Monday, September 5, 2016

Leo's Birth Story

We were so happy to find out that I was pregnant in the beginning of December. My period was about a week late, but that wasn’t unusual for me because of the PCOS. I normally didn’t think anything of it, but I decided to take a pregnancy test just to see. I remember being in shock when the test came out positive! I was going to tell Matt in a cute way an hour or two later, but he woke up from his nap early and found the test in the bathroom on his own! He yelled, “Baby, are you pregnant?!” and I said yes and remember seeing the hugest smile on his face.

My pregnancy went pretty well despite a lot of stressful life events during that time. I only threw up twice, and both of those instances were because of food poisoning. The biggest symptoms in the first trimester were constant nausea and just utter exhaustion. I remember coming home from work and just laying on the couch all night until it was time to go to bed. 

In the second trimester, we stayed with my sister for about a month after moving back home to Utah. We were waiting for our renters to move out of our house. This is when the pregnancy insomnia started. Other than that, I felt really good during the second trimester. I loved seeing my belly get bigger and feeling him kick for the first time.

In the third trimester I started working full-time again at Boostability. I got HUGE and remember being hot all the time. I didn’t sleep well, but I kept busy with work and getting ready for the baby. His kicks got way stronger and more frequent, and I loved it. 

Overall, I was in good spirits my whole pregnancy and just really happy to be pregnant. Matt was really supportive and understanding and let me complain to him about my weird symptoms. We were both so excited to be having a baby. 

Around 36 weeks, the doctor told us the baby might be really big (he used the term “Michelin baby” haha). I started preparing for the possibility of early induction and a probably c-section. Each week at our appointment, Dr. McCarter just kept saying, “We’ll see how things go next week”. We had a lot of extra ultrasounds to see the baby’s size. At 38 weeks, he sent me to a high-risk doctor at the hospital who cleared me for induction at 39 weeks. Because I have PCOS and am on Metformin, a drug used by diabetes patients to regulate blood sugar, she said my GD test results could have been skewed. So she was going to treat me like a patient with GD, which meant it would be safer to have Leo out of me at 39 weeks than inside for another week or two. 

I was happy to get induced because I was SO done with being pregnant. I was so so huge and really uncomfortable and really done with working full-time at that point. 

We went in to the hospital at 39 weeks (6am on August 15th). Matt’s mom met us there and we checked in to our room. My doctor never put in an order for a specific drug, so we had to wait until 9am to get pitocin. The Olympics were on so we watched a lot of that. I wanted to go natural for as long as possible, just to see what it felt like and if I could handle it or not. I was only dilated to a 1 when I got induced, so maybe going natural wasn’t the smartest idea, but I’m glad I did it. I was having irregular little contractions for about 4 hours. They didn’t really hurt at all. My sister and mom came and we actually all started playing Phase 10! Then the dr came in to break my water and it was game over after that. I still remember how weird it felt to have my water broken without an epidural. I actually started laughing because it felt so strange (in between cries and yelps). 

Once my water broke my contractions meant business. They got really regular and very painful. Matt sat by my hospital bed and held my hand the whole time. After about 4 hours of regular contractions and a lot of pain, it got so unbearable that I started crying. I asked for an epidural even though I was scared of the side effects. I just couldn’t handle the pain any longer. Once I got the epidural, I felt so good. I’m glad I went in to my birth with an open mind about my options. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to do a natural birth. And I’m glad I didn’t, because I think it would have been really traumatic for me. I was only at a 2 when I got the epidural, so going to a 10 and then pushing naturally would have been unfathomable. 

I remember the nurse telling me I had to lay on my side during labor, which was pretty uncomfortable. She noticed the baby’s heart rate when down when I laid on my right side, so she kept having me switch back to my left side. She was so calm about it, but after the birth I realized it was because the baby’s cord was wrapped around his neck and he wasn’t getting oxygen. They had me on oxygen for a few hours, but I was as calm as could be. I think a big reason for this was because Matt gave me a blessing the night before that our birth experience would be calm and peaceful, and that I would be calm, too. 

They also put me on antibiotics because I had a fever. After the birth, I was told it was because my amniotic fluid was infected. I think they kept a few of these things from me to keep me calm, and I’m glad they did. Someone else might have wanted to know in the moment, but I’m happy I was taken care of and didn’t have to worry about the baby’s cord or an infection the whole birth.

When I got to a 10, it was about 11-11:30 at night. The nurse had me start pushing, and Matt, my mom and Mary all took turns holding my legs up while I pushed. I remember being so out of breath during pushing because they counted sooooo slow to 10 every time! We weren’t seeing a lot of progress, and I ended up pushing for 3.5 hours! The baby’s head was so big that it got stuck. And he was also face up. 3 weeks later and he still has a little ridge on the top of his head where he was stuck for an hour or two. I remember being really thirsty and asking for ice chips a lot. And HUNGRY. I was so hungry. After about an hour of pushing, I got so tired that I started falling asleep between every contraction. They had given me antibiotics (that I was allergic to!) and Benadryl to prevent an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, so I think that made me even more sleepy. I remember falling asleep, then being woken up to push, pushing really hard 3 times every contraction, then falling immediately back to sleep again. Nobody talked during the breaks. I was so out of it and so tired. 

I was also getting discouraged that I was pushing for so long. But I remember the doctor telling me a few weeks earlier that if I pushed too long or the baby seemed too big to fit through my birth canal that I could end up having a c-section. The thought of a c-section terrified me. Hello, major surgery while you’re AWAKE? I can’t even barely handle getting fillings because it freaks me out, so a c-section was just out of the question for me. That’s what got me through all that labor. I was bound and determined to avoid a c-section if I could help it. I’m so happy the doctor was determined to avoid a c-section, too. I pushed so hard for so long…every push that the baby didn’t come out, I got more and more scared that I’d have to go under the knife. So my pushed towards the end got really fierce. I mean like, grunting and shaking and probably the most intense faces you could possibly imagine. Everybody in the room cheered me on during the contractions and it was so nice to have so much support. I’m really glad that both of our moms were there. Matt was so so helpful, too. 

One last push and the baby came out. He was face up, which is another reason why I was in labor for so long. When he came out he didn’t really cry, so they took him to the warmer for evaluation before I got to hold him. After a few minutes, they gave him to me for a few seconds and then took him away again. He was pretty lethargic and floppy. Looking back, it was probably because he was so tired from the birth and on Benadryl! He ended up being fine. I fell asleep after this but I think they might have taken him to the nursery for evaluation. But holding him for the first time was so cool! He was so little and had so much dark hair. I was so relieved that it was over, and so proud of myself for growing and delivering a human being out of my body. That feeling of pride and accomplishment was amazing. 

I remember Leo sleeping for most of the first night. He only woke up once to breastfeed. It seemed a bit weird to me but the nurses didn’t seem to be bothered by it, so I didn’t think much more of it. He seemed to be eating ok, even though he wasn’t latching too well and was jaundiced. But a couple days after taking him home, we realized something was wrong. He kept Matt up two nights in a row all night just crying. He was normally a very good-natured baby, but he wasn’t pooping or sleeping so I took him to the doctor. It turns out that he lost 1.5 lbs in the first 4 days of life. He was dehydrated. Even though I wanted to exclusively breastfeed so bad, we had to start supplementing with formula. I started pumping and realized that I had almost no milk whatsoever. He was crying and fussy because he wasn’t getting any milk at all. Once we started giving him formula, he went back to his good-natured self and his jaundice went away. He also started sleeping again. 

I looked it up and realized that my milk never came in because of my PCOS. The hormone imbalance means my body didn’t tell itself to make milk. I had some tears over it because I really wanted to feed my baby naturally. And honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the opinions of people when they found out I stopped breastfeeding. But it’s a myth that all women can breastfeed. That’s why wet nurses were a thing. 

I tried pumping a lot. I tried to get him to latch a lot. I tried supplements. I tried drinking a ton of water. I did my best. My body just didn’t make any milk. Honestly it sucks to find out that my body can’t do ANOTHER thing like it’s supposed to. But on the bright side, this means that Matt can help me feed him and I know for sure that Leo is growing properly and getting enough nourishment. In our situation, fed is best. And our pediatrician got us onto this formula study so we get 4 months of free organic formula, which is a huge blessing considering how expensive it is.

At 3 weeks old, Leo is a very easy baby. He cries when he’s hungry or has a dirty diaper. He sleeps a lot. He makes crazy noises when he’s eating. His hair is the most precious thing ever. He’s the snuggliest. I love all of his facial expressions, and especially his long, floppy legs and arms. I love being his momma. 
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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Things That Helped Me Lose 45 Lbs

When I look in the mirror I still see weight that needs to be lost. I compare myself to the skinniest version of myself, which was in high school. That's not fair to anyone. Who the hell expects to have the same priorities, goals and lifestyle of a 16 year old? That's cray, Kellie. 27 is way better than 16, anyway. 

I have to remind myself that 45 lbs lost is a big deal. I don't claim to be perfect. You have to do what's right for you, but here's what has helped me lose it.

Supplements - After researching about all the hormone imbalances and vitamin deficiencies that come with having PCOS, I started taking hella supplements. Like...a lot of supplements, guys. I know supplements don't really make up for a crappy diet, so I also try to eat healthier. But they have really made me feel more energetic, mentally sound and healthy. For PCOS, I take vitamin D, magnesium, a multivitamin, a probiotic, cinnamon, turmeric, vitex, and fish oil. And metformin. 

Therapy - I don't actually go to therapy. Maybe I should. Maybe everyone should. But talking about my weight issues on FB, on this blog, and with friends/family has really helped me deal with the underlying issues behind my weight. I don't talk about it all the time, but it's nice to write in the blog. People who care ask me about it in person and that's really nice. 

Yoga/Meditation - I lost most of the weight running, to be honest. But yoga teaches you to set intentions for the day (in my case, the week). That little ritual has helped me stay focused on my goal, even when my running has waned. Plus, it's a great time to unwind, meditate, and strengthen your body. Yoga = love, guys. Try it. Plus you get to lay still for like 5 minutes at the end. Heller??? Best workout ever.

Running - Yup. You have to put in the miles. Sorry. But the endorphins? Amazing. 

Counting Calories - I don't fully believe that calories in/calories out stuff is 100% the reason behind weight loss. But it's a big deal. Eat good calories, and burn more than you eat. 

The Snap - I knew I had to lose weight a long time ago. But I really had to have what I call The Snap happen in my brain. I had to snap into that place where I was really, really ready to change. If your head's not in the game, you're not going to lose any weight (or keep it off). How do you get The Snap? You have to have a really really good reason to change, and an understanding that you can do it. And then you have to put in the work and give yourself some slack when you mess up. And then you keep going. My reason? To get pregnant. 

Love - Love for myself. Love for my future. Love for my husband. Love for my body. Love for my future kids. Love also means having compassion on yourself when you slip. And self-care.

What helps you stay healthy?

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Conquering the Beast

I haven't written in a while because life has honestly just been really hard. No one really likes to read a blog about all my hard things, and I blog to process emotions. But whatever. You can't just skim over hard things, right? Feel your feels! So I felt my feels. Ready for some good news?

Anyway, in the past couple of months life has gotten better here in Washington. I got a cool job as an art instructor and a marketing coordinator at Museo Art Academy in Issaquah. Matt likes his job but he is working hard to move up so he can fulfill his dream of running a high-end fishing lodge. I love my calling in Young Women and I have made some friends in the ward. I'm learning how to sew clothes. My Etsy shop has kinda waned because #motivation but it'll be back sometime, I'm sure. We got another car which has helped immensely. My mental/emotional state is much better now that I have friends/a calling/my dream job. Life is still stressful, but things are definitely looking up and I know one day we'll look back on 2015 with gratitude at what it taught us.

For some reason, when I decided to lose weight so I could get pregnant, I was on this crazy pumped up kick and I just got it done. I wasn't really sad about it all...I was motivated. My motivation has waned since we moved here. But somehow I've managed to lose another 8ish lbs since we moved without much work on my part. I do yoga once a week sometimes and I walk the dogs, but I haven't really been running, using my FitBit or even counting calories. I guess the healthy lifestyle has become a bit more ingrained and it takes less work to eat less food, which was my big problem.

I'm officially down 45 lbs, which I can't believe. All of my long-term supporters will remember that last October, I vowed to lose 70 lbs by January 1, 2016!!! OMG how thankful I am that God has given me the motivation to lose 45. But another 25 isn't happening in the next two weeks haha. I'm grateful for where I've come to, especially considering the year we've had, and the last 25 will just have to come in their own time. My goal is to just not gain it all back. 

To anyone reading this who feels like they're staring down a beast, please know from my own personal witness that you can do hard things. You can meet a seemingly insurmountable foe, look it straight in the eyes and say, "I can conquer you. And I will." And then just go out and do it. You can do hard things. If I can lose 45 lbs in 14 months, you can face your beast, too. It'll take a lot of self-reflection, humility, humor, prayer and work. And often, the beast is yourself. But you can do it.

Cheers to 45 lbs. I celebrated with Chipotle haha. 
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Friday, October 23, 2015

The Glass

Every now and again I remember that I love writing on this blog. I like having a safe space to talk about my life and figure out my shit. I guess that's why I always come back to it when I have something to work out in my mind.

Today I need to process the mess that is the last 6 months of my life.

Ever since we set out to move to Alaska, it feels like life has kinda gone out of its way to throw us off course. We felt really good about moving there, and then Matt's lung collapsed. We felt really good about moving home to CA to recover and be with family, but it took a lot of money on our family members' parts to get us home. Being home was actually really nice for me, but I know Matt had a very hard time not working.

And then we decided to move to Washington, because Matt found a job that could move him towards someday running a high-end fishing lodge. I felt VERY unsure about it and cried and cried when he got the job. I wanted to stay home with my mommy and daddy and be taken care of and recover from the Alaska fiasco. But we went to the temple and I had this confirmation that we had people to help in Washington, so off we went. I specifically had this little vision of an old woman who needed my help. I'm still trying to figure that out.

So we moved here. And ever since, it seems like bad thing after bad thing has happened. Matt didn't get paid for a while so we literally had to scrape pennies together to pay the first month of rent. My freelance writing work became spotty, but our rent went up and hospital bills and our RV payment just kept coming. We are like dirt poor right now and now I just got laid off from my job. I don't know how we're going to pay rent or bills or get out of debt. It feels like a non-stop stream of wave after wave crashing down on us.

Not to mention, when we got here I went full freelance from home and became EXTREMELY lonely. I started having panic attacks and anxiety and depression and just this utter sense of hopelessness about why we're here.

So the glass feels very half-empty right now.

But then I remembered all the blessing that have come to us in the last 6 months. When Matt's lung collapsed, my parents stepped in and helped us get back home. My uncle dropped everything he was doing and flew to Alaska to drive me home. He is an adept mechanic and somehow got the RV home in one piece, though limping. Being home helped me grow closer to my parents and family. I got to drive up the coast of California with my mom, a dream that I've had for over a decade.

Now that we're here, I get to go on beautiful hikes weekly that make me appreciate the beauty of the earth and push my body. My anxiety and panic attacks have gone away. My faith has been strengthened as we always seem to get just enough money to make it another day. Matt has a top-secret lead on an amazing job opportunity at his company that could help him get his dream job within 3 years if he plays his cards right. He's already in line to get a promotion and a raise next month. He loves his job, and that's fun to watch.

Not having a car made me ask for a ride to get to sewing class, and I got to tell my fertility story to my bishop's wife who was very understanding. I needed to get it out. I got to serve by helping make quilts for sick people. Some family members helped us buy a second car, so I no longer feel stranded and alone when Matt goes to work. I got called to Young Women's (a calling I felt prompted would come) and it has helped me serve and feel more connected and less lonely. The girls and presidency members are so amazing and it's only been one week.

We got to go up to Samish Island to stay with Matt's sister's wife's parents and they are amazing and it feels nice to know people here.

Not to mention, the only other LDS couple living in our entire apartment complex is the only other couple in the ward that doesn't have kids just like us. And they're amazing and awesome and Matt likes the husband and I can tell we're going to be great friends. They were in Utah before and we have like...a crazy, eery, bizarre amount of things in common.

And the best thing of all, Matt's and my relationship has grown stronger than ever. I feel like we are more respectful to each other, bicker less, and are more unified and communicative about things. I tend to take out my frustrations in life on the people I love the most, but I am learning to deal with it in other ways, and my marriage is stronger because of it.

So when I look at it that way, the glass doesn't feel half empty anymore. The glass feels refillable.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Joy of the Gospel

General Conference was amazing for me this time around. I especially loved the Saturday Morning session. I admittedly don't always get so much out of it. Usually I fall asleep or just am not in the right mindset to receive revelation. But this time it's different, I think because I did (most of) the 40 Day Conference Challenge where you watch a talk every day leading up to this weekend. Not to mention, I have been going through a hard time, and that usually makes me more tender and willing to improve myself. I loved the gathering of the Church and listening to talks that can help me improve myself and teach me about Christ.

Almost immediately after the last session ended, someone I love very deeply posted something on Facebook saying that our church is a cult and that everyone who belongs to it is brainwashed. This makes me so sad, because the LDS Church has been a great source of peace and comfort to me.

I, like anybody else, have questions and sore points. I actually had a few while listening to Conference this time. (Like, why does it always seem like women are lauded as the strong but silent partners who stand behind great men? Why can't we simply be the great women, period, who stand alone from men sometimes?) Anyway, it makes me sad when people I love only find hurt and confusion out of the Church.

Maybe they don't feel like there's a place for them, which I totally understand. At the moment I don't really feel like there's a clear place for me as a married but childless woman. But I remain active because I know that at the core of the Church are the teachings of Christ, and there's a place for everyone at Christ's feet. While at times the culture of the Church annoys and saddens me, I have a firm testimony of the GOSPEL of the Church. And that's what truly gives me joy.

I know I can never really say anything to convince loved ones to come back to the Church. They are on their own journey and have to grapple with issues inside themselves. But the song lyric, "They who reject this glad message will never such happiness know" makes me want to tell everyone I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can make you HAPPY! It involves a lot of work and soul searching, plus some humility and consistent habits. But it makes life on Earth and our existence as humans make absolute sense. It gives me a purpose and a goal to constantly strive to be more like Christ. "The healing and strengthening power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement is for all of us who will ask."

I don't really have a conclusion to all of these thoughts. I just had to get them out before I forgot them. I hope anyone reading this who doesn't know about the Church (or does and has problems with it) realizes that I love you just the same. I try to never judge people on different life paths, because I know that we all have our own lives to lead. I am certainly the least perfect person I know. And my life is crazy NOT perfect. But being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does give me joy, peace, comfort, a purpose, a sense of community, knowledge, pride, love and hope. And that's all I can really ask for right now.

And because these are all so good, here's a bunch of quotes from this weekend!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm feeling better lately. The extreme bout of sadness and anxiety seems to have passed. I'm not taking the medication anymore, unless I feel like I really need it. I do still feel lonely, but I've experienced a lot of tender mercies this week. I'm trying to give myself some patience about not knowing anyone's completely foolish to move somewhere and expect to make friends so fast.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The Calm app on my phone is so life-changing. I am so alone with my thoughts all day that I've become almost scared of old wounds that could arise, so I try to distract myself, stay busy, and have a checklist of tasks to get done. When Matt comes home from his real job, I find myself feeling the need to qualify my time with him. Not because of anything he expects of me, but because of what I expect from myself. It's good to be busy, but I think I need to step away from the mindset that busier equals happier. The app gives me a safe space to allow thoughts to come to me without judging them.

I also find myself wondering how to fill all this time I created in my life. I'm the one who wanted to go freelance so I could be less stressed. And now that I have this time I'm freaking out at all the possibilities. I want to have a perfect day every day. I guess I'm still so task and reward oriented that I can't step away from needing to feel productive (which is what working full-time achieved.)

I'm trying to shift my mindset to the things that really matter to me at the moment, which are self care, connection with God, and my relationships with people.

So instead of telling you what I did today, here are the important things that really happened.

I met an Italian woman named Alessandra and her huge St Bernard named Romeo while on a hike. I connected with her about her country and feeling homesick. I hope I see her again.

I met women in my ward at a stake quilting activity. Decided to spend some of this free time volunteering here. Took home some fabric to cut.

I meditated and sent out positive vibes into the universe, then realized that I am a perfectionist. Gotta work on that.

I read a conference talk in line at the post office instead of feeling annoyed.

I let myself not work today so I could spend time with Matt on his day off.

I ate a ****-ton of food today (ok, all week) but I'm making myself not judge it. I've had a hard week, and I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Seriously, what are days for? What is my purpose hereeeeeeee????????? I guess I'll spend my time figuring that out, too.

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