1.5 Years Later I’m Back in the Air

Today, I’m stepping foot on a plane for work for the first time in 1.5 years. It’s like all the firsts all over again. Sneaking around the house at 3 AM so as not to wake anyone and create chaos with my two babies. Looking into my 13-year old dogs sad eyes as I tell her I will be back in three days and shut the garage door. Telling myself I can still do this. The pandemic changed me, but I can still do this.

Yesterday I was a ball of anxiety. All week I’ve been thinking of items to add to the “to do” list. With every item or task, my anxiety grew. How could I forget how to travel? How much could I do before I left to assist my husband in taking care of our two-year old and three-month old? Either way, this day is hard for me just as I’m sure it is for my husband as he is probably dragging my noncompliant toddler through the motions of getting ready for daycare while my infant is likely crying. I keep telling myself they will be okay. Nobody will get hospital sick. They will survive with stuffy noses. I will be fine too. We did this before, and we can do it again.

The truth? As I sit here on my first flight everything feels a lot the same. The plane seat had peanut crumbs in it per usual (despite it being a 6 AM flight). I still know how to get through TSA unscathed. The only difference is this mask is terrible to breathe in such a small enclosed space, and my heart is achier as it leaves behind more love at home than I can imagine. I’m also sure I’ve forgotten something I need, but if I haven’t figured out what that is yet, I’d say this first flight back to work since the onset of the pandemic is going pretty well. So, now I say goodbye to the four walls of my office I stared at for so many months and hello again to California. It was comfortable, and I really did love it, but I tend to do better when I’m just outside a place of comfort, so here we go! Now, if I could just stop getting teary-eyed!


In Celebration of Nurse’s Week: A Birth Story, And A Life-Saving After-Birth Story

A Birth Story

I sit here at home with my baby belly popping out so much it hurts, and with my due date looming just over five weeks away, it finally feels like the right time to share my birth story from my first-born, nearly two years later.

I was overdue by about three days and was hoping and praying labor would begin. Finally, on June 26th, 2019 I was woken up at 2 AM after having a dream my water had broken. In my waddle trip to the bathroom, it felt like maybe it was more than a dream. I knew if it was my water I would have a long day ahead, so I opted to go back to sleep. I woke up around 7 and called my midwife to ask what I should do. The wonderful nurse who plays a big role later in this story, Joy, said it was best to come in to be tested to see if my water truly did break. After some testing at the office, it sure had, so they sent me to the hospital. Game time!

Or so I thought…I jetted off to the hospital, only to find my contractions were slow going, along with my dilation. I walked the halls, but despite regular contractions as well as all-natural options to get things going, I just wasn’t dilating as expected. By this time it had been many hours, and was around 4 PM. My mom was there supporting me along with my doula and husband. I was lucky to have such a team, and let me tell you, I definitely wore them all into the ground by the end of the night.

Once 4 PM hit, my midwife suggested to start me on Pitocin. It can jump-start labor, and also can greatly increase the pain associated with contractions. The Pitocin definitely got my labor going, and also kicked me in the teeth in the process. Despite trying to stay in a relaxed state, laboring in the bath, and being fully supported, things got incredibly intense, beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I had a fear of getting an epidural, but my goodness would have loved the pain relief. Intense, spasm-like back labor and the contractions combined made for a very long, crazy period, where I’m positive I turned into a complete and total three-eyed monster.

I distinctly remember getting to a point where I really believed I wasn’t going to be able to do it anymore. I told everyone in the room I couldn’t do it, and shortly after I spoke those words, there I was meeting my new beautiful daughter. Astelle Jean Allen was born at 11:43 PM, crying and perfect as can be. I was so relieved, and felt a happiness and elation I will never forget. I was also exhausted, and so happy I would have my night to rest with my baby by my side.

A Life-Saving After-Birth Story

The first two hours after delivery were wonderful. I held Astelle close for the first hour, and even started nursing her. I didn’t even care that she wasn’t cleaned up, just didn’t want to let her go, except to eat a cheeseburger of course. Around 1 AM, I sent my mom home, and my husband, Drake as well so he could get a change of clothes and come back. I thought it would be a quiet night. It was anything but quiet.

As soon as Drake left I remember trying to fall asleep, but being unable to. The two nurses on shift that night, Claire and Joy kept returning every 15 minutes to check on me, and they noticed my bleeding wasn’t slowing as expected. It was hard for me not to notice as well. Every time they did an assessment, my uterus was firm as it should be, yet my bleeding just kept getting worse. I felt rush after rush of blood escaping me, and with each rush came more concern from my nurses. Something was wrong – I was hemorrhaging.

Joy and Claire ran down the list of interventions to stop the bleeding: first more Pitocin. Didn’t work. Then Cytotec, and when that didn’t work they tried a Methergine IM injection. Didn’t work. Hemmobate IM injection and TXA infusion. Didn’t work. With every new intervention they introduced, I felt my body getting more weary. They weighed the blood in what looked like small buckets as it escaped my body, and I just kept seeing the numbers climb on the white board. 500 ml of blood loss is considered a hemorrhage in a natural delivery, and the white board numbers were already above 2,000. They let me know the midwife and doctor were on their way and they began a blood transfusion. All the while, they were so caring and compassionate with me. I knew I was in good hands, despite the way things were falling to the ground so quickly. I knew I needed to call my mom and husband, as I could feel myself losing consciousness. My moms phone was off. She was dead tired, and I knew it. Hearing this news wouldn’t be good for her, so a part of me was relieved I couldn’t reach her. My vitals began to change as I experienced a rapid heartbeat and extremely low blood pressure. I remember looking around the room at everyone shuffling quickly around me whether it was giving fluids, an injection, pressing on my belly. Things began moving slowly and I could feel myself fading. The number on the white board kept being added to, and I knew it was anything but good. I needed things to be good – a daughter needs her mom, and our time together had been too brief. I had so much more love I needed to give her. I needed the white board to stop being added to. The numbers needed to stop climbing so I could just hold my baby.

Drake arrived in time only to be given a piece of paper to sign off on emergency surgery. From there, they rolled me out of the room for a DNC and bakri balloon, all in a renewed attempt to stop the bleeding. I so badly wanted to be asleep and distinctly remember asking the doctor if he would put me to sleep for this part because I didn’t think I could handle anything more. He did just that. After the surgery, three more blood transfusions and over 2,800 ml of total blood loss, the hemorrhaging finally stopped. The white board stopped being added to. I had lost over half my blood volume, but I was going to be okay.

As the next couple of days passed, I felt as though I was in a haze. I wanted to be solely focused on my new beautiful baby. I wanted to bond with her and love on her. I wanted to talk about the labor and delivery with my friends and send photos to everyone of my new little girl. I wanted all of these things, but I stayed in a foggy cloud, wondering what went wrong and how I was still even alive. Claire, who had been one of the nurses who helped save my life that night returned for another shift a day or two after the event. She sat down my husband, my mom and I, and explained to us all what happened that dark night. She went over every detail, how serious it was, and exuded the same amount of compassion and care as she did the night I was in crisis with her. A post-partum hemorrhage is anything more than 500 ml of blood loss after a natural delivery. She had seen that before. I lost 2,800+ ml. She had never seen this amount in all her time on the OB floor. I was lucky.

Except I wasn’t just lucky. I was taken care of by an amazing team who watched me closely, even when the two hour “watch” window had ended. If it weren’t for Joy and Claire being as amazing and careful as they were, my ending could have been so drastically different. They followed all the signs, and alerted the midwife and doctor just in time. To say I’m grateful is a gross understatement.

When I think about the birth of my daughter, I no longer feel dread and trauma, like I did initially after the birth. I feel comfort, gratitude and love, knowing that even when things go wrong things can be made right with the right amount of compassion, care and love. I feel so much of this, I’m about to go for round two with my second baby. I am at risk for all of this happening all over again, but let’s just see what the world wants to throw at me. I’ll be ready. The beautiful thing in all of this is I was able to go home with a beautiful little girl, who turned Drake and I into a family. If we can add some more love and expand the family a little more with this new little boy, anything it takes to get there will be worth it. I’ll be in good hands, and knowing that not only makes me grateful, but it makes me confident in the uncertain future ahead.

First Wave “Hello”

Firsts can be such an exhilarating thing. First words, first flight, first love. The world of firsts many times create the staples that hold the pieces of our life and its path together. When my daughter said her first words, “Dada,” my heart melted, but I have to say the first I experienced with her yesterday takes the cake.

It was early morning and the sun was beaming through her bedroom window as I changed her. It felt great to feel sun, as the winter has long worn its welcome. Astelle was giggly and smiley, as she seems to always be in the morning. I noticed she was staring intently at the artwork on the wall. It is far more than artwork to me, as it is the handwritten quote about love from my beautiful friend who passed away years ago.

“Love is patient, love is kind…”

The anniversary of her death was March 1, the beginnings of spring, which is exactly how she would have wanted it. When I think of her I always think about sunflowers, happiness and anything bright. And there my 8-month-old daughter was gazing at this artwork, like she somehow knew the time of year it was.

“Astelle, say hello to our beautiful friend in heaven, Erika!” I exclaimed as Astelle lay on her changing table kicking her little feet in the air. Without hesitation, Astelle lifted her left hand and began waving furiously, all the while smiling, revealing her bottom and only two teeth. Tears filled my eyes as I sat there in pure awe. This was Astelle’s first wave to anyone, ever.

Astelle noticed my reaction, and responded with excited sky kicks and giggles. I couldn’t ask for a better first. I couldn’t be any more grateful for this experience, and let me just say, I am confident this was no coincidence.

I look forward to all the firsts to come, and am grateful for the special connection my daughter has created with my beautiful friend in heaven. I may not have been flying this day, but I was without a doubt “in the air.”

New Mom Back Up In the Air

I sit here from the airport bathroom reflecting on this first day back to work travel, and my, how things have changed. I’m usually blogging from my airplane seat, but I was too emotionally messy to process how I felt when my first flight went wheels up. I knew if I thought about what this first flight really meant I would just cry, and public ugly crying wasn’t on my to do list today. It turns out pumping breastmilk from an airport bathroom stall in Phoenix is a great spot to blog. I can cry if I want to, and all from the comfort of my little bathroom stall. 😂

This is the first cross-country trip of many to come where I will be away from my little not quite three-month-old baby girl. I thought dropping her off at daycare and going back to work was hard, but this takes things to a new level for me. Now I’m really going to see if I can do what I always said I was going to do: be a traveling, working mom who also is very present for her daughter. I know many adventures are to come, particularly as a breastfeeding, breast-pumping mom.

The adventures started today, as I sat in that stall with my breast pump making what is becoming a familiar air sucking sound. What was amazing was I didn’t actually feel sad. I felt empowered. I am doing the damn thing with my breast pump in an airport bathroom, so how could I feel anything less than accomplished! This little 20 minute pump session was the start to me putting into action what I so want to do and who I want to be. I am feeding my baby from afar, and that’s pretty cool.

I’ll continue to take baby steps and notice the small things as I adjust to being back up “in the air.” Today I’m proud of myself for making things work and I am grateful for having the support to keep doing what I’m doing. This is just the beginning.

The First of Many Goodbyes

This morning after my sweet newborn finished her 6 a.m. feeding, I thought to put her back in her crib, but the weight of the day hit me, and I opted to keep her on my chest where I could cuddle her until it would be time to go. This would be the last cuddle before we had to get ready for the day that’s been looming over my head since the moment she was born. Today is the day I go back to work and my sweet baby spends her first full day at daycare.

I knew it would be hard, but I assumed I would get through today like a champ. I prepared for it by dropping her off weeks in advance for an hour here or there so she would know her surroundings. Turns out she isn’t the one who needed the practice. It was me.

I took more photos of her than I ever do before I put her in her car seat. I was doing pretty good so far and baby was smiling more than ever. I got in the car, turned on some music, and the wrong song came on. Or maybe it was the right song. Tears flooded my eyes and I blinked wide-eyed with my face in the AC to keep myself together. Drop off I fared no better. I kept my sunglasses on and the second we got in the infant room, I couldn’t get a word out. Just tears and thank God the daycare was full of sweet and understanding moms who quickly explained that they did the same thing when this day came for them.

I quickly left, as I knew if I stayed it would just make it harder. Today is the first day my two worlds collide. It’s the first of many goodbyes parents experience and it all starts with this one drop off. Now I have to figure out how to take the person I was before this beautiful baby entered my life and meld her in with who I am now.

While I made it through today just fine and my baby made it through like an angel (apparently she slept most the time and was content the rest), this is the start of a whole new version of me. I don’t know how that looks yet, but I do know my daughter deserves for this new version to be the best version yet.

Last week Hoda Kotb returned to the Today show following her own summer maternity leave. She came back beaming. Maria Shriver asked her how she felt and she responded with how many parents would respond after returning from leave. She described feeling emotional, hormonal, and all of the things I am pretty sure I’ve called myself at some point today, whilst fighting back tears. Maria was quick to correct her. She said, “No. You’re moved.”

What a beautiful thing to say to a mother on her first day back. So if you ask me today how I am feeling, I’m fortunate to be feeling deeply moved. Fortunate to be moved by the love I have for my little girl, and the family we created this summer. What things will look like haven’t shaped up quite yet, but we all made it through today, and what a beautiful, moving day it truly was.

The Problem With Life Purpose

I’m a millenial. We are known for spending more on self-care, enjoying our selfies, and well, being selfish. We are especially obsessed with the idea of living our life purpose. Do I agree with all these things? Of course not, because it hits close to home, but I would be lying if I told you I don’t contemplate whether I’m doing what I was put on earth to do.

Am I pushing the envelope enough for my little baby girl to see any change? Am I sitting in contentment or making a difference? Am I doing things in a way I would be proud of later? To be honest, right now I don’t know, I hope so, but this is what I DO know.

Life purpose doesn’t have to be met with one task or mission. In fact, it shouldn’t be because that’s boring. Just because your day job isn’t your hobby doesn’t mean it can’t be fulfilling. Maybe my mission on earth was to bring people together through communication for example. I’m not failing at that purpose if I’m not writing a book. I can meet the goals tied to my purpose by being a salesperson. I can do that by posting about controversial topics. I can meet this purpose by loving my daughter, husband and my whole family fiercely. Loving them with all I’ve got would hopefully make me a better communicator, no? It doesn’t require me to start a YouTube channel and hope for a million followers by posting something viral. These shiny jobs and endeavors are not required to live a meaningful, purposeful and impactful life.

I think what my generation and maybe many of us are missing is that the whole purpose of a life purpose is to find mission in all the little things. By the time we die, it adds up to one big thing that maybe we didn’t realize the impact of at the time.

So if you are feeling bored with your job, maybe it’s not because your purpose in life is to open a bakery. Maybe it’s because you’re not inserting enough care into the daily tasks that could eventually amount to so much more.

Here’s a story to connect the dots:

I am away from my five-month-old and my husband on average three days a week. I have to make those days count. I had a meeting last week where the client needed support, help, and above all else, care. Yes, I am a salesperson. But this was an opportunity to bring light to something hard. We talked about what they desired and what they needed, and we made it happen together. I left feeling so high on life and accomplishment that there is no way you could tell me my job doesn’t have the opportunity to make a difference.

So now here’s the challenge. To all of you feeling like the difference isn’t big enough to fulfill your life purpose. Ask yourself if you’re infusing enough care. If you are and you feel lost, maybe it is time to move on, but if you aren’t sure, take another swing at things. See what happens when you throw your whole soul into it that desk job. Maybe you will find yourself redefining it. You just may end your day exploding with that, “Oh yes, this could be a piece to the puzzle of my life purpose” sort of feeling.

The craziest part about this post? Now that I’ve written it, it’s as though the message was one I needed too. 🤯

Living in the Now…When You Want Your Next Moment to Be Here Already.

How do you stay in the present when you are SO excited about what’s next? I’m asking myself this today, as I am officially in waiting for my little babe at 38 weeks pregnant. I want to meet her now, and want the waiting to be over!

I really believed she would be early based off of a combination of family history, intuition and what you might call signs from the universe. I’ve believed it to the point that I’ve put more weight and focus into being right about it than I have about things that actually matter. I am guilty of googling essentially every sign and symptom that may mean labor is coming. My web history has to be laughable right now. What a waste of time where I could have been walking my dog, reading a book or doing just about anything else that requires being present in the moment.

That has to end today. This. Is. Out. Of. My. Hands. It was meant to be that way! Birthdays are best when they are left as surprises, and my little one deserves that from me. She shouldn’t be born into a world where her mother’s super excited that she was right. That’s laughable and also sad. I wouldn’t be excited to meet that mom.

So what’s the best way to change your thoughts when you either really believe something or are just so excited about what’s next? I’m stepping away from the things that are sucking me out of this moment. I’m banning myself from google searches for the rest of my pregnancy. My ego at this point has overridden any true intuition, and intuition just plain doesn’t work when your ego steps in. So the ego has to go, and these moments are turned back over to God. This seems appropriate as today, a Sunday, for many is considered a day of rest, eh?

All of this is easier said than done, as this waiting period is hard no matter how you slice it. For many, to be in waiting can be the hardest time to stay present. Waiting to hear about a new job? Waiting to hear how your mom is doing after a big surgery? Let’s face it. Waiting sucks. But regardless of what we are waiting for, there is always something to experience and love on right now. For me, that’s my husband, my dog, and this beautiful weather.

So now I think I’ll take my little dog on a walk and clean out a cabinet. I don’t need my phone for that, and I’ll focus on what I see, hear and smell around me instead of waiting for any symptom that may mean baby is on her way. It will happen when it’s supposed to, and it’s more magical a moment when it becomes a part of the present without me forcing it. Baby, you can show up whenever you think it’s time. Early, on time, late? Anytime is okay if you get here safely. If it’s good for you, it’s good for me. 💜

My Biggest Miss About Pregnancy…and Life

I’ve been doing pregnancy wrong, for a good portion of it. I’m not down on myself over it, and not spending time on “what if’s,” but I can promise one thing: these last 8-11 weeks I have left of being pregnant (whenever she decides it’s time to show up), I am doing things differently.

I have been spending much of my time bracing myself for what’s next, not just regarding the pregnancy itself, but in my life all around. I’ve been VERY grateful to be pregnant, but I have been treating my pregnancy as a daily battle, as if I were some sort of wounded warrior. “I just have to get through this nausea. I just need to muscle through this exhaustion, this bodily pain…” The list goes on.

I’ve even thought of my maternity leave as something to prepare for, as if I was preparing for battle. “I have to just get all these things done so my team is prepared and smooth sailing while I’m gone.” I have been assuming it will all be so hard and so impossible that I’ve gotten nothing in return but what seems like bad news to increase my worry even further. “How will my team come back from this? Am I leaving my team in a state where they won’t feel I did enough?”

I’m done with ALL of it. And I mean ALL of it. I’m done bracing for my life. While I can’t say my every waking moment has been this way, I have captured no more than moments or days of bliss the past seven months. I deserve more than that. So does my husband! So does my little nugget.

All of this daily battle BS has got to end, so I decided it would end this weekend. I went lap swimming in a pool for the first time in years. I initially panicked thinking it would be awful without headphones in, and thought, “Shit, Ashlie! There you go again bracing yourself for something meant to be enjoyable that you KNOW you enjoy!” I realized I didn’t have my goggles, but at this point was so determined to find a way to enjoy this swim, I forced myself into the deep end of the pool and quickly realized a few things.

1) I should have done this sooner because the water, the movement, everything about it felt really good. 2) I never needed music. What I needed was the sound of the water swishing to quiet my messy mind. 3) This was the start to no longer bracing for what’s next.

So now I’m on a new mission. I am going to truly soak up these last weeks. The last ones where I will know exactly where my baby is, right with me. Work will fall into place if I put my faith and heart into it like I already know how to do. My team will be fine without me. I still hope they miss me, but they will be fine! They will probably flourish while I’m away. My health will be as good as I allow it to be, and I am going to give my body and this baby only the best, and yes that includes Ben and Jerry’s too.

I’ve chosen what I think is the perfect way to celebrate this new attitude. I just got to Sedona, Arizona where essentially I have a weekend alone. I have no expectations and loose plans. The only plan is to take in the beauty around me, breathe a little easier and embark on this last leg of pregnancy with an open mind and heart. Bracing for what’s next is in the past and I can’t wait to take in all the beautiful moments ahead.

“Dreaded” Pregnancy Changes

Or so that’s how I may have worded it maybe a few months ago all the way up to a few weeks ago. Pregnancy begins the unraveling of your closet, where little by little nothing fits. You are forced to abandon at first 25%, then 50%, and finally 75% or more of your closet due to either not being able to get it over your hips or your chest. The worst? When it fits but morphs into being see-through. That’s a bad leggings look when doing squats at the gym let me tell you. Nobody signed up to see that much of anyone’s ever expanding booty when trying to get their sweat on.

While the adjustment was not easy, and is changing each week I pack my suitcase for work, I finally entered a phase where it makes me smile, rather than making me want to cry. Just last night I was packing my bags and while trying my clothes on before throwing them in my suitcase, I realized just in the last 30 days, my work clothing choices have narrowed to just a handful of items. I WILL be wearing the same thing every other day in my third trimester. And that’s okay.

Is my ass wider than I imagined it would be? Is my acne on a new level? Yep. Is my chest so large that it makes me question how it is humanly possible it’s mine? Do I have rolls and cellulite I never gave permission to show up? Hah, oh hell yes. Have I gained more weight than I wanted to in my head? Does my whole body hurt sometimes from all the change? Of course! I have lost a lot of muscle and strength over the months as my gym days have gone from 4-6 down to 2-4. Hell, I can’t even muscle my suitcase into the overhead bin on an airplane anymore and now hope someone will offer before I have to do it. If you’ve read my past posts, you know I used to be annoyed when people offered. My oh my, things have changed.

Here’s the good part. My baby is already teaching me something I needed to learn before she got here. Being a control freak doesn’t make you a better person or better parent. Control is something of a joke once the baby arrives, and trying to control something when your doctor hasn’t told you it’s necessary is just going to cause unwanted stress and anxiety, not to mention it’s an easy way to overlook all the magical things happening with the body during pregnancy.

My little human can kick me and punch me and even gets hiccups. She is already feisty and I am loving it. Time slows down for me every time I feel her move. It straight up stops when I can grab my husband’s hand fast enough so he can feel her too.

My body is growing so it can support all the things she needs from me. Her heartbeat is strong, she is growing right as she needs to, and I still have the healthy mark of approval from my doctor, despite already being over the recommended weight gain. I even passed the dreaded glucose test! And please know I take zero of these things for granted, because I know how quickly things can change.

Now for the BEST part of growing during pregnancy. My baby bump is growing and Baby A is making herself more apparent each day. Whenever I have to abandon a blouse because I can’t button it, I now smile because it means she is a day closer to being here in real life. We’re a day closer to being able to see her face. I’ll take whatever changes are required of my body to make it to this day. It may mean swollen Jessica Simpson feet, a puffy face, an achy back and a uniform of sweatpants, but sign me up. So when you see me waddling through the airport, know I’m doing it happily. She is already worth it.

The Dark Side of Pregnancy

Depression hit me like a brick within my first six weeks of pregnancy. As soon as I found out I was pregnant (about week four), I knew it was time to come off my antidepressants. They had been in my life since college and in the past when I’ve tried to come off of them, let’s just say it didn’t work and I had to go right back on the happy pill train. It was time for a train stop, whether I was ready or not. My prescription was not deemed pregnancy safe, so I knew I had to at least try to keep the little white pills in the cabinet.

Try I sure did. Within about a week of being completely off my meds, I felt a hard shift. It began with a brain fog that slowly warped into a full body fog, chaining me to my living room couch. I wasn’t going down without a fight. I began buying beautiful new plants for my kitchen table, thinking maybe the life they had could somehow transfer to me. I tried to keep an exercise routine to fight off the depression. The only problem was, I was so exhausted and nauseous, working out was only in my cards 10% of the time. The plants wouldn’t stay alive either. I would buy a new one in hopes it would do better than the last. It seemed to quickly brown at the leaves and look similar to how I was feeling. I felt so utterly helpless and selfish. Here I was, finally pregnant after such a hard year. Why couldn’t I just be happy? Why couldn’t I even keep a plant alive!? I was thrilled about the baby, but so worried about who I was becoming as the days crept on. My body grew heavier, and I felt as though a tear flood was looming no matter the subject or time of day.

The couch had me on lockdown. Any days I wasn’t flying somewhere for work, I was firmly planted on my grey living room couch, which quickly became my office. I couldn’t even get myself up to my office desk, so my coffee table became my desk. I slowly found my mind begin to feel as grey as the color of my couch.

Then the extreme highs crept in, disguising themselves as a way out of the depression. I would maybe once or twice a week find the strength to leave the couch and get to the gym, and I felt so good, I knew I could keep it up. The next week I wouldn’t keep it up, and the old feelings seeped back in like a flood greeting the cracks of my front door.

I finally buckled up and asked for help, as painful as it was. I told my husband, from my couch in a puddle of tears. I definitely surprised him, but he was wonderful and simply asked how he could help. We sat down and talked through ways he could know I wasn’t doing well and things that he could help me with, such as making sure I discussed it with my doctor on the next visit, and checking in to see how my workouts were going, asking how I was doing from time to time. I shared with him simple things he could do like folding laundry if he saw it just sitting crumpled in a basket. I also asked him to water my plant when I was unable to. I wanted so badly for one of these plants to stay alive.

I warned him he would need to be on high alert after the baby came. This was going to be ongoing and I needed his help to be a healthy mom so we could help bring a healthy baby into the world.

Let’s fast forward to today. Wow, I’m so happy I didn’t stay silent. Do I still have hard days? Oh my gosh yes. I’ll admit I had to write this post over the course of three weeks because the shit is hard to write without breaking down. Facing your demons on paper when it isn’t completely in the past is probably one of the hardest things I’ve tried to do.

Posting about a “before” when you are clearly in the “after” is not so tough. I’m sitting here posting a “before” and a “middle” and I don’t know what the “after” looks like quite yet. I only know I will make it through, and I’m focusing on the love in my life rather than the fear. How do you focus on the love when you feel enveloped in fear?

I have chosen a new mini project to embark on each weekend that helps bring me one step closer to my baby girl. I “Marie Kondoed” my closet and started Baby A’s closet. I might choose to go through and declutter a drawer, or do an art project for her room. Some weekends I just accept that I’m too tired to be terribly productive and I read a little, do prenatal yoga or meditate. I don’t really set expectations for myself other than getting off the couch. I also forgive myself when I know I need to rest and I just rest.

I accept the fear is there from time to time too, but I welcome it now. It’s amazing how power can be taken from something when you just acknowledge it’s there and move forward.

Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or the hormonal mind cluster that pregnancy can sometimes be, know there is a direction you can go to move out and move on. There is always something to look forward to if you create it.

I sit here on this snowed-in Sunday, and I feel alive. The little kicks and punches in my belly remind me Baby A is here too alongside me on this ride. And my plant? It is looking just as alive as I feel now that I’ve asked for my husbands help in watering it. I can’t expect to keep it alive on my own when I am not always capable of watering it myself. So he does, and it stays looking just as lively and beautiful as it was intended. It just needs extra water from time to time. Kind of like me. 😊