Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to look years younger


Someone old and decrepit almost in her 30's.


Young and fresh ready to shop at 5-7-9 for all the latest fashions.

But seriously, when we lived in the O.C., I worked at Iverson Orthodontics. Favorite job I have had. Best boss in the world! What's up Dr. I! One day I decided to make a set of retainers for myself and bond braces to them. Best thing I ever did.

                                               Some of my faves. Taken in 1976.

Sometimes I would wear them around the office just to show the patients that, heck to the yes, braces are freakin hot. Another good time to wear them is when you are pregnant. You take off your wedding ring and go out in public and see how many adults shun you for being a pregnant teenager. These days I just wear them around the house when I have nothing else to do. They are in right now.

 And yes of course, I had Julius come in so I could make him a pair too. I made his with gold braces. They bring out his blue eyes.

Speaking of teeth,I have to brag on my 2 yr. old for a minute. He can locate his molars, cuspids and incisors. That's the child of an ex-ortho assistant.

And all this to say, I miss you San Clemente! My girl Joni Mitchell sings it best.

"But my heart cried out for you, california
Oh california I’m coming home
Oh make me feel good rock’n roll band
I’m your biggest fan
California, I’m coming home"

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's a blog eat blog world

Question if I may, what does this picture depict to you? Now hold that thought, I will come back to it.

Had I not seen that Modern Family a couple of months ago, this blog entry would have been titled "It's a Bloggy blog world". Thanks to Gloria's mistake, I now know the correct phrase. But what does this mean anyway? I don't know. It's the only title I could come up with for this post, which is going to be about my small frustration with the blogger and social networking world.

To quote the title of one of the best written books, "Everyone Poops" by Taro Gomi, basically sums up what point I would like to get across. We are all people. Not one person is more special than the other. God made us all, He loves us all the same and we are all just as equally important.

My problem with these blog things or FB is that I feel as though when telling stories or posting pics, it is a lot of times for us to say, "look at my really great life". Well let's look at the facts, we are all living in the same broken, sinful and fallen world and things are not, and I repeat not, perfect for anyone. If I do read about something or look at fun pics, it doesn't phase me because I  know things are not always as they seem. Having said that, I know people, especially girls, compare themselves to one another in general.  FB pics or what they read in blogs may make it worse and have them thinking "Well shucks, Buffy's life is way more exciting than mine, she gets to travel to far away places." Or perhaps "Wow, Marcy sure is looking good these days. I wish I had the money and creativity to buy and cook all clean, vegan and organic. Maybe I would look that good." Once again, the bottom line is, we are all just living beings and we are all just as special as the next. Do not let a blog or some pics or dumb status updates have you thinking differently. During a very difficult time in my life about a year and a half ago, I remember a good friend of mine telling me that someone she works with told her that she was jealous of me because she had seen my FB pics and thought I had the "perfect life." I was pissed at that because in true life, I was miserable.

The Tofts came over for a fondue dinner Saturday night. A joke comment was made about how we could take pictures of us fonduing it up and write a blog about it and we would look really "cool." You would see smiles and wine and delicious food and friends having a chummy time. What you wouldn't see is the reality. Me, the host, pissed off, stressed and yelling at my husband for asking one million annoying questions. The husbands having to run to Lowe's to buy the correct fuel because right before we were supposed to eat I realized we had none. A fussy 3 month old who didn't know if he wanted to sleep or eat. Two 2 yr. olds getting into the dirt of the palm tree in the living room and spewing it on the floor, then doing it again after being told no. Being a little grossed out because the meat looked lavender after it was cooked. Snapping at Jet over nothing and then feeling guilty. The flame continuously going out. And the grand finale of the table catching on fire. So this is just an example of how pictures can be deceiving. Don't get me wrong, twas a lovely evening with good friends, but not perfect, because nothing is.

So let me please explain these pictures to help with my point, which maybe nobody cares about.

                                       I was 12 weeks pregnant with Benjamin.
                                       I did not want to be pregnant. I wanted to have gotten "better" first.
                                       I was averaging 2-3 hrs of sleep at night.
                                       I was constantly dealing with anxiety and panic.
                                       I thought I was fat.
                                       I was in a constant fog and could not think rationally.
                                       I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.

Is that what you thought when I first asked the question? Thought so.
Or maybe you just thought, "What a vain girl. Who does she think she is putting up a pic of herself in a bikini for the world to see?"

 Honestly though I wish I looked like that now and could enjoy my physique. I don't. Tonight after I made a healthy dinner consisting of broccoli, salmon and salad, the 4 of us piled in the car to go to McDonald's to get a shake and fries. We then went straight across the street to get another shake from Cook Out to do a taste test. McDonald's definitely won.

And of course, you already know what song I am leaving you with. "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard..."

Monday, March 21, 2011

my new beZt friend

Ah yes. What is all this prescription talk? I'll tell you. I am taking Zoloft these days. "But Carey, millions of people take anti-depressants, why do you think you are special enough to write about it?" That's an excellent question, thank you for asking. First of all I don't think I'm special, second of all, because it's the one thing that has helped me after 2 years of battling PPD and I am forever grateful.

I am not ready to write about the details on how PPD affected my life. It is a wound freshly healed and something I'm not ready to revisit so soon. But I promise it's coming. I do feel it necessary to write about because I thought I was forever off my rocker and would always feel so crappy. For anyone reading this out there going through that, in the words of Michael Jackson "You are not alone." But seriously, every time someone would say to me "This too shall pass", I wanted to believe them, but I had no idea how it would.

Anywho, as I have stated in Fatties birth story, I will do anything I can to not take medication,but desperate times call for desperate measures. After having Jet, I turned into an anxious and sad  insomniac. I would have a few normal days and then it's like I would crash and emotionally feel awful and unable to pick myself up. I needed to get some help. All I wanted to do was feel myself again, the me who was calm and laid back and who performed a dramatic song and dance routine at each family gathering. I wanted to go through the day without feeling panicky over nothing. I wanted my heart to stop racing.  If I felt so horrible during the day, I at least wanted to sleep at night so I could check out and get away from myself for a few hours. That was asking way too much. The suck thing is, I was nursing Jet so there was no way that I was going to be taking anything that was not natural. So for 2 years I tried different natural things. I did acupuncture for a few months. Nothing. I went to the Chiropractor for 14 months. Nothing (Although I will say my back felt great and I didn't get sick the whole time I went). I bought sleep tracks to listen to at night. Nothing. I took Melatonin. Nothing. Tried different herbs. Nothing.

Almost four months after having Jet I went to the doctor to talk about my issues. I wanted them to check my thyroid again to see if that could be what was causing all of this because when I was pregnant I had a slightly under active thyroid that corrected itself. It came back normal this time. During this appt. before I was even done explaining my feelings I was handed a prescription slip for Zoloft. I was bummed. I had wanted him to tell me there was something else I could do. I knew nothing about this medication and how it could help me. I filled it just for the heck of it. When I brought it home I read the facts, it said that it could take up to 6 weeks to work. "Oh forget this" I thought, "I will be better in 6 weeks." LOL. Not really, more like COL, cry out loud. So I never took it. And so the anxiety continued.

This is a long story but I am going to leave a lot out and try and sum it up since talking about meds is not super interesting. I went back to the doctor 14 months postpartum and had my thyroid checked again. This time it came back low. Great! This must have been my problem all along and it just didn't show up correct the last time, right? So I took meds for it, got it re-checked, got it back to normal. But wait, I still felt like absolute Beeeep! I quit nursing Jet and I became addicted to Ambien. I needed sleep. It wasn't even good sleep but it did help. I then went to a Neurologist because for over a year now I wasn't sleeping and surely there was something wrong with my brain. I left with a different prescription for a sleep medication. Once again I was so bummed. This was not fixing my problem, it was only treating my symptoms!!! I never filled it.

                                               The day I found out I was with child.
                                           It was obviously a bad time in my life for my hair as well.

Three months after quitting nursing I found myself pregnant again. At first I kicked the Ambien and started sleeping a little better because I was completely exhausted.  I then started not sleeping again. By the second trimester I was taking Ambein on and off again, I couldn't take another sleepless night. Talk about mom guilt. I don't care what they say is "safe." If I despise taking anything non pregnato then you can believe the turmoil it caused me every time I took something while pregnato. I started to get nervous. How the heck was I going to deal with 2 kids under 2 and no sleep and pure anxiety?

I went to my routine pregnancy visit and saw my nurse midwife Jessica. I started telling her about how I haven't been the same since having my first baby and I couldn't take it anymore. You know what she did? No, I didn't leave with a prescription. She suggested I get counseling before she write me anything. That was the best advice I had gotten(even though my husband had been telling me for months to go talk to someone. He even made me appts. that I cancelled. Why don't we want to listen to our spouses?) She wanted to make sure that it wasn't some underlying issue that I needed to deal with.

So I make an appt for the psychologist who happened to be an ex labor and delivery nurse. I was kind of nervous. I have no problem talking about my issues with someone I'm close with, but a total stranger is a different story. I go. I sit. I start rambling. She stops me, gets out a pen and paper and draws out my anxiety levels compared to a normal person and explains adrenaline and the chemicals in my brain and how there is no way this is going to get better without medication. She looked me in the eye and firmly said "You are a classic post partum case that has gone untreated and I cannot believe that you have been living like this for 2 years. You have got to get this fixed before this baby comes." I started to cry. She explained to me how the meds would work. OMGoodness. I wanted to wrap my arms around her. I wasn't mad she told me I needed meds, I was just so happy that she gave me an explanation.

I am now 32 weeks pregnant on the dot and go back for my routine visit. I tell Jessica I saw a counselor and that she told me start taking something. I get the Zoloft filled. I misplace it. I thought maybe that was a sign that I shouldn't take it. After all, it is meds and I am knocked up. I already am experiencing  major guilt about having taken sleeping pills. I mean what's wrong with me? I was finally semi-ok with taking something but still tried to find a way out of it thinking it still might get better.

 At 32 weeks and 5 days I go into labor. You know the story.

So I never had to take anything while pregnant! At the hospital I feel good emotionally. I guess it's those mommy hormones you get right after you give birth and right before you crash and want to shoot yourself. At the hospital they give me Zoloft because it says in my chart that I'm taking it. So right in front of the nurse, and my husband, I pretend to take it but really I slip the little blue pill in my pocket. I felt so scandalous.

I got home and and felt good for about a week. Then an anxiety attack hits. I am up at 2am praying. I am praying that if I am supposed to take meds can I please find my Z and start it. I get up to pee. Something in me told me to look inside the wicker cabinet under the washcloths. I did. There it was. And you betcha, the next day I started the pills. They started doing their magic quickly, way way sooner then 6 weeks and before you know it I was back to river dancing in my parents living room and singing opera at the dining room table. I even started a blog.

And yes, I am nursing Benjamin. And I feel ok about it. I have spoken to many many other moms who have taken anti's while breastfeeding and their little and grown kids are fine. I wish I didn't have to take it at all but it's given me myself  back. So there you have it. Thank you Zoloft, you're #1!

Do I wish I would have taken it years ago? Hmm... Now that it's over, no. It makes me appreciate life so much more now that I'm out of this fog. All the simple things are blessings to me. I don't feel like I need anything except my Savior.

I now ask that you sing in your heart "My Help." If you don't know that song please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 121.  You will find the lyrics. You may put your own tune to it. Thank you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans"

Cheesy I know. I received that quote in a sarcastic text from my friend Sarah while I was in labor with my second baby, who decided to make an appearance 7 weeks early.

I laughed, and it helped lighten the mood a bit, for there was no better quote to describe my situation.  My first son was born 11 days early; 4 days after Christmas, which was a stressful time for me. I ranted and raved for the next 2 years saying I wouldn't do that again. In fact, many times I said "As God is my witness, I will never have another baby at Christmas time." Ha ha! I went into labor Christmas night this time. 

Let me just say that I'm not a writer. At least I haven't been for the past  2 years. Since having my first son, Jet, I couldn't seem to pick up a journal without writing about anxious and sad feelings. PPD at it's finest (another post). So I quit writing anything down. But here I am, 10 weeks after giving birth, and it's the best I've felt emotionally in the past 2 years and finally feel sane. Yes there is a reason why I feel good,  but that will be another post when I lecture on western and eastern medicine, but for now I need to stay focused on the day my child emerged from the womb. I have told and retold his story 70,000x's but I have to document it because I need to be able to look back and see God's gracious hand and His timing and His plans. Here is Benjamin's story.

My due date was February 14. In the PM on December 23, I started feeling weird cramps. I kept telling Julius I felt like I had trapped gas. I proceeded to stay up until 5:30am in this uncomfortable state trying to find a position that would release it. Nothing worked. In the 2 weeks prior whenever anyone asked me how I felt, I always responded with "I feel like I did at the end of my pregnancy with Jet, dialated with lots of pressure and painful contractions." Nobody reacted to those comments so I brushed it off too.

Christmas Eve I continued to feel uncomfortable so by mid afternoon I bought Gas-X (big step for me since I avoid meds at all costs). Still felt crampy but tried to convince myself it was working, even though I could only walk at a slow pace and would have to stop and breathe through some strong contractions, the ones I was still labeling as Braxton Hicks. I am an idiot, for the thought of labor still had not entered my mind. Was able to fall asleep that night only to be awakened by those stupid "gas pains."

Alas, Christmas morn was here. Julius, Jet and I opened presents and proceeded to my parents. Jet was not acting his normal self. He went down for an early nap. When I went in to get him he was covered in puke. I then drove to my in-laws with Jet throwing up in the back seat and me doubled over the steering wheel with every painful "braxton hicks " Julius said, and I quote, "There is no way this baby is staying in until February."
I chuckled, thinking maybe the end of January, the next day never crossed my mind. Jet continued to vomit the rest of the day so my heart was with him and I ignored my discomfort as best as I could.

On to the good stuff. We are back home Christmas night, and Jet went down for night night. Although I am still very uncomfortable, it is still Christmas so I feel giving, and Julius and I decide it's time for a little rompy pompy. So we jump in the sack. Let's just say it wasn't the best roll in the hay we've ever had. Julius states that he thinks I'm dialated and he could feel the baby's head. All I know is I wanted to die in the process. I think my face showed the torture that I was enduring, labor still not on the mind.

We then watch Toy Story 3. I don't remember anything about it. (I guess our little encounter really set my labor in action.) I was starting to get nervous because now I couldn't talk through my "trapped gas" pains. I called the doc which was another big step for me. (I had to be dragged to the hospital when I was in labor the first time, because I thought I just had food poisoning and didn't want to be that girl who cried labor. It was good I went then, I was 7cm's and in full blown labor.) She told me to come in and that it was probably nothing since I was not even at 33 weeks.

My sister and her boyfriend came over to stay with Jet until my parents could get there. "I'll be back in a couple of hours." I said, "ta ta." I left the house in a sweatshirt, sweatpants and boots only. No bra, no socks.

It was now 11:30 pm and snowing heavily. The gas tank is on E and that little orange light is shining oh so brightly, but we make it there on fumes. Oh freak, my parents will be staying in my bed, and in the mangled sheets is the Astroglide. That would be a nasty surprise for a parent to find under them. Fortunately I get a hold of my sister and she finds the goods and hides it.

At the hospital the nurse checks me. She looks a bit worried and says she is getting the doctor. I asked her if I'm dialated. She acted nervous about telling us and said "it's all a matter of opinion." B freaking S. Just give me the facts. Basically the Dr. comes in and tells me I'm 100% effaced and 5 cm's and we need to stop labor now. So I guess I was in labor. They give me the steroid shot to help the baby's lungs develop quickly just in case, it requires 2 shots and 48 hours. They give me magnesium sulfate to stop labor and it had me blind, hot, and puking in no time. I then felt a million times more horrible for Jet who had been doing that all day, bless his almost 2 yr old heart.

A few hours go by and they check me again, hoping for no progression. I am now 8cm's. A new doctor is now on duty and in he walks. I almost burst out laughing. The doc who walks in is the same doc who delivered Jet two years earlier. We call him "the drunk doctor," for that is the only way to describe his demeanor. It was actually just what we needed, someone like him to keep things relaxed and comical in this scary situation.
After the birth of my first son with the crazy doctor.

If I must say, I was super calm through this whole thing. Julius was asking a bazillion questions as to why this was happening but I didn't have the energy to worry. I didn't have the energy to pray. (Shout out to those that did!) The Dr. says to stop the mag/sulfate because it's obviously not working and that I am gonna have this baby at any time. Wow ok. Babe has only gotten 6 hrs of steroid, I'm hoping that it did something. I was told earlier that my platelets were low and that I wouldn't be able to have an epidural. That was fine because it was my plan all along to go natural, and since nothing was going how I planned it, that was at least one thing that would have to be so. NICU team comes in and sets up.

Side Note: I am not a Diva. I shower seldom. Usually have roots. Wear the same outfit for days, and the list goes on. But, for this labor I had the whole thing planned out: I was going to spray tan, get a pedicure, have fresh highlights, diamonds earrings on, shaven legs and 2 pairs of new cute pajamas for my recovery. But on this labor day, I showed up with chipped toes, roots, unshaven, pale, no studs. Julius, bless his male heart, packed a quick bag for me as we left, which consisted of 3 pairs of sweatpants, wrinkle cream and 5 pairs of lacy underwear. No socks. No shirt.

Everyone leaves the room but Julius. I am experiencing intense contractions that had me pissed off at my unborn child. Next thing you know I am screaming "he's coming, he's coming" and put Julius' hands where they need to be to catch the baby. I am pushing and nobody is in there. Where the freak did everybody go? I am about to have a preemie and there are no nurses or doctors in here?! I reminded myself of a western movie where the woman in labor bites the leather. Why didn't they pass out leather for those that go au naturale?

Julius pulls the emergency cord out of the wall and gets the nurse on the phone. Everybody runs in. No time to break the bed apart for delivery. My eyes are closed and everything seems completely out of control and I'm laying on my side pushing the baby out. I remember hearing the Dr. making a joke telling me not to kick him in the nads.

In no time, I hear the angelic sound of Benjamin's cry. He comes out pink and healthy and strong! They hand him to me, I finally can open my eyes because the pain is gone. He is perfect! I immediately tell Julius he looks like an Italian gangsta, for I had no other words. I then say "Hey darlin," a word I never say, and then he was taken away from me and brought to the NICU.

What the heck just happened? I think I was still in shock at that point. They tell me he would probably have to stay in the hospital until he would be term. Ok that's fine, I think, I'm supposed to throw a 2 yr old birthday party in 3 days and a New Years party in 5 days. After standing up and walking around, reality hit me that those wouldn't be happening. It was time for me to slow down and start relaxing a bit more (another post when I tell about why I'm pretty sure I went into labor so early). Anyway, this story could go on and on but I'll wrap it up here.

Benjamin was hooked up to things just to monitor him. He never needed any help, he could do it on his own! He got to come home 13 days later, not even reaching the 35 week mark. Praise God from whom all blessing flow! And if you were with me now we would bust out in song, starting with this doxology and moving onto other hymns.

PS. As soon as I get home from the hospital, I go lay in bed to take a nap only to look at my night stand to find a book Julius gave me as a joke for our anniversary many moons ago: "Pleasure- a woman's guide to getting the sex you want, need, and deserve." It hasn't been read but has served its purpose as a coaster. Oh shoot, I then remember my mom staying in my bed that night. Perfect ending to a perfect story. One that I could have never planned myself and one that I wouldn't change a thing. Thank You. Good Bye. And Amen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Glutton at 10 weeks.

                                  Porker Benjamin Conti Milani and his cute little belly button hernia

Also, the first pic from the birth story is from Jet's birth, I couldn't figure out how to go back and label it as the crazy cuban doctor. Unfortuantely we couldn't take any fun pics with this birth.