birth plan. By game plan, I mean that I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment if my perfect birth plan went to crap. For example, natural birth vs. medications and vaginal birth vs. c-section. Hence, why I called it my game plan. I was ready for anything to change depending on how I was feeling and/or for the baby’s safety. Once, we arrived at Labor and Delivery, they placed me into a room in order to monitor my contractions, baby and myself. By this time, I could not even sit. I remember crying and being in so much pain that it was taking my breath away. I called the nurse and she checked my cervix and sure enough, I was 3.5cm dilated. She said, “We’re going to have a baby today” as she walked out of the room to get the other staff to set up my delivery room. Next, we were in the delivery room and again, I was so uncomfortable, not being able to sit down, hunched over the bed, crying. Finally, the nurse asked if I wanted pain medications and you bet your ass I got those medications. I was given Fentanyl to ease the pain and shortly after the Anesthesiologist was there to give me an epidural. My epidural however was placed incorrectly and was numbing my right side more than my left. This is actually more common than I thought. Even with adjustments by the Anesthesiologist, I still felt more numbness on the right. But I finally had some relief and could relax.

            As my family and friends  (Jesse, my mom, my best friend Ashley, and my cousin Jessica) showed up to be in the room with me for the birth of our son, I suddenly felt something pop and felt warm. This was around 10 or 11am (I think). Sure enough, it was my water that broke and it was meconium stained. The baby had gotten stressed at some point during my labor and defecated. This bought me a whole bunch more of people in my room aka NICU team.  Due to the meconium staining my doctor did not want the baby to cry immediately after delivery until his mouth and nose were suctioned. This prevents the baby from aspirating any of the stained amniotic fluid. 

            As my labor carried on, my contractions were unbearable. Now, mind you I am totally the type of person to swear and yell when I am in pain or just in general… I literally could not speak let alone breathe. My back pain was off the charts. I mean 10 out of 10 pain. And I am an ER Registered Nurse… unless you’re dying 10/10 pain is just wild to me if someone tells me their pain is that bad. Yet, there I was, 10 out of 10 pain. No I wasn’t dying but I sure as hell never endured pain like this in my life. In that moment I realized, I have back labor, something that NEVER even crossed my mind. The only time I really got relief from the pain during labor was repositioning with the peanut ball and the boluses of the epidural. I don’t think I spoke or even opened my eyes during my entire labor. I am so happy my family and best friend were able to entertain themselves for hours, because I sure as hell wasn’t!

            After HOURS, 13 hours to be exact, of repositioning, crying, and not being able to breathe through my contractions, it was finally time to push. My baby was almost here and I was so exhausted, scared, and excited all at the same time. And to be honest, I just wanted the pain to end. I pushed for 20 minutes, felt the burning ring of fire (ladies, if you’ve had a vaginal birth you know what I mean), and out he came. He was face up, which was why I was experiencing back labor. His head and back were pressed against mind causing my back pain. Now, I still did not have my eyes open at this point. The doctor had to tell me to open my eyes to look at my beautiful baby boy. As soon as I opened my eyes, I cried uncontrollably. As they laid him on my chest and he started crying, I couldn’t believe he was here. It was almost euphoric holding him. HE WAS HERE. Dax Sterling Altenweg, born at 7:12pm on January 31st, 2018. The pain was worth it. He was perfect.

A special thanks to my love, Jesse for being so supportive during my pregnancy and labor; to my mom for being so amazing and supportive my entire life, as well as not fainting during my delivery; my best friend, Ashley for taking off work, being there for me for 14 hours and giving me foot rubs; my cousin, Jessica for your love and support, driving 4 hours from Iowa to Minnesota and making it in time for the birth; and my dad, thanks for being in the room (behind the curtain) and all your support. Lastly, thank you too all of our friends and family for the gifts, meals you made, the time you took out of your days to visit and the love you give to Dax. I love you all so much!

 I can’t wait to do it all over again.

 Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Melissa

Birth Story

I arrived to my 41 week appointment on Friday September 14th at 10:00 a.m. I first had an ultrasound where I was told that my pockets of placenta fluid we’re measuring well which was reassuring but that my fluid was at, what they consider a “normal low” for 41 weeks. Even with their “reassurance” I still felt super worried. I then had a non-stress test where Emma looked perfectly fine. And then last but not least I was checked for dilation and was at 1.5 cm and 50% effaced. All of this combined made me a favorable candidate to be induced. Which I felt both happy and frustrated about because I was hoping (unlike my son) she’d come on her own. I was told to go home and rest, and then to arrive at the hospital that night for 5 p.m.

When my husband and I arrived we were told we would have to be in a small triage room on a stretcher because there were no rooms available at all. I was hooked up to monitors, ate some crackers and watched the movie Practical Magic on my phone, where only after 3 hours later, I was told that there were still no rooms, my contractions were mild and Emma looked great on the monitor. So at that point the midwife suggested that we should go home get some rest and come back the next morning (Saturday) at 10 a.m. to be induced. So we listened and got home around 8:30 p.m. Nine hours later, Saturday morning around 5 a.m.

I was having really painful contractions, they woke me out of a dead sleep. I woke my husband up and told him I couldn’t wait until 10, we needed to go to the hospital. I called the moms place and let them know that we were coming. We got to the hospital around 6 a.m. where we were told still no rooms so that I would have to be in triage again. I was then hooked up to monitors and checked again for dilation where at this point I was 4 cm dilated/50% effaced and going into labor on my own with no induction which made me really happy because I did not want to be induced again.

After hours of painful contractions getting worse and worse, sitting on an exercise ball to relieve some pressure and after 8 hours ... EIGHT HOURS of being on a stretcher in a triage room.. I was finally moved to my own private room at 2:30 p.m. where at this point my contractions were unbearable and the pain was the most intense pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I never once felt pushed or forced to consider drugs or an epidural, my entire team supported the fact that I wanted to try my absolute best to have a natural labor. The doctor came in to check me again around 3:30 p.m. where she said I was still between 4 and 5 cm dilated but now 75% effaced. She suggested that we get things moving and have this baby, so since my water wasn’t breaking on it’s own she broke my water around 3:30. Around 4:20 p.m. I was checked again where I was 10 cm, 100% effaced and it was time to have a baby! I pushed for 23 minutes and Emma Jane arrived at 4:43 p.m. beautifully in my arms. I did not have an epidural and even though it was the most intense and painful experience of my life, I wouldn’t go back and do it any differently. I had the most amazing support team, including my husband who was amazing and by my side for both births.

I don’t share this story to make any mom or woman feel like an epidural is a bad choice or that you’re any less of a mom or woman for choosing an epidural or women who have to have c-sections...That is FAR from my intent. Every woman.. every MOTHER who gives birth in ANY way is a fucking ROCKSTAR because it is hard work! I was induced with my son and chose an epidural and for my daughter I wasn’t induced and chose no epidural, and I wouldn’t go back in time to change either decisions or birthing plans! I am so lucky to be their mom and that’s all that matters to me. But I do hope my story inspires other women, to not be afraid to chase that fear or goal. If you want a natural labor and there’s no medical reason why you can’t have a natural birth, then totally go for it! I promise you the reward at the end.. is so worth it! ️ Also the nursing student who was in the room witnessing my birth story those entire 10 hours, told me after Emma was born, with a tear in her eye, that it was her birthday and she was really hoping Emma would come on her birthday. What a special moment! if you’ve made it this far thanks for reading!

Postpartum Anxiety

Thank you Mari for sharing my story! I recently just shared this on my personal blog so if you'd like to read more head over to http://www.stillinbloom.com where I will have a follow-up to this post in the next couple of weeks! 

I had no idea that postpartum anxiety was a thing until I was living with that evil sob. Literally the devil's work. But anxiety and depression usually go hand in hand from what I have researched. And with my experience I had extreme anxiety with mild depression. With this post I want to describe in detail what I went through after I had my second child. I hate to even relive it but I searched the internet for hours (bad idea ladies, bad idea) when I was at my worst to find women who went through something similar. So I want to be that person that also shares her story.

I'd also like to say that I will have a post following this that will have so much more in terms of how I [tried] to cope with the anxiety, what I learned, and so much encouragement for you. Do you ever feel like you just need to spill your guts out to someone? Yup, that's me right now. But I will say this-you are tougher than you think, you are loved by God and you FREAKIN MATTER! This is only a minor blip in your life and there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Anxiety messes with your thoughts and fear is a liar. Don't you for one second believe those lies.

MY STORY

My second child Jack was born a month early. My water broke at home in the middle of the night and my husband was just coming to bed. Sorry hun! It was fast, scary, involved me birthing him on the toilet, and a stay in the NICU. Not at all how I planned. The first 3.5 weeks were going as expected though. Not getting enough sleep, trying to keep my 20 month old daughter happy, trying to eat and drink enough for his nursing demands, and experiencing the normal 'blues'.

Around 1 month postpartum I was making my daughter lunch and I started to feel very off. I felt this intense feeling as if I were to pass out so I grabbed a snicker bar thinking that my blood sugar was low. It didn't help. I quickly stumbled to find my phone and called my husband who rushed home to be with me. I then started to puke, have diarrhea, and was shaking. The fear was so intense that I wanted my husband to take me to the ER. Blood tests all came back fine but I was dehydrated so they pumped me full of fluids and sent me home.

For 2 days I felt okay. Definitely not myself, but I felt good enough to be on my own. Then 3 days later it happened again at the same time of day. I felt so spacey and had the fainting feeling, and everything looked and felt so far away. Once again I got really scared and that brought on the nausea and vomiting. I called my husband but he was 40 minutes way so my mom came over to be with me. We called my OB clinic and they said I probably had low blood sugar and was eating the wrong foods. But to be safe I should make an appt. to get more blood work done.

Well for some reason this all sent me into a panic because I thought I was dying, I didn't want to be alone just in-case I passed out (which I never even have), and I could barely eat now and I had to nurse my newborn son. So this was the start of 5 months of hell and more recovery after that. What I didn't know then was that I had experienced 2 very awful panic attacks. Out of nowhere and for no reason at all. The only reasons that my husband and I can come up with are FUCKING HORMONES. I think all maybe would of have been well if I didn't get so scared, but I didn't know what they were so my mind went to the darkest of places and I googled endlessly which send me into a spiral of what-ifs.

Real quick, when I thought back to my past I only had 1 panic attack. And it was in my sleep but I thought I had just woken up from a nightmare. But it was indeed a panic attack that happened at a stressful time in my life. I've always been uptight and would get anxious over mundane things, but it never drove me into a panic. So all of what I was dealing with was essentially new to me.

MY OWN KIND OF HELL

For 3 months I suffered with severe anxiety and fear (5 if you include my time getting used to the antidepressant I tried and I will explain more of this in part 2). And it wasn't anxiety over my baby and his breathing, or if something bad was going to happen to him. It was all directed towards me and my health. I was afraid of fainting, not having an appetite, not feeling 'right' in my head', feeling bad for having my husband stay home from work because I couldn't take care of the kids, etc...I was a mental wreck. And when I say I didn't have an appetite, I mean that I lived off smoothies and around dinner time I could eat maybe a couple solid foods. Every morning I would wake up after a horrible nights sleep with a knot in my stomach, go puke, then try to form my thoughts so I could make a smoothie.

On the days my husband went to work my mom would come and stay with me until my daughter's nap time. Then I would have to be by myself for 4 hours. I would need help with my son because like I said I could barely form my thoughts to take care of the two at the same time. Even emptying the dishwasher or taking a shower sounded like so much work that I would cry. Like what the hell how is that even possible? I had to stop breastfeeding because I was so anxious and the zero sleep I was getting was making it worse. I needed so much help.

I remember looking back at these 3 specific pictures and thinking that I look 'happy' but inside I felt like I was hanging on by a thread. You never know what someone may be dealing with by their outside appearance. 

Right now I'm going to list all the symptoms I had. And if anyone smarter than me thinks these are more than anxiety, please let me know. Because even today I have days where one or more of these symptoms come on and I think I'm dying from some crazy disease and that it's not really anxiety at all. But that's what this evil thing does right? Gosh dangit, eff you anxiety.

SYMPTOMS

  1. not feeling 'right' in my head and body

  2. depersonalization

  3. no appetite

  4. couldn't sleep

  5. body felt heavy

  6. panic attacks just as I would fall asleep

  7. panic attacks during the day

  8. headaches that didn't go away

  9. no joy and peace

  10. felt an intense darkness over me

  11. fear of going crazy

  12. vomiting and diarrhea

  13. couldn't think ahead or form my thoughts correctly

  14. brain fog

  15. dizziness

  16. ringing in ears

  17. everything was loud and 10x brighter

  18. resting heart rate was 90 bpm

  19. an overall ache and pain felt through my whole body

  20. had a hard time interacting with others

  21. feeling as if my blood sugar was low all the time

So to sum it up it felt like I had extreme morning sickness, an ongoing migraine, a constant panic attack, and I WAS DRUNK 24/7. All while I was trying to take care of my 2 yr old, bond with my newborn, be a wife, and see people during the holiday season. Worst Thanksgiving and Christmas I've ever had! During this time I had so much blood work done that my arm was always bruised, I had a 24 holter monitor to check my heart, and there was one night my panic attacks and depersonalization were so scary that I told my husband I wanted an MRI. That is tough for me to write because of how ridiculous it sounds. But I got it anyways for peace of mind. I wasted thousands of dollars on tests to come back to say that I was in GREAT HEALTH.

You'd think that with all the googling I did that I would have realized that this was anxiety and that I just needed to hop on an antidepressant and call it good. But I was in denial that it was that and convinced myself that I had some type of cancer or I was going crazy. I literally had 1 moment where I felt such an evil presence on me and I couldn't shake it. I was so scared for how I was feeling I wanted to get out of my body right at that moment. I wanted someone to put me out of my misery. My skin was crawling and I begged God to save me. Sounds messed up right? I'm thinking it was just another damn panic attack but it felt much worse.

This was supposed to be the best time of my life and I felt crippled. I looked at my children and felt nothing. NOTHING. That was so heartbreaking for me. I never thought about suicide, but I regularly wished I would die by some natural cause. I don't know if that's considered suicide? How horrible of me to even write that but it was like my mind was taken captive and I couldn't rationalize what I was thinking. Getting help sooner would have probably been better than going through all of this, but I was naive.

WHY ME?

I ask myself why all the time and I don't think I'll really have a definitive answer. Tough for a type A personality. Anxiety robbed me of that precious bonding time with my son and stole all of my joy. I am almost a year into this and I still have days where I feel 'off'. And I'm not going to lie those days scare me. But I've made it through this far so I know I can keep on going no matter what.

Now my story may not be anything like yours but that doesn't make your story any less important. If you have gone through something similar and need support contact me! I am all ears when it comes to anxiety and depression. Support is what you need through these times because these illness' are so damn REAL. And please look out for my follow up post on my recovery from anxiety!

Love ANGIE

Dearest Norah

Hello! My mane is Michele Larson and have a daughter, Norah!

As a new mother I am passionate about sharing my new experiences that motherhood brings. Whether they are positive or negative. I want to Talk about my life and being a mom. In hopes other find comfort. This blog post is more about how my life has evolved and I wrote a poem for my daughter to help her be more resilient than I am!

In college, I set out to make a career within the field of psychology and public health. Hoping to bring awareness to mental health. I feel our society has become more open and receiving to the topic. At least, I have been drawn to those people. Believing that who I surround myself with defines my reality and how I see the world.

Well life occurred, and I am not the Psychology expert as I thought I would be . . .

Now, I work as an executive assistant and life is nothing like I would have expected or originally envisioned.

Since, most of you don’t know me. I would like to start by saying I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Was an avid figure skater and ultimately that was the reason I wanted to pursue a career in mental health.  The sport was mentally challenging, and I thought young athletes needed better support than what we received when I was young. So fast forward- I moved to Arizona for my husband’s job.

The economy in Arizona is much different than in the MidWest area. Talk about hard knocks. After a year! A full year of serving food in restaurants (I have a master’s degree mind you) I finally landed a salaried job.  It was in nothing that I went to school for and got the job because of my experience in customer service. It was at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. Where I worked 50+ hours a week and had to clean vehicles in 100+ degree weather. Not my ideal job. But hey I got a job and could finally start paying off my credit card and student loan debt!  Moving to Arizona and struggling to get on my feet has been one of the best blessings in disguise. I feel that my current career path is a better fit for my personality. I get to work full-time and will be able to bring my daughter to whatever activates she wants to partake in later in life.

While at Enterprise I learned that I enjoy business and would prefer to continue to pursue a career on that path.  I tapped into my Entrepreneurial spirit and really enjoy discussing business plans, growth estimation, and much more!

The year I was un-employed was rough. My husband had a job, but we had just bought our first home. So, all the hidden bills that first-time home owns experience were flooding in. Which is hard to pay off with one income. In addition, we were trying to plan a wedding. I still was serving and making less than when I was a master student. I guess that experience taught me how to budget much better and why I am so keen on finding deals when shopping or even buying basics like groceries!

So we had no money and I had no friends!

This was my first time moving across the country and I wasn’t very good at it! Although, I met people at work I wasn’t in the same life space as them. Working in restaurants many people want to go out and party. Where I already had done all that and was very social while attending college.  I wasn’t looking for that group. Rather I wanted life-long friends and people I could call over for low key snacks and a swim in the pool! Basically, what I had left behind in the Midwest. It was very hard to leave all my friends and sometimes I can’t help thinking that I moved at the absolute worst time. I missed out on friend’s weddings, graduations, bachelorette parties, cooking get- togethers. You name it. At least, we have social media to be there in spirit; but it still isn’t the same.

It has taken me time to find groups to join and attend fund events. Becoming a mother really has helped! There is just something so special about the mommy community. It is very inviting, supportive, and loving. I wish every person to find a community where they can be their most raw authentic self and feel whole heartedly 100 percent accepted as I have found.

What I am trying to share with all of you is that life doesn’t go as planned. Mine sure hasn’t yet it truly has turned out for the better! It taught me to roll with the punches and not stress so much about what is out of my control. I may not be going through the exact experiences as other mothers out there, but I have struggles too that in some way can relate to whatever it maybe you are going through. We are all in this together right?

As my daughter is becoming one in October! Yay! I am so excited to celebrate that day!

I wrote a poem to her conveying what I hope she gets out of life. Since she has her whole life ahead of her. It is not going to go as planned. There are going to be so many ups and downs. I truly want to raise her to be more resilient. Something I feel I wish I would have worked on more. One thing is for certain. I don’t know what the future holds.  Neither will my Dearest Norah. All we can do is try our best to be prepared and roll with the punches 😊

Dearest Norah,

What I want you to know most is life is going to be hard.

Oh so very hard little girl

But don’t let it wear you down

Time

Yes, time will pass

And sometimes that’s all that will help

Oh but little girl

There are going to be amazing times

Years and years of amazing times

Your dad and I will make sure of it

What I hope for you most is you never fear

Yourself

Go after those dreams

Tear them to pieces

Fail a million times

Get back up

You are persistent my Norah

Never lose that trait

That will get you far

Apply to everything

You’ll be all right

Time

Yes, time will pass

What you should do

Just be yourself

Go on your adventures

Feel your soul

Go where it takes you

Engage in your interests

Time

Time, is one thing you won’t get back

What I want to show you

Kindness

Authenticity

Hard work

LOVE

Memories

What I want you to teach me

patience

Put down my damn phone

Be present

What you have already taught me

Unconditional love

Happy 1st birthday my purest love

XO Mommy

I am hoping she will find this inspirational. But who knows?  Not sure, when I will give this to her, but it will hopefully be a fun memory we share! I think I can manage to write one a year and save them in a box, but you know #momlife.

Thank you, Mari, for inspiring me to be my most authentic self and for the opportunity to show a bit of my WHY I wanted to start my blog.

Calling my Family Complete

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Sinn (Lo). I’ve been married for 5 years with 2 kiddos (3 and 7 months)! I wanted to share my experience with our decision to be done having children. My husband and I are both oldest children. He has a younger sister and I have a younger sister and brother. I always wanted to have at least 3 or 4 kids and my husband only wanted 2. I was very adamant about having at least 3 kids as that is what I was used to, based on my own family of origin.

Going back to the beginning, I could NOT wait to have children. I wanted babies since I can remember and always thought I would LOVE being pregnant as my mother did. I even dreamed of being a surrogate for someone someday. Boy was I wrong! I hated being pregnant and everything that went along with pregnancy. I hated feeling sick, I hated gaining weight, I hated the bloating and feeling uncomfortable. I felt undesirable and was constantly worried about how I would lose the weight. Fast forward to my delivery with baby #1. My goodness this was horrific. At least it was for me. My contractions were so close together that I didn’t get a break during the labor process. I was in so much pain and didn’t get a break from that pain. The meds weren’t working and my epidural wore off. My son’s heart rate would dip and stay low during labor. Doctors, nurses, interns etc. were rushing into my room to help stabilize his heart rate. This caused me to have to push the majority of the time on my hands and knees (I had already had an epidural, so this was no easy feat). I had to wear an oxygen mask and became so exhausted that eventually needed the help of a vacuum to deliver my first child.

For a long time I felt like I would be fulfilled with just Michael (my son). Being an early childhood mental health therapist, I knew that there were significant benefits to giving my child a sibling. 2 + years later, I felt pressure from my husband (who wanted to be done having children by 30), and by my own view of what I wanted in a family. I was constantly battling myself and others about not being ready to give up my body for another 2 years. (9 months of pregnancy and 12 months of breastfeeding) It was actually my sister in law getting pregnant again that motivated me to make the step toward growing our family. I love the idea of my child having a cousin close in age as my son has.

I got pregnant with my daughter and oh boy... I had forgotten how much I disliked being pregnant. The morning sickness was dialed up to 100 this time around, not to mention the heart burn this time (my daughter was born with an incredible amount of hair). Fast forward to my labor and delivery. Everything seemed to be going well. I hadn’t had the quick second delivery that women talk about but the pain was not nearly as bad as it had been with my son. The pain meds were working and so was my epidural. Unfortunately my daughter wasn’t as blissful as I was during this time. Her heart rate was dropping, same as my son’s had. No matter what they tried, her heart rate would not climb back up. My epidural wearing off and my husband and I were in a dazed panic. I don’t really remember the details but I know that before I knew it, I was being whisked away to the operating room to have a C-Section.

Once in the operating room, the anesthesiologist had to come in again because my epidural had failed and he needed to do another spinal. This second time around it “went high” and took away my ability to breathe on my own. I remember laying in the operating room trying to gasp for air and trying to tell someone that I couldn’t breathe. The best way I can explain this is like a fish out of water. I remember my lips moving but no sound coming out. Because of this, my husband and mother were not allowed to be in the room with me. I get choked up when I think about my baby girl being born into this world and not having any family there to greet her. My daughter was born shortly after 4 pm and I didn’t wake up until after 7pm. The plan I had for our son to meet her couldn’t happen and the first thing she ate was a donors breastmilk. Don’t get me wrong!!! I’m incredibly thankful to the women out there blessed with enough milk to donate so that women in my situation can feed their babies, BUT I wanted to be the first to feed my baby.

Fast forward, again, I had been spiking fevers over 102 and my Doctors were concerned there was infection somewhere. The day I was released we picked up our son, got home and that evening I spiked another fever over 102 and was told I needed to go back into the hospital to be monitored. By the time I got the hospital I had dropped the fever and they gave me fluids and watched me for 24 hours. I was sent home. A couple of days later was my daughter’s newborn photos. I went to this appointment with my daughter and looking back, I can tell from the photos that something was wrong. I woke up that night and had a gushing of blood. I thought this was normal because I had still been bleeding from laboring and pushing the week before. I went to the bathroom and waited it out. I called my mom (a labor and delivery nurse) and talked through my symptoms and we determined that I had overdone it and needed to take it easy. Two days later the same thing happened. I fainted in the bathroom and as my husband describes, the bathroom looked like a murder scene with blood everywhere. We had to get back to the hospital and when we finally got there they did an ultrasound to determine that I had a pseudo aneurism in my uterus. It was life threatening and if I hadn’t caught it there was potential for me to bleed out. My doctors had said that this was pretty rare. In fact in their 30+ years as obstetricians they had only ever seen this happen in older women after hysterectomy. There were a couple of options for treatment, one of which was a hysterectomy. They determined that because I was so young (27) they would put some coils into the aneurysm and fill the blood vessel with a gel foam. This was a laparoscopic surgery and I had to stay in the hospital for another 24 hours after the procedure was complete. I was lucky, my husband and daughter were able to stay in the hospital each time I had to be readmitted and I was able to continue breastfeeding her. I was able to advocate for myself and her when it came to medications they wanted to prescribe me and held strong to my decision to not take any meds that would affect my ability to feed her.

My husband and I decided after this experience that we would call it quits when it came to having our own children. We have our perfect little family of a boy and girl. My doctors stated that moving forward I would have high risk pregnancies because the blood supply in my uterus might be compromised. It was an easy decision for us to make. Our plan is to adopt an older child when our children have grown up a bit more. We have more love to give but we both recognize the importance of having both parents alive and healthy.

As I recall my experience I can recognize how traumatic the event was but feel dramatic sharing all these details. I get self conscious when people ask me to share my story because I feel guilty for making others uncomfortable. My story is just exactly that... MY STORY :) It is unique to me and that’s perfectly okay, wonderful and acceptable!

A special thanks to Mari Wagamon for letting me share my story and for the opportunity for me to grow in acceptance of my own story.