Checking in!

Checking in!

If you have been following along here for a while, you may have noticed that it’s been quiet around here. This might have been the longest writing hiatus I’ve taken since I started blogging back in 2011 (?). Well, I’ve still been microblogging over at Instagram but I haven’t had the wherewithal to write here in a while.

It’s been a busy, hectic, stressful, anxiety-inducing, joyful, wondrous past few months. Ups, downs, and sideways. I want to try to fill you in on the highlights and lowlights, because I’m all about keeping it real and authentic (gag). 

But if you’re not in for a wordy post here is the tl;dr gist — The kids are good, I’m just okay, but I’m surrounded by support and love.

Now for the meaty bits.

The biggest news is that my anxiety has flared up. It’s been an exceptionally challenging few months. I finally reached out to a mental health provider to start on a plan to get better. I’m still searching for a therapist, but I took the first step in asking for help. Believe me, that was the most challenging part. My husband has been supportive, nurturing, and a true partner in all this. Due to my hectic work schedule and the demands of three small children, I wasn’t finding time for myself to decompress or destress. It finally caught up for me and after a few breakdowns, I said enough was enough. 

It’s still a process obviously and I haven’t found a therapist yet. But there is something cathartic in the initiation, in the beginning, in the relinquishing of my death grip on everything. Knowing and ADMITTING that I am not well and cannot do it on my own has been a first step in management and recovery. I’m no where near “better” (if there is such a thing) but I’ve been doing some things to help. 

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Adios appendix

Now that I am a few days post surgery, I thought I'd type out this whole ordeal for posterity's sake. Or just so I could remember the crazy. Or to complain. Or something.

At 4am on Monday morning I was jerked awake by horrible pain in my stomach, pelvis, and back. It truthfully reminded me of back labor, which was probably the worst pain I've ever experienced and this was just a notch below. Oh joy.

I was in sort of a daze because I would have rather been sleeping at 4am. But I'm weird like that. I writhed around in pain in bed for a while before deciding to roll out of bed and try to walk around. I made it to the couch around 4:30 and collapsed. My first thought at that point was for the baby. I was afraid that something was going wrong with my pregnancy and that terrified me.

Hunched over, I felt my way back to our bed and woke Paul up. Poor guy, I think I gave him a heart attack. Through several gasps and moans, I said I was having the worst pain evaaaaa and he said that we should go to the hospital. Why didn't I think of that?

I curled up on the floor of the living room while he rushed around gathering entertainment/food/clothes for Emma and I tried putting shoes on and wondered where my rosary was because oh boy, was I in for some praying. Paul loaded up the car and then came back to grab me and I took the grueling two flights of stairs (might as well have been a treck down the grand canyon) down to our car leaning over Paul trying not to pass out. 

The ~ten minute drive to the hospital (thank God it was so close) was incredibly painful because I felt every little blip and bump in our "well cared for" streets and freeways of California (not). We finally made it to Kaiser around 5:20 and Paul grabbed a wheel chair for me. The perky (perky at 5:30, WHAT?!) receptionist took down some info and asked for my insurance card, blah, blah, blah and then I had to wait in the EMPTY waiting room for, what felt like, ten million years (more like seven minutes) before I was wheeled to an ER room. I had to wait a little longer for everything because of the holiday. Oh great... 

After describing my symptoms to a nurse and the ER doc, they could not pin down anything right away. Thankfully, for my sanity, they did an ultrasound first thing and the baby had a strong heart beat and was moving around and swimming like nothing was wrong. WHEW. First sigh of relief. Then they hooked me up with and IV for all those lovely pain meds. Keep 'em coming.

I have been to the ER several times in my life and I always worry that I am being overly dramatic and that I have nothing wrong with me. Hypochondria rears its ugly head at times. But in this case, I hoped that there was nothing major and that I would be able to go home as soon as the pain subsided. Maybe I ate too much? Maybe it was just a bladder infection? Ugh. NERP.

Blood draw? Check.
Other fluids? Check. 
A poke? Check.
A swab? Check. And yuck.

The ER nurse and doctor were amazing and constantly checked in with me and gave me the sweet relief of fentanyl and morphine. I am no fan of narcotics, but this was much appreciated. Thank you kindly drugs. Love, your new BFF that Monday.

After I was assessed by the ER doctors, the OB/GYN doctors, and the general surgeons on call they had a nearly positive diagnosis of acute appendicitis (they were still debating, because hey, preggos can have a myriad of nonsense going on). Every time a new piece of information came to me, my immediate thoughts were for this little baby. I wanted to treat whatever I had but minimize the impact on the peanut as much as possible. Because they were not 100% sure it was appendicitis after the exam and the ultrasounds (yes plural) they suggested I get a CT scan. 

UGH RADIATION. DEAMON. This is the face of annoyed. 

As a doctor myself, I understand the importance of diagnostic images to get the proper diagnosis. But as a dentist, specifically, we are all about the thyroid/lady parts lead apron and minimal exposure to preggos. And here I was faced with the decision to radiation right on my abdomen and while pregnant. OH LAWD. Ultimately, after talking with the surgeon, she was very hesitant to take me to surgery without being certain (after some gooooogling, Paul later tells me that over 10% of appendectomy surgeries are done on people with perfectly healthy appendecies, no bueno). The CT scan was quick and confirmed the big bad appendicitis. 

Surgery time. NOOOO. WHYYYYYY?

Side note: after ten thousand prayer threads, I felt so much love and support from everyone wishing us well and sending their prayers. You da best. 

Another side note, Paul took Emma to our neighbors around 9 am and she stayed with them all day. They are wonderful and generous people and I am grateful that Emma didn't have to spend all day in the hospital. 

I finally went in for surgery around 4pm all hopped up on the happy juice but started to panic when they had to strap me down on the table and put the oxygen mask on my face. Full on panic mode. Thankfully they can pump in the sleepy meds right away. 

When I woke up (successful they said! you did great they said!), I went into tiger mom mode and tried to rip off my oxygen mask and demanded that they check on the baby. Apparently they wheeled the ultrasound into the recovery room right away and showed me a strong heart beat but I didn't believe them. Disoriented? 

I kept asking/demanding/growling that they check on the baby again and when Paul was able to join me, the wheeled the ultrasound machine in yet again to show us, both of us. They wanted to show Paul so that he could assure me because I was on the post-anesthesia crazy train and needed proof or else

They took me to my recovery room and my dad finally arrived (he had driven up from home, 7 hours in traffic, bless him) and he stayed with me that night while Paul went home to take care of Emma. That first night/morning was HARD. Breathing was hard. Moving was harder. Sneezing was THE WORST. I needed help for everything. And the Miss Independent in me was not havin' it. 

I'll save you all the boring details of recovery but I am on the mend and every day is slightly getting easier. My dad stayed with us until today and my mom and sister come tomorrow. I am not allowed to lift anything over ten pounds and Emma passed that weight a long time ago. She has been gentle with me and I've only had to remind her a few times not to jump on me/kick me/hug me a little too hard. Emma took it like a champ and I hope this was a gentle crash course for her into my next hospital stay in August when bebe number two comes on the scene. 

I am grateful for the doctors and nurses. They were so kind and eased my nerves as much as possible. I feel blessed for my friends and family and their outpouring of love. And most of all, I am so glad to have had my incredible husband/parter/hunk/bff by my side. He is so nurturing and takes every burden and responsibility off my shoulder.

The support and love from everyone gets me through those tougher pity party moments. WHY ME? 

I have another appointment next week to check on baby but in the midst of all the pain and frustration - I felt this baby's little flutters for the first time on Tuesday. God is good. He's hilarious with His timing. But He is so good. 


Wellness reminders

I don't know about you, but I can often get a little frazzled.

Shocking, I know.

I decided to do a little post-a-loo on a few things that help me stay grounded when life gets cray cray. There is no real method to my madness, and often times I'm too far down path de crazy to utilize my own advice, but I thought I'd write it down to remind myself for when things are tough. (And to hopefully help you too.)

Find home base.

Where ever your starting line, your home base, your reset button lies - find it and utilize it. For me, that means straightening up my home and my personal space, decluttering, and cleaning. This helps me in two ways - my mind clears when I declutter and I can rest in my home base and reset myself. Find your own home base. For some that may be a quiet room, for others, it is a refreshing shower. Just find your space - in the literal and figurative sense - to rest and reset. 

Know when to turn it off.

I have been really focusing on this one lately. Sometimes the TORRENT of information is quite literally, too much to handle. Between news stories, links on Facebook, and Twitter feeds - there is never a moment of peace. For me, I turn off my notifications, lay down my phone and say enough is enough. I listen to the hum of life around me and it clears my head. Plus, staying focused on being physically and mentally present for your loved ones is crucial for wellness at home.

Be easy on yourself.

This is probably one I struggle with most. I tend to spiral when things are stressful. At first it's about a singular event, then I focus on a string of events, and before I know it I am questioning every life choice I've ever made and wondering how I am even functioning. Forgive yourself. Trust your gut. And be kind to yourself. Write it down on those stickies and paste them everywhere (I mean they do come in packs of a zillion.) 


Guzzle those fluids yo. And I don't mean sugary juices, energy drinks, or soda. Grab that good old H TWO OH. Dehydration just drains your energy. And speaking of energy, keep healthy snacks nearby with healthy fats and proteins. I am never one to say no to a doughnut, but I also keep nuts and cheese close at hand for those afternoon slumps. I have a liter-sized water bottle in my purse and keep filling it up. DRINK ALL THE WATER. 

Stay fresh.

Keep it fresh, princes and princesses. Go outside and soak in that Vit D. Open the windows and let the breeze flow in. Listen to new music, open a fresh bottle of bubbly, buy yourself a new snazzy top. Just keep things interesting and changing. I know I get stuck in ruts of routine and the familiar, but keeping things fresh and moving challenge the mundane and hopefully, destress your life. New cheese selection at Trader Joe's? Don't mind if I do. New documentary on PBS? Why I would love to learn about architecture of wind-resistant buildings in China! Keep learning. Keep reading. Keep discovering.

What are your reminders for wellness in your life? 


Frenemies and a fitness funk

Okay, ya’ll I am going to admit something.

I think the phrase diet and exercise should be considered a dirty phrase. Like, gag me with a spoon.

Let me take a step back. About two weeks ago, I made the decision to stop pumping during the day and move to only breastfeeding at night on demand and when Emma is fussing/sick. I realized that I was producing so little milk when daytime pumping that when I finally divided it up into her bottles for daycare, it was like a splash - a smidgen, a tidbit - of BM into her formula. I decided that it was not worth the time and energy spent trying to find pumping spaces while busy at clinic all day for that amount of milk. I much prefer the bonding aspect of breastfeeding than the actual milk production part. 

You’re like, “Oh Lord, is she done talking about breastfeeding yet?” 

Well after I said farewell, peace, and blessings to my dear friend the pump, I had an epiphany. 

Damn, now I need to start watching what I eat.

I know when you are pregnant and breastfeeding you’re supposed to have a “healthy diet” and “eat healthy foods” and blah, blah, blah but what pregnancy and breastfeeding meant to me was GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD.

I also pushed regular exercise off my “to-do list” and moved it to my “haha, you’re hilarious to-don’t list”. Call it a fitness funk, if you will. I also haven’t thought about the calorie content, fat percentages, carb load, and sugar saturation of any food item that has entered my pie hole in like one million decades. Well, since before the bun started baking in the oven.

Diet is a four-letter word. And portion control is my frenemy. 

Welp, no matter how many tantrums I throw or how much I protest, I need to get my couch-warming bottom up and moving and get my portion sizes down to normal human consumption. 

Side note, God bless the breastfeeding calorie burn. I will miss you more than I miss maternity stretchy leggings. 

You’re like, “How are we not at the end of this post yet? END PLEASE.”

I know you were so looking forward to my awkward bathroom mirror selfie. You’re welcome. 

I have put it in my mind to get my ish together in the *shiver* diet and exercise *gag* department. I have a food and fitness tracker app front and center on my phone, set a daily steps goal, and actually weighed myself *gasp*. I set a daily calorie goal and a weekly fitness goal and am ready to stay accountable, hence the oh so flattering selfie, rolls and all. 

And of course, I mean my belly jelly rolls and not the buttered rolls that I wish I was eating right now. 

That means a lot more meal prep at home, portion control, getting my butt out of bed earlier to squeeze in some yoga in the mornings, skippity doo dah-ing to the gym, and keeping accountable. 

Ugh, I need to clean my mirror. 

Any who, I hope you’ll support me in these goals o’ mine. Thanks buds.

Samantha out. 

Alternative exercise

One of my resolutions was to incorporate more activity into my daily life. Just the other day, I was playing with Emma and I used her body weight to do sit ups, shoulder presses, and bicep curls. She giggled and I worked up a sweat. But, when one has a tremendously busy schedule, any little bit of exertion should be counted, right?

Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about doing these.

What do you think? Did I leave anything off the list?