Friday, November 21, 2014

Surgery, Pain, and Babies. Oh, my!

Continued from these previous blogs. 


Post # 2 - Fibroids Suck


 I went into hospital on July 1st for the first time in my life. I preregistered the week before and paid my hospital fee so I wouldn't have to concern myself with all that on the day of surgery. Entering the hospital I wasn't afraid but I was a bit apprehensive. I've never been admitted to a hospital myself so I had no frame of reference as to what the procedure was. This was a situation in which I had no control. That in itself made me apprehensive.

I must say that my experience was great. The hospital staff were completely ready for me and I didn't have to wait very long before being taken into my room and given my gown and socks to wear.
"They were not exactly my idea of comfort but I don't think there was any outfit that would have made me comfortable in that moment. "
In the room we played the waiting game. My husband, my mother-in-law, and I had a few minutes to to make ourselves comfortable. We had quite a few nurses check in with us to check my various vital signs, make sure we knew what to expect in the next few hours, and make sure we were comfortable. We continued waiting (which seemed like forever) then the wheelchair showed up. I was not having that so I walked with the attendant back into the holding area before surgery. There were quite a few people there also waiting. It was a solemn place. Very quite. Not much to say I guess.


Once inside the recovery room my gown was hooked up to a machine that blew warm air throughout which was kind of amazing. It had a dial that controlled how warm or cool you wanted the air.  I totally need one of these at home. I did happen to find a similar one here that would be great for cold winters like we are having now in Texas.

I digress.

After I was settled I was able to talk to the recovery nurse. She was quite the character. "It makes my job so much easier when "you people" do that to your hair like that (cornrows)." *side eye* I made small talk with her for a bit. She told me that I'd be brought back in this room after the surgery. I would be monitored and woken up then taken back to my room with my loved ones. She then went to introduce herself to a few other patients in the room.

Side note: These tights were the worst thing ever. They itched like hell and by day
 two I had my husband take them off and scratch my legs at least every hour. 

She was kind enough to leave me with a few magazines for frivolous reading. Soon after the anesthesiologist popped by. He was a pretty calm laid back guy. I was able to ask lots of questions and he gladly answered them all. I had plenty of questions about what was being medicines were used to put me under, what would the recovery be like, what should I expect as a normal reaction to the anesthesia, and what should I be concerned about. I'm all about being informed especially when it comes to making new holes in my body that God didn't put there.

After speaking with the anesthesiologist my doctor came in. I've been seeing my doctor for about 3-4 years. She's so energetic, and kind. We talked for quite some time. I asked her lots of questions about the procedure, how long it would take, what type of incision, how the anesthesia will make me feel afterward, safeguards in case of an emergency, and plenty of other things we'd already talked about before but I wanted to make sure I'd heard her correctly. We talked for about 30-40 minutes. She told me about the 4-5 surgeries she had before she was able to conceive her two beautiful babies and she reassured me that everything would be OK and that I was in good hands. I don't think I would have chosen to have the surgery had I not been so comfortable with my doctor and had she not been so willing to self-disclose her own struggles with fertility.

My doctor then went to talk to my family. The nurse anesthetist came by to start my IV and begin my medications. Just then my doctor came back with my mom. She was late getting to the hospital and my doctor brought her back to the recovery room, at her insistence no doubt, to see me before I was taken into surgery. She kissed me and told me she loved me. Definitely made me feel much more at ease seeing my mom at that moment (against hospital policy no less...such a rebel that one!).

"She was in and out of the recovery room in a flash and the next thing I know I was waking up in my hospital room. "

I don't even remember leaving the recovery room. I chatted with my husband, mom, and mother-in-law for a bit. They gave me a few details about what they were told about the surgery (it went well, there was only one fibroid, it was huge, it's gone now, back to baby making). I'm sure a bit of that is an exaggeration but that is what I was told or I think I was told in my medicated stupor, then I went back to sleep.

When I finally woke up I was able to access my situation. I had a catheter which I was thankful for the convenience but it certainly isn't the most comfortable contraption in the world. Yep. Love/Hate relationship there.

The pain initially was significant and persistent. The incision site was very tender and sore. The incision was taped with these tiny pieces of white tape all along the incision and then there was a bandage over that. On top of the bandage was a belly wrap almost like a girdle that kept everything in place prevent unnecessary movement. This contraption was pivotal throughout my recovery.  I still had my IV and I was thankful for the IV pump  with the self-administered pain meds. It was a godsend.  Moving in bed was a total chore for this rambunctious sleeper. Tossing-and-turning was surely my biggest struggle and frequently impeded sleep. Moving about as I was so accustomed to every night while I slept was incredibly painful.

The entire first day after the surgery was mostly spent sleeping; waking only to administer more pain meds through my coveted pump and sleeping some more. Nurses frequently came in to check on me. Frequently definitely seems like an understatement because I often felt like they came in every 3 minutes to check my blood pressure and to ask me about my pain tolerance.

Continued next week...


Friday, November 14, 2014

The Pain of Pregnancy


Continued from this post... 
"It's amazing how quickly you can accept something about your life when it's something you want and then how hard it is to let it go when you don't have a choice."
Mr. C was so encouraging and hopeful for future pregnancies that made coping easier but I was super disappointed. Especially since there were so many people in the blogging, YouTube, Social Media world who were all celebrating their baby bumps. While I was happy for them on the inside I felt like I was being excluded from a group and I desperately wanted to be a part of.

About 4 months later I started having that same odd feeling again. Something was definitely not quite right. I had an extra pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet so I took it. BPT, again.

"This time I didn't let myself get too happy but I surely thought a miscarriage wouldn't/couldn't happen again so soon. "

I was wrong and a few weeks later I began spotting. I didn't go back to the doctor this time. I knew what they were going to say and I really didn't want to hear it again so I just......dealt with it. If "dealing with it" means pushing-it-out-of-your-mind-and-compartmentalizing-this-situation-with-the-one-that-happened-before-as-it-this-was-just-a-continuation-of-that-so-you-wouldn't-have-to-deal-with-the-fact-that-it-has-now-become-two-miscarriages-instead-of-one....then yeah I "dealt with it."

What I wasn't prepared for was the way so many people brushed it off as if it was nothing. There was very little concern about how I was dealing with the miscarriages instead the focus was on when I was going to try again. I didn't want to try again. I wanted to know what happened to my babies that are no longer here. How am I supposed to deal with the fact that my two children never made it out of the womb? No one else seemed to get how devastating this was to me and rightly so because I hid my emotions and put on a happy face and fell into the "we going to keep trying" spiel of positivity. I call it avoidance coping!

Hubby again was so supportive, compassionate, caring, and insistent that I go back to the doctor to see if there was something we could do or weren't doing.



I made an appointment 4 months in advance and waited it out. During the wait I had other strange symptoms including having 2 menstrual cycles in one month. WebMD told me what I'd begun to suspect.......... fibroids. I was already familiar with them because my mom had them. She eventually had to have a hysterectomy because of them after she finished having children but I never would have guessed that I'd have them. I never really had any symptoms and I certainly didn't experience any of the symptoms I remember my mom having. My menstrual was fairly short at 3 days from start to finish and cramping restricted to Day 1 only. I felt I was lucky compared to my friends and loved ones who suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis. I knew those conditions and symptoms well.

 What I didn't know what that there could be something wrong with me and I not know it. 
Once I found out I had fibroids my mind took that info and ran with it. What did it mean? Would I be able to have children? Would I not be able to have children? I should have had children sooner. Why did I wait so long to get married? Why couldn't I just have gotten pregnant earlier? Why is this happening to me? I did it all the "RIGHT" way. I waited until marriage. Why ME?!

Fast forward 4 months and I'm at my doctor's appointment. About a week before I got that same strange feeling but it wasn't like the past pregnancies. It was definitely different this time. As the doctor examined me she said my uterus was enlarged which could mean pregnancy or something else. She immediately sent me for an ultrasound.

The ultrasound tech was very blunt and within the first 30 seconds of the ultrasound she said "no baby." 

There was no emotion in her voice, no sense of compassion, and that probably kept me from breaking down right then and there. When I went back in with the doctor she told me that I had one single fibroid that could be seen and that I was measuring the same size as a 4 month pregnancy but I wasn't pregnant with a baby. She then suggested that I have a myomectomy to remove the fibroid and so that I could conceive. She assured me that I should not have any more issues conceiving since I was able to conceive previously with no assistance and that my past miscarriages stemmed from the fibroid not allowing the embryo to implant into the uterus wall.

The procedure my doctor described was an open myomectomy which consisted of a cesarean incision through the uterus to remove the fibroid. This was absolutely terrifying to someone who's NEVER had a surgery before. I was concerned about the anesthesia, the incision, the recovery, and everything else that came along with surgery. And the idea that I would be completely put under someone else's control was frightening.


My doctor, Dr. Brigger, was amazing. She recounted for me her numerous surgeries she had to have before she was able to conceive. She also assured me that since I was able to get pregnant without assistance before the surgery that she had no doubt that I would be able to conceive after the surgery.

I had to wait about 4 more months before my surgery and during that time I stayed super busy. I was finishing up my master's degree, finishing up teaching for the school year and I was planning to teach summer school. The timeline from diagnosis to the surgery was very jam packed and I went from teaching summer school on Thursday to having surgery Monday morning, July 1st 2014.

Continued next week.



Friday, November 7, 2014

Fibroids Suck | Everyone's pregnant but me...

Yes, they do suck. And they affected me in a major way in the most opportunistic time in my life.

Right now I'm 31 years old. I've been married 3 years.



The story begins...

In October of 2013. It was the first time I saw a positive pregnancy test. I was stunned!
We were not trying to get pregnant and I really didn't expect it to happen until I wanted it to happen!

 Naive, I know. We had just passed our 2nd year wedding anniversary that August and we'd never used birth control so I just assumed……..I was in control of something! Wake up girl!

One morning in October I woke up feeling something was "off." I'd felt that way for a few days. I wasn't tired, sick, or anything of the sort but I felt like something was different. My body felt slightly foreign to me and that was not usual. I mentioned this to my husband and after discussing it he went out and bought me a few pregnancy tests.

Positive, Plus, Pregnant, Two-Lines, Plus.

All 5 of the tests I took said pregnant. Um! What is happening to my life right now?!

Excitement and fear began to quickly well up in me. I hadn't prepared at all to be pregnant. I didn't know…..I had no clue what I was supposed to do next. Pregnancy books were not apart of my monthly book club nor my Audible wishlist.

Thank goodness for a loving, supportive, and crazed-wife-handling-husband because he was able to calm me right down and put all this into perspective. He said, "You are an amazing wife, and you are going to be an amazing mother! We are so blessed to have each other and to bring another life into our family!" He is amazing, I know.

From that moment on most of the fear I was feeling subsided and we began to really do some research about what we needed to do next. I made a doctors appointment for about two weeks out and we called our moms.
Mistake number 1.
When I went in for my doctors appointment I was very excited. I went alone because honey had to work but I had him on speed dial (read in my favorites menu on my iPhone) and was primed to call him with all the details. Well, the details turned out to be not so good news. I was pregnant but my levels were not where they should have been. The doctor told me to come back next week to check my levels again. She informed me that my levels should have doubled by next week and that's what she was looking for.

The next week rolled around and my numbers had only gone up slightly. They had not doubled. My doctor was very calm and reassuring. She asked me to come back in the following week to check my numbers again. Um….ok. You're the expert on these things. I'll just wait in heightened anticipation to find out what's really going on with me.

When the third week approached I had figured out that it probably wasn't going to be good news. This is not how the story goes. I'd heard the story time and time again about the pregnancy tests. Check. The excitement. Check. The fear. Check. The doctors appointment. Check. But that's where my story takes a left and not a right. I was having a miscarriage at 10 weeks along.

The story continues......next week.


Monday, August 11, 2014

My YouTube Obsession: Since 2006 + My YouTube Channels

Hello all.

If you are reading this blog post I want to give you a huge thank you. It still amazes me that anyone will read my blog. Like its so surreal and plus I know that I'm the worst blogger in the history of ever. But such is life and my life right now has been a bit crazy lately.

I am a teacher so we got out of school on June 6th. I taught summer school from June 9th - 27th. Then has an open myomectomy (c-section type incision) to remove a large fibroid on July 1st and have been recovering for the past month. I go back to work teaching on August 18th and start grad school to get my LPC on August 26th. So I've been a busy girl. Quick update for everyone!

Back to YT: I've been a member of YouTube since 2006. I always loved watching Panacea81's makeup tutorials. YT wasn't nearly as popular as it is now but it was so much fun to get a glimpse into people's lives.

When I got married my husband always wondered what I did on my computer all the time. I told him blogging but it was really watching youtube videos. I watch more YouTube than I watch actual TV. Pretty soon after figuring out what I was really doing my husband started asking me why I didn't make YouTube videos. Ummm?? Are you crazy? People like me don't make YouTube videos. That's year for my birthday he bought me a video camera. OMG!

Well with that little camera I started to make crafting videos on my AlwaysAngella channel and they were fun. No one could see me, just my hands, and I didn't have to get dressed, do my hair, or change out of my jammies!

One day my dear husband asked to use my iPad so he could watch YouTube videos. He ended up going through my subscriptions and realized that I didn't only watch crafting videos but that I also watched a ton of beauty videos. Then he put two and two together and realized that I have a ton of makeup in the bathroom that I love to play with on the rare occasion that we actually leave the house to go do stuff. And he started requesting me to do a beauty video. What-the-what? Put my face on Youtube? Not happening. That was crazy and bizarre, and I was scared. Terrified actually as my people pleasing demon reared it's ugly head and quickly took a firm grip of my will power and cast it as far as the east is from the west. Seriously!

Well that was a few years ago now and as I've gotten older I've come to realize that I am not a coward and I just need to take a few more risks in my life and stop playing so safe with things that I want, and I've secretly always wanted to make YouTube videos. I'm just so intrigued by YouTube and have always wanted to be apart of the YouTube community. So I did it, well, we did it. My husband and I have been making so seriously fun-to-make videos on my beauty channel SoCarterChic. Check them out below.





And I have a new planner video up on my crafty channel AlwaysAngella. Check that out below.


Making these videos have been so much fun. Hubby has even gotten in on the editing and he loves that too so definitely subscribe if you have not already by using the links above, comment and let me know what you think of the video and ideas for future videos, and thank you so much for hanging around with me here on the blog. I really appreciate at you all.

See you soon.

Always,

Angella

Friday, June 6, 2014

Marion Smith Designs + Glue Dots Blog Hop

Hello Blog hoppers!!!

Welcome to my first layout of the summer. And it's long over due. I married by hottie husband 3 years ago and I've only scrapbooked it twice since then. It's a total shame I know but I'm working on it.


I started with the cut-a-part sheet from the Garment District Collection. They provided my perfect backdrop to frame the two pictures that I wanted to capture. 

Next I tried lots of things. I tried frames, ornate and Polaroid. That didn't work. I tried lots of layered card stock. That didn't work. This is one of those layouts I had to walk away from and come back to it. 



I just kept pulling things out. Trying it. And moving it to the side. #messycrafter 
Eventually it started to come together when I pulled the gold scallop faux-leather ribbon from my Filofax stash. These came from Target. I used the cute bow-tie packaging from this ribbon on the project as well. 




Here you can see that I used the 1" glue dots to adhere all the inner pieces of the bow to the layout. I love that they come on the backing paper because it's really easy to cut them in half and move things around no the layout without committing right away. 


Since Glue Dots are an adhesive you don't get to see what they can really do. I used them to adhere all of my embellishments on this layout, including all of the Marion Smith Junque & Gems. The intricate details of these embellishment make it a little challenging to adhere. My favorite way to to it is to sew them down. But the 1" glue dots worked perfectly for both the metal embellies and the gorgeous cabochons. 


The glue dot dispenser has to be my favorite. It's great for putting glue dots in the tightest of places. This camera wood veneer was almost broken in two but I was able to get a glue dot just underneath the camera to adhere it to the layout. 

I also used the 2" glue dots to make the large ribbon flower at the bottom of the layout. So easy to do. 


Of course I had to add my favorite stamping sprinkled around the layout. I'm definitely a stamp lover. 


It was so much fun to create this layout. I had a lots of fun and challenged myself to work outside my comfort zone. I love how every time I do that I get a boost in creativity. Off to create more projects. 

Make sure you stop by the Glue Dots website to enter the giveaway. You can win a prize pack of Glue Dots and Marion Smith Designs products. 

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check out the other designers from Marion Smith Designs.





and the Glue Dots Design Team: 


Glue Dots® are double-sided adhesives that bond instantly to virtually any surface. They are mess-free, acid-free, non-toxic, and require no dry time; making them great for paper crafts, scrapbooking, decorating, home d├ęcor projects and more! 

Products from Marion Smith Designs are available at Scrapbook.com and BlueMoonScrapbooking.com for online ordering.  You can also find Glue Dots® products, including the new Desktop Dispenser, online at Jo-Ann.com or at your local Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.”

Thanks for stopping by. 

Angela Carter

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lately....

Lately, I have had the strangest feeling....I totally couldn't help myself on that one. That song is a classic. Lately | Jodeci or Stevie Wonder


Made this card for a co-worker who bought a gift for Bella & Boomer

getting ready for graduation. Eeek. So excited.
celebrating Mama's yesterday.
listening to my students go bezerk over applesauce. They love applesauce. If I'd only know this 30 weeks ago.
looking forward to seeing my Bella and Boomer tonight. They are too adorable.
addicted to goat cheese bruschetta with bacon. Yummo
downloaded this song. I'm obsessed with it.
seeing the end of the tunnel and longing for more.
drinking lots and lots of water.
feeding my soul. Did you see Lifeclass with T.D. Jakes? It was good.
pushing through this week so that the graduation hoopla will be over.
feeling like I will never finish with school. PHD here I come.
leaving my old clothes behind and moving into a new (smaller) size. Feels good.
walking and trying to leash train the puppies. It was a no-go on the first round.
loving the days when I get to do directly home after work and chill.
planning new blog posts and new blog redesign.
wishing you a happy Monday.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Five of Friday | More Books, Puppy Prep, and more.

{ONE}


Why didn't I think of that?

A good insta-friend of mine posted this today. She is a book reviewer and every time she posts a picture of her library I am filled with awe. Oh how I love a book and even better is a small or large army of  books. Can anyone really ever have too many books? Well, there was that one episode of Hoarders......

{TWO}



After not falling in love with my A5 Malden like I thought I would, and like scores of other planner people have, I decided to try the personal size. As soon as it came out of the box it was love of first sight. It is so compact and flexible and the leather is simply gorgeous. I am a very satisfied planner nerd and offically a malden lover. 

{THREE}


And yes you are reading this correctly. And yes I know that I have a bit of a Filofax problem. I couldn't help myself when this King Fisher Blue Metropol popped up in the Filofax For Sale site on Facebook. I had to have it and it's gorgeous. The color is very similar to my Daytimer Malibu in Teal but it's buttery smooth.

{FOUR}

 

These cuties are coming home for the weekend. We are in full on puppy prep mode at home so that our little doxie's will be safe and comfortable. I totally forgot how expensive dog crates are. Especially now that there will be two of them. Eek!!! I think I spent $150 on just dog crates, dog beds, food, and toys. My puppy babies are totally worth it. 

{FIVE}


My first pup was Teddy-Boo. He was the most perfect dog. He potty trained in a week. He was such an easy dog to train. He now lives with my mom and apparently my brother taught him to play video games. Uh, yeah!!! Whatever, Taylor!!!