Saturday, September 1, 2012

Moving blog!!!!!

Due to simple media storage issues with Blogger (Google wants to charge me money for more storage space for photos and video) I have moved my blog to Wordpress (allows a bit more free storage).

Here's the new address:  http://thelifetourist79.wordpress.com/

I'll leave this blog available for awhile but will not be checking/updating it.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Birth...

MY GOODNESS!

This post is shamefully (SHAMEFULLY) overdue!!!!!!!!

So.................a lot happened since my last blog post...

A lot.

We had some amazing baby showers thrown for us, I experienced my first "almost" Mother's day (it's not official until I have the baby right?) and then there was the early arrival of our baby.

LOL!

Official due date was May 31st....but this little one decided May 15th worked better.

It's now 3 MONTHS later and I'm just now getting the chance to sit down and document the experience.

DISCLAIMER:  I'm not leaving anything out...so if you think a birthing story is going to freak you out...stop reading now.  ; )

May 12th:  We have an amazing Baby Olympics themed baby shower at our house.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  Our friends are seriously the best in the world.

May 13th:  We go to my sister-in-law's house for a family Mother's day brunch.  It was fantastic!  As we left...some of the family mentioned that I might have a baby the next time they see me.  I laugh, thinking this is not very likely as most "first" pregnancies tend to go past the due date.

May 14th:  I go to work and feel some Braxton Hicks contractions.  I'm uncomfortable but not overwhelmingly so.  I don't think anything of it...finish up my 8 hours and go home.  That evening Jody and I talk about what labor might be like and whether or not we're ready.  We both mention that we've both been told going into labor is nothing like in the movies.  "It's never quick" they all tell us.  We start naming off our friends that had to be induced because their water did not break naturally, etc.  We watch an episode of Game of Thrones and go to bed at around 10 p.m.

May 15th:

2 a.m.:  I wake up feeling a sudden warmth "down there" and immediately jump out of bed thinking I'm actually wetting the bed at the age of 32.  I want to run to the bathroom but I don't want to leave a trail of yuck on the carpet so I just stand still, shouting to Jody at the same time "Jody, something is happening!"  He jumps out of bed and turns the light on and I tell him I've either peed myself or my water just broke.  He rushes to me to examine the liquid and we see that it has a pink tint.  Jody quickly brings a towel to me and starts cleaning up the puddle I've left on the carpet while I dash to the bathroom.  I start to feel something similar to menstrual cramps and decide to get in the shower to rinse off and alleviate the cramping.  

2:10 a.m.:  Jody asks how I'm doing and I tell him that the cramping (I realize at that time that I'm having contractions) is getting a little more intense and that we should probably start keeping track of the contractions.  He immediately pulls out his contraction chart from his Daddy Boot Camp book and starts recording length and intensity.  After a few contractions he shouts to me in the shower that they seem to be 2 minutes apart and he calls the hospital.  I don't hear the conversation he has with the on-call nurse because I'm distracted with managing my breathing during the contractions.  Jody comes back into the bathroom and says we're going to the hospital.  We joke about how we were LITERALLY just talking about labor the night before and how most of our friends had to be induced, etc.  We laugh....a lot.

2:20 a.m.:  We pack into the car and start heading to the hospital...unsure if we're actually having this baby or if I'm experiencing some kind of crazy false labor.   I realize at the moment that I still have morning breath so I pop a piece of gum into my mouth and offer one to Jody.  I text my Mom that we're on our way to the E.R. because my water has broken and she texts back "Ok, don't panic" which coming from my Mom was HILARIOUS because she worries so much (LOVE YOU MOM!).  ; )  I call her so she can hear my voice and know everything is fine and then I send an email from the iPhone to my supervisor that my water has broken and I probably wouldn't be in to work that day.

2:40 a.m.:  We arrive at the E.R. (after some confusion about which building we were supposed to enter) and my contractions are getting a little more uncomfortable.  We walk in and the receptionist asks if I need a wheelchair to get to the delivery ward...."no, I'm fine" I say and we continue walking.  We get to the elevator and suddenly my contractions are quite intense.  As we get to the delivery ward I'm now doubling over in pain when a contraction hits.  It would start like a normal menstrual cramp, tight and painful...and then intensify into a wave of jagged hot lava rocks being twisted around in my body.  It hurt.  It hurt so much that I ask for an epidural on the spot.  Jody looks surprised.  We'd had the conversation a few times around whether or not I'd like to try a natural birth.  "I guess it will just depend on my threshold for pain" is how I would always end the conversation.  I look at him as I breathe through another contraction and he understands I really do need it.

2:45 a.m.:  The nurses try getting an IV started for me and are unsuccessful 4 times.  My contractions are getting even stronger.  I have a death-grip on Jody's hand and he continues to tell me I'm doing awesome.  I don't feel awesome at this point.  A nurse checks my progress and says I'm already 5 centimeters dilated.  The group of nurses seem a little concerned at this point because they still haven't gotten an IV started. 

3:00 a.m.:  Contractions continue.  I lose track of time.  We can hear another woman in the next room pushing with everything she's got.  It sounds like there is a team of nurses with her, encouraging her to keep pushing, shouting at her that she can do it.  My whole body aches for her and I will her to be OK.  She screams and screams and suddenly I'm frightened.  I'm going to reach that point in the near future.....holy crap.

3:30 a.m.:  My contractions seem like they're one on top of the other and I'm trying to understand why I haven't gotten an epidural yet.  The pain has gotten bad enough that I want to cry.  Finally a nurse gives me the bad news....

It's too late for an epidural.

I close my eyes and zone out.  If I'm going to do this naturally, I need to be in a good place.

A nurse named Theresa introduces herself to me and says she's been called in to assist with my labor and delivery. My eyes are still shut so I have no idea what Theresa looks like, but she has a kind voice. She tells us it's a very busy night. She asks me a lot of questions that I'd already answered with the previous nurses. 

I continue trying to zone out.  I think about home.  I think about how long and hard we've worked for this baby and how amazing it will be to meet him or her.

I continue concentrating on my breathing with Theresa offering me words of support directly into my ear (she could see my eyes were going to be shut until this baby was born).

I was so, so grateful to know Jody was by my side the entire time, but at this point he couldn't help me and so Theresa was the only voice that existed.

"You are amazing....you've got wonderful control of your breathing, here comes another contraction so lets breathe-breathe-breathe-breathe and relax....."

4:00 a.m.:  I'm in so much pain I just want it to be over.  I want this baby out.  But almost every mother I know had long, hard labors and I feel slightly defeated thinking about how much longer I'd need to endure this pain.

I start to feel faint.  I say that aloud.

"I need you to listen to me Amanda, you're doing great, but you're hyperventilating and that's why you feel like you're going to pass out.  Breathe with me....."

Thank GOD for this nurse.

I suddenly feel like I have to pass the biggest bowel movement in the history of bowel movements...

"Something is coming out, something is definitely there..." I say.

Theresa checks my progress...

"OK, you're at 9 centimeters, you're going to have to push now.  Someone get Dr. Gordon."

It was the most uncomfortable and frightening feeling....knowing you'd have to push a baby out of your vagina.

I mean, obviously I knew that's how this was going to happen....but once I felt the baby at the gate.....ready to push through....I was terrified.

Theresa could see/sense that I was terrified...

"Listen to me.  You are doing a phenomenal job, you have no idea.  I am so, so impressed.  Honestly.  Now you're going to have the urge to push soon, but don't push unless we tell you too.  I promise you, pushing is going to feel better."

My legs were lifted into the dreaded stirrups....let me tell you....EXTREMELY uncomfortable.  My body just didn't feel like it could adapt to that position at that time.

"Ok PUSH-PUSH-PUSH-PUSH and relax..."

Seriously people?  Relax?  

"PUSH-PUSH-PUSH-PUSH and relax..."


We'd reached a vicious cycle of pain, push, pain, push.

Theresa lied to me.

It did NOT feel better to push.

Birthing a baby was once described to me as like pushing out a ginormous poop.

I don't know if it's taboo to talk about or if perhaps other women did NOT feel this statement accurately described child birth, but yes....that's EXACTLY what the pushing portion of child birth felt like!

I continued to push...

I reached my breaking point when the Doctor and nurses wanted me to continue pushing after I'd already given that particular push everything I had...

I could feel the baby's head pushing through.....but it hurt so much...

I pushed so hard my head felt as if it would explode, I didn't have an ounce of oxygen left in me and my entire body shook uncontrollably....and they shouted to keep going....

I don't know if I started to cry, but I wanted to.

I didn't have anything left.

"ONE MORE PUSH!!!!"


I pushed once more as if my life depended on it.

I felt the baby break through and heard Jody shout, "OH MY GOD" and thought....please let that be a good "oh my god".

A second passed.  I didn't hear anything.  I still hadn't opened my eyes.

"It's a boy!"

Pain, relief, fear, exhaustion, happiness....every emotion came crashing down on me as I finally opened my eyes and saw our little baby and heard his strong, adorable cry.

He had a full head of black hair.

His eyes were the most amazing shape and depth.

His nose...was my nose.

He looked so....Asian!  LOL!















Jody cut the umbilical cord and the nurses gave baby a quick rub down before putting him to my skin.















"Holy crap" was all I could think to say.

I was amazed........absolutely amazed we'd done it.

We made a baby...

he was finally here.

And then he peed on me.

; )

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Infertility is a bitch. Let's tell the world.

It's National Infertility Awareness Week!

What is that you ask?

It's simply a week to raise awareness of an invisible disease that affects so, so many people...like me.

Before my husband and I started the process of seeking medical help for our journey....everything was hard.

Seeing friends become pregnant was hard.

Going to a baby shower was hard.

Hearing the wonderful news of a birth was hard.

Watching a nature show was hard.

Going shopping was hard.

Holidays were hard.

Nephews birthday parties were hard.

Going to work was hard.

Truly enjoying ourselves was hard.

We waited much too long before getting help.  But there were reasons for that.

Infertility (no matter who is at fault, the man, the woman or both) is a cold disease.  It can wear you down quickly, build you back up with one good appointment and then rip your heart out with a negative test result.
It not only strains your body, it strains your marriage, your finances, your other relationships...and your soul.

Treatment was not a conclusion we could have jumped to lightly.

We knew it would test us.  Test our patience, test our commitment, test our trust, test our hope.

This is why it took 5 years for us to get through the door of our infertility clinic for our first appointment.

At 35 weeks pregnant thanks to an IVF treatment with ICSI, it's surreal to sit here and think about where we were 5 years ago....where we were even a year ago.

As part of Infertility Awareness Week, NPR hosted a panel on the Trials and Tribulations of Assisted Reproduction  (http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-04-23/trials-and-tribulations-assisted-reproduction) and it both broke my heart and lifted my spirits.

If you listen to the replay, at 29:40 one of the panelists says "you're experiencing infertility in a largely fertile world"...it made me remember how truly alone I felt in a massive, massive world...because everything around me seemed to be reproducing....except me.  My family members, the birds in our yard, the ridiculously gross-looking spiders on the Discovery channel........everything.

I remember feeling so alone (even though my family, friends and husband loved me incredibly well) that I wanted to just run away and disappear.

I know people that are at that stage now......they've admitted it to themselves that they are infertile....and they're not quite sure how to proceed....but they are sure of this....they feel incredibly alone.

I want so badly to be a resource for those that have questions about this disease...but I also know you can't force this information onto someone that isn't ready to receive it, or isn't willing to accept it.

We have many wonderful friends that helped pave the road for us by being open about their infertility experiences.  I can never thank them enough for that.

I only hope I can return the favor by being open about our story and possibly helping to pave the road for someone else.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....

Infertility is a bitch. 

Let's tell the world.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life at the moment...

I'm disappointed that I haven't been blogging more about my pregnancy....but I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't be completely consumed by it....and while I feel completely consumed by it, I think I've done OK with not spending every waking moment thinking about it and talking about it.

At first glance, I LOOK completely consumed by pregnancy simply because I'm bigger than I ever imagined I could be in my life.  I have three chins, no ankles or knees, my arms look like huge sausages and even my neck seems to have puffed out.  I partly accuse my size on the fact that I'm now required to drink a protein shake every day but remain off my feet as much as possible: doctor's orders.  So, I'm not exercising at all and consuming MORE than ever before.  The result of this combination is not fabulous, but completely worth it if it keeps my baby healthy and safe.

I've reached the "uncomfortable" stage of pregnancy at this point with lots of backaches, leg cramps, foot cramps, rib aches, headaches, hip aches, etc.  

I feel baby moving around so much lately and at times, the movement is extremely uncomfortable...but so incredible at the same time. 

I never thought my life would revolve around a restroom, but right now, it does.

Anywhere I go, the first and last stop is usually the restroom.  If we're going to be outdoors for more than 30 minutes, I need to know where the nearest restroom/port-o-john is.  It's unbelievable!

We're less than 8 weeks away from the due date and the list of To Do's is getting longer....

Tour the hospital
Take a birthing class
Pack a bag for the hospital
Figure out (if at all) the birthing plan
Figure out where Kozy will go when we're at the hospital
Figure out when my Mom should fly in
Pick up items we'll need for baby that we don't get from registry
Wash baby bedding/clothing/etc.
Take a "how not to kill your baby" class

There's probably more and I'm just forgetting at the moment....

Anyhow, that's the pregnancy part of life at the moment...

Other parts of life at the moment...

Jody will be competing in a few SUP races this month and next, and I'm soooooo jealous and disappointed that I can't participate.  I did get on a SUP board last weekend (VERY SHORT EASY PADDLE MOM AND DAD) for a photo shoot we did with our lovely sister-in-law-in-law.  ; )  I hope to have photos to share soon!  It felt absolutely incredible to be back on a board, on the water.  I've missed it so, so much.  It did wonders for my spirit.

Work has been more stressful lately and making me second guess my decision to return to work after having this baby.  I love the majority of the people I work with, but there are a select few that bring out the ultimate negativity in me and that's just not healthy.  I owe it to myself to rethink my life goals....career goals included and whether or not I want to be around people like this for much longer.

Thankfully, I've been able to spend some time with friends (even with crazy schedules and lack of movement on my part).  We recently celebrated a dear friends birthday with her annual talent show and it was so much fun.  I've had numerous brunch and coffee dates with other dear friends too and it just makes me so grateful to have these people in my life.  When you don't have your immediate family within driving distance...it's so, so important to have another support system in place.

I haven't had much time for anything else really.

Time is moving along quite quickly......and before we know it...we'll meet our little one and have a whole new adventure to blog about.  Don't worry though, I promise the entire blog will not be baby-related!  ; )

Life without Kea, a year later...

We lost our Kea girl a year ago today.  And while it's only been a year, it feels as though it's been much longer since we last cuddled with our little "baby cakes".

Jody and I got Kea while we were still dating (we were both in the Air Force and living together in a basement that we rented from another AF acquaintance at the time).

We didn't mean to purchase her from a pet store...we were simply going to "look" to see what type of dog we wanted.  And there she was....the smallest and unhealthiest looking puppy I'd ever seen.  We knew we wanted her the moment we saw her.  And we knew we needed to get her out of that pet store.

And so, little Kealoha Lani Des Roches joined our tribe.



















We tried fattening her up as quickly as possible but as she continued to grow, we realized this was a typical boxer trait....to remain skinny and lean.



















Kea was a delightful part of our lives, but in all honesty, she and I didn't have the best of relationships at the start.  We were both females competing for Jody's attention.  And she was MUCH cuter than me, so she often won those battles.  ; )

Kea and Jody had a bond I'd never seen between human and animal before.

I'd grown up without pets so to witness the devotion Kea had for Jody....well...it was amazing...and wonderful....and completely endearing.

Nothing could keep Kea away from Jody.  Nothing.

At one point (after I'd moved back home to Hawaii and Jody stayed in Colorado) Kea jumped out of the back of Jody's car while he ran in to a Home Depot.  According to witnesses, she apparently ran straight for the Depot entrance to follow Jody in but someone saw her and tried to corral her and she ran off in the opposite direction. This Home Depot was many miles from where Jody lived at the time.

I remember getting the call from Jody that she'd run off....I'd never heard him so frantic in the 2 years I'd known him.

She went missing for days.

My heart hurt for Jody.  I knew he'd be devastated if anything happened to her.

And then a few days later, I got another call from Jody.

A family had found Kea walking on the side of the road and took her in.  She hadn't been wearing a collar but they checked with the local animal shelters (each of which had been called by Jody and given a description of Kea) and they were able to get in touch with Jody.

The road where the family found her was apparently half way between the Home Depot and home.

I truly believe she was making her way back to Jody.

When Jody and I got married, I'd had Gridgery for about a year.  Gridge and Kea met for the first time in the back of Jody's car while we said our vows in a Vegas drive-thru wedding. 

When the four of us moved in together....Kea and Gridge didn't really know what to make of each other...


















They didn't really play, they didn't fight, they just kind of....tolerated one another.

Four weeks and a new bed spread later...they were inseparable...


















We were a family of four.....























My relationship with Kea was drastically different at that point.  No longer did we compete for Jody's attention.  There were four of us.  Jody had Kea, I had Gridge.  And if Jody wanted to cuddle with me, Kea could cuddle with Gridge.

Though most of the time, both Kea and Gridge just wanted to cuddle with us...























Life with these pups was absolutely wonderful.  Obviously we had our ups and downs....but they both taught us so much...

love, patience, devotion, responsibility.


















We were so lucky to have two magical souls in our lives for the time we did.

A year ago today since her passing and I feel guilty in admitting that I haven't grieved as much over the loss of Kea as I did over the loss of Gridge.  Obviously the bonds were different.  Kea was Jody's dog.  Gridge was my dog.  But I think the other reason is because we've had so much going on.

When we lost Gridge to cancer, we had just purchased a house and while that was definitely a HUGE distraction from my grief, it only kept my grief at bay for a little while.

When we lost Kea, we were just heading to Hawaii for a 3 week stay, we were in the middle of infertility treatments, we had a LOT of recreational activities taking place, we'd adopted another boxer....there was just so much going on that I couldn't possibly let myself get lost in my grief.  I don't know if Jody feels the same way.  We deal with grief differently.  But I know he misses his Kea-girl.

Thank you Kea and Gridge for loving us so well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

29 weeks!!!!!!!!!

We hit 29 weeks tomorrow!

Baby is moving and kicking all of the time now.

It's incredible.

I can literally spend an entire morning or evening just lying back in bed or on the couch, watching baby use my stomach as a punching bag.

It's unreal.

There is someone in there....growing...listening to my voice...feeling my movements, reacting to touch. 

I honestly can't wait to meet him or her.

The pregnancy is going as well as possible.  We found out at our last appointment that I had partial placenta previa and so we've been closely monitored.

I'm happy to report that today's appointment showed the placenta has now moved away from the cervix so we are in the clear.

However, my doctor did say she was slightly concerned because baby measured a little small.

We have another appointment next week with a specialist to talk about this and figure out if I simply need to up my protein or supplement intake or if I also need to be on....

dun dun dun..........

bed rest.

YIKES!

I'm hoping its protein!!!!!!!!

I don't have a belly shot to share with you this week...but know this...I'm GINORMOUS.

Instead, I'll share a photo of our little one taken at today's appointment....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Nursery....

I've had so many wonderful inspirations for the nursery that it just seems a shame I can't incorporate them all!

We're going simple, eclectic-like. 

And yes, I realize the room looks very "boy-ish".  ; )  I'm ok with that.

So here's the start of our nursery production.....

















I found a photo of an awesome nursery on Pinterest that used a refurbished barndoor as the backdrop for the crib.  It looked amazing and I told my husband I had to have barn doors in our nursery.  Wierd?  Yes.  But let me say this...I kind of left the idea alone....until we were shopping for a crib, ran into a store we didn't intend on going to and found these doors (pictured above) on a clearance rack.  I HAD TO HAVE THEM!
































I didn't want to simply put these doors up on the wall as decoration.  I wanted them to have some kind of functionality.  So I asked my husband to make them slide open and closed to reveal a chalkboard. I also asked him to paint the wall a bit darker so it would really contrast with the chalkboard paint, panels and doors.

















I LOVE the end result!


















Obviously it's still a work in progress....but we're having soooo much fun with it!!!!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

23 Weeks.....

I honestly can't believe we've already reached 23 weeks in this pregnancy!

I also can't believe I haven't been blogging more about this amazing time!  LOL!  You'd  think with how much time I'm spending at home (in bed) that I could manage to maintain a blog.  But no...I'm that tired!  LOL!

Anyway, here is a list of things I've learned over the last several weeks:

I have a thing for dinosaurs.  If you know me, you probably already knew that.  But something I didn't know:  I apparently think our baby is also going to have a thing for dinosaurs.  During our weekend registry marathon I registered for several dino-related items for our little one.  I also apparently think our little one is going to have a thing for elephants.  =)

We've entered new territory:  also during our registry marathon....we were introduced to butt paste and nipple brushes.  Uh.........

Pinterest:  if you have a specific project you're working on...this is how you become addicted.  I've been on Pinterest for awhile now but never really found much use of it...but as soon as I wanted nursery ideas....BAM!  I'm on there almost every day!

Tickle monster:  I'm apparently ticklish from the inside-out.  Our baby has been moving an awful lot lately and each time I feel those butterfly kiss-like sensations I giggle. 

Oscar the grouch:  If I get too hungry....evil cranky Amanda appears....

Home-sick: not even home-sick really, family-sick.  I miss my family more now than I ever have before.  It saddens me to know they can only participate in this amazing time from afar.  It hurts my heart to be so far away from them.

Peanut Butter Multigrain Cheerios: best thing to hit the grocery stores since white bread.  Seriously.  Completely addicted.

Quarter-caf:  my local starbucks has now added a "quarter-caf" to their forte since I'd been going in so often asking for a tall coffee with just 1/4 regular and the rest decaf.  I feel kind of honored!

Hormones:  I'm noticing more and more at work that negativity is getting harder and harder to deal with.  Typically, my sunny disposition helps in these scenarios.  But lately, I just want to stop listening to it and get on with my day.

The Belly:  It finally happened.  A woman that works in my building who sees me every day finally gravitated to my growing belly and began to rub.  And what did I do?  I stood there and enjoyed it!  It felt AWESOME!  I would have stood there for 5 minutes if she kept rubbing! When I told my husband this, he was not pleased.  He doesn't like other people touching my belly and he REALLY doesn't like that I enjoyed it so much.  Men.  ; )

And here's the belly shot of the week:

Monday, January 2, 2012

10 years and going strong...

I'm so incredibly blessed and lucky to have my husband.

And I'm so thankful for the last 10 years that we've been married.

I can't imagine life differently.

To celebrate we stayed at our favorite Bed and Breakfast in Mathews County, Va...The Inn at Tabb's Creek...and spoiled ourselves rotten with good food, fantastic company, relaxation and fun.

A few photos of our New Years weekend...

and (GASP!!!!)...even a few "maternity" photos of 18 weeks!!!!!!!!

Jody went Winter SUPing on Tabb's Creek in his new wetsuit...but he obviously had to put on his new board shorts too!!!!!!!!
























View of the Inn from their dock....





































Beautiful sky on the first day of 2012!!!!










And now...the impromptu photo-shoot....