Monday, July 6, 2015

2 Year Old Miracle

Today my little miracle turns TWO! It's hard to believe that time is flying by so fast...and it makes me emotional to think about. My last baby isn't exactly a baby anymore. This two year mark brings up lots of emotions and memories - some good, but many bad - about the journey that led to Aidan joining our family. I hesitate to write about it - but have felt strongly that maybe I should.
I haven't used this blog in almost 3 years. I'm not sure why I haven't bothered to delete it. But, as I thought about the personal nature of my thoughts tonight, I figured this was the place to put them. Then - if someone chooses to read it, and it helps them in some way - I guess some good came of this blog.


There is a saying - that I absolutely detest - that has been tossed around by my hubby and Mallory. They mean to joke about it...but it's difficult to hear. They say that Hannah broke me and Aidan fixed me. It's awful. I know. Especially if Hannah ever happens to hear it (which I pray she never does - as it is not her fault - and there isn't anything she could have done to prevent it). But after Hannah was born, I "got" postpartum depression. It was pretty bad. When she was probably around 6 months old, I had my first real panic attack. Britten called 911 and the EMTs helped to calm me down and process what had happened. I wish I could say it got better after that. Unfortunately, I don't have many memories of Hannah as a baby. I lived in a bit of a fog - just trying to stay afloat.


It was then that I decided to go back to school. Maybe putting my focus into something else would help. And I think it did - for some time. I had an outlet outside the home - which seemed to help me cope with being a depressed mom of two little girls. That and the help of antidepressant medication made me fairly normal again. I would have occasional setbacks, but overall, I think I had started to improve significantly. I even thought I would try going off the medications (though I was never successful).


After I graduated nursing school I felt strongly that we needed to add a third child to our family. Hannah was almost 4 and Mallory was 6. It was scary for me to think about having another - when the last time didn't go so smoothly. But I felt sure that there was another baby waiting to join us - and I wanted another baby SO badly!


Then came the "dark" times. We moved to St. George when I finally got a job there. Brit gave up his career at that point for us to be closer to family. I thought it was where we needed to be. (I was wrong...though I am grateful we had my parents close by when I went off the deep end.)


My pregnancies with Mallory and Hannah happened without even "trying"...and I fully expected that to occur a third time. However, month after month passed without a positive pregnancy test. I sank lower and lower. I hated my new job - and cried all the time. I would get panic attacks getting ready for work. The panic attacks started coming more frequently.


I don't remember much about our 9-10 months in St. George....and the memories I do have make me cringe. (This is where it gets hard for me to talk about...and I haven't shared it with many people.)

One day was especially bad. Worthy of a trip to the ER - as not even my parents could shake me out of it. (I still clearly remember my dad sitting on the edge of my bed trying to help - though I don't remember the words he said.) During this time my mom kept the girls with them. They bought coffee filters and made me dyed flowers out of them and put them in a beautiful clear vase. These flowers still sit in my kitchen. They have faded a bit - but they are still a reminder of all I almost lost.


In the ER they gave me antianxiety medication (Ativan) to calm me down. I'd never taken anything like it before. It numbed everything. I liked that. I had lost who I was and what my purpose was. I avoided going to church as much as I could. I don't even remember the ward there - or any of the people in it. I was just plain lost....and I felt guilty about that- all the time. A part of me knew what I was doing...and knew how to fix it. But I couldn't. I just drifted through the days and tried to put on a brave face for my girls as much as I could.


I wasn't getting better though. The next time I began panicking, I decided to try the prescription antianxiety meds (Xanax) they gave me. That night I had the most vivid - and terrifying - hallucination. I won't ever forget it. From under my covers, I texted Britten (who was at work) that someone was in the house. I had heard them talking and walking and saw a clear shadow of a person. He rushed home (thankfully only a couple minutes away).... and found that all the doors and windows were locked. No one was there except me and the kids. No signs of anyone else having been there. I felt like I'd lost my mind. It was so real - and so scary...but had obviously not actually happened.


I went to the doctor. Instead of just getting rid of the Rx - he wrote for a different one (Ativan - the one given in the ER). This one caused the numbness - and no hallucinations. I started taking it with Benadryl so that I could knock myself out. I tried taking a stronger dose than what was prescribed. It worked better. One day - I don't remember what I was thinking - but I just knew that I wanted the pain and guilt to go away. I remember crying about being a horrible mother and my kids deserving better. But that I didn't want to leave them. I just wanted to sleep.... and sleep.... until everything just got better or went away. Sleep. That's all I wanted.


I don't remember much after that.... I just know that eventually Britten got rid of the medication. And somehow I snapped out of it enough to keep living. It wasn't pretty though.


During this time, a lifesaver came and helped me get a new job - back in Las Vegas.  A fresh start - you could say.  I still had no baby. I still had depression (but was trying some new antidepressants to see if they would help). I wasn't better...but I knew that moving away from the horrible job and awful memories I had made in that house might help.


We moved into the best ward we've yet been in. It took me time to open up and become active again - but these people were very welcoming when I did start coming. The new medication and the new job were helping. I wasn't in such a fog anymore.


I had gained a TON of weight over those few years. I decided it was time to start being healthy again - and maybe that would help too. In October of 2012 I saw my gastroenterologist and made sure my intestines were still okay (as I was regularly cheating on my GF diet at that time). Right around that time I got a pretty nasty stomach bug - and that helped my weight loss begin.


And then - a miracle occurred. I got pregnant! This was an exciting and scary time. I absolutely did not want to be taking any medications while pregnant. So, I quickly weaned myself off the antidepressant - and prayed for help! My mind was clear. I was almost happy again. I was active in church. I had a job I liked fairly well (10x better than the one before). And I was having a BABY!!!


This pregnancy was a miracle - one that I had almost given up on. It had been almost 2 years. My pregnancy with Aidan - while a miracle - was anything but easy. You know that weight I wanted to lose? Yeah - I lost it while pregnant. 40 pounds of it (plus 10 that I'd lost the month before getting pregnant). Some people GAIN 40 lbs while pregnant....not lose it! I was nauseous all the time. I wasn't even eating 1000 calories a day (when my body should have been getting 2-3x that). I felt awful...but at the same time - it was wonderful!! I had waited so long for this baby.


Then we discovered that Aidan had a club foot - and they worried he'd have more abnormalities (as a clubfoot is often a sign of more severe problems). We prayed and prayed that his foot would be all it was. My emotional state was doing much better than expected - but still not perfect. I worried a lot and shed lots of tears about the trials my baby may have to experience. But I am proud to say - that I held it together and did it without medication!


Aidan was born 4 weeks early on July 6th, 2013. He was my perfect miracle! Yes, his little left foot was pretty severely clubbed (turned in at an abnormal angle), he had a small hole in his heart (common for a preemie), and had pretty bad reflux (and colic). But he was MINE! He was what I had waited for -and needed- for so long. I felt whole again. It sounds corny - but this little baby changed my world. He "fixed" me!


He had a rough start - casts on his leg/foot, changed weekly for 2 months. Then surgery. Then another cast for 6 weeks. Then a brace hobbling him 24/7 for months. Then the brace at night (for years - still going on). But he is a little trooper and has blessed our family immensely!


So... as Aidan turns two... I pause to reflect on all we have been through to get to this point. I am so happy to say that I haven't needed medication again (for depression or anxiety)! While I feel that I will always have a bit of that tendency in me - I have survived the worst of it and know how to combat it if it ever rears its ugly head again in the future. My children and husband survived it and stuck by my side through it all. (I hope that someday my girls won't remember me that way...though I fear that Mallory might.) Those dark days are scars I will always have... but thankfully the wounds healed.  I still struggle a bit with the questioning "why's" of all that happened. I had allowed my faith to be shaken during that time...and I'm still working to make my testimony as strong as it once was. But I know that I am SO thankful for a loving Heavenly Father and forgiving Savior.


Happy 2nd birthday to my baby....and, in a way, to my "better" self!

Monday, November 5, 2012

10 Years & Halloween

So if you know me well - you know that I really love Halloween! Nope - I don't dress up and I don't have enough decorations... but I love October 31st!  Why, you may ask? Well - I'll tell ya! ;o)
 
10 years ago Britten and I had our very first "real" date! He was my next door neighbor that year in college - so we saw each other daily... but October 31st was our first date-date.  Thankfully he was a good sport and allowed me to plan the nights events! (He had planned it before - but then I needed to make a trip home - so he changed his plans to go with me!) 
 
We drove from Cedar down to St. George and ate dinner at my parent's house (yes, I know - he should receive a medal or something for enduring that on the "first date")! That was his first introduction to - and eventually, love of - salmon!  (Okay, so I'm sure it wasn't the first time he'd eaten salmon - but it wasn't something he ate often.... until he met me!)
 
His amazingness in my eyes just grew after that - for he endured a horrific rendition of West Side Story at my old high school (that my little brother was involved in).  Lets just say that they didn't cast the leads very well that year (we still talk about how awful it was)! Imagine my 6'4" hubby squished into those tiny and close together auditorium seats! :o) The poor guy!! I can't believe he didn't run screaming from me after that night!
 
After the play - we got ice cream at an old place on the boulevard before heading back to Cedar. By this time it was pretty late...and cold! But to finish out the "lovely" date, I got him to take me swinging.  Again - if you knew me many, many years ago - I had a slight obsession with swinging (not the dancing...but on a swingset).  So we went up to Discovery Park (very aptly named if I do say so myself) and he pushed me in the swing. Yes, I can hear you all saying "awww!"  It was very sweet! Then, with us both freezing, he offered me his yummy leather jacket before he decided of a better way to get me warm! (hahahaha!) 
 
We then shared our very first kiss!! :o)  Once again - if you know me well - you'll know that this also happened to be my first kiss - ever! (Yep - only kissed one man in my life - Britten!)  We then "discovered" that while we have very little in common - we definitely had chemistry!
 
Soo....it goes without saying now - I loved Halloween that year - and I've loved it ever since!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pain

As a nurse I help my patients get rid of their pain. There are two kinds of pain that I see a lot of: surgical pain and chronic pain. Surgical pain is easy to see; it has a very obvious cause. Chronic pain isn't as easy to see and it can be a struggle to believe that the person truly has the pain they're claiming to have.

I give patients doses of pain meds that could easily kill me, but yet seems to barely touch their pain. I've seen patients that take 3 different kinds of narcotic pain killers regularly timed 'round the clock and still say they have pain. We use a numerical pain scale to have the patient rate their level of pain. 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst possible pain they can imagine. It is so hard not to judge the person by this pain scale. I've seen patients who were sound asleep until I came in and then they calmly tell me that their pain is at a 9. Then there are those who are tense and cringing and in obvious pain who will tell me that they're at a level of a 4.  This scale is very subjective. The worst physical pain I've experienced was childbirth, which I'd say was a 9 because I'm sure there is something else out there that could cause a 10. When I visualize myself at the pain level of a 9 - it's not pretty. So, it's hard for me not to compare my pain experience to that of my patients.

Why am I going on and on about pain? Because I have learned that there is another kind of pain, one that isn't as easy to get rid of. There is no scale, that I'm aware of, that helps one to rate this kind of pain. There aren't any approved "quick fixes" for this kind of pain.  It is emotional/mental pain. It's not easy to see and even harder to relate to. This kind of pain can ruin relationships and drive loved ones away. It's a very lonely kind of pain.

Anguish. I like this word. I think it describes this third kind of pain very well. I think this anguish is something that is chronic but has acute flare ups. If one has had this kind of pain for long, they are probably quite adept at pushing it down and are able to appear "normal" most of the time. It becomes difficult to hide, however, during those flare ups. These flare ups might be shown as anxiety, depression, anger, conflict, physical pain, etc.

As a medical professional, I strive to help people feel better - to get rid of the pain.  Nurses and doctors like to have a solution to the problem - we want to be able to give you something to make the symptoms go away.  There is nothing more frustrating than to not know what to give and how to fix anguish - especially if there isn't any apparent cause. It takes a lot of trial and error to combat this kind of pain. These trials and errors are very difficult for one going through this pain. Some things may even cause the pain to worsen; this may cause the person to lose hope which can worsen the pain even more.

The goal is to find a "cure" for this pain... something to make the anguish go away forever. It will be a difficult road to do this. Love, acceptance and forgiveness are needed for one going down the difficult road. If you are reading this, I would hope that you can be counted on to be on the lookout for those who struggle with this kind of pain, and to be the one to help them find a "cure."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Working Mom

I am now a working-fulltime-mom! It took 6 months to get this job...so I should be more grateful for it.  But - can I just say.... HOLY COW! THIS JOB IS HARD!!!!   I do not feel like I was adequately prepared to be the RN for around 25 patients! (Yes - that number alone is insane!! Gotta love the shifts when they send one nurse home after 4 hours...and then give me her section too! That's over 40 patients to worry about the rest of the night!) It has seriously caused me to doubt my abilities and question whether I even learned anything in school!  It's so overwhelming.  I count my blessings each day I return home without having made any serious mistakes.  (However - I only had 4 training shifts before being thrown into this on my own! So, it is no surprise that I made my first med error very early on.) 

I have had patients complain about me (2, to be exact)... which is hurtful to my ego/confidence.  I am still so slow - that their complaints had to do with me not getting their meds to them fast enough.  I've never been complained about at work or during school.....so this is so discouraging.  I feel like I'm never going to get the hang of this....and that I'll be stuck working at this place for forever!!!! 

So - imagine the 36 hours of this crap...then being home around a husband and kids that need my attention. It's very draining.  I feel like I never get enough sleep (even though I'm probably getting more than when I was in school).  I'm short-tempered and ornery a lot. My poor kids (and hubby). 

It is hard to be the "bread-winner" of the family while also being the mom.  I have a HUGE respect for single moms now (and so grateful that I have a hubby at home helping).  I know this was the right move for our family....but man, it's so much harder than I thought it would be!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ARGH!

Only update I have right now: 
I
STILL
DON'T
HAVE
A
JOB
!!!!!!!!!!!!
   This is causing all sorts of issues with my self-esteem/self-confidence
I am in a major "funk" right now.
 That is all.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Craft Night

I suppose I'd heard of Mod Podge before...but never really questioned what it was for.  I am NOT a crafty person.  Sure, I can decorate a cake to look pretty good...but when it comes to artsy crafts - I'm like a kindergartner with finger paints.  If I don't have something to look at, it's even worse! 

A few ladies in my ward started a craft night once a month.  They slowly started letting more people know about it.  I went for the first time last month (and second time, tonight).  They do the crafts from Windmill Lettering and so we just order the vinyl and one lady's husband cuts all the wood (then we pay her after she totals up all the costs).  Sounds simple enough, right?  I mean, the crafts are all done on the website - I could just copy it.  But... they require scrapbook paper and mod podge.  This is something I haven't managed to master yet.  My paper bubbles and rips and I get sticky finger prints all over the craft!  It's impossible to get it to look right!! 

But - for what they're worth....I'm pretty proud of myself for getting out and "socializing" more while also making holiday decorations (which, other than Christmas, I am sorely lacking). So.....here are my latest projects (flaws and all)!!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fishy Friends

I'm not a huge fan of pets.  Animals in general are fine - I have nothing against them.  But the thought of having them in my home and having to take care of them is equivalent to having a cavity filled.  Not fun!

However - I thought some fish in my trifle dish (haha!) would be a nice addition to our 8th anniversary murder mystery dinner with a carribean theme.  So, I bought three goldfish - hoping they'd just survive until the party was over! 

It's been 3 weeks. 

They're still alive.

I keep thinking any day now they will be floaters... but nooooo! They've apparently decided to stick around and be our fishy friends!

So, without further introduction, here are our pets (ack! just the word makes me twitch!):
 Finally got around to naming them this weekend: meet Shrek (he's the big one), Fiona and Jose.  (I love in the movie Shrek II - when they get home from their honeymoon, Donkey says he's been taking care of their house for them.  Shrek says "Like sorting the mail and watering the plants"...and Donkey says "Yeah! And feeding the fish!" Shrek: "I don't HAVE any fish!" Donkey:  "You do now! I call that one Shrek and the other Fiona!"  - and the fish can be seen floating in the bowl. hahahaha!!  But I had a third fish too - so my nephew suggested Jose as his name! Worked for me!)
 They don't like me - so they hide if I get near. See the evil eye he's giving me??
Even when I feed them - they rush up to the top, grab the food and race back down to hide - as if they think I'm going to catch 'em and fry 'em up to eat!

Hope no one needs me to make Trifle any time soon! ;o)