Why am I Blogging?

I took a break from blogging this last few days because I needed some time to step back and reflect on not only what I’ve been writing for the past few years, but where I want the writing to go in the future. I began blogging to keep in touch with family and friends while traveling overseas, and continued blogging because I not only enjoyed it, but it became very therapeutic and a much needed creative outlet. It’s true that writing benefits my soul and my need to “let it all out”, but I’ve learned that it does so much more. I’ve been able to make connections with people from around the world, find new friends and reconnect with old friends. It’s grown and I’ve grown right along with it.

Enjoying the beaches of southern Albania, where my blogging all began!
Enjoying the beaches of southern Albania, where my blogging all began!

Positively Panicked actually began as Adventures of a Teacher. My blogged centered around teaching and traveling in Europe for year, and I thought it would end there. Then, I moved to New York and decided to continue sharing my new adventures. Soon after, I created Positively Panicked as an outlet for my anxiety with a hope that I could reach out and relate to people with similar issues. However, a lot happened over the last three years and I began blogging about weddings, life in the city, reviews, giveaways, marriage, moving, buying a home and of course, having a baby. When I look back over my post it reads like a diary or a blog-themed reality show. Honestly, it’s a hot mess of ideas, stories and the misadventures of me.

A whirlwind of coming back to the states, going to Disney, getting engaged and moving to NY!
A whirlwind of coming back to the states, going to Disney, getting engaged and moving to NY!

The one theme that has remained is positivity. I try my best to be a positive person. Whether I’m chasing after a missed train in Italy, losing luggage in New York, crying in the doctor’s office, freaking out over seating charts, creating elementary curriculums, learning to live in the country or losing sleep because of a newborn; I have tried to find the silver lining or the light at the end of the tunnel and I owe that to this blog. I am definitely not always positive. My life has some really crappy moments like everyone else’s, but when I decide to write and share these moments with you I begin to look at those crappy experiences differently. As I write, I learn to find the good.

Trying to find our way in Stockholm.
Trying to find our way in Stockholm.

There are many days that I wake up wanting to do nothing. Sometimes (okay, lots of times) sleeping late, staying in my pj’s, ignoring my phone and binging on Netflix and frozen pizza is what I want most. Sometimes I give into these lazy days of indulgence because we all need a good pajama day, but most days I choose to find an adventure. I choose to get out, to live, to meet people, to face my anxiety, to jump off that cliff, run across the train tracks, buy that one way ticket, attempt to cook, attend that party and everything else. It all began because I needed something to write about. I needed stories to share, so I went out and found a story, and now? Now, it’s a beautiful habit. Now, I know I’ll be more than happy that I got out and faced some fear. Now, it’s easier to see the positive side of life. Now, I hope to encourage some of you.

Just "monkeying around" in Costa Rica
Just “monkeying around” in Costa Rica

Don’t let fear rule your life. It’s so easy to stay home, to make excuses and dwell on everything wrong in life, but why settle for easy? Challenge yourself to find daily adventure. Quit putting off that getaway, that coffee with a long-lost friend, that sewing project or that overdue doctor appointment. Look at it like a new adventure and search for that silver lining. It’s not always easy, in fact, it’s often a huge challenge, but that’s what makes life worth living. Some days you’ll fail and settle for a pajama day, but other days you’ll jump and you’ll wonder what you were ever so afraid of, and you’ll learn a lot about yourself and a strength you never knew you had.

Meeting Luna
Meeting Luna

That’s where I want my blog to focus. I will be sharing my adventures (the good, the bad and the scary), writing about the times I succeed and the many times I fail while searching for the good in it all. I hope you join me for the ride!

Cheers!

A Recent Panic Attack

Every since having Luna (remember that whole traumatic experience?) I have been battling high blood pressure and anxiety. The anxiety was expected. I’ve always had very high anxiety, so I just assumed it would be a little extreme after having a baby, with all the crazy hormones and whatnot. I did not ever think I’d be in the hospital for 10 days, be put on tons of medication and end up seeing a hypertension specialist at Vanderbilt. Since coming home with Luna, and a new list of prescriptions, I have  started (been ordered to) take my blood pressure daily.

For the first couple of months it was very low, like “my body only moves in slow-motion” low. The doctor cut my meds down and it stayed on the lower side so my meds got cut back again. (Woo!) About a week after cutting out one pill my blood pressure shot up. It was through the roof all night, and it sent me into a panic. And, in case you weren’t sure, having a panic attack isn’t a good companion for high blood pressure, nope not one bit.

My doctor is very cool, straight-forward and blunt. I called him late at night (bet he regrets giving me his cell number now) and tried in my calmest voice to say “Oh hey, so my blood pressure is high and also I am freaking out a little, okay a lot. Should I be worried about dying?” My doctor basically said, “Stop it. You’re fine. Take your medicine and chill out.” He so does not get “anxiety” or “panic attacks”. Anytime I mention it he just says, “Why? I don’t understand. You’ll live to be a 100. Calm down.”

His inability to relate or understand is somehow very calming to me. That night, I managed to go to sleep, but anxiety took over the next day. I don’t know what it is about health problems, but anytime something comes up with my health I completely meltdown. I kid you not, but for 2 straight days last weeks I was incapable of almost anything. I physically and mentally shutdown. I could not write, get dressed, run errands, clean, eat…nothing. I hate admitting this because it sounds lazy and selfish. It’s all so dramatic, but I truly can’t help it.

know that the more I do, the better I feel. I know how to take deep breaths, think positive and do all of that crap, but nothing would work. Whenever I panic, like for real panic, it seems impossible to reverse the effects. My mind was consumed with images of my funeral, with thoughts of Luna being raised without me and a constant stream of negativity. It’s awful and weird to admit these fears that reveal themselves during an anxiety attack, but they’re real for me. I don’t think I went half an hour without breaking down in tears for those two days.

I could feel myself sinking. As I got lower, everything good in life seemed further away. Husband, Luna, my life…they were all just above the surface as I struggled to keep my head above the water. By day two, I could see a little light. I could see the stress on Husband’s face when I broke down, and I knew I had to start taking steps. I remembered two very important words of advice at this point.

The first is a quote from my Grandmother’s journal.

I’m convinced that I will never be without problems of all sorts, but still I must never see the dark pit again. Only an idiot is continually happy, joyous and has no problems; but stupidity is another thing. A stupid person hangs onto that first step and enjoys all that muck he is in. Boy, this second step feels better all the time.

The second is something my Mom told me after having Luna.

Focus on the small victories.

I took their wise words and consciously made an effort to start climbing up that ladder and focusing on my little accomplishments. I forced myself to stop the negative thoughts. They still came, but each time they did I replaced them with something positive…like Luna’s face, dancing, good music, a smoothie, and yoga. I then took action. I forced myself to exercise (hallelujah, does that help!), I only talked about happy things, I hugged and kissed Husband A LOT and before long I actually began believing the positivity.

It wasn’t instant, but I was coming to life again. By the end of the week I was back to my regular kind-of-anxious self. By the time I went to my specialist this week I could actually laugh about my freak out and talk to him without crying. My health still isn’t where I want it to be, which is disappointing, but it’s not horrible either. I’m mostly healthy. I’m happy. I’ll most likely make a full recovery, but if I don’t that’s okay too. That’s why we have doctors and drugs, right? I think my doctor is probably right…I will live to be 100.

Cheers!

New Friend Friday: Meet Dina!

Today, I get to introduce you to a former coworker/friend of mine! Her name is Dina and her blog is My Un-Entitled Life. We met 6 years ago while teaching 2nd grade together. We bonded over student disciplinary problems and our principal’s unrealistic expectations. She was a great teacher to work with (hilarious), but she has also been a stay-at-home Mom, ran her own website, been an expert in cloth diapering (I have so much to learn!) and is a great blogger.

She wrote a piece for us all about living with anxiety, because well..isn’t it obvious? Check out her thoughts on parenting with anxiety…

Dina and her adorable daughter
Dina and her adorable daughter

When you are an anxious person anxiety is just a part of life. It makes you who you are and you just have to deal with it and manage it daily. But make no mistake it affects every decision you make with your children. As a mom of 3 I’ve learned a lot about managing anxiety where my kids are concerned. It’s not easy but it can be done. Here’s some ways that anxiety affects my decision making process with children and how I’ve learned to manage it.

We were young. Just a mere 29 with a toddler and we were looking to purchase a new to us home. We looked at lots of houses. Probably about 60 which if you’re a real estate agent you know that is a LOT. See the problem is I can find fault with each and every house that I looked at when using my parenting eyes. This one has a pool so my child can drown so it’s out. This one sits too close to the interstate so if someone was to snatch my child they’d be out of here before even I knew it. And the list goes on and on. Thank goodness for my hubby’s level head. But even with all the what ifs that run through my head we finally were able to make a decision that we could both agree on. Yes. House bought let’s move on with our life.

Then my oldest started school while I was pregnant with my second. I always thought I would homeschool my child. But he so desired to go to school. So after much anguish and deliberation I enrolled him in public school thinking that would be ok and if it didn’t work out I could pull him out later. We had 1 year out of 4 at this school that was a good year. The other 3 years drove me and my son insane. Finally one of his teachers sat me down and said look at his scores. He’s smart. He’s bored. So after a year from heck we decided to let him test to be in a magnet school. He got in with flying colors and had a really hard first year in. More agonizing ensured. But then it got better and he’s now a junior in high school and simply flying now.

My second son started school at the same magnet school. There were constant problems and I was always trying to figure out what was going on. I had a sleep study done because he was so angry. He had a compulsive need to finish any sentence he started. He couldn’t help himself. After dealing with this for 5 years we finally got a diagnosis. He has ADD. He’s on meds and is doing so well now. I’m so proud of all he’s overcome. He’s a rock star in my eyes. But it was not an easy process on an anxious mama to get him here. There was much hand twisting as I tried mostly on my own to figure out what was going on. The teachers missed all the signs too. He’s not the typical ADD kid but maybe none of them are typical. Being a parent is the hardest job. But it’s so worthwhile. Managing my anxiety now takes on different forms then it used too. I am able to make it work though. It helps to have a hubby who doesn’t have this problem. He makes sound decisions in a snap and probably often looks at me in wonder as I agonize over the smallest decisions. Parenting is a team process and that is a management tool in and of itself. If you are about to become a parent never fear that you will not be good enough. You will be. You just have to keep telling your anxious self that!

Thank you so much Dina for sharing with us! Everyone be sure to see what else Dina has to say on life with 3 kids, frugal living, crafts, reviews and much more!

Cheers!

My Postnatal Eating Plan

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I spent way too much time in high school dieting (i.e. starving myself) to “diet” as an adult. Truth is, I grew up and learned how unhealthy I was as a teenager (skinny does not equal healthy) and learned that eating real and healthy food is much better than no food at all. I began eating less fried food and adding way more fruits and veggies to my diet. Then, around 6 years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. Although, a year ago I started eating seafood again. The technical term for that is “pescatarian”, but I feel very douchey anytime I say that word. Basically, I’ve been a mostly healthy eater for a while now.

anti-anxiety

My diet is healthy, but I do not diet…that makes sense, right? Typically, I do not cut foods out of my diet either. I think the phrase, “everything in moderation” is tried and true. So, if I want fries or a dark chocolate bar, I have some. However, I share my fries and I eat the chocolate bar over a few days. I stuck to my regular diet during pregnancy, worked out regularly and gained about 28 pounds. After having Luna, I was sick, did not eat for 5 days, lost 30 pounds WAY too quickly and therefore ate whatever the hell I wanted once I felt better. NOW, I’m back to the regular diet again, but I’m about to do some tweaking.

chocolate

I stopped counting calories and weighing myself after my high school obsession. Instead, I focus on how I feel, look and how my clothes fit. Since, I am breastfeeding I need more calories than the average bear, but I also need to eat healthy because what I eat, she eats. My stomach is much softer than it used to be so I’d like to tighten that up. AND, I want to keep my anxiety at bay. Diet and exercise have a huge effect on stress and anxiety. I need a plan that will help me eat healthy, tone up and ease anxiety.

app

Here’s what I’m doing for the next few months (simultaneously with my “prenatal workout plan“.

-First, I am cutting out chips. Why? Because I have no self-control when it comes to chips. I cannot just eat a few. I always eat the entire bag, no matter the size, in one sitting. No good comes from chips, so while I get back into shape, chips are forbidden. (I almost deleted this one.)

-I am eating protein every morning. Studies show that eating protein in the AM can ward off anxiety throughout the day. It gives you more energy and keeps your blood sugar stable. Bring on the eggs!

-I am limiting caffeine. I know caffeine makes you jittery and heightens anxiety, but I am stubborn and do not want to cut it out, like ever. I am a passionate coffee drinker. Coffee is what I think about as I lie my head down at night because I cannot wait to wake up and drink a large hot mug of coffee on the couch. It’s a lovely tradition and one cup in the morning will not put me in a panic.

caffeine

– I am drinking a butt-load of water. Dehydration, even the tiniest bit makes you feel awful and definitely affects your mood. The more water I drink the better I feel, physically and mentally.

-I will start eating more vitamin B. Apparently, this vitamin affects your brains  neurotransmitters which fights anxiety. So, I’ll be adding more cauliflower, salmon, eggs, nuts and leafy greens. BTW, I tried making the trendy Mashed Cauliflower everyone keeps raving about and I failed miserably. I’ll stick to mashed potatoes for now.

-I am going to eat foods with more tryptophan. This is the stuff helps you sleep better…nuts, soy products, eggs, tofu, and fish all have tryptophan and are all a part of my healthy eating plan.

-Sadly, I must eat less dairy. I am lactose-intolerant and this can cause irritability and moodiness. During the pregnancy, I ate way more dairy than I ever do because I craved it like crazy. Now, I am trying really hard to cut it out again, but it is so not easy. How can I eat Mexican food and not eat cheese??? It just isn’t right.

-I am eating more healthy fats and fatty acids. Fatty acids actually have a huge impact on your brain and mood. I will be eating a lot of avocados, fish and raw nuts.

-I am also trying to cut out the majority of processed foods. That crap is just crap that can’t be good for our bodies or our minds. I know I won’t cut them out completely, but I’m making an effort to eat way more real and fresh foods.

slap

That’s the plan. I’ll still snack on popcorn, get dessert when we go out and share fries with Husband..definitely not depriving myself. After the next few months I think I’ll not only be ready to hit the beach, but I’m also hoping to be in a calmer state of mind. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to cut out the anxiety meds altogether, but that’s not my main concern. I just want to be healthy, happy and a good role model for Luna.

Cheers!

The Road to Recovery

Today I am 20 days postpartum and feeling a hell of a lot better. After the 10 day hospital stay, the dozens of tests, various doctor visits, and literally hundreds of pills I am happy to say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have learned some very valuable life lessons. Living in the hospital and having my blood pressure taken constantly while slowly having the life drained out of me was my definition of torture. It was as if someone force me to live through my worst nightmare. There were moments when I thought I couldn’t take one more second, but now I realize it was just a stepping stone to what life has in store.

This post is kind of serious, so I'll sprinkle some adorable baby photos throughout to lighten the mood!
This post is kind of serious, so I’ll sprinkle some adorable baby photos throughout to lighten the mood!

I am a positive person, (hello! my blog is called “positively panicked”), but anyone who saw me during that hospital stint will tell you I was in a dark place. I know and have studied all the ways to stay positive…I have been to therapists, studied the benefits of positive thinking, meditated, prayed, trained in yoga and read numerous books on not only how to stop a panic attack with positive thinking, but the benefits of it. Yet, at that moment, fear, anxiety and panic took over. No amount of deep breathing, music or change of thought helped.

After Luna’s delivery I quickly went from new-mommy elation to “I’m going to die” in a matter of hours. It didn’t help that some of the nurses were unaware of my high-anxiety and said the exact wrong things to me. One told me that if my guests didn’t leave I’d have seizure. Then,  a doctor told me that if this were 50 years ago I’d be dead, and Husband would be a widower. He then seemed surprised when I my reaction was to cry and curl up in the fetal position. The shocked look on the professionals faces after my blood pressure tests, the dark hospital room and the strict instructions to stay on my side scared me enough to constantly make me imagine Luna’s life without me in it. I’ve never been so scared.

The side effect of the medicines didn’t help. I had hot flashes, the chills, dizziness, weakness, headaches, numbness and more. They had me on 16 blood pressure pills a day, percocet, ambien, celexa and xanax. I was not only an emotional and physical wreck, but was quickly becoming a zombie. Over-medicated, I was unable to function like a new Mom and had no appetite whatsoever. Before leaving the hospital I’d lost all my pregnancy weight plus some. Not exactly how I planned on getting back into my skinny jeans.

Her nursery is still unfinished, but here's a little peak at her crib.
Her nursery is still unfinished, but here’s a little peak at her crib with her in it.

NOW, I realize this all sounds depressing and awful, but I tell you this to explain to you how I clawed my way out of that dark pit. I hope my experience will be able to help anyone feeling sick or depressed. While bed-ridden I was constantly googling my symptoms and searching for someone, anyone who had experienced what I was going through. I was looking for hope, which I found in many places.

The poor staff at my hospital probably dreaded coming in my room. I cried to every single doctor, nurse and tech I saw. One nurse reminded me over and over again to be kind and gentle to myself. She built me up by reminding me that not only did I go through a traumatic labor, but I created a human and am now solely responsible for feeding that human. She told me I was amazing, but I was also sick and not to feel guilty about that. She hit the nail on the head when she compared being internally sick to being externally sick. If my legs were broken I wouldn’t feel bad about having to wear a cast. I wouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to walk, but because I was hurt where no one could see, I felt ashamed. I couldn’t understand why everything had become so difficult, I didn’t want to accept being on so many meds and I needed to get over that kind of thinking.

I received advice from a few blogs, my best friends, Husband, family and even some of my favorite songs, but perhaps the best advice I got was from my Mom. Mom told me to focus on “small victories”. It seems really silly, but around day 7 in the hospital, I gave it a try. I decided to make one small goal for each day and to revel in its completion. First goal, was to take a shower, brush my teeth and change Luna’s diaper myself. Seems a bit ridiculous, but it took every little bit of me to power through the tasks. I did it, I felt successful and I had one small victory to focus on that day.

sleep

Next, I decided to walk down the hallway. I made it halfway before I began losing vision, but I did it. Once we were in our own home, I continued my “small victories” goals. One day my goal was to bathe Luna, next was to blow dry my hair, then do laundry, go to Target and so on… Eventually, these “small victories” felt like big victories. Before I knew it I had a whole list of little accomplishments to focus on and prove to myself that things were improving and I was healing… slowly but surely.

The biggest problem was my medication. The 16 blood pressure pills a day (for real) have taken their toll. They make me so weak and dizzy that often just walking from one room to the next feels like a marathon…and this is coming from the girl who was doing Shaun T’s Asylum at 9 months pregnant! I knew something had to change, and it had to change fast. Thankfully, with the help of my Mom-in-law I was able to get an appointment with Nashville’s only hypertension specialist at Vanderbilt hospital.

Of course, in typical me-fashion, I was anxious, sweating and terrified to meet yet another new doctor where I’d have to explain that I’m anxious and terrified of doctors and hospitals. This doctor didn’t really get “panic attacks”, but the one thing he did get was high blood pressure. It’s his life. After lots of more fun tests he decided that I’m basically healthy and way over-medicated (shocking, I know). My blood pressure was actually very low at this point. NOW, I’m down to 5 pills a day (woohoo!) and will just keep going down from there. This is the biggest victory so far, and I’m only 20 days into this new life.

My little eskimo
My little Eskimo

Through all of this mess, I’ve learned to overcome some big fears. I am forced to slow WAY down and take every day one moment at a time. Every little thing Luna does, Husband does and even each little chore is appreciated. Never again will I take my health for granted. I’ve also gained so much more respect for any sick parents. I can’t imagine how someone with a serious illness and children does it. Mentally, I think I’d lose it, yet I know there are parents out there facing far bigger obstacles than I just faced the first couple of weeks. I don’t know where they find their strength and bravery.

I read a blog recently that spoke about looking at obstacles with excitement. Sure, shitty situations happen to us all, but perhaps every bad day or every closed door is just part of the path to our destiny.  Maybe we are meant to hit 8 closed doors before reaching that opened door. If we look at the obstacles in our life in this light, then they don’t seem quite so bad. The idea that going through this awful labor and delivery experience has just prepared me for something far greater in life makes it bearable. I can see now that every day has gotten better and will continue to improve. And, when I feel normal again I can hopefully use this experience to help someone else.

If anything, I will do my best to teach Luna to be excited about the obstacles in her life and to believe that everything will be okay.

Cheers!

A Lot Can Happen in 2 Weeks

As of yesterday our little Luna is 2 weeks old! Boy has a lot happened in those two weeks.

sleepy

After spending the majority of her life in a dark hospital room, our poor baby is probably confused about where she lives. I was feeling very depressed during that time, but I tried to bring myself out of it by focusing on her. A few of my Facebook friends had babies the same week I had Luna, and they were of course home and happy long before we left the hospital. I felt jealous of all of their happy “welcome home” and “baby’s firsts” photos. Normally, I am a “make the best of any situation” kind of person, but the depression and the TON of medications in my system made me a different person. After a few days I knew I had to fight for my happiness and sanity. I couldn’t do much, but began taking photos of Luna, sharing them with friends and making plans for what we would do once we were back home.

instagram collage

And, once we were home I was looking forward to the littlest things… Luna’s first bath, introducing her to our pets, putting her in her new cute clothes and just doing normal day-to-day things. Even now, I’m still too weak to do much… can’t even wash the dishes. You’d think I’d be grateful, but never in my life have I wanted to just do normal chores and what-not so badly. We did, however, get to give Luna her first bath. It became a whole family affair. Belle is so concerned when Luna cries or whimpers that we had to put her on the cabinet so she could watch and see that Luna was safe.

First bath!
First bath!
Daddy drying her off.
Daddy drying her off.

I’m so relieved that Belle seems to like Luna. Duckie, on the other hand mostly acts like the baby doesn’t exist. She just wants all of the attention for herself.  In the first 30 minutes of getting home I passed out on the bed and was quickly joined…everyone was happy to be back together.

1st home

One good thing about having such a difficult first ten days is that everything else seems easier, funnier even. Spit-up. explosive diapers, all-night feeding sessions and even the poop catastrophe that ended up all over our white comforter are hilarious and even appreciated. It’s real life in our real home. I’m so happy to be able to stand and change her diaper that I can’t even feel frustrated when something like this happens.

Besides “first baths” and “first embarrassing moments”, Luna had a few other “first”. We took her out to a family dinner at a new French restaurant. She’s had her first two newborn doctor appointments (and is already WAY passed her birth weight). We went shopping at Target together (Mommy had to embarrassingly shop in one of those electric wheelchair thingys…it sucks being so weak and dizzy.) Oh, and the photo on the bottom left is when Belle tried to drop her toy donut next to Luna and it ended up looping her arm, so cute!

collage

Luna has had a lot of visitors too! In the hospital I felt so depressed that I didn’t even want to see people. In fact, I didn’t even want to answer my phone. This is very out of character for me. You know, we always have visitors, so for me to not want to see anyone was a clear sign something was very wrong. I’m so happy to be home now, happier and able to enjoy company. And, I really love showing off Luna…she’s seriously the cutest.

honeyandpawpaw
My sweet mom actually blow-dried my hair for me just so we could all take a photo together.

I’m having to take life slower than ever, but that just means I get to enjoy lots of cuddle and downtime with Luna…and that’s what really matters.

blanket

Cheers!

Luna’s Birth Story: A Not-So-Magical Experience

luna

In case you haven’t heard, we had our baby! Luna Hazel was born on Wednesday January 29th at 12:11pm. She weighed 5 lbs 14 oz and was 18.5 inches long. A perfect bundle of blonde hair and beautiful joy. She could not be a happier, prettier, healthier or better baby, and for that we are SO grateful.

However, her birth was far from perfect and was nothing like I ever would have imagined it. Before giving birth this is exactly what I hoped and imagined delivering our baby would be like….

Contractions would start and I would breathe through them at home for a while. I would do my makeup and hair, eat a big meal and try to relax until contractions got closer together. Once we arrived to the hospital, I would use the labor tub, the labor balls, the labor bar, etc, etc to get through the pain and try to not get an epidural. I’m not necessarily anti-epidural, but I wanted to try to go without one and be free to walk about and do what I please. I hate being attached to anything in a hospital. Anyways, after a few hours, we’d have our baby, a room full of people who love us and all would be right in the world. The end.

Here is what actually happened….

Last Tuesday, I had my regular 37 week check-up at my OBGYN at 8:30am. I felt normal and excited to hear if there were any changes. As the nurse took my blood pressure she looked a little concerned and took it again…and again. Then, she had another nurse come over and take it once more. They asked if my head hurt or if my vision was blurry…it wasn’t. They asked if I felt okay, and I said “Not anymore!” After, the doctor looked me over they told me to “relax” (yeah right) and they’d take my vitals again. The doctor then came in and told me I probably have toxemia and I need to go straight to the hospital…do not go home, do not pass go and collect $200… go directly to the hospital.

OKAY…if you are new to Positively Panicked, allow me to give you a quick description of myself: I have very high anxiety and panic attacks. My triggers are hospitals, sicknesses and high blood pressure. Also, my health during the entire pregnancy was perfect, so this all came as quite a shock.

A little scared, I called Husband to meet me there and drove myself to the hospital where the fun really began. I arrived at 10am and after being observed and tested for a few hours they decided to induce me at 2pm. Toxemia and preeclampsia had been ruled out, but my blood pressure kept getting higher. No one really knows why. So, they started me on pitocin and let the contractions begin. Eventually, my blood pressure only go higher so they put me on magnesium.

When they decided to put me on magnesium I had already been in labor for several hours, was shaken up and scared and really sick of having my blood pressure constantly taken. I was not allowed to eat or drink and was STARVING. (I had a yogurt and half a banana before my OBGYN appointment that morning…and that was it.)  Then, the nurse tells me that magnesium will keep me from having a stroke or seizure, but will make me feel like crap. She said I’d have to have a catheter, stay lying on my left side, I’d feel woozy, get a bad headache and have hot flashes and chills. Awesome, because the situation really wasn’t crappy enough already. Boy, was she right…magnesium makes you feel awful.

At 1am I was dilated to 2cm. I wanted to hurt someone when I heard this. 2cm? Only 2!? I’d already been in labor for almost 12 hours! And, being induced is really not a fun type of labor. They suggested I get an epidural, my first reaction was “no”, but the nurse told me I’d probably be in labor for 12 more hours and reminded me that I’m already stuck in the bed and connected to a million tubes and IV’s, so I said, “Let’s do it.” They also had me wear an oxygen mask the rest of the time.

The epidural made me sick at first (who knew I could feel worse?), but not long after it began working and I actually felt some relief. I even slept a little. Fast forward about 11 hours and I was FINALLY fully dilated and effaced. Now, I was scared. Scared to push, scared to deliver a baby, scared about my high blood pressure, but I was also ready. I wanted to get this over with. I wanted to have my baby, have my blood pressure drop back to normal and get the heck out of my worst nightmare.

Husband, was amazing, never left my side, held me, took photos and coached me through everything. After being in labor for over 22 hours, I only pushed for 25 minutes and our little Luna entered the world. We cried and just stared at her in disbelief because all of a sudden there she was… it was the most surreal experience.

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First family photo
First family photo

I’m so glad I got an epidural because it probably kept my blood pressure at bay during delivery, AND I had a pretty bad perineal tear that I luckily did not have to feel get stitched. I wish this was the end. I wish I could tell you that we got cleaned up, stayed the night and then came home to be parents, but it is so far from the end. My blood pressure would not drop. I had to be kept on magnesium for another 24 hours (still no food, water or ability to get out of the bed). I could not enjoy any visitors because I was so scared, miserable and uncomfortable. Thank God, I got to keep Luna with me and breastfeed right away, but it wasn’t easy after not eating for over 48 hours.

Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!
Her body temperature was low for the first couple of hours so they had to take her and heat her up under lights for a little while. They also bathed her and put a tiny bow on her head!

The next day, I was taken off magnesium and allowed to eat, but still stuck in the hospital because my bp was still too high. To make a very long story slightly shorter I’ll just say I was kept in the hospital for 9 nights and 10 days. I felt as if I was tortured and forced to live a nightmare for hours on end. I couldn’t eat for about 5 days due to lack of appetite, nerves and medications. I couldn’t have visitors some days. My anxiety is through the roof. I’m on 3 different blood pressure medications for the time being and have had so many panic attacks over the last week it’s unreal. I was so weak upon being released I could only walk about 30 feet before almost passing out. I am still terrified and trying so hard to keep my mind thinking positively.

Besides, the physical ailments, I am emotionally drained. My hormones are all over place. I cry at everything. I know I am so lucky and blessed to have this beautiful baby and the BEST Husband ever (he never left my side for  the entire 10 days…not once).  At the same time, I am crushed that our first couple of weeks as parents has been so traumatic. I just want to be a mother. I am depressed about being on so much medication and I am really afraid of going back to the doctor this week to check everything.

Luna is perfect. She had jaundice and had to be in the incubator looking thing for a day, but other than that she is perfectly healthy and the most content little baby.

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There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.
There were a couple of times that Mommy was not able to breastfeed so Daddy took over with formula.

It’s amazing now to look back to two weeks ago…I was so upset that our nursery wasn’t finished, our newborn photos weren’t scheduled, worried about stretch-marks and gaining too much weight… everything seems so silly now. None of that stupid stuff matters, at all. Our nursery is still unfinished and it’s the last thing on my mind. All of a sudden life has been put in a whole new perspective.

I want to scream “this isn’t FAIR! I’m young, I’m the epitome of health! I’m a vegetarian! I workout 6 days a week! Why is this happening to me?!?!?!” But, Husband has reminded me that it is fair. It’s life. And, I’m lucky. I am here, I am getting stronger and healthier each day. I have a healthy baby. I have a healthy Husband. I have a beautiful home. We have awesome supportive family and friends who have cared for us, brought us food, cleaned our house, watched our pets, prayed for us and supported us in so many ways. Things could be a lot worse.

I don’t know how much I’ll be writing over the next couple of weeks, but I have so much more to share and will definitely be updating as soon as life gets a little more normal.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers, encouraging messages and positive vibes sent our way. You have no idea how much we appreciate them. Please keep them coming.

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Cheers

SO Pregnant

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OMG, I am SO pregnant! I know I have repeatedly told you that pregnancy has been awesome….I have felt great, been super healthy and even had my anxiety under complete control. Well, ladies and gentlemen at 36 weeks and a few days pregnant I can now say I do NOT feel awesome. In fact, often I just feel like crap. *Now, excuse my while I clean the spilled and reheated coffee off my keyboard.

My lower back is killing me, I have crazy sharp pains downtown, sleep is near impossible, leg cramps are now a part of my daily life, I’m incredibly irritable (hard to tell, right?), heartburn is awful and I can rarely eat a full meal without getting sick. Everything just feels different. She has definitely dropped, so lots of trips to the bathroom are also inevitable. I know, truly I know, it is all worth it, but I think I’m ready for our baby girl’s arrival now.

This morning, I met with a pediatrician to determine if I like her and the practice. I waited for the doctor in a bright purple exam room decorated with trains and stared at myself in the mirror across from me. All I kept thinking was, “What is wrong with my eyes? Open your eyes, Hilaire!” I had remembered to put on mascara, so that wasn’t the problem. Then, I realized they were just big and puffy and surrounded by dark circles. I barely recognized myself.

Exercising and eating healthy still helps, but after working on my feet all day today I feel completely immobile, which just sucks. A hot bath seems to be the best remedy for my aches and pains. In fact, every night lately has consisted of a nice warm bath, a good TV show and a giant cup of red raspberry leaf tea. Did you know that this tea is like a magic drink for the female system? I drank it while trying to get pregnant and now I drink it because it’s supposed to boost my immune system, help circulation, strengthen my uterine muscles, tone my pelvic floor, make contractions work better and even increase breastmilk supply. It’s worth a try, right?

Woop, woop! Still working out! It's not easy, but it's worth it!
Woop, woop! Still working out! It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
So, so good with a little honey and even better if you're wrapped up in a blanket next to the fire...
So, so good with a little honey and even better if you’re wrapped up in a blanket next to the fire…

As far as emotions go, I’m still doing really well with my anxiety. Shockingly well. I am feeling nervous about delivery, but it’s a normal-person type of nervousness. I’m sure most moms-to-be get some anxiety about going into labor. I can’t help but worry about what it will be like, what will happen, how will it feel, how will my body respond and a myriad of other things. However, it’s not an obsessive worry and I’ve yet to have a panic attack. Thank God! Of course, I am having a little anxiety about what will happen after the baby comes. I’m afraid I may slip into my old high-anxiety ways again. For now, I’m just going with the flow and taking it one day at a time…which is not like me at all! It’s a miracle people.

Also, remember the whole nursery debacle? Well now, not only have the ladder, railings and closet been torn out, but drywall has been repaired, the walls have had to be re-painted, and this week the carpet is getting torn out. Our entire nursery is now stacked in the living room. Soooo, the fact that I have yet to kill my Husband is also a miracle.

Now, I know that babies come when they’re ready and there’s really no way to predict their arrival, but I am trying very hard to persuade this baby to come at 38 weeks. I think if I say it enough, she’ll be convinced. There are SO many things happening in our lives over the next 6 weeks, and it just works out best for everyone if she can manage to arrive around that time… you hear that Luna?

Husband thinks I’ve jinxed us and she’ll come late now, I guess only time will tell. And, I know, as long as she is fully cooked and a healthy baby that’s all that matters. What do you think? Any guesses on Luna’s arrival?

Cheers!

Get Me Off This Emotional Roller Coaster!

During my first trimester I was a little emotional… Husband began to irritate me with things that never bothered me before being pregnant. I mean, seriously, do you have to constantly tap on me and hum while you eat??? I also cried a lot easier, which is really ridiculous considering that I already cry at 50% of TV commercials. However, once the second trimester arrived, I seemed to even out and feel like my more normal emotional self again.

Enter the third trimester.

My emotions have been all over the place the last week! I’m up, I’m down, I’m all around. Within minutes I can go from laughing to crying to fuming. I stayed up one night crying over sad things that happened in life two years ago. Sometimes I feel so elated with being pregnant, being with Husband and loving our life that I can hardly contain myself. Then, I find myself wanting to strangle Husband for putting a coffee cup in the wrong cabinet. The biggest emotional change has been my newfound fear of becoming a Mother.

If you want to scare yourself from having children, take a flight to anywhere. While flying back and forth between Nashville and Dallas I found myself thinking, what the hell did I get myself into??? There were SO many screaming temper-tantrum throwing kids. Normally, I find it easy to put on my headphones and ignore these naughty little ones, but this time I couldn’t help but notice the Moms. They looked exhausted, frustrated and a lot like zombies. I’ve never seen such dark circles under someone’s eyes. They were carrying vinyl diaper bags, princess accessories and wearing sweatpants. One family was eating hotdogs on the floor while their son threw chunks of bread and weenie out of his stroller. Is this what my life is going to morph into in a few months? Is it too late to back out? I was horrified.

Ten minutes later I noticed a toddler sitting with her Mother and eating fries and nuggets. She was adorable, singing to herself  and politely asking her Mom to blow on her chicken nugget even though it was obviously at room temperature by this point. Her Mom laughed with her silly little girl and snapped photos of her with a big cheesy smile to send to “Daddy”. It was so cute and sweet that I almost cried. It made me yearn for Luna’s arrival and our future Mommy/Daughter dates.

The whole trip went back and forth like this, and shopping was exactly the same. One minute I was on the verge of panicking as I watched siblings throw down in the middle of a store as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” blared in the background. The next minute I was sappy and hopeful as I watched a little boy whisper his wish list sweetly into Santa’s ear.

I’m sure all of these scenarios are bits and pieces of what parenthood will be like and I’m certain Husband and I are both ready for this next step in life, but my God is it scary! I can definitely imagine us toting around princess toys and eating hotdogs on the floor at the airport, but sweatpants and vinyl bags is where I draw the line. Honestly, I found it hard to believe that this was the last trip I’ll be taking alone for a while. I became fully aware of my alone adult kid-less time and tried to savor every sip of Starbuck’s and every bite of Five Guy’s fries and felt thankful that I didn’t have to share my iPad with anyone.

Hopefully, this emotional roller coaster comes to an end soon. I’m ready to only feel excited again…does that even happen? Only 73 days to go! (Hopefully a little less than that!)

Cheers!

What You May or May Not Know

Alright, everyone on Facebook seems to be playing the “give a friend a number game”. I’ve never played, but I think you give a friend a number, then that friend has to write that many unknown facts about themselves and share it in a status. I typically find these weird game things really annoying because people say things like “I LOVE chocolate/my family/dancing in the rain/blah blah blah blah!” (yeah…we know) OR “I’m actually super smart and talented” (which I don’t think counts…). HOWEVER, this time around lots of my friends have posted some actually interesting and honest facts about themselves. I have found myself reading every single one and enjoying it.

I figure I’ll jump on the bandwagon and write a post about what you may not know about me. I’ve been thinking about it all evening and I have to say it’s challenging. I’m really open on here, so if you read my blog you probably know too much about me already. I don’t want to expose EVERYthing do I? Whatever, I’ll give it a shot..

Here are 10 Things You Hopefully Do Not Already Know About Me.

1. I sucked my thumb until I was six. The only reason I quit was because my sister told me I was going to look like the guy with VERY large buckteeth who pumped gas at the local gas station. (We lived in a small town, so yeah, we knew the guy at the gas station). This poor man’s teeth were scary big, and it freaked me out so much that I hid my security blanket from myself so I could quit sucking my thumb. I guess I’ve always had good willpower.

2. I missed A LOT of field trips growing up because of anxiety, including a trip to Six Flags.  At the time I thought I just came down with a weird stomach bug every time we had a field trip, but later realized it was just lots of anxiety.

3. I was 19 the first time I got drunk. I realize this is old for most people, but I was never interested in drinking until I found out my boyfriend of four years had been sleeping around with multiple girls. Then, I thought, what the hell? Might as well give this drinking thing a try. Oh, to be young and stupid again.

4. Speaking of being young…I was a very “good” kid. I never drank, smoke, did drugs or slept around in high school. I just never felt that temptation. (I did feel the pressure to buy trendy clothes, starve myself, and date certain guys, but that’s a different story.) I was really scared to try anything that could possibly become addicting (except coffee) and always felt very judged by my “friends” who teased me about being a goody-goody. I often felt I wasn’t “cool enough” to hangout with most people.

5. I started drinking coffee when I was 16.

6. While working at Disney World, we did so many stupid things….things I will not share on this blog (most people who work at Disney go a little wild). Out of all the ridiculous and illegal things that happened I am no longer allowed to work there only because I did not turn in part of my uniform when I left.

7. I have a special secret trick I do with my worst behaved students at the beginning of each year. (I stole this idea from Ron Clark.) Here’s what I do…. The first couple days of school I can tell which kids are going to be the everyday trouble makers, SO I call, write or email their parents and say something like this:

“Dear amazing parent, your child has been such a joy to get to know! I am thrilled to have such a great hard-working student in my class. You have clearly raised him/her so well because they are always so respectful and such a great listeners! Love, their teacher”

The parents, who are used to getting lots of negative letters, are in shock and thrilled to get something positive, and the kid is confused and trying to figure out what exactly is happening here. Often, this positive boost encourages them to actually be super students for a day or so, but inevitably they revert back to their old ways and I am then able to send a note that goes something like this home:

“Dear super parent, I’m sure you will find this as surprising as I, but so-and-so has had some trouble listening and following directions lately. I know you expect the best behavior from them and have taught them to be respectful students so I just wanted you to be aware of this change in their behavior. I’m sure that the two of us can work together to get them back on track. Thanks for being such great parents!”

Works like a charm.

8. I HATE when a waiter fills up my water glass or when Husband fills up my water bottle before I completely finish drinking it. I have a weird habit of keeping track of how much water I drink, and it throws me off if someone fills up my glass before I finish. Also, I often have a perfect water to lemon ration and added water just throws everything off.

9. I forget that I put clothes in the washer almost everyday. They mildew and I have to re-wash them. Sometimes, I try to get away with just tossing them in the dryer, but it always ends with Husband complaining that his clothes smell like a toilet.

10. I did not like potatoes or cheese until I was in my twenties. ( I still can’t eat baked potatoes.) I wouldn’t even eat plain potato chips and I didn’t eat pizza for years. Now, I wish I didn’t like potatoes or cheese…

Hope you learned something.

Cheers!