Monday, November 30, 2015

Season of Cold


This time of year is an odd time. I'm all happy and cheery about the hot cocoa and Christmas lights, but school is getting busier. In fact, it's even more busy for me because I'm just starting to do school work again after being so sick.

A reminder

Advent is about waiting for God to come into our lives, but I also find it to be a reminder that He already IS here.

Some need the reminder that He is coming again, like a thief in the night. So we must be prepared! (This is when I encourage us go to confession if it's been awhile, or if you feel a little tug to go.)

I have found that though I need this reminder, I also need to be reminded that He is here with me now through all this garbage in my life. I've been stressed about making sure I can get a lot of school work done, but I also need to not overexert, otherwise my eyes twitch, my head thumps, and the next day is typical a relapse day, and a day wasted.

One side is saying to get this done! The other side is saying to take it easy.

My lesson

I have to be honest, I've been really sick of being in my apartment so much these last three months. It's been feeling like a cell, when in reality, it should be a sanctuary and my new home with my husband and child. It was tough to be able to look at only the ceiling fan and cross in our bedroom without needing to crane my neck. Luckily now I've been able to walk to the living room on my own and look out the window from the couch, but my lack of getting out of the building has been driving me nuts.

I've been really passionate about being outside these last few years when I work with children. As a Totus Tuus Missionary, I would "sneak" my kids out of the classroom and have class outside. It was summer and a classroom is literally the last place they (and I) wanted to be. As a camp counselor, when there was free time to be in the cabin, I often opted for our free time to be by sunset beach where we could skip rocks, hang out, and be free.

Freedom. I usually think of red, white, and blue when I see that word. Lately, I've been seeing green when I think of that word. I think of grass between my toes, a flower behind my ear, and all the different trees that flood the world with life.

Now that we've had our first big snowfall, the green is officially gone. The world is white and brown, and as winter goes on, it will continue to be brown. I am one in the winter to gain weight in my face and have my depression grow. I'm stuck inside because of the harsh winds and bites of cold.

I was stuck inside for the end of summer and most of fall. I spent my time in prayer saying "Pleasem anything but this." I knew that I should have been more aware of what was happening to me. I was learning more about my body and really learning about love by becoming pretty dependent on Peter. (He makes a great nurse by the way.)

I am not made for comfort, but for greatness, and in that greatness, I am free. I still believe that I am called to spread the joy of the Gospel through our Lord's creation, but right now, not the creation of all that is outdoors, but very deep inside me in my womb.





Simplify

So though the stress around Christmastime is impossible to avoid, there is peace to be found. I find myself blessed that I too wait for my baby to come just like Mary waited for Jesus to come into the world.

I've been learning to simplify my life literally to only eat, sleep, and poop. Slowly but surely, when God thought I was ready, I could take on more. It was good for me to learn that I didn't need to go to all the events on campus and that school actually isn't the most important thing in the world. (Side rant: as important as college is, it is way overrated.) Oddly, God even cut my prayer time that I was finally getting good at doing on a daily basis. He was actually cutting out my pride. I wasn't giving my time to Him. I was showing off. So my life was becoming simpler, which I think is important for mothers, because things will get complicated at times and we need to know how to take things simply.

I think we all need to simplify our lives, especially as Christmas and finals come closer. We should ask ourselves what things on our calendar are actually necessary. Maybe we should visit the chapel more, or work a little harder on that study guide, or get coffee with our roommate, or even go to bed earlier that night. Now is a great time to get out the planner (or buy a planner?) and see what should get cut, and maybe see what should be added.

Advent is short for adventure!

Take a look at this time of year as an opportunity to make someone proud, your mom, Jesus, me, yourself, whoever.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Prego Adventures


Fun fact: we have a honeymoon baby.

I know of many couples that want children so badly and they have been trying for years, and they are having infertility problems. Peter and I are very blessed to conceive on (probably) the first try. We're due May 5th, you do the math. We've had a couple reactions. Mostly the squeals and jumping, but also concerns since we are still finishing our last year of our undergrad.

I'm going to be honest. I am at peace. We were called to show that young couples can be successful. Since before 1980, the average age to get married was 22 or younger. Peter was 22, and it was a week before my 21st birthday. Now the average is between 25 and 30 because people are waiting until they are done with grad school or are settled in their jobs, or have figured out how to live financially independent. I wanted to figure out all of those things together. Also, I'd rather have the energy to be a mom now, than start getting old and not being able to carry my children or run around with them.




Month 1

So we are married and I am pregnant. (That's how it's supposed to work.) Now what? Well, we found out at 4 weeks. At five weeks I started feeling very faint a lot. Then I threw up. Definitely pregnant. We went in to the Life Care Center (now called Abria, look them up!) and got another test done and learned some morning sickness remedies.


Month 2

I continued to throw up and feel lightheaded. It was actually getting worse. At this point I was going to classes, working, and mostly keeping it together. I'd throw up twice in the morning and have headaches the rest of the day.

It continued to get worse. I was so weak, dizzy, lightheaded, and faint, that I needed to lay down a lot. My social life dropped immediately so that I could keep up with school. I then lost my appetite. All food started sounding absolutely disgusting, even bacon! Peter would make something for himself and I would have to hop out of bed and run to the bathroom to hurl.

Again, it's getting worse. I would have days where the moment I open my eyes, my stomach was in a lot of pain. It didn't like that it was empty. So it would make me heave. (It doesn't make sense to me either.) So I was eating saltines, drinking ginger ale, trying all the remedies. About a half hour to an hour, I'd throw it right back up. Drinking water was worse. I would lose that in about 10 minutes.

There were a lot of tears. I wasn't able to keep any food in. All food sounded disgusting. I couldn't really sit up without my head throbbing. I spent a lot of time on the floor of the bathroom, crying, looking at my reflection in the toilet, praying for the pain to stop. This turned into an all day experience for two or three days.

We got an appointment with a doctor as soon as we could get in. We tried more remedies. After a couple days I was becoming malnourished, losing color, and sleeping so much because I was exhausted from retching all day. We called the doc, and it was time to go into the hospital to get IV fluids. I was there overnight. They said I have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or Severe Morning Sickness. About 2% of pregnancies get it, and I was one of those lucky gals. It's different for everyone, but kind of looks like food poisoning. Some throw up all day. Others get really lightheaded. Either way, it's really bad, and there isn't really a cure for it. You just have to suck it up.

After getting back from the hospital, I started going to class and work again. As the days went by I continued to be sick and get dehydrated. So we had a nurse come to our place so that I could get two bags of IV fluids a day. It was helping a lot, but it took three hours for each bag so I was restricted in movement a lot, but I was feeling better than I was before. The problem with IVs is they can't stay in for very long. You have to get repoked. These nurses were also very bad at it, and I was very bad with needles. (Picture someone shaking in fear and closing my eyes shut tight and me silently crying.) It took them seven tries to get the next one in. The next day, I kid you not, the IV needle leaked and fell out. I was done with this, and got discharged from their services.

My life feels like a movie.

Month 3

My classes became independent studies and I was home in bed all day, trying to keep fluids, crackers and apples down. The doctor and I decided that it would not be beneficial for me to get up that much since I was so faint all the time and at risk of falling. I was on bed rest for two months. Prayer sucked, I was mad at God, and I was in chronic pain and agony. According to Peter, "You were pretty grumpy."

Eventually, I stopped having as many days with puking 10 times a day. It turned into only puking once or twice a day, with having a really bad day here and there with constant retching. I was still really dizzy and light headed, but I wasn't in the bathroom as much, which I really appreciated. Things started to improve nausea-wise as time went by.

I made a deal with God. It went kind of like this: "Okay Lord, if you let me be better enough this weekend for the Campus Ministry retreat on prayer, I will be a better person." Yeah, we have a weird relationship, but Jesus works in funny ways, and I did really well that weekend. I only took one nap. I did have to sit on a couch a lot instead of the chairs, but I was present and retreat-ing. I grew in prayer and it was really nice being somewhere other than the apartment.

After we got back, I got really sick and had one of those days where I lived in the bathroom, but I had a much different attitude. I learned more of why I'm doing this. My suffering for my child now is preparing me for a newborn that will cry all night and day, a defiant toddler, a child accidentally breaking the window, a sassy teenager, and all of the other sufferings of having children. After teaching Totus Tuus Ministries and being a camp counselor, I can confidently say that I do well with children. Babies on the other hand, I don't have much experience. Peter has a lot of experience, we are taking classes with Abria, and we have friends that are parents and I have been "practicing" with their baby, so I feel fine. Back to the point, I realize that this morning sickness is teaching me to love my child through everything.

Month 4 

So I originally did a ton of research on hyperemesis gravidarum, but I was getting a lot of explanations on what it was and that there is basically no cure, but I started to type in my search bar "Catholic" or "Christian," and I started finding what I wanted. I wanted to read what others have gone through and how they dealt with it. I learned that women like me are prone to depression during this time (something I already struggle with), and many actually have abortions because they want to get rid of this sickness.


Okay I realize this post is getting depressing. SO. Slowly I have been throwing up less, and my lightheaded-ness is also lifting a little bit. Last week my friend got into an accident, had brain surgery, and was in the intensive care unit. It was oddly enough actually motivation for me to get up and go to the hospital to visit him. I have to sit a lot to visit him, but his accident helped me. His accident has taught me to wear a helmet, be grateful, and most importantly from this, that attitude truly truly truly is key. Evan is already in rehab, and he got hit only a week ago! He's been so stubborn, he's getting better miraculously quickly. So it's his fault I'm getting better.

Now that we know that Evan is alive and will get better, my adrenaline from that has gone down and I did have a bad day or two, but I'm still seeing a lot of improvement. So much improvement that I'm able to walk to the coffee shop with my laptop, drink a hot chocolate, and sit up long enough to type this.

This pregnancy has actually been a blessing. It's helped me grow as a daughter of God. It let me get really mad at Him, and then have it resolve. It let me be a grumpy lady to my husband, and then have it resolve. It let me suffer, and then have it resolve. These are all lessons I'm glad I got to learn and I know I would have needed to at some point.

We had an ultrasound and I saw the baby's head, back, rump, arms, legs, and he/she was dancing! Note: every time I say "they" I mean "he/she." I am NOT having twins. There is only one child growing inside of my tummy. They were wiggling and rolling over. It was amazing. Right now I am in the middle of my fourth month and this kid is already half the length compared to when they will be born!

They have eyebrows, eyelashes, fingers, toes, fingerprints, eyes, eyelids, and all of their organs! They can suck their thumb. THEY CAN HICCUP. They can hear Mommy and Daddy talk, (and all the Christmas music I've been listening to). They can feel when I poke my tummy. They can see light. And now, I am starting to feel them ever so softly. I only feel them when I wake up and roll over. It's really soft and feels like a very light poke, but eventually Peter will be able to feel it, and it will get to feel more like karate kicks.

Month 5

So overall, I'm still lightheaded a lot, but if I sit or lay down, I can usually get back into business. I only throw up once or twice a week now, and it's usually right away in the morning. I'm doing school stuff again, and getting out of the apartment more. I'm excited for Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas, and I'm so excited to see my little baby in May.


Food baby beats real baby.


Tips to help a mom with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
1. Ask her if she needs anything at the store. She might need milk or underwear in a bigger size.
2. Do not suggest ginger or saltines, or any remedy/treatment. She's tried it all.
3. Visit her. She misses company. She probably won't be able to sit up, but she's lonely being in bed and the bathroom all day.
4. If you want to make her a meal, ask her what sounds good. She might have weird aversions.
5. Text her pick me ups
6. Offer to come over and clean. She feels terrible that she can't stand long enough to do dishes for her husband, let alone shower.

Remember, as Peter's mom told me, "Nobody is pregnant forever!"

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Wait, We're Married?!



On a Saturday in August 2015, Peter and I got married. It was a beautiful Mass and the reception was a blast. It was beautiful seeing people from throughout my life all there at once to celebrate us coming together to live for Christ.




Moving In

Then I moved all my stuff in that Monday, and holy cow that was stressful. I didn't want to make his apartment all girly and everything looks much more intimidating in piles. It is also a small apartment for two students that have lots of books. We also didn't really want to keeps storage at our parents' anymore, so that added even more piles. I still have two paper bags of papers that I haven't sorted through but can't get rid of yet, and it's November!

Honeymoon

After a week of living together we packed up and stayed in a cottage on Lake Superior for five days. It was romantic and consisted of food, wine, coffee, prayer, hiking, campfires, sunrises, bubbles baths, movies, and obviously love. It was really nice being able to keep our phones off (except mine was on airplane mode so that I could take pictures). We slept when we were tired. We ate when we were hungry. They had a mini fridge, a toaster, and microwave, so we before driving up made fajitas and pasta, and would warm them up for our meals. Gosh it was so delicious. For breakfast we had coffee, mimosas, and bagels. One of my love languages is definitely food. My mouth is watering right now. We had a WHIRLPOOL BATHTUB. I took way more baths than Peter. It was fantastic. If he decided to take a nap, you bet your bottom I hopped in that tub. At night we would snag a spot for a fire and have smores and a drink. We actually had a skunk visit us. Yes, he did get the marshmallows. They say those creatures spray 15 feet, so we took off quickly. 

We visited Duluth, the lighthouse, and Gooseberry Falls, and did a bunch of hiking. It's amazing how fresh that air is up there. I forget that it exists being the city girl that I am. Also, the stars, there are so many up there. We definitely want a place someday with less noise and more stars.


The lake was so beautiful.


FIRE


Breakfast


The North Shore is awesome.


We got up really early for this, and it was worth it.


Family photo at Gooseberry Falls.


I was actually really scared of falling off during this picture.

Post-Honeymoon

When we got home, I continued to unpack. Peter went back to do his job. We only had so much time before school started, and I discovered my inner household wife. I was just missing an apron. I learned that I liked to love Peter through service, such as dishes, laundry, making food, etc.

Living with a man wasn't as weird as I thought it would be. I mean, waking up to Peter kicking isn't the most romantic, but I enjoy to see his face and know he is always there. He keeps the toilet lid down, and his workout clothes only smell a little bit. I think I do many more annoying things than he does. My hair sheds everywhere, and I keep the fridge door open gawking more than most human beings. 

One thing that I have been loving about marriage is that I have someone else to talk to about important things, and the not so important things. Aside from the silly conversations involving Harry Potter and Star Wars, we also have to communicate about bills, insurance, the car, groceries, and now being parents.




Tacos by candlelight

I will leave you with this. At night, we crawl into bed and pray. We thank God for our day, a roof, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Then we pray in petition, asking for the Lord to bless those that pray for us, to bless our family, to heal us in when we are ill, to help us with whatever tests are coming up, and for whoever/whatever else needs prayers. Then we finish our prayer with an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, then ask Mary, Joseph, and Saints Joachim and Anne (patron saints of marriage) to pray for us.

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