Friday, September 14, 2018

One Year Angelversary

My husband and I began our journey to grow our family in March of 2017. It didn't take long for us to become pregnant as we had a positive test on June 10th. We were incredibly excited. At our thirteen week ultrasound, we were so surprised to learn we were expecting twins! Two weeks later at the maternal fetal medicine doctor, we discovered our twins were identical and monochorionic/diamniotic (one placenta, two amniotic sacs). At seventeen weeks, we went to a routine sonogram excited to see our twins again. Instead of learning their gender, we were told their little hearts stopped beating. We were sent to the hospital where I was induced and gave birth to our sleeping angels on September 13, 2017.

Source
Wednesday was the one year anniversary of learning our twins no longer had heartbeats. The last two days have been difficult for my husband and me. While we love our son and wouldn't trade him for anything in this world, it doesn't diminish the grief we feel in the loss of his brothers one year ago.

When the twins were born, we decided we did not want to have a service for them. We did not want to bury them or have them cremated. This is a decision I semi-regret as it would be amazing to have a place to go to remember them. I know my father was sad we did not have a marker for them anywhere because he wanted somewhere to go to visit them. Last year on October 15th (which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day), our family attended a memorial service  and walked through the Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden at the hospital where the twins were delivered.

My husband was off work due to being on bereavement leave for the death of my grandmother. We decided we would honor the twins that day by visiting the memorial garden again.


The garden has pavers which are engraved with memorials of pregnancy or infant loss babies. In the center of the garden is a statue called Mourning Rachel:


Mourning Rachel is there to comfort the parents who have losses. She lets the parents know their babies are never alone. Mourning Rachel is based on a verse from the Bible - Jeremiah 31:15.
This is what the LORD says: "A cry is heard in Ramah--deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted--for her children are gone." (NLT)

While we were there, I told my husband I would like to purchase a paver for the twins in the memorial garden. He said he was thinking the same thing. Due to being on a budget, we talked about saving up for the cost of the paver. I mentioned this to my mother who talked to my father. They decided they wanted to pay for the cost of the paver for us. This is a huge gift and blessing! My husband and I are so thankful to have such generous parents.

While the last few days have been hard, they've also been very cathartic. We have come a long way in the last year. We are well on our way in the healing process. We will have somewhere we can go to visit our sweet boys who were taken too soon.

I know in my heart the twins are watching over their little brother. There are times when the baby will stare up at a spot on the ceiling, smiling and cooing. I always ask him if his brothers are up there and he grins really big. It warms my heart...

Happy Angelversary, Adam and Eli! You are forever loved and forever missed.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wellness Wednesday #3 (a day late)

This past week was terrible in terms of my wellness challenge. My grandma went into the hospital on Labor Day weekend. Towards the end of the weekend, things seemed to be getting better. However, on Tuesday, things went downhill. She wound up with sepsis and her kidneys started to fail her. They intubated her and transferred her to a larger hospital. From there, things went downhill quickly and she passed away last Friday afternoon.


While she was in the hospital, we babysat my niece several nights in a row. She stayed with us on Saturday night. Sunday was spent preparing for my grandmother's funeral. Monday, my husband was off work due to bereavement leave, and we worked on getting our house in some sort of order - something which hadn't been done since the baby was born eight weeks prior. Tuesday was her funeral and a family dinner. Yesterday was spent in mourning - something I will be writing about tomorrow.

Needless to say, with all of this going on, taking care of myself and eating healthy were not on my radar. The scale showed it when I weighed myself yesterday morning. However, I'm guessing most of my weight from yesterday morning was water weight. When I stepped on the scale Tuesday morning (to get a preview of what I might see on Wednesday), my weight was right around what it was the previous week. I definitely saw 215 on the scale, but I don't remember what the decimal part was...

Anyway, here is my week three weigh in:


So, officially, I am up 2.2 pounds from last week which makes me slightly disappointed. Again though, I don't think I really gained almost two pounds in one day so I'm trying to take that lightly and get back onto eating healthy this week. Here is a list of my current weigh ins:

Weigh In Date Weight Change Total Change
August 28, 2018
217.2
Wellness Starting
± 0.0
September 5, 2018
215.4
- 1.8
- 1.8
September 12, 2018
217.6
+2.2
+ 0.4

Neither of my goals last week happened. I didn't get around to doing what I would consider a good deed for anyone. I had high hopes a moment would come up, but nothing happened so I'm hoping in the next week I can do a good deed for someone. I also did not log my food every day. I did not eat at home often which makes it difficult to log. I do hope to continue this as the wellness challenge continues.

Week Three: 

  • Mental/Emotional: Make leisure time a priority. Take one day this week and make it be all about you. Do your favorite things. Read a book. Take a bath. Limit your duties and try your best to relax. 
  • Physical/Nutritional: Try a new healthy recipe. Find a new recipe online, in a cookbook, or from a friend. Make it. Did your family like it? Would you make it again? Could you alter it to make it even better or healthier?

I think leisure time is very important, but it may be difficult with an eight week old at home. I will definitely see what I can do and enjoy each day as it comes. I have been watching a marathon of Queer Eye on Netflix this morning while the baby sleeps. I haven't marathoned  a new show in a while and it has been very enjoyable.

I'm unsure if I'll be able to try a new recipe this week. We already did our grocery shopping and we didn't get anything to make anything new. I did make a new recipe a couple of weeks ago which my husband and I loved. We will definitely be making it again. It is called Slow Cooker Caribbean Pork and is amazing and easy! It's a recipe where once you buy everything the first time, it will be a lot more budget friendly from there on out. It is also healthy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Wellness Wednesday #2

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I was pleasantly surprised. It was Labor Day weekend here in the United States and we spent a good portion of the weekend visiting with family. We were not in charge of the meals we ate while visiting, so I consumed foods I normally wouldn't make myself as they are higher in calories than I would like. However, spending time with family is very important to my husband and me so it was worth it.

Here is my week two weigh in:


I am down 1.8 pounds since last week which is a pretty great loss! It's been about three years since I've seen a number starting with 215 on the scale as an "official weigh in". I have seen slightly below that as a mid-week check in, but not as an official one. I'm definitely very happy with that loss as my goal while breastfeeding is one pound per week. Here is a list of my current weigh ins:

Weigh In Date Weight Change Total Change
August 28, 2018
217.2
Wellness Starting
± 0.0
September 5, 2018
215.4
- 1.8
- 1.8

My goals last week were to get enough rest and drink plenty of water. Most days I got about seven hours of sleep which is my goal right now while the baby doesn't sleep through the night. There were only two days in the last week where I got less than seven hours. In regards to my water intake, it could have been better. Most days I drank plenty of liquid, but I drank a lot more lemonade, soda, and sweet tea than water. This is something I will continue working on as this wellness challenge continues.

Source
Week Two:

  • Mental/Emotional: Do a good deed. Whether this be paying for the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks or just opening doors for people. Do something kind for someone else.
  • Physical/Nutritional: Count your calories. Use a paper and pen. Use MyFitnessPal.com or SparkPeople.com. Count your calories all week and decide where you could cut some (if necessary).
I'm pretty excited for this week's challenges. I've always wanted to do a random good deed for someone. I don't know if it will be a monetary deed as we are tight on funds at the moment, but I'm sure I can find something free which would make someone's day. 

I have been trying for the past week or two to log my calories everyday. I normally do great at logging my meals through my afternoon snack, but don't log my dinner calories. I am going to make my personal goal to log all calories for the entire week.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Exclusively Pumping is Hard

Source
Breastfeeding is incredibly difficult. I had no idea how thoroughly challenging it is until I gave birth to my son last month.

When he was born, my son latched onto my breast within half an hour after his birth. His latch was great and there were no issues with his feedings. However, he wound up in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) when he was just twenty hours old because he was having issues with regulating his blood sugar and body temperature. To stabilize his blood sugar issues (which would help his temperature problem), the NICU had to introduce formula and a dextrose IV drip.

The hospital encouraged me to use a breast pump since I intended to breastfeed the baby. I was shown how to use the pump by a lactation consultant. In the beginning, I only got a few drops out during a pumping session. However, these small drops of colostrum were liquid gold and important to the baby's health. The NICU nurses made sure to feed my son what I had pumped, regardless of how small of an amount, before giving him any formula.

The baby was born on Monday and, by Friday, my milk had came in and I became engorged. I asked the NICU nurse what she thought while visiting our son. She called another lactation consultant who came to the NICU meet with my husband and me. The lactation consultant assisted us in getting the baby to feed on my breast with the help of a contact nipple shield. Once the baby was done eating, she showed my husband and me how to relieve the engorgement in my breasts. I was amazed at the amount of milk I pumped during that session.

The biggest struggle with the baby being in the NICU was the nurses would only let me attempt to breastfeed for a short time. If he became frustrated and cried too much, they would say he couldn't be bottle fed and would, therefore, feed him with a feeding tube which was placed through his nose to his stomach. He would be frustrated often because breastfeeding is more work for a baby. He became used to the instant feeding a bottle would allow and didn't want to work for his milk.

When we brought him home, I decided not to fight him on breastfeeding. I wanted him to eat, gain weight, and be healthy. When he would cry inconsolably each time I breastfed, I decided to exclusively pump. I wished he would have drank directly from my breast instead of pumping and bottle feeding, but it wasn't working out at that time.

While my husband was home on parental leave the first four weeks of our baby's life, pumping wasn't an issue. He could watch and console the baby if he started fussing allowing me all the time I needed for each pumping session. However, my husband has been back at work for two full weeks now and I'm at my wits end with pumping exclusively.

Source
After some trial and error, I discovered by son would latch on and nurse if I used a nipple shield since it resembles a bottle nipple more than the nipples on my breasts. The first time, he nursed a mere five minutes. The second, closer to ten. He's nursed up to fifteen minutes a couple of times. I have fed him solely from my breast overnight twice. We've only been working on the transition into breastfeeding for about a week and it's going pretty well.

During the day, I cannot breastfeed him. This is because my supply had started to struggle when my pumping schedule became irregular. The baby would be asleep when it was time for me to pump, but I would wait for him to wake to offer him by breast first. Sometimes he would take it and sometimes he wouldn't. If he wouldn't, I would have to wait to pump until after I had bottle fed him and gotten him to sleep. There were times when it would be four to five hours between pumping sessions when I am supposed to pump every three hours or so.

My husband and I worked out a plan to work through this yesterday. When he is home, I will try to breastfeed the baby first. Once the baby is done (whether he eats or not), my husband will take the baby and see if he wants any milk from a bottle while I pump. My lactation consultant recommended  continuing to pump after breastfeeding sessions until the baby is solely eating from the breast. When I'm home alone with the baby, in order to maintain my pumping schedule so my supply is not endangered, I will exclusively pump. This would be no different than if I was working full-time and pumping at work.

Nevertheless, pumping while home alone with the baby remains a struggle. I have searched online for tips for keeping my supply up. Some of the suggestions I have located are pumping at least seven to eight times a day, pumping for at least 15-20 minutes a session, and not paying attention to my output while I pump.

Many times, when I am attempting to maintain my pumping schedule, the baby will be fussy which makes pumping nearly impossible. Today I became incredibly frustrated and informed my husband I was done with pumping. Since then I have decided I am not actually done with it yet, but it's hard and emotionally taxing to attempt to be the sole source of sustenance for your child. I am hopeful we will be able to transition into exclusively breastfeeding instead of exclusively pumping because we are already on that journey. It is going to be extremely difficult, but it will be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wellness Wednesday #1

My weight is something I have struggled with my entire life. As a child, I remember hoarding sweets in my bedroom even though I was never without food. I overate regularly and my parents couldn't really stop it as I would sneak food without their knowledge. The summer between middle school and high school, I weighed over 200 pounds. At that point, my body hadn't matured so I wore my weight much differently than I do now.

High school gave me such high anxiety. Shortly after I started my high school career, I acquired a compulsion to not eat in front of other people. I couldn't eat breakfast because I wasn't up long enough and it made me nauseated. I couldn't eat lunch because I was at school and my classmates were there. I didn't eat dinner because I had marching band practice, color guard practice, rifle team practice, National Youth Coalition meetings, etc. Without making a conscious effort, I basically became anorexic. With the lack of eating and activity from marching band, I started my freshman year around 200 pounds. By Christmas, I weighed 130.

During my sophomore year, I hit rock bottom with my lack of eating. I remember a one week period where I consumed one single package of Nutrigrain bites which were about 200 calories. Around this time, I was in my JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps - intro into the military) class reciting the Pledge of Allegiance when I almost fainted. My instructor had a classmate take me to the nurse who called my mom. She picked me up, drove me home, and forced me to eat two grilled cheese sandwiches. That situation scared me and my parents. I slowly began eating better with my parents monitoring my food intake. My weight began to creep back up and, by the end of my sophomore year, I had gained 35 pounds and became overweight again.

My weight increased and decreased often throughout the rest of high school and into my early 20s when I had my first serious long-term relationship. The comfortableness of that relationship caused my weight to bloom. After about ten years in the relationship, things started to go downhill and we were no longer happy. I became depressed to the point of obtaining a compulsive overeating disorder. I would sit on the couch watching hours of television and stuffing my face until I felt sick and disgusted in myself. I saw my primary care physician who prescribed an anti-anxiety medication which helped me break the compulsive binge eating episodes. I only took the medication for nine months. My relationship ended. I was forced to move back in with my parents at 30 at my highest weight ever.

Since then, I have become more active and lost some weight. My weight went from 253 pounds to around 215 pounds by the time I met my husband. Once we met, my weight rose slightly due to being happy and comfortable in our relationship. Then I became pregnant and had a high aversion to most foods. I was eating whatever I could in order to consume enough to sustain my growing child. I gained around fourteen pounds during my pregnancy which was within the range of what was acceptable per my obstetrician.

Source
Now that I'm no longer pregnant, I plan on focusing on my own health and wellness again. I was overweight when I became pregnant. I am still overweight, though at a lower weight than I've seen in years due to breastfeeding. I don't want to solely concentrate on weight loss. I would like to also concentrate on mental and emotional health.

Years ago, I ran a weight loss support group on another blogging site. While running that group, we had goals each week of a twelve week round. I am going to review and possibly change a few of those goals, but use the same format as it seemed to really help motivate my weight loss back then. Feel free to participate along with me!

Week One: 
  • Mental/Emotion: Get enough rest. Most people need at least seven or eight hours of sleep per night for optimal functionality. Getting enough sleep also aids in weight loss. 
  • Physical/Nutrition: Drink enough water. Most people don't drink enough water. Water is very important to your physical self. Use this website to determine how much water you should drink each day.
The mental or emotional goal is going to be hard for me. I have a six week old infant whose sleep determines mine. I will definitely strive to get the most sleep possible overnight. I normally drink a lot during the day as breastfeeding makes you thirsty. However, I've been drinking a lot of chocolate milk, cranberry juice, orange juice, and Sprite. I will focus on drinking more water and less of other liquids.

So, my official first weigh in for this twelve week wellness challenge is:


If you're interested, here is a log of my "important" weights for this challenge. I am also posting these on the Weight Loss page on my blog here. Again, join me if you wish! The more, the merrier!

Weigh In Date Weight Note
January 1, 2014
253.0
Highest Ever
November 27, 2017
228.0
Prepregnancy
July 13, 2018
242.2
Last Pregnancy
July 25, 2018
227.0
First Post Pregnancy 
August 18, 2018
215.4
Lowest Post Pregnancy
August 28, 2018
217.2
Wellness Starting

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hey, it's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to be excited my son is growing! We had his one month appointment last week at five weeks and one day. His last appointment was exactly four weeks previously. His weight went from 7 pounds 2 ounces (20th percentile) to 10 pounds 6.5 ounces (55th percentile). He went from 19.75 inches (30th percentile) to 21.5 inches (45th percentile). His head circumference went from 13 inches (4th percentile) to 14.75 inches (60th percentile).

... to already be going through Hammer's dresser. He has outgrown most of his newborn clothes and even some of his 0-3 months. He has started wearing some 3 month clothing at 6 weeks old!!! We're going to take out everything we know is too small and evaluate what we have in the 0-3 month and 3 month size. We may need to get some more onesies and sleepers. Again, he's a growing boy!

Hammer at 1 month
... to be failing at blogging... Again, you're only a new mom once. I tend to focus on my little man when he's awake so I'm only on the computer when he's sleeping and I'm not doing anything around the house. It's not much because, at six weeks, he's awake a lot more than he was a few weeks ago. He's more fun though because he grins at his mama all the time and it makes my heart happy.

... to want to get out of the house, but also not want to get out of the house. I've been a stay-at-home mom for six weeks now. Other than my in-laws and my great aunts, we've had no visitors which is weird to me. I figured more people would want to come by and meet the baby. While I would be fine with that on days like today, some days I just want to be left alone.

... to be ready to try to get back in some shape. I have my six week postpartum appointment this week. I'm hopeful my OB will tell me I can return to regular activities. Once we get out of this heat wave, I would like to start taking my baby for walks a few times a week. It would be good for both of us. Eating healthier would also be better for us all around.
Source
... to be trying to relaunch my Usborne Books & More business. I took about two months off with the birth of my son and now I have to win back all of my customers. Usborne is books which are both educational and fun. The books are for children from infant to teenager. They're really awesome and I love them so much. Let me know if you have any questions about them!


... for the majority of these to be related to the baby. Haha!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Hammer's Birth Story

Disclaimer: Hammer is the nickname my son has had since I was 8 weeks pregnant. Also, this will be long so bear with me!



Source
I gave birth to my first child a month ago yesterday. I really want to have his birth story somewhere so I can remember it in detail when mom-brain makes me forget. Let's see what I can remember...

On Sunday the 15th of July, I began having pretty regular contractions. They weren’t very strong or close together. My husband and I worked on finishing up Hammer's nursery that weekend. I had a scheduled obstetrician appointment on the 16th. At my appointment the previous week, my OB had said we would need to schedule an induction if I hadn't gone into labor by the 16th. I wanted the nursery to be ready for the baby to come home should I be induced.

Around 11:00 PM, my contractions became closer together, but were still around 7-8 minutes apart. They were lasting a minute or longer, though. In order to be sent to labor and delivery (L&D), the contractions needed to be five minutes apart lasting a minute or longer for an hour or more. I was able to fall asleep for a bit.

I woke up around 1:00 AM with stronger contractions. I couldn't sleep through them anymore. I began timing them with an app on my phone. They were ranging from 4-6 minutes apart and lasted over a minute each. Around 1:30 AM, I woke my husband because I needed him to help me breathe through them. They were getting closer and closer together. Some were only 2-3 minutes apart! We decided to wait until 2:00 AM to call the after hours number for my OB's office. When I called, the OB said to head to L&D so we gathered our things and did. Let me just say, contractions while riding in a car for forty minutes are not fun.

We arrived at the hospital just before 3:00 AM and got situated in our room. The room just happened to be the same room I delivered my sleeping twins in back in September... I guess the universe was giving us a way to replace sad memories in that room with happy ones. At this point, I was two centimeters dilated and 50% effaced with the baby's head at -3 station. (For information on what I mean by station, please click here.)

Just before 5:00 AM, my nurse said the on call doctor told him if I hadn't had any cervical changes they would be sending me home. Nothing had changed. He came back within about half an hour and let us know they would be keeping me for observation for another two hours. Since I live forty minutes from the hospital and baby was at an A- on the monitor and not an A+, they weren't confident with discharging me. We later learned his heart rate was flat and didn't have the peaks and dips most babies have, but it wasn't a huge concern at that point. My mom had arrived by this point.

Another cervical check was completed around 7:30 AM. The nurse declared I was now three centimeters dilated and 50% effaced with baby at -2 station. The doctor came in shortly after this and said since my labor was progressing and I would probably be induced that day anyway, they wanted to augment my labor. We agreed.

She used a Foley balloon and pitocin on the lowest setting. I asked for an epidural immediately because I know how painful the contractions are with pitocin. I experienced a few of these intense contractions while waiting for the epidural. When a nurse tried to adjust my Foley balloon around 10:00 AM, it came right out which meant I was dilated to at least four centimeters. About fifteen minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and did my epidural.

I don't remember much after that in regards to time. I know I napped some. I know the nurses turned off my pitocin and reduced my epidural because baby's heart rate would drop with my contractions and stay low for too long. I remember my contractions came back really strong and I had to get a bolus from the anesthesiologist. The bolus made everything more numb than the original epidural did. I know the doctor came in and broke my water because my labor had stalled with them shutting off the pitocin.

My doctor was getting ready to recommend a c-section, but I told my nurse I felt a lot of pressure and pain with each contraction. She did another check and determined I was ready to push. I pushed for 30 minutes, but was getting worn out. The nurse let me "rest" for about 30 minutes. Her hope was the baby would work his way down on his own. I was sobbing through each contraction and telling my husband I wasn't sure how I was supposed to rest when the pain was so bad. My mom was massaging my back while my husband attempted to help me breathe through the pain.

The nurse came back and told me to push again. The pain was terrible with each contraction. I kept having to stop because I felt like I was going to throw up. I cried almost the whole time saying I didn't know if I could push him out. I remember saying over and over I never wanted a natural childbirth and the pain was too bad. I know I said at least once I was never wanted to go through labor again. Eventually, I did throw up due to the pain. I'm not sure how, though, because I hadn't had anything to eat in over 24 hours. Throwing up helped me though because I was able to push harder after that.

The doctor came back and said she could see the baby's head coming out. She said it looked like he was stuck under my pelvic bone and, if I could get his head under it, he would come out really easily. Baby appeared to be under distress. There was a lot of movement once she said this; the bed was raised high, the end was taken off, and stirrups were brought out. Once I was in the stirrups, pushing was so much easier. I wish they would have set the bed up like that to begin with!

With the next few contractions, the doctor tried to use a vacuum while I was pushing. Unfortunately, it popped off the baby's head twice. The next time I pushed, she pulled and the baby's head came out.  I pushed once more and felt immediate relief! I heard a little squeak and my husband asked if I had heard the baby. My husband had planned to cut the umbilical cord, but I heard the doctor say, "Sorry, Dad. I had to cut the cord. We need to take care of him." 

The nurses took the baby to the warmer and began working on him. He starting crying loudly. My mom and husband went to see the baby while I was laying there getting my second degree tear stitched up. I heard the doctor say he came out sunny side up which is why my contractions were so intense and why he got stuck under my pelvic bone. The nurse the doctor was talking to said my epidural had failed, too.

My mom asked if I wanted to see a picture of the baby. I told her no because I wanted to see him. A few moments later, a nurse brought him over to me and I got to see my beautiful baby boy. He was born at 9:50 PM on July 16th which is also his paternal grandfather's birthday. He weighed 6 pounds and 15.5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.



I later learned from my mom that, when he was born, he was very limp. The nurse would pick up his arm and drop it, and his arm would fall to his side. My mom was very worried, but the nurses kept telling her he would be okay.

I held him for a minute or two and the nurses took him to the nursery to give him some fluids. Shortly after, he was brought back to breastfeed for the first time. They took him back to the nursery when he was done and the L&D nurse finished with my post-delivery checklist and moved me to the postpartum floor around 11:30 PM.

I will write soon about our first night together and Hammer's stay in the NICU.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to have missed a ton of writing. It's not every day you become a mom for the first time. Look for the birth story of my son soon! I'll also be writing a lot of entries about my experiences with being a new mom.

... to be uncertain of what to do with a four week old. My husband returned to work yesterday so I am now home alone with the baby and the pets.

... to not want company this week. Getting used to being home alone with the baby has made things a little difficult. When my husband was on parental leave, we would split the time we were up overnight. Now I do most of the overnight wake ups so he can sleep for work. I am running on little sleep and haven't even showered today... and it's almost 6:00 PM.

... to love all of the rerun marathons shown on ion. I love most of the shows on there. NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Law & Order: SVU. They show Leverage in the early mornings and I'm starting to like that show. I'm not a fan of Blue Bloods though.

... to be excited we're in the middle of August. Autumn is my favorite season and I cannot wait for the weather to cool down some. It hasn't been as hot as normal here lately, but it's still been too hot for me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to have failed miserably at my goal of writing every day the latter half of June. Being 9 months pregnant makes doing anything regularly hard! I'm going to try to write several times a week at least. We shall see how that goes. Haha!

... to be done being pregnant, but also not want to force the baby out. I was told by my OB at my appointment yesterday that no one at the hospital would bat an eye if she sent a 38.5 week pregnant lady with a history of hypertension to the hospital that day to be induced. I told her I would rather wait and see if baby comes on his own.

... to have greatly slacked on my reading of books. I have been relaxing waiting on baby and watching a lot of television (old episode marathons on ION - Criminal Minds, NCIS: Los Angeles, Law & Order: SVU, and CSI). I actually started a new book today so we'll see how quickly I read that.

... to have informed my mom she can be in the hospital room during the beginning stages of labor, but let her I know I'll probably kick her out at some point. I'm pretty modest and don't want to have to worry about my boobs and bits showing during labor.

... to be sad my puppy (he's almost 9, so not quite a puppy anymore) is getting all gray in the face. This is him snuggling on the couch next to me yesterday and his face looks so gray to me!


...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brain Dump: Blogging is Hard

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom (or mom-to-be), I really need to get into the habit of writing daily. To do this, I've created some drafts of entries with random topics. When I have nothing better to discuss, I will post one of these topics so that I have something to post each day.



Source

Brain dump. What’s on your mind right now.

Keeping up with blogging is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Even without a full-time job, relaxing and planning for baby is keeping me busy. I figured I would have a lot more time. However, I do think there is a "learning curve" as to how much time I actually do have and to put some time aside each day for writing.

I am basically home alone from 7:30 AM to almost 6:00 PM. Right now, I do not have a baby to take care of, but I am 36 weeks pregnant and baby could come at any time. I really do not know what my schedule will look like then. I know it's hard to plan something like that because all babies are different. I could have an easy baby who sleeps and naps for hours at a time giving me more free time. I could have a baby who wants to be held 24/7 and cries if put down which would leave me with no time to blog...

All I know for sure is I really want to write often and get my blog going again. I find writing cathartic. I enjoy going back and reading blog entries I've written at different parts of my life. I know I will, one day, enjoy reading about this particular time in my life... where I am expecting a child in four weeks, when the baby is newborn and I'm figuring out that part of my life. That is why I'm trying to get into the habit of writing multiple times a week (or daily right now).

I will do my best to write as often as possible, but it's going to be hard to get back into that habit. Even with writing prompts already planned, it's hard to take the time to actually write. Here's to doing better at that. *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to have missed a day of blogging already (Sunday). A goal is a goal and, while it would have been nice to keep up with it, I won't stop trying this time. I have a bad habit of dropping goals if I miss them somehow. Not this time!

... to feel weird about not having a full-time job right now. I'm on my second day of not working and it's so strange. I'm supposed to be spending the four weeks and two days until my due date relaxing and getting things ready for baby before being a stay-at-home mom. When you've had a full-time job for the last fifteen years, it's weird to all of a sudden not be at work.

... to have binge watched television all day the first day off work. I haven't watched a lot of television lately so it was very enjoyable.

... to both love and hate pregnancy. I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant. I'm ready to meet my baby. I'm also super anxious while pregnant. I know I'm going to worry once my baby is born. I don't question that. While he's inside me, though, I don't know if he's okay. Did his heart stop beating? Did he stop breathing? I can't tell while he's inside. Having a pregnancy loss ramps up my anxiety.

My sweet baby boy in 3D.

... to be sad I had to take of my memorial ring for the twins today. My right hand is slightly swollen. My left hand is fine so I'm not sure why my right hand is swollen. I could barely get my ring off so I decided to just keep it off for now which makes me miss them more.

Memorial ring with the names of the twins.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Dear Younger Me

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom (or mom-to-be), I really need to get into the habit of writing daily. To do this, I've created some drafts of entries with random topics. When I have nothing better to discuss, I will post one of these topics so that I have something to post each day.



Source
What would you say to a younger version of yourself?

Dear Me,

If I could give you only two words of advice, it would be these... BE BRAVE. Life is too short to worry all of the time. I know it seems like the issues you are facing today are incredibly important, but in the long run, most of them don't even matter.

Don't care so much about what other people think. It will take you about fifteen more years to realize how awesome you are, but don't try to transform yourself into what you think others want you to be. Be yourself. Your true friends, and true love, will like you because of who you are and not who you are trying to be.

At 16 years old, you may think you have life figured out. I'm here to tell you it is much different than you ever expected or dreamed. You will not have good, steady boyfriend while in high school. You will not marry directly after high school graduation. You will not have your 2.5 children by the time you're 25. It's perfectly fine that these things don't happen. Your life has it's own pace and it's a good one.

Don't worry so much about your weight. You shouldn't feel the need to starve yourself to be thin. In recent years, a musician named Meghan Trainor wrote a song all about being plus-sized. Her lyrics say, "Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size. She says, boys like a little more booty to hold at night." These lyrics couldn't be more true. While some guys are very superficial and care a great deal about your looks, the ones most important in your life don't. Your curves are great. You are great.

While you will have a lot of ups and downs in your life, while I'm writing this, your life is pretty awesome these days. You have a lot of great things going on so hang in there through the toughest of it. Everything you experience will lead you to where you are today.Your trials and tribulations help define you. This is something that is sometimes hard to fathom, but you need to try to remember that little fact.

Don't forget to tell your friends and loved ones how much they mean to you. Life is short sometimes and you will lose some people before you are ready. It's important to spend time with those you love because one day you won't be able to do so.

Following this advice might be difficult, but it's in your best interest. Life is wonderful. Experience it.

Love,
A More Mature You



Saturday, June 16, 2018

Writing Goals

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom (or mom-to-be), I really need to get into the habit of writing daily. To do this, I've created some drafts of entries with random topics. When I have nothing better to discuss, I will post one of these topics so that I have something to post each day.



Source
Set a goal and a plan on how to get there.

It's ironic how this topic came about. I found 50 blog ideas I would like to write about and put them in a list in a Google document. I used random.org to generate some numbers for me. I went to the Google document and added numbered drafts in my blog for when I don't really feel I have much to write about. This was the first topic chosen and is super easy to write about today.

This is because yesterday was my last day of gainful employment. Starting today, I am preparing to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) when my first child is born in the next five weeks or so. When my husband and I discussed me being a SAHM, he didn't want me to get burned out and wanted me to have a goal. This goal was to get my public blog active again. In order to do this, I know I need to write more.

Therefore, I have set a goal to publish a post every day in the remainder of June. Some posts will be random blog topics with the little disclaimer at the top like this one. Others will be posts that I am purposely writing because I feel like I have something important to discuss.

It's hard to come up with blog entries that require much brain power these days due to baby brain. I also realize that, once baby is born, baby brain transforms into mom brain and doesn't get much better. That being said, I have already pre-started 15 blog entries with various topics so, at minimum, something should be posted each day.

If, by chance, I go several days without posting, you can probably assume baby decided to come early. So, there's that. :)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Freedom!

Source
I have been employed full-time since about 2005. In that time, I have worked for Home Depot, a magazine manufacturer, a small electrical business, a book manufacturer, and now a university. I have definitely had a lot of growth as a person and as an employee since my first full-time position.

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant and made it past the half-way point, we began discussing child care. Our first thought was to have my cousin be our "nanny". She loves children and I know my child would be treated amazingly in my cousin's care. We discussed this with my cousin and came to an agreement. However, we wanted to do this legally as my husband is ex-law enforcement and, due to my anxiety issues, I always want to do everything the "proper" way. We contacted a lawyer who specialized in this type of thing to ask some questions. After that, we figured out having my cousin legally watch our child would not work. Due to laws in our state, we would have to pay her state minimum wage plus time-and-a-half for anything over 40 hours a week. Her base pay would be more than I make in a month. We would also have to pay for federal and state taxes and have a special type of home insurance.

After informing my cousin of the bad news, we started looking into day cares in our area. Unfortunately, for many of them, the baby would have to be at least sixteen weeks old before he would be accepted into any of them. Considering the max amount of time off with FMLA is twelve weeks, this wasn't ideal. After that, we began looking at rates. The cheapest we found was about $250 a week which is about $1000 a month. That is around half my monthly income. We discussed it more and realized that, due to our commute, we would both be away from baby for around 10.5 hours a day. That's a lot of time away from our sweet boy!

So, we decided to look into one of us staying at home. We are really good at budgeting so we made a budget based off of a single income. Surprisingly, it worked out! We discovered we would really have to make some adjustments to our miscellaneous spending, but it would be doable. At tat time, we had a discussion about who would work and who wouldn't. We're not traditional in the sense that neither of us feels like he needs to work and I need to stay home. However, it ended up making more sense for me to stay home for two main reasons. The first being that my husband has a bachelor's degree while I don't so he would be eligible for more promotions and higher pay than me. The second is that I am planning on breastfeeding and it would be easier to breastfeed while at home with the baby instead of having to pump at work and bottle feed.

All that is to say that today is my last day of work! FREEDOM!!! After today, I will have about a month until my due date to rest and prepare for baby's arrival (assuming he makes it to his due date or near there). I am so excited! We have so much to do in the nursery! I am planning a post once it's set up to share the before (ish - we forgot to take a picture before we painted), the middle (during our kitchen remodel and after our baby shower), and the after photos. I am feeling very much like nesting and can't wait to have all day to work in the nursery. Once I get home from work, I don't have the energy so things are not progressing in there the way I would like.

Also, a fair warning, once I am staying at home, there are probably going to be lots of entries about me trying to figure out how to survive on the restricted budget we created. While we do follow a budget, it currently has a lot of wiggle room. Starting July 1st, we lose all of that wiggle room and have to be strict about what we're purchasing. Should be interesting... to say the least!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to be counting down the days until my last day of work. As of today, I only have about 8 days left of work... that is if I take my currently scheduled vacation days off and do not take any other days off. I am so excited!

... to have come up with a list of about 50 blog topics to write about. Obviously I need some help as my entries haven't been as frequent as I would like them to be!

... to be so glad my baby shower is this weekend. I'm looking forward to a day of celebrating my little one. Now if only he will cooperate and not beat me up all day. We shall see.

... to be very happy about the fundraiser I'll be launching very soon for my passion project.

... to be addicted to watching a kitty cam with foster kittens in the northwest. They are so cute and I would totally adopt them all if I wasn't so far away from them!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Passion Project


Source
In early 2011, a friend introduced me to the world of the television series Supernatural. Using Netflix, I quickly devoured all of the seasons up to the live one (which I had recorded on my DVR). I got caught up just in time to watch the season six finale air live. Because of my love for this television show, I met other like-minded fans on Twitter. I had the idea to launch a fan website devoted to the fans and community of Supernatural. In July of 2011, Supernatural-Fandom.com was created. I "hired in" a staff of volunteers to help me maintain the site and social media accounts.

During the summer of 2014, my ten-and-a-half year relationship ended and I moved back home with my parents. This wasn't as terrible as it may seem... other than the fact I lost my internet connection and, therefore, could not maintain the website. I went to coffee shops and updated things as best I could, but the website went to the wayside. In May of 2016, I decided to take the website down completely. I could no longer afford to operate the website, nor did I have the time to keep it properly updated. My Facebook page, Facebook group, and Twitter accounts for the website are still active. Today, my Facebook page has almost 26,000 likes, my Facebook group has just over 53,000 members, and my Twitter account has just over 41,000 followers.

Current Website Banner
One of the moderators on my Facebook group has recently run a semi-successful (and extremely large) Indigogo campaign to help fund her personal passion project - a virtual reality fan film which is loosely based on Supernatural. Her project is called Legacies and is so very cool! Check it out if you have a chance.

Using her expertise, and another moderator's amazing drawing abilities, we are planning a crowdsourcing campaign of our own to bring back the website. It will be a smaller campaign, but would allow the site to be brought back for a minimum of two years which would be amazing. Once I'm a stay-at-home mom, I will have more time to work on this passion project. I know, being a stay-at-home parent is hard and there will be a lot of days when I'm super busy, but I will have more time than I had before to maintain the website. On top of that, I have an awesome group of ladies who will be able to help me out and keep things going when I'm unable to do much.

The previous website had a lot of things I'm hoping to bring back. Those are things like:

  • A fundraiser to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) - maybe other charities too.
  • A live chat room which will be accessible during the first airings of the new episodes
  • A forum where fans can discuss various different topics
  • Contests, competitions, and fun activities
  • Original articles written by people "hired" to do so
The main reason I wanted to launch the website to begin with was to create a place of community for the fans of the television show. I really hope our crowdsourcing campaign is effective and we're able to bring in, at least, the minimum of what we need in order to bring the website back to fruition.

I am sure I will write more about this as the process continues. Do you have a passion project?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Why Mother's Day Was Bittersweet

Source
Mother's Day was yesterday, Sunday, May 13th. My husband and I started our day by attending church. After the church services, all moms and moms-to-be (me!) were honored by being given a beautifully decorated cookie. We then went home and prepared for our guests. Even though our kitchen doesn't currently exist due to remodeling, my husband and I hosted our parents for a cookout during the afternoon. It was a wonderful time spent visiting with both sets of parents, discussing Hammer's baby shower, and just enjoying the day.

I am beyond grateful for my own mother and my mother-in-law. My mother is the one who raised me and was integral in why I am the person I have become. While we didn't always get along, my mom is now one of my best friends. She is there for me when I need her. I'm never afraid nor ashamed to be in my early 30s and need my mother for certain things. My mother-in-law is an amazing woman. She raised my husband into the perfect man (hey, I'm not biased!) and has been there we we needed her the most. She and my father-in-law routinely help us with our home remodeling. She is a strong woman and someone I admire deeply.

Source
All that being said, this Mother's Day was incredibly bittersweet for me. Last summer, my husband and I learned we were pregnant. At our first ultrasound at 13 weeks, we learned we were having twins. Within one month, we lost those twins due to a malformation of their umbilical cords. I delivered my sleeping babies into Heaven on September 13, 2017.

The image shared to the right was on my Facebook timeline. It triggered an immense sadness in me a week ago. I was already struggling because it was a Monday, but seeing the image of crying parents giving an angel baby away made me emotional the rest of the day. I should have been celebrating my own first Mother's Day yesterday with my twins. Our sons would have been about three months old had we not lost them. Even typing this, I am becoming sad and missing my baby boys.

All that being said, I am incredibly grateful for my current pregnancy. We became pregnant with our rainbow baby, also a son, very shortly after delivering the twins. My due date with my current little one is July 19th. We cannot wait to meet him. We will most definitely be telling him about his brothers. Next year, I will be able to celebrate Mother's Day with this little guy. While I will always miss the presence of my twins, I know having their little brother with me will make the day easier.

I would like to wish a (belated) Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there... whether you be the mom of adult children, little kids, angel babies, furbabies, or anything else... you deserve to be celebrated! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to only write once a week, right? At least this link up is keeping me writing once a week.

... to be both happy and sad about Mother's Day on Sunday. I will expand on this on an entry later this week.

... to have been super lazy the last week or so after work. It's amazing to get home and not have to work on homework. I have been totally using that to my advantage and being incredibly lazy.

... to finally be in my third trimester and not love it. While my pregnancy has been pretty easy, I'm now to the point where I'm having some issues. My hips and back hurt often. Walking 50 feet to the bathroom at work is not enjoyable (and I go multiple times a day). My breasts are starting to hurt again. For some reason it seems like my morning sickness has returned. I have crazy dreams... like last night I dreamed someone gave me an entire box of a dozen donuts. However, every time I tried to eat one, it fell on the floor. Not cool, dreams! Not cool.

... to be excited I only have 35 days of work left. Assuming I don't go into labor early, I gave my notice with a final date of employment of June 30th (a Saturday, the last day in the pay period). I went through and counted yesterday. Taking out weekends, holidays, and already planned vacation days, there are only 35 days left. It makes me excited that I will be a stay-at-home mom soon!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to have been lazy with my writing in the last week. The good news? My semester is over and I should now have more time to dedicate to writing. Huzzah!

... to live in Illinois and have left the house this morning in capris and a short-sleeved top. Hello, 80° weather. Finally!!!

... to be annoyed with my doctor (even though it's technically not his fault). About seven months ago or so, I was tested for allergies having had issues for nearly ten years. After the testing, I was informed I am not allergic to anything though I have symptoms of allergies almost year round. He said I have "non-allergic rhinitis" which basically means I have all of the symptoms of allergies without any allergic reaction happening. Well, everything around us started budding last week (flowering trees, flowers, etc) and my husband and I both wound up with allergy issues.

... to be incredibly relieved to be done with school for this semester. I have been going to school non-stop (meaning spring, summer, and fall semesters) for three years now. I'm taking a short break due to baby coming and will have a minimum of seven months without classes.

... to need more blogs to read. I used to read a lot of blogs and write more often. Now that I'm back into it, I only have three blogs I read regularly and one rarely writes. I like reading just about anything. Anyone have any good blogs to read?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New Business Venture

Now that it's been made known to my current employer and my family and friends, I have some very exciting news to share! After a bunch of research and much discussion, my husband and I have decided I will be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) once our baby arrives. Unless baby decides to come early, my last day of employment will be June 29th. I am so very excited for this opportunity to be able to stay at home with our babies.

Prior to making this decision, I had made the leap into being a consultant for Usborne Books & More (UBAM). At the point of me becoming a consultant, my husband and I had been vaguely discussing one of us staying home. We had talked it over to the point where we knew, if it happened, it would be me. I have always wanted to supplement our income, but have not found a direct sales or private owner business which I thought I could maintain or make sales. One of my blogging friends is a consultant for UBAM and I began asking her questions. I was immediately sold and decided to sign up within a week later.

So, what is UBAM? We are award winning books that are creative, educational, adventurous, interactive, and fun for any age from birth to adult. Kids want to read the books because they have bright and brilliantly illustrated stories. UBAM promotes literacy in children and we have so many great books! I cannot wait to expand my little one's library!

I am having a Mystery Hostess party tonight on Facebook at 8:00 PM CDT. Right now my turn out isn't great, but I'll hopefully get some sales and get to give away some free books. I'm reaching the end of my incentive period and want to give away DOUBLE FREE books to one person. You may be wondering, "What is a mystery hostess party?" or "How does one work?" As those in the Facebook event participate in the party, they will have the opportunity to collect points. As purchases are made throughout the party, the hostess rewards will begin to grow higher and higher. At the end of the party, I will organize all the points in a spreadsheet and use random.org to choose the winners. The grand prize winner gets to be the "hostess" of the party which means she will receive all the DOUBLE FREE and HALF PRICE book rewards! The more people participate, the higher their chances of winning. There will be three other prizes, on top of the main hostess prize, given away as well.

So, yeah... Right now I haven't been putting too much effort into my UBAM business. My goal has been to have two parties a month (which honestly isn't much), but I am working full-time, going to school part-time, in the middle of a kitchen remodel, and making a tiny human. Once I am done working, I will put more effort into this business as it will be the extra income we need for entertainment and traveling purposes.

If you would like to know more about about my business, please click the little envelope icon in my right sidebar and send me an email!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

Source
Hey, it's okay...

... to have some exciting news later this week. I can't share yet, but will as soon as I can!

... to be done with our kitchen remodel already... like, it's not done, but I'm ready for it to be done. I miss having an oven and being able to do dishes in an actual kitchen sink. Things are moving along pretty well though!

... to be hosting a Mystery Hostess event for my new business venture. I had plans to write about it last week, but I'll write about it later this week. I am too busy!

... to be incredibly thankful I only have two weeks left of classes. One paper to write. Two films to watch. Three recorded videos totaling 7.5 minutes. Two discussion posts. After all that, I am done for a while! WHEW! I cannot wait.

... to be jealous of an eight-year-old. Growing up, we went on an actual vacation once every few years. I realized today I'm jealous of my niece. My parents took her to Florida for Spring Break and are taking her on a Jamaican cruise in December. I've never been to Florida OR on a a cruise.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Babymoon to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

March 18th through the 20th my husband and I took our babymoon. When we first started dating, our first overnight trip was a romantic getaway to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We stayed at the Mill Creek Hotel which was under construction. The stay was so memorable, we decided to return for our babymoon.

We left our house on Sunday morning and began the drive up. We stopped in Chicago to have dinner with a college friend of my husband. We ate at Greek Islands on Halsted. I had never eaten at an authentic Greek restaurant before and the food was amazing. I ordered a combo plate with gyros and pastichio which is basically a Greek lasagna. After we left Chicago, we headed to our hotel and checked in just after 4 PM. The hotel is amazing. Since we were there last, they added a pool and a continental breakfast. I mean, take a look at these pics of our room I took after we got checked in:

When you first walk in, the bathroom is on the right side.
This is what you see from the bathroom door.
If you go and stand next to the toilet and look on the opposite wall,
you see this awesome jet tub with an amazing shower.
From the bathroom door looking the other direction, you see the kitchen.
This little hotel room has a nice kitchenette!
Here is another view of the kitchen from standing next to the table (below).
For this picture, I am standing by the counter/island in the kitchen area.
From the end of the table to the right is the separate bedroom.
It has its own door and little closet.
Ignore my pregnancy pillow on the bed!
And this is the little living room view from the doorway to the bedroom.
The door off to the right leads to an outdoor patio. Our patio didn't have
a great view this time so I didn't take a picture.
This room was also the "bronze room" which is the lowest quality room they offer. Last time we were there, I'm pretty sure we had a gold room which was very similar, but the view from our third door balcony was gorgeous. Anyway, a little bit after we checked in some friends who live about an hour away came to meet us for dinner. After some discussion, we decided to go to Sprecher's for dinner. Sprecher's is located right next door to the hotel. While my food was good, it wasn't amazing, but the company was! After eating, we all went back to our hotel room and talked for a few hours. After they left, my husband and I laid in bed and watched the Food Network on television. We are so exciting!

The next morning, we were up early because we always are. We got dressed and went next door (literally, the room next to ours) to have the continental breakfast. This is the first hotel I've been in that actually had an attendant who helped with your food. If you wanted a waffle, she made it for you and brought it to your table. If you wanted an omelet or a sandwich of some kind, she would make it and bring it to you. They also had the normal continental breakfast things like juice, coffee, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, bagels, french toast (the kind you just warm in a toaster), pastries, fruit, etc. We both had a waffle and then shared a bagel with cream cheese. I had a string cheese while waiting on my waffle. I also drank a glass of orange juice and some hot cocoa. We were in there a while!

After breakfast, we went back to our room and lounged. We had planned to take Monday as a day to relax and had no plans of leaving our room for anything. My husband played a game on the laptop while I laid on the couch and read a book. Around noon, I was tired and decided to take a nap. I slept for about an hour and then decided I was ready to shower. We took a nice long bath in the jet tub and just relaxed and talked for about an hour. We then showered. I decided to lay in bed and watch TV so my husband joined me.

Around 5 or so, I had a craving for some ice cream. After some research, I discovered a little ice cream place we went to the last time we were visiting. It was only a few blocks away. Being as I had just put on pajamas after my shower, my husband was awesome and went to get our ice cream. The ice cream place is called Kilwins and we each got two scoops. I got some kind of fudge ice cream which was vanilla ice cream with thick fudge ribbons in it. So good! My second scoop was cookies and cream which was also good. After eating ice cream, I decided it was time for another nap.

I slept for about an hour and then got up and read some more. Around 8 PM, we decided we should probably eat dinner. We had brought everything we would need to make cheese tortellini in a pink sauce so we made that and ate it. Shortly after that, we got ready for bed, laid down, and watched some more TV before sleeping.

Tuesday morning we were woken by a phone call at 7 AM. It was my husband's sister. My in-laws were on a cruise in the Galapagos Islands and my mother-in-law had some major internal bleeding. They had rushed her from the cruise ship to an emergency clinic on one of the islands around midnight. She wasn't very stable and they weren't able to move her to a real hospital at that time.

After the call, we were reasonably upset. We showered, got ready, ate breakfast, and headed home. We got home much earlier than we expected and decided, while Lake Geneva and the Mill Creek Hotel are amazing, we will not be going back. The first time we were there, almost three years prior, my mother-in-law (well, not yet as my husband and I were dating then) had a heart attack. Why tempt fate by going back a third time?

My mother-in-law was transferred to a hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Thursday afternoon. The doctors there figured out she had an ulcer which had already began healing. The following Monday, one week after her initial scare, my in-laws flew back home. She is doing great now and we are so thankful!