Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two No More

In March, our little two-year-old turned three. It's been two months and I am still surprised!

Two was such a magical age. Though I am always moaning and grieving stages of Jo's life that pass, I have to admit I enjoyed the year of two more than the year of one. He became independent (for better or for worse), he started exploring more interests, and his vocabulary exploded.

Here's a look of my little once-two-year-old, during his reign.

March 2016 (just turned two!)

April 2016 (discovering his new love for all things Super Hero)

May 2016

June 2016 (discovering his love, as well as my love, for his puddle jumper)

July 2016

August 2016 (Obsessed with the Olympics! He mimicked every sport he watched. This is after watching fencing.)

September 2016

October 2016

 November 2016 (Playing Baby Jesus and Mary)

December 2016

 January 2017 (First time in snow)

February 2017

 March 2017 (this picture was taken on his birthday)

Oh, how I absolutely loved that two-year-old! He made me crazy so many times, but he mostly brought joy. I truly do look forward to watching him grow and learn more and explore....but I will always have a piece of my heart yearning for this fun age.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Our January

I remember when January 2 came, I thought, "Huh. It's been a month since my D&C. I survived the first month. I guess it gets easier now."


On the contrary, January was harder in some ways. It was so hard not to remind myself how many months along I would be each week had I stayed pregnant. January would have been the month where I started to show. We had already scheduled our gender/anatomy ultrasound for January 20th well in advanced, and that horrid date always sat in the back of my mind. We were under the assumption that mt doctor's office would cancel the appointment for us, but they did not. The ultrasound would be through a different office, so it was not on their radar. So I got to experience the awfulness of receiving a reminder call for my ultrasound for the baby that we had lost. Boo.

When I miscarried in December, my ob-gyn told me that the previous protocol was for a mother to wait at least one full cycle before trying to conceive again. He then explained that this was outdated and recent research has shown that not only is it safe to get pregnant again right away, it also increases your chance of conceiving. So we went ahead and continued our medication protocol. On January 8, I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I was disappointed, but a part of me knew that it was still a bit early to try to take one. I patiently waited for aunt flo to arrive, and when she hadn't come yet, I decided to take another test. This was one January 11th.  It was came out faintly positive! I was so surprised! I excitedly took another test a few hours later, and the positive result line was even MORE faint. I found this to be a little concerning, but thought I would just test the next day when my hcg count had hopefully, increased.

That evening, I had prepared to go to mutual to give a presentation to the young women. I was about 3/4 of the way into my presentation when I felt that ever dreaded gush. "Oh great, I'm miscarrying," I thought as I tried to continue to act normal. I figured I would finish my talk up, clean up, and rush home to change. I have had a very early miscarriage before, and the symptoms were simply that of a normal/heavy menstrual cycle. Only this time, it was different. After the initial gush, another one came. Then another and another and another. I could feel myself becoming completely saturated. Thank goodness I was wearing black skinny and tall boots. I looked down and realized that blood was visibily trickling down my legs outside of the pants and landing on the floor beneath me. That's when I had to every so awkwardly say, "Ummm.....I have to go....because I am having a medical problem right now." THANK GOODNESS THIS WAS JUST IN FRONT OF YOUNG WOMEN AND NOT ALL THE YOUTH.

I ran outside to drive home, but then I froze. I couldn't drive in my car. I was completely soaking in my own blood. I called Jordan and told him what was happening and told him he needed to come and bring me tons of towels pronto. Unfortunately, Jo's car seat was in MY car and our church is almost 20 minutes away from our house. Jordan said he would drop Jo off at our neighbors and come as soon as he could. While I waited for him, I tried to call my doctor, but he was in a surgery. While waiting for Jordan, I sat on the grass outside of our church building, sobbing. Blood was pouring at an alarming rate. I didn't know if I should call 911 because I besides the bleeding, I felt ok- no pain, no light headedness. I called my doctor's on-call nurse and she said I needed to get to the ER as soon as I could. That's when panic began.

My friend who is a leader in YW, and therefore was a witness to my graceful exit came outside to check on me. As soon as she saw me, she said, "I am taking you to the ER right now!" I told her not to, because I would surely ruin her car and Jordan was on his way. She replied, "He can meet us at the ER. I am taking you right now." She turned into Super Woman- she had a huge quilt to wrap around my waist, and she placed her rubber car foot rug (or whatever it is called) on my seat. Genius! She helped me to the car and drove me to ER.

When we got there, I ran into the ER, a bloody quilt wrapped around my body and mascara all over my face. I just looked at the clerks at the desk and said, "I need help!" They immediately got me a wheelchair and admitted me within 3 minutes. Jordan got there quickly.  First they wanted to take my blood, as they took it, I began to feel very dizzy and kept exclaiming, "I'm gonna black out! I'm gonna black out!" Black cloudy spots blurred my vision, and suddenly I was dreaming with faint voices in the background. I soon awoke to myself vomiting all over my shirt and pants as I was being rushed down the ER hall in my wheelchair. The man pushing me was saying, "We need a room right now!" Several nurses came in to help undress me, stick those sticky metal circle things all over me. One nurse asked the other, "Don't you have a patient in the other room right now?" to which she replied, "Yes, but it's more important for me to be here." This all scared me. What was wrong? What was happening? What did they see? I also heard another nurse call out to someone, "Patient passed out, possible seizure."

I had my first panic attack. I had heard of panic attacks making people feel as though they were gonna die. Now I know that that is an accurate description. I honestly felt as though I was about to die and no one knew it. One nurse told me I needed to breathe. I felt as though all of my effort was being put into breathing. Then she told me again, "You need to breathe!" I replied, "I'M TRYING SO HARD!"  Jordan and the nurse help lead me through long slow breathing exercises that seemed to help. I could hear my heart rate monitor beeping slightly less quickly, but I still felt scared and couldn't stop shaking.

After that initial scare, I felt more calm but so distraught. I felt as though this was the end of my trying to get pregnant. As Jordan held my hand, I told him, "I feel like my soul is dying."

A few ultrasounds and blood tests later, the ER met with us. He said the good news was that I did not need a blood transfusion. He explained that at the time they first look my blood, my hcg level was 12, so they could rule out an eptopic pregnancy. He removed the remaining blood clots from my body (soooo comfortable!) and after a while we were sent on our way. The next day, my ob-gyn met with me and explained that it seemed as though my body simply had an excessive amount of blood due to my previous pregnancy followed by the next one. He didn't feel as though the problems were connected, and declared that I am still able to continue trying to get pregnant.

After that, January was a bit of a blur. Mourning my former pregnancy while feeling incredibly anxious after my most recent miscarriage was hard. I was also grieving a trip to Oregon to visit my sister and her family that was originally scheduled for January.

Another thing that was difficult was the sense that my friends assumed I was ok. Talking about babies and pregnancy and breastfeeding became the topic of conversation every time we would get together (I have lots of wonderful, fertile friends who have had babies recently). It was hard to not feel angry that they felt it was ok to talk about this with me, and also realizing that they weren't meaning to make me feel awful, as well as understanding that I didn't really have any authority to control what friends talk about when we are together. It made me feel exhausted after hanging out with my wonderful girlfriends. Many playgroups ended with me crying the way home as Jo called out, "It ok, Mama. Take a deep breaf!"

Somehow we got through January. And February. and half of March. The grief and anxiety that have come with the past few months is still suffocating. Hopefully it will be done soon.

Our December

December was a weird month. Mostly full of utter sadness. Also full of holiday memories made with our sweet little boy.

The first half of the month was so very hard. The day after my D&C (December 3rd), I was an utter wreck. Everything in my house reminded me of my pregnancy. I remember putting away some candlesticks that I had gotten out from earlier that week, which lead me to sob because I thought, "When I got these candlesticks out, my baby was alive." Somehow, I had made a memory of my pregnancy with what felt like every single thing in my house. I cried so hard and so often that I developed eczema under my eyes.

This picture summarizes the first half of December:

Setting reminders to bathe. Not wearing makeup for over a week because what's the point? It would inevitably turn into a black stream. My feelings circulated constantly. I was angry, painfully sad, scared that it would take another year to get pregnant, anxious that our son would be even older than his sibling, and guilty that I was so sad when others have lost so much more. I watched so much television in the first week because I was desperate to stop myself from thinking. Quite the Mormon self medication.

Going out in public was torture. I made the mistake of going to Sprouts at the kind suggestion of my in-laws. They felt I needed to get out of my house, which was good advice. They were kind enough to drop everything, drive to OKC, and stay with us for a few days. I went to the store alone to buy some tea. Everything made me cry. I saw sushi- "If I was pregnant, I couldn't eat that. I want to be pregnant. I don't want to be allowed to eat that. Waaa." I saw the supplement isle- "I know there are prenatal vitamins on that isle. Waaa." This continued until I got to check-out, and I almost lost it completely when the nice cashier asked, "And how are YOU doing today?" Luckily, I was able to avoid bursting into tears until I got to the car. It was similar nearly everywhere I went.

Church was hard. I went ahead and skipped the first Sunday. The next Sunday, I went, cried through sacrament and was so upset during Sunday school that I had to leave early. There is something so painful about hearing a lesson on answered prayers when the answer to so many desperate prayers had just died.

Facebook sucked. Seriously, how is it possible that 1000 friends announced their pregnancy all at the same time?! I want to write Mark Zuckerburg a personal letter thanking him for the "hide post" and "unfollow" buttons. They have saved me.

What did NOT suck in December? Our amazing friends and family. My sweet friends sent me treats, dinner, hugs, card, and gifts. I had several friends watch Jonah just so I could have a break. That was wonderful. It seemed silly to feel as though I couldn't play with my son because I was too sad, and I am forever grateful for friends so just GOT IT. Jordan's parents stayed with us for a few days which was so helpful. My family who lives far away reached out to let me know they were thinking of me.

When we found out we had lost our baby in early December, I initially was depressed that of all the months for this to happen, it would be during the Christmas season. I didn't want to look at our tree. I had an impulse to go ahead and cancel Christmas this year. However, I have changed my mind on the horrible timing- having to experience this horrible grief around Christmas was hard, but the Christmas season FORCED me to get out and get things going. I couldn't stay at home and weep all day, I had presents to buy, Christmas cards to deliver, packages to mail, and parties/events to attend. Jo is at an age where Christmas is absolutely magical. He loved the nativities, the Christmas books, the lights, the Santas. How could I cancel Christmas and pretend it is not happening when I was witnessing how happy it was making my son? Even though I was exhausted with sadness, Christmas made me more functional, and it provided me with desperately needed distractions.

So I went ahead and threw our family into Christmas. I was in charge of the ward Christmas party this year, so I decided to attend it. It was hard. I had to run to the mother's lounge or bathroom several times to cry. But At least Jonah got to meet Santa #1 there:

 I couldn't get him to look and smile at me. He was too busy talking to Santa and asking for a trampoline.

That weekend, Jordan's parents and his brother's family came to OKC to visit us for Jordan's birthday. We went to an event called Saturday with Santa downtown. The wait to meet Santa was over 4 hours, so we opted to meet Mrs. Claus instead.

On the 13th, my sweet hubby turned 33. Another distraction.


I also distracted myself by making several presents this year. I made Disney peg dolls for my niece and Jo, and I loved how they turned out.

We got to meet Santa another time. And no, I did not realize that we let our son out in public wearing batman underwear OVER his pants until after this picture was taken.

A few days before Christmas, my parents came to town to celebrate the holiday with us. This was wonderful for me to have him here during this painful time. We went to an amazing performance of A Christmas Carol. The set was so charming and well done, there were several special effects, and at the end, falling "snow" fell upon the entire audience. It was so festive. I loved it.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were a bit bittersweet. I still felt the emptiness of our lost pregnancy throughout the day, but there was so much to be happy about as well. This was the first Christmas when Jo anticipated Santa's arrival. Jordan and I had our first Christmas Eve where we build a toy from the North Pole together. This year, Santa got Jonah a small trampoline. His surprised reaction was absolutely priceless. We got a video of it that I will soon post to our youtube page.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Our Baby

After 13 months of trying to get pregnant with various fertility drugs, supplements, diet changes, and desperate "alternative treatments" and one early miscarriage, I had a surgery called Ovarian Drilling in August. Sounds lovely. It actually was not too terrible and my recovery was not too bad. My doctor explained that this would decrease my ovarian cysts, balance my hormones, and make my reproductive organs more functional.

Approximately six weeks later, I had yet another ultrasound that found that I had two healthy follicles. We did an hcg trigger shot and hoped for the best.

About three weeks later, I had a positive pregnancy test. I was so relieved that I shed a few tears of joy. I crawled back into bed and snuggled up to Jordan (it was about 6:30 am). Jordan asked, "What's up?" in a concerned tone. I immediately responded, "I'm pregnant." We were both so excited and giddy. Poor Jordan- I scared him because when I cuddled up to him, he felt my tears on his arm and assumed I had yet another negative pregnancy test.

I was ecstatic to be pregnant, but I was extremely anxious to get my blood drawn and tested. I have no issues with needles. I was more anxious about the results. In November 2015, when I pregnant before this time, I received a call that my hcg level was 50 (pretty dang low) followed by another blood draw a few days later with the dreaded phone call that my hcg count was down to 5. The thought of going through that again made me want to throw up. I went in to get my blood drawn the day after I received my positive pregnancy test, and waited desperately for a phone call all day. I finally got the call the next morning that my hcg count was over 1,000. A huge relief! They wanted me to come in two days later to make sure that my hcg was still rising at a correct rate. I spent those two days reading infertility forums about twins, as I was suspicious that my higher count was due to two babies in there. Two days later, I got my blood drawn, and spent the next two days waiting for my phone call. I finally called the office myself and was told that my count was around 11,000. Huzzah!

I felt as though I got through the first level of being pregnant, but there were many more levels to get through. Miscarriages almost always happen before week 8, so the next few weeks I was hyper sensitive to any pain or discomfort that I experienced. I remember while 6 weeks pregnant, I started to have a bad back cramp. I immediately started chanting, "Oh no, oh no, oh no PLEASE no"....only for the cramp to go away about five minutes later.

When I was at 7.5 weeks, I had my first ultrasound. Jordan and I were both so nervous that there would not be a heartbeat. Luckily, our little bean had a healthy beating heart and my uterus looked fine. I was so happy I cried. We got our picture of our blurry seahorse and I nearly hugged the photos the whole drive home. After that point, I felt so much more calm. My baby has a healthy heartbeat. There was just one baby in there. I was nearly at the 8 week sweet spot. Everything was going to be ok.

The next several weeks were wonderful. The world had more color. When I saw a pregnant woman out in public, I felt happy. There was no more twinge of pain at the sight of a cute baby bump. I felt as though I could enjoy our son growing up because I no longer worried about him getting older and older without a sibling with whom to play. I rubbed my belly everyday. I subscribed to all the pregnancy tracker apps. I was relaxed. I announced my pregnancy to my sweet friends and relished in their excitement.  I was starting to think that this little person was a girl. It felt so real. I was over-the-moon happy.

During Thanksgiving, we announced our pregnancy to all of Jordan's family. It was a wonderful day. I felt whole.

On Friday, December 2, we had our next ultrasound. I was nearly 12 weeks along and could not wait to see our kiddo. When we had an ultrasound at 12 weeks with Jonah, he looked like an actual baby- not a weird lump. We were both so giddy.  This was it. We were going to see our long awaited blessing.

When we get into the exam room, my doctor came through the door with a big smile on his face. "I'm surprised you waited for me, " he said, "I figured you would be so excited that you would try to do the ultrasound yourself." I told him I had been feeling pretty good and he responded, "Hey, maybe you will have a girl since your symptoms are different! But I know you are just happy to be on the other side of all of this. "All of this" meaning infertility.

He began the ultrasound and suddenly our sweet little baby appeared! It looked like a baby, too, a sweet little profile, the cutest little hand with the cutest little fingers. I couldn't believe it. Jordan was happily filming the whole thing on his iphone. We were so thrilled to see our kid that I didn't even realize how quiet my usually upbeat doctor was being.

He asked how far along I was. I said, "Almost 12 weeks." He measured the baby and said that it was a normal size, measuring 11 weeks and 5 days. My doctor stayed quiet, until he said that second worst thing he could say at the moment: "I'm having trouble finding a heartbeat." He turned on the doppler and instead of hearing a tiny thumping heart, there was only static. White empty noise. Then he said the absolute worst thing: "I'm afraid your baby has passed away."

I began crying heavy, uncontrollable sobs that wouldn't stop. My doctor had left the ultrasound tool (I don't know what the camera part is called) on my stomach and I noticed that the baby was not moving, despite my body's hard, heavy shakes while crying. The little body that I had fell in love with moments before was still and lifeless. Our doctor explained that based on our baby's size, it was just within the last day or two that it had happened.

My doctor was so kind to us, telling us how sorry he was, and leaving us alone in the room to hold each other and cry. Between my sobs, I kept saying "I can't believe it" or "It's not fair" or "I'm so sorry".

I had a D&C that afternoon. While waiting in the surgery waiting room before my procedure, a soft lullaby sound recording played on the intercom. A woman sitting next to us said, "Oh, another baby is born." Cue more tears.

We learned a week later that the most likely cause of death was inflammation in the umbilical chord and fetus' arteries, which was probably caused by a virus that I caught. I have thought of this baby every day since October 11, when I found out I was carrying it. I have thought about it every day (every hour?) since December 2. I miss that tiny baby so much.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Liquid Medicine

This afternoon, to prepare for an upcoming medical procedure, I had to drink a disgusting bottle of liquid medicine. Jordan will be the first to tell you that I am pretty much the worst when it come to taking liquid medicine of any kind (just thinking of Pepto sends a shiver down my spine), and this was no exception.

When I took a swig, my face made a tight, ugly grimace. After swallowing the vile poison, I let out an almost involuntary "YUUUUUUUUH!"

Then Baby Jo burst into tears.

The poor kid! He was so distressed by my performance. He didn't know what was going on, only that his mom was in some sort of pain. I immediately swept him up in my arms, smothered him with kisses, and repeated the phrases, "I'm okay! Mommy's happy!" and "Everything is fine. Everything is fine." It took him a while to calm down his sobs. Luckily, Dad came to rescue with a distracting flashlight and all was well again.

Jordan and I talked this evening about how sweet and heartbreaking Jo's tears were for me. We talked about how there are so many children out there in the world who have to witness their mothers in real pain, often by the hands of someone else. So many children have to see their mothers hurt, knowing that there is nothing they can do to stop it. So many toddlers have to hear their mothers cry out in pain, being unable to do anything but cry in fear.

It can be overwhelming to think of all the pain that children have to witness and experience. It makes my heart heavy. But there is some comfort to be had in knowing that MY son will never have to worry about mom getting hurt at home. It's comforting to know that seeing mom beat, abused, or humiliated at home will never ever happen. Jordan and I have total control over preventing our sweet boy seeing mom getting hurt at home with nothing more to do than cry.

If seeing mommy almost puke over taking a medication is the scariest thing Jo has seen so far, I am okay with that.

Monday, June 20, 2016

More Books

Sorry, Nancee. I am still not on Goodreads yet.

Here are a few books I have read since my last book update.

Necessary Lies, by Diane Chamberlain: This was the third Diane Chamberlain book I read within a month. I enjoyed the first one, Pretending to Dance, and really disliked the second one, The Silent Sister. I decided to read one more of her books as a tie breaker. I'm glad that I did. Of the three books, this one was my favorite. It is historical fiction, set in the south in the 1960's. The protagonist is a brand new social worker who is ready to jump in and bite off more than she could chew, which made her easy to relate to. It was a quick read, and it was educational.

The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, by Matthew Dicks: I picked this novel out for an easy read during my trip to California a few months ago. It was good, not great. It's about a woman who, after uncharacteristically having a public meltdown, goes on a trip with her angsty daughter in search of some closure from her past. I thought the author, a male, did a good job in describing the female perspective of his character, so I give him kudos to that.

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel Brown: This book was picked out for a book club I was in. It is not a book that I would normally pick for myself, but I enjoyed it. It is a nonfiction biography about the UW crew team that rowed in the 1936 Olympics, right before WWII. I enjoyed reading about Seattle back in the 30's, and I learned a lot about rowing (I knew nothing to begin with), and I was intrigued by the information about the rise of Nazi Germany just the Olympics were about to begin. It was a bit slow at times, as there is very little dialogue in the book. Still, I am glad I read it.

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer: Another book club pick. It's a sci-fi twist on the story of Cinderella. Instead of a princess, Cinder is a cyborg with an unknown history. Instead of a fairy godmother, Cinder has a friendly droid with whom she hangs out. Instead of glass slippers, she has a new mechanical foot for her cyborg leg. It was sort of fun, but not really my usual cup of tea. I was also frustrated that it was picked for book club because it doesn't have a definite ending, only an opening for the next book.

Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari: I gobbled this book up, laughing out loud along the way. If you are a fan of Aziz, aka Tom Halverford on Parks and Rec, and you can look the other way on colorful language, this book is great. It is NOT a memoir. Aziz and a sociologist studied the changes in dating for the past decade as technology has advanced. It is actually quite interesting.

The Collapse of Parenting, by Leonard Sax: Another fantastic book. Sax is a family doctor and a psychologist. He discussed the problems with modern day parenting AND how to fix it. Filled with common sense solutions AND interesting information that I never thought of before, I give this book four stars.

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo: I am still mad about this book. I read it. I enjoyed it...UNTIL THE END! Not because the ending is bad, but because the ENDING DOES NOT END. It is part of a series. I had no idea! Ugh. I was quite annoyed. I am simply not a fan of series. But this book was so captivating, I will have to surrender and read its sequel. The book is set in a fictional European dystopia. A gang of orphan teenagers are commissioned to complete an impossible heist. There is a lot of action, and I really enjoyed each character's backstory. I'd recommend the book if you are willing to get sucked into a series. Curse you, book.

Sarah's Scribbles, by Sarah Andersen: I have never related to a comic book character more in my entire life. Sarah Andersen's adorable comics have popped up here and there on my newsfeed, so I was excited to check out her new comic book. I read it in one setting, giggling and cackling the whole time. Sarah Andersen, if you are reading this, can we please be best friends?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ode to Late Twenties

Ode to My Twenties
The Late Twenties Edition
Age 27-29

 Age 27:
 Hands down, this age was my all time favorite of the decade, if not my whole life! A month after turning 27, we took our magical two week trip to Europe. It was the best trip I have ever taken to date. I am so happy we were able to do that before we had kids.

Though blurry, this cellphone picture of me in Florence is one of my favorite pictures ever.

After the wonderful trip of the decade, I finally was able to meet with my new ob-gyn
who gave me the prescribed voodoo pills that got me pregnant on the first medicated cycle. After 13 months of trying, I was finally pregnant. It was such an incredible time of my life. I wasn't working because our plan was for me to travel to see my family a bunch, go to Europe, THEN get a job. I found one but they were unable to arrange a client load for me for a long time, so while I was (technically) employed, I wasn't working. It was perfect. I got to be at home, rest as much as I like, read books, exercise, and obsessed over my pregnancy. It was the happiest I had ever been,  knowing that a baby was coming but not necessarily having to take care of a baby yet.

While in the glow of pregnancy, we bought our house AND went on a wonderful trip to New York City. It truly was just one incredible thing after another when I was 27. 
Then, with only 12 days left in this year, I became a mom. Jo was born. It was the perfect ending to my perfect age.

 Age 28:

While 27 was magical, 28 was nice and EXHAUSTING. My new motherhood was overwhelming and hard. I loved being able to be at home with our baby boy, but I feel as though this age was one sleepy, weepy, blissful breastfeeding fog.
Aside from the tiring joy of being a new mom, we were able to do some traveling. Including from Seattle trips, I took Jo to Vermont to visit my family. We spent Thanksgiving with my family in California. We also went to Hawaii with our baby and had a wonderful time. 

Another great thing about this age was how many friendships I was able to strengthen. Becoming a mother opened a door to a whole new level of bonding with my friends, and since I was going crazy being home alone with our baby all day, I became more extroverted and proactive at being social. I'm glad I did, for now I have such lovely friendships with such lovely women.

 Age 29:
Honestly, this was a pretty tough year. Probably my weepiest year of the decade. For the majority of this age, I was desperately trying to become pregnant again. The medication that got me pregnant right away with Jo has been less lucky this time. Plus, there was the grief of my chemical pregnancy, which really knocked me out spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. 

But it wasn't a year of only sorrow. I was able to travel SANS TODDLER several times during this age. We went to Vegas for four days. We took a weekend get-a-way to Dallas. And the biggest child-free vacation was our week long Caribbean Cruise we took with another couple in March. I am so grateful we were able to have an opportunity to actually miss our little guy. I look forward to more child-free trips in our future.

I was also able to see my family quite a bit during this age. Every year, I always travel back home at least once, often two or three times. On top of those common trips, I got to see my family in California and Oregon. My brother and his family was also able to come visit us here in OKC, and I loved every second of it.

I fell back in love with reading. Jordan got me a piano for Christmas and I fell back in love with playing music. I got to participate in a production called Lamb of God in the Chorus. It was a year and rediscovering my hobbies, which was greatly needed after the first tiring year of motherhood.

So to close, I will say that this past decade was full of major changes and milestones. I began the decade as a girl who had never moved from home to a woman who had experienced marriage, college and grad school, a career, motherhood, and traveling. I am happy with the woman that I have become as I entered my 30's, and I am curious to see what happens in the next ten years.

Ode to Mid-Twenties

Ode to Twenties
Mid-Twenties Edition
Ages 23-26

This time of my twenties was involved a lot of growing and adjusting, and a lot of tired nights.

Age 23:
Blurry picture from my 23rd Birthday

A lot of changes happened this year! A few weeks after my birthday, I graduated from BYU, moved home for about three weeks to prepare for my wedding, got hitched in May, and then promptly moved to Oklahoma to begin grad school and married life.

A few month into 23, I got to finally go to Graceland and get as close to Elvis as physically possible.

Twenty-three was an interesting year. Though it started out as an exciting whirlwind, it had its challenges. I was sad to move to Tulsa. Plus, going from dating at BYU to being married far from home or anything familiar was a big adjustment. Jordan and I didn't have the nice transitional period of being married while still at BYU, which was our relationship's original habitat. Instead, it felt like a million changes at once. It was tough on my 23 year old soul.

After some time, I did come to appreciate OU-Tulsa, which was very different than BYU. In January, I started my practicum as an actual therapist for adults. While I enjoyed it and learned a lot, I often felt like a little kid playing dress up. I always winced when someone asked me my age and would respond by saying, "Oh, I'm older than I look."  For the first time in a long time, I was actually looking a little forward to getting older.

Age 24:
Pictures from my actual 24th birthday

Twenty-three was a little challenging, but 24 was TOUGH. This was the year that I graduated with my MSW and got a job as a full-time children's mental health counselor. For the first six months of my career, I dreaded going to work everyday. It was so draining. So challenging. I cried a few times from being overwhelmed and questioned all my academic decisions. Plus, the whole paid vacation limitation was hard for me. I was so homesick and had to carefully juggle my vacation time to arrange to see my family. Luckily, after a while, I dreaded work a little less. I became increasingly confidant in my work and started to enjoy it ....sometimes. 

Plus, when I was 24, I got to do some cool stuff, too. We did a church history tour with my parents, Jordan and I went to Branson with his parents, and we went on a last minute weekend get-away to Kansas City, just for fun. This was also the year that I got to take Jordan to our family's traditional huge Thanksgiving in Boise. This was the final one, as we stopped the tradition after my grandfather passed away. I'm so glad Jordan got to go to one.

Age 25:
25th Birthday!

This was not a particularly noteworthy age, aside from some awesome traveling. We went on a Caribbean cruise for our two year anniversary, as well as Disneyland with my whole family. As with every other age, I visited Seattle once or twice. 

I continued to progress as a therapist during this year, and I continued to be exhausted by it.
The biggest trial of this age was brought to me by my kidney. I had to have minor surgery that ended up being absolutely terrible (See blog post from January 2012). I remember thinking that with the pain I was experiencing from kidney surgery recovery was kicking my butt so badly, childbirth was going to be a nightmare. It turns out that my kidney procedure and recovery was DEFINITELY worse than childbirth. Yeesh.

This was a pretty good year. It had some fantastic highs and a few disappointing lows.

In my career, I was able to FINALLY complete all the necessary clinical hours that I needed for my LCSW. I also took and passed the clinical test and officially became an LCSW. Holla! In my work, I continued to get better and better as a therapist, and was even offered some temporary positions due to my successes that I was experiencing. It was very validating. When I gave my supervisor my notice of leave, she told me that I was an employee that the supervisors could see as a future supervisor for our area of the agency. It made leaving my job that much  harder, as I felt as though I would be starting fresh, but I ended up not working after I left this particular job anyway!

The reason that I left my career at 26 was because this was the year that Jordan graduated from PA school, accepted a job in OKC, and we moved there in January. I actually really liked taking a few months off of work. It felt good to relax and focus on my physical health. During this hiatus from work, I really focused on exercising and got in the best shape of my 20's...not that I was in body builder shape or anything, but I certainly made strength progress. 
This was a hard year for my body, too. Shortly after turning 26, we decided to start trying to have a baby. After six unsuccessful months, I was able to get pregnant, only to painfully miscarry. I spent the rest of 26 desperately trying to ovulate once again without any luck.

My favorite trip at 26 was our lovely Christmas in Vermont to visit my brother and his family. We had a blast and enjoyed the beautiful East Coast snow. We still talk about how much fun that trip was.

Last, but not least, at 26 I was able to be in the same room as Jim Gaffigan!