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The reality of bed rest in the hospital.

I am usually one to do a lot of writing and sharing. I am a very outgoing person. While I think I’ve done a lot of sharing pictures recently through Instagram or Snapchat, they’ve mostly been the result of starving for human interaction. I haven’t wanted to share what the reality was of why I was in the hospital or what I’m actually feeling. When people ask how I’m doing I just respond with “I can’t complain!” or “Just stir crazy!” Which might just be me psyching myself out of feeling the really negative feelings that come with being by yourself 20 out of 24 hours of the day.

I have officially been in the hospital 17 days. The goal is for me to be here 84-90 days if all goes perfect.

My husband’s family and many of his close friends are nearby and thankfully they’ve helped with our son and brought things to keep me busy. I’ve read plenty of other blogs about hospital bedrest and helpless husbands who can’t cook or do laundry. I read about a woman who had to make phone calls to schedule dinners brought to her husband. I am extremely thankful that I have a self reliant husband who can take care of everything, to a fault. He is not the type to ask for help or admit he might need it. However, I think he’s doing an exceptional job finding balance, or at least putting on a great front for my sake.

People who know me really well know I am a can’t stop, wont stop personality. So in the past 4 months when I had a small uterine hemorrhage (which I was told not to worry about and would heal like a bruise), moved to California, transferred my teaching credential, and started a new job, it didn’t occur to me to slow down. We had lives to start over and damn it, I didn’t have time to lose. My pregnancy with our first son was a BREEZE. What did I have to worry about? Even after I was in the hospital, I put in grades in my gradebook to make sure my students knew I was still there for them. So after my campus cut off all of my log ins, I had a couple days of “Well… what the hell do I do now?” It’s also been a heart breaking emotional struggle to know the parts of parenting that were my job are now being taken care of without a problem and I’m not there. My son’s needs are being met, and he’s happy. He even has a new fish named Spunky the Fish and loves him. My job now is to sit. Drink water. Sit. Pray. Piddle with crafts. Sit. Drink water. Eat. Wait for my family to visit. Sit. Drink Water.

My view most of the day, complete with fun compression socks that I’m required to live in. Tuesdays and Saturdays are Fixer Upper marathons on HGTV.

Female bodies are pretty amazing. We’re biologically predisposed to do whats best for the growing human inside us, and my body told me to pump the breaks. Amniotic fluid is measured in an index I don’t understand but normal is between 8 and 18, below 5 is considered minimal. At our anatomy scan I was at a 3. At the point we came to the hospital about 4 hours later, pretty much 0. This is medically called oligohydramnios. They confirmed my water had broken and I would have to stay until delivery, which could be any moment, even now. I was given an IV of fluids, a number of antibiotics, and put on a contraction monitor. I was 22 weeks and 4 days. I was told they couldn’t do anything for baby if he was born until he was at least 24 weeks. They kept asking us if we wanted to terminate. It was not a good day. It was not a good week.

One of my 20 minute monitoring sessions. The number on the left is baby’s heart rate, the big number on the right is the contraction level, the little number is my pulse.

The good news is that this past week at my 24 week update my AFI (amniotic fluid index) was 4.6. Baby Owen is measuring average for his gestation now and is head down. I am now not attached to anything in terms of IVs or monitors, outside of 20 minutes twice a day they record baby’s heartbeat and my contractions, which have been normal. I can wander around my room now and shower when I feel like it. I did get two steroid shots to help baby’s lungs develop. The only medication they give me is really for pregnancy maintenance. Cameron takes me on wheel chair rides so I can get sunshine, fresh air, and ice cream. Colby rides in my lap and leaves me souvenirs of whip cream or popsicle drips. For the most part, I feel really good! However, because I am at a high risk for infection, I won’t go home until after I deliver.

There wont be any nesting. No rebuilding of our first son’s crib or washing of his onesies in Dreft so I can huff baby scent. No unnecessary trips to Hobby Lobby to set up the nursery. I’m not reading big brother books to my son at night in the rocking chair to help him get ready for the baby. I’m missing my best friend’s baby shower in Texas. Which means it will also be even longer before I can hold my other bff/college roommate’s new baby that was born in December. We wont take family photos for mother’s day like I wanted. (I insist on family photos for mother’s day every year because getting Newetts to take any photo is an act of Congress). I can’t be where I feel like I’m needed. I’m not doing my jobs as a mother or wife. I’m not working. I’m sitting. Drinking water. Praying. Piddling on social media. Sitting. Counting the hours until my family visits. Crying. Drinking water. Sitting. Counting days until friends visit. Drinking water. Sitting.

It could be worse. This could have been over 17 days ago, but it isn’t. Baby is growing and making improvements every day showing no signs of trying to make his entrance. This is HARD, but I keep reminding myself that I have a village of amazing people that have shown me that long hospital stays are no big deal. Steroid shots can be cake. (I don’t have to give myself any of the shots… major kudos to my people who have to inject anything into themselves.) I know NICU warriors who spent months driving back and forth and now have happy, healthy children. If they can do it, so can we. My husband has been incredible and puts up with my Amazon PrimeNow orders, and goes out of his way to make me feel loved and to bring pieces of our normal life to me. Yes, I really want to go home. I really, REALLY want to go home, but someday these 84-90 days will feel like a blink, and I’ll be at home in our bed with all three of my boys and all of the negative won’t be what I remember.

The view of the harbor from the window outside my door. The nice nurses let me have my coffee out there in the mornings.

Top Five things to know for moving to California from Texas!

  1. Pack and organize efficiently!
    1. We have things in two locations of storage, plus what we have in the house. Sometimes we know where things are, sometimes we don’t. While it was fun to go “shopping” for maternity clothes in storage because it didn’t cost me anything, I also spent 2 hours trying to find the power cord to my Cricut, which was packed in a different box. I definitely wish I had been more focused the week we packed.
    2. Label, Label, Label. Nothing is worse than opening 10 boxes labeled Kitchen when you’re trying to find ONE stock pot. Label the room, then a summary of the contents. Kitchen- Pots and Pans or Master Bedroom – Office Supplies
    3. You have to pack differently if you’re moving directly to your forever home versus storing temporarily. Also, watch that Marie Kondo documentary before you start packing. There is nothing worse than the feeling of, “Why did I move this crap?”
  2. Driver’s licenses are not treated the same
    1. California has different laws when it comes to getting a driver’s license. In order to get a REAL ID, yes that’s what it’s called, you will need your social security card, birth certificate or passport, and proof of residency.
    2. In Texas, there are two forms of your birth certificate, a long form, and a short form. California won’t accept the short form. So I ordered a long form of my birth certificate and my passport at the same time. Strangely, the passport office accepted my short form birth certificate. My passport arrived first and I was able to get my driver’s license!
    3. I missed two questions on the test: One about the speed limit you drive in the rain (drive the speed limit safest for the conditions) and the other about legal u-turns (You can only make a legal U-turn in a residential area). In California, you also have to pull into the bike lane in order to make a right turn, which is not something I’m used to. You can also have your license suspended for using your phone while driving! So if you come to visit, connect to Bluetooth!
  3. If you’re a teacher, submit documentation early
    1. The California Teacher Credentialing website clearly states it can take up to 50 business days to process a credential. In Texas, we call it our certification. My biggest hiccup was because once I moved, they required I re-do my fingerprinting in California, rather than accepting the fingerprint cards I had done in Houston. So far I’ve invested $130 into making sure the Department of Justice has my fingerprints.
    2. Do not expect to have the same certificate/credential transfer. In Texas, I am certified for English Language Arts and Reading grades 7-12 with my ESL supplemental. In California, I hold a Single Subject English credential which allows me to teach Pre-K through 12th grade, but no EL accommodation. Insanity! But considering how much of the Texas ESL test was just Texas law, I’m not surprised it didn’t transfer. Also, I have no intentions of going elementary. That’s a different breed of educator.
  4. Healthcare is subsidized, yay! It’s also a hot mess of bureaucracy
    1. Cameron has healthcare through his new company, but it was way too pricy to add me and Colbito. Through Covered California, the government assesses your income and needs and subsidizes your healthcare costs accordingly.
    2. If you are expecting, they automatically make you sign up for MediCal, the California healthcare for all. We applied really early in Texas, so we have BlueShield California for cheaper than my health care through the Texas Teacher Retirement System.
    3. I spent 4 hours on the phone with 3 different insurance organizations on Monday. Our personal insurance agent said, “This is the idiotic bureaucracy you can expect if Healthcare for all really passes.” Not sure if I agree, but it was an intriguing perspective.
  5. People might be genuinely more friendly here, but don’t expect any southern or Mexican food to be the same.
    1. The food isn’t bad, but don’t go into a restaurant expecting it to taste like Tex-Mex or your neighborhood southern fried chicken and barbeque, goods are not as advertised.
    2. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good! There are some awesome locals making really good food. We tried a Mexican restaurant called Descando with an hibachi style grill but it was repurposed as a taco bar. It was so cool to watch my chile relleno grilled with melted cheese before me, rather than fried or baked behind the scenes.
    3. I’m most curious about Harper Barbeque, one because it shares a family name, and two because they are promising central Texas-style barbeque, and I happen to be an expert. They can be followed at @harperbarbeque on Instagram. Anything else I’ve tried wasn’t even close to home but the promise of a piece of the Hill Country might make me a happier Californian.
    4. There isn’t a grocery store remotely similar to HEB. You have to make multiple stops for different items depending on price/availability/brand. The only thing familiar is that Ralph’s is basically Randall’s and they carry similar products to Kroger. I did research and they’re all owned by Safeway.

https://www.instagram.com/harperbarbecue

Just an amazing souvenir from my Harper family reunion.

Five more tips for not murdering everyone around you during the process of moving… and finding a job.

  1. Make a to-do list every day
    1. Even if it is just to do laundry, wash your face, and go on a walk. Give yourself a daily purpose.
  2. Have goals for the day, week, and month
    1. Being able to see something outside the moment you’re in will make a huge difference in your perspective
  3. Take time to center
    1. Things can, and will, get overwhelming. Take moments to breathe and absorb the moment you’re in rather than be overwhelmed by the situation as a whole
  4. Do things that bring you happiness
    1. Have I been playing pop-punk covers in my car? Yes, I have. Fall Out Boy’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody is GOLD. Ok, maybe bronze, but I love it. Unapologetically choose to be happy and do happy things.
  5. Contact your village often
    1. Sorry not sorry to my Texas girls I’ve been texting all day every day. But you know what? I feel like your village keeps you centered.

Choosing Childcare

Moving to a new city is scary enough, but moving with your child or children is even more terrifying. All of a sudden the decisions you make suddenly feel ten times more important and the fear of the consequences feel equally daunting. So one of our first chores in moving to California was finding childcare for our son. He’d spent about a month out of preschool jumping between different relatives’ homes for the holidays and NEEDED STRUCTURE. To anyone who compliments me on my son’s behavior, I credit it to routine, routine, routine. Threenagers (or really anyone, ever) need expectations. Our son, more than I think some other children, craves and enjoys structure. So for us, Montessori school was the way to go. Luckily, after some interesting school tours around the area, we found one that was walking distance around the corner and our son seems to be thriving.

Below are a couple of the basics of Montessori that are reasons I LOVE it. (For those of you who aren’t educators or well versed in the psychology of child development.)

  1. It is based on the studies of Maria Montessori. Different schools with the name “Montessori” interpret her studies in different ways. ALWAYS do a tour and ask lots of questions. The name is not a brand, but rather an ideology.
  2. My favorite elements are that work and learning are play, toys are ‘materials’, and the environment is shaped for the needs of the child. Wouldn’t it be nice if secondary education adopted some of those ideals?
  3. Children are responsible for themselves. This includes responsibility for cleaning up messes, potty accidents, or behavior. YES, even for 2 and 3-year-olds. Self-reflection is reinforced very early and this is something I felt my child needed.
  4. Children are often in cooperative learning environments not structured by age. This will look different based on how the school decides to structure it, but I feel that having exposure to learners outside of your age bracket is great for development. How many parents can say their second child learned to speak, walk, or read faster than their first? Why not allow young children that exposure during preschool outside the home!? In many cases, it will be a child in the next developmental stage up from the first assisting with a puzzle, painting, or outdoor activity. For example, a five-year-old showing a three-year-old how to use a material.
  5. Social-emotional awareness is taught to both teacher and student. Remember watching Mr. Rogers growing up? How slow and methodical he spoke and how he asked us to breathe and think about how to control what we’re feeling? Montessori does that too.

My method for choosing childcare

Back in college I always, always shared relationship advice but never took my own. (Didn’t we all?) The one activity that actually worked for dating, or really any difficult decision making, and still works now that I am married with a little one is THE T CHART.

On a sheet of paper make a T chart. It is best to do this with your partner. On the left list all of the positive values you have for childcare. Clean facilities, kind staff, locking gate… etc. Then on the right make a list of the negative values that are “deal breakers” that would prevent you from choosing that location. Children in duct tape, lack of curriculum, run down facilities, etc… Try to come up with 10 values for each column. Mine is below as an example! Ok, I only did 9, but you get the idea.

While it is the age of technology, and you’ll probably start with Google like the rest of us millennials, don’t be afraid to just drive around and look at properties. Many older or faith-based child care centers may not be online. Shocker. I know. Make a list from the Google of places to call and schedule a tour.

ALWAYS TOUR A DAYCARE or PRESCHOOL. If they don’t allow a tour or observation, you probably don’t want to attend there. Once you’ve done the tour and met with the teachers, review your list and see how many values it filled, or left empty.

Again, also works great if you’re dating! Just ask my former roommates.

No daycare is the best fit for every child, because every one has different needs, values, and priorities. Maybe you want one that is faith based, or nature based, or does interpretive dance yoga, COOL! You do you!

So our step one with settling in California is complete! I hope you found our insight useful and you can use the chart soon.

I’ll be writing again soon to talk about my QUITE emotional adventure in transferring my teaching license (credential) and sharing some shrimp and crawfish boil advice.

We’ve Relocated!

Hello friends and family!

We have officially moved from Texas to California.

The last week of November Cameron received a job offer that would allow us to move closer to his home, in Orange County, and by the last week of December, we were here! It has been a whirlwind and I’m sure my first-trimester pregnancy hormones made everything SO much easier for everyone. But we made it!

I have relocated my former blog location to Word Press because of some of the easier functionality. I moved a couple of the old posts here, but for the most part, I want our California experiences to be new and unique.

I will also be adding videos and an education tips page, which are some suggestions I received from friends.