Happy Mothers Day

 

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Mothers day is a day we all sit and dream about silence. Where the kids magically run to dad for all their needs, and our meals and homes are magically cooked and cleaned without us lifting a finger.. and while this may be reality for some, I’d argue that this is so far from what this day really looks like for most. This day is really no different than the other 365 days of the year. With the exception of homemade gifts, maybe a bouquet of flowers, and a last minutes card your hubby scrambled to the store for at some point in the last 48 hours. The kids are still screaming. They are running past dad – straight to mom for all their requests and needs. The house is still messy, and there is a sink full of dishes after breakfast in bed is served.

And you know what. It is magical. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I wanted to do was hug and kiss my kids (don’t tell them this, I don’t want to inflate their ego’s anymore than they already are). I wanted to snuggle them so hard, and thank them for making me the mama I am today. Deep down, I don’t want a quiet home. Not even one day out of the year. I want a home filled their voices, and laughter. I want dirty plates in the sink knowing their tummies are full, and messes around the house knowing they are exploring, and playing, and happy.

This is what being a mom is all about for me, and I love it. Today, tomorrow, and all days that follow.

I have been incredibly blessed to witness many mothers in action in my life. Mothers of one, and mothers of many. Mothers of loss, and mothers who are waiting. Mothers who stay home, and mothers who work. Single moms, and moms who have significant others at their beck and call. Moms are magnificent creatures who deserve the world on a platter.

I know for a fact I wouldn’t be half the mom I am today without all the love, and support these other moms have shown me throughout the years, and continue to demonstrate as we journey through life together.

I know we spend most of our days convinced that we are screwing this mom thing up royally. We aren’t perfect by a long stretch, but we are moms, and we are freaking warriors.

So, today is our day. To relish in all the amazing (and chaotic) moments that make us moms. My hat is off to you all – and I hope that at some point today, we can all take a MOMent and appreciate ourselves. Appreciate the sacrifices we make every day. Physically and emotionally. Appreciate the noise, and the messes. Appreciate each other for our differences and similarities.

So cheers to you. Happy Mothers Day, you Mother Fluffing amazing women.

 

 

Bald and Loving it!

Seriously, why do women not shave their heads more? Whyyyyyy! I am 10000% convinced that most, if not ALL women can pull off a shaved head. CONVINCED! It’s just hair. It doesn’t define you. It isn’t the reason you are beautiful. It’s hair – and it’s amazing not having to worry about it. 

This entire experience has been amazing. A few people (complete strangers) have reached out to me to tell me how I’ve inspired them to do something. Whether it be donate to finding cures, or signing up to go take part in their local shave event. 

Other shavees have reached out to share their stories, and ask questions – and it’s truly inspiring to see complete strangers come together for such an amazing cause. Because, fuck cancer. 

The most inspiring is those who have supported me through this process. Everyone who stepped up to donate, share kind words when I was nervous, and be there to cheer me on during our local event has just opened my heart to beam with gratitude. I am blessed beyond words to have such loving, selfless people in my life. Y’all are my heroes.

Since the beginning of the year, St. Baldricks has raised over $17,000,000 to date. And it’s only March! That’s $17 million more opportunities to find cures for childhood cancer. $17 million reasons for families to feel hopeful.  I feel incredibly blessed to be part of something so life changing for so many who need it. 

I urge everyone to get up and be part of something that is bigger than you. Whether it is donating to a cause close to your heart. Volunteering within your community. Something. Anything! Get up and do it ❤

I’m Going to #BravetheShave for childhood cancer research: Go Donate – Before time runs out!

I’m shaving my head to raise money for childhood cancer research! Did you know that kids’ cancers are different from adult cancers? It’s true. And childhood cancer research is extremely underfunded (such crap, right?!). So I decided to do something about it by raising money for cures (Yay for CURES!!!).

Now I NEED your help! Will you make a donation? Every dollar makes a difference for the thousands of infants, children, teens, and young adults fighting childhood cancers. Just click the link above, and donate $5, $10, $15, $100! Your pocket change adds up, and makes a great difference in the lives of those impacted by childhood cancers.

 

 

This is just the beginning: My 9 month postpartum transformation.

As I was sitting discussing pregnancy weight gain/loss with a close friend – it dawned on me…

I’ve lost 50+lbs since having Sullivan 9 months ago. That is one and half Amelia’s, 5 medium sized bowling balls, and 10ish chihuahuas! And yes, I totally googled things that weigh 50 lbs for comparisons. Don’t judge my life.

The most important thing though is how I feel physically, and mentally with these lifestyle changes. Im stronger than I’ve ever been, and feel like I can accomplish anything. 

{Please excuse me while I go and toot my own horn :: toot toot::}


I will be the first to admit that I made thousands of excuses as to why I couldn’t lose the weight. From my asthma, to my recurring mastitis, to just admitting defeat that pregnancy changes your body and this is the “new me”. 

I’ve paid for gym memberships that I never used, tried fat burners, meal replacements, and refused to get out of the house when it was too hot or too cold. 

If I didn’t see changes right away, I immediately became discouraged and would give up. Don’t do that! You’re stronger than you think, and more capable than you give yourself credit for.

So get up, and get it! Go for a walk, or jog, or join your local gym. Once you do it. Do it again. And again. And again. Eat healthier meals, and drink lots of water. Try to steer clear of fad diets and miracle weight loss supplements. Even if they work, they don’t equip you with necessary lifestyle changes to maintain a healthier you. 

As a parent my health doesn’t just impact me, it impacts my entire family. Being strong, and having the extra energy I desperately need to be the best version of myself for my family is one of my biggest motivators. Regaining confidence, and a bit of my own identity is just the cherry on top.

So cheers to a healthier me, and a healthier you. 

Hello darkness, my old friend: My struggles with PPD and anxiety

You know – I’ve tried convince myself that my ppd/anxiety aren’t “that bad”. And that I am doing a great job learning to cope with it on my own. Talking about it… helps. Hearing other people open up about their experience.. helps. But it is only momentarily healing. 

The reality of the situation is that my anxiety is constantly there. It might not be in full fledged panic mode at all times, but it exists in very small, very real moments throughout every day. 

Our first family trip since Sullivan being born happened this past weekend. We visited family in San Diego, and my biggest fear at the beginning of the trip was how Sullivan’s behavior would be on the ride to and from home. 

I have spent weeks mentally preparing for his crying and screeching in the car. He still doesn’t do well in the car, so I was convinced it would be a miserable 5-6 hour drive. Thank goodness I knew Calvin would be driving most of the way so I could have a bit of control in the backseat doing damage control if he got too upset. 

The thing is, the drive was a breeze. Sure, he fussed here and there, but we only had to make 3 stops on the way there – which really, with two littles, one who is still nursing frequently, I consider that as a win in my book. 

Little did I know, the real struggle would come the first night of our stay. We all got settled in to sleep. Sullivan fell asleep first and seemed to be quite content. Mil and I soon followed suit, and before you know it – we were all peacefully sleeping after a seemingly successful travel day. 

12:00am: Sullivan stirs awake. I grab him to nurse, as he still nurses quite frequently at night. He’s hot to the touch. Hot enough for me to go from sleepy mama to abruptly awake. 

Calvin slept on the couch so the kids could sleep with me in the spare bedroom – so I went out to him to wake him so he could help me assess the situation. 

At first we chalked up his heated physical state to the spare bedroom being warmer than most rooms in the house. We stripped him down to his diaper to let him cool down. 

It didn’t work. 

Insert phase one of my panic attack. I frantically feel my body to see if I’m warm, and go in and few my daughters body to see if she too shares this elevated temp. Both of us are cool to the touch. 

Insert phase two of my panic. I begin barking demands at Calvin. “We need a thermometer” – “go wake someone up!” At this point my mind is racing, and as is does regularly, I am forming a worst case scenario conclusion in my mind. 

My baby is sick, I don’t know why, and something terrible is going to happen to him if we don’t act NOW. Dutifully, Calvin doesn’t ask questions and finds a thermometer for me. 

First we take his temperature by his armpit. 102.1 degrees. My heart sinks, I begin to feel sick to my stomach. My body begins feeling hot. I can literally feel the anxiety radiating out of me. Sullivan pukes, and I end up in the bathroom puking. 

Thank goodness I had packed our infant Tylenol, but of course there is no dosage for an infant his age. I call our pharmacy and they are no help. They can’t give dosing for someone his age. She is kind and understanding, but I’m angry! My baby is sick and she should be helping me. Now I feel even more helpless. 

She suggests I call his pediatrician and ask them. I’ve never had to do this before, and I’m convinced no one will answer. It’s one AM at this point, so I’m confident I’ll get an answering service with the promise of a call back from a nurse. 

Thank goodness that didn’t happen. His pediatrician office was amazing and gave me the dosage over the phone for his weight. We administer his medicine to the best of our abilities, and I pray he choked down enough to make a difference. 

Insert panic phase three (i.e. I should know better than to jump on google for anything when I’m in the middle of a panic attack). I google “safe temperature zone for 8 month old” and of course stumble across article after article stating 103 warrants a trip to the ER. Not only that, but how inaccurate armpit temperature readings are. AHHHHH!

Stupid me! I should have known! At this point I can feel my breath becoming rapid, my nausea has returned, and I puke again. I tell Calvin we need to take a rectal temperature reading. He isn’t convinced. He takes his own temperature by armpit, and it’s coming in at 96 degrees. This just confirms to me that Sullivan’s reading is lower than what it is actually is. He is probably sitting at a raging 104, and needs to be hospitalized! 

At this point I am convinced Sullivan will start having seizures. A baby his age can’t handle that high of a fever. Now I am fully convinced there will be CATASTROPHIC consequences if we don’t accurately track his temperature and get him the medical attention he needs. 

Calvin caves to my request, and we take Sullivan’s temperature again. Rectal this time. 101.5.  I can breathe a sigh of relief. At least until I have to check it again in 45 minutes to make sure it isn’t rising.

And the process is repeated. I can’t rest until I know his fever is down. At least below 100* But all this is doing is wearing me out – mentally and physically, on top of already being worn down, mentally and physically from road tripping all morning. 

I get it. My thought processes aren’t exactly logical when I’m suffering from panic. I can’t help it. I consider myself a very logical minded person – but when the anxiety hits, there is nothing I can tell myself (or anyone else can tell me for that matter) that will calm me down until I have tangible proof that things aren’t as bad as my mind has made them out to be. 

I don’t enjoy thinking that my children will suffer brain damage, or possibly die from an illness. I don’t enjoy constantly worrying that my child is buckled into their car seat perfectly to avoid internal decapitation in the event of a collision. I don’t enjoy getting sick to my stomach if a well trusted family member takes my child out for the day, and then doesn’t answer their phone immediately when I call. 

I don’t enjoy suffering from ppd/anxiety – which is why I will no longer live in denial that I do in fact need professional help. 

Therapy is something I am actively seeking, and am confident I will find a great psychologist to help me identify underlying causes, and learn to cope/heal from this. #aintnoshameinmygame

Do Something to Make Yourself Proud 

This couldn’t be more true. 

Tonight I was able to do my first full minute plank, 30 push-ups (two sets of 15) and 60 bicep curls (four sets of 15) without missing a beat. 

Feeling myself getting stronger – especially my upper body, and especially after recurring mastitis that depleted my chest muscles, is honestly one of the greatest feelings ❤ 

I am proud of myself. For sticking with it. For making healthy lifestyle changes. For holding myself accountable when some days I just want to throw in the towel and lounge on the couch with a bag of chips. This is no longer about my “goal” of 28 days – it is about who I am becoming – and who I will continue to be.


I am also proud that I was able to cycle 2 more miles than my previous record – and have to say that I’m becoming a bit addicted to cycling. 

Considering finding some locals, and maybe trying my hand (well legs) at cycling through Red Rock Canyon. 

Did I just add another goal to my 2017 resolution list? Stay tuned 😜

The Mom Gut: Sick Kid Edition

Sick kids are a doozie. Like – smack down, drag out, need a month to recover, doozies. 

Sullivan started this whole thing when we visited San Diego a little over a week ago. He caught some stomach bug the first night we were there. His stomach bug only lasted about 12 hours – but i swear it felt like an eternity. Doesn’t help that it was his first time being clearly sick (102+ fever and puking) and my anxiety was through the roof.

Being away from home, out of our comfort zone didn’t help my anxiety at all – making me all the more grateful for the wonderful on call doctors at our pediatrician office. Not only were they quick to answer, but they were kind and understanding towards the panic in my voice. 

The rest of our vacation was nice and relaxing, and we returned home on Sunday of that weekend. 

Well, shortly after returning home we heard that our nephew in San Diego had also caught the bug and came home from school sick. A day or two later our niece had caught it, and right around this time, Millie started complaining of a stomach ache. Sure enough by Wednesday night she had a low grade fever and was puking her little guts out. 

My anxiety typically gets out of control when the kids are sick, but I felt calm (well calmer than I was when Sullivan was sick). It was clear there was a bug going around – so I really wasn’t all that concerned at first. 

Day two hit and the diarrhea hit. But not only that, Mil was complaining of severe abdominal pain around her belly button. The logical side of me said “it’s okay, tummy aches are normal with the stomach flu” but my anxiety was screaming “good god this is appendicitis!” 

I monitored her behavior and brought my concerns up to the hubby. He of course thought I was overreacting and needed to stop overdiagnosing her. I understood his stance. When my anxiety gets bad I immediately jump to worst case scenario. It made sense for him to be a bit dismissive and to try and keep me calm. 

Day three came and Millie’s stomach pains were worse than ever. She was lethargic, didn’t want to sit up because her stomach hurt so bad, and I’d find her curled up in a ball on the floor if she tried to walk too far. I had reached out to my sister in law at some point to see if the kids had complained of stomach pains, and grew even more concerned when that answer was no

I knew if I took her in I’d look like fool when the doc told me it was nothing more than a bug, but I HAD to hear it from a medical professional at this point. Calvin’s attempts to keep me calm were falling on deaf ears. 


So her and I went to urgent care. She uncomfortably sat on my lap, not wanting to move much. We were finally called back, and within 15 minutes were being seen by the doctor. He pressed on her tummy and became concerned about her discomfort level. It wasn’t long before she was in getting and X-ray. 

In my head I’m thinking “please, don’t be appendicitis”. And thankfully it wasn’t. But that isn’t the end of this story – the doctor returned quickly after viewing the images and told us to go to the ER for further diagnosis. It appeared that her intestines were distended, and he was afraid there was a blockage somewhere. 

The next 12 hours were a roller coaster of emotions. We arrived at the ER and were immediately seen due to the severity of the situation. If she does in fact have a blockage, she’d be going in for surgery to repair it.

They took a urine sample first, and viewed the X-rays from urgent care. Because only one image was taken at urgent care, they request more to be taken, and from different angles. 

By this time I had been away from Sullivan for 5ish hours, and I knew he’d be getting irate soon. He’s still mainly exclusively breastfed, so I had to drive home to get him fed and asleep. 

While I was at home the results of the X-ray came back, and Calvin called me with the verdict. They thought her colon might be twisted, and wanted to do an ultrasound immediately. They also needed a blood sample from her – and from all accounts she exhibited more bravery than most adults have when faced with needles. 

Have I mentioned what a warrior my child is? No? Well she is. 

Calvin calls me back with the results and all I remember was him saying “the doctor says her blood work is weird. They say different kids have different symptoms when it comes to appendicitis, and they need to get a ct scan done right away. 

Weird? What do you mean, weird? And now they are thinking it is appendicitis? He couldn’t elaborate more – probably because he didn’t understand exactly what it all meant either. 

To be honest, I’m panicking at this point. Feeling hot. Getting a headache. Having a hard time regulating my breath. Feeling like I’m going to vomit. 

Weird blood results? How sick is she? How serious is this!?

Needless to say I finished with Sullivan and rushed back to the hospital. 

I arrived to an empty room (they were in getting her Ct scan completed), and a doctor approaching me saying “mom? So…. this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense”. He went on about high levels of something in her blood, indicicating she was fighting an infection. Something else about her being in starvation mode, and another thing about how her system was now eating up her “reserves”. Her urine came back indicating a UTI, which was surprising to all of us. She hasn’t once complained about pain while urinating, and from all accounts – her pee looks pretty clear in the toilet. 

This led the doctor to believe that the infection was closer to her kidneys, which would explain abdominal pain, but still, this didn’t explain the intestinal issues going on.

They brought my sweet girl, and exhausted husband back into the room. At this point she was hooked up to an IV, and my heart just broke a little more. My perfect girl really does look sick. Hooked up to machines, lying in a hospital bed. This is what nightmares are made of. She of course was still smiling through it all. Like I said – warrior. 


The doctor left us, and we waited. Waited to hear the results of the Ct scan. Waited to hear if our warrior was going to have to go into emergency surgery for appendicitis. Or a twisted colon. We waited. 

Hubby tried to sleep, and I sat back watching our sweet girl – trying to hold back my tears. I had to be strong for her. If I fell apart, she would fall apart. I couldn’t let that happen. I had to be strong. 

About an hour had passed. It is now early in the morning, and we are all emotionally, and physically drained. The doctor appeared outside the door and I felt my stomach drop. “Please be good news. God, let it be good news”.

He walks in and says “well it’s good!” The Ct scan showed no issues with her appendix, and no twisting or blockages in the intestines. He said she has an Ileus, which is basically a paralyzed intestine that isn’t moving gas or feces down like it should be. He isn’t sure if the UTI is causing the Ileus, the Ileus is causing the UTI, or the two are unrelated – and she just happened to be suffering from both at the same time. 

He recommended antibiotics to fight the infection, and hoped that would help resolve the intestinal Ileus issues as well. 

Calvin decided to head home to be with Sullivan, and I decided to curl up in the hospital bed and cuddle my amazing girl to sleep until we were released. 

She got her first dose of antibiotics in her IV, and has continued them now for 3 days. Each day she has shown great improvement, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. We will follow up with her pediatrician soon, and have them look a little deeper into what could have caused all this. Was it a freak occurance, or is there something about her system that caused all of this havoc from a simple stomach bug. All I know is we want to make sure we are fully aware, and prepared if this ever does occur again.

The moral of my story is: Go with your gut, moms and dads. I know in this technology age it is easy to jump to conclusions and freak out over the smallest of symptoms. But if your child is truly exhibiting concerning symptoms, or not acting like themselves – it is for a reason. And spouses, don’t be so dismissive just because your other half ALWAYS jumps to the worst case scenario first. Assess the situation from your point of view and try to help ease the concern. Working as a team will almost always result in less stress and less resentment, god forbid there be a serious issue on your hands.

Ultimately, it is always better to be safe, than to be sorry.