Friday, October 10, 2014

Pants: J. Crew
Boots: Frye

Some truths about this outfit...

...I wore it last weekend, since the majority of my time now is spent in scrubs (I sense a blog/ebay sale coming soon - I just can't justify all the nice clothes still in boxes since we moved)

...The pants are these ones - yes, they're maternity pants. Not the over-belly third trimester kind but the end-of-first beginning-of-second trimester side panel kind. I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight but have a residual tummy pooch that will probably require a lot more crunches/less carbs and these pants are the epitomy of comfy. Unfortunately they're also saggy, and a mid-rise would be much more flattering since these are designed to sit below the bump. I requested a pair of black skinny pants in my next Stitch Fix so we shall see.

...The babe spit up on the pants...and I just wiped it off and still wore them. Gross, I know, but part of reality with a four month old. Another reason to have a blog sale, since I own a ridiculous number of dry-clean-only J. Crew tops that I will probably never dare to wear again.

...These boots are by far the most expensive wardrobe purchase I've ever made. They were almost 40% off on Amazon when I bought them last year, but still sooo expensive and I have a twinge of guilt every time that I wear them. But they're perfect.

...I'm still wearing my hair in a top knot despite the hairstylist's advice at my last appointment to not wear my hair up so much to try to stilt my dreaded postpartum hair loss...and also despite Stephen informing me after two years of marriage and two more years of dating (a.k.a. 4 years of top knot-wearing) that he prefers my hair down.

...My style has done almost a 180 since having the babe...I'm all about long, drapey tops with fun patterns and stretchy, skinny pants...and no dry-clean only (I'm embarrassed to say that I never evah checked the care tags before now). 

...Do these qualify to link up with Jen? I think so. Also linking up with the Pleated Poppy and Tara.

The blog is not dead...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014's just called intern year. It's hard to explain the implications of those two words to those not in the medical profession. Intern year a.k.a. the first year of residency is at times draining, exhausting, of the hardest things I've ever done (I won't say the hardest since that's reserved for childbirth and the time I spent working in Haiti after the earthquake).  Other times, it's glorious and affirming... like last week when my patient's wife hugged me with tears in her eyes and told me how grateful she was, or today when I got all 6 of my intubations. More often though, it's the former. There are days that I come home and feel like I have nothing left, I'm drained to the last ounce.

Part of the reason why intern year is so tough is because you work incredibly hard to get into medical school...and then even harder to make it through medical school...and then when it seems like there should be some sort of reward, you're an intern. A lowly first year resident...feeling like you know nothing most of the time...  at the bottom of the totem pole among all of the residents and physicians. You have the worst schedule, and the most to learn. You still don't feel deserving when people call you "doctor."

The toughest days for me are when I'm away all day or all night and come home on one of the 'drained-to-the-last-ounce' days. I spend so many hours feeling like I'm missing a piece of myself at home..and then when I get home, I feel like I have so little left to give him. But I'm trying, and I know that his daddy is giving him what I can't (although it's hard to accept this sometimes). I also know that he loves me unconditionally...that he'll smile and giggle when I come home and wrap his little arms around my neck no matter how tired I am or how long I've been gone. And I take comfort in that.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Top: Loft // Skirt: Loft // Boots: Steve Madden (via Amazon warehouse last year) // 
Necklace: Lisa Leonard (Stephen asked why I was wearing a tree branch around my neck)

There have been so many changes lately; Stephen Gabriel seems like a new baby every day with how much he's learning and growing...fall is just beginning...Stephen is adjusting to being a stay-at-home dad...I'm coming to the end of my ultrasound/EMS rotation and about to start a new one in anesthesia/psych. Sometimes I feel like I'm grasping onto the very few threads of normalcy in our lives right now...but it's exciting. Learning how to be a doctor, learning how to be a mother, learning how to be a family...we're blessed.

Linking up with the Pleated Poppy.

It's fall again...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

 Top: Corinna heathered dolman top from Stitch Fix
Boots: Steve Madden via Amazon Warehouse

1. I recently saw this quote on Pinterest:

It made me think about how much I love fall, but it also made me reflect on the excitement and anticipation that I felt at this time last year in early pregnancy. Life has changed very much for the better since then (harder, but better!), and I'm so grateful for all of it.

2. It's been hard lately to find time to keep this little space on the internet going. I have several half-written posts in my drafts about intern year, motherhood, medicine that I can't seem to finish. I'm having a hard time expressing my thoughts completely on it (and maybe even grasping how I really feel about it) so I guess I'll finish them in due time...or maybe not, and that's ok.

3. In the meantime here's a shot of what I've been doing at work lately on my EMS month:

Emergency medicine has it's perks.

4. I totally missed out on the opportunity to do a sappy, sweet anniversary post when we celebrated two years on August 31. My mom gave us the best gift ever and flew in for the weekend so she could help us around the house and watch the little man for some dates. We went out to dinner twice (!) and also went for a hike, which was totally therapeutic and some time that we really needed together.

5. Continuing on the fall note, it's my favorite time of year for outfits. I recently picked up a few things using a credit that I had from my Loft (everything is currently 40% off with the code fallstyle!) I definitely did not need another pencil skirt, but the mustard pattern was too good to pass up. The blouse is breastfeeding-friendly and both the skirt and the blouse will be great pieces for an emergency medicine conference that I have in Chicago next month. The cardi and top are great basics.

 6. And another outfit that I planned to share last Sunday but didn't have time to post:

Skirt: J. Crew
Vest: J. Crew Factory, super similar here or here

The last time that I wore that utility vest was actually when I was very pregnant so it was nice to be able to zip it this time ha. I'm not sure that I love it how I wore it with the maxi skirt/tee but I think it'll look great over a striped top and skinny jeans/boots for fall.

7. You probably noticed from the pictures how big our little guy is getting...I feel like I can barely remember bringing him home as a teeny newborn on the cusp of being small for gestational I'm guessing he's 60th percentile? We shall see at his 4 month (!) check up in a little over a week. We love him so very much and he is worth the sleepless nights a thousand times over (I can't imagine what it's like to have a baby that sleeps through the night but someday it'll come). He is getting to be more and more interactive and it's such a joy...

Linking up with Jen // The Pleated Poppy

On this outfit...and glorious weekends

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cardi: Loft
Jeans: J Brand
Booties: Sam Edelman (thrifted last year)

 1. This outfit fits my postpartum criteria for long drapey tops, and also goes back to my girly roots (oh how I love pink...and a great drapey cardigan). The cardi also doubles as a nursing cover, and it's only $15 on sale right now at Loft. I saw the floral top originally on someone's Stitch Fix review and then found it on clearance at Off Saks (it's 40% off this weekend!).

2. My jeans (wearing them above...and in just about every other postpartum photo on my blog where I'm wearing jeans) are still on sale and I so wish that I could justify another pair, since I go into half-crisis mode whenever the little man spits on them (and I wash them way less than I really should).

3. My favorite pants of all time are 40% off sale price again this weekend (reviewed them here).

4. I have another Stitch Fix scheduled for next week and I'm pretty darn excited to see what the pretty little box brings this month. I'll be sure to share some reviews soon (in the meantime you can read last month's review here). I've been wearing the embroidered tank and the grey striped top they sent last month over and over again.

5. Due to some scheduling glitch (and the grace of God) I ended up with a three day weekend this month. Part of me wants to go somewhere and take advantage of what will be one of my very few long weekends over the next three years...but most of me just wants to stay at home and cuddle Stephen Gabriel.

6. I shared my birth story this past week (part one here, part two here) and I think it may have come off a little strong based on some of the comments...but at least I can say that it was honest? I wrote it a few weeks after his birth and when I re-read it before I posted it, it was almost like re-living it again. I feel like I understand the meaning of suffering in a much deeper way since his birth...both in the sense that it was unlike any suffering I've ever experienced before and because the gift that came of it in little Stephen was so much greater than anything I could have ever imagined.

7. Stephen and I are celebrating our second anniversary this weekend...any last minute anniversary gift ideas for him? Just call me uber prepared ha.

Have a glorious weekend. Linking with Jen.

Stephen Gabriel's birth story (part two)

Monday, August 25, 2014

You can read part one here.

Between 5 am and 7 am was kind of a blur, but I remember doing a lot of the "dancing" pose that we had learned in our childbirth class. I would stand up and grab on to Stephen's neck during contractions, bury my head in his shoulder, and sway back and forth. Stephen was such a great labor coach, comforting me and encouraging me. I'll never forget at one point during a particularly painful contraction Stephen whispering into my ear "You're the best thing that ever happened to me." I also vaguely remember my mom praying out loud during some of the contractions. I got back in the tub for a short period of time, but that was when some particularly painful contractions hit and I started vomiting again. Then I started wondering if I was going to make it. The night shift nurse traded out for the dayshift nurse sometime around then, and she told me when she came back on later that night that she was worried about me when she left because she saw "panic" in my eyes (panic was a good word for it). After a particularly bad contraction and more vomiting, I sent my mom to get the nurse. Stephen came in the bathroom then with some cheerios and I started yelling at him to "Get those out of here NOW" (I don't think I've ever seen him run so fast). The new nurse came in, who had worked in Haiti (she and my mom tried to distract me by talking about my time in Haiti but I was beyond the point of distraction) and I asked her to check me. In my head I was thinking that unless I were really, really close to the end I couldn't stand the contraction pain much longer.

I was 4-5 cm. Sigh. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed and "dancing" with Stephen through the next couple of contractions until a really painful one hit. Stephen says it went something like this: Hard contraction. Me: "I need Staydol!" Next hard contraction. "Nope, epidural, epidural!" (emphasizing that I did NOT yell but I did convey a strong sense of urgency in my voice). At that point my mom (who went through 8 natural labors) said "Ok, Ok honey!! Let me get the nurse and tell her!" and Stephen proceeded to ask me three times "Are you sure you want the epidural?" He knew how much research I'd done, all my opinions on epidurals, all my talk of not wanting one. I looked him and my mom straight in the eye and said defeatedly, "I'm sorry, but I want it. I know I do." The sweet nurse told me that I didn't did to apologize to anyone and I remember thinking vaguely that it would be slightly embarrassing to get the epidural after my soapbox against them but pride was definitely not enough to stop me, ha. I guess I could take this moment to say that labor pain was nothing like I imagined it. I have fairly painful periods and never really feared contractions, mostly I feared the pushing and the potential tearing. But the contractions were horrific. At times it felt like my body was ripping in two...(annnnd I'm so sorry for any pregnant ladies reading this...every labor is different).

The nurse had to call the doctor to see if I could still get the epidural and when the on-call doctor came in, I was laying in a ball on my right side. I was hoping she could check me just like that because the pain of the contractions felt like too much to move at all. She couldn't, and laying on my back was the.worst. She checked me...8 cm. Well, I knew what that meant. I still had to ask if it was too late for the epidural...which it was. She agreed to give me a small dose of Staydol though.

The next chunk of time was a blur of pain. I remember having a couple contractions in the bed and crying out. Stephen said that at one point I yelled "Please God, help me!" (I don't remember that) and he said it was just awful being in the room and feeling so powerless to help. I wouldn't look at anyone in between contractions, keeping my eyes closed most of the time, and continuing to say Memorares silently and desperately. I got a small dose of Staydol at 9:30 a.m. (which didn't seem to affect the pain but did help me to rest/relax between contractions) and at 9:50 I was complete and ready to start pushing (sidenote that I dilated from 3 cm to 10 cm in only a little over three hours, which I'm sure contributed to the pain).

If the contractions were nothing like what I expected, neither was the pushing. My contractions suddenly spaced apart, which meant that they had to start Pitocin. I had expected (from Ina May, among others) that pushing would feel right and almost good in a way, but instead I felt like I didn't know when to push or how to I just pushed and cried and pushed and cried with every contraction. I had tried to be stoic at first and internalize the contractions, and I remember the nurse giving me 'permission' to yell - afterward I was slightly embarrassed about whatever doctors/medical students/nurses heard me carrying on, although Stephen insists I wasn't that loud and even if I was, it was labor! People always reference the "ring of fire" when the baby's head comes out, which was my greatest fear going into labor, and it honestly felt like a "ring of fire" with just about every single push. In between pushes, I was almost able to sleep (maybe the Staydol or maybe not) and then I would feel another contraction coming on and push, push with all my might through the pain.

I wasn't really aware of much during the pushing, but I do remember saying that I didn't think I could do it...and asking again and again if he was almost out (no he wasn't). The on-call doctor (mine unfortunately didn't make it back in time from the clinic because of how fast I progressed) had a perfectly calm polker face but the baby was firmly wedged and occiput posterior (sunny side up) in my pelvis. She told me later that she was getting ready to get out the vacuum and had Stephen Jr. not been so tiny, she thinks I would have needed a C section (I'm so very glad I was spared that end to my hours of labor).

After a little over an hour of pushing, it became clear that sweet little Stephen wasn't coming out on without some sort of intervention. It's funny because I was worried about the fear of knowing too much as a physician and being in labor, but the searing pain and exhaustion had caused me to retreat to a place inside myself where I don't think I could feel that fear. I was vulnerable, and as traumatic as I felt like the labor/delivery experience was, I did feel secure in the hands of my doctor, my mom, and Stephen. Even when I heard a faint slow beeping that I knew in my mind was the baby having a deceleration, it didn't cause me to fear. At that point though, I heard (or at least I thought I heard) the doctor get out the episiotomy was on my list of "please God no" things for my delivery, but I knew that something had to be done and I really, really wanted him to come out. I couldn't keep pushing through so much intense pain. She cut the episiotomy (a second degree) and two pushes later, he arrived.

This is the part that I still have to reconcile in my mind, because in Ina May's book and a lot of the birth stories I've read, the baby arrives and a powerful rush of endorphins happens, taking away a lot of the residual pain and causing a strong and immediate bond with the baby. I didn't feel much of anything though at first. I was exhausted and I felt sort of stunned from all the pain, and it still wasn't comfortable with the episiotomy and the placenta still inside (it didn't feel anywhere nearly as painful as before, but just like a lot of pressure). I remember looking down at little Stephen Gabriel...he came out screaming and squirmy and healthy looking, despite his cone head...and then looking over at Stephen and seeing his chin quivering and his eyes tearing up and his whole face just full of so much love for his son. And that's when I looked down at our baby and knew in my heart of hearts how much I loved him and how blessed we were.

We were able to do skin to skin right after birth, which I'm so happy we were able to do even if I don't remember much about it now. Also, I just have to mention that probably my favorite part of the afterbirth was them bringing in the birth certificate and Stephen looking my straight in the eye and saying "After that, you can name him whatever you want" despite our many months of deliberating over the baby's name. We stuck with Stephen Gabriel (although now I wish that I would have said Juan Pablo just to see his reaction).

So that is the long and drawn out saga of Stephen Gabriel's birth. So different from what I thought, such an experience, and so gloriously worth it.

On white jeans, and intern year...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Headband: Urban Outfitters
Chambray: J. Crew
Jeans: J. Crew
Sandals: Sam Edelman

 1. Yesterday was Stephen Gabriel's (a.k.a. Junior's) 3 month birthday. Of course every mom says this, but I just can't get over how adorable and sweet he is...he's brought an incredible amount of joy into our lives during his very short existence. It's been harder than I ever anticipated being away from him, but on the bright side it makes me cherish all the time that I get to spend with him while I'm at home. It also makes me want to do a better job at work - if I have to be away from him, I want to be the very best doctor that I can be while I'm gone.

2. Intern year as a resident is incredibly difficult. The first week was so powerfully overwhelming that it's hard to put it into words. It's an immense responsibility, making decisions that affect other people's lives. And the entire first week was also an internal struggle for me, being away from the baby and quite honestly wondering at times why I ever decided to go to medical school. The last couple weeks have been an uphill climb though...I'm learning a lot and feel grateful that I've been able to take care of some patients that really needed it and also that Stephen Sr. is doing such a good job at home.

3. Next a disclaimer that tucked under my shirt in these pictures is a holter monitor. I've had problems with heart palpitations in the past (although not until I started medical school and took board exams ha) and they've returned with a vengeance. I'm almost 100% certain that it's from fatigue (emergency medicine residency may be better than some, but we're constantly switching shifts and working all kinds of weird hours) and stress, but after Stephen felt my wildly irregular pulse for the upteenth time he convinced me to go see a doctor. They take palpitations seriously after pregnancy, so holter monitor and echo it is.

4. These jeans. I credit them to Gigi, because she shared that there was some kind of crazy pricing going on at J. Crew and they were marked down to $15 (now sadly back to $115). I own one other pair of white jeans that now happily button but unfortunately have no stretch and are pretty low rise...and stretch plus a higher rise are the keys to comfortable jeans postpartum I've discovered. These are the other jeans I've been living in (I'm probably wearing them in any recent pictures on the blog where I have jeans on)...I found them on sale at Nordstrom Rack while I was still pregnant and they've been a lifesaver.

5. I've discovered that postpartum hair loss is really a thing. I thought that I was exempt because my hair did just fine for the first couple months postpartum, but it turns out that the three month mark is about where it starts. Hence the headband which is covering up an embarrassingly thin area near the front of my head...and since this headband actually stays on my rather large head and my hair is probably not growing back any time soon, I'm about to order two more.

6. I feel like my style has gone through a major change since I had little Stephen. I'm not as attracted to the recent arrivals at J. Crew (also partially due to the fact that my closet already has an overabundance of J. Crew/J. Crew factory) and instead have been gravitating towards drapey tops with fun prints like the ones I got recently from Stitch Fix (post here) and also more boho pieces like this kimono from Anthro (if it would only go on sale....way on sale).

7. Last but not least, I shared the first part of little Stephen's birth story here, and part two will be up on Monday.

Happy weekend! I'll be working all weekend, but this week marks the end of my first month of intern year, which is pretty darn satisfying. Linking with Jen.