Wednesday, March 27, 2013

where sunflowers grow: part II

so last summer, about a month before i got pregnant, back when i was blissfully ignorant of how miserable a person can be, i wrote {this post} about finding the good in the bad, how sometimes sunflowers grow in patches of weeds. during some of the worst times during this pregnancy, i have tried really, really hard to think about where sunflowers grow. because i have to believe this terrible trial happened for a reason and that some good came out of it. especially after days like yesterday.

yesterday was not a good day.

i guess this really starts last week, when i had a scary panic attack. nausea-wise, it was a rough day. compared to a few months ago, it wasn't bad at all, but i was still feeling pretty yucky. i went pee in the upstairs bathroom at my parents' and thought i might throw up. i have thrown up so many times in that toilet, and for some reason, it just freaked me out that night. right after going pee, travis and i got in our car to drive home. he asked me how i was doing and i said, "oh man, i thought i was going to puke in there."

and then i started to cry.
then the whole bit, hyperventilating, heart pounding, legs going numb, feeling dizzy, etc. the usual song and dance of my panic attacks.

travis, who was confused at first about how his wife had gone from completely calm to this person who couldn't breathe, pulled the car over and hugged me while i sobbed. helped me slow my breathing down and get everything under control again.

"you're okay collette. you aren't throwing up anymore. you aren't going to throw up." he kept telling me. as i sit here and type this, i'm starting to cry because of how real that fear is, that i'm going to go back to being that person who is trapped in a body that won't keep food down, a body that doesn't work right, no matter what you try, no matter what meds you take. those months were unbelievably isolating and terrifying.

then a few days later.
travis and i were sitting on our couch, just hanging out, and we made a couple of jokes about our non-existent sex life.
then we went upstairs to get dressed to leave, and i just stood there in the closet, sobbing my eyes out.
again, travis was confused about his seemingly calm wife turning into a blubbering mess in a matter of minutes.

i was just filled with this hot rage that our lives have been so altered by hyperemesis and that neither of us had any control over any of it.

so then yesterday.

i had a dentist appointment for a tooth i had chipped on sunday. after eating dinner, i realized there was a jagged hole in one of my molars. uhgggg, a trip to the dentist, something i have been dreading, because i had a terrible time taking care of my teeth during the vomiting. just putting the toothbrush in my mouth was enough to send me to the toilet. i remember nights, trying to get myself to bed after forcing down that bowl of cereal, and then brushing my teeth. feeling the cereal coming back up, starting to sweat and turn green and travis saying, "oh no, you're so close to going to sleep, come on, you can do it!" and then throwing up the cereal and having to go back downstairs and try to eat again. so i wasn't able to take very good care of my teeth and i knew i'd be paying the price eventually.

got to the dentist. did the whole, "how's the pregnancy going?" "oh it's been pretty hard, i threw up a lot." trying not to be overly dramatic about it, and then wishing i could just scream to him that it's been living hell and i can't believe i could live feeling like i was going to die for that many months. and then he's like, yeah, well my sister had tough pregnancies and she ended up having five kids. plus she had preeclampsia, so try having that plus being sick! ...good thing pregnancy makes you so tired, or i think i would punch a lot of faces.

so then he numbs me up and starts drilling on the tooth. saying, "oh this should be quick and easy.... oh wait."
and you're all numb and drooly and you're like, "whaa? wha's going on??"
he tells you he can tell you vomited a lot. and that the acid from the vomit has worn away the tooth and that was why the tooth crumbled away, and it's now in the nerve and you need a root canal.
"yeah, vomit is pretty rough on your teeth." he says.
like he even knows.

he didn't look at the rest of my teeth and i really don't want him to. a few months before i got pregnant, i had a cleaning and my teeth were perfect, no problems, no cavities. now my teeth are chipping and filled with decay?

i barely made it out of the office before bursting into tears. not because i need a root canal, even though that will be a long and uncomfortable day. i cried all the way home because i feel so angry, so betrayed by my body, so upset that i did it, i faced my fear of pregnancy and it was harder and more miserable than i ever could have imagined. i'm so angry that i had to learn these big words, hyperemesis gravidarum and that even though i'm not throwing up anymore, that i'm doing better, my teeth are paying the price. that i have panic attacks when i feel extra nauseated. that the decision to give remington a sibling isn't going to be a simple, happy thing.

angry angry angry.

but the piece of me that demands i see the whole situation and not just the bad parts, that annoying voice that insists good things have come from this, reminds me of a few important things.

remember that PTSD i have as a result of sexual assault? and how i have a hard time believing that the people i love most and who love me, actually do love me? specifically, my parents and travis. it hasn't completely "gone away" but it is completely different now.

quick recap. after the assault, i looked at myself in a different way. i felt dirty, used. i remember on a trip to our cabin, looking through the screen door at my family sitting by the fire outside, and feeling that i wasn't worthy to sit with them, that i was somehow tainted. i believed that my parents saw me as something disgusting and that they couldn't possibly love me the same way ever again.

it sounds irrational, i know, but this is how i have felt for a long time. part of me knew my parents loved me, but the other part just knew i wasn't worthy of their love.

so when i became so sick i couldn't care for myself anymore, my mom was the first to understand. i suddenly was terrified to be away from her, because she seemed to get it in a way no one else did, that i had severe food aversions, that having to smell just about anything would make me sicker. she was the first person i really broke down in front of after vomiting. she stroked my back and hair while i sobbed to her that i couldn't do this anymore, that i couldn't survive, i wanted out. i had heard so many things that made it worse, like "eat crackers" or "everyone gets sick when they are pregnant" that i was afraid to be around anyone, because those comments were un-validating (is that a word?) and made everything harder. i just wanted to be around my mom, because she understood how sick i was without me having to prove anything to her.

i also started to see how much my dad loves me. which i know, shouldn't seem like that big of a deal, but it is. with travis having to work so much, i couldn't be alone, so, as i've said, i moved in with my parents. every morning, my dad would cheerily greet me with, "good morning pumpkin!" and then ask what i thought i could eat for breakfast. if i threw it up, he would try to cheer me up and re-feed me. he distracted me with things to laugh at, like watching seinfeld together or making jokes. he gave the perfect combination of sympathy and a can-do attitude, always telling me, "you're doing great, babe! just keep going!" my dad also kept me from going insane, taking me on small outings to the grocery store when i felt up to it and on drives to get out of the dreary january weather. both my parents planned their lives around taking care of me, putting off trips and dates, and cooking something i would be able to keep down, which was no small feat, considering it changed almost daily. nothing could have "fixed" the situation, but their complete support and concern made all the difference.

then, travis. that man has made so many quiet sacrifices. before this all happened, i had a hard time believing i came first with him or that he could possibly love me. (again, seems like a no-brainer, i mean, the guy married me, obviously he loves me, but the PTSD has a way of tricking me into believing a man could only want me for my body and that i'm not a priority. and this is the quick version.)  after going through this pregnancy with travis, i have absolutely no doubts about his love for me. between all the things he has done, like caring for me physically, taking charge of everything i couldn't do, including things like the 45 minute phone call it took to pay off my student loan, and let's me honest, basically doing everything for me. and then the big things, the things i'll never forget, like watching him argue with the doctor that week we rushed into the ER and then L&D a few days later. the doctor was talking over me, while i was laying helpless in that hospital bed, saying this was normal and that i would probably start feeling better soon. travis wasn't having it and he interrupted that doctor.
"she can't eat. anything. i warm up plain noodles for her and put butter on them and that is all she has been able to eat for weeks. something is not right here."

that was the point when the doctor started to talk about getting hydration for me and that if things didn't improve, we would go to a PICC line.

how on earth could i not believe in travis's love for me after all of that?
now i am able to have a panic attack in front of travis and allow him for comfort me, something that before, i would have hid from him and handled it on my own, which would make it worse. 

these examples are only a tiny picture of all that my parents and travis have done for me during this pregnancy. and yes, i'm so very angry that this happened to my life. but how selfish would i be if i didn't recognize the incredible things that came along too? for the first time since i was that fourteen year old girl, i know without a doubt of my parents' love for me. i know without a doubt that travis loves me and that i come first with him. i have also learned how sure God's love for me is and that He is always there. these are some of the most important truths i could need to know.

i am angry that this happened to me and i don't understand why it had to be this way.

but i still believe sunflowers will grow in the patches of weeds that seem so awful. and we will look back and feel thankful for the very things that we struggled with.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

32: rambling and becoming a giant whale.

i have caught yet another cold.
i think that's four since september.
for those of you who normally always have a cold, i'm sorry. but my normally kick-A immune system never lets this happen to me and i am feeling pretty bitter about it.
on the bright side, this cold is way easier to deal with than the ones that were on top of the hyperemesis, so i'm not complaining that much. just really really really ready to be done sharing my body.

anyway, i want to write some witty, funny post, but now that i'm actually sitting here typing, i think i'm too tired to make fun picture collages and write about them. so going the lazy route and saying whatever pops into the old head-a-roo.

okay, what happened last week again?

oh, cool thing, after having that priesthood blessing, the bleeding slowed down and then completely stopped. at our doctor's appointment, my dreamy silver haired doc told us that sometimes the growing placenta plugs up the bleeding by putting pressure on the spot that's having trouble, much like putting pressure on a wound. maybe that happened? cool!

i believe in blessings and science working together.
well, and magic. because we all know harry potter is real and that we just never got our letters to hogwarts because the owls they chose either got eaten by my cat pepper or they just had no sense of direction.


yep, no bleeding. i think i have had some contractions though. something pretty painful and crampy going on down there? last night they kept coming, like six or seven minutes apart. i think there were eight of them. but i took a bath and they went away.

oh, here's what we look like waiting for our doctor's appointment.

bag' o peanuts in my lap. 

doctor's appointment was good. with all the placenta scares, we got to have an unexpected ultrasound! one of the pictures doc printed out for us showed remy's mouth open and you see all the teeth bones. ZOMBIE ATTACK IN MY WOMB! is what it looked like.

i've gained around 22 pounds.
"yeah IN YOUR BRA!" says travis, who insists 8 of it has to be boob weight.
i am okay with him saying this.

uterus measuring a bit small, but the ultrasound measurements claim remy is right on track in size and weight.
doc told me to keep laying around doing nothing, endearing himself to me even more by saying, "don't lift laundry baskets or heavy dishes." (travis has been doing mostly everything anyway, so nothing new there.)

yep, still laying around watching these beauties grow!

oh, we went on a triple date!
(thanks again meghan for the gift card and instructions for us to go out on the town.)

candice, 16 weeks prego and "the whale!" at 32 weeks. 

still such a treat to go out, be around the smells of food and other people without getting sick, (besides the old PTSD acting up again, this time hyperemesis related, maybe i'll write about this sometime.) and being able to eat something like pizza. we had a DELIGHTFUL time with nate and lauren and getting to know megan and candice better.

and can i just say, i think megan and candice have got things figured out.
they are taking turns having their kids. how efficient is that!?!?! you get double the kids for half the pregnancy time. genius, i say.

still  feeling incredibly thankful for every meal i am able to eat.
funny story, took this picture with instagram, which cuts off a chunk of the photo, if you have IG, you know what i'm talking about. so then when i went back and looked through my photos on my phone, it showed the whole picture instead of the instagramed one, and i was like, um what is that huge tan bulge at the bottom of this picture, GOOD HOLY BATMAN, THAT WOULD BE MY BELLY!

whelp, that's pretty much it for week 32. getting more and more excited for this babe to GET OUT MY BELLY.


Friday, March 15, 2013

guest post over at SLC Feminist

people, this is a pregnancy-free post.
hard to believe, i know.

my dear friend chelsea started this wonderful website {SLC Feminist} which you should check out.
if you aren't sure how you feel about that "scary" word, 'feminist,' then here, read their mission statement and see if you agree.

Our Mission

Here at SLC Feminist there are some things we know the world could do without, and our number one goal is to help you feel the same. We advocate for a world without the following:
  •  racism/white privilege
  • sizeism
  • sexism
  • classism
  • ableism
  • homophobia
  • transphobia
  • victim blaming

see, pretty great, huh?

i was honored to be asked to write a guest post.

 go {here} if you feel like reading it.

and if you would, share her website with your three F's!( family, friends, and facebook.)  knowledge is power. let's change the world!

happy friday!


Monday, March 11, 2013

31: placental abruption, "pelvic rest," and my husband racking up admirers.

isn't there some expression about time passing so slowly you can watch flowers growing right before your eyes?

or something? i'm calling pregnancy brain on this one. (which is a real thing! seriously, during the 3rd trimester, your brain cell volume decreases. go {here} if you're into reading about that.)

but yeah, this past week i have been really busy.
watching these tulips grow and laying around, trying not to hemorrhage placental blood.

that's a little dramatic. but the theme for week 31 was hospital visits. four total. one for hydration, and three for bleeding.

ooops, i didn't get a belly shot for 31 weeks. eh, the belly looks pretty close to the same as last week. this was what 31 weeks looked like, super attractive hospital gowns and napping while waiting for labs to come back.

the doctors' official best diagnosis/guess is partial {placental abruption}. this basically means the placenta is tearing away from the uterine wall, which is causing the bleeding, which causes irritated uterus and contractions. the thing that is a little scary about this is that it's a bit of a ticking time bomb. hopefully, it's just a tiny little flap that has torn away and we'll just be annoyed and stressed out by the constant bleeding, and we will just have to make a zillion hospital visits to make sure remy is getting oxygen and that i'm not going into labor. sometimes, the placenta tears away completely, which results in crazy bleeding and rushing to emergency c-section. they have no way of knowing where the tear is and there is no way to fix it, if this is in fact what is going on.


this is all a little scary, but i'm really not too worried yet. lots of women deal with this and have perfectly healthy, full term be-bes. i was a little worried yesterday when the bleeding had increased to bright red dripping throughout the day, but this morning it has slowed down. travis and his brothers gave me a priesthood blessing last night, and that always helps me feel comforted. i'll worry if, while travis is gone at the fire station, blood suddenly starts gushing everywhere and i have to call 911. until then, just feeling pretty annoyed that i'm not allowed to go to the gym or move very much. but i'll gladly take this bedrest over the hyperemesis fog from the first five months of this wild ride.

           other things about week 31.

  • my ribs have become remington's jungle gym. every time travis feels how hard remy is pushing against my belly, he says, "this is why the placenta is tearing away! does he always kick so hard?" yes, yes he does. as weird and uncomfortable as it feels, i love it. 
  • travis got a haircut. pretty sure the stylist who cuts his hair has a big fat crush on him, but i can't blame her. she always talks about how her husband is balding, and then runs her fingers through travis's thick hair. a lot. then tells him she has magic hands and giggles. mmmmkay.  i tagged along to the appointment because i had nothing better to do, and when she offered to give him her number so he could just text her next time he needs a trim, he looked at me, completely wide eyed and terrified. she gave him her card, but he refuses to put her number in his phone, something i find pretty hilarious. 
the guy has ridiculously thick hair. jealous! 
  • speaking of trav's thick hair, i am loving my pregnancy hair. fun fact, so, the few hairs that fall out of our heads on a daily basis, the normal amount of hair that should fall out, this is caused by a hormone that shuts off during pregnancy. all that hair that would normally fall out, stays in. unfortunately, when pregnancy ends, the hormone comes back and all that hair that should have gradually fallen out, comes out all at once. not looking forward to that, but i am enjoying the thick luscious hair i have for now. 
  • other random pregnancy side effects: my belly button is still an innie, but it's gotten much less deep and i did clean out a crazy amount of lint. also, it's pretty soft! weird. wedding ring still fits, but feels a little more snug than before. had a new craving this week: ice chips. umm, okay? 
  • in the past week, i've had more vaginal/cervical exams than i have in my entire life. after one particularly painful one, the nurse looked at me and asked, "are you planning to go unmedicated?" i told her i haven't quite decided, but that i'm considering it. she smiled in a knowing way. "oh, you're getting the epidural." she informed me. if i do end up going unmedicated, i'm going to request that she be in the room. (but with each exam, i feel more and more than i'm probably going to end up getting the epi juice. we'll see. might just end up with that emergency c-section. at the rate things are going.) 
  • got some pretty enormous bills in the mail from iv therapy and labor & delivery. so much for using our tax return on savings or going on a vacation. creating our own kid is going to be just about as expensive as adoption! thank goodness for insurance, or we'd probably have to sell remington when he gets here to avoid losing the house. (insert whiny, tragic violin music.)

that's pretty much it for the week. a little nerve wracking, but travis and i enjoyed spending lots of down time together. and how about this sweet irony: i finally feel well enough to enjoy some marital intimacy, and now i'm on "pelvic rest," a really tactful way of being told NO SEX FOR YOU. 


happy spring, though! lovin' that extra hour of daylight every night. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

week 30: bruises, filleting fish, and contractions.

week 30 was a pretty excellent week, filled with gym time, maternity pictures, and spending time with travis. oh, and then there was that little stunt at the end of the week where we rushed to labor and delivery because of bleeding and contractions, which i'll get to in a minute.

one of my favs from the day.

like i said, we did maternity pictures this week. maternity pictures are probably my favorite type to take, you know, of other people. i hate being the subject and i pity anyone who takes my picture, because the whole time i'm backseat camera-ing. plus, taking a picture of me that i will actually like and approve of how i look, that takes some talent and patience. add the extra poundage and a big belly, and i'm liking my appearance less and less. so props to reed and my mom for making them so beautiful.

spring started showing its pretty face! check out these crocuses in trav's parents' flower beds. also, how nice is it that the sun is still up at 6pm?

okay, well it's not completely spring yet. travis went ice fishing for his first time this week with a guy from the fire station. he came home with a sack full of beauties and my dad was thrilled when travis wanted a filleting lesson.

this was a particularly gnarly bruise from hydration. but instead of my whole arm being covered, it's just one! (on that side.) i have been going less (which is probably going to change, but again, i'll get to that in a sec.) so the arms aren't quite as hammered anymore.

we went on a double date with my parents saturday night, to the new (ish) city creek mall downtown slc. here we are, petting a goat in a very expensive clothing store. also, travis made a new friend, an older gentleman who seemed quite taken with travis. i always enjoy watching travis get hit on, by males or females, because let's be honest, travis is a fine specimen of man flesh.

speaking of travis, check out this beautiful loaf of bread he baked sunday morning. not much sexier than a man who bakes, eh?

also featured in week 30, but without an accompanying picture:

  • went to the gym a whopping three times and upped my hand weights and cardio time.
  •  finally had another pregnancy craving of green beans, drizzled with seasame oil and soy sauce! thanks to my mama for making them every day. (cooking still makin' me sick.) 
  • did a photo shoot for an outgoing missionary. feels so great to be working a tiny bit again! 
  • enjoyed feeling remington moving. those little jabs i thought were so powerful and strong a month ago? yeah long gone. now i can feel actual body parts scraping up against my belly. if you watch, you'll see waves of remington rippling up and down. so crazy!

week 30 was shaping up to be quite the week, minimal nausea, everything normal at the doctor appointment, etc. etc. etc. 

then sunday night got a teensy bit exciting. 

we did the usual routine, go to my parents' for dinner and then spend time with both sides of our family for the evening. we were having such a good time at trav's parents' that we didn't end up getting home until around 10pm. like always, i headed straight to the bathroom to pee and there i made a startling discovery, blood in my underwear. 

hmmm. haven't seen that in a while. 
wait blood. blood in your underwear isn't good during pregnancy, right? 
said my brain, stupidly. 

then when i wiped, (yes wiped, we all wipe when we pee, or at least the ladies do and men, it's not a terrible idea.) there was more blood on the toilet paper. 

"uh travis?" i called. "so i'm bleeding in here." 

we stared at my bloody underwear, not like dripping-with-blood bloody, but the amount of blood i usually see on the first day of my period. enough that we were concerned. "we should call the doctor?" we decided. and called the on call doctor at the labor and delivery unit. 

then this. 

"hey, yeah so i just noticed that i'm bleeding, yes i'm almost 31 weeks. yeah, cramping and some sharp pains down near my uh... vagina... area. like inside shooting up there. well i don't really know what contractions feel like exactly... but my uterus has been tightening up on and off? oh really? well, okay." 

i hang up the phone and travis asks, "okay what do they want us to do?" 
"the doctor says that we should just watch the bleeding, see if it gets worse, and go into the office tomorrow morning to get checked." i answer, feeling confused and seeing that confusion echoed on travis's face. 
"call your mom." travis suggested. 

my mom was alarmed to hear that i was bleeding and told us we should just go in, to H with that doctor's advice. 

travis sealed it for me with, "you have been working hard on this pregnancy for 30 weeks now. i say we just go in." 

our confidence in doctors is pretty much shot by now.

so we call the doctor back, tell him we are uncomfortable with the amount of blood and are coming in, and walk downstairs and get into the car. 
what if next time we come home, i'm not pregnant anymore? i think, while saying to travis, "it's fine, i'm sure it's nothing, we are going to feel silly, everything is fine." and he asks, "is remington moving much?" and i realize i haven't felt him in a while and then i start getting a little panicked and picturing all the terrible things you pray will never happen to you and then trying not to picture them in case me picturing them makes them come true. 

travis speeds to the hospital and i'm reminded of just over ten weeks ago, him speeding us to the hospital and me comatose on the passenger side. i take comfort in the fact that this time i'm conscious and able to handle whatever is coming. 

we get to the hospital and i'm checked into the triage room, where a nurse takes my vitals and a history. she straps me up to a belt that monitors remy's heartbeat, which we are relived to hear is strong, and then she informs me that i'm having contractions. she points to the monitor, the squiggly line moving up and down, and asks if i can feel them. i tell her i feel cramping. travis asks her what could be causing the bleeding and she asks us if we have had sex in the last 48 hours. we look at each other and laugh. (because we barely remember what sex is anymore.) "uh nope." 

then the really fun parts. she starts an iv to give me fluids, tells me she's going to need to insert a catheter to take my urine sample, and that she'll need to check my cervix. the catheter. hurt. so much. so much, that having her check my cervix wasn't even a big deal. 

same old drill.
"and relax. okay this is you relaxed?" 
then a concerned look on her face. 
"your cervix is moderate, but i can't fit my finger through the back opening, so that's good." 
yeah, you know the catheter was painful if i could handle this person sticking her hand up into my cervix. good grief, why did i have to be born a woman?

(apparently your cervix needs to be nice and squishy soft to squeeze out a baby. on friday at the doctor's appointment, my cervix had been classified as very hard, so this new development was a tad alarming.) 

then the nurse starts talking about giving me a shot to help remy's lungs develop in case he is really coming. at this point travis and i are pretty freaked out. "wait, am i having a baby right now?" i asked her. she looked at my contractions on the monitor. "let's just see what we can do about getting these contractions stopped." she replied. 

she left the room with my urine sample and we waited. and waited. then came back in and gave me a shot to stop the contractions. and we waited some more. after a half hour, thankfully, the contractions had mostly stopped and they let us go home around three am. 

i know, really anticlimactic ending. 
i did almost pass out in the car coming down from the drug they gave me. 

the next morning, travis let me sleep and he called the doctor's office, to be told that my urine sample revealed dehydration, big shocker, and that could be what caused everything. yesterday i started bleeding again, so my mom and i went in, (travis was busy being a firefighter or something.) and the nurse wondered if maybe part of my plancenta has detached and is causing the bleeding, which causes irritation to the uterus, and then causes contractions. 

yeah, no one knows what's going on. the first nurse told me i probably have a kidney stone, which is causing all the irritation. then the doctor told her the blood in my urine sample was probably from the trauma of the catheter and that i don't have a kidney stone. okay guys, stop guessing in front of me and freaking me out! all i know is i finally felt well enough to start living a life and now i'm back on the couch, watching desperate housewives. not that i'm complaining, because this is way easier than laying on the couch puking and wishing for death.

oh remington, stay in there please? at least for six more weeks? 
probably he'll end up coming late. because everything about this pregnancy has to be ridiculous.  

except for the whole, travis and i being closer and more in love than ever before thing. and being so crazy about the little guy we teamed up to create.
(let's be honest, i did most of the work.) 

this whole clip is fabulous, but if you only care about relating to what i just said about how i did most of the work, skip to 3:20 and prepare to laugh. 

use protection unless you are ready to surrender your body and life!


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