Finding Balance

So I will be 28 weeks along tomorrow! I am officially in my third trimester – home stretch!

third-trimester

It’s becoming clearer to me by the day (by the minute!) that I need to take care of myself first and foremost. Because right now, caring for myself and my baby are one in the same.

But there are so many things happening so quickly in the world around us. It is hard not to want to simultaneously get outraged at ALL of it, and bury my head in the sand and ignore it all. I see friends on both extremes. The ones posting constant Facebook updates of what has is happening and how terrible it all is. It’s all happening so fast that there’s a new article, meme, or breaking news livestream at least every thirty minutes. It’s exhausting.

And then there’s the friends who are are asking when we can all go back to just posting cat videos and pictures of our food. Not wanting to address any of it.

I believe in  balance. I know I cannot get outraged about every issue – there are just too many of them. I am happy to show my support in many ways to many issues, but I cannot show up to every march and every rally.

So here are the things I am doing:

  • Calling or Emailing my Senators
    • it only takes five minutes to let your opinion be known
    • The staffers taking calls are usually polite and they have to pass your views onto the senators (even if it’s just tallying yays and nays on an issue)
    • I feel like I can speak up about a lot more issues if I restrict myself to doing just this one thing for most of the issues I am hearing about.
  • Re-posting information I find helpful and thorough on social media
    • I know this isn’t always helpful, I have said before that I am mostly preaching to the choir. Though I do have some friends with different views so perhaps I am reaching them in a small way
    • I discriminate which things I will share. Only things from trusted sources, nothing click-bait-y or extreme.
  • Commenting with Caution
    • If I feel someone genuinely wants to engage in a discussion, I am willing to oblige.
    • But only on topics I feel knowledgeable about! (this is key, don’t get into something unless you really know what you are talking about!)
    • If it turns petty I tune out. No reason to keep arguing with someone for the sake of arguing. That only drives a further wedge.
  • Get Educated
    • You cannot be an expert on all things, and that’s okay! If you feel strongly about an issue that is happening, learn more about that issue!
      • This goes in hand with the above, if you care about something and want to engage in conversation about it – learn all you can!
    • Focus on one or two issues that really hit home for you and try to learn as much as you can about them and how people are affected.
    • Do not feel guilty that you do not care about the same issues as other people. Do not let other people make you feel guilty for not latching onto their issues, and don’t get mad at others for having their own concerns. 
      • Change can take a really long time. You will burn out, we will all burn out, if we all try to take on every issue that comes across our Facebook feed. Let some of them go. Have faith that good, hard working people will stand up.
  • Marches and Rallies
    • Certain subjects do strike a chord with me more than others. For those issues I truly connect with, I think showing up in numbers does make a great impact. If I tried to go to them all, I would probably be burying my head in the sand already with exhaustion. Pick your battles. There’s going to be a lot, and you’re going to need to rested and prepared!

REMEMBER WE ARE ALL HUMANS. I am seeing friends post things on Facebook like: “Okay friends who supported Trump, is this really what you wanted? How can you keep supporting him after ‘X’ (chose anything he’s done in the last two weeks).” It is tempting to call people out and hold them accountable. The problem is, people who voted for Trump did so for a wide range of reasons. They may not agree with what he has been doing, but cognitive dissonance is a real thing. They may be struggling with their feelings about some of the things that are happening and if we call them out and ask them to defend Trump’s executive orders and tweets and press conferences before they’ve had a chance to REALLY think about it, you can bet that they will justify his actions. They will find some reason why what he is doing is okay, because we are all human, and we all defend the choices we make when we are pushed up against a wall.

I think the best strategy is to approach them with compassion. This is hard. But give them the space and the safety to come to their own conclusions about what is happening. Some will continue to defend everything he is doing, they will refuse to admit that anything he is doing is wrong and they will insist that liberals are overreacting. However, there will be others who say ‘this isn’t what I wanted’ and will slowly come around to understanding the potential damage of the way he is conducting business. But we cannot be tempted to force this view. We must stop ourselves from “I told you so’s!” Shaming and blaming are not how we move forward with progress.

If we get enraged by every issue. If we pick a fight with everyone with a differing view from our own. If we try to re-post every article and meme and purport to be experts on all topics. If we attend every rally and march. We will burn out. We will not be effective catalysts of change.

Everyone has different thresholds. Find your own balance.

What are some of the ways you find balance in your lives? 

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Women’s March

Last weekend we witnessed the incredible coming together of millions of people all over the world to march for their voices to be heard. It was called the women’s march, but (unlike the good ole boys clubs of the past) all were welcome and included in this record breaking event.

march

What started as a march for women’s rights (already a broad topic in and of itself) quickly morphed to include ANY man, woman or child who felt that their voices were not being heard, that their government was not listening and did not care about them. This was a march to ‘take the power back.’ A march to remind our politicians, and our newly instated president, that they work for US. WE are in charge!

I have spent the last few weeks since the election trying to muster motivation to take charge and fight for change, only to actually feel powerless and silenced. I live in a big(ish) city that definitely leans liberal, as most cities do, but my state as a whole is about as conservative as they come. Sure, I shared plenty of articles and information on my Facebook, but let’s be honest – that’s probably just preaching to the crowd. My like-minded friends would like and share my posts and I, in return, would like and share theirs. Just a big circle jerk. But I couldn’t fathom any action that I could do that would actually make any difference.

But that changed a bit on Saturday with witnessing just how many people are feeling the same way I am. Luckily there were enough people who did feel like they could make a difference by organizing and energizing this movement. They didn’t feel powerless or silences, and I am so thankful they didn’t!

It doesn’t matter that we aren’t all rallying behind the same exact issue. What matters is that all of us – SO MANY OF US – are feeling unheard, unrepresented. 

It was invigorating! It was inspiring!

It was just what I needed to buckle down and say NO MORE. No more silence from me. It is too important to our future, to my daughter’s future, that I don’t just bury my head in the sand. Time to get involved.

So I signed up on the Women’s March 10 Actions in 100 Days email list. Anyone interested should do the same. The first action is to write a letter to your senators about your concerns that aren’t being heard. They have a template you can print off if you’d like.

I also came across this helpful article if you are shy about calling your representatives.

Since this is a private blog, I have been reluctant to share photos. But I am pretty sure no one in my real life has stumbled on this blog yet, so here I am with a bump photo from Sunday.

26-weeks

I haven’t really delved into any of the specific topics of #whyImarch, but this post is getting lengthy as it is. In the future, in addition to pregnancy and baby updates, you can expect me to weigh in on various topics I care about.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have, or please comment below on what issues are of concern to you right now! I would love to hear from you 

Blogger Award!

OH GOODNESS ME! Today I was nominated for a Blogger Award by this tiny blue house! For which I feel VERY honored. I have not been in this blogging game very long, so to be nominated really means a lot to me! I have loved keeping up with this tiny blue house, which is all about living a frugal, minimalist, humble life with her husband and daughter. She’s also been through some terrible losses and her strength really shows in her genuine, thoughtful blog posts.

Being nominated has also motivated me to dig my heels in and post. Last week I caught a terrible cold, and being 26 weeks pregnant with a head cold is pretty much the worst thing ever. I am past the worst of it, so I needed a little push to get myself to post a new blog update. Not that there isn’t plenty I want to say, I just haven’t found the words yet. Stay tuned for some thoughts on the happenings last weekend and the women’s march!

 

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have mentioned them and provide the link to the post you created.

blogger-recognition-award

How my blog started:

I’ve touched on this subject here and there in my blog posts, but the big reason I started a blog is that I was inspired by someone else’s blog! I started a blog was to share my infertility story. Infertility is awful and frustrating and I felt so discouraged and out of options other than IVF. Then I read someone’s blog and it gave me hope. It actually encouraged me to try a procedure that my doctor had said would probably not help me. So I went to a different doctor who thought we should give it a try, and voila! I got pregnant immediately! I felt that I needed to share my experience just in case there was one other person out there like me who felt that they were out of options. Just in case they stumbled on my experience and it gave them some hope and helped them achieve pregnancy. Now I am due with my first baby at the end of April, and so my blog is morphing a bit from the experience of trying to get pregnant, to now being pregnant, and eventually my adventures in motherhood. I am going through a lot of life changes and it’s fun to share those and find others who have gone before me to derive some knowledge from.

A couple of pieces of advice:

  1. Be Genuine. Sometime I read a blog post and I can really tell that the person is writing from the heart. Those are the posts I love most. They aren’t shying away from feelings or trying to appeal to too many people with differing views. They are just true to themselves and what they want to say. This helps your readers really feel connected to you and want to get to know you better.
  2. Read and Comment on Other Blogs. As a new blogger I get really excited when people ‘like’ or comment on a post I have written. It always makes me want to see who they are and what they are blogging about. This is how I’ve stumbled on some of my favorite blogs. It can also help inspire your writing to see what other people are saying.

My nominations:

Here are some of the blogs I follow, and links to a blog post of theirs that I enjoyed. I hope you will read through and find joy in them too!

 

A Big THANK YOU to anyone out there reading. Take a minute to check out these other blogs and drop me a comment on what you think! 

99 Days!

So I have been posting past experiences and not much of the ‘what is happening right now’ stuff. I am trying to get caught up to the now, but wanted to give readers some background to my journey. BUT today I looked at my pregnancy app. I don’t look at it every day, but I just happened to open it this morning at it said…

99-days

 

99 days to birth! I am down to double digits! I am getting more nervous and excited every day. I just faxed my FMLA leave request information to the HR department at my work. Having a baby as a full-time employee is a bit complicated. I am lucky enough to be employed by an employer who offers FMLA for maternity leave. I know that some smaller companies don’t have to. I am also lucky that I have accrued a lot of sick and vacation pay to help cover my loss of income while I am out. I will run out of it before I am back from leave, but it’s good to know I wont be going three months without pay. I can’t imagine what other women have to go through who don’t have the same options as me. It’s hard enough with support from your work.

Here’s the list of things to do now, and while on maternity leave, as it pertains to work:

NOW

  • Tell your supervisor!
  • Fill out FMLA request form and return to HR department with supervisor signature
  • Determine how much sick and vacation time you have available so you can take it while on FMLA
    • note: if you run out of your accumulated paid leave, the remainder of your leave will be unpaid. Because you don’t have money on paychecks you will not be able to make any paycheck reduction payments (so any bills that are paid directly from your check) – so plan ahead for that! This includes your health insurance. You will not lose your health insurance, but any back payments will be taken all at once when you return, so you may be paying two or three times as much on your first paycheck back. Plan for that too!)
  • Find out if your insurance payments will change by switching to a family plan, and by how much. Time to start budgeting for these changes!

WHILE ON MATERNITY LEAVE

  • As soon as she is born, get paperwork from hospital and forward it to HR department and let them know you are starting your maternity leave
  • Apply for a ‘life changing event’ through your insurance to switch to a family plan and/or add your new baby. It may take a bit to process but they will back-cover to the date of birth for any appointments for the baby you may have while you are processing everything.
  • You  may also want to enroll in a flexible spending account through your work. This will allow you to put aside tax-free money every month for child care expenses. They provide you with a ‘debit card’ of sorts that draws directly from your account. Some day care facilities will accept payment this way. If you chose not to do a flexible spending, you can apply for a tax refund at the end of the year. It just depends on if you’d rather have that savings along the way, or get a refund once a year. I haven’t decided which I will do yet.

 

I am sure there are more things I am forgetting. It feels a bit overwhelming at times, but I am sure it will all come together.

Mom’s who’ve been through this before… What am I missing? How was your experience handling all the paperwork while adjusting to a new baby?

Telling The Family

October 2016

There’s a reason this is a private blog that I haven’t told any family or friends about. I don’t want the thought of family or friends reading this to hinder my honesty and openness. So here’s what happened when I told my mother I was pregnant.

First I will briefly say that telling Beau’s family was easy. We shared the news at our nephew’s 7th birthday party because everyone was there. We didn’t want to steal the spotlight so we didn’t do any big announcement thing, we just showed his mom a picture of the first ultrasound on our phones while the kids were running around playing and Beau’s parents and brothers and sister were hanging around chatting. They were all very kind and excited for us.

My family is a completely different situation. I think I’ve already mentioned that I have a sordid relationship with my mom. One that I went to therapy because of for a number of years. Our relationship is better, but far from perfect. I still don’t know what I am going to get from her. BUT my relationship with my brother is very good. We are very close even though he lives a few states away. So one GREAT thing about the timing of our pregnancy is that my brother and dad had planned a visit in October and it turned out to be a good time for revealing my pregnancy to them in person. Had they not been coming, I probably would have told them sooner, but the chance to tell them in person was too exciting so I chose to wait.

It also gave me the chance to tell my mom and brother at the same time. Had they not been able to be here at the same time, I would have struggled with who to tell first. That may seem strange, but I knew there was potential for my mom to be competitive with getting to hear the news before my brother, but I also feared that if I told her she may tell my brother before I got the chance. Perhaps not, but I didn’t want to risk it and his coming to town made for the perfect solution.

He was bringing his wife and two kids (22 months and 3 months old). So I thought it would be cute to get them shirts that say “I’m going to be a big cousin.” Nothing elaborate but a fun way for them to find out. And it was. They were all surprised and happy and it was going great. Until I was clearing plates from the table and my mom cornered me in the kitchen to ask me if I was going to keep working and what our childcare plans were. This was followed by TELLING me that I didn’t have to go back to work (as if she knows our financial situation) and that I CAN’T leave our child with a stranger (as if I’m just going to put an add on Craigslist or something).

I had to set a boundary immediately before she got any big ideas, so I told her that we would figure it out and I did not want her to be our nanny. Ouch. I hit a sore spot with that one. She sulks back to the table, ignoring me and asking my sister-in-law if she’d be allowed to babysit her children. My poor SIL did not know what conversation I’d just had with my mom and was put in a very awkward situation. Beside the point that being a full-time, all day, everyday nanny is a much different scenario than occasionally babysitting for a few hours, which of course I’d let my mother do.

Ugh. My mother wouldn’t talk to me for two days. She finally made some comment to my brother in front of me about how I didn’t want her babysitting. So I was able to explain that babysitting and being the nanny are different. Once I explained that she’d have to come to my house before 8 am every day and stay until after 5 pm every night (because I wasn’t going to drive my baby all the way to her house when I work 5 minutes away from my own), and that I didn’t want to burn her out with childcare, she changed her tune a bit. She’s been fine since, but man oh man, my mother can be quite a lot to handle. I can only imagine what is going to happen once this baby arrives. Sometimes I am crippled with anxiety.

Anyone else out there whose been through this transition with their mothers that may have some tips? 

 

Morning Sickness

Sept-Nov 2016

Morning sickness is different for everyone. But those who get it know how terrible it can be. For me, it was constant nausea. I didn’t throw up but I was constantly nauseated, 24/7, no relief.

Image result for morning sickness

My first couple of weeks after finding out I was pregnant were strange. I had some boob soreness, but otherwise didn’t “feel” pregnant. This is not uncommon from what I hear. So I planned to go about my life as usual. This baby had other plans. My usual routine is to make a couple of meals on the weekend that Beau and I can eat throughout the week. I love cooking and it helps keep us healthy and on a budget. So I decided to try out a new slow cooker curry recipe. I love curry. At least I thought I loved curry. Then overnight my stomach turned on me. The smell of the curry made me gag. I didn’t even get a chance to eat it once!

It was so bad I had to go outside while my husband ate it. I couldn’t even open the fridge because of the smell of the leftovers. And it wasn’t just the curry. Pretty much any food that had a smell was intolerable. So thus started my diet of crackers, cold cereal, and toast. Bland, white flour, carbs. Not how I had envisioned my pregnancy diet. I had high hopes of eating all organic, naturally healthy foods to have the best health for myself and the new little one growing in my belly. I still cannot completely understand the evolutionary benefits to morning sickness and how they wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy, well-rounded diet. But here’s my best guess:

Back when we all lived in caves and wilderness, life was a lot more stressful and harrowing. We as a species may also have not been able to tell that we were pregnant in that first trimester. Due to our lifestyle and activity, it would seem doubtful that we were tracking our menstrual cycles and would have realized a late period -which is often our first clue nowadays. So perhaps feeling suddenly ill was a good sign to ourselves and our tribes that we might be with child. At the very least, it might have forced us to take it easy and take care of ourselves for those first few weeks until we realized that we were carrying another life around. That is the ONLY thing that makes sense. Being sick may have kept us from putting our lives in the everyday dangers and kept us back at the cave with some of the other more frail members of the tribe to help care for us. The fact that eating made it feel a little better makes sense that we would be encouraged to keep eating and to eat a bit more than normal to keep ourselves nourished for carrying a baby. This is really the only thing that makes sense to me. Otherwise it’s pretty counter intuitive!

Things that helped:

  • Eating a small amount all the time (as mentioned before)
  • Sour things (no idea why, but lemon in my water, sour patch kids, Preggie Pops)
  • Ginger Tea
  • Ginger Chews
  • Being Asleep

Eventually I saw my doctor for a first Pregnancy checkup. I was probably 8 weeks in by that time. Thank goodness my husband was with me. I was under the delusion that because I wasn’t throwing up that my morning sickness was not that bad, so when the doctor asked, I downplayed it. Beau corrected me and told the doctor that I was pretty nauseated even though I wasn’t throwing up, and that I’d barely eat, or even be around, real food. The doctor suggested Diclegis. Thank God for Diclegis. It was a miracle drug for me. Slowly I was able to tolerate more and more foods. I know there are other drugs available as well. If you have morning sickness there are options! Don’t hesitate to tell your doctor. You do not need to suffer!

 

Anyone else out there have tips on dealing with morning sickness?

Transitions

August 2016

I forgot to mention that before I had the laparoscopy, I met with a Naturopath. Like I’ve mentioned previously, I am not one to wait around for things to happen. I wanted to meet with someone who may have alternate insights and suggestions about infertility. She asked me lots and lots of questions and really took her time getting to know me and my medical history. I really appreciated that. One thing that came up that I hadn’t really thought about was that a couple years back I was diagnosed with Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Getting to that diagnosis is a long story for another day. All I will say is that, at the time, I was pretty done with doctors and tests. So when I got the diagnosis I was somewhat relieved to have some answer to my odd symptoms and did the treatment (which was a round of heavy duty antibiotics) and never looked back. I never did any follow up to be sure that this had cleared up and I was done with it.

So the Naturopath suggested I get re-tested for that just to be sure I wasn’t still dealing with it and then we’d go from there. Well, I was a little caught up with my surgery and just wanted to do one thing at a time. So I waited until after the laparoscopy and then scheduled my SIBO test for a month later, August 22nd.

I didn’t give it much thought because I was super busy the beginning of August. I was finishing up my awesome vacation back east to Charleston, and then when we returned we spent a  long weekend at a nearby lake with Beau’s family. Lot’s of R and R.

The week after we finished our lake trip was my birthday week. We didn’t do a big party that week because another one of my friend’s with an August birthday was already having a big bash and I didn’t want to conflict with hers. Which was nice to not have to plan for a bunch of people over to our house or anything big. On my actual birthday Beau and I just went out to dinner and drinks and it was perfect.

Then the weekend rolled around and I knew Saturday night would be full of drinking for my friend’s party, Sunday was recovery day and Monday I had my SIBO test. It occurred to me that I could be pregnant. And if I was, then I wouldn’t be able to take the standard treatment for SIBO if I tested positive, since most antibiotics are a no-no when preggers. I planned to take a test Sunday morning (yes, after my night drinking with friends for birthday celebrations).

So Sunday morning(ish) I woke up and took a test, just like I had done on many other occasions over the last year. I was tired and groggy from the night of drinking, and thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.  Could it be true? Two little lines? Was I REALLY PREGNANT?!?!

I didn’t believe it. I had to go and get Beau. I must have had a look on my face. He asked if I tested, and I said yes. And he asked what it said and I said “I don’t know. I think I might be pregnant. It’s too early in the morning… I can’t tell if I am reading it right. Will you come and look.” He looked. “Oh my God, I think you’re pregnant babe!” was his response. I was a bit in shock, he was ecstatic. I really didn’t think it would happen so soon after the surgery! After all, during my “fertile time” that month I didn’t feel fully healed from the surgery. So many emotions were flooding me I didn’t know what to think. I was happy, scared, nervous, excited, confused. Amazed. This was the beginning of our greatest journey. We officially were transitioned from the TTC part of our journey to the Pregnancy part of our journey!