Missing Austin


13654182_10154354125949596_4528041502056532867_nLast night Brent and I had a night out in honor of our wedding anniversary which had come and gone quickly earlier this month. My dad is in town visiting and he took care of little Austin and our pets for the evening and overnight. It was so nice to have some time of our own, and since we’ve been sleeping on an air mattress while Dad is here, it was even nicer to have a bed to sleep on!

This was the first time I left my baby for that long — and overnight — since he was born on June 29. One month to the day of his birth, and I could hardly stand it.

Anyhow, it wasn’t long after we left that I started missing my little baby. In fact, we had to circle our apartment complex twice to get to our destination and my heart broke a little each time we passed by. I wanted to go back to him, to snuggle him and see his sweet little “old man” face. But we drove on…

Once we got settled into our room (which was at a hotel 10 minutes from home, just in case an emergency came up), I texted my dad to check in on Little Man. All was well, and we should enjoy ourselves, Dad replied. So we went out to eat and walked around the mall a bit. Our dinner conversation revolved around — guess who — our little champ, mostly due to my peppering Brent with questions like, “What thing does he do that you love the most?”

Back at our room, Brent and I scrolled through photos and videos on our phones … all of Austin, of  course. I texted Dad a bunch and even called to check in on all 4 of them. All was well, and we should try to sleep well, Dad said.

Still, I missed the little booger more than I realized I would. I thought the promise of a good night’s sleep and a little “mom and dad” time would hold me over until I once again saw his little baby face. I was wrong. I absolutely love spending time with my husband, but next time we’ll take Austie with us. It might be another year before I can bear to be away from him again. 😉

After a C-section: What to know


13592283_10154335268254596_2359390357578475755_nJust over two weeks ago I had my baby boy by c-section. It was planned, but wasn’t the first preference. My boy was breech and due to gestational diabetes, my doctors thought he was going to be far larger than he was. So, we opted for surgery, and for the most part, everything went well.

What I was surprised about is how unprepared I was for the week following the birth. I had stocked up on all the things I thought we’d need for a new baby, but somehow I felt so lost when I came home. I had my dear sister here (she had a c-section 16 years ago), and she was the glue that held us all together. So I’m super thankful for that. But here are a few ideas of things I wish I’d known ahead of time:

  1. There is going to be pain — It may not be the worst pain you’ve ever had, but it will come. My pain was a pulling, almost tearing pain, mostly at the edges of my incision. My nurses told me that’s common, but it was hard to lie down, stand up, twist, turn and walk. It’s a good idea to take the pain meds they give you as long as they don’t make you sick.
  2. Stock up — on maxi pads, both for bleeding and to use to help soak up any drainage from the incision.
  3. You might have something called a PICO line left inside your incision. It’s basically a drain to make sure your incision heals well. There is a thin tube on the outside of your body connected to a small battery pack. You can tuck it into your hospital wrap, but it is irritating, especially when the battery gets accidentally turned off and it makes a highly annoying sound until you fix it. The drain should come out very soon after you leave the hospital.
  4. Showering can be challenging also. The drain needs to be sealed off so you don’t get water into it. I used a Ziploc baggie and tied it off with a hair tie. Make sure your towel is right by the shower and that you have something dry to step out onto so you don’t slip.
  5. Have someone come help take care of the baby. If possible, have a friend or family member stay with you to help with late night feedings and to be a moral support. C-section surgery is a major surgery, and it comes with all the same warnings to heed as other surgeries.

My first born is diabetic


My first born is Toby, our beautiful yellow Labrador retriever. He’s 10 1/2 years old, and I have raised him since he was since the tender age of 5 months. He means the world to me. He sleeps in an oversized orthopedic dog bed next to my side of our bed, and that’s only because with me, Brent and Toby in the bed, I turn into a contortionist.

A couple weeks ago Toby started acting different. He didn’t spend much time out of his bed, which was unusual for him since he loves to be with us at all times. He started panting heavily and waking up in the middle of the night for water and to go outside.

As my husband says, Toby has always been a “heavy drinker,” but out of nowhere he started begging for more and more water. I had to fill a big mixing bowl and put it by his bed at night so he could quench his insatiable thirst throughout the night. He also started acting like his hips were hurting him a lot.

I thought perhaps it was his winter dog coat coming in. Perhaps the change in weather was making him “clammy?” Maybe we weren’t talking him out enough. I made up all kinds of excuses in my mind, but in my heart I was pretty sure I knew the cause of his distress — dog diabetes.

We woke up one day last week and Toby wouldn’t eat his dog food. He’s a Lab — that just wasn’t right! I knew we had to get him to the vet. It was my 35th birthday and it was truly a gift to be able to take Toby to our wonderful vet clinic and get him checked out.

A blood test revealed the truth: our little wet-nosed blonde had sky-high sugar in his blood. Doctor Rouchon put him on prescription metabolic dog food and gave a stern warning: “No more dry dog food.” I always thought the canned food wasn’t good for dogs due to a higher fat content. But the vet told me that’s just not true. Dry dog food is loaded with carbohydrates and too many of those can cause insulin resistance and/or Type 2 diabetes in dogs.

One day after starting on the diabetic dog food, Toby seemed more like himself, spending time with us in the living room and kitchen (of course lol) and his thirst seemed to have abated. He seemed to regain some energy and just seemed happier and more lively. What a relief! My dog mom’s heart swelled.

It’s been a few days now and Toby seems to be adjusting. He didn’t eat all of his lunch today, but gobbled it up later after I topped it with some frozen green beans. Dog dinner went down much easier. We’ll go in Monday and leave Toby with Dr. Rouchon to have glucose tests done throughout the day. If the new food is working, we can stick with that. If not, he might need to start on insulin.

Apart from that, we just need to sort out his achy body and what seems to be arthritis.

I’m so thankful for a great vet and the healing power of God, who cares for ALL His creatures.  I’m also so thankful for the chance to take care of this beautiful animal. He is a true joy and the light of my life. After all the years that he has taken care of me, it’s my privilege to be able to care for his little whiskered face.

Time, waiting and being OK with it


We are on Day 2 of our “two-week-wait,” or so they call the time between trying to make a baby and taking a blood test to find out if we’re pregnant.

Most women dread this time — the uncertainty makes the hours seem to drag — but I am a bit refreshed that all we have to do is wait. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to know if “it worked,” but a break from the doctor’s appointments, injections, pills and, well … other major efforts.

If we’re not pregnant this time around, we will have to go through it all again, but that’s OK. Now that it’s so close I’m in as much of a hurry. I’ve wanted a baby since I was 27. Every kid I saw made me tear up, hoping I wouldn’t get too old to be a good Mom.

Then I turned 30, and I thought I was too old. Unmarried, not even dating, and no prospects on the horizon. I said I didn’t want to have a child past 35. When my husband and I met, I was nearly 32. We married and I was approaching 34. Just over a year later, I’m rapidly coursing past 35. For some reason, time doesn’t seem to important.

Time to trigger


After a morning of driving through thunderstorms and taking photos of doggies and their owners, my husband and I headed out to my doctor’s office here in the DFW Metroplex. It was an overcast day and we could see low-hanging, black cloud shelves that preceed a weather front. Tornado weather.

There’s nothing friendly about having an ultrasound like this. But the doctor saw a couple follicles that looked good. Only one was as large as hoped for, and they couldn’t find the other ovary. But the decision was left up to my doctor, who was out of town this week.

I walked out of the office feeling like a tornado inside. All this waiting and anticipation … multiple doctors … painful procedures … surgery … a month of estrogen … a week of fertility pills and injections … several scans … AND (the worst part of it all) I turn 35 in a couple weeks. How much longer can we try, I whined to my husband.

“This is starting to take its toll,” I said to him on our way home in the rain, wind, thunder and flooded roadways.

I got home, took a boiling hot shower and passed out. I talked Brent into laying down with me so he could hold my achy body and battered emotions in his strong arms. He said to me, “Sarah, I don’t understand why you’re upset about this. We don’t even know anything for sure yet.”

Then the phone rang, and it was my doctor’s office.

It’s time to trigger that follicle, the nurse told me. The doctor said we can take that next step. Through a fog of disbelief and hope, I noted a few additional things we’d need to do this week and made an appointment for a blood test on November 9.

So here we go. I’m thankful that we’ve gotten this far. It makes me feel like I’m doing my part in all of this. Despite writing this, I’m still somewhat speechless.

Trial and error


So today we had the “big scan.” It’s no big deal actually. Let me try to explain:

Because I have PCOS, my ovaries have eggs, but don’t release one each month. Sometimes the ovarian follicles (where the eggs mature and come to the surface of the ovary), still grow eggs but don’t release them. When that happens over time, several of them can be seen on an ultrasound — they look like a “string of pearls.” That grouping is the hallmark sign of PCOS. Poly-“cystic” (egg) Ovary Syndrome.

At times, these “cysts” can rupture. Last year, after my first round of Clomid (a fertility drug used to stimulate these follicles to release eggs) one egg got super big, but sadly never “ruptured” or released. When that happens to a woman, a doctor might prescribe birth control (Can you believe it? How counterproductive!) to help shrink the cyst. Then fertility treatment can begin again.

The goal of many fertility drugs is to (as noted above) cause several eggs to grow to a certain size. At that point, a “trigger” injection of fertility drugs is given to help the ovary actually release eggs. Sometimes several eggs develop — too many — and that round of fertility meds is cancelled b/c of the risk of multiple babies. With PCOS, that can be a big risk factor for miscarriage and unhealthy pregnancies.

Sometimes the eggs haven’t quite “cooked” enough and they are a bit too small to “trigger.” That’s what we found out today. I’m looking good, but the eggs are just a bit too small yet. So I’ll get another injection tomorrow then go on Friday for another scan to see if it’s time.

Then we do our thing and “try” to get pregnant. Then another test next week to see if I actually ovulated. Then 2 weeks of waiting to see if I’m pregnant. And on …..

I’m happier than I expected to be after this scan. I was worried there wouldn’t be any eggs or there would be too many. My doctor made a good choice to start me out on less medicine. I’m hopeful about Friday’s scan. This thing might actually happen!

Afraid to believe


Tonight we will do the last injection of Follistim for this round. We’ll go in for a scan tomorrow morning to see how things have developed.

I started to feel some twinges and dull pain this morning, which I think could be a cyst or a healthy growing follicle, but I just can’t be sure. I’m hopeful that it means something good is happening inside my body.

To tell you the truth, I’m pretty nervous about tomorrow’s appointment. I’m worried that nothing will have happened and I’ll need more medicine. I’m worried that there will be too many eggs ready to go and we’ll have to cancel the trigger shot.

From some other women who have gone through this same treatment, I’ve learned that it can take several rounds of this treatment before getting the OK to trigger. That’s so frustrating because in a couple weeks here I’ll be 35. Getting older makes getting and staying pregnant more challenging (according to experts). Add PCOS to that mix and the hope of a big family waxes bleak.

Dear Jesus ~

I didn’t realize how difficult this would be for my heart. I’m afraid to be hopeful. I’m afraid of disappointment. I know you hold this whole thing in your supernatural hands, and I trust you. Please take this worry from me and help me stop being an obstacle for your plan. Empty me of me and fill me with you.

A new home


IMG_0828Recent developments have brought such relief to me and my husband. For the past 8+ months both of us have been without income from an outside job. He’s been in school and thanks to his military service we were able to pay most bills. But we were living with family — and that situation quickly eroded.

After living in a motel for a week (with a huge yellow Labrador) and making daily runs back to the family homestead to feed the cat and load up our temporary home, we were blessed to find a lovely apartment just outside Dallas. Moving is never fun, and this time was no exception. But from the first night forward, the peace that washed over both of us has been palpable.

We’ve had some wonderful times together in our new home already. We cook together, watch movies together, go on couples walks, walk Toby (aforementioned Lab) together, clean together, shop together and just enjoy each other’s presence. There’s quiet here — not quiet like our previous home — and it’s by nature a peaceful silence. It saturates us and restores the hope and excitement that was drained away at the last place we lived.

I’m not bitter whatsoever. I’m thankful for family and for their generosity. I’m grateful that they made it so easy to leave, and I know that sounds snarky, but it’s not meant to be. Finally, we can be ourselves and not fear what someone else might be thinking about us.

A couple weeks ago I landed a call center job. I went for 4 days of training but was suddenly snatched up by a local news company who decided I was what they wanted. And so here I am, a newsie again, working from home, where I can spend time with my man, my Lab and our tuxedo cat. I’m outrageously blessed.

A new home


HouseWe finally have our own home again — together — our first place that belonged to neither of us before we met. It means a lot to me because it’s truly ours.

The location is great and we settled in nicely with Brent’s things from storage. We plan to fit in my things this month. There’s not a whole lot of room physically, but I feel so much more freedom than I did at our last home.

Here, we can cook as we want, lounge as we want, sleep as we want, and go as we please without having to account to anyone. Truly, living with family can be difficult. I hope to never have to do it again.

Expectations were held without being conveyed and pressure was applied when we didn’t do what was wanted.

I’m not talking about simple respect. We never withheld that.

But now that we have our place, our little cove carved out of the corner of a Dallas suburb, we can truly live together. Being married is one of my most favorite things in this world. I don’t take it lightly. The moment our marriage is threatened, we have decided to get away from that force stat.

Sometimes, those outside forces aren’t so “outside,” though.

5 marriage issues not to discuss with family


Your love is guarded by a sacred trust.
Your love is guarded by a sacred trust.

When we exit our nuclear family and make our way into the culture and traditions of our spouse’s family, there can be a bit of insecurity. Maybe his brother is strange, or his mom doesn’t like how you cook. Perhaps your dad makes your new husband nervous, or your aunt’s candied yams make him ill. All bets are off when you merge two clans, trying to create your own at the same time.

It can be tempting to run to your sister and gab for an hour about all the things your man does wrong. And guess what? She’ll listen, and probably offer her advice. That little tiny step of complaining can set ya’ll up for a lifetime of negative family relationships, and a drained marriage as well.

Here are 5 things you should never talk to your family about when it comes to your marriage:

  • Problems, problems. If you and your spouse are hashing something out, don’t let your family (or his family) in on it. Moms, sisters, brothers and dads can be great sources of comfort and excellent sounding boards. The problem with sharing your marriage problems with them is two-fold: First, they will never, ever be able to be completely objective about it. You’re their daughter; he’s their son. Anyway you slice it, family members will always take sides. Doesn’t really offer great advice then.

Second, you love your spouse with a passion that no one else holds for them (hopefully!), including your families. Long after you’ve forgiven him, or been forgiven by him, they will still know he wronged you (or even if no wrong was actually committed, they will still know he was part of a problem you were having) and will be a whole lot less free with their forgiveness than you were.

  • Unless ya’ll have both agreed to it, don’t share with your family when your mate is having a physical problem (or mental, emotional, spiritual). Some people are especially sensitive to ailments, offering an open and understanding heart. But others aren’t so sweet about it. You never know how open your spouse wants to be about the ailment either. It’s best to make sure you’re both on the same page before sharing this info.
  • Moolah … is often a touchy enough subject to discuss with your husband. It’s definitely something you shouldn’t share with your families. I’m not just talking about money problems. Having wealth can pigeon-hole you as a couple into a bracket that others may be jealous of or take advantage of. It’s just better to keep that topic locked away between you and your man.
  • This one might seem intuitive, but a big issue to steer clear of in talks with your families is sex — especially your sex with your husband. Questions may be fine, but anything that gives away a piece of the intimacy you and your mate share in bed is not OK to discuss.
  • Habits, unless they are mutually funny and on-the-table for discussion. I know, he doesn’t fold your laundry right, and you have that weird hang-up about vacuuming in straight lines. Grooming habits are probably at the top of this off-limits item. You just can’t be too careful about not throwing your spouse under the bus to your families. Don’t embarrass them, you still have to go home with them at night! And it’s likely they’ve kept their mouth shut about a few of your misfires.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you can think of some more please leave a note in the comments. I’d like this post to be a great resource for wives (and husbands too!) to refer to in times of marriage gossip crisis!~