Saturday, August 27, 2011

This made me laugh. Really hard.

If you liked that, check out episodes four and five. (Two and three are good, but four and five are better.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Morning Sickness Saga (a Book Review)

*Note added after I finished writing: I realized that this is one whopper of a post. It's super long. Sorry about that, but I feel like it's all necessary to tell the whole story. Also, I decided to insert random pictures for awesomeness.*

Last week Jason and I went to the library because I wanted to check out some pregnancy books and exercise dvds. We just kind of browsed the pregnancy section, and I came across a book that I took home and immediately read cover to cover. It's called The Morning Sickness Companion.

My morning sickness started the week I found out I was pregnant. Oh, I have to stress before we go any farther: "morning" sickness does not just happen in the morning. For most women who have it, it is all-day sickness. There have been several serious attempts to change the name to "pregnancy sickness," but it hasn't stuck. So, just know that it lasts allllllll day.

After a couple days of just feeling queasy, my morning sickness started to get worse and worse. I started throwing up about an hour after I woke up every morning. Then I started throwing up again about an hour after that. Then I would sometimes throw up in the afternoon, or after driving in the car, or at dinner, or right before we went to bed. I averaged about 2-3 times per day. And in between those times, I was sick. And I was exhausted. I was eating less calories, losing a lot of those when they came back up, and then most of them went towards the baby. I actually lost weight. This went on, day after day after day after day, after week after week after week, for two months. I was miserable.

One morning I found myself on the bathroom floor for the millionth time, lying on the carpet, staring at the toilet in absolute misery, and I just broke down. I started sobbing. I couldn't take it anymore. I felt so sick, all the time, for what felt like as long as I could remember, and it didn't feel like it would ever get better. Jason was right there in the room, and was immediately by my side. I put my head in his lap and just sobbed, telling him I couldn't do it anymore. And then - absolute irony - the sobbing made me so nauseous that I started throwing up. I made it to the toilet, and was throwing up in there, and started laughing because of the irony, but I was still crying, and was throwing up at the same time. Crying and laughing and throwing up.

Jason asked if I wanted a priesthood blessing, and I did, and he gave me one. It was really comforting and helped me feel better.

It was very shortly after this time that I was finally prescribed my miracle drug, the generic of Zofran (Ondansetron). (I had previously been prescribed Phenergan, but that didn't work for me. It would put me to sleep for five hours each time - and I supposed to take it four times a day! After a couple days of only being awake for a small window in the afternoon, I stopped taking it. The quality of life was bad when I was nauseous, but at least I was alive. Being asleep literally the whole day was somehow worse.) After a couple of days, my nausea started to subside. I started to make it through whole days without throwing up. And then, after a week or so, I didn't even feel sick.

This was right around the 12/13th week of pregnancy, right when most women's morning sickness goes away. So, we weren't sure if my sickness was going away because of the medicine, or because it was actually subsiding. My doctor told us that almost all women's morning sickness goes away before week 19; if you still have it after then, you'll have it the whole nine months.

Well, when Jason and I came down to California we didn't come with a two-month supply of Zofran (my insurance wouldn't cover it in advance). And so, one day, I ran out. The second day without medicine, I felt nauseous the whole day. And the day after that...I threw up. My morning sickness had not gone away. It had simply been tamed by the Zofran. My family in Utah was able to pick up the new refill for me and send it through express mail, but I had to go about a week without the medicine, and it was awful. It was May and June all over again. When I felt that nausea come back...I can't even express how I felt. It was like, I haven't escaped it. I'll never escape it. I'll always, always be sick.

Luckily, when the new refill came, it only took about two days for it to re-conquer my sickness. With the lessening of the symptoms came a brightening of my mood and outlook. The next month (middle of July to middle of August) passed blissfully away with almost no symptoms.

Last week, I ran out again. I knew I was running low, so I had been stretching my supply by only taking one pill every two days, and that got me by. My grandparents were able to bring me my medicine back from Utah (they were up there for my sister's graduation), so I only went three or four days without the medicine.  But, just like before, the nausea and vomiting returned. So, it was confirmed: I am not one of the lucky women whose morning sickness goes away at week 19. I am part of the 10% (like my mom) who have morning sickness the whole nine months.

But you know what? I'm okay with that. Like I've said before, as long as I have my medicine, I feel okay. And so, I'll just always have my medicine. In future pregnancies, I'll get this medicine as soon as I can and avoid the whole two-months-of-awfulness problem.

Now, back to what brought us to this topic in the first place: The Morning Sickness Companion. The book is written by Elizabeth Kaledin, the former medical correspondent for CBS, who shares her experience with morning sickness. I completely, completely understood her frustration at the lack of information and support and the abundance of unhelpful advice concerning morning sickness in the typical pregnancy resources. She says, "I felt like screaming when I read these books. Why wasn't anybody addressing the emotional and physical toll morning sickness takes? Why wasn't anybody writing about how hard it is to work or to care for a small child when you're on the verge of throwing up all day long? Why doesn't anyone share first-person accounts of what they've eaten or the crazy things they've tried just to make themselves feel better? Wasn't there anything more to say than...crackers?"

So, she wrote this book, which covers the topic of morning sickness from all the angles - its causes, why it's still such a big unknown in the medical field, its normal symptoms and timeline, its depressive effects, the evolutionary benefit, treatments, and lots of quotes and stories from tons and tons of women who have gone through it. Everything is relevant and interesting. I really like this book. I think it would benefit all women who find themselves mired in morning sickness.

I love that she addresses the "paradox of morning sickness": "Few people ever really dwell on the trauma of it, because it is the famous first sign of a glorious occasion to come - the birth of a child. In fact, most if not all doctors consider morning sickness the sign of a healthy pregnancy...So the accompanying sickness is brushed aside. 'It'll pass,' they say. 'It's just a temporary and necessary evil of pregnancy,' others chime in. 'You'll forget all about it when the baby comes.' All of those things are true. But there is another truth about morning sickness that is rarely discussed with as much enthusiasm. For those of us who suffer through it, it can be positively debilitating, depressing, and alienating. Baby or no baby."

If I had to choose only one line from the whole book to share, that would be it - "For those of us who suffer through (morning sickness), it can be positively debilitating, depressing, and alienating." Because it is all of those things. And man, is it awful.

Regarding the emotional trauma of morning sickness, the book reports on a study that was done in Canada and the United States. They surveyed over three thousand pregnant women, and found that "Twenty percent of women with mild morning sickness reported feeling depressed most of the time. Thirty percent of women with moderate symptoms were frequently depressed, and for those with severe symptoms, 50% said they were always depressed." I believe it.

"Morning sickness involves almost a total loss of control. Women who are used to feeling healthy and strong all of the sudden perceive themselves as weak and vulnerable. Simple tasks require Herculean effort. The daily pleasure of eating becomes a chore...Complicating matters, conventional wisdom tells us we should not tell people we are pregnant until after the first trimester, when many cases of morning sickness have already run their course. That means that you have to suffer in silence when you are at your sickest: a lonely predicament."

The author advises to at least tell one or two people so that you can have a confidante, someone to talk to when you need them. I think next time, I will. We didn't tell almost anyone that I was pregnant until after the first trimester, because chances of miscarriage decrease greatly after that point. But, like the author said, that meant I had no one to talk to when I needed them most. Next time, I'm not doing that. I'm going to have more structure, more friends who know and who can help me.

I feel like this post is turning into the length of a book itself, so I'll wrap things up. I think the reason I wanted to tell my full story and tell how much this book helped me is so that people can understand morning sickness better, and that if you ever have it you can have a resource to go to. If you have morning sickness, or someone you know has it, or you just want to understand it better, this would be a good book to turn to.

And, like I've said a few times now, I'm doing better now. I have my medicine that makes me better, and will continue to make me feel fine for the rest of this pregnancy, and future pregnancies. I'm very thankful to be pregnant, and to have a little girl on the way. But, like the book says, this kind of stuff still needs to be addressed. It's big, and affects a lot of women in a big way.

Anyway, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope you have a good rest of your day. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the Road Again

We're driving up! Today we're coming back to Utah for the fall semester (Jason's last semester) at BYU. And we're driving with air conditioner. Do you know what that means?

We got a new car!

 It's a 2008 Honda Pilot. We did lots of research beforehand (have I ever mentioned I'm a Consumer Reports addict?), we chose a good year, and we found a good car with lowish miles at a good price. My dad helped us a lot; he's a lawyer, and he brought his good friend who's a mechanic when we came and bought the car. So, that (in addition to the research we did) made me feel very secure that the car was good and sound and we got a good deal.

It's got lots of cargo room, with an optional third row seat that you can fold down:

And it's in really good condition.

I'm very relieved to have a good, reliable car that will last us a long, long time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Frugality in Action

So, I've found that for some reason I really like debt-reduction blogs. It started like a month ago when I found this one blog where this woman (a lawyer) decided to take control of her compulsive spending and do something about her $37,000 of consumer debt. Luckily (for me), she started the blog like two years ago and I was able to read through the archives in just a couple days and watch that debt grow smaller and smaller. It felt great to see her make progress.

The three blogs I've found so far that I really like are:

Kitten a Go-Go. This is the one I just described with the lawyer woman who, because of her spending habits and bad luck with the economy and her mortgage, had $37,000 of consumer debt, $45,000 she owed to her grandpa (it had to do with the mortgage), and almost $100,000 in student loans. She's been attacking her debt with gusto for the last couple years. To read just about her debt (she talks about other stuff on her blog too), go to the right side of the page, click on "categories," and choose "money." To read them in chronological order (oldest to newest), you have to click back a million pages until or you get to page 38. Or, you can just click here.

Blogging Away Debt. The writer of this blog is Beks, a woman from San Diego who found herself and her husband with $38,000 in debt after some poor financial decisions. She talks a lot about little ways to save money, how to monitor your credit score, and so on. One thing that's extra cool about this one is that she just had a baby, so for about the last year she's been talking about ways to save money while pregnant and preparing for a baby. Score! Side note: the founder of this blog is named Tricia. I've only read as far back as where Beks started writing, to the present. To reach where Beks starts writing, click here. Then you can just click "newer posts" on each page to read the blog chronologically.

And Then She Saved. This is the newest one I found, and actually the one I relate the most to. I relate to it, I think, because Jason and I are the opposite of spenders; we're super savers. In this blog, Anna, the writer, decided to take drastic action when her debt got overwhelming. She decided to go on a "spending fast." This meant that, for a whole year, she didn't spend money on anything that wasn't a necessity (mortgage, utilities, food). That was 2010; this year she's on a "spending diet," in which she's spending money on needs and some wants, and learning how to balance those two things. What I relate to is her current problem (after spending nothing for a year) of feeling guilty when buying anything that isn't absolutely necessary. I don't like to spend anything. I guess I've got to learn how to balance, too. You can go to her archives to read her whole blog chronologically. 

So yeah! I guess I just like reading about finance and being frugal. Are there any articles/blogs you like that are on the same topic?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our San Diego Trip

A couple weeks ago, Jason and I went down to San Diego with Tyler (Jason's brother) and Sarah (our sister-in-law). It was such a good trip! We first went to the San Diego Temple. Holy cow, it is BEAUTIFUL inside. If you haven't ever been through there, you should go. It's amazing. The celestial room in the San Diego temple is now my favorite room in the whole world (I'm not kidding). I could sit in there for hours and hours. 

After the (amazing!) temple we went to Old Town San Diego. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, then went to the Mormon Battalion Historic Site just down the street. It was so cool! Sister (girl) missionaries took us on this awesome interactive tour, and at the end we got to pan for gold. It was really fun. It was seriously kind of like Disneyland.

And that's what we did in San Diego!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Goose that Tried to Eat Us

So, Jason and I had a picnic this week at Yorba Regional Park. As I've mentioned before, I love Yorba Regional. It's huge, and has lakes, and lots of trees and grass. It's awesome. Well, on Monday, Jason and I packed up some different picnic foods and a blanket and headed out to the park. We wandered around for a bit until we found a really nice shaded grassy spot right next to one of the lakes.

Now, we were by a corner of the lake, where it bent around. On the other side of this corner sat like twenty ducks, and one big, fat goose. As soon as we sat down and spread out our blanket, this goose got up from where it was sitting, stretched out its long neck, and started "SCRAWK"-ing. It began to march through the ducks, seemingly ordering them around, and even stopped in the middle of them to "SCRAWK" at them until they stood up. After a few minutes, he had all of the twenty or so ducks standing up. Jokingly, I said to Jason, "Look, he's rallying the troops."And we laughed...but we were right! He started leading all the ducks around the corner of the lake, right toward us!

At first I thought it was coincidence, but as they got closer he made a beeline for us. As he got closer, he stretched out his neck as far as it would go and "SCRAWK!"ed at us, demanding food. He got just a couple feet away from us, and then sat there, "SCRAWK"-ing, waving his head up and down and threatening us with his velociraptor teeth. (If you don't think geese have teeth, they DO. This one did, anyway. Maybe he was a mutant.)

Now, I feel that (for the ducks' sake) I have to explain that the ducks were being very polite. Most seemed to give off an embarrassed air of, "We're sorry he's acting this way. If you'd like to give us food, we'd gladly accept, but we're so sorry about his behavior. We're not like him." They milled around on the grass and in the water, staying close but never demanding anything.

So, that's how we ate our picnic. Ducks all around us, nibbling grass and swimming in little circles in the water in front of us, and a ginormous evil velociraptor goose stalking our every move and demanding our first born child. It was incredibly fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We're having.....(drumroll, please!)

A girl!

And we are sooo excited.

We found out a couple weeks ago, just before we went on vacation. Since we're in California, we're away from my doctor and had to find a place down here to tell us. My sister-in-law Shelley gave us the info for a place another friend recommended to her, and that's where we went. 

It was so cool to see our little baby on the ultrasound screen. You could totally see her head, and her face, and her little legs. From the bottom, the technician was able to tell us she was a girl. I honestly couldn't tell what we were looking at at that point, but I did see the little lines she was pointing out. But hey, whether she was right or wrong, it will be confirmed when we have my actual medical ultrasound when we get back to Utah.

My pregnancy is going well. Right now I am 22 weeks (5 months!) along. I'm still on my anti-nausea medicine, which has been a life saver. See, my doctor said that most women's morning sickness clears up by 19 weeks. If it doesn't clear up by then, you're pretty much going to be sick your whole pregnancy. Well...mine didn't clear up. If I go off my anti-nausea medicine, I get pretty sick again within 48 hours. But if I stay on it, I'm fine! I feel great. So, that's awesome! As long as I have my medicine, I'll be fine.

Stomach-wise, I'm still not really showing. My belly has kind of popped out a little bit this last week, but unless you're looking for it, you don't really see it. I'm actually a little worried I'm not gaining enough weight, so that's one of the things I'm going to ask about when I have my doctor's appointment when we get back to Utah. 

But I have started to feel her kick! I felt her for the first time when we were at Lake Powell, at night right before I went to sleep. It was like, "Oh! I think that was the baby!" And let me tell you, she has been kicking a lot since then. It's awesome. It makes it so much more real that she's in there, and it makes me feel connected to her. When she's being really active, Jason will put his hand on my tummy, and he can feel her kicking, too.

So yeah! That's the pregnancy update for now. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Recap

Well, we've been busy. Very busy.

We've been mini-golfing,

celebrating Jason's birthday,

watching our friends open their mission calls,

(Jaime is going to Toronto Canada, and Daniel Dekker is going to Ft. Worth, Texas!)

going to the zoo,

going to San Diego,

going on a cruise,

and we just got back from a week at Lake Powell.
(Which may or may not be one of my very favorite places in the world.)

I hope your summer is going well, too. :)