07 April 2016

The baby shower.

I can't go on in the story without talking about the amazing baby shower that my in-laws threw! Kendall's family knew that I was in the hospital the day before the shower and were waiting to hear if I was going to be released in time to make it to the shower. When Kendall told them that the doctors were going to keep me, they wondered what we were going to do about the shower that we had already planned, set up, and invited our friends and family to. I suggested that Kendall go in my place.

Kendall Facetimed me so that I could say hi to all my friends and thank them for bringing the beautiful gifts. I had only told a couple people what had happened, so most of my friends were confused that I wasn't there. Luckily, everyone knew and loved Kendall and said how nice it was for him to be there, and that it was so great to celebrate our baby with him.

Even though I was so sad I couldn't be there, I'm so grateful for the love and support we received for Harrison and for me while I was in the hospital!


Just before my birthday and a few days before my baby shower, on January 14th, Kendall and I had a normal day with no reason to think that anything would go amiss. We got ready for bed and, as I laid down, I mentioned to Kendall that I was having slight pain in my chest. Thinking I was having a pregnancy symptom, which I never had, we tried an antacid and some tylenol and laid back down. After a few minutes, I told him it wasn't getting any better. He told me to be patient. A few more minute and the pain got worse, but I was being patient. Then, full blown ten-out-of-ten pain started.

We laid in bed breathing together for over 2 hours, hoping it would get better. At this point, the pain was so severe that I was hyperventilating and my arms were starting to go numb. Kendall started to become scared and started packing me up to head to the ER. We didn't know what was happening to my body, but all my symptoms pointed to a heart attack and we were afraid of how my difficulty breathing would affect our tiny baby.

When you go to the hospital with chest pain and you're pregnant, it's like a fast pass to the front of the line. They didn't have a room available for the doctor to see me, but they immediately took me back to a smaller room and put me on an EKG, while they checked for baby's heartbeat. Immediate relief as I hear the baby's heart thump. EKG says no heart attack. Because I have asthma, they order a breathing treatment. The breathing treatment doesn't relieve my shortness of breath. They finally get me into an actual room to see a doctor after about an hour and a half.

While we were waiting for the doctor, the pain was so unbearable I couldn't sit or lay down. I kept moving from different positions trying to relieve the pain, or at least be in a position where I wasn't making it worse. Before the doctor walked in, I began vomiting in the sink - which actually relieved my pain. I explained everything to him when he walked in and he immediately ordered an ultrasound of my gallbladder. I remember thinking, "what the heck is a gallbladder, anyway?"

They sent me to antepartum, where they were able to monitor both me and the baby and have quick access to ultrasounds, OBs, and prenatal nurses. The ultrasound revealed that my baby was perfect, but my gallbladder was far from it. I had massive gallstones that they weren't sure were staying in my gallbladder. If they were not staying in my gallbladder, they could be severely damaging my liver which could be dangerous for my growing fetus. They warned me that if the gallstones were obstructing my liver, they would have to take my tiny, 33 gestational week baby through c-section to be able to operate on me to remove the gallbladder and any gallstones.

I cried when they told me I had to stay in the hospital over night, missing my first ever baby shower the next day. However, I'm so grateful for the care I received while I was there. I didn't know what a long and painful journey that would start, but I know that without the nurses and doctors that weekend, my baby may not have been here.

I don't have any pictures to make this post more visually appealing or happy, and honestly I don't think it would be appropriate for this entry as this was one of the hardest trials of my life. There was nothing pretty about this experience. I was lucky that all my tests showed that the gallstones were remaining in my gallbladder, and they believed that with a fat-free diet I could get my baby to term without needing surgery.

But, as I said, this was a long and painful journey, and this was just the beginning.


I wish I would have loved it more. I wish that I would have documented my feelings, in the moment, of the first ultrasound where I cried hearing his heartbeat for the first time, of the first flutters that I thought were muscle spasms that turned into kicks that were too strong to ignore, of the first time I saw that he had a face and was no longer a tiny gummy bear. Though I remember them now, I didn't cherish them in the moment the way I do now.

Growing up, I never thought I would be a mother. I was an only child (in Arizona), only seeing my siblings in the summer, and was never around babies. The only pregnancy I saw in my entire life was when I was thirteen and my mom was hospitalized with my baby brother and almost died giving birth to him. Not only did I not imagine being a mom, but I was traumatized by what pregnancy had done to my mom. Being the spitting image of her, all I could do was imagine the same thing would happen to me. My solution was to not ever become a mother.

Then I joined the LDS church. The plan of salvation was so real to me, and I knew that having a family was something I wanted, even if I still couldn't picture myself being a mother and was terrified of being pregnant. Then I met Kendall, and I could see the future father of my children, though I didn't know how I could be brave enough to have those children.

Throughout my pregnancy, those feelings and insecurities did not go away. Before each ultrasound I had extreme anxiety about hearing the heartbeat. As my belly grew larger and my hips wider, my fear of labor increased. Not only had I never seen someone have an easy pregnancy, but I was a complete wimp when it came to pain tolerance. I was frightened of hospitals, needles, and pain.

I hated being pregnant - and honestly, there was no reason for me to hate it. I was extremely lucky when it came to pregnancy. I had no morning sickness - I only threw up 3 times due to nausea my whole pregnancy! I had an aversion to sugar, so I gained very little weight throughout my pregnancy. I slept like a champ. I had no mood swings and wasn't overly emotional. Kendall told me at one point that he liked me better pregnant, which I understand looking back. I was calm, cool, and collected throughout my entire pregnancy. But, when people asked, I still couldn't bring myself to say that I enjoyed any of it, or that I could ever imagine doing it again.

As my belly and tiny human grew, and I became closer and closer to meeting him, I was also keenly aware that not every pregnancy ends with a baby in your arms. I was afraid to become too attached to him in case I had to say goodbye. As irrational as it was, I held off naming him and nesting for fear of loving him too much. What if something happened? What if I'm not strong enough? What if?

The months came and went, and our tiny human continued to grow and grow at what seemed to be an exponential rate. Kendall saw him move in my belly one night as I was sitting on the couch before he felt him. I had been feeling him for weeks, but he had this funny way of stopping each time Kendall placed his hand on my stomach. Kendall finally felt him kick a few weeks later, by then his kicks were seemingly constant and strong. We started to notice little quarks about him - like how he stopped kicking for minutes when someone would try to feel, or how he only laid on one side, or how he would stick one foot straight out and leave it there as if he started to stretch but forgot to finish.

I think it was around Christmas that I finally started to give in to the strong pull I felt as a mother. At Christmas, I was 7 months pregnant and I knew these were our last holidays as just Kendall and I. I felt so strongly that the next year we would have a tiny human at our feet and all our love would be poured into making him happy. The fear of losing him was still very real, but I could no longer hide the love I felt for him growing stronger each day.

We named him Harrison that month.

By January, my belly bump was large and in charge, as they say. I had started a new job and was feeling great. I had finally named my little boy and was finally feeling like nesting. I bought his first outfit and knitted his first blanket. I was becoming more comfortable with the idea of having a baby, becoming a mother, and knowing that it was all going to be okay. I was starting to think that being pregnant wasn't so terrible, after all.

I was so very happy!

...and it's a BOY!

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, all I could think about was who this tiny person was going to be. Mostly, I wanted to know if I was having a boy or a girl! My OB told me they wouldn't be doing the gender ultrasound until 20 weeks. Because I didn't know any different, I didn't even think twice about it. Upon telling my sister-in-laws how excited I was to find out in two months, they laughed and told me that I could definitely find out sooner if I wanted. Kendall and I immediately made an appointment with a private ultrasound clinic so that we could find out the gender a whole 5 weeks earlier!

I wanted to tell our family in a special way, so I spent all day baking cupcakes and making filling to reveal the gender to them. Our appointment was pretty late in the evening, so I had to make both colored fillings and fill all the cupcakes beforehand so that we could rush over before our nieces and nephews went to bed.

I always got really nervous for ultrasounds - my heart would skip a beat as soon as I heard my tiny human's heartbeat and my nerves would calm instantly. This time was no different, with the added nervousness of finding out my little one's gender. I had always imagined having a little girl first, like my mom, but knew it was unlikely - Kendall was one of five boys, and I had only brothers!

When they called us back, I played on the table and was calmed immediately by the strong sound of the baby's heartbeat. We were getting so excited to find out as the technician moved the wand around my belly. She paused on an image and laughed, saying "your baby has it's legs crossed right over the genitals!" My heart dropped - was I not going to find out today? It was all I had been wanting!

She asked me if it was okay if she pressed on my belly to try to get the baby to move. She prodded my belly for a few minutes, moved the wand around, then prodded some more. "Cough for me." I coughed. I coughed again. "Okay, I'm going to have you stand up and jump." Jump, jump, jump. Prod, prod prod. Cough, cough.

Right when we were about to give up, the baby started having hiccups. The little criss-crossed feet moved just enough for the technician to see that without a doubt we were having a baby boy. Kendall yelled out loud, "YES!" then said, "sorry, babe!"

He didn't need to be sorry. I instantly felt a deep connection with my baby that I had been lacking for 15 weeks. I was having a boy, a son. I could give him a name and imagine his face. I could buy him clothes and blankets and baby boy things. And I would be his mama.

He's a boy!

We are (were) pregnant!

On Father's Day, 2015, I woke up with a very strange feeling. I can't explain exactly why I felt this way - I had no morning sickness, no nausea, no symptom or sign that would indicate or point to the outcome. Despite those facts, I woke up knowing that I needed to take a pregnancy test.

Kendall and I hadn't necessarily been trying, but we hadn't not been trying. I had an irrational sense that I couldn't conceive, anyway, so I didn't think twice about it when we decided to no longer prevent. After about 6 months, multiple missed periods and only one line, it was becoming customary to throw money at tests that showed there still was not a baby in my future.

But that morning, I knew I had to test one more time. I drove to the Walgreens down the street and proceeded with the same routine - pregnancy test and chocolate (to increase happiness following the next step in the routine - another negative test). I checked out and went home.

Kendall was working that day and I tended to take the tests without him there anyways, just in case I had a strong emotional reaction this time around. I followed the steps on the little pink package and waited. And waited. And waited. No one tells you that those are the longest few minutes, and the waiting seems endless.

Finally, after 5 minutes of endless waiting, I picked up the test. I did a double take, a triple take. Never had I seen even the faintest of lines in that second slot - I wouldn't know what a second line would look like. Was I crazy? Was this real? I waited another couple minutes. It was darker. Another couple minutes - it was clear as day. I was definitely pregnant!

I was so excited for many different reasons, but mostly I was excited to finally make Kendall a father. One of the reasons I fell in love with him was because of his love for children and I knew that someday he would be the best father to our children. I knew that I needed to make this a special day for him. I hopped in my car and drove to the nearest Barnes & Noble to find the perfect book to help me tell him the news he had been waiting for.

Jimmy Fallon had just come out with a book called, "Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada." I bought the book, printed out a picture of the pregnancy test to stick in it, and wrote over the word "Dada" on the last page so that it said, "You're gonna be a DADA!"

I gave him the book when he came home and his first words were, "how do you know?!" Even he couldn't believe it! We laughed and I told him I'd take a digital one to prove to him that I wasn't making it up. When the digital test glowed with the word "YES," he had to believe that it was true.

We told my family in Washington with a video, and the rest of our family in Arizona with little hints, like: telling our nieces and nephews and having them spill the beans. When we finally had our first ultrasound and heard our baby's heart, we thought it was time we shared our news with our friends.

And that was just the start...

July 4th, 2015.

If you haven't noticed yet, Kendall and I love traveling, and there's no better place for us to travel together than to Portland where my family lives. I feel like there is always something new to explore in this city, no matter how many times we go.

Kendall had never been to Washington for the Fourth, and I was excited to show him what it was like for me growing up. Every year as a kid, I spent 4th of July with my family in Washington. I honestly didn't even know what people did in Arizona for the Fourth until I was 18! Fireworks have always been legal in Washington, so the best seat in the house for a 4th of July show is your own front yard.

And of course we ate delicious Portland food every chance we got, including Salt & Straw ice-cream. It was seriously the best ice-cream I've ever had and I can't wait to go back and eat it again. Hopefully by then I'll be better at blogging and actually remember what I ate! ;)

In addition to good eats and fireworks, we had an announcement that we shared with my family while we were there...

Anniversary 2015.

For our 3 year anniversary, Kendall and I spent the weekend in Laughlin, Nevada. I can't say it was my favorite place in the world, but Laughlin is actually situated on a very beautiful piece of land so I was able to find fun things for us to do despite the trashy casinos! We also stayed in a beautiful room with a view of the river, and sometimes just staying in a hotel is all you need for a vacation.

We ate at fancy restaurants, went horseback riding through the mountains, took a cruise down the river, and forgot to take pictures of it all. It is always so fun to get lost in spending time with my handsome man.

06 April 2016

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

In March of 2015, my good colleague and music therapy best friend and I traveled to San Francisco for a business trip and music therapy conference! These are seriously some of my favorite trips - if you remember, the one before this was in Portland! I had never been to San Fran before, but dreamed about it since I was a little girl, all because of a song I would hear on the radio in my grandma's car --

"If you are going to San Francisco,
be sure to wear some flowers in your hair."

I looked everywhere for flowers to wear in my hair, but couldn't find any. The city was still amazing and so fun to explore. We saw the Golden Gate Bridge, ate clam chowder on Pier 39, and saw the old cable cars climbing up the hill.

I left my heart in San Francisco!

Christmas 2014.

Winter of 2014 was one of my favorites, but also one of the most difficult. Kendall left right after Thanksgiving to work in Utah with his cousin while I stayed in Arizona working. We were away from each other for almost the whole holiday, except for two short vacations.

The first, I flew to Utah where Kendall planned a beautiful weekend for us! It had been 3 weeks since I saw him and it was so fun to spend time with him. We went to see the temple lights at the Salt Lake City Temple, then spent time in Mountain Home where his cousin lives. For the end of our weekend, Kendall took me to the Zormat Resort Hotel and took me antique shopping in the cutest little mountain town.

A couple weeks later, we met in Portland where we spent Christmas with my family. We spent a couple days at my parents house, then for Christmas we drove to Mt. Hood so that we could have a white Christmas! It was crazy to open presents in a hotel instead of at home, but it was so fun to get away with our family, eat in cozy lodges, and spend time just with me and Kendall.

After 2 months of being in Utah, Kendall surprised me right before my birthday by coming home early! I'm so grateful for this man and all he does for us.