Thursday, March 7, 2013

7 Signs That Your Therapist Sucks

 I started therapy a couple weeks ago and already I know it is NOT a good fit. It is extremely important that you find a therapist that works for you or guess what? It's just not going to work! Although these apply to male and female therapists, mine is a woman so I will be referring to her as such in this post. So here are some tells that it's time to break up with your therapist and move on to better psychological pastures.

1. She does not go over her legal responsibilities and your legal rights when it comes to privacy ect. (I learned to do this in my first day of class.  It's Ethics 101!)

2. She immediately begins diagnosing every person in your life that you talk about. 
It was unbelievable that she had the ability to diagnose everyone that I know with a mental illness within a few sentences. Apparently everyone I know is crazy.

3. She talks more than you do during a session.
I don't know about you but when I'm paying to come and talk to someone I expect to do most of the talking. Feedback is great but I should be able to finish a thought before someone jumps in and tells me how I feel.

4. She one ups you.
Now there is nothing wrong with a situational anecdote here and there to make the client feel like the therapist can identify. But when every story you tell her is followed with her own heart wrenching experience you start to wonder who the therapist is in the situation.

5. She passes judgement.
A therapist is supposed to view you with unconditional positive regard. I had a rather rough day on Monday and ended up being in a situation where I had to let Arya cry it out. For those of you who know me, you know that I am more of an "attachment parenting" type of person. I felt extremely guilty about the whole situation and was looking for understanding from the woman I'm literally paying to be understanding. But instead I got a lecture about all of the negative effects I'm having on my child. NOT HELPFUL LADY.

6. She pushes drugs.
Now there is nothing wrong with medication to treat psychological disorders. Hell I'm on an anti-depressant. But your therapist should not scoff at certain medications and promote others. I can see right through you. I am not an idiot. I know that you are being paid off by pharmaceutical reps, but please keep my best interests in mind and DO NOT act like you are an expert when it comes to prescription drugs. You are NOT a medical doctor!

7. She gives advice and/or coerces you. 
A therapist is supposed to guide you through your journey  to newfound understanding and a better quality of life. She is NOT supposed to take the reins. If your therapist is telling you what you need to do, something is wrong. Especially when you have absolutely no established trust and when your client is telling you they don't want to take said advice. You know that it's over.

"Now that's a deal breaker" -- Elizabeth Lemon

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A little over 3 months ago I gave birth to the most amazing little girl in the world. And I fell in love despite our initial rocky start and difficult labor. When we got home from the hospital, it was bliss. I was sooo happy to have her all to ourselves. Mommy, daddy and baby the perfect little family unit! Things were great, we didn't sleep much and I had some issues with breastfeeding but other than that things were truly wonderful.

Flash forward one week and my husband is back to work and I'm alone in the house with a fussy crying baby and I'm crying right along with her. At first we thought it was just the "baby blues" that this would pass and I would get out of this funk. But as days went on I felt more overwhelmed and much less happy than I had ever anticipated my first month home with baby would be.

Then came the excuses, the explanations: I'm just sleep deprived, I am not eating enough, maybe I just plain suck at being a mother! That last one is the one that I clung onto. And when my husband got home from work everyday he would hear about it. About how things just weren't clicking and how hard everyday was. How tired I was and how I didn't want to do anything. How I wanted to go back to work at a minimum wage job because I clearly was not cut out for this whole mommy thing. And he started to get it.

My husband stepped up the help and the support. He told me I was a good mother while I stood crying holding my baby several nights a week, he held the baby while I slammed doors and threw fits. Maybe I wasn't getting out enough. So when he could actually convince me to see other people I saw friends or left the house and I felt okay for a little while, sometimes, but then the feeling just kept coming back. And soon I started lashing out at Nick and that's when we knew it wasn't just a "funk" something was really wrong. But I kept denying it. Because I didn't want it to be true, because I was ashamed of how I felt. Because I felt guilty for not being able to shake this awful feeling in spite of being absolutely blessed with Arya. I was so grateful for her but I spent a lot of my time thinking, "why did I have this baby?" and thinking about how selfish I was for bringing her into this world when clearly I wasn't doing anything but screwing her up!

Then I started to think that her world might be a better place if I wasn't in it... And then I got it.

I had full blown postpartum depression (PPD) and I couldn't have felt any more ashamed of myself. I felt like it was my fault, I felt embarrassed and I still do. This is not a "I was so sad but look at how I overcame it blah blah blah" story. This is what is happening to me right now and I'm struggling with it every single day. After finally admitting to myself that I was depressed a few weeks ago I made some changes. I am now in therapy every other week and I joined a new gym which I am trying to frequent often. I have also started taking Zoloft. Because no I can not will myself back to normal. I had tried that technique for months and it just does not work.

And up until today I haven't told more than a handful of people. There's a huge stigma surrounding PPD and I hate it. Even the anonymous world of the internet keeps it a dirty little secret. All of the forum posts and blog posts I found were "I had PPD and it was really horrible but now I'm better so it's okay to talk about it."

I am currently studying to be a professional therapist (although due to my PPD I am taking medical leave for the semester). And what I would tell a patient is that they should not feel shame, they should not hide. They need to reach out! So I am taking my own advice despite the huge amount of shame and guilt and all kinds of awful things I'm feeling and I'm reaching out. I need support and love now more than ever.

One of the many reasons I haven't wanted anyone to know is that I feel like my peers and my family will think this makes me an unfit mother. It doesn't. Right now while my mind is clear I can say in all honesty that I know what my daughter needs more than anyone else and that I am the best caregiver for her at the moment. Is that to say that I don't need help? Hell no! I do need help- but more than help I need support. And I know every other mom out there needs support especially other moms with PPD (which is about 20% of the new mommy population.) And keeping this a deep dark secret isn't helping anyone!

This is me reaching out. This is me asking for support for myself and my family and offering it other moms in return. This is me trying to banish the stigma attached to psychological disorders. If anyone is reading this who has PPD please tell your story! Please reach out! Do not feel shame! You didn't ask for this illness and I know you feel like you should be able to handle it on your own but you probably can't. And that's okay.

I'm taking it one day at a time. I have a lot of bad days but I also have a lot of good ones. And I know that eventually with support, therapy, medication and a healthy lifestyle the good will soon outweigh the bad.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Birth Story

Lets play a little catch up. The last 2 weeks of my pregnancy week 39 and week 40 sucked! I was giant and antsy and emotional and stressed. My blood pressure was going up and up for no other reason besides stress. So I stepped away from the world, didn't answer my phone most days and pretty much just tried to relax and get ready for the baby. I was going to the midwives office twice a week and to the chiropractor 3 times per week.

To sum it up I was sick of being pregnant! And I was trying anything and everything I could to get her out. I tried bouncing on the birth ball all day, spending hours on all fours, scrubbing all of my floors and baseboards, walking walking and more walking, going up and down stairs, red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, squats squats and more squats, oregano, spicy food, literally pounds and pounds of pineapple. Like so much pineapple my tongue started to look like it was falling apart.

Oh and I'd  been having contractions on and off for 2 weeks. So when my last midwife appointment came around I figured I'd be dilated or effaced or something. They checked me at 40 weeks 6 days and I was "maybe a finger tip dilated." That was it on the way home I broke down crying that she'd never come and I'd have to be induced and probably end up with a c-section. Little did I know that my baby was coming the very next day.

I woke up at 3:23am and felt it. A gush of fluid. At first I thought maybe I'd just peed myself (like I had been doing for the last 2 weeks almost daily, NEWS FLASH: Pregnancy is really gross). But when I went into the bathroom and felt the liquid I knew there was no way that was urine. This was happening and I was one of the 15% who's labor starts off with their water breaking. And this was not the ideal situation for me at all.

Earlier in the pregnancy I suffered from a kidney infection cause by Group B Strep. It's a virus that naturally lives in 30% of the population's digestive track and it's usually harmless except during pregnancy where it can wreak havoc on your urinary tract. It can also cause complications with the baby during child  birth which is why they immediately start you on IV antibiotics when you go to the hospital in labor.

So the real risk to the baby occurs when the water breaks it opens up the amniotic sac to the world which can expose the baby to infection. Generally the first 16 hours are safe after that the risk of infection and complication increase. Which means they need to get the baby out stat, which unfortunately means Pitocin.

We called Wendy our midwife and she confirmed that we should head to the hospital. So off we went! And we went and in the excitement and nervousness we forgot to leave our weapons at home. At 3:30am when you get to the hospital you have to go through metal detectors Nick panicked and through a magazine in the trash before he realized he also had a knife on him and ran back to the car leaving me alone to enter the hospital.  I went through the medical detector and so did my purse when I heard, "Ma'am is there a weapon in your purse?" the puzzled look on the security guards' face was priceless. I had forgot about my big scary knife in there. I then told them about my husband's situation and they had quite a laugh claiming, "that baby will be born holding a glock."

I finally made it up to labor and delivery where they took me to triage and checked me, I was still only 1 cm dilated and I couldn't even feel my contractions. They sent me to my room and started me on pitocin and within an hour or two I was in agony. One of my nurses was sweet and understanding quiet and non intrusive. The other was in my face, pushy and drove me nuts. Her intentions were good but she kept giving me advice that felt completely unnatural to me. When you're in labor your body lets you know what you should be doing and everything she told me to do felt horrible and I eventually refused to do it. Since having the baby I've forgotten a lot of my labor, but here's what I remember. Once things got going I didn't want anyone around me besides my husband. I wish so badly that the nurses could have just left me alone to do my thing, but they couldn't. The baby did not stay still during labor so every few minutes they'd come in and try to find her heartbeat with the strap on monitors. They did this in the middle of horrible contractions. It's hard to get in the zone when people are pushing on your sensitive contracting uterus. I remember walking around the halls contracting and everyone kept stopping and asking me if I was okay, annoying. I remember we moved between rooms and I remember that every time we were alone and I got into a good place with my contractions someone came and interrupted me telling me to do something else. Wendy my midwife was MIA all day through my labor and I really needed her there. She is the only one besides my husband who ended up giving me any strength or comfort, unfortunately she didn't get to the hospital until I had already gone through 14 hours of unmedicated pitocin filled labor. I was exhausted, scared and completely on edge. I could not relax at all. I went from breathing through my contractions to screaming through them. Wendy arrived and helped me to catch my breath a bit, but it was too little too late. I needed an epidural.

I really wanted to have a natural childbirth. No medical interventions. I wanted a midwife to help me through my labor, not just come in at the last minute to deliver my baby. But that's not what I got. I got pitocin, antibiotics and an epidural. I barley saw my midwife. Things did not go as planned. Right before I got the epidural my body started to push a bit through my contractions. After the epidural I still felt quite a bit of pain and still kept feeling the urge to push until it was unbearable. I was 6 cm before the epidural an hour or so later the baby's head was in the birth canal and I needed to push.

I pushed for half an hour and I got the mirror so I could see what was going on. It was so encouraging to see the baby's head come out a little more with every push and then very quickly the head was out. After a few more pushes I heard someone start shouting out numbers and suddenly one of the nurses jumped on top of me and pushed my belly with all her might as my midwife told me to push over and over again. The baby's shoulders were stuck but after a few crazy panicked seconds she was born.

They plopped her on my chest and nothing else mattered. She didn't cry at first she just laid breathing on my chest. Feeling her warm skin against mine was the greatest feeling in the world.  Her first cries were the best thing I'd ever heard. Everything about those first moments was perfect. My pregnancy was not perfect, my labor was not perfect, but my baby was.

It was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

36 & 37 Weeks Pregnant

I am full term this week! Yay!

And baby girl is as big as a.....

An oddly shaped watermelon! I seriously don't know how she can get much bigger in there. I do not have anymore room. According to most pregnancy resources her movement should be slowing because she's so squished, not my  little one! She's as active as ever and doesn't care that my skin only stretches so much. I've got limbs popping out all the time. I freak everyone out around me because I'm randomly gasping when she does a big sudden kick. I often feel like I'm just going to fall over.

So here's a brief summary of week 36. I spent most of that week being worried about the baby's well being and trying to get everything ready in time for her to be here. I was itchy and nauseated all of the time. I also had some crazy stuff happen on top of the Cholestasis. Like for instance my dad had a heart attack. For those of you who know my dad you know my dad does not treat his body well. He is a hard worker and he will work and work and work until he literally has to spend the next day recovering on the couch because he pushed himself to hard. For years he's been drinking and smoking too much in attempts to try and ignore some of the serious physical pains that he goes through so that he can keep on working and working. He's retired by the way he just couldn't stop working. And after an especially bad busy week he suffered from a heart attack for 3 days straight. Thankfully the heart attack was minor but it was definitely a wake up call and my dad is now taking care of himself. I was terrified of losing my dad, and scared that my daughter wouldn't have her grandfather. The whole incident made me more appreciative of my dad, my family and my pregnancy. But it's been a serious emotional roller coaster for me.

So since I found out I had Obstetric Cholestasis I've changed my diet to less that 40 grams of fat per day, increased my seafood intake, pumped up my fruit intake even more somehow and started drinking hot water with lemon in the mornings and the evenings to help cleanse my liver. And it worked. My last 3 blood tests have come back not only normal but with the lowest possible bile acid score on the scale. My most recent blood test showed that not only were my bile acids perfect but every liver/gall function test was perfect as well. My Dr couldn't believe it and even asked my for my "secrets." He said I pretty much cured myself.

What does that mean exactly? I am still being closely 2 doctors appointments per week, 2 NSTs, blood tests and once per week an ultrasound. But as long as everything keeps coming back normal I WILL NOT be induced! I am so excited to most likely be allowed to have the natural birth that I've always wanted.

And other good news, I have almost all of the signs of prelabor. Which I'm hoping means she's coming sooner than expected anyway. I also have an appointment this Thursday with my masseuse to do some reflexology that supposedly can get me moving along towards labor and delivery.

I still haven't gained any more weight so I'm at a grand total of 32 lbs. I did however notice 3 tiny stretch marks on the underside of my belly and the stretch marks on my hips from puberty have expanded slightly. I've got a few on my thighs as well. If that's all I get I'll consider myself very lucky. Here's the belly the last 2 weeks.

Week 36

Week 37

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

34 Weeks Pregnant

34 weeks! I feel so close to meeting her and I'm so excited!

Baby is as big as a....

Yes a Butternut Squash..

And I wouldn't be surprised if she was longer than one. Her head is way way low and her feet mostly reside in my rib cage :)

This week the baby can actually recognize songs that I play around her and react to them. Super neat! Also kind of gross: she's peeing about a pint a day all around herself! lol.

So in week 34 I got over my kidney infection. Yay! Nick and I focused pretty hard on getting the baby room ready. Buying all the stuff we didn't get from the showers and putting it together. There are a few tiny things that need to get done before I can post pictures of the nursery. But I just love it. It's my favorite room in the house and Nick worked so hard to make it perfect I feel so lucky that our daughter gets to be in such an amazing environment with so many cool things.

This week I had a weird pregnancy symptom (itching all over) so I ended up calling the Dr about it and I set up to have blood work this past Friday. It turns out my bile acids are elevated indicating that I have Cholestasis of Pregnancy. This effects aprox. 1 in 1000 pregnancies and is kind of scary. Basically what's happening is my liver is not functioning correctly. My body is producing bile and my liver can not process it so the extra bile stays in my blood stream and can move through the placenta to the baby. Baby's liver can not handle the bile so it can lead to some issues. Overall it's not super dangerous it just changes some things... I need to maintain a healthy low fat diet, I am no longer going to be able to have a natural occurring labor, I will have to be induced, I am not allowed to birth in the natural birthing suite that I had planned on, I am still seeing my midwives but start seeing a new ob in addition to them on Friday, I got for non stress tests twice a week as well as once a week blood draws, I get an ultrasound once per week starting Friday and baby girl will definitely be an October baby.

Not going to lie, this news has been rough. But I'm starting to realize that life does not give a shit about my plan and I need to accept that. I'm working on it. I want what is best for Arya. What's best for her would have been a normal pregnancy and a completely unmedicated natural birth. But under  these circumstances we are now considered high risk and I'm willing to do anything/go through anything to get her out and into our arms okay.

During my kidney infection my weight jumped up pretty high, but it has dropped back down. I was really swollen during that time so I'm guessing it was just water weight. My total pregnancy weight gain so far is 32lbs. I haven't been exercising much at all except for cleaning my house and constantly running errands. And the last time I measured my waist was 44 inches around, prepregnancy was 29 so that's quite a difference!

Here is my belly this week on the left is my belly from Saturday and the right is my belly on Sunday. It appears as though she is starting to drop!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weeks 32 & 33

Holy crap I'm 33 weeks. It's insane actually typing that.

This week baby is as big as a....

Can you believe it folks? As big as a weird looking fruit?

She feels super long recently her feets are always hanging out in my ribs or on my stomach or what I imagine is my stomach. This week she's coordinated her breathing and sucking motions. She also keep her pretty little eyes open when she's awake now. D'awwww.

So week 32 & 33 were full of exhaustion and pain and itching.

Week 32 was pretty great it was a little painful and a lot stressful as it was my second baby shower which was mom and sister funded but I had a crap ton of work to do for it. Thanks to Aud and Katrina we got everything done. But I definitely over did myself on the days leading up to the shower. So I wasn't surprised that the day after the shower I was in a lot of pain and super tired.

That Monday I was pushing through the pain as was expected of me and going on with my normal day to day responsibilities. Tuesday I woke up in worse pain but I figured I just pulled my back out and kept going and going. That is until my body physically wouldn't let me. The pain was getting worse and worse and I finally couldn't even get out of bed. That night was a cycle of me being in pain and tolerating it for about an hour then crying for a half an hour then taking a hot bath then falling asleep for 30 min then starting all over again. My mom came over the next morning to help me with the pets. But being the person I am I still ended up doing my dishes and some straightening even though I was in excruciating pain. I had a 12:30 chiropractic appt that day and could not wait to get some relief from what I thought was maybe me "overdoing it." When Katrina called at 11:30 to ask how I was doing she noticed that I was bawling my eye balls out. So she offered to drive me and after refusing her a few times I finally accepted.

When I got to the chiropractor she wanted me to get my massage first to relieve my pain. Bad idea. It was one of my most painful experiences ever and I literally threw up on the table. Which was incredibly embarrassing. When it came to my adjustment Dr Rose felt how cold and shaky I was. She also noticed I was pale and texted my midwife. And they decided I should go to the hospital.

I am so thankful that someone recognized that I was seriously ill. I guess I got so used to pushing through the pain and brushing it off. So sick of annoying people with my complaints and questions that I ignored my own body and kept pushing through. Because hey I'm pregnant but all pregnant people deal with this so shut up and stop complaining and just do what has to be done. I had apparently lost the ability to advocate for myself.

I got wheeled up to triage and the first thing the nurse told me was, "I hate to break it to you, but back pain is a normal part of pregnancy. I had it, you have it and so does every other pregnant person ever." I listened to her tell me techniques to ease the "normal" back pain of pregnancy... And then there came the strong mama lion that had been pushed away by so many, too many dismissals by so many people who I don't even care about. "Excuse me I don't think you quite understand me. This pain is at a 9 or a 10. I may seem calm and collected because I am good about pain but on the inside I am in so much pain I can not stand it. And by the way have any of you even spoken to my Dr? The person who sent me here in the first place? Clearly she thinks that something serious is going on and I'm not just here because this is where I choose to spend my evenings." The nurse did not say anything again until she took my temp and realized that I had a 101.2 fever and that my heart rate was 150 and the baby's was 180+. "Oh looks like you and baby are tacky and have a fever. Maybe there is something going on here," she said and I wanted to punch her in her stupid bitch face.

I was admitted and didn't have to deal with that bitch again thankfully. The actual birthing staff was amazing and helpful and caring. But boy do those triage nurses suck. I mean really really suck.

Turned out I had a kidney infection. Which means that I also had a UTI for quite sometime that went unnoticed because I began to tell myself everything was normal normal normal. Because I let the opinions of others interfere with my well being, which I don't plan on doing again. So after 2 nights at the hospital I was released and sent home with antibiotics to finish up.

Moral of the story: fuck other people's opinions if you feel like something isn't right then something probably isn't right. And also that I need to slow down. I need to take care of myself and my baby girl better. It is extremely hard because Nick works soooo much and it sucks sooo bad that adding on extra for him to do when he comes home is horrible. My mom has been helping more which is amazing and I really appreciate but I have a really hard time excepting help. I feel like such a burden these days and I know it's not going to get any easier any time soon.

Despite all of the bad this week I am still thankful for my life. I have an amazing husband, a few totally awesome friends, a set of parents who want to see me happy, the most incredible sister to ever grace the planet and... The most important thing in my world, my growing happy active baby girl.

Some good moments...

Me and baby enjoyed the most delectable treat in the world together. 
Thinking about baby Arya and soon to be her best friend <3

Belly Pictures....

week 32

week 32

week 33

week 33

Saturday, September 8, 2012

30 & 31 Weeks Pregnant

Today I am 31 weeks pregnant! Wow.

Baby is as big as...

Weeks 30 & 31 were pretty similar. After weeks of seeing the chiropractor my hips are finally aligned! Rejoice!!! I can definitely feel the difference. I only have really bad pain when I'm on my feet for a long period of time or when I get up from bed or sitting. So now I only have to go once per week which is awesome because I only have 30 visits covered so I should be good as long as I keep going and don't let them get completely out of whack again.

 I'm really happy that I did not just accept what my Dr first told me about my pain and did my own research and got help. I could not imagine how much pain I would be in on a daily basis now that my bump is this big on top of a completely misaligned pelvis. Take my advice, if you feel like something isn't normal get a second opinion, it can't hurt.

Baby girl has been super active the past 2 weeks which is fun to watch and interact with.  She's been busy developing her brain more and accumulating more fat. Sounds totally rad in there.

I've been feeling really motivated the past 2 weeks, I guess I'm "nesting." I've been organizing and working more. I managed to finish a rough draft of my first paper of the term! I also dedicated some time to my art work these past two weeks....

Going to be split into 2 frames for Arya's room.

A few details left to do but I'm pretty proud of it!

My total pregnancy weight gain is now 30lbs! Whoa!! I'm actually not too concerned because I know that I'm getting the nutrition that I need and that I'm staying as active as I can. No stretch marks yet! But my belly is getting super duper itchy. I have to apply my belly oil 3+ times a day now. Also I don't know if everyone who had a navel piercing had this but the old piercing area is extraordinarily itchy and also sometimes red and burny feeling. It's not so bad that I think infection I'm guessing maybe the scar tissue just isn't stretching very easily?

Here are belly pics for these 2 weeks!

30 weeks

30 weeks

30 weeks. D'awww. 
31 weeks. Looking like my mama here.

31 weeks

31 weeks