Infertility Awareness Week

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For so many of us women, we start to dream about our fairy tale lives at a very young age. There will be Prince Charming, a beautiful wedding, and the arrival of a gorgeous, bouncing baby girl or boy to make our family whole. Unfortunately for a large majority of us, that sweet little baby will not come easy.

The National Institutes of Health has discovered that 1 in 6 couples will struggle with infertility. If you have never dealt with the uncertainty and heartbreak that comes with this disease, I will tell you this…There are simply no words to describe it. Whether you have dealt with miscarriage, stillbirth, or simply the inability to conceive, there is no way to explain to someone how you feel. In honor of Resolve.Org’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I offer this post as an ode to all of my fellow warriors in this journey.

You are all beautiful, courageous men and women. I stand beside you and rejoice in your strength. For those of you who have achieved your dreams of a little one after a long and strenuous journey, I have so much gratitude and joy.  If you haven’t yet found your happily ever after, I offer you sweet dreams, lots of luck, and more baby dust that you can imagine.

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Our little girl is truly a miracle that I never thought possible. All of the cards were stacked up against us, but yet here you are. Our lives are so much brighter and more fulfilled because of you, little Hadley. I thank God for you every day.

We’ll Be Missing You, Red.

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Today was a hard day for my family.  We all gathered together and said our final goodbye to my husband’s grandmother, Dorothy.  I wish I had the right words to describe this incredible woman to you all.  She was fierce.  She was funny.  She was sassy.  She was loyal.  And more than anything else…she was loving.

I’ve met very few people in my life that loved and cared for their family and friends with the same type of intensity that Grandma did.  This was a woman who never met a stranger, and would go out of her way to make you feel at ease when you may have felt lost without her.

She had the best jokes, and threw the most amazing get-togethers.  A woman after my own heart, she had such a flair for entertaining.  You never went into her home without being greeted by an adorable arrangement of eats and treats.

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I wish I had the time, or the R-Ratings, to tell you some of the stories!  She was not beneath sharing her snort with Santa, or pinching your husband’s butt when he walked through the door.  If we all had a little bit of her fire, I truly believe this world would be a better place.

Though, I’m grateful that she will no longer be suffering the pains that kept her down in the end, I’m feeling incredibly selfish.  The world has lost quite a lady, but we should all just be thankful we had her at all!

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We love you, Granny and will miss you always.

Cleaning Out the Old

In honor of the new year, my husband and I have been in a mad dash to rid ourselves of the clutter that seems to have overtaken our house.  Isn’t it curious the way that “stuff” just seems to appear?  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a problem with compulsion buys just like most of us, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

That is until I started sorting through our miscellaneous drawers and bins and found a surprising collection of who’s-it’s and what’s-it’s.  For instance, I had seven full sheet sets for our guest bed.  This same bed gets used approximately one week out of each year.  I literally had a set of sheets for every day of that week.  Eek…sounds like a problem.  I’ve got more half-burned candles than I can count, a massive collection of cd’s that were nicely stacked and covered in a pound of dust, and a variety of other unnecessary crap.

I’m calling this our cut-throat cleaning.  No more nostalgia-ridden excuses to keep that old Jewel cd I got back in elementary school.  I’m eliminating like a mad woman, and I’ve got to admit…it feels pretty great!

This is not to say that I haven’t had a moment or two of weakness,  but it’s exhilarating to see my rooms being cleared out.  It feels like I can just breathe.  I never realized how much these random piles of stuff were stressing me out.  There’s still work to be done, and let’s face it, I’m not perfect (those Twilight books I will probably never read again, aren’t going anywhere!)

I feel like this fresh start is exactly what I need in this new year.  Fingers crossed we can keep it going!

How about you?  Any New Year’s Resolution type activities taking place in your home?

Take a Bow, 2015!

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As one year ends, and another is about to begin, I find myself doing my annual reflections.  When I think back at 2015, it’s almost overwhelming how much things have changed.  There have been engagements, weddings, and a multitude of births.  There have been moments of sadness, and there have been moments of happiness so extreme they almost take your breath away.  While I’m so anxious to see what 2016 will bring, it’s almost a little heartbreaking to leave the warm embrace of 2015 behind.

I am so grateful for the experiences of this past year.  Despite its challenging moments, I feel as though I’m coming out of 2015 stronger than I’ve ever been.  The birth of my little girl has become the single most significant moment in my life, and has transformed me into a person I’m so very proud to be.  I’ve always allowed myself to get wrapped up in what other people expect or want from me.  I’ve pushed myself to the back burner on more occasions than I can count and have struggled to figure out who I am, and who I yearn to be.  Welcoming Hadley into this world has showed me how much every second counts.  It has forced me to look at my life and make some difficult, but necessary, decisions that have been beneficial to me and my family.  While we can’t always avoid things that we don’t really want to do, there’s nothing wrong with trying to focus on the things that make us truly happy.

I’m looking forward to bringing my fresh perspective into 2016, and continuing to grow in all aspects of my life.  I’m sure that these upcoming 365 days will bring us even more engagements, weddings, and births.  It’s certain there will be more trials and tribulations, but on a better note, there’s guaranteed to be so many new happy moments.  Despite moving on, I think it’s going to be tough leaving 2015 behind.  It’s definitely going to be a year that sticks with me.

I can’t wait to see where my journey with this blog takes me moving forward.  As our life continues to change, these posts offer me such a beautiful opportunity to connect with all of you.  Ready or not, 2016, here we come!

Wishing you all the happiest of New  Years!

Any favorite 2015 moments or events that will be hard to forget?

The Most Wonderful Time of Year

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I know that this is a few days early, but giving how quickly the Christmas holidays are approaching, I wanted to wish you all an early Merry Christmas.  Like the rest of you, it seems like there are still a million things on my list that are in desperate need of checking twice.  Let’s not get lost in the hustle and bustle though.  Take a few moments to look around and breathe.  This truly is the most wonderful time of year, and there are so many things to look forward to.

In my family, there will be lots of good food, the watching and re-watching of Elf as many times as my husband will allow, and at least one blissful evening spent driving around and looking at lights.  There’s Christmas Eve with Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB Gun, plus some anticipated moments with George Bailey and Clarence.  There are Christmas carols to be sung, desserts to be baked, and several holiday books still waiting too be read. (Apologies for this paragraph not rhyming, in honor of the Christmas spirit, I feel I’ve taken a misstep here!)

So everyone, grab your loved ones close and snuggle in tight.  I’m wishing for a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.

Love, Kristen

 

 

That Whole Giving Birth Thing – Part 2

When we arrived at the hospital and made our way to the special OB Emergency Room where they hide the crazed labor-ridden women, I was informed that I was still sitting tight at 2cm…maybe 2 1/8, if I was lucky.  That was impossible!  I’d been contracting for hours at this point!   The nurse told me that with such little progression, my midwife would more than likely not want to admit me.  She must have seen the terror on my face because she suggested that we walk laps around the hospital courtyard to get things moving.

So we walked.  And walked.   And walked.  I’m not kidding you when I say that my sweet husband and I did laps for almost 3 HOURS straight.  Only stopping for periodic breaks when the nurse would check me, tell me I was still not progressing, and then send us out to walk some more.  Finally, around 3am, after one final check, she gave us the glorious news that I’d made it to 3.  She called my midwife and begged her to admit me.  The midwife said yes!  We picked up my bags and I waltzed (waddled) my butt up to labor and delivery!

After calling our parents to tell them we’d been admitted, I started trying to live out the zen birth I’d been dreaming of.  I fully intended to deliver our little girl sans medicine.  First things first…into the tub I went.  I had put in a special request for a delivery room with one of the big fancy whirlpool tubs.  As soon as the nurse had checked me out, I started pushing to get into the tub.  She filled it up, helped me undress and assisted in lowering me into the water.  I leaned my head back, turned on the jets and felt my labor pains melt away.  That is until the aforementioned nurse came back in and started freaking out that my monitor was off.  She made me leave my super relaxed position and told me I had to sit a certain way.  On my knees, hunched over with my arm hovering out of the water…not exactly the experience I was looking for.  Out of the tub, I went.

I walked around my room, bounced on a birthing ball and huffed essential oils like a feen.  Around 10am, the midwife came in and discovered that I was still hanging out around 3cm.  She decided it was time to break my water and speed things up.  After breaking my water (a lovely experience, by the way…blech!)  she made me get into a warm shower.  She looked defeated and didn’t seem to have much faith in my dilating capabilities.  Before walking out, she warned us that we were in for the long haul.

As I waited for them to get the shower ready, I felt a sudden shift in my contractions.  They’d gone from bearable to a ton of bricks hitting me over and over every two seconds.  They got me into the shower and my poor hubby practically had to hold me up.  In a matter of minutes, I felt compelled to sit down and found myself hanging out in a hospital shower in the fetal position.  For the first time since contractions started, I began to cry.

The nurse told me that I may want to reconsider the epidural.  If I couldn’t handle the pain I was currently in, there was no way I’d make it through the rest of labor. And per that nurse, I still had a LONG way to go. My resolved weakened and I frantically begged for the anesthesiologist.

They prepped me for the epidural and had to keep reminding me to sit still.  The contractions were coming constantly, and were hitting harder and harder each time.  I saw the nurse and anesthesiologist give each other a funny look.  Once the drugs were pumping, I heard one say to the other, “I think you better check her, I think she might be in transition.”  The nurse leaned me back, checked me out and looked up with a shocked expression.  I’d gone from 3 to 9 1/2 in less than an hour…about ten minutes later I was pushing.

In the beginning of my pushes, my midwife gave me the impression that I had no idea what I was doing.  At one point, she even said, “I think you’re forgetting what we’re trying to do here.”  Well that just pissed me off.  I put on the most intense focus face I’ve ever had in my life and pushed like a champ.

I pushed for a little less than an hour, and have never felt more empowered than I did in those moments.  My body felt strong, and I knew that I was completely capable.  When they asked me to take breaks between contractions, it almost pained me.  I felt like I was going against what my body so naturally wanted to do.  Out of nowhere, I felt an excitement taking over the room.  The nurses were breaking down my bed and the midwife was suiting up for the big “catch.” I gave one big push, and from the look of unequivocal love on my husband’s face, I knew our sweet Hadley was here.  The midwife lifted that tiny body up and placed her on my chest.  I felt like a woman possessed.  I bawled like a baby and showered my daughter’s face with kisses.  She was perfection.

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When I think back to my birthing experience, there’s a lot of things I could say.  But if you were to give me a one word allowance to describe my feelings about labor and delivery, there’s only one that seems to fit.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, I’m one of those annoying women…my experience was beautiful.

 

That Whole Giving Birth Thing – Part 1

Both before, and after, I got pregnant, I would often hear mothers talking about how beautiful their birth experiences were.  Really, ladies?  Beautiful?  Perhaps they’d suffered from some sort of post-baby amnesia and forgotten all of the pain that comes with labor and delivery?  That was the only valid explanation since beautiful seems a far stretch in the adjective department.  I mean sure, the final product of the experience was bound to be pretty extraordinary but the path getting there, not so much!  I hated these women…I just knew they were lying to me.  They wanted me to suffer right along with them.  When thinking back at this mindset, however, I must meekly admit my mistake.  I’d been wrong (this rarely happens…just ask my husband!)

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One Week Past My Due Date

It was a Tuesday morning, 10 days past my due date.  My stubborn little girl seemed to have found a nice comfy spot that she was not so willing to leave.  I’d begun mentally preparing myself for the induction that I hadn’t wanted, but was apparently going to need. After another appointment with my OB, he decided to “check me” one last time.  I assumed this was purely for shits and giggles since I hadn’t been making any progress thus far, but I dutifully placed my feet in those stirrups and waited for him to tell me nothing had changed.  Well this particular check was slightly more intense and seemed to take longer than any of the  others had.  Slightly concerned, I began wondering what he was up to.  Once he’d finally finished, he informed me that, I’d dilated to a lovely 2 cm!  I lie there in disbelief and then heard him say, “Oh, and I went ahead and did a membrane sweep today.”  Thanks for the warning doc…that explained the extra lovely examination.

Despite the fact that my doctor insisted the sweep would not put me into labor, I started having some sporadic, but intense, contractions.  Throughout the rest of the day, they would come and go, but I chalked them up to the same Braxton Hicks I’d been experiencing for about a month.  The hubby and I had dinner that night, cleaned up, lounged around, and then climbed into bed.

Around 10pm, my contractions started coming every 7-8 minutes.  I told my hubby, Ryan, to get some sleep; called my mom and told her the same thing.  I had a funny feeling we’d be taking a trip to the hospital early the next morning.  I tried to lay down and was increasingly uncomfortable.  The contractions started getting closer, and before 10:30 they were 1-2 minutes apart.  At this point, Ryan was awake again and insisted that we go to the hospital.  I got up and started calmly walking around the house, putting the last minute things into my bag, while Ryan frantically raced around.  He was looking at me like I was insane and couldn’t quite understand how I was staying so calm.  By about 11, we were in the car and making the 45 minute drive to the hospital…