Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Roller Coaster After BC

as in Birth Control.

I have been debating whether or not to write this post for a while. This topic can be controversial and I am not one to "stir the pot", so to speak. However, I have had an invaluable experience that I believe should be shared. Please know that I value your opinion, but if you have something ugly to say, please keep it to yourself.

As I written before, I had congestive heart failure within 3 days of having our daughter. This left us with lots of questions and few answers. After assessing the damage, the big question became: Can I have another pregnancy? The immediate answer was no. Anton and I weren't ready to assign permanence to that answer, so we didn't want to take permanent action toward birth control (tubes tied, vasectomy).

Due to the uncertainty of why the heart failure occurred, the cardiologist recommended a low hormone or hormone free birth control. The cardiologist recommended an IUD. With that, I went in the OB's office for a birth control consult. I was nervous and wanted to make sure I made the best decision for my health and for my family. During that meeting, we discussed a few options, but the one that seemed the best was the Mirena. The doctor told me that the hormone would stay centralized and would not likely enter my bloodstream, which in turn should not influence my heart. I felt good about the choice and made an appointment to have it placed.

The procedure was flawless. The IUD was placed and I didn't experience any adverse side effects. During the duration of the of the time that I had the device, I was a fan. I hadn't had to deal with a heavy period or cramping. My mood was pretty steady. It was relatively easy and pleasant. I had a read a few articles about people having a terrible experience, but it wasn't something that could relate with, so I just overlooked it.

After four years, my heart prognosis changed. You can read about that here. Anton and I started talking about baby #2. I met with a high risk ob and he decided to take my case, so I made an appointment to have my IUD removed. Before having it removed, I looked up some articles on what to expect. There were mixed reviews, but I had had such a great experience with it in that I wasn't worried about what would happen once it was removed. Day #1 after removal was easy. No problems!

Day #2 was a different story. As was day #3-14. It was like all of those periods I had missed out on for 4 years, were coming back to haunt me. It was miserable. After that, I had cravings like nobody's business and then felt nauseous about 75% of the time. I then started having mood swings. Like roller coasters r us. One moment I was fine, and the next I was at my boiling point. Over the smallest of things. I began to remember some of the things that I had read to expect upon removal. They were all happening to me. I have now spent the past month or so cleansing and detoxing, trying to get my body back to norm. It has been a process and I am thankful for support and prayer. Lots of prayer.

When asked if I would do the Mirena again, my answer was no. It is now emphatically no! There is no way that that is good for your body. I am not sure what I would choose. I have a couple of options that I am looking at, but nothing that I am ready to share. For now, just trying to heal and waiting for news of baby #2.

Please note, this is my experience. I would have made a different decision if I knew then what I know now. However, I did make the best decision that I could in order to protect my life and my marriage. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please remember if you thoughts are ugly or hurtful keep them to yourself.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Reading...Had Me a Blast!

This summer I decided that Karrington and I would make sure to read at least 4 chapter books together. This may seem a little ambitious, seeing as she is 4 (well, nearly 5) years old. My mom always read to us and I have fond memories of those summer days. We would all gather around and listen to Hank the Cowdog or another chapter book we checked out at the library. I enjoyed these moments well into my teenage years, thought I probably wouldn't have admitted it at the time.

On our first day of summer break, we headed over to a local bookstore. For future reading options, we will head to the library, but the library nearest our house just closed. Anyway, we went to the book store and explored the children's section. I wanted to start with a book that has been made into a movie. I took a children's literature class in college and had to read a myriad of children's books. One of my favorite's was Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. It is an easy read and I thought that Karrington would love the story. It was also a movie that I had seen on one of our subscription movie services, so it was a win.

We started the book right away. My plan was to read 2 chapters a day. This quickly went out the window when she requested that I keep reading. "Mom don't stop, I want to hear what is going to happen." We would read until she started rubbing her eyes. I knew then that she was going to start to lose her focus. We ended up reading our book much more quickly that I had anticipated and finished the final 8 chapters on Wednesday night. We were close, so I was just going to read a little before she went to bed. She didn't want to put the book down. As a book binger, I completely understood and indulged her desire to finish.

Tonight, we watched the movie. It was so fun to hear her figuring everything out. "Mom, when is Winn Dixie going to be here?" "Oh, that is Sweetie Pie." And so on... It affirmed to me that she really had been listening. And excited me as we go on to the next book. We will traverse to the other side of town next week to get to the library and get our next book.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Becoming Untimidated

In January we made  the decision to join a gym. It took me a couple of weeks to assure Anton that I would actually put my membership to good use. (I have a proven track record in this department, so that helps. Before I got pregnant with Karrington, I hit the gym every morning. Morning sickness quickly threw me out of my routine and ultimately became the end of our gym membership.)

Within the first two days of having our membership, I tore my calf muscle and injured my foot. Nice, right? I was encouraged by my family that getting back into shape is more of a marathon than a sprint. I agree! Instead of starting slowly, I tried to jump in as hard as I could and then had to sit out for 2 1/2 weeks while my body healed. That was discouraging!

When I went back to the gym, I decided that I would go slow. My goal is to get healthy. I also want to step outside of my comfort zone to do things that challenge me both physically and emotionally. This process, for me, is just as must emotional and mental as it is physical. With that said, my brother had told me about an ab machine that I should give a try. I wanted to have him around so that I could get a good idea of how to operate it, but we kept missing each other at the gym.

I wanted a challenge, so I decided to just go for it. I felt like a big ole whale as I climbed onto the machine. I immediately began to feel intimidated. This was magnified when a couple of cute little athletic girls rounded the corner and started working out on the machine right next to me. I was ready to become invisible. I could only imagine what they thought, "Look at that lady, she has no idea what she is doing and neither do we..." These types of thoughts were flooding my mind. I did finish my workout and assured myself that I would never do that again.

Later, I talked to my brother about my experience. He stopped my and said, "Those girls were probably impressed by you getting in there and working hard. Those people at the gym know how hard it is and they are cheering you on. They want to see you succeed."

That was the moment I decided to become untimidated. Who cares what anyone thinks or doesn't think of me. I am not at the gym for anyone's approval. I am there to work toward my goal. I appreciate that I have a multitude of wise council and encouragement.

What do you need to choose to become untimidated about?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

iSpy Classroom Mom

At the beginning of the school year I must have been feeling rather ambitious because I signed up to be in charge of our class project for the school's annual online auction. I have been a part of the auction for the past several years, so I was confident in my idea as to what would be a good seller. Repurposed furniture with personalization is usually a hit. 

It took a little bit of thought and conversation with the auction coordinator before the idea came to life. I decided on an ispy table. I wasn't sure if a coffee table or kids table would be the better option, but after checking out an online resale I knew the answer. A kids table would be the project. 
Next step was to figure out how I would put the pictures in the table. I came across a great idea on Pinterest, but it would have required putting a lip on the table. Considering I had procrastinated a little and wasn't ready to figure out how to put a lip on a round table, I decided to go with another plan...decoupage. 

Another one of our class mom went and took pictures of each of the kids, so my first step was to cut around the kids so that there was no background. I then used Power Point to put together the following picture. Clip art, student pictures, a school logo, and a few of my own cropped pictures were used in the creation of the ispy picture. The background is cake sprinkles. 

I then sent the picture over to an office supply store to print. See a copy of the picture below. 

I lightly sanded the top of the table and stools and then painted the stools with homemade yellow chalkboard paint. 

After getting the picture home, I cut out the circle. If you are the perfectionist type, don't look too closely. I already know that it is not perfect and that it is not perfectly centered on the table. The drives me nuts! But it also reminds me that I am far from perfection and that's okay. I was not created to be perfect. (sorry for the side note

After the decoupage dried, I painted around the edges with homemade blue chalkboard paint. Once the paint was dry, I applied a coat of polyurethane and let that dry. I then lightly sanded the coat of dried polyurethane and applied another coat. 2 hours later, I applied the 3rd coat. I did this process on both the table and the chairs. It left a glossy finish and should protect the ispy picture from getting wet.

Here is the finished product. Karrington was very sad that we had to take it up to the school to be auctioned off. The table was a hit and I am happy to say that my dad bid and won it. He knew that Karrington would appreciate it and love it. It will be a fun item to have around and a good memory of her first year in school. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Comparison: The Joy Thief

"The more we compare ourselves to others, the more we miss out on our own lives." -Caroline Rothschild 

Isn't this profound! We (people in general, but I am specifically speaking about women) have comparison down to an art. I feel I can speak to this topic just as professionally as the next woman. We all compare ourselves to each other...constantly.

If we are not careful, we begin to have a keeping up with the Jones' frame of mind. Frankly, I cannot afford to keep up with any Jones. I choose not to afford it monetarily and if I were to try and afford it emotionally it would cost much more than I could ever imagine. I know that from first hand experience. The moments when I begin to compare what I have or don't have to others, I instantly lose my joy.

When I heard this quote at a women's conference last weekend, I wrote it down and etched it into my mind and heart. I need this reminder! Can I hear an amen?

Caroline was talking about how social media has made comparisons even more of an issue for our generation of men and women. We are constantly exposed to everyone's "best." So true! This challenged me to check my heart and mind on a regular basis. To be thankful in the good and difficult moments and to always give God the glory and thanks where I am at in my process of life.

Side Note: The conference was called Fresh Grounded Faith and is put on by Jennifer Rothschild. Caroline is her daughter in law. I encourage you to attend if there is a conference at a church near you. Very real, raw and encouraging. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Possibilities in 2014

Right after Karrington was born we were advised not to have any other pregnancies. Doctors had diagnosed me with what was thought to be a pregnancy related heart issue. At first I took the diagnosis and took time to process. I wrote about my process here.
After a couple of years, many tests, and some of my own research, I started asking lots of questions about what the tests were saying and what my research was telling me. Things were not matching up. At my last two appointments, I went in with a list of questions. What I found is that I had been locked into my diagnosis. I wasn't getting any answers that made sense to me. Don't get me wrong, I really like the cardiologist that I was seeing. While seeing him, my heart function improved back to mid range normal. He just wasn't willing to look at other possibilities. 
That is when I decided to get a 2nd opinion. I have heard many stories of the value of a 2nd opinion. Sometimes, different eyes see different things. Also, I didn't go in being diagnosed. It was like there was a blank slate. 
I had taken my mom with me to my last cardiologist appointment, so I asked her to go with me to see the 2nd opinion doctor. I was really nervous. Nervous that I wouldn't get my questions answered yet again. Nervous that the current diagnosis was correct and the slight possibility of ever having another baby would be forever gone. 
All of my nerves were put aside immediately after meeting with the nurse. She was extremely friendly. Next was the doctor. He came in and acknowledged the fact that I was far too young to be in his office. I always joke about bringing the median age of a cardiologist office down several years. He looked over my last heart test and within a few minutes stated that I had the wrong diagnosis. Without replaying the whole doctor office visit, he was able to answer every single one of my questions. He also said that he didn't see any reason why I couldn't have another baby. As you can imagine, it took every single ounce of my energy to hold back the flood of emotion that I was feeling. I felt validated in my search for answers. 
It is like I have received the most precious gift in the world. 2nd opinions can mean 2nd chances. I still have a heart issue, but it will be treated differently and we know it wasn't caused by pregnancy. I still have some work to do in the process. My next step is to meet with the high risk ob (my appointment is made). We will see what they have to say. I am content either way. I feel I have been given a gift, but I know that there is still much to process and to think through. 
I say all of this and am excited at the possibilities. Who knows, there could be a baby Bossio announcement in 2014. We will see. 


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our New Wake Up Goal

We have made through our first week back at school after Christmas break. It was fast, like full throttle fast, but we survived. Since it was our first week back, I thought that I would try something new in our morning routine. It was a long shot, but with a little pep talk and preparation on my part I knew that we had a chance at success.

I set an alarm in Karrington's room for her to wake up each day. Her instructions are to get up and go potty and then get dressed for school all by herself. I set her clothes out at night before bed. She has coordinated dress at school, so there really aren't many choices anyway (which is a beautiful thing, if I might add). During our fall semester, morning were mostly a battle with her struggling to get up and wanting me to get her dressed while she acted like a limp doll.

This idea came to me after several of my friends posted things on Facebook about setting goals for their children. I thought this would be a great opportunity in teaching responsibility and time management. So far, we are doing great. She got up each morning this week and got herself dressed. There were a few days when her time management was lacking, to be expected, and she had to eat breakfast in the car, but all in all I will say it was a success.

What goals have you set for your children?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Part of my process...learning to be content

It's baby season in our neck of the woods. I have 5 friends who will give birth in the next two months. It was crazy when all of the announcements rolled in last fall. I am excited for each one of the families. A few will welcome their first child, a few their second, and one their fourth. 

If this had all happened a few years ago, my reaction might not have been the same. Four days after Karrington was born, I was told that I would not be able to have a pregnancy again. It was devastating and shocking. Four years later, I have learned to be content. 

When I started on the road to contentment, it wasn't easy. It felt like I got knocked off the road more than I was on it, but I was faithful with the process. I started with thankfulness. I was and continue to be thankful for the pregnancy that I did get to have. I am thankful for the beautiful and smart little girl that I get to spend each and every day with. I am thankful that I get to learn to be a parent alongside my best friend. I am thankful that I have gotten to go through this process. I am thankful that the Lord is the supplier of all of my needs. 

Like I said, it definitely wasn't easy at first, but the more I reminded myself of all the blessings that I have, the easier contentment became. Along the way, we have experienced a few adoptions that fell through. Those were great tests to see how far I had come in the process. I can honestly say, though the hurt and sorrow was deep, I continued to be thankful for where we were. If I hadn't learned to be content, then I believe that I would live in bitterness. I can't begin to imagine what type of mother, wife or friend I would be in that situation. 

I think of all of this as I help plan baby showers for all of my dear friends. I love each one of them dearly and am so excited to see all of them be mommies in their season of life. Its my honor to share in their lives. I am also excited to plan baby showers. What is more fun than planning a party? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A lesson in responsibility

"Do not hand your child everything his/her little heart desires. Permit him/her to know the thrill of earning and the joy of achieving. Grant him/her the greatest of all satisfactions, the pleasure that comes with personal accomplishment."

This is a quote from a handout I received at a parenting class that I attended last month. The parenting class was about age appropriate chores, but also shared a great deal of information on how to raise a responsible child. We started a commissions system with Karrington last summer. She has specific jobs and when she does those, she earns commissions. These jobs are in addition to the things we require her to do for just being apart of the family. 

This has been a great tool to start the conversation on responsibility. If she doesn't get the job done, then she doesn't get paid and vice versa . Fairly simple! And she caught on really fast! Each time she gets paid, she splits her money into give, save, and spend envelopes, adding another element to the learning. Not only is she learning the value of work, but she is also learning the value of money. It doesn't grow on trees. 

The first time we took her spend envelope to the store was a fun experience. We stayed in the dollar section. I figured that would be the easiest, seeing as everything is the same price. She picked up several things before finally deciding on a little toy tiger. She was so proud of her choice. The little tiger has been apart of her toy collection for over a year now. 

She has gone on to make larger purchases and has also had moments when she had to leave with nothing because she didn't have quite enough to get what she really wanted. She has a great foundation that I know we will be able to expound apron in years to come. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Let Your Light Shine

Today the lights on our house came down and our Christmas tree was unplugged. Time to take down Christmas. It amazes me how much light those things really put out. As I look outside now, it is so dark. Even with the porch light on, it feels very dark. Same with our living room. All of the lights are on, but there is just something about the lights on the tree. 
The lights are so welcoming and bright. There is comfort in the light that they give forth. I feel joy and happiness when the lights are on. It makes me think of why we celebrate Christmas...Jesus. He is the Light of the world. 
Even though all of the Christmas lights are getting put away, I am challenged to continue to let His light shine through me...even on the bad days. We studied this for a few days through our advent calendar. As a family, we talked about what we can do to let Jesus' light shine in and through our lives. The enemy is always working to put out our light, but we must continue to cultivate the flame. 
Let your light shine!