Thursday, August 4, 2016

sleep

I told John the other day that pregnancy has ruined one of my favorite things in life: sleep. even before pregnancy I enjoyed going to bed very early (hello, 8:30pm). there's just nothing better than taking a load off after a long day and waking up refreshed.

fast forward to life at 16 weeks pregnant. I snore. my legs ache. my arms ache. my neck aches. I get up 5-6 times a night to use the restroom. I'm congested. I snore (that deserves to be mentioned twice).

I purchased a larger than life U-shaped pregnancy pillow that takes up 3/4 of our queen size bed, and that has helped a bit by taking the strain off my belly. if only it came with a catheter or a package of Depends (too much?). I prop my head up with multiple pillows and strap on a Breathe Right strip every night, but the truth is becoming ever apparent: pregnancy has ruined one of my favorite things in life. I miss sleeping.

to any mamas out there who happen to be reading this, any advice? anything words of wisdom? anything that helped you in your time of need?

and I know what some of you are thinking: get used to it, trying to get a good night's sleep with triplets is going to be impossible. but GUYS, this is supposed to be the calm BEFORE the storm! these are the glory days BEFORE shit hits the fan. and I'm tired. oh so tired. and I snore now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

14 weeks

how far along? 14 weeks with 3 little gifts.

maternity clothes? oh yes, especially in the pants department. loose dresses are a favorite. waist bands are not my friend.
quality of sleep: when not interrupted by bathroom breaks, very good. dreams are vivid and can be quite strange, however, which can leave me feeling a little disconcerted when I wake.
best moment this week: going public! such a relief to have this (huge) secret out in the open. the love and support have been amazing.
gender: too soon to tell, but we are eagerly awaiting this discovery.
movement: can't wait. 3 active babes - what will that even feel like?
food cravings/aversions: my PB&J obsession from the first trimester is long gone. still gulping down gallons of apple juice. cereal is always sure to please. and I can't get enough red meat. oh, and yesterday after work I snacked on alternating bites of dill pickle and peach slices, ha!
how’s mama? energy is up, praise the Lord. nausea and vomiting took a few days off, but I am back to my routine morning throw up. 
what i am looking forward to: finding out gender. moving back to Michigan to share this joyous burden with our families.
fruit/veggie comparison: I have 3 little lemons in there.

weight gain/loss: working hard on gaining! not an easy task with the regular vomiting + food aversions + the belly that already feels filled to the brim.
 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

three heartbeats

our journey to triplets was not an easy one, which is fitting seeing as how not-easy life with triplets is bound to be (pregnancy already is the opposite of easy).

it was almost 2 years ago that I told my rheumatologist, the beloved Dr. J, that I wanted to be a mom. after a series of instructions on what meds to stop, what meds to wean, and when I'd be in the "safe zone," the process had officially begun. I thought those 3 months while waiting for my body to rid myself of the toxic meds were long, but I had no idea what laid ahead.

month after month of negative pregnancy tests with no apparent reason until a joyous day last September when I finally saw two lines on that dang stick. FINALLY. it was an early morning pee, so poor John got woken up my a giddy wife at 6:30 in the morning while on vacation in Michigan. I believe his exact words were "Shit just got real" and I think that means he was excited. FINALLY. the weeks ticked by as we prepared for our move to North Carolina and kept this happy secret close to our hearts. we prepared to tell our friends and family the news right before moving so we could do it in person, albeit a little early. FINALLY.

then came the pink streak on the toilet paper in late October. I think I knew immediately. a trip to the emergency department and an ultrasound at 9 weeks 2 days showed a 6 week old babe with no heart beat.

no one tells you how incredibly painful miscarrying is. seemingly never ending waves of pain that caused me to yell out "I just need a break, God, please!" as I lie sweating and screaming on my parents' living room floor. as my sister said, all of the labor pains and none of the resulting joy. what a cruel joke. what a sickening pain. what a life-altering blow.

on a walk around my parents' neighborhood a well-meaning neighbor told me not to "do anything stupid." evidently I looked like I was about to off myself.

in late November we suffered another loss, that of my sweet and special niece. another life-altering blow. the story of Ellie is not mine to tell, but I will say that she changed all who knew her. the absence of her still leaves me feeling gutted.

in early April we suffered yet another loss, that of my larger than life dad. the glue that held our family together. the hits just kept on coming. seemingly never ending waves of pain that once again caused me to yell out "I just need a break, God, please!"

my dad was the best grandpa. my siblings could regale you with hours of stories of how my dad stepped up to the plate, lightened the mood, provided words of wisdom, and did it all in the name and love of Jesus. one of the most heartbreaking realizations I had in the hours following his death was that he would never meet my children and that they would never meet him. what a horrible loss. he was the best grandpa and the best father.

and then, still in a heavy haze of grief, the two lines showed up on the dang stick again. and then on another stick. and then a stick that clearly said 'Pregnant' on a little digital screen for good measure. this time there was no secret to keep. I called my mom, my sister, and my brother immediately and told them the news. if we lost this baby too, I wanted them with me every step of the way this time.

a call to my doc resulted in a 6 week ultrasound. what were we going to see? what does a fetal heat beat even look like? we hadn't made it this far last time; this was uncharted territory, and I was an unhealthy mix of excited and terrified.

so that's what a 6 week old baby looks like! that's what a heart beat looks! I must be a quick learner because even through my tears of joy I spotted baby #2 pretty quickly. I shot a look at John and asked "Do you see that? That's your fault, you know" (twins run in his family). OK, we're having twins! this is happening!

the ultrasound tech said something about taking a look at my ovaries and suddenly I wished I wasn't such a quick learner. and that's when shit actually got real. baby #3. [insert legs shaking uncontrollably, John turning white as a sheet, ultrasound techs rushing a garbage can to said pale husband, and probably a string of expletives because that's how I usually roll but honestly don't remember much of what followed.] three heartbeats.

another ultrasound tech to confirm, my doc to re-confirm, and there we are. parents of triplets. the subtitle of our pregnancy announcement is definitely: Be careful what you wish for.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

good news!

well I did not see that coming, but I experienced a FIRST last week.  for the first time since diagnosis one year ago, I received GOOD news regarding my rheumatoid arthritis.  this kind of thing only happens in fairy tales!  so you could say I'm pretty much feeling like a Disney princess right now.

I went in for a regular check up with Dr. J, and he did is his regular check up moves, and I couldn't help but notice the lack of pain where there is usually lots of it.  then Dr. J casually slipped "I think we've done it" into the conversation.  say what?  back that truck up, Dr. J.  

I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say the conversation was a happy and hopeful one.  we need blood work to confirm, but it's looking like we've showed RA who is boss.  and it's me.  well, mostly Dr. J, but also a little me because I'm the one who has to take all the pills and all the shots.  and while I'll never be free of RA, I sure do look forward to the day when it's an afterthought, not a dominating, debilitating, and defining presence in my life.

so now all I have to say is YAHOOOO!

if this disease has taught me anything, it's that the unexpected and disappointing can always be right around the corner, so I haven't started planning a remission party quite yet.  but more importantly, God's  faithfulness, sovereignty, and provision have been so evident in my life as I stumble along this path before me.  even when I'm not looking for Him, he's there.  what a comfort, what a joy.  and more than anything, I will celebrate this gift of good news that HE has given me.

// the over-use of caps lock and exclamation points in this post will not be apologized for.  




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

anniversary

I've always been one who enjoys anniversaries. Who doesn't love a reason to celebrate? Of course I was that over zealous girlfriend who pointed out the mark of every month John and I had been together - happy 51 month anniversary, honey!

But today marks the one year anniversary of my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, and I am not reaching for the champagne or planning a special night out. This anniversary is not something I feel even the slightest inclination to celebrate. RA hasn't done anything in the past year to make me feel lovey dovey. In fact, I'm still very angry at this disease that has become my lifelong companion.

So while I may not be picking up a greeting card while I'm out today, I am pausing to reflect. And that reflection has led to more feelings of gratitude than I expected. Instead to falling into a bitter rut that, I have to admit, I often feel very justified in, I am reminded of God's faithfulness and provision through it all.

This is not an easy road, but we were never promised easy. What I've come to realize in this past year is that I have a choice: I can be a whining, negative person whose favorite pastime is to complain about this plight I've been given to endure, or I can use this platform I've been given to be a light and I can rest assured that I do not walk alone.

I have been promised a plan that God Himself has ordained. How absolutely amazing is that? And yes, RA is part of it, as crazy as that seems to me some (most) days. This was not a fluke, an accident, a cruel joke. He knows the plans He has for me, and those plans involve hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). My heart is pounding as I read that passage again. What comfort! What a gift! What a challenge to rest in that even in times of struggle.

So here's to the next year, you crazy disease. I have high hopes for finding a medication regimen that makes you an afterthought and for finally making Dr. J laugh at one of my jokes.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

husband love

pardon me while I mush and gush over my husband, John.  last night he gave me yet another shot of Humira, and after the injection was given I just sat for a while and thought about what a great guy he is.  I think a lot about his support to me through this illness and in other areas of life.  he's just really wonderful.

I was in a relationship quite a few years ago and came down with a sinus infection to end all sinus infections.  it was miserable.  no amount of antibiotics, rest, and  fluids could kick this thing.  I had it for at least two months, and it really put a damper on things.  I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to stay up late, and I didn't want to do much of anything that didn't involve a couch and a pair of sweatpants.  what a drag.  well, my boyfriend at the time thought so too.  he actually told me one night that he was getting really sick of me.  he wanted his fun-loving, healthy girlfriend back.  he wanted to go to the bars and hang out with friends and not sit on the couch with a girl in sweatpants.  that moment is forever ingrained in my mind, for whatever reason.  I was so hurt and disappointed.

but here is John never complaining once about the way life has changed because of my diagnosis.  he listens to me complain and cry, he goes to appointments with my rheumatologist and asks thoughtful questions, he gives me shots, but he never ever complains.  he definitely has never said he's sick of me.  I've apologized for my fatigue, my medical bills, my tears, my bad attitude, but he has never made me feel like I have to.  he is just so outrageously wonderful, my husband.