The moment where everything changed. My experience with Placenta Previa.

Tuesday, February 7 is when it all changed for me. It was a normal night followed by a normal day at work. Dinner with a friend, copious refills of hot water with lemon followed by good conversation, laughs and a hug goodbye. I came home, kissed my husband and settled into my cozies for the latest episode of Bachelor. I had to pee but thought to myself, I’ll just wait. I don’t feel like getting up right now. (As I write this, it’s hard for me to avoid any mode of self-critique, which I’m actively trying to edit out as I let these words / thoughts / moments slip out. Words that I have been delaying, a memory that I don’t want to relive. But, I am…)

And that’s when the bleeding started.

It was a moment of panic, an earth-shattering lifetime of walls closing in me, blood gushing and the paralysis of realizing that these beautiful moments that I had taken for granted, that these beautiful moments were physically leaving me. Had I taken them for granted – these moments? All of this? I screamed for my husband, tried to block the open wound that was waving through me with gentle, forced, desperate wads of toilet paper, unable to speak. Bone-chilling fear running through every single cell. Hadn’t I just felt her move? Hadn’t I just talked with my friend over dinner about how wonderful my pregnancy had been? My husband came in, the soothing and incredibly supportive force that he is – terrified, and yet he never would have revealed it. We called my sister who had been through a miscarriage and it took all of me just to say those words out loud, “I’m bleeding.” I’ll never be able to quite capture the fear, the anxiety, the thought that I might lose my precious little girl at just 18 weeks. 18 weeks. Something in that moment changed me, those steps that we took to leave the house before the hospital. It might have been when my husband locked eyes with me – his soft, patient, loving eyes – warmly held my shoulders and said, “No matter what happens. We will get through this. I love you so much.” I nodded a muted, silent yes. Unable to speak. It might have been moments before where my sister was telling me through the phone, just breathe. BREATHE. This was the last thing my precious baby needed – me going into a panic attack and losing all of my sensibilities; losing it to the physical manifestation of what I just couldn’t bear to wrap my head or heart around.

I’m not sure what it was. But we left, heads up. No crying. No fear. Just get in the car and go.

That journey to the hospital felt like a sad and terrifying eternity, the sluggish seconds and bright lights blurring themselves together as I squinted out the window. Would I be able to see her. Hold her. What would I tell everyone? How would I get through this, how would we get through this.  In this forever-streaming river of a 4-lane freeway is where I thought I might actually lose it. Deep breaths. Deep, deep breaths. Deep, intense, desperate breaths – begging for air. Begging for this to all be a dream.

As we pulled up to the ER, I eagerly kept checking to see if there was more blood. It was sparse, dark and I had leveled out to what appeared to be spotting. As I clutched at the check-in desk, an inaudible version of my voice sounded, something weak and vulnerable – a person I didn’t recognize. “Almost 20 weeks, we’re almost 20 weeks. I have been bleeding. Please help me….” Those moments and interactions, sterile as they were, felt almost comfortable though in the methodical way that only frequent trips to Urgent Care and previous ER trips would be. Bright lights. Signature on the dotted line. Take a seat. As we sat and waited, I felt for her movements. Nothing. But. Silence.

To my left, a young man and mother crowded around a wheelchair where a young girl sat getting her blood pressure. I heard ectopic pregnancy come out of her mouth, “previous experiences with them” she said. She was going through this too. How am I here? I’m not her. This isn’t happening.

We checked into our hospital room shortly after, laid there cold. Bright lights again, bleaching their way into the despair and anxiousness that I had been denying, the sobering reality of which had me here – in the Emergency Room at 10:30pm on a Tuesday evening. My mom showed up along with her warm voice, as did the tears that I had been holding back with every fiber of my being. My mom and my tears made it real, either way – she was here and was going to support us. And, how I ached for this to be just support of what would ultimately be fine news. How I ached and pushed away all the things I couldn’t accept. We got blankets and we waited patiently for the doctor. And while we waited, and my husband kept whispering to me. He tried to cheer me up with the spoiler alert from the Bachelor. I laughed. And then in the uncomfortable silence that followed, I prayed.

Here is the prayer I put in my phone at 12:56am on February 8, 2017.

It’s very rary that I pray. Please don’t leave me baby girl. I pray for health, strong and consistent heartbeats, attachment until week 40 to the moment where you take your first gaping breath into this bright beautiful world that we will turn upside down for you if needed. Can you feel my heartbeat like I can feel yours? Can you feel how much I love you and will care for you? Your dad and I love you, please don’t go. Don’t leave. I’m scared, but I saw your heart pulse. Little flutters and patters and squirms. Like you know we were watching. I love you so much, even though I don’t know your name yet. You’re mine, you’re ours. Through and through. I’ll nurture you and love you forever. Stay with me, please, forever. 

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

From that moment on, we had a series of good news. Audible heartbeats, visual movements. It wasn’t obvious what was causing the bleeding, but through an anatomy scan I had shortly thereafter that week and after another bout of bleeding and what appeared to be incredibly terrifying clots that followed, we discovered that I have partial placenta previa. My placenta is approximately 3mm away from my cervix – or the width of two pennies. And, as a result, everything normal that we had planned throughout the next few weeks has had to, unfortunately, hit the pause button. 5 flights, 1 babymoon, 1 sister/mom trip, 1 hotel room and 2 Broadway show ticket cancellations later, I’m officially on near bed rest. I’m working, but I’m not able to do any of the things that I envisioned myself doing throughout this pregnancy. No yoga, no walking the dog, no walks on the beach. No travel, no babymoon. No long awaited Hamilton (I bought those tickets almost one year ago).

And, while there is a small part of me that grieves that this pregnancy isn’t “normal”, my heart is unbearably happy and grateful that this happened – a reminder that I will always be a mom first, and the normalcy that we so often ache for will ultimately take a back seat for this little life we’re bringing into the world. Nothing is ever ideal. Life will never, ever be what we plan for. But our souls will adapt. Our agile hearts will grow stronger and our minds will help us navigate the next best step. That’s all we can do. Take this crazy wild adventure one step at a time.

I’m doing acupuncture twice a week now, have completely changed my diet to remove dairy and anything hard to digest – like cold raw vegetables (I heat them up slightly instead). Organic bone broth has become my drink of choice along with more water than I can imagine, along with listening to my body when I really need to pee.

I still won’t know what cause my bouts of bleeding. Or why my placenta started growing in the place that it did. As I sit here writing in San Diego, while I was supposed to be in New York, I can’t help but think of the wonderful things that I’ve discovered about my husband, my family – and most of all myself.

Where there is sadness, there is compassion. Where there is fear, there is support and wisdom. Where there is anxiety, there are hugs and the power of this magical thing called our breath. And where there are hard decisions, there is an undeniable intuition that I’ve only recently started to discover. One that guides me, relaxes me. Let’s me know that everything is going to be ok. While I have no doubt that there will always be this undercurrent of fear every time I look down, I take comfort in knowing that my mind and body are connected and that I can guide myself towards solitude, peace, and a lightness as I broach these next 20 weeks. I’m halfway there and feeling stronger by the day. Mentally, physically – and those little kicks as reminders sure are helping.

Ladies out there with previa, I know how terrifying your experience can be. Just know that I’m with you, in solidarity, and hoping that your cases (like mine) will resolve themselves naturally – just like our bodies know they should.

XO

K

Women: We are strong, we are mighty.

Well, hello! It’s me, again. Sixteen weeks, going on seventeen come Wednesday! (Love me some musicals, so had to give that musical nod). 😉 It’s been quite a few weeks since I last posted. I had a feeling this blog would end up being something that I would visit now and then, and I have been realistic in the sense that I don’t always follow through in my ‘journaling endeavors’. But it’s something that I can come back to, and that’s gotta count for something, right?

Let’s see, what has been happening the last few weeks. Hmm.. Well, first of all, I finally ended up telling my work that I was pregnant. And, it was terrifying. I imagine a lot of my anxiety was self-provoked, due to my eagerness and ambition to continue climbing my career ladder, but what I’ve realized throughout this whole experience is that it’s only as intense as you make it. Granted, I work in a work environment that’s pretty liberal focusing on human rights issues and behavior change with a female CEO who has two kids, but

As I unsuccessfully pushed back tears (thanks, hormones) and took a deep breath to break the news with my “I have something to share with you guys”, it dawned on me that my emotional response probably led them to believe that I was giving notice. I quickly reassured them that the news was good and that I was pregnant. I’m probably undermining how emotional I was, I was pretty emotional (haha) but thankfully I’m close with both of my bosses and it wasn’t an issue at all. All that anticipation quickly resolved itself into sheer, unconditional bliss, joy, and soooo many strong happy hugs. 🙂 Since then, I’ve been hyper-focused, planning for maternity leave and doing everything I can to prove that I am capable of being both working woman and mother. (Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean In”, here I come!!)

What I’ve learned throughout all of this, especially in this last month or so, is that women are kickass individuals. We have so much that we have to deal with – balancing bias and stereotypes in the workplace and our home lives, bearing children and navigating the beautifully complex and incredible experience of pregnancy, being a wife and a partner, and eventually, and come July… being a mother. There are times where I’ve felt like it’s unfair, unfair that we have to do it all. Unfair that we have to shoulder the burden of concern around workplace bias when we’re pregnant, unfair that even though I don’t feel like I doing anything at all, that I’m still making dinner, doing the dishes, tidying up the home and still finding time to paint my nails. Unfair that the millions upon millions of us women (and men) across the world have to march and fight for equality, love, and respect in the world. And then throughout all of it, I feel so unbelievably blessed to share this bond with so many incredibly strong women in the world who shoulder this burden with me.

We are strong. We are fierce. We are mighty. Despite the fears, despite our doubts, despite the tears of frustration or happiness or the tears of just being overwhelmed, it’s so worth it. It’s worth this journey. This ability to experience another dimension of life and humanity, to feel little waves in the middle of the night and think it might be my baby girl swimming about and saying “Hi, Mom!”, it’s worth it to know that every single bite I take or sip of water I drink, I know that I am nourishing my future daughter – a future female who will be showered with love, opportunity, and joy. I am SO grateful for all of it and would not trade it for the world.

So hello, almost week 17. I am woman, hear me roar.

PS it was a historic day yesterday with the women and men marching across the world for the Women’s March, on the heels of Trump becoming our new President. (I’ll save the tears and my sadness on that topic for later)… Here are some of my favorite pics from Harpers Bazaar. I, unfortunately, couldn’t march due to a funeral, but proud to share that my sisters, nephews, niece and so many amazing and incredible friends marched in my (and my little girl’s) honor.

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XO
Krysten
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Jet Settin’ Momma – Preggo Travel Tips

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Today, I’m 11 weeks. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about today. Maybe it’s because I’m in the final countdown for the first trimester or maybe it’s because I am anxiously counting down the days until we hear back from the doctor re: the NIPT test I retook on Monday. (14 days feel like torture!!!) Regardless, it’s a good day. Baby P is the size of a lime and with every day that passes I can feel him getting bigger both in my body and in my heart. I feel like the emotional connection has continued to get stronger with each passing day, something unexplainable but I feel grateful for it: It’s a totally different dimension of life and something that I feel very lucky to experience and connect with other women on. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE being a girl?)

Last week I had a work trip to New Jersey for a digital production, essentially – this means 6 long days of jet-setting from San Diego to Paterson, New Jersey, to New York for a day, back to Paterson and freezing my arse off in 30-degree weather in a broken down warehouse. Truth be told, I was a little nervous about this trip because my client was going to be there. How would I fake drink around her? How would I hide my it-might-still-be-gas growing baby bump? How would I make it through each 12-15 hour day without falling asleep, feeling nauseous or wanting to eat my arm off?

Well, I managed to pull it off although I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t easy nor did I manage to do it as flawlessly as I had hoped. (Did you know that there are FIVE “Smith” restaurants in New York? So much for trying to secretly tell the waiter to hook up ‘mock’ vodka soda’s all night at a client dinner…)

Anyhow, here’s a list of what I learned, how I did it, and how I managed not to lose my mind.

  1. Stock up on Protein Superfood bars from Whole Foods. I brought 6 of them with me and gnawed on them whenever I was hungry or felt like I wasn’t getting enough nutrition. They are jam packed with nutrients and while they taste a little gritty (mmm… nature) they come covered in chocolate so the brief dose of sweets makes it manageable.
  2. Splurge on yourself and make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. Each morning I ordered room service. (Gotta love those Paterson NJ prices!) Oatmeal and OJ were my very best friends and it helped me get through my morning with a happy warm tummy to last me through what would ultimately follow as the longest hours ever before lunch time served at 3.
  3. DON’T try to order a vodka soda (while mouthing no vodka) and your clients drink with the loudest bartender in the restaurant. Thank goodness it was in New York, and I’m still hoping the client wasn’t paying attention, but BOY was he obvious. “Ohhhhh….. I GET IT,” he’d say. “Vodka sooooooda.” followed by an incredibly obvious and obnoxious wink. My favorite was the part that followed when he gave me the check and our two drinks and said, “by the way, you’re ‘vodka soooooda’ are on me. You come back anytime.” Good LORD I had to hold my head in shame.
  4. Sleep sleeep sleep sleep sleep. Repeat.
  5. Don’t fall asleep with the hotel heater on. You cannot trust a hotel in the middle of nowhere with a dingy heater that makes noise and leaves your throat feeling scratchy the next day. No good for momma or lil bebe.
  6. The moment you get home. Sleep. That’s what I did anyway, and to be totally honest, I still feel like my body is recovering. Airplanes will dry you out and it takes a while to recalibrate. Which brings me to my next point….
  7. HYDRATE. Moisturize, bring oils. Stock up on bottles of water. Do whatever you have to keep your body hydrated. Between the massive shift in weather, questionable heater in the hotel emenating from the pool which was located in the courtyard 2 open levels below me (weird, I know), your body is going to need intense rehydration. I’m still making up for it 5 days later.
  8. Lastly, enjoy it. Trust yourself and your body. Our bodies are amazing things. When I needed to stay energized, my body naturally responded and I was able to pull it off. Sure, the moment I got back into my room I was destroyed and just wanted to crash, but know that your intuition is everything and you have this handled.

That’s all I have today, I’ll be posting some pictures and some updates soon. Hopefully they are all good, so saying prayers and thinking positively about everything. In my (very) vivid dreams lately, I feel like the baby is telling me everything is OK, but I can’t help but feel a little nervous. But I imagine that is totally normal.

XOXO

K

Recipe: Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie aka “Sticky Monkey”

In an earlier blog post, I had complained about my unbearable cravings for something sweet or holiday-esque to start my morning routine. I have yet to try “Dandy Blend” (a dandelion-baed coffee substitute), but that will be next on my list.

In the meantime, however, I wanted to share with you a drink that I have discovered that I absolutely LOVE. It’s frothy, fabulous, healthy, packed with protein, and so so tasty. Give it a spin (literally!) and let me know what you think.

Sticky Monkey Protein Smoothie

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ripened banana
  • 1/4 cup of greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup organic 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4-5 ice cubes for yummy froth

Blend & enjoy!! Tip: Up the ante with additional holiday happiness with by adding more cinnamon to taste. 😉

Thank You, 33

Today is my birthday. December, 3, 1982. I woke up this morning at the usual time, 5:30am sifted through social media questioning with every thumb tap why I was up at 5:30am on my birthday sifting through social media. I started thinking about this past year and realized that I have so incredibly much to be grateful for. 33 was truly one of the best years of my life.

I married my best friend. I had the wonderful and awe-inspiring joy of going through the entire experience of a wedding, a celebration of love at the most quintessential understanding of the term. My dad and I choreographed a surprise flash mob dance for our father daughter, my mom and sister surprised me with an acapella version of the Beatles, “All You Need is Love” right after our ceremony, my sisters surprised me with an absolutely hilarious rendition of Rent’s “La Vie Boheme” for their wedding speech – one mind you that fully roasted me and potentially shocked/offended half the wedding, my brother and my cousins and amazing squad of 12 count them TWELVE besties and loved ones were by my side, one of my very dear friends volunteered her passion, time and energy to beautify the event with florals and hanging sheer fabric ceremony frame from a large oak tree, my oldest sister was my officiant and the thought of her reciting that ceremony still brings tears to my eyes… and I have never felt more connected and loved in every single beautiful person I know in my whole life.

And then yesterday on December 2, one day before my 34th birthday, we saw the heartbeat for the very first time at our first sonogram appointment. This beautiful little ball of vibrant light pulsing in the shadows as the baby’s arms and legs moved – or as I like to call it ‘shimmied’ because we could see each other for the first time. There are no words to describe that magic in that feeling. It wasn’t just joy or shock or beautify – it was something only the tears rolling down my face could describe. I feel so blessed to be part of this little miracle, this tiny little life that is making it’s way into our lives in a big way.

So with that, yeah, it’s been a pretty incredible year. Thank you 33 for being the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

 

Chai (Sigh) Tea Lattes

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What I wouldn’t GIVE for a Chai Tea Latte. Or a coffee. Heck, make it organic, herbal, water-pressed… the point is if I could drink those sweet little droplets of freshly roasted, seasoned, cinnamony, holiday flavored drinks, oh… how happy my heart would be. In fact, my desperate searching online this morning to find such a thing that would pass the many tests of pregnancy, is how I was inspired to start this blog.

Background: Lately, my internal wake-up time has been around oh — I don’t know. 5 am. Maybe 5:30 if we’re lucky. Usually due to insane pressure on my very sensitive bladder (we’ll get into this later) because, from what I’m reading, my uterus is growing tremendously making rooms for the little tiny raspberry that’s slowly growing inside me. I usually have problems going to back to sleep, so that’s where my Chai Tea Latte search began: this morning at 6:10am.

WHERE in San Diego, can I please find an herbal chai tea latte? Well, outside of there being quite a few places that actually make herbal chai teas like Starbucks Coffee and Peets, but here’s the reality check: unfortunately (and painstakingly enough) almost all chai tea (herbal & regular) is made with a seasoning called Star Anise – a seasoning mind you, that I love very much. Although there are mixed studies around the ‘harmfulness’ and ‘harmlessness’ of Star Anise, it boils down to this – it could cause issues, especially in the first trimester and most of the blogs I’ve been reading recommend staying away from it if possible given the fact that there is not sufficient data one way or the other to conclude if it’s safe or dangerous to the fetus. In the words of my older sister… why risk it?

So while I’m staying away from it (tear), I’m officially on the hunt for something holiday and cinnamony and seasony in San Diego that I can drink to get in the dang holiday spirit. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on where I net out.

 

Preggo City

Welcome to my blog! I found out that I was pregnant approximately 4 weeks and 3 days ago. Since then, it’s been… interesting to say the least. As a self-proclaimed control freak who “thinks she knows everything” newlywed and is a bit obsessed with work, the navigation of balancing something entirely new (and miraculous) happening within my body – along with the massive naivety around supplements, health, and wellness, what I can and can’t eatexcercisedo – has been a new chapter of discovery and new beginnings.

A little bit about me:

I’m 33 years old, a newlywed as of August 2016 (yay!) to an incredibly supportive, handsome and hilarious husband, a wannabe foodie/vegan/vegetarian – although I really like (read: love) meat. I try to eat healthy when I can, exercise and overall, take good care of myself. I also love fashion, creative things and just overall expressing myself because – well, truthfully I grew up in theater and that part of me never quite left. I’m one of 5 siblings, with two older sisters who inspire me to tap into my inner health freak every day, a younger brother who is pursuing his law career and a younger sister who quite possibly will be one of the most fun and entertaining babysitters I know. Our Mom and Dad have quite the handful when all 5 of us get together, but as far as the dys-fun-ction of it all is concerned, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, I LOVE.MY.JOB. Up until this point, career has been my life. Scratch that, up until the day I met my husband, career was my life. Then my husband came along, and still, my career and zest for pursuing something great in this world has always been my driving force – along with him.  I suppose that is all going to change now – or at least that’s what they tell me.

Me :)

About Preggo City:

I’m starting this blog as a way to connect with myself and navigate this crazy maze of miracles along with my family, and any and all preggo mamas who may be discovering the same and possibly just looking for a little sanity amongst the overwhelming white noise of the cans and can’t do’s of google.

Hope you enjoy!