What This Virus Is Teaching Me

I wanted to write a blog post on some of my feelings that I have about what this Coronavirus is teaching me. I know I may not be alone in some of these things but I just felt like sharing my thoughts and a Facebook post didn't seem like the right place because I wasn't sure how much I would say, so a blog post it is!

I was watching this video on YouTube and my train of thought took off immediately. I started thinking about my life growing up and the storage room my parents had and kept their food storage in. We didn't have a huge amount of food, and we sometimes used what we had (which is kind of the purpose eventually, right?) but I have memories of my mom saying, "will you go check the storage room downstairs for ______?" And I remember running down the stairs to find something or letting her know that it was the last can of this or bag of that. I knew it was important and my mom expressed often how she wanted a better or improved storage room/food storage and how she's always wanted 72-hour kits for our family. With that, I knew it was important to have something like that when I was older and had a family of my own.

I'm not going to lie... here I am in 2020 and every year of my marriage, I never built food storage. I always used one excuse and that excuse was: I don't have room. We have always lived in an apartment or someone's basement and have truly never had room to build food storage. I know when it's just you and one other person, you don't need this massive and extravagant food storage but now that I've been married for 7 years... have a baby AND living in the world where there is a virus going around (that is causing death)... without food storage, I'm now seeing the importance of having one.

This virus is teaching me that I need to change my behavior in how and what I spend my money on. A couple of weeks ago, when the panic shopping started in the U.S., I was at my moms home snuggling my newborn baby feeling extremely helpless (because I didn't have a car) as I saw on the news that people were emptying the shelves in the grocery stores and I knew we didn't have a very good stock at home of formula or diapers/wipes. I started to panic (hence the panic buying of the country) and got emotional because I felt like I had failed my child for not having extra of the things she absolutely needed to survive.

I didn't want to take my baby out to the store where we could possibly be exposed to this virus (or anything else) just trying to get food for her. My sweet aunt ended up calling me and got us some formula while she was at the store because the one she was at still had a good stock. I seriously prayed to God immediately after hanging up the phone with my aunt, and thanking him for the blessing that she is and for thinking of me while she was at the store. I had no idea what I was going to do and I'm truly grateful for my aunt thinking of me.

Like I said above, I'm seeing very clearly the changes I need to make in my life immediately in order to survive and that is stocking up on what we need, what matters, saving money, getting out of debt, eating healthy/exercising so that I can stay alive longer and not taking advantage of anything..... ever!! My baby is the most important thing right now and while we (thankfully) have a good supply of formula and diapers/wipes for a while, it still doesn't cease to remind me that I need to get my "ish" in order, including myself and Brady and for our family.

I have used the excuse "we don't have room for a storage/food storage" for so long and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of thinking that just because I live in an apartment, I can't build food storage or be prepared in any way. Watching that YouTube video has left me feeling inspired to start food storage, put together 72-hour kits (especially where we're being quarantined for a few weeks now), and stock up on items that we truly truly need to survive. I like that she mentions in the video to just start small. Start buying enough items that you'd need to survive for a week, and then 2 weeks... and then a month's supply and just keep going after that. Use the space under your beds to store your items, extra cupboards or closets... boxes or extra storage rooms.

I'm going to do that. I'm going to stop letting small living spaces keep me from being prepared because I will be sorry one day if I don't start now. Zoe is dependent on me completely to help her survive and I have done nothing to prepare for that. I'm excited to start writing down some goals or things I'd like to change and accomplish over the coming months/years and I'm hoping I can do what I can for what my family needs because I'm ready to put them first like I should have been doing all along.

What has this Coronavirus/quarantine taught you?

Mourning in Motherhood

I know I have blogged before about my depression + pregnancy but I kind of wanted to revisit that now that I'm 7 weeks post-partum.

Post-partum has been an interesting journey for me. I remember thinking a lot about my depression before having Zoe and wondered what it would be like once she was finally here. Would depression look different in my life? Would I even experience it? I had no clue and because it's so unique to each woman, I couldn't just have someone tell me what it would be like.

I feel alone in this struggle of traumatic flashbacks about the birth of Zoe and our experience including my own scare and her NICU stay. When I say I feel alone in the struggle, I mean in my marriage/family. Brady doesn't have the same experience or struggle as I do. I know there are many other moms out there with similar stories or who can relate to the emotions but the loneliness I'm feeling is strictly just between Brady and I. I'm always asking him if he has flashbacks to that day. I ask him if he remembers the sound of the monitors beeping in the NICU or if his body ached at all from exhaustion during that post-delivery week. He says no, to all of it. And maybe he's dealing with (or dealt with) it in his own way, and that's okay! But because of that, I feel alone. And no it's not his fault, it's just the depression talking.

I used to feel confident in being honest with my doctors/therapist but I have to be honest... that isn't the case anymore. Same with being open about this part of my life. I find myself feeling ashamed to share what is going on because "there are so many moms who feel the same and they deal with it." I don't want to hear that. I want someone to mourn with me. I want someone to mourn the fact that breastfeeding didn't work out for me (for more ways than just one). I want someone to mourn with me that I didn't get to take my baby home after two days but instead, rode in an ambulance with her where she stayed in the NICU for 3.5 days (and I thank God every day it wasn't longer). I want someone to mourn with me that my birth was induced and not natural... or that I didn't last very long before I got my epidural. Mourn with me that I didn't get to spend time with my own mother the first couple of days (or week) that I had my baby. Mourn with me that I lived in a completely different state from my family and friends and none of them got to come to visit us at the hospital because of that.

There might be more things I need to mourn (or are mourning) and I just can't think of them right now... they only pop up in the moment. Like the haunting sound of the screens in the NICU beeping... letting me know that my baby's oxygen levels are either fine or they've dropped. Or how about the crushing hope of breastfeeding working out only to have the NICU experience AND physical issues be the reason it didn't work out at all? And that technically we missed the "golden hour" after birth? Or what about the scariness that was my high blood pressure, swelling and eventually preeclampsia? Or the fact that I hemorrhaged but it could have been worse?

I know that so many of these things can be dealt with/worked through in therapy. I know that I can get past this. I truly am grateful that Zoe and I are alive and healthy today... I truly am. But that doesn't excuse the experience or the emotions that follow it. Post-partum anxiety & depression is the weirdest thing I've experienced. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that what I'm thinking or feeling or doing is just that... PPA/PPD. It's not really me or a reflection of who I am or want to be. I have to remind myself that it's okay to admit when I'm struggling or having a hard time. It's okay to admit that I wanted a different story. It's okay to say that even though I'm happy to have my baby here, I wished it would've happened differently. There is nobody to blame.. there isn't even a blame of anything! I know that my doctors and nurses did everything they should have and nothing less and I couldn't be more grateful for them.

I am working with my Heavenly Father too, to feel close to his love, to get through this. I know that his strength will help me... it has before. I know I can get past this mourning stage in motherhood. I know that I can work through this and come out on the other side a stronger mother. I know I'm not alone and there are mothers who have truly experienced what I have and I wish that made it easier but it doesn't. All I can do is keep pushing and keep moving forward.

Zoe is 2 Months Old!

I can't believe my cutie pie is 2 months old! This month went by fast! I wanted to share some highlights of Zo! All of our stuff is packed so I don’t have a cute wooden 2 this month but I did use the @rhonnafarrer designs app!

• She is so smiley and is starting to coo so much more.
• She’s finding her big girl voice so her newborn cry is starting to go away
• She has started sleeping 5-7 hours at night!!!
• She graduated to 4 oz each feeding
• She wears 0-3 month clothes
• She’s 23 & 3/4 inches tall and weighs 11 pounds
• She loves to be swaddled now
• Liking the swing more each day
• Can roll to her side but the dang arm gets in her way from completely rolling over!
• Went on her first vacation this month.
• Had two dimples
• Loves her daddy
• Found her tongue & fingers

I love my little zo zo so much and she makes me so happy! I’m so glad to be quarantined with her 😉 We sing songs, tickle, read books, watch tv, Marco Polo, eat and take naps. So far so good!

We're Moving!

The cat is a little bit out of the bag. Brady, Zoe, and I are moving! We're relocating for his job so he'll still work for the same company, just a different location :) This is a much better opportunity for us and it's so so good to see Brady so happy!! We're struggling to find somewhere to live (who knew it would be so hard to find something available now?) but hopefully, it happens soon because Brady and I are tired of being apart!

I'm not going to lie, I never thought I would miss this place. I had a really hard time moving out here. It was in a different state and out in the middle of nowhere (at least it felt that way). Even though we were only 3 hours away from our families, we still felt too far away. I made that trip almost every weekend and constantly talked about wanting to go back and being sad that we were here.

After about 5 months of sitting at home all day every day, I finally applied for a job at the hospital in town. I ended up working there for over a year and it was the best job in the whole world. I was telling my friend/co-worker that I'm not really sure why I didn't apply for a job sooner or why God didn't push me to but I think it's because I had to come to that decision on my own. God knew I needed this job and these people in my life but he wasn't going to make me do it.

We've been here for 2 years now and it has just flown by. I can't believe how fast time has gone. I know the last 10 months I was pregnant, so that helped the time speed up, but it still feels like we've only been here a moment. I have made some of the best memories and greatest friends here. We love our ward and our neighbors. We are truly loved and wanted and appreciated here. We loved serving as Sunday School teachers for the youth in our ward. They are the greatest kids and I'm going to miss them all! We love the quiet and beauty of living out in the country.

I love love love love the hospital and the staff and my co-workers. I had what most people would think is a pretty tough job but I loved it! It felt like I was working at the credit union again, back in the good ol' days. Basically, I helped people pay their bills, set up payment arrangements, helped them with financial assistance, answered questions about their bills/payments, etc. and so many other random tasks but it was perfect. AND I got to work with one of the best people possible!! My sweet friend Lacey and I have truly grown so close and it is a friendship that I know will last forever! I will miss talking with the cute old ladies who help out at the gift shop and I'll miss talking to the girls at the front desk and visiting my co-workers in the lab! This hospital truly has the most caring management and employees and I couldn't dream of working at a better place. I may be a little biased because I delivered my baby there but it really is the best hospital!

This will be so much better for us and we're both really excited, especially Brady. I've never been to where we're going but I cannot wait to get out there because there's a Target, Walmart, McDonald's, a mall, parks, a river, temple, and so much more!! It's going to be wonderful to be in civilization again ;)

I'm going to miss the scenic drive to our house though. All those dang wild turkeys!! I'm going to miss the Logan temple. I'm going to miss living so close to the lake... I'm really going to miss that. I'm going to miss having calves in our backyard each summer. I'm going to miss this perfect little house we rented. It was truly perfect for us. I'm going to miss our ward and neighbors. I'm just going to miss this place. More than I thought I would. I know where we're going is going to be so much better for us with more opportunities but I hope we always make coming back to this little place a tradition. I want Zoe to know where she was born and where her first couple of months of life were lived.

I'm grateful that even though it was hard at first, I have grown to love this place. It will always hold a special place in my heart and I will cherish my memories forever.

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