Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days

Tomorrow I will have been sober for 30 days. 

I couldn't imagine getting here when I began. It seemed like it was years away and yet now that I'm here, it seems like yesterday. 

This Wednesday I will have been in treatment for 30 days. 

But, I'm not done yet. I've made the decision to stay 30 more days. My journey has just begun and I need more time to truly grasp all that I'm dealing with in my addiction. In the next 30 days I'll get my car, look for a job and slowly transition back into real life. I really couldn't imagine jumping back into life at this point. I'm still too raw and too vulnerable. 

I've found a sponsor and made a new friend in my house manager's girlfriend. I'm really looking forward to meeting new girls and connecting with a group of girlfriends. 

Life is starting to look good. I can see the value of sobriety and how life changing this experience has been and will be. My focus has shifted from just getting it done so I can be clean to really immersing myself in recovery so that I can be a good woman. A woman that people are proud to know and a woman that my children admire. 

I'll get there one day. I know I will.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I'm not writing to justify. I'm not writing to simplify. I'm not writing for sympathy or pity or even forgiveness. I'm writing to write. To get this word vomit out. I need to explain, to express, to engage. 

I have a drug problem. I am in recovery for an addiction to prescription pain medication. 

I don't know where to start. I had overcome an addiction several years ago. I did an outpatient rehab program. It was fine. I was fine. The obsession wasn't gone but I managed. 

I had June and the subsequent surgeries and pain sent me back to the depths of addiction. The pain was legitimate but so was my physical and psychological dependence on opiates. At one point it came to light and people found out that I had stolen medication from family members. I was getting better though. I would be okay. 

Then I got pregnant again. My uterus was beat up and tired. It could barely handle the stress of the pregnancy and the burgeoning baby. I was on a fair amount of medication to ease the discomfort. Some days were better than others but as the months went by I become cripplingly dependent on the medication. I would go through minor withdrawals only hours after my previous dose. I knew my addiction was full fledged and yet I didn't speak up. I didn't know how to tell my doctor, I was afraid of many things. Toward the end of the pregnancy Dr Man mentioned Theo may have to spend some time in the NICU for withdrawal. I told him I would quit the medication right then and there if that meant Theo would be okay. No, he would withdrawal in utero and there would be nothing we could do to help him. 

Theo was born and whisked straight to the NICU for his initial breathing issues. A few days into our stay, his withdrawals became apparent. He would cry, become agitated, have diarrhea. There was a list we went through every day to monitor him. He spent two weeks on a medication to taper him down and finally off. 

I went to an post-natal rehab program and felt out of place. I wasn't like them. I was different, better, more educated, I still had custody of my kids. I was in denial. 

My pain resurfaced. So did my addiction. While Theo was in the NICU I tapered off the medication as well. Even after a c-section, I wanted to be done. But old habits die hard and the first twinge of pain I got another prescription. 

I knew if I went behind my family's back to get medication I would be in trouble. They knew I had struggled with addiction. They knew I couldn't use the medication properly. 

I did it anyway. I acquired prescriptions, all legally. After my hysterectomy, I vowed to myself I would get better. I'd stop. There was no more physical pain. But there was emotional pain. Years of emotional scars that would begin to open and fester when I stopped numbing them. 

So I delved deeper. I didn't stop. I continued to use behind my husband's back. I lied. I stole, again. 

I breastfed my infant. And this is probably the most illogical thing about it - I was afraid to go on anti-depressants while breastfeeding. I was afraid to drink. But I continued to take narcotics while my son was depending on me to nourish him. 

My world came crashing down around my feet on Monday, September 23. I was found out as a thief. The next day Thomas came to my parents where I had been staying to get some help and took my babies. I'm now living with my parents while my children live elsewhere. 

I'm entering a residential rehab program on Tuesday. I'll be gone for 30 days. 30 days to work through my demons and get to the core of why I need to not feel the majority of my emotions. 

I get my phone one hour a day to talk to family. During that hour I plan to also post a picture on IG and document my day. I have to have some sort of creative outlet for this to work. 

So these are the rough waters I've swam into. I'm determined to paddle as hard as I can to shore. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sleep and Laundry

I'm quite aware that I have become a horrible blogger. I fully intend to blame the fact that my laptop is dying and typing on my tablet is hard. Anyway, I'm back (for now)!

So much is going on in our neck of the woods. My sweet girl will be 2 tomorrow. It's mind blowing that this little person has only been with us for two years and yet that two years have already passed. We have made a huge step forward this week. Until Sunday June still had a bottle. I know, her teeth! I knew she needed to get off of it but I just couldn't imagine going through the weaning process. After a particularly rough night Thomas and I were at the end of our ropes. We've not slept well in 2 years and it was wearing us down. Monday morning I decided to do something about it. I'm not proud of it because I feel like a mean mommy but it's working. She went to lay down for her nap and asked for a baba. I made it like normal but put taco seasoning on the nipple. I had a glass of water standing by knowing she would need to drink something. She touched the bottle to her mouth and her face was heartbreaking. I honestly felt like I betrayed her. But, the baba is now yucky. She didn't nap that day but it was worth the overall goal. She still asks once in a while but we tell her babas are yucky and she has generally accepted this. Now here is the best part - last night she slept 9 STRAIGHT hours!!!! She has never slept more than maybe 5 hours in a row. I read the book, "No Cry Sleep Solution" and loved the ideas in it. The only thing we truly changed was our routine. We now eat dinner, take a bath and read books but all starting at 6. We used to be kind of willy nilly about it but since starting a strict routine and getting her in bed by 730, she is sleeping much better. She had been going to sleep closer to 9 and still waking up at 630. She hasnt napped all week but I know she needs that still as she's still not getting enough sleep for her age. So mommas who haven't slept in eons, there is hope! (full disclosure - I still wake up with Theo so give me some leeway if I seem grumpy sometimes.)

A few weeks ago I got fed up with my house. It was messy and cluttered ans stressing me out. I created a chore list and while I don't follow it precisely, I did learn a nice trick. DO LAUNDRY EVERY DAY. With as much laundry as this family creates you would think I would have learned this a long time ago but no, I'm just now getting it. So I do one load of laundry to completion (folded and put away) a day. It has significantly reduced my stress over the house.

Do you have a chore you do every day? What is your laundry situation? I want to know!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Theo the Great and Powerful

It's been 12 weeks since that little man Theo has come into our lives. I swore that I would write his birth story faster than I wrote June's but that was clearly a lie. So here is a quick version of his swift entrance into the world.

On Monday, April 15 I felt like crap. I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept (I probably hadnt) and like I had the flu. I think Thomas took June to my mom's that morning to let me sleep a little longer but I felt like I needed to hibernate. I honestly dont remember much from that day other than napping, having really bad stomach problems and eating pasta. I was in somewhat of a daze all day. Thomas picked June up from my mom's at 5pm and came home to me laying in bed, contracting. I had texted several friends who had gone into labor on their own because I really didnt know what it felt like beside contractions. They all said not to worry too much since I was only 38 weeks. My contractions got closer together pretty fast. By 630 I was suspecting labor. They had been coming about 5 minutes apart for an hour but I didnt want to jump the gun. Thomas got June bathed and in bed and by 730 we started timing the contractions. 5 minutes apart, each lasting  for a minute. I breathed through them and while they were painful, they werent unmanagable. I didnt want to talk and was eerily quiet. By 9pm I was having contractions every 4 minutes but still wanted to make sure they were real.  I decided to take a shower but that didnt slow them down. Finally at 10pm I called my doctor unsure of the protocol because I was scheduled for a c-section a week later. He said to go get checked out. I didnt want to bring our bags because I was sure we would be sent home. Thomas brought them just in case. My mom came over to be with June and we were on our way. To be completely honest I dont remember anything from the drive. I was pretty focused on just breathing and dealing with the contractions. When we got there I was hooked up to the monitors and sure enough, I was in active labor. The nurse checked my cervix and to my surprise I was already 4cm dilated and 100% effaced. My poor body was doing all of this for naught. I dont know why I was so shocked when they started to prep me for surgery but I remember turning to Thomas and saying, holy shit, we're having a baby! We joked that we needed to wait until midnight so he could share a birthday with his Uncle Clint and it kind of scared me when the nurse said we may not make it because I was progressing so fast! I had to have two IVs because of my bleeding risk and the anesthesiologist had to out them both in because my veins were being jerks. I was prepped and ready to go so fast that we didnt even have time to call our doula. Thomas ended up talking to her right before going into the operating room but she was attending another birth!

As I got my spinal the doctors kept talking about the music - some crappy radio. We laughed because they played a BeeGees song and then No Doubt. I impressed them by knowing every song that came on. Thomas was brought in and they started. I felt a lot of pressure and very nauseous. I asked Dr Man to tell me everyhing he was doing as he was doing it but dont really remember hearing it. As they reached my uterus, at 103am,  Celine Dion's "I'm Your Lady" came on and Thomas said it was mine and Theo's song. They cut in and pulled his head out and before he was out the wnole way he was crying. It was a deep, gasping cry that didnt sound right. Dr Man pulled him over the curtain for me to see. My first thought were - he's a square! He truly was a bowling ball baby with no neck.

Before I really knew what was going on they had him wrapped up, let me kiss him and took him to the NICU. There I was.  still open and alone. Thomas went with Theo and I was still in surgery. I felt sick and sad. I could hear the assistant surgeon saying to Dr Man, "this is incredible. What a miracle." I was stapled and stitched and taken to recovery. I didnt know how big he was or if he was okay until I had been in recovery for at least 30 minutes. Finally the nurse got his stats and kept confirming I was really only 38 weeks. My bowling ball was 8lbs 11oz and 19.5in!

In the next hour I learned that Theo's lung was partially collapsed. It could have been from many things but their best guess was that he was very squished and in an awkward position thus collapsing his lung. I also found that I did indeed have placenta accreta and that my uterus had formed this weird tunnel and that is where the placenta had embedded itself. The assistant surgeon had been so shocked because I was millimeters away from rupture. Had I labored any longer and put the uterus in more stress I would have ruptured and one or both of us would not be here today. Dr Man could feel his hand through the wall of my uterus, that is how thin it had gotten.

I wasnt able to see Theo until the next morning at 830. They made me get out of bed and walk around but I would have run a marathon to see my baby. Thomas wheeled me up to the 5th floor and I got to meet my boy. He was gorgeous. Fat, squishy and perfect. It would still be another 24 hours until I got to feed him and yet another 17 days until we were home as a family but my Theodore Louis is a strong and beautiful boy!

Theodore Louis
April 16, 2013
8lbs11oz 19.5in

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Breathing Deeply

Oh friends, up in the air in my least favorite place for plans to be. Unfortunately, that's where our plans are for this baby boy. Quick reminder for those who missed any of the previous announcements via FB or Instagram - last weekend I ended up in L&D again for this searing, burning pain I've been having in my upper uterus. We did an ultrasound where we found out that Theo is measuring big* but that looked okay otherwise. Saturday we did an MRI, which was possibly the most stressful thing I've done ever. Being shoved into a tube at 9 months pregnant (after being told, "Hmm, I don't know if you'll fit!") was not pleasant in any sense. The first time I went in, I freaked out and nearly immediately yelled, "I don't think I can do this!" and was pulled out. The second time, I went in feet first and that was easier even though my head was still in the machine. Anyway, the results of that were normal as well. We were looking for a rupture in my uterus or any internal bleeding and they didn't see either. I was sent home with things in the air after being told by Dr. Man that we were going to reschedule the surgery to deliver him at 38 weeks rather than 39 weeks. My pain levels are incredibly high and I'm on medication that none of us are comfortable with me being on for too much longer. Wednesday I had my 37 week check up and we were officially scheduled for the c-section a week earlier on April 16th at 715am. (My brother in law's birthday, as well as my cousin's birthday, so it was perfect!) I still had to see my perinatologist, Dr. Risky, for an official consultation to deliver before 39 weeks but Dr. Man had assured me that Theo was big enough and should be completely healthy at 38 weeks. 

And here's where I begin to lose my cool. Friday (yesterday) I had an appointment with Dr. Risky. Without boring you with every single detail, the overview is as follows:

  • He asked why I was having a c-section. I, to be completely honest, don't know. My best guess was the potential of placenta accreta because of my history. He asked if I wanted a c-section. I broke down. No. I never had asked for that and I'm still not really comfortable with it. If it were completely up to me, I would deliver at home! More realistically, I would attempt a vaginal delivery at the hospital. After a lot of back and forth, and a lot of tears, he suddenly remembered that I had been punctured during my last surgery so he actually DID agree that a c-section was better and safer. He did say, however, that I should have been given more of a choice and presented the pros and cons of surgery vs. vaginal delivery. (For the record, I would have chosen a vaginal delivery despite my family's reservations.) 
  • He asked why I was wanting to deliver a week earlier than planned. Not something I requested so I didn't have an answer. I guess he was thinking that I had asked for this but I hadn't. He launched into the benefits of keeping baby in for an extra week, all of which I knew and had been worried about to begin with when presented with this early delivery. He was being very nice about all of this, I don't want it to sound like he was lecturing. That's not the case. 
  • He asked me if I could wait another week because pain and a big baby* are not medical reasons enough to take baby early. Yes, I can. That being said, we just rescheduled everyone and everything in our life to accommodate this new date. April 23rd is my dad's 50th birthday and so when we locked in that date (months ago) I was ecstatic. I was super happy that we were able to get the 16th when we rescheduled. Both my dad and brother-in-law would be so excited to share their birthdays with this baby. Our doula has to change her schedule. My mom has to change her schedule. My mother in law has to change her schedule. I know all of this seems silly but to a person who plans things to the minute, this is stressful. Very stressful. 
  • His official recommendation was to hold out that extra week. I am okay with that. I want a healthy baby. I want him to have the best possible start as we can possibly give him. 
Here's where the frustration is coming in. I feel betrayed by Dr. Man. I feel like he was rushing this so that he didn't have to deal with me anymore. I feel like my concerns were brushed aside. I don't understand why we would reschedule the surgery without seeing the perinatologist FIRST. I had gotten my head wrapped around delivering early and a new date and a new birthday for my child and even somewhat feeling settled about the c-section and then that was all thrown away. 

I know that if I were delivering him naturally and if I was waiting for my body to go into labor that I would have no control over any of this. However, that's not the case. Some people have said, "well, that's what it's like to not have a plan!" Understood. But I SHOULD have a plan 3 days before I was scheduled to have major surgery. Or even 10 days before I would have major surgery. I am trying my absolute best to breathe deeply and not worry and let go but I'm having a very hard time. Hormones coursing through my body, lack of sleep, incredible daily pain, and being 9 months pregnant is not really a great time to try to control my control issues. 

So, that's where I am. I am assuming that Dr. Man will not go against the specialist's recommendations and that I will not be having a baby this week. I assume that I will not have the date I wanted. I assume I will be dealing with the pain for another week. 

Please forgive me if in anytime in the next week I seem to be ignoring everyone. The end of pregnancy tends to turn me into a hermit. A very emotional hermit. Don't worry, there will be an announcement if baby comes early but aside from that, I think I may retreat as much as I can. I'm sorry for the emotional dump of this post but thank you for even reading. Writing this has been a huge help in processing my feelings.

Here's a video of my belly and a fun trick I like to do. 

*Big 36w5d he was measuring 40weeks. The hospital ultrasound said he weighed 7lbs 14oz.  Yesterday at 37w4d he measured at 39w6d and weighed 8lbs1oz. Dr. Risky's machine is a level II ultrasound which makes it more precise and more accurate. That being said, ultrasounds at this point in pregnancy are known for being WAY off. I know more than one woman who was induced early because of a "big" baby and had 7lb babies. That's not big. So I take the diagnosis of a big baby with a grain of salt and know that even if I were delivering naturally, it wouldn't matter. My body wouldn't make a baby it couldn't deliver. And especially because I'm having a c-section, it really doesn't matter! As long as Dr. Man can lift him out, he can be as big as he wants! Bring on a 12lb baby! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

18 (1/2) months & 36 Weeks

I'm getting really horrible at this again. But here's the thing. We moved! I'm 9 months pregnant! My daughter is a wild woman! I'm really, really, really freaking exhausted! So...I'm going to blame the aforementioned things for why I'm not blogging more. I often think of something throughout the day and say (to myself or sometimes out loud), "I should blog about that!" And then I eat some more and fall asleep. (Just kidding, sleeping is nearly impossible these days.) 

I'm going to skip a lot of the moving updates because who cares? Let's just go straight to the fun things about Junie and Theo.

I just found out that discontinued their chart and frankly, I'm a little miffed! Now it's just going to sound like I'm bragging about my baby. I guess I'll just rattle off some things that she does that I love.

June can now do somersaults and it's hilarious. Our new house has stairs and she's pretty much mastered those. We still have gates (well, one gate at the top and are going to get one for the bottom) but she can walk up and down with no help. She holds on to the railing and is shockingly steady on her feet. Yet again, she's really quite the athlete. 

She LOVES music. Miss Ashli comes to my mom's once a week and does an incredible music class for the daycare kids. June really loves grooving to the music and singing their fun songs. We turn on music while we eat dinner and she bops along and "sings." She doesn't have a ton of words yet. I'm a little concerned about that. She understands and follows directions, can sign about 5-6 phrases and has about 3ish words that she uses regularly. We talk to her all day, we read to her, we sing with her, I honestly don't know what else to do. Has anyone else had a daughter who was a late talker? I have read that if they're early walking then sometimes they're a little later talking. She started walking right before her first birthday so I don't think that's super early. 

June loves to eat. She loves bread, more specifically. She is a carb queen. I have found myself making dinners without carbs just so she'll maybe eat something else. Tonight we had salsa chicken on lettuce with beans and cheese. She ate a ton of beans, some chicken and lots of cheese. The lettuce, despite being cut up, was still a little hard to eat. Her dessert was two clementines. All of this good eating definitely shows! She's 29.5lbs and 31.75in tall which puts her in the 95% for both. She's in mostly 2T-3T clothes. Her torso is kind of funny. 2T shirts are too short but 3T is a little baggy. So we kind of just try to find things that work and stick with those! 

Overall, June is so much fun at a year and a half. I simply can't believe that she's going to be a big sister in TWENTY days! I think she's going to love her brother and relish her role as a big sis. 

TWENTY days until Theodore is here. I'm kind of floored at how fast this pregnancy went. It did drag at times but it's really snuck up on me! I kind of started packing a bag for the hospital but I still live in a lot of the things I plan to pack, like my two pair of black yoga pants and a few nursing tanks. I don't really have other things to wear so those may have to wait until the last minute. 

I'm feeling pretty...blah. I was actually feeling really great until about Saturday. Just all of a sudden I hit a wall and my body caught up to the fact that I'm 9 months pregnant. I am proud of myself for still running errands and keeping up with June. Not that I have a lot of choice in the matter but considering that I literally sat on the couch for the last month I was pregnant with June this is a huge deal. I'm just beginning to swell and it's mainly in my left foot. At the end of the day both ankles are gone but it's not as bad as it could be. My hands are great though and I can still wear my wedding rings. As of  two weeks ago I had gained 23lbs and was up to 201lbs. I go tomorrow to see Dr. Man and will report back my weight gain. I have been pretty hungry lately so I hope I haven't gained something crazy like 10lbs. Fingers crossed!

Speaking of weight - let's start a pool for how much everyone thinks Theo will weigh! Here are some factors to help you guess:

  • He will be born at 39 weeks and 1 day.
  • June was born at the same gestational age and weighed 8lbs 4oz.
  • I weighed 8lbs 11oz.
  • Thomas was 9lbs and a few oz. (I'm not certain, I think it was like 2oz.)
  • Theo measured a week ahead up until recently. He's measuring on track as of 34 weeks. 
Let me know your guesses in the comments! The winner may receive a fun little prize! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I've been wanting to post this for a while. Our one year wedding anniversary was December 23 and it had been a crazy first year of marriage. We continued to deal with my health complications, struggled to get pregnant, then actually got pregnant after we gave up, all while raising a free spirited daughter and trying to focus on our relationship. But here we are 14 months into a marriage, nearly 6 years into our relationship and we're both still standing.

Our vows were special. They were written by our officiant and rang true throughout our life. I love reading them because even though it's not the words that are the important part, it's the feeling behind them, I still need to be reminded of what we promised to each other. I've been neglecting our relationship and blaming the babies but it's time to put on my wife panties and be the woman Thomas married. (I have no idea what I mean by wife panties so don't ask.)

Here are our vows. We did say hell yeah and it was perfect. Thomas sang part of his and it was truly an encapsulation of my husband.

Thomas, do you take Amber to be your wife? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her? (Hell yeah)

Will you please repeat this vow to Amber, saying after me: I, Thomas, take you, Amber, to be my wife and companion. I will be your rock. I will be your endless supply of hugs and kisses. I will be steadfast in times of peril. I will turn cartwheels in times of celebration. I will love you as the beautiful, young woman you are today, and I will love you as the cranky, crotchety old woman that you will some day become. I will be your man—yours and yours alone. And I will be that man forever and ever after.

Amber, do you take Thomas to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect him, forsaking all others and holding only unto him? (Hell yeah)

Will you please repeat this vow to Thomas, saying after me: I, Amber, take you, Thomas, to be my husband and companion. I will be your rock. I will be your endless supply of hugs and kisses. I will be steadfast in times of peril. I will turn cartwheels in times of celebration. I will love you as the handsome, young man that you are today, and I will love you as the hunch-backed, ornery old man that you will some day become. I will be your woman—yours and yours alone. And I will be that woman forever and ever after.

We also danced to "Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis.

Forever and ever. And ever.