Thursday, June 15, 2017

Loss

On Sunday, May 28th, after days of nausea, exhaustion, and other symptoms (including a late period), I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive. We were ecstatic, over the moon, after nearly a year of trying. Jolie was going to be a big sister!

By the end of January 2018, we would have a baby!

* * * * *

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 14th, after days of spotting, intermittent cramping, and lower-than-normal HCG results, I went in for an ultrasound, and was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. They rushed to me the ER immediately for surgery, where they discovered that the mass (that would've been our baby) had grown so large that my Fallopian tube was bleeding quite a bit into my lower abdomen, and I was pretty much on the brink of rupture.

By the time I woke up the next day (this morning), I wasn't pregnant anymore.

* * * * *

The short of it is that... this is hard.

It was hard for me not to share the good news when I found out, but some part of me just felt compelled to wait, like it just KNEW that something was off. I don't know. Maybe I was just being paranoid - if stressing out were a professional sport, I'd be the Golden State Worriers, nailing every worst possible outcome with pinpoint accuracy.

It was hard for me, then, as the "bad" signs start appearing, and my anxiety started to grow, and I felt like I just couldn't talk about it, because it was a thing I was still trying to keep secret. But it was so hard to be so afraid in secret.

And then it was hard for me, yesterday, sitting alone at the ultrasound clinic and hearing over the phone from the OB on call at the hospital across town that this baby I was just starting to get used to was basically on the verge of killing me, to the point that he wouldn't even allow me to drive myself to the emergency room - I was ordered to stay there at the clinic and wait for an ambulance to pick me up.

I've never ridden in an ambulance before. I cried the entire way there.

I cried as they told me that they needed to operate TONIGHT.

I cried as the OB went over the list of risks, such as completely losing my fertility (not likely to happen, but they HAVE to say this stuff to me, right?)

I'm crying right now as I write this, but I have to do it, because I need to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I've spent the last few weeks saying nothing, even though this pregnancy has taken up 100% of my thoughts, and do you know how hard it is not to be able to talk about something that is taking up 100% of your thoughts? It's so hard.

There's no one and nothing I can be angry at. I didn't do this to myself, and no one else did this to me. There wasn't one thing that I did or ate or breathed that made this happen. There wasn't one moment in this embryo's short life where things would've been okay, because it was never okay. It already wasn't okay before it even became an embryo.

On the one hand it's a relief that I didn't do anything wrong and the only thing to blame is really bad luck; on the other hand, knowing that there was nothing right that I could've done, being helpless at the hands of Lady Fortune, isn't very comforting either.

Also, on the one hand, I am grieving the loss of my child-to-be. But on the other hand, we might have lost me too. When they told me how large the mass was and about all the blood they found pooled inside me, I realized that I hadn't been very far away from never coming home to the child I already do have.

I don't have any profound realizations to impart right now, aside from the fact that I am glad I'm alive, and I am so thankful to everyone (like my family, my best friends, and my coworkers, as well as the hospital staff) who has stepped up for me, especially Jimmy who is still managing to be my rock even as he too is grieving. This was hard for both of us.

I just needed to share this, because it helps me to write about it. If I don't seem like myself lately, please forgive. I am home now, out of danger and recovering, trying to find my way back to normal.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kindness

Photo: Cassie Ngo
I got this tattoo almost ten years ago, I think. It's gotten harder to read over the years, and I should probably get it touched-up, but it says It takes strength to be gentle and kind. It's a line from the Smiths' song, "I Know It's Over," and regardless of what the rest of the song means, I liked it enough out of context to get it tattooed on my arm, as a daily reminder to myself.

I try to err on the side of kindness whenever I possibly can. (Maybe there's a little Hufflepuff in me after all, I dunno.) I choose kindness whenever I can, sometimes even to my own emotional detriment. I also internalize criticism and blame myself first, rather than unleash on other people. Maybe if I take the brunt of the hurt, then other people won't have to.

I know there are lots of people out there who would not do the same. They will protect their own self-interests and mental images, tooth and nail, and I understand that instinct. They might say that I'm weak, a soft touch, a "bleeding heart."

My heart may bleed, but I can take it. I'm not afraid of my emotions. And I am fortunate (privileged) enough to have access to the space/resources/time that I need for self-care. (I understand that not everyone does.) I'm not weak for caring. I'm not weak for loving. I'm not "soft" because I try to treat others gently when they need me to.

Never, ever mistake someone's kindness for weakness. It's easy as breathing to be apathetic; it takes energy and effort to be hateful; but it takes strength to be gentle and kind.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

100 Days: Learning to change

Okay, but how cute is my donut stamp tho?
30 days have passed of my 100 Day challenge. What have I learned so far?

- My most difficult area was actually sleep. I definitely do not sleep enough.
- I need to not buy Easter candy on sale.
- Giving up soda was not hard, but maybe it's because I've replaced that addiction with sparkling water, because now I drink that constantly.
- I am definitely not drinking 32oz of water straight-up per day, but I drink just about everything else (coffee, tea, sparkling water, protein shakes, etc.) and since I was sick for a few days, I had a lot of soup. That's gotta count for something.
- I didn't meet my workout goal, but I did START working out again, which is better than not working out at all.
- I tried to journal every day, for my own peace of mind, but sometimes I just wasn't into it. But I do pretty much knit or craft in some form every day, and maybe I should just consider that part of my self-care time. I like the idea of guided meditations, but I don't often have those silent moments to myself in this house.

So now... I want to kick it up a notch. Whatever I did this month, even if it wasn't the "right" thing, I did it mindfully and with purpose. (Yes, I ate donuts with purpose!) Now, I want to make sure I'm actually doing the "right" thing more often than not.

- I used to be good at working out consistently, and the way I did that was to schedule them like appointments.
- I have a treadmill now! So I can work out even if I can't/don't want to leave the house. I also have yoga dvds.
- I'm trying out a site/app called Real Plans, to help me with get creative and stay organized with making meal plans, so that I'll actually stick with them.
- Along those lines, I'm going to actually try to adhere to some nutritional guidelines I'm setting for myself. (I find that my body feels best when I limit certain food groups.)
- I used to make sure that I got enough sleep by going to bed at the same time as my daughter, and then reading while she fell asleep. I'm going to have to start doing that again, because 1) I haven't been reading much lately, and 2) it got me into bedtime mode, while still allowing me some Me Time.
- I'm thinking about trying to monitor my hydration without actually tracking fluid ounces, but I'm not sure of how to do that yet. I know urine color is a good indication, but I feel like that's not concrete enough for me, so I might try to research some more on this topic.

So yeah, it's been an illuminating first 30 days. Here's to the next 30 (or 31!) being even better!

PS - For the first time EVER, I hit 10,000 steps in one day!


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

FO: Hawkshaw Cowl


Another finished project for your viewing pleasure!

This pattern is the Hawkshaw Cowl by Kate Burge and Rachel Price of Spincycle Yarns and uses two (different) skeins of their worsted weight single-ply yarn, Independence. I've chosen to call this my Unicorns and Mermaids cowl because the two colorways I chose, Goddess Above the Clouds and The Bee's Knees, remind me of unicorns and mermaids respectively. (My skein of Goddess literally matched my Unicorn Frappuccino yesterday!)

This was my first-ever brioche knitting project, and it was EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY. Thank you, Kate and Rachel, for making this experience painless! Brioche knitting creates a squishy, reversible fabric that resembles 1x1 ribbing, and when you do it with two colors, it looks AMAZING. I'd always been too intimidated to attempt it before (I don't know why, don't ask me), but I seriously can't resist Spincycle Yarns' colorways, and this looked like a quick, easy knit. (It was.)

The pattern says to stop when it's around 12 inches long, but mine is about 9.5 inches edge to edge. I cannot imagine this being three inches longer - it already feels like it's going to swallow my head. I also hit upon a really long section of teal in my Y1, and it looked like enough to make it all the way around for the i-cord bind-off without changing color (this was important to me), so it seemed like a good place to stop. The thick-and-thin texture of Independence makes it look a little funky at times, but it's such a beautiful, soft yarn that I can't stay mad.

It's squishy and warm and sooooo beautiful. Have a look!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

100 days of health and fitness

Ready... SET...
Okay, so it's probably not a secret, but in case you didn't know, I have not been making health and fitness a priority in my life lately. Either I haven't been feeling well, or I've been overwhelmed, or I just can't overcome my inertia - no matter the reason, my body (and as a result, my mind as well) has been feeling pretty lousy. I mean, to be honest, winter has always ended up being my "off-season" anyway, due to weather and illness, and ever since I moved up north, I've been in the doldrums even more.

BUT... it's now officially spring, and the sky is a little bit brighter, and I'm ready to pull myself together and get myself back on track. And what better way to do that than to do a fitness challenge?