Saturday, February 23, 2013

27-29: victories.

life is hard, yes?

yesterday my dear friend benny came with me to iv therapy, and while we sat and waited for the two bags of fluid to drip into my arm, we talked about how life is hard. how part of life is realizing there will be more and more hard things to deal with, just as soon as you've finished dealing with the current issue.

because of this, it's pretty important to recognize the victories.
and the good things that come from dealing with the hard parts of life.

the past few weeks have been a series of victories for me. for the first time since september, i finally feel like i'm not lying through my teeth for the sake of politeness when i tell someone i'm feeling much better. big things have happened, like moving back into my own house, being able to drive my car, being able to complete daily tasks such as showering and keeping the house clean, going to the gym (!), and enjoying the highlights of life, which for me include music and photography.

okay, and to be fair and honest, all of these victories are still only possible with the help of the three nausea meds and going in for infusion. last week, i tired to hold out on the fluids and see how i would do on my own.  on the sixth day, i was extra sick, extra tired, and had a hysterical crying fit, which are the telltale signs of dehydration for me. but at least instead of every two or three days, now it's three to four. victories, people. 

victory #1: starting to eat more normally 

i'm not sure there are words to describe how wonderful it was the night i was able to eat the grilled chicken, rice, and broccoli my dad cooked for dinner. to sit at the table with the family, instead of hiding from the smells downstairs, trying to choke down something bland. and the rest of the family just as excited about it as you are, travis grinning, my dad exclaiming, "i had a feeling you might be able to eat this!", mom's glowing smile, because she understands how big a moment this is. you just never appreciate those normal things until they are taken from you for months and months.

since then, i haven't cried over food at all. no panicking when my stomach starts growling, wondering what on earth i'll be able to choke down and keep down. still avoiding spicy and rich foods, and most sweets, but that's pretty normal for pregnancy anyway, right?

good old week 27, letting me enjoy food!

being able to eat more normally meant that when travis and i were invited to go on a group date with some guys from the fire station, we were able to go! even though i was terrified to go into that restaurant, and we had to order three different dishes to make sure i could find something to eat. and then we even went to a movie! another terrifying moment, because i had been afraid of being trapped inside a theater with smells and nausea that would lead to public vomiting, not my favorite thing. the last time i had gone to a movie, i spent the whole time freaking out about how sick i felt and then puking afterwards. so sitting there, holding travis's hand, not feeling like i was going to die, was pretty nice. it was the first real date we had been on in six months.

plus we met enes kanter, a jazz player we both love. travis kept telling me to ask him for a picture and then he teased me about being star struck all night.

it was a big night for us, going out on a date like a normal couple and meeting a celebrity, who wore way too much cologne and was on a date with a very made up, giggly girl. and kanter was wearing sweats, while she wore white heels. love it.

victory #2: remembering what it's like to be a photographer and musician

you may remember my sweet nephew kohen, who was born at 29 weeks? he is home now and doing great, so of course newborn pictures were in order. i was honored to be asked to take them, and thrilled that i felt well enough to stand, hold a camera, and think creatively for a few hours. picture having the worst flu you have ever had. you don't have any desire or ability to do the things you love. it's all you can do to lay on the couch and retch. you know that feeling of relief when the flu is gone the next day or day after, and you can resume your daily life? okay, now picture the relief you would feel after months of being that sick. pretty incredible feeling.

love those adoring faces. 

another powerful victory moment, the first time playing music again.
as i've said before, music is an integral part of my life. i've been blessed to have a natural ability to sing and this is something i have always taken for granted. so you can probably imagine how scary it was when, at the end of september, i noticed my voice didn't seem to work anymore. i hadn't had any desire or ability to sit down and play music that month, because i'd been in bed and throwing up, but i noticed when i was listening to music, i couldn't sing along very well anymore. all that vomiting had left me pretty hoarse. by the time i finally got some help in december, even my speaking voice was pretty shot.

so one night, when reed suggested we play some music, i was terrified to sit down at the piano. i didn't know what would happen. would i remember how to play? would i be able to sing? was there even a part of me that could feel that kind of joy anymore? reed sat at his cajon drum and requested that i play a song we used to do before he left, a song we had perfected and loved. "okay, but let me just run through the notes, cause it's been awhile." i told him.

i ran through the notes and was pleased to find it was still there, in my brain and fingers. he had a couple of friends over, a mission buddy and his girlfriend, and they were waiting politely. finally, i said i was ready and began playing the intro to the song. i sang the first line, and then tears filled my eyes and choked my throat. i stopped playing and sat at the piano bench, crying. no one said anything. i looked at my mom, who i believe, had tears in her eyes as well. as a fellow singer, she understood why i was so emotional.

then i realized i probably looked like the crazy pregnant woman, crying over nothing. "i'm sorry, it's just been so long since i have been able to do this." i called out as i ran to the bathroom to blow my nose. i heard my mom explaining to reed's friend's that i'm not a crazy person, that i had been sick for a long time.

we finally were able to play the song all the way through.
later that night, travis told me that watching me play and sing was the best part of his day.
mine, too.

victory #3: moving back home

at 28 weeks, i decided i felt ready to move from my parents' back to our house. poor zane probably wanted his bed back, and i was tired of feeling like i had no independence. still, i was pretty scared to face the house alone the two days travis is at the fire station, because the last time i had tried living on my own, i had been too sick to take care of myself.

faced the fear, moved back home. and surprise! i was able to feed myself, (although we still eat dinner at my parents' most nights because of the smells of cooking making me nauseous.) shower every day, keep the house clean, and even, bake cookies!

the last time i tried to bake cookies was in october. wanting desperately to feel well enough to participate in the upcoming holidays, i had bought a roll of pre made halloween cookies with plans to bake them for travis. after taking them out of the oven, i was overcome with the smell and feel of the heat, and had to run to the toilet to violently puke up breakfast.

glad to report that this time, although i still wasn't able to stomach any, i didn't throw up, and the smell was actually nice!

making it to the third trimester was a great milestone. when you are so sick that every day ending is an accomplishment, making it 28 weeks was a big deal to me, something i'd been counting up to. (even though for the past few weeks, i haven't been miserable enough to need to count each day!) so here's the morning i hit 28 weeks, feeling pretty proud!

also, another cool, trivial, thing, i finally got my hair cut. a much needed trim, but it's hard to schedule something as simple as a haircut when you don't know if you'll feel up to going to the salon, making small talk, and being out of bed for that long. victory!

anyone else feel totally awkward trying to take a picture of themself?
 and end up taking a thousand to get one you like
 and then never getting one you like because you're like,
 why have i never noticed how huge my nose is??!??!
anyway, fresh cut bangs and tirm.

victory #4: back to the gym! 

week 29, the week i went back to the gym. for real this time. 

so back during week 14, i tried to go back to the gym, thought i was on the upswing. and then the next day was back to throwing up. so that didn't last. 

i've been nervous to do anything that would trigger or exacerbate the nausea, plus the fact that it was all i could do to take one lap around the grocery store without getting sick. i figured the gym would just have to wait until after remy is born. for christmas, travis bought me several water bottles to help with the hydration situation, one for around the house and one, as he said, for the gym. i sadly put that red gym water bottle up in the closet and told myself, in time, it would come. pretty great to feel well enough to get that red water bottle out, fill it up, and take it to the gym with me. 

when i got to the gym, i popped in the headphones and started to walk laps around the suspended track. the last time i had been on the track was back in august and back then the goal had been to shave time off of my sprints. this time, i was overwhelmingly thankful to be walking and cried for several laps. 

that pregnant woman, waddling slowly around the track, crying for no apparent reason, that was me. 
had one of those moments of, when did this become my life? and had a good laugh. 

just being a tool, taking a picture of myself at the gym.

i'm starting really slow, trying to build up the stamina to walk 30 minutes, and maybe eventually graduate to the elliptical. i also lifted weights, using the little five pounders instead of the twelves, but this is a huge victory.   proud to say i was able to do bi's, tri's, shoulders, and back on my upper body, and lunges, calf raises, and wall sits for the lower. being sore has never felt so sweet. i went twice this week and plan to go three or four times next week, body permitting.

victory #5: facing the idea of giving birth

as i have mentioned, pushing a baby through my vagina is a horrifying, scary, icky, painful, unimaginable idea for me.

a few months ago, i made the mistake of watching a video on my pregnancy app of a vaginal birth.
i'm ready for this. i can take it. i told myself, mistakenly.

yeah, the minute that woman's humongous, wide open, gaping monster vagina hit the screen, i was done. laying alone in my bed, i threw my phone, started screaming, and then started sobbing.
then called travis, cried to him about how i will not ever do that ever. 
then i called my mom and told her the same thing.
then travis came home, layed in bed with me, while i cried to him about how i'm never doing this again, i hate vaginas, i hate birth, i hate everything.
and then i cried about how i needed to eat something, but was too nauseated.

so now that i'm not crazy sick every second of every day, (surprise!) i'm feeling a lot stronger. physically, emotionally, mentally.
i'm starting to remember that i wanted to get pregnant, that i'm excited to be a mom, and that once upon a time, i considered an unmedicated birth. still not sure, but we are signing up for hypnobirthing, so we know all our options.

also, sweet words of encouragement from my cousin christi and friend liana and of course, my mama, have helped.

and then i received a package in the mail from my friend meghan.

in case you can't see, it says, "remington is cuter! (already!)
how could this not make my day?? 
inside this incredibly thoughtful package, i found adorable baby clothes, a pretty robe for the mama, a gift card for california pizza kitchen for travis, instructing him to take his lady out on the town, and a lovingly written letter talking about, among other things, the miracle of giving birth. she has an amazing birth story of her own. (go {here} for part 1 and {here} for part 2)

also included, this book.
which i finally feel ready to read and am starting tomorrow.

and seriously meghan, and all you other people who send mail, WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?? overwhelmed with how thoughtful you are. thank you from the bottom of my heart.

a lot of victories the past few weeks. so very thankful to be feeling better, for real.

oh, and here's a picture from a day that i actually felt pretty for the first time in a long time. 
because, ya know, there aren't enough pictures of me and my belly in this post.

the day before 29 weeks. it's important to document the good days, yes?

life is hard, for all of us, in different ways. don't forget to celebrate your victories and thank the people who help you through.

thank you for all your love and support.

the colors of 50 E North Temple St

reed being home. 
is my favorite. 

he is doing a great job of transitioning 
from being a crazy busy, full time missionary
to being a "civilian" waiting to find out about
job and college applications. 

perfect timing, since
i'm pretty un-busy myself these days.
(and finally feeling so much better! 
more to come in next post.) 
so we decided to head downtown 
and play with our grown up toys. 

(i'm obsessed with {tilt shift} photography at the moment.) 

pretty lighting and the perfect picture taking companion. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

willing to swim through shark infested waters.

growing up in the charles household, you were likely to hear several different talk shows being played on our parents' radios. there was the boisterous rush limbaugh show, hosted by a man who, to my young ears, seemed to be perpetually angry about everything, or if it was a saturday, surely we would have to listen to car talk, a very long hour of two men guffawing at each other's jokes. weekday afternoons, i can remember watching my mom mop the kitchen floor while listening to the dr. laura schlessinger show. people would call in and ask dr. laura for advice about various situations, usually involving love and family troubles. dr. laura shocked me with her blunt answers, usually not the answers the caller was looking to hear. i never quite knew what to think about her talk show.

my mom was a huge dr. laura fan. she also read her book, the proper care and feeding of husbands. i thumbed through the book one day, noticed a chapter devoted to sex, and sneakily read that chapter. then felt guilty for reading it. funny the things you remember. but there was one piece of dr. laura advice that my mom told me about that always stuck with me. 

a man should be willing to swim through shark infested waters to bring you a glass of lemonade. 

when my mom first told me this, i thought about all the different guys i was interested in, pictured myself on a lawn chair on some deserted island, and the guy swimming, one handed of course, because he was holding that lemonade up high so as not to spill, and punching sharks out of the way. and then thought, who on earth would ever be willing to do something like that for me?

of course, as the years went by, i began to realize what that phrase really meant, and from time to time, would think about it and consider the guy-of-the-week, asking myself if this guy was a swimming through shark infested waters kind of guy. usually, not the case. 

then, along came travis bodtcher. 

august, 2008. 
i had been dating a guy all summer. nice guy, actually a guy who was divorced and had a kid, but he also had some temper issues i wasn't willing to deal with. plus i was moving to hawaii for school and not looking for anything serious. enter, travis bodtcher. he asked me out, and as i was upset with this other guy at the time, i thought, eh, why not. we went out on a few dates, travis asking me each time, "are you sure you want to move to hawaii?" i liked him and all, but yeah, i was pretty sure i wanted to move to an island paradise and have adventures. 

so we had a couple weeks of going on dates and talking non stop on the phone, and yes, a bit  quite a lot of kissing. the night before my flight to hawaii, i told travis i had to spent the evening packing, because naturally, i hadn't even started to pack for the next year of my life. he offered to come help, and by help, he meant literally folding up my clothes for me and placing them in the suitcase. i was already impressed, but then came the swimming through shark infested waters bit. 

in the haze of packing, pulling things out from the closet and under the bed and general mess making of my bedroom, an enormous spider found its way into my covers. upon this discovery, i ran from the room, screaming for someone to kill the beast!!! i was later told that the spider scuttled back under the bed and my mom said to travis, "oh, it's gone. we'll never find it. just tell her we killed it." travis looked at my mom and said, "i can't lie to her. i have to kill it." 

and he hunted the spider down, no small feat considering the mess under my bed, and killed it. 

can i get a swoon, anyone? 

so after that stunt almost five years ago, i shouldn't still be in awe of all the other selfless, sweet things travis does for me. 

like a month ago, i realized i hadn't called the pharmacy to refill one of my nausea prescriptions and that they were going to close in 30 minutes. i had just taken my last pill with dinner and was having a meltdown about not having one for the morning. travis drove to the pharmacy and was informed they were out of those pills and had to transfer the prescription to a different location. the day before, he had hurt his foot playing basketball, hurt like he was afraid it was broken and it was completely swollen and puffy. he had been laying on the couch with me all day trying not to strain it even more. but after being told he had twelve minutes to get to that other pharmacy before it closed, he sprinted to the car, employed his best stunt man driving, and then sprinted to the pharmacy to get the prescription for me. hurt foot and all. 

or like the time several months ago, after my fainting incident with the paramedics. i was terrified to go home and be alone. this was about the time i moved my things to my parents and began living with them while travis was at the station, and then even when he was off, i refused to go back home. one morning, he was trying to get me to drive home with him and i raised my voice to him, saying he needed to be more understanding of where i was coming from, that he wasn't looking at it from my point of view. then he left and i spent the day thinking how rude he was and basically being angry. little did i know, he was home doing laundry, cleaning the house, and setting up the christmas tree so i wouldn't feel so overwhelmed to go home. leaving the christmas lights on and the blinds open so that when you drove up to the house, you would see twinkling from the street. 

swimming through shark infested waters to bring me a lemonade, i tell you. 

but seriously, if you want to test you and your partner's relationship, come down with a debilitating illness and see what happens. 

remove all traces of physical intimacy, and not only sex, which is a wonderful tool for showing love, aiding forgiveness, and enjoying each other, but hugging, kissing, cuddling, and even sharing a bed. 

spend six months of your life feeling the worst you have physically felt, being in a terrible crying mood every day, unable to care for yourself, leaving the other person completely responsible for all financial needs and all physical needs of the sick partner, who won't be in a very nice state of mind to appreciate the other's efforts. 

hopefully, you will come out of this nightmare and find, like us, that we loved, trusted, and appreciated each other all the more for it. 

we had a wonderful valentine's day, just enjoying spending time together in a way that the hyperemesis hadn't allowed for so long. normal things like going out for dinner and hanging out in your own house alone together.  

i'm crazy about this man.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

creating a baby registry, aka a list of things you hope other people will buy for you.

oh this world we live in and all the weird things we do.

i enjoy picturing anthropologists, hundreds of years from now, digging through our remains. it should be pretty easy for them to figure out what we were doing, since we documented every meaningless detail on facebook, instagram, twitter, and blogger. i'm sure by then, humanity will have it all figured out, and be completely appalled at us and all our waste making.

speaking of funny things our culture does, have you ever been to a baby equipment store? like babies "r" us or buy buy baby? as i was never all that interested in baby things, more like, oh there's the baby section at walmart, quick look away or your uterus might get ideas!, going to stores that are all about babies was a very new thing for me.

back in october one night, travis tried to cheer me up and remind me of why i was feeling so sick, by taking me to the store buy buy baby, which, by the by, is a strange name for a baby store in my opinion. before i knew how it was spelled, i heard "bye bye, baby" and was pretty confused.

anyway, we went to buy buy baby and were completely overwhelmed. baby equipment for sale from the floor to the ceiling! a thousand different car seats and strollers, no wait, car seat stroller combos, to choose from! nipple shields! pacifiers! organic carrying slings! baby monitors!

oh, and my personal favorite, the "play yard." no really, {look here} 
wait, play yard? don't you mean "baby cage?"
and they cost how many hundreds of dollars? 

then there's my other personal favorite, the breast pump. 
(you may remember how much using my breasts for breastfeeding freaks me out.)
the covers on the breastfeeding pumps all have pictures like this one:

oh look at how much fun i'm having with these 
milking devices suction cupped to my ultra sensitive nipples! 
nothing about this is painful or uncomfortable at all,
in fact, i'm able to talk on the phone, finish paperwork,
and collect milk that my body made into these BPA-free bottles! 
motherhood is just such a blast!

yep, that was our experience walking around buy buy baby for the first time. 
there are 20,000 things you just have to have or your baby will grow up deprived and they all cost $300 bucks. 

the overload of baby gear plus how ridiculously sick i was, left us with the stamina for one lap around the store, travis basically holding me up on his shoulder. we then purchased a baby onesie with the word, "ipood" on the front and got the h out of there. solid parenting, people.

fast forward a few months and we start realizing that, hey, pretty soon here we are going to actually need things like a crib, a car seat, and you know, the other essentials. which i obviously haven't figured out yet. so we headed to babies "r" us to make a baby registry, aka, a well composed, easy to access list of things we are hoping other people will buy for us. 

there were dozens of other pregos milling about the store. i still forget i'm one of them. i look at them and feel immediate dread and fear, and then realize, oh boy. 
fear of pregnancy. according to wikipedia, it's a thing. {tokophobia}

we only registered for a couple things, because it really is overwhelming trying to figure out what you will need for a tiny human you have no idea what do to with. (feel free to give your two cents here, baby raisers.)

we did both agree that it was fun to do a "normal" pregnancy activity, not involving ERs or infusion centers. 

oh and enjoy a few pictures from earlier in the day. 
being that it was the only day i groomed myself during week 26, it had to be documented with picture evidence. 


as always, my mom is amazing. 

and on an unrelated note, this is what happens almost every time i ask travis to take a picture of me. 
babe, you are supposed to wait until i'm smiling, posing, and adorable. instead we end up arguing about how i make him take a thousand pictures of me until i find one i like. (love you travis.) 

having a baby is the weirdest thing ever. on the pregnant gal, the baby daddy, and their relationship. 
pretty great moment though, when he kicks and travis's face lights up with excitement. 
"was that him??"

and our society and its commercialism preying on inexperienced, naive, first time parents. 

gotta love it. 
but seriously, give me your tips and tricks for buying ridiculously expensive baby gear. 
and breast pumps are freakin' creepy. 



25 & 26.

quick recap of weeks 25 and 26.
also, last night while i was falling asleep in my little brother zane's twin bed (because i basically live at my parents' and how sweet is that 14 year old for letting me take his room?) i realized that remy and i are 27 weeks now. and that means in a few weeks it will be 30. which is really close to 40!!! cool moment.
(also, before taking my infancy class and learning that preggos count pregnancy in weeks, i was always so confused. um, why can't we just say months? so for those of you who aren't pregnant and don't care, like i didn't care, a baby is considered full term at 37 weeks and 40 weeks is the usual length of incubation. or whatever word is officially used.)

some really great things this week, like reed coming home.
some really poopy things like catching a cold, which exacerbates the nausea and dehydration. 

another fun trivia fact: pregnant women are more susceptible to catching illnesses. in order to keep from attacking the little invader fetus, the body suppresses the immune system. great for the fetus, not so great for the host, errrr mother. basically i used to have an incredible immune system, and now every virus and bacteria i'm exposed to latches on and makes itself at home. 

which leads to this. 

call the doctor's office to ask what cold medicines are safe. (a few months ago when i had a nasty cold, i tried to just tough it out, but then i found out later that some cold meds are safe to take when creating a human.) 

so call the doctor's office and they give you a list of safe cold meds. 
go to the pharmacy, select the so-called "safe meds" and double check with the pharmacist, who advises you to not take any of them, because they are a class C drug and not proven safe or unsafe for pregnancy. then he gives you a hotline to call if you have more questions because they are the most up to date on this info. 
you call the hotline and they, in turn, advise you that the meds your doctor's office recommended actually are safe. 

okay, what? 

so then back to the pharmacy, talking to a different pharmacist this time, the weekend one who doesn't know you, (because the usual guy knows you by name now because you are taking so many nausea drugs and in there all the time.) then you have this conversation with the new pharmacist. 

you: hi, i need this prescription refilled. oh and also can you check if it's safe to take this sudafed with these three drugs i'm on? 

her: how far along are you? 

you: two days shy of 26 weeks. 

her: wait, you are still taking all these nausea medications? 

you: yes.

her: wait, that didn't go away after your first trimester?

you: nope, still hanging on.

her: okay, so you still need to take all of these? 

you: yes. deep breath. they tell me i've had hyperemesis. i go in for hydration every few days. so is it safe to take this for my cold then? 

i had to laugh at that conversation. and if you are pregnant and wondering about cold meds, they said as long as my blood pressure is low, no problems there, it was safe for me to take decongestants. i bought the lowest dosage and only took it twice, once on each of the worst days. (and i'm not a doctor, so ask your doctor before taking anything, obvi. but in case you are preg and suffering with a cold.)

and this recap isn't as quick as i thought it would be. 

also week 25, one of the nights that was a really rough night, feeling so sick and unable to eat, reed gave me the most comforting priesthood blessing. us mormons believe that worthy priesthood holders have the power to give blessings in God's name, with His power. priesthood holders can't bless themselves; they use the power to bless others. reed, like i said, has only just returned from his mission. i didn't give him all the intimate details of how terrible this pregnancy has been. but when he put his hands on my head and gave me that blessing, it was as if he had been there and knew all the things i needed to hear. which of course, he wasn't speaking as himself, but was speaking for God, as we believe. anyway, it was extremely helpful and comforting and i'm thankful to have that in my life. 

week 26. what a wonderful week! 
even with that crazy doctor's appointment and having to take that nasty med for my infection. 
this week i was able to eat STEAK. like, the meatiest of all meats. for the first time since august. 
more to come about the great things this week in it's own post. 

here's that cute dress i found for reed's homecoming. on sale too!
couldn't eat much at his party, but enjoyed seeing family and catching up. 
one of my sweet aunts said this, which i think every person who's been pregnant should have said to them.

"good for you for sacrificing so much to give someone a life. you are doing such a great job." 

so nice to hear something like that instead of comments about weight gain or how once he's here i'll forget how awful it was. 

the light at the end is getting bigger and brighter. 
his name is remington and he's real! 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

reed came home.

last week my brother reed came home from his two year mission for the LDS church. being a tight knit family, his absence was painfully obvious the entire time he was away. of course we were all proud of his hard work and service, but welcoming him home was just, the best.

taking the airport by storm. 

 anxiously waiting. when reed left, he told us to take good care of that strange sock animal.

yes! i do like aliens. 

my mom went a little nuts the night before reed came home. 
obsessively cleaning, searching the house for a picture she 
"had" to hang up, not finding the picture and then pounding
on the wall with a hammer hanging a different picture. 
waking us all up at the crack of dawn, freaking out about the ice
storm making us late to the airport.  

 staring at the escalator. 
brother chad tricking everyone that reed was there before he really was there.

"this is taking forever!" 

and finally!!! 
(his face is in color so you will know which one is him.)

all of us screaming in excitement. 

and the moment that brought tears to all our eyes. 

she wasn't about to let go. 

family together again! 
(even remy! enjoy my tent/shirt.)

i cried all over his suit. two years is just too long to not see your best friend. 

our family has been having way too much fun together. 
love them and am so ready to welcome another boy into the clan. 



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