Judgement

There you are standing there smiling at my babies.

There you go telling me they are cute.

There you are asking me if they are twins.

There you are asking me if twins run in my family.

There you are. Judgement. There you are.

There you go asking me if she’s a girl.

There you go happily telling me “I have my girl.”

There you go asking me if I’m done.

There you are. Judgment. There you are.

Here I go shaking my head in disbelief.

Here I go replaying the conversation in my head.

Here I go pretending it didn’t bother me.

There you are. Judgement. There you are.

Here I go beating myself up for not saying anything.

Here I go saying “Next time I’ll say something different.”

Here I go looking at myself in a mirror looking for the right answers.

There you are. Judgement. There you are.

Here I am. Unsure of the next path.

Here I am. Scared of the future.

Here I am. Ready to let go.

There you are. Jesus. There you are.

Just in case

Three powerful words

So I have been thinking about this blog post for a while. I will preface it by saying that this could be a trigger for some of you. I will also preface it by saying I am being so serious in writing about this topic. Some of you might disagree with me and that is completely fine. But I also feel like some of you are waiting for this conversation to start.  It’s a vulnerable and raw topic. It’s just something that’s constantly been on my mind these past few weeks even with the craziness of life. Oddly enough, it was brought up at our MOPS play date this week! I definitely feel like God is calling me to start the conversation. So here we go…..

A little back story:
So I was talking to a friend about two weeks ago and she told me that she was pregnant. It was a really good conversation and obviously, I am so excited for her and her growing family. But she was about 7 1/2 weeks along and she told me that she wasn’t telling very many people until after her first doctor appointment….. just in case. I think we all know what that means. In case you don’t, she wasn’t telling very many people in case something is wrong or something happens in the early part of the pregnancy. If you have ever been pregnant, most of you understand and are sensitive to this… and quite frankly, we all get it and would never blame anyone for waiting….. just in case.

But here is the problem with just in case, it doesn’t matter if we don’t wait and share right when we find out or wait for 12 weeks or 20 weeks; the fact is, anything can happen at anytime and we can’t control what happens. I think we use this idea of just in case as a protection and a way to guard ourselves from the potential of something so unbelievably painful if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage and/or stillbirth. And actually, for anyone to make it through an entire pregnancy without any complications is nothing short of a miracle. It truly is an amazing blessing to have a healthy pregnancy, even in this century filled with so much science and technology!

But why do we do this? Why do we feel like it’s better to wait just in case?

Is it because it’s easier on us if we should lose the pregnancy to have not told very many people? I would argue that it’s harder. In fact, it’s probably pretty lonely.

Is it because we wouldn’t want to bother anyone with our sadness in case of a loss? I would argue that our society would make us feel like our sadness is an inconvenience but the reality is that it’s not. The reality is that miscarriage and stillbirth happen every year in this country.

Now TRUST ME, I completely understand the just in case mentality. When we first started going through fertility treatments, I didn’t want anyone to know.

WHY?

Because I was ashamed. I was ashamed that my body couldn’t do the most basic task it was made to do: to make a child.

I was upset because I felt that my body failed me.

I was angry for feeling like I had done “everything right” and was being punished for waiting to have children until after I got married instead of when I was single after a college party.

I was resentful because others seemed to just “get pregnant” without even trying and I couldn’t.

I was sad that children are conceived every day by people who didn’t even want them in the first place and here I was longing for a child and couldn’t have one.

I couldn’t have a baby. I still can’t have a baby without help.

No matter what I wanted, it just wasn’t going to happen the way I thought it should happen. The way it was supposed to happen.

I imagine that if I lost a child. I would have a lot of confusion, anger, sadness, frustration and even more indescribable feelings. I imagine it would be one of THE most painful events in my life. I think about that. I think about if we can’t bring our next two embryos to term or if I don’t get pregnant the next time we try to transfer…. I think about that. Because to me, that inability to conceive our children in waiting…..would. crush. me. Because to me, they are already here waiting for us. To me, they are already mine. To me, they are apart of our family. So I understand, just A LITTLE BIT, of those feelings that people must go through when a child is lost in the womb. And when I say A LITTLE BIT, I mean A LITTLE BIT. Just a dash. It’s one of those things you would never wish upon someone else but you can only experience it to truly know how it feels. It’s definitely something I hope I never have to feel.

So what are we guarding ourselves from by saying just in case?

Is it vulnerability? Is it trying to control the uncontrollable? Is it not having to answer anyone when they ask you how you are feeling? Is it because we want to be alone in our sadness? I don’t really know.

What I do know is that in the last 2 years that I have started sharing about our infertility journey, I have helped a handful of women, who felt they were ALONE, not feel alone. I have had so many conversations with women – just. like. me. – trying to make sense of this painful (physically, emotionally, and mentally) infertility journey. These conversations wouldn’t have happened without me being open. Without me, being open to sharing our struggles, sharing our journey, and sharing the truth.

So this is my point: If you can share your journey – share it. Because I guarantee you will find that you are not alone. You are far from alone. Whether it’s a miscarriage, infertility or still birth, there is someone there fighting the good fight with you. There is someone there who can mourn with you. There is someone there who can support you and run along side you. There is someone there that can tell you that YOU WILL BE OKAY. YOU WILL SURVIVE.

Share your journey just in case you end up impacting someone else’s life more than you will ever know. 

 

Rachel

 

**This post is dedicated to the survivors.**

What’s in a name…

Time for a change!

So if you are following me on social media, you should be seeing a few name changes…. it was time I streamlined my social media accounts – everywhere!

I mean names are SOOO important! What do you think about when you hear your name? Last name? Your maiden name? They tell us a story of our lives and our history. In history, names would indicate where in a country someone was from and frankly, our last names are rich with so much history. One of my bucket list items is to find out more about my maiden name and my married name. History is alive and well in all of us! We carry it around us everywhere we go!

So I hope you like the new name…. I feel like it really encompasses my life because most times (read: ALL times) I am just “rolling with it”….

—- Rachel

It’s time I spilled the Cheerios….

The pregnancy that never ends…

Wow. It’s been 3 months since I’ve written. How is that possible? Well I could give a number of reasons, pretty legitimate reasons, why it just hasn’t happened…. but the biggest reason is that I was avoiding it. Weird, right? But now it’s time to get real. Get vulnerable. It’s time I spilled the Cheerios.

Since I gave birth to Madison, I haven’t been doing so great. Sure, I’ve found a wonderful outlet with Rodan + Fields, gotten closer to friends, have watched my sons grow into little boys, have watched my daughter grow from a newborn to an infant, bought a new house and much more. Those things have been WONDERFUL (distractions).

Life seems great. Life is great. But something is wrong (with me). I mean it in the most sincerity…. something is wrong with me. Those of you that have followed our story know Madison’s pregnancy was “exciting”. It was full of ups and downs and I was emotionally a wreck. Then we had Hurricane Harvey just a few days before giving birth which made her birth story, crazy and slightly stressful. And really I thought it would end after that. I thought all I would have to do between her birth and now would be trying to keep my sanity and raise 3 kids under 3 years old and trying to lose enough weight before my sister’s wedding at the end of February.

Well, somehow different plans have been drawn and I am scared shitless.

Since Madison’s birth:

1. I have had two D&C surgeries.

2. I have been told I might need a hysterectomy after I woke up from my first D&C procedure.

3. AND TMI, I have worn a pad almost every day since she’s been born.

4. I have tirelessly thought about our future family plans.

5. I have considered surrogacy for our last two embryos.

All of these 5 things have consumed me over the last (almost) 5 months. CONSUMED ME. Now I am busy in my day-to-day so I can’t exactly think about it on and on BUT mentally it’s always there.

So what’s wrong? Well, essentially, I somehow have had retained placenta left in my uterus from Madison’s birth. Yep. I didn’t know it could happen with someone who’s had a c-section (let alone two), but it has. I am just as shocked that I was on day one when the OB told me that was a possibility. I really can’t even explain how it happened because honestly no one can explain it to me and I have seen many doctors. Essentially, I haven’t really stopped bleeding since I gave birth. It comes and goes in waves. But it never really stops. So how can you move on when this is happening? You can’t. Or, at least, I can’t.

To put it bluntly, it’s been a nightmare. A nightmare I don’t think I wanted to face or make real by writing it down. But I’m ready. 

Since my second D&C (that I slightly regret doing), I have changed doctors and received a tentative diagnosis. I have been diagnosed with sub-involution of the uterus. Basically, my uterus was having a hard time healing from the pregnancy. It’s a consequence of having retained placenta (go figure). The diagnosis is hard to come to and doing the D&C’s actually lengthened the time my uterus needs to heal because, hello, surgery just aggravates it. But I praise God for this new doctor. I have actually been treated with two  rounds of antibiotics because it was suspected I also had endometritis (inflammation of the uterus) and now am on an estrogen/progesterone treatment to hopefully heal my lining of my uterus. My last scan does show I have some more scar tissue or possible more placenta particles. But we won’t know the state of everything until I have a hysteroscopy sometime in March.

Curious about the pathology report from the second D&C I had – yep. More placenta. Did I tell you this was a nightmare?   

So March. Madison will be 6 months old before I know what is the outcome of all this treatment. I will be 6 months into this 3 children gig. Definitely not something I have been happy about. Definitely not something I have been able to really come to terms with until now.

The worst part is that I don’t know what’s going to happen. The worst part is that I don’t know how this will affect our future family plans until March and really, maybe not until we are ready to transfer the next embryo. The worst part is that I don’t know if my next pregnancy will be my last or if this one was my last one. The worst part is we just DON’T KNOW.

What I do know:

  1. My body is shot. I definitely need a big break until we try again.
  2. If there is an inch of belief that my next pregnancy could be my last, we will transfer the two embryos.
  3. If there is a compromise to my uterus that could affect me carrying, we will consider surrogacy.

Is this stuff easy to think about? HELL NO. I am scared out of my mind but I believe with my whole heart that all of the lives we created deserve a chance. I believe with my whole heart we are supposed to have 5 children. I believe with my whole heart that whatever happens, we will be okay. I will be okay. I do believe that. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared. It doesn’t mean I am not angry about it. It doesn’t mean I’m consumed by it. It doesn’t mean I have all the right answers or know how to fix it.

I just KNOW I have two more lives worth fighting for and that’s all I need to know. 

 

“This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
‘Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.’

He whispered, ‘My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.'”

— Excerpt from Footprints in the Sand

 

Until next time,

Rachel

Life on the crazy train

Trying to get off at the next stop…

So let me just say, life is CRAZY. I feel like I just paid for a one way ticket. But since we’ve had the twins – really since I was pregnant with them – we just sort of survived. Honestly, living like that daily BLOWS! I understand it’s a phase of life and we’ve had lots of fun as well but it’s still rough.

One thing I’ve always thrived off of is a clean work space. Well, now my house is the work space soooo not getting to the cleaning pretty much wrecked my world. But I’ve just gotten use to not being able to get to everything and I certainly don’t have large amount of hours to just clean anymore. The result: many things are left undone for a long time until we “get to them”.

Adding Miss Madison made it apparent that things needed to change. One thing I can’t stand more than anything were/are dirty floors. Our dog sheds so bad and it needs to be swept at least 2 times a week to make it bearable around here. But again, that never happened. The result: the clumps of dog hair and dust around. Great. It just felt so dirty. All the stinking time.

My therapist gave us an article to read about mental load and without going into super detail right now, it was so helpful to see how things at our house was really not functioning well for either of us. As a result, we instituted the following “schedule” that allows us to achieve household tasks daily so nothing (hopefully) seems super overwhelming. It’s not perfect but it helps us to know what we have prioritized as needing to get done that day. If I can’t get to the tasks during the day, then we tag team and get them done when the twins go to bed. It’s been so helpful.

Last week, when I was recovering from my surgery, we couldn’t get to anything besides the usual dishes and laundry (that’s a daily thing here). And even though I was ready for a more picked up house by the end of the week I wasn’t nearly as anxious because I knew we had this system in place to help us get back on track!

Saturday/Sunday
Linens freshened in rooms and bathrooms
Trash/Recycle Collection
General house pick up: counters, putting away things like laundry, rooms, etc
Bathe Dakota
Mowing
Grocery

Monday
Dusting and glass (lamps and surfaces)
Laundry – washing only
Getting boys ready for school

Tuesday
Floors – vacuum & swiffer
Laundry – folding only (put away as much as possible)
Kitchen cleaned

Wednesday
Trash collection
Bathrooms cleaned
Getting boys ready for school

Thursday
Laundry

Friday
Floors – swiffer & mop

Like I said, it’s not perfect but it definitely helps us maintain our home and our sanity a bit better! Hope this helps!

Rachel

When $20 makes you angry….

Bridesmaid dress shopping

So I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now…. Let me first tell want you that this might be a trigger for some of you. Then let me you I don’t take this post lightly. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry about $20 in my life.

Let me begin….

Last Thursday was my DREADED dress fitting for my sister’s wedding. Now when I say dreaded I mean AWFUL. No one postpartum wants to be in a formal dress fitting at some bridesmaid dress boutique 8 weeks after having a baby. Let alone someone who gained 75 pounds in that pregnancy and still having complications from the delivery.

However, I was feeling pretty good that day. The scale showed 2.8lbs lost over the last week and well, I had to do this thing so might as well TRY to be okay with it.

When we arrived, the nerves set in. I just wanted to get in and out as soon as humanly possible. The lady doing my fitting was super nice. She gathered all the dresses for me that my sister had chosen and told me this was the ONLY size for each of these dresses. She didn’t tell me the size but talk about a RED FLAG. Instant worry. She told me that if the dress didn’t fit right that she would clip it for me if it was too big. 😂 I told her that’s probably not going to be necessary. I mean, she had to have known I wasn’t going to fit in the dresses but she was doing her usual thing and saying her usual stuff.

Sooooo, I got into the fitting area. I looked at the size of the dress – size 10. I’m usually a 10-12 but even my sister said the sizes ran small so I KNEW we were in TROUBLE. Like BIG TROUBLE. I tried putting on the first dress by stepping into it – uh that didn’t work. RED FLAG #2. I managed to wiggle it over my head and into my body. But it definitely didn’t fit right. I took one look in the mirror and I looked like an Umpa Lumpa. I told my sister she had to get into the fitting area because there is no way I’m looking into a mirror again or fitting into the rest of these dresses. She had to help me take the dress off. 😭

We tried on the second dress – the one she thought might be more flattering on me and it didn’t go past my shoulders. 😭 I literally had to hold it over my head so she could MAYBE see if it would work on my body 4 months from then. And it’s no slam at my sister, she was very kind and trying to keep me calm by reminding me I won’t look the same in 4 months but I couldn’t help but feel humiliated when she asked if they had bigger sizes. It just sucked. I knew this was going to happen. I was over it.

We were given a dress that was slightly bigger and similar style and it LOOKED HORRIBLE. We decided that she would have to pick the dress and hope to God that it would look good on my body come her wedding day.

Now, it was time to get measured. 😭 I survived that but then the lady had to tell me what size to order based on my measurements. My bust was sized 18-20 and the rest of me was recommended at a 20-22. 😱 She recommended the 20 since I’m actively trying to lose weight. I just had to suck that conversation up. It just sucked.

Side note: I want to be clear that the losing of the baby weight is important for me. The wedding definitely motivates me but for me to feel healthy and comfortable, I like being in a certain weight range. I may or may not make that by the wedding date and I’m okay with that as long as I’m trying and doing what I can, it will be what it is going to be. I’m thoroughly enjoying my activity and I feel overall it helps me be a better mom (once I get past the major tired). 

So because Madison needed to eat, we hung out and I decided I might as well order the dress while we wait. It’s not something I wanted to do so if I left without doing it I would probably forget as it’s not exactly on my priority list. I go to order the dress online and not only did I have to pay for the dress and taxes, I was being charged an EXTRA $20 for being PLUS SIZED!

Now let me tell you, I was fuming!

Here’s why: I’m most likely going to lose somewhere between 30-50 lbs between now and the wedding (hoping 50lbs but let’s try to be realistic 😉) so that EXTRA $20 might not be necessary. And in fact, I’ll be cutting some of that dress off in alterations so it’s like I’m paying double!

Side note: If I ordered a size 18 it would still be plus size. I would have had to move down to a size 16 to not be charged and I frankly wasn’t comfortable with that considering their sizing. 

Another reason and really the most important reason I was fuming was because WHO DOES THAT!?! Maybe it’s common practice at places and because I’m not normally plus sized I haven’t experienced it but what the hell is wrong with the clothing world?! Seriously, who charges people EXTRA for being a certain size?! Or charges people LESS for being the “right size”?  That’s just plain inconsiderate, horrible, and frankly discriminatory. And I know some of you are thinking, well extra fabric… Extra fabric my ass. It’s just plain dumb and no wonder we have eating issues in this country. Seriously.

To the women who have experienced this or experience this on a regular basis, I am SORRY. I am sorry the clothing world doesn’t value you the same as those in the “right size”. I am sorry that you were ever made to feel like you’re extra and needed to pay extra. I am sorry if you were ever made to feel so different for being YOU.

I have never been so appalled in my entire life.

Rachel

A long awaited update….

The past 5 weeks….

It’s been over 5 weeks since I’ve sat down and wrote. Boy, my heart and head needs this outlet. But how? How does mommy find the time? How does Rachel find the time?

Well for one, I’ve started this post one-handed while rocking a baby to sleep, the twins are coloring (hopefully just their papers – FYI, they colored their table) and Sesame Street is on. And realistically it might take several start and stops just to get it finished but that’s life these days.

So here’s a little update!

The twins: Well, now the twins are 2 years old! How did that happen?! We celebrated their birthday the first weekend of October. Right after their birthday we’ve been battling sickness: respiratory, ear infections, and nasty colds for all! I think we are finally on the mend there. They’ve continued to adjust well to their sister which is such a blessing. I really don’t think we’ve dealt with outbursts related to her, specifically. But they are 2 and boy, dealing with their own developmental growing pains can be particularly frustrating for Nick and me. I feel like some days the words of the day are NO, DON’T DO THAT, STOP TOUCHING THAT, QUIT CLIMBING, STOP HITTING, SAY SORRY, YOU’RE IN TIMEOUT, etc. Then other days I just tell them they will get hurt if they do X, Y, and Z and walk away praying they don’t actually get hurt. But just some days natural consequences are the best teachers. Right? Two 2 year olds are no joke and not for the faint of heart. Then couple a trying day with the twins with a fussy, refuses to sleep baby and you’ve got a recipe for wine by 5 o’clock or a Grand Gold Margarita from Pappasitos, especially if it’s a Wednesday (if I’m not so exhausted by then and I usually am). The best thing we did was give them this small playhouse for our backyard for their birthday! Now with the weather cooling down, we are using it more and more, like today.

Nick: He is so busy at work! David Weekley Homes keeps him busy but he was a champ altering his schedule while I was on c section restriction. It was a tough 6 weeks but we made it thanks to our tribe! My sister and my mom continually step up to the plate for us which we will always be so grateful for!

Madison: She is so amazing! It only took us 7 weeks to discover that she’s a tad caffeine sensitive so overall she’s sleeping much better during the day. She usually gets up just once at night, sometimes twice. Overall the girl gets a medal for giving us the best transition to a family of 5 as possible.

Then there’s me: Juggling the kids on my own is tough. I tell my mom I don’t know how she did it with seemingly effortless grace when I’m here feeling like a basket case. But isn’t that how it goes? I don’t remember my mom being super frazzled 24/7 but I do remember her being there. That’s what I want my kids to remember: me being there. I’ve officially been taking over taking the boys to school by 8am Tuesday and Thursday and picking them up by 3pm! I happy to report the latest we’ve been late was by 20 minutes! Other days we’ve been right on time and I’ve been on time for pick up! Talk about a mom win! 🙌🏻

I’ve been finally able to start working out and I’ve stayed pretty dedicated to getting back into the swing of things (slowly) and staying consistent. I’ve been really working on my eating and that’s stayed fairly consistent as well. I’m 7 weeks postpartum and down almost 25 pounds with about 50 more to go to pre-pregnancy weight. 😳 Can’t believe I just wrote that but it’s true. I would preferably like it to be gone by my sister’s wedding at the end of February so will keep you updated on the progress. I believe switching up my workouts and continually working on better eating habits will help me!

In other news and to slide into your prayers, I’ve also continued to have some postpartum bleeding complications. I feel like I’m finally on a road to getting some resolution but it’s been overall frustrating and stressful as I know this is not the normal progression after having a baby. I don’t want to go into super detail here but if you’re curious, feel free to message me!

Overall, life with 3 under 3 is so incredibly challenging.

So let me answer some of the most asked questions:

1. How is it taking care of one baby? EASY! And it helps she’s pretty laid back. But I rarely just have the baby so it’s still hard! Haha

2. How do you do it? LOTS AND LOTS OF THE SERENITY PRAYER but in all seriousness, you just do.

My side note to these questions: the twins are and probably will be constantly be challenging as we have two in the same developmental stage of life but definitely not two of the same people. It’s incredibly challenging and really, so much fun. But as they are learning to communicate more and more, things are getting “easier” but when that communication breaks down – SERENITY PRAYER IT UP because that’s all that’s going to save you!

3 under 3 is the way to be, 😂😂

Rachel