On this crazy life...

Friday, November 7, 2014

In recent days, I've been uncertain about the direction that I should take with this blog. My time is limited, and I don't want anything to take away from becoming the best doctor that I can be...and much more importantly, the best mother that I can be. But at the same time, this blog has given me an outlet in some of the most challenging times of my life. I've received so much support, encouragement, and kindness from all of you - and for that, I'm truly grateful.

This isn't by any means a goodbye letter just yet. I mentioned to Stephen the other day that I was wondering if I should continue blogging, partly because of time and partly because I didn't really think about the potential consequences of people reading the blog, personally and professionally (it was always intended as a fun hobby). Stephen looked at me incredulously and said "Why would you stop doing something that you really enjoy doing?" And that was all the encouragement I needed. I still plan on sharing snippets of our life, our struggles and dreams (and an occasional outfit or two). This next month is my last month of semi-normalcy before I start 6 months of intense, busy residency rotations so expect a few posts now and then potentially sporadic ones later...and thanks for being here either way :)

Sharing seven photos from my life outside of residency lately (and linking up with Jen):

1. The little man's first Halloween (lion costume was an awesome hand-me-down from one of the attendings here)! Also, my favorite new sweater (a birthday gift).

Sweater: Similar
Jeans: J. Brand (found on Nordstrom Rack)
Boots: Frye (purchased 40% off after Christmas last year)

2. My blue-eyed boy.

 3. Nothing says fall like a pumpkin patch (and this vest).

Vest: Thrifted J. Crew, same at J. Crew Factory 
Jeans: J. Brand
Boots: Frye

4. An impromptu trip to my hometown in northern Michigan (and five months postpartum, these are still my favorite pants).

 Pants: J. Crew (on sale)

5. I still maintain that I'm from the most beautiful place in the world...

 6. Indian summer = kayaking trip at one of our favorite places.

 7. Look, mom, I can fly!

Five Favorites: Twice edition

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A couple months ago, Twice contacted me and asked if I would share some outfits and an interview for their Top Twicer feature (you can read it here). I discovered Twice (link for $10 referral credit) a few years ago and since then have found some really great pieces from my favorite brands. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Twice sells gently used clothing from brands including J. Crew (!), Anthropologie, Gap, Banana Republic, and Nordstrom.

Here are five of my favorite Twice finds (and be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a Twice gift card courtesy of Twice!). 

1. I found this Anthropologie dress in one of the new arrivals emails that Twice sent me (they send emails with picks customized by your size and favorite brands). It's different than anything I had in my closet, and a great mustard color. I also love that it has the ease of a dress while giving the illusion of a skirt with a fun printed blouse.

2. I was pretty stoked to find this J. Crew white denim jacket in brand new condition. I found these green skinny cargos at Twice too, also J. Crew. Sidenote that Twice was a great place to find a couple pairs of pants and tops for transitioning back to my regular wardrobe in the postpartum period.

3. This Splendid cardi is so me, and the Anthropologie top underneath was another fun find at a great price.

4. Another great Splendid cardi in one of my favorite colors.

5. I found this Gap blazer brand new with tags from Twice! I had literally seen it only weeks before in the store so I was thrilled. Thrown over a basic dress, it makes a great work outfit.

Linking up with Jenna and The Pleated Poppy.

Want to try Twice for yourself? Already a loyal Twice shopper and want some store credit? Twice is generously offering a $25 gift card to a reader and you can enter below. And even if you don't win, you can get $10 off by using my referral link here (thanks in advance!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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 every.day 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

 ...it'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, defeating...one 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 age...now 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 push...so 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 scissors...an 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.

Stephen Gabriel's Birth Story (part one)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I love reading birth stories....loved them before I was pregnant, or even thinking about being pregnant. After being present in a lot of deliveries during both my medical mission work and medical school (and delivering 12 babies myself) I didn't have a lot of expectations for my own little guy's birth story. Each labor and delivery that I saw was so unique...and to be honest I didn't want to think too much about my own labor as sort of a coping mechanism, which is just fine because little Stephen's birth story was a lot different than what I expected...

It started on Tuesday, May 20. I was four days overdue and dilated to a whopping 0 cm at my 40 week appointment, and I was frustrated (just read this post if you don't believe me). We had originally planned to move 8 hours and two states away, where I would be starting my residency, on June 4 but it became clear that it wasn't going to happen. I was a wreck...the tears were flowing daily (poor Stephen Sr.) and I told Stephen that I couldn't take it much longer with moving and residency oreintation looming over my head: I moved my 41 week appointment up to the following day (Wednesday) and planned on asking for an induction that Friday.

Stephen was off work that week and so we went to noon mass. Afterwards, Stephen asked if I wanted to go to Applebees for lunch, and I remember sitting down in the booth and the tears started to flow again. I told Stephen that I felt guilty about being so selfish and wanting the baby to come on my own timing, and that I felt like I had ruined our last days together just the two of us. I remember that Stephen said something comforting and I felt more at peace with everything after we left.

That night Stephen had a work party at the Italian restaurant in town. My mom (who delivered 8 children au natural) warned me against the heavy pasta and garlic bread "just in case" I were to go into labor, but I hadn't had any more cramping than what I had been having over the past few weeks (mild period-like cramping that never lasted more than 10 minutes and usually only happened once or twice a day) so I figured I was safe. We finished around 9 p.m. with no hint of any increased cramping and since I had been begging Stephen to go for a walk all day, we drove to one of my favorite spots near the lake. I had a cramp or two on the car ride there, but again no different from what I had been having so I didn't think anything of it.

We parked near the beach and when I stepped out of the car, I felt a weird leaking sensation. Stephen and I laughed it off as "probably just urine" (oh the joys of pregnancy) and walked over to the beach. I realized when we got there that we were at the exact spot where Stephen had proposed...I remember looking out at the surreal view of the ice still floating on the lake and feeling like there was something special about that night...almost a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Stephen and I started our walk then, and I felt a cramp that was just a tad stronger than normal...enough to mention it to Stephen (I hadn't been telling him when I would feel them because they always seemed to stop after 10 minutes and I didn't want to get his hopes up). Then I felt a sensation of more leaking. Stephen and I were both still a bit skeptical (after all, I was 5 days late and the baby was never coming), and I wanted to keep walking so we did (fools). Pretty soon, I had another cramp, about 7 minutes later according to Stephen. That was when I felt the sensation of more leaking and looked down at my yoga pants to realize they were soaked. Stephen and I looked at each other in disbelief: this was finally it (yaaay!)

After realizing that my water really had broken (or if you want the more technical term, my membranes had finally ruptured), we decided that we really better turn around. We had at least a 25 minute jaunt back to the car, which was not the best with my now sopping wet pants (sorry) but I was too excited to care. Stephen kept timing the contractions, which were coming anywhere from every 5 minutes to every 12 minutes, so I knew that I had a ways to go. My doctor recommends that her patients go to the hospital after their water breaks because of the risk of infection if labor continues past the 24 hour mark, so I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't be able to labor at home. I was in no rush, however, to get to the hospital. When we got home, I realized that the amniotic fluid was a pinkish color and noticed, for the first time, a little bloody show in the toilet. I called for Stephen to bring me my doppler so I could check the baby's heartbeat (in case of cord prolapse) like a good almost-doctor and when I determined that it was strong and a normal rate, I decided to get into the shower (I also kept feeling/seeing him move, so I wasn't worried). I stood in the hot water for a good 45 minutes and then we called my mom, who I had asked to be my pseudo-doula, and the labor and delivery unit. I told my mom to not rush to the hospital since it could be a very long night, and that we would call her after we were checked in and the doctor had checked my cervix. I took my time adding a few things to my hospital bag, grabbing pillows, picking up things around the house (I told Stephen I was going to clean the bathroom before we left...he looked at me like I was a crazy person and that did it himself without saying anything), and then we headed to the hospital.

By the time that we arrived to the hospital, about two hours after my water had broken, I was having contractions about every 4-7 minutes. They were still fairly mild for the most part though, like a moderate period cramp, except for one when we pulled up to the hospital...I remember looking at Stephen saying "Ouuuch" (we both kind of laughed so obviously it really wasn't that bad yet). On the way into the hospital, Stephen and I tried to guess what my cervix would be when they checked it (Stephen said 4 cm, but I said 2 cm since I knew that realistically I had probably started at 0 cm based on my most recent prenatal visit).

They brought us straight to a room when we got to labor and delivery (probably a combo of them not messing around with a post-termer and them knowing from my rotations that I was a [new] doctor). When the nurse was checking me in, she asked me about pain meds and I told her that I really didn't want an epidural although I wasn't 100% opposed to it, and that I was open to getting Staydol if I felt I absolutely needed it (ha - I was so naive). Although no one seemed to doubt that my membranes had ruptured, they still needed to confirm it and so they called my doctor who agreed to come in to do the speculum exam herself (I was so happy because I knew both of the male residents covering OB and them doing the sterile spec would have been all kinds of awkward). In the meantime, the nurse told me not to eat or drink anything, but I was dying of thirst and proceeded to down a bottle of water as soon as she left the room to Stephen's disapproval (doctors and nurses really make the best patients). They had strapped me to a fetal monitor as soon as I arrived to my room and I kept watching it anxiously to see if it was reactive, not because I was worried about Stephen Jr. (I was convinced by all his moving and grooving that he was just fine) but because I really, really wanted to get up and walk - contractions lying in bed are torture. Finally they let me get up, and Stephen and I walked the halls leisurely back and forth, stopping every few minutes for contractions (which still felt like moderate period cramps and totally manageable).

My doctor arrived just before 2 a.m. and verified that yes, my membranes had indeed ruptured aaaand the bad news? I was only dilated to "a fingertip." Yikes. She told me that the good news was that I was 100% effaced, but that it would still probably be a long night/day. She knew that I wanted to try for a natural birth and told the nurse that I could eat, drink, and walk around monitor-free (thank God). After she left, Stephen decided it would be a good time for a snooze and approximately 30 seconds later was sound asleep in the hard-as-rocks recliner next to my bed (he really can sleep anywhere). Up until that point, I had told my mom to wait to come to the unit since I didn't know how far dilated I was....of course 5 seconds after Stephen was out like a light, I proceeded to have a painful contraction and so I texted her "Hurry!! These hurt." She was there in about 10 minutes (I didn't wake Stephen up, mostly just so I could bug him about it later...just kidding). After my mom arrived, I spent the next two hours walking the halls and sitting in the jacuzzi tub. The contractions were getting more painful and pretty consistently every 3-4 minutes. The jacuzzi tub was amazing at first; the sound of the jets and feeling of the water rushing over me really helped me to deal with the pain. I would close my eyes when the contractions would come and in between would chat with my mom, who kept assuring me of how well I was doing. The contractions started to feel like severe period cramps and when they begin to lengthen, my mom told me to start saying the Memorare, one of my favorite prayers...which really, really helped initially.

After a while in the tub, I had an excruciatingly painful contraction that sent me flying out of the tub. I could feel it through my whole body, a tearing type of pain that seemed like it lasted forever, and after the peak of it I started to violently throw up (I'm still convinced it was from the pain, since the four times that I vomited  during labor were all at the end of the worst contractions). My mom ran to wake Stephen up (I had started to get disgruntled right before the painful contraction that he was still sleeping). He helped me out of the tub and I remember wrapping my arms around his neck and burying my head in his shoulder for the next couple of contractions....they were really starting to hurt.

My doctor came back around 6:30 a.m. to recheck my cervix and when she came into the room, I was sitting on the birthing ball with my head buried in the bed. I remember thinking that I had no idea how I was going to get back into bed for her to check me and the nurse to put me on the monitor to recheck the baby; laying in bed during natural labor is the absolute worst. They also started an IV then and started to give me fluids because of the vomiting. When my doctor checked me, she told me that I was three cm...and I felt defeated. All that hard work and pain for a measly 3 cm? Maybe I was more of a wuss than I thought (my doctor informed me later that my cervix was so thin that some residents would have checked me and thought I was complete even though I was only 3 cm). Since my doctor had to leave the hospital and go to the clinic, she told me that the on-call doctor for family medicine would be watching me. I knew the on-call doc, she was older and more experienced than my doctor but I begged my doctor to come back soon (I saw the same family doctor through the whole pregnancy and so there was a comfort and security that came with that). And that's when the real craziness began...

to be continued...

Five favs: Stitch Fix edition

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

 I first heard of Stitch Fix last year via a couple of different style blogs. In case you aren't familiar with it, basically you fill out a style profile that includes information on your body type, size, style preferences (preppy vs. boho vs. romantic, etc.), lifestyle (whether you mostly wear business casual, jeans and tees, etc...), price point, and the type of clothes/accessories you're interested in getting in your 'fix.' Then you pay a $20 styling fee and a personal stylist chooses and mails 5 items to you. The $20 styling fee goes toward anything you keep, and if you keep everything you save 25%.

To be honest, I wasn't at all interested in Stitch Fix when I first heard of it. I like picking out my own clothes and I felt like it was marketed for people that either didn't like shopping (unfortunately not the case with me ha) or felt like they needed help putting outfits together. Fast forward a year and one baby later, and I reconsidered. First off, I needed some new tops flattering for a postpartum/breastfeeding body. I have a long torso, and tops that flatter me normally hit just below the natural waist so now that I'm breastfeeding, almost all my tops are too short. I also can't wear most of my button-ups right now (a large percentage of my shirts) because the buttons gap. Secondly, I started to realize that I was stuck in a J. Crew rut...not necessarily a bad thing, but I felt like adding a few unique pieces that were a little out of my comfort zone would breathe new life into my closet. And thirdly, being a resident and new mom leaves little time for shopping....another population that Stitch Fix is marketed for.

I finally took the plunge and signed up for my first fix after seeing a super cute, super flattering striped top on my cousin (it's the same top I got in my fix below!). She had a baby two months before me and told me that Stitch Fix had worked really well for her postpartum. I also started a new Pinterest board here for my personal stylist (you can link to your board in your style profile and I highly recommend doing this to help the stylist find pieces you like). So without further ado, here's what I got in my first fix:

1. Mauna Mixed Print Sheer Open Cardigan

I felt like the stylist read my mind because I've been wanting to try a kimono, and this one has a really fun print. This was definitely different than anything I have in my closet and was also a good price point for a trendy piece. Sadly this was a size larger than I normal wear and way too big.

2. Kut from the Kloth Kate distressed boyfriend jeans

I'm wearing these in all the pictures and actually really liked them. The denim had lots of stretch, which is a must while I'm still returning to my pre-baby body, and I liked the wash and little bit of distressing on them. I also thought the back pocket placement was really flattering (sounds weird, but I'm really picky about this on jeans). Unfortunately they sent me a size up from my normal and while they looked ok on, the waist was too loose without a belt and they felt like they would stretch out too much throughout the day. I was surprised how much I liked these though and would love to try this brand in my normal size.

3. Kahlo embroidered solid tank

This was one of the items that I pinned on my Pinterest board (you can pin actual Stitch Fix pieces and specifically request them) and tied with the striped top below for my favorite items in the box. I don't own a lot of navy, and the mint embroidered detail is so pretty and unique. I should have taken a picture of the back since it's longer in the back and has a neat drapey crossover below the shoulders. This tank is supposed to be a "trapeze" style and it's perfect postpartum since it falls nicely without being too baggy.

3. Corrinna striped heathered dolman top
 This is the top that my cousin was wearing and I loved, so I requested it and it definitely didn't disappoint. The fabric is softer and more substantial than a typical knit top, and the length is great (so hard to find for me lately!) I do own a lot of striped tops, but no grey ones and none with a dolman sleeve.

4. Moni geo print blouse with camisole

I had a couple of these Moni blouses pinned on my Pinterest board but the print was a surprise. It's a gorgeous color and pattern, and I typically hate studs but somehow they work on this blouse. It doesn't really go with the boyfriend jeans I'm wearing in the picture, but I tried it on later with a pencil skirt and liked it even more. I kept going back and forth about keeping this, and I actually had it all ready to return but decided to enlist Stephen's opinion. He's always honest when I ask for his opinion on clothes whether he loves something or hates it (he actually told me my top looked like a grandpa sweater last week ha). Anyways, he really, really liked this top so I changed my mind about keeping it, which is good because I think I would have regretted sending it back.

Your fix also comes with a note from your 'stylist' and suggestions of how to wear the items (fun).

I loved everything that was in my box and would have kept it all for the 25% discount if everything had fit (the stylist asked for feedback on sizing so I think that would work better next time). I liked the surprise of not knowing what was in the box and also liked that the pieces they sent weren't too far out of my comfort zone but were different than anything I already have in my closet. All in all, I would definitely recommend Stitch Fix and can't wait to try it again!

Happy Wednesday! Linking up with the Pleated Poppy//Heather.

Sunday musings...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Top: Piperlime clearance, dress version here//3/4 sleeve version here
Skirt: J. Crew (old), current version here//similar here
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Lips: Nars

I spent the whole summer looking for a white peasant top with blue embroidery and finally find one just as the summer is lagging to a halt. I originally loved this one but it was too pricey and waaay too short when I tried it on...so I was pretty excited when I found this one on popback at Piperlime (I used a 40% off coupon). The length is perfect and it's nice and light for summertime.

If I look tired in this picture, it's because I worked until 4:30 a.m. The pediatric ER was crawling this weekend which didn't lend itself to getting home on time  (side note that I had some really interesting cases...including my first case of Kawasaki). And on the plus side, having a baby is probably the best way to train yourself to function on very little sleep.

We walked to mass this morning and when the priest saw Stephen Gabriel, he said "That's a new one!", which is funny because he seems so big to us now. I'll be spending the day with my little guy before I go back to work tomorrow. Have a lovely Sunday (linking up with FL&P).

We're doing fine...

Friday, August 8, 2014

1. In case anyone has been wondering, we're doing just fine. I survived my first week as a real (resident) doctor, so did the boys, and so did my patients. The Stephens have had some serious bonding time in my absence:

And Stephen Jr. has apparently learned to watch baseball with his dad, ha.

2. In all seriousness though, it's been hard. There have been tears on more occasion than one, and I miss him desperately. Fortunately ER shifts are so incredibly busy and it's so powerfully overwhelming to all of the sudden carry the responsibility of a physician (even a baby one) that I haven't had much time to think about it. But when I leave to go pump breastmilk for him or I'm nearing the end of my shift and faced with staying late or I see a baby on my pediatric shifts, I miss him...really miss him.

3. But then I get to come home to this, and lots of baby snuggles, and the world is ok again.

4. I'm finally finished with his birth story (I think? No matter how much I tweak it, it doesn't feel like I'm doing justice to the momentous story of a new human coming into the world) and I'll hopefully be (over) sharing it on the blog...so if you're a fan of birth stories in all their glory (not ashamed to share the details) check back in the next week or so.

5. My brother got married two weeks ago and I fully intended to recap it on the blog...but one half-written draft post later, it's prob not gonna happen. I did share some pics over on the 'gram, and I can't help but share what Stephen Gabriel wore (full disclosure that this outfit that I was ridiculously excited about lasted all of 15 minutes and the rest of the night he was in the backup sleeper I packed). Anyways, at least we got some good pictures.

What Stephen and I wore (and what Stephen Gabriel really wore):

6. On another note, I tried Stitch Fix (that's my referral link...if you sign up, I get a small credit toward my next Stitch Fix if I decide to do it again, and you get your own referral link that you can pass on) for the first time.  If you've never heard of it, it basically involves filling out a style profile after you sign up and then paying a $20 styling fee to have 5 items shipped to you. I wasn't crazy about the fee, but it goes toward anything you end up keeping. I bit the bullet and signed up after talking to my cousin, who had a baby two months before me and said that it really helped her to find a few things that work for her during this crazy postpartum/breastfeeding time. Here's a sneak peak of the loveliness that was in my 'fix' and I'll share some reviews soon...

7. Last but not least, Freshly Picked so graciously sent the sweetest pair of baby moccasins for Stephen Gabriel aaaand they're giving away a pair of your choice to one lucky reader. You can find the review/givaway here

My shift tonight will round out close to 80 hrs in the emergency department this week, but this is my weekend off (we get one off per month) and I can't.wait. to spend it with my boys. Linking up with Jen.