Growing in emotional maturity

For the longest time, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. In college, I was holding my breath waiting for my boyfriend to trust me. Once he didn’t trust me, there was no relationship. I just kept pressing forward only to make things even harder and more painful when I finally walked away. After college, I pursued a married man. He ended up doing to me exactly what he did to his first wife, but you could say I had it coming since I was the reason he left her. After our divorce, I started pursuing just the physical aspects of relations. I was literally too scared to get hurt to even consider a committed romantic relationship. Once this life caught up to me and I started considering seeking a healthy relationship, I found out I was pregnant.

With the pregnancy came all the feels. Looking back, I had a very physically healthy pregnancy, but my emotional well-being was very low. I was facing an uncertain future with a baby and her dad who wasn’t capable of loving me. Here I was, once again, looking for love in the wrong place. I yearned for him to even try and make it work with me. But it wasn’t in the cards. I had to finally stop being emotionally immature and move on from the things that weren’t helping me grow. Once I let him go, I felt my heart finally healing. Healing from the college guy who never trusted me. Healing from my husband who left me for someone(s) else. Healing from my baby’s dad who likely really wishes we had been more careful. (I refuse to use the word he did on here, but that part was definitely the most painful).

I started and have been reading the bible daily. I’ve been listening to certain podcasts and reading books. I’ve really taken the time to be selfish, if you will. And focus on myself. And I agreed with myself to take time to be single and heal with one exception. If someone were to enter my life and help me to grow then I’d allow it. I met someone unexpectedly about two months ago and it’s been an interesting ride. Shortly after we met, the city where we live entered a shelter-in-place that’s still occurring. Through this time, it hasn’t been easy to get to know each other. At first, things seemed great. But as time goes on, it appears to me that while his words are great and helpful, his actions seem to be misleading. I’m not quite sure if he sees me as his girlfriend or just a friend with benefits.

I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt since things aren’t normal due to Covid-19, but I also have to be true to myself. I keep praying to God to show me what He wants for my life. And I will continue to pursue His word. I just felt like I had to share, since because of the growth I see and feel inside of me, I will no longer settle for anything less.

I hope everyone’s doing well despite the craziness. 🙂

Positive mindset and manifestations

Please note: I am 100 percent aware that things could be worse. I am not here to say anything negative about anyone, as I do not know everything they’re going through and so trying my best to see things with grace and love despite the hardships I am experiencing.

Three months ago I finally woke up and decided to trust God completely and walk away from the toxic environment I had let take over my life. After nearly 9 months of praying and trying to make things work with the father of my child, I had to finally let him go. He made it clear he had no intention to try and make it work with me. He actually told me I had to change in order for him to even make an effort. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, my ex husband. I knew if I kept lying to myself and moving forward with this man I would end up slowly dying inside.

Sorry, that may seem extreme, but I know I am more than enough. And I don’t have to change for anyone who’s unwilling to change for me. Think of it this way: I was willing to look past his flaws to try and make it work. He wasn’t. And that’s okay, better to know now and move on before having it hurt even more.

What was holding me back was fear. Mostly, financial fear. See, I was already working three jobs and barely making it. Asking for a room-mate to move out meant losing the small amount he was helping towards my mortgage and bills. It meant waiting on the state of Illinois to process my child support claim, which I expected to take a few months even before covid-19.

But in January, I started readjusting my mindset to focus on the positive. I started writing down manifestations to change the negative things going on in my life into positive. To be completely honest, I never planned on sharing these but have felt called to since we’re all going through hard times these days. So, enjoy.

Instead of I’ll watch our child so you can work three jobs,
Manifest
I’ll take care of you and our children so you no longer have to work three jobs.

Instead of I’ll split your mortgage with you but not contribute towards anything else,
Manifest
I’ll make sure you’re financially comfortable and content.

Instead of my other child is worth more than the one I have with you,
Manifest
Every child is priceless.

Instead of outgrowing a two bedroom condo,
Manifest
I will own a beautiful and spacious house in the Oak Park area.

Instead of you’re not worth fighting for
Instead of I don’t want to help you heal and take down your walls
Manifest
I’ll support you and be patient with you during your healing process

Instead of unless you’re struggling financially, I don’t see why I have to help contribute towards our child’s life
Manifest
I will do everything I can to ensure our child is healthy and happy

Have a great Sunday everyone! And I hope some of this has touched you/helped you in some way!

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Moving on from disappointment

If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ve likely noticed a trend of me writing about heartbreak and hard situations that have shaped me into the person I am today. Ever since going through my divorce, I have been on the defense with every person I meet. I settled just for the wrong attention after my divorce just to justify things in all the wrong ways. Because of this, I met a slew of disappointing people. I told myself the physical attention was enough for me, but in reality I was dying inside. My expectations lowered to a point where I expected to be disappointed. I lost my way from God’s plan for my life. I lost sight of Mr. Better, the person I heard God tell me about. I started believing the lies people were saying about me. That I wasn’t good enough to be loved, to be taken care of, to be put first. That somehow I had to just settle into being last in someone else’s life.

Due to all this heartbreak and pain, I started closing up. My astrology sign is a crab, and I took no time to harden my shell. I started self-sabotaging anything that seemed good. I didn’t trust anyone at all. I started telling myself it was too good to be true, or there were hidden red flags. I would start creating excuses to not meet someone, or not go on a second date, or just plain not even talk to someone smiling at me. I have a three year history of running away from everyone and everything, good and bad. The only people I haven’t pushed away are my church and running friends. They’re the only ones I really keep around. For everyone else, there was a very tall wall to climb.

More recently, I’ve been taking time daily to focus on God’s word and what He wants for me. I have been seeking His voice lately and have heard him through a few avenues. He is still saying there’s someone better for me. He’s telling me there’s someone worth letting my guard down for. Someone God’s been preparing for me as much as He’s been preparing me for him.

After about 4 weeks on a dating app, I decided to delete it and try a different one. An app I had never really tried before but I know two people who found their spouses through it. I had never tried it before because I wasn’t ready to date with intention until recently. I was too scared of getting my heart hurt once again to actually consider a boyfriend.

Also, it’s important to note, I haven’t had a boyfriend in 8 years. I have completely forgotten how to be a girlfriend. How to let someone in. How to just be myself with no fear and no regrets. Last week this guy messaged me as I was about to delete all dating apps, then he called me. I freaked out, I can’t remember the last time a guy called me to talk. Then the craziest thing happened, he called me daily after that. And we made plans to meet. It all felt natural. I’ve known him not even a week, but feels like I’ve known him longer. But in the midst of it all, I’m still fighting my battles of self-sabotage and wall building.

Last night he sang this song to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqIxCtEveG8

And it was like the song was written about me. And him. See, he’s been single for 5 years. I’ve been single for three. We were just not finding the right person for us. I was trying to fit square pegs in the circle God created for my life. I was holding my breath in hopes for someone to wake up and realize my worth. I was wasting my time with all the wrong people. But it helped me realize exactly what I don’t want. Exactly what will make me run away.

While my walls are still high and strong, I have started on my healing journey to let God guide my steps.

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My testimony (warning: TLDR)

Today I’m going to share my story. A lot of you may know my story, but most of you likely have only heard the highlights. The truth is not pretty and very real. I’ve joked a few times that my life could be a soap opera, or a tele nueva if you will. I’ve been listening to and reading some Trent Shelton lately and he’s inspired me to begin this new chapter by sharing my story.

When telling your life story, it’s hard to know where to begin. My life began as a happy accident. My parents found out they were expecting, and got married on February 14, 1986. Exactly 5 months before my debut. Everyday I thank them for choosing me. I grew up Catholic, attended a few Catholic schools and then switched to public schools and lots of CCD (Catholic Education). I went through all the normal Catholic rites, baptism, first communion, and confirmation. I knew Jesus and Mary and all the saints, but kind of took it for granted. When I moved away for undergrad, I stopped attending church. The guy I was dating told me he wanted me to know Jesus, so I dumped him. Thanks, but no thanks. After a scare with the police and being taken to the ER after what was mistakenly taken as a suicidal threat, I was shook. And lost. I was invited to a bible study by my dorm neighbor, and I tried it out mostly to just make some new friends. This became the beginning of my journey to truly find Jesus.

It didn’t happen overnight. I started dating a new guy who had a similar religious upbringing as me. He also didn’t really take it seriously, and we became comfortable with each other. But as I continued going to bible study and joining my new friends at Cru weekly, I started reading and learning more about this Jesus guy. He actually wasn’t all that bad. Spring break of my Sophomore year I attended a retreat in Panama City Beach where for the first time in my life everything came together for me. That week I accepted Jesus as my savior for the first (real) time. As an adult choosing to follow Him. I sent a really long and really hard email to my boyfriend at the time explaining what I had learned and inviting him to join me on my journey. I fully expected him to leave, but instead he signed up to try his best. Despite us growing in our faith together, we had too many holes in our relationship. There was a lack of trust on his end, and he never fully forgave my mother and me for events that occurred in the past. Our relationship was not a healthy one, so I ended it after 2 years and a few months.

Because I had invested and opened up fully to him, it took me just about a year to fully recover from the heart ache that ensued. It also didn’t help that his mother suddenly died about two months after we broke up. Her death threw us back together before either of us were ready. The pain, grief and sorrow surrounding that time in our lives made me just want to be there for him, despite all the unhealthiness that surrounded us. Thankfully, I was able to move on and thought I had finally found a healthy dating relationship about 9 to 10 months later.

I made the mistake of thinking the ex boyfriend and I could be friends. Y’all, this is not always possible and because of this, he grew jealous. A year after we broke up, he basically made fun of the guy I was seeing. Maybe the new guy felt threatened. Maybe he thought I wasn’t over the ex. Whatever it was, he basically told me to go fly a kite. So I went into my next dating relationship out of a mixture of desperation and revenge. I dated my ex’s best friend, and when I broke up with him I destroyed any and all friendship with my ex and his friends. I jumped right into another relationship that felt too soon and too fast. This guy kept pressuring me to have sex, which by the way I hadn’t done yet. I was waiting for marriage, which was reinforced by my relationship with Jesus. Even though at this point, I was falling away from church and reading the bible regularly. That was when Vince came into my life.

We had been acquaintances for about two years, we had met at a job I had in 2007 when I was still with my ex. He posted on Facebook in 2009 that his new company was hiring and I needed a job so I applied. I got the job and he became my boss. It wasn’t long before I was once again single (2009 was the year of the flings, I burned through about 3 or 4 guys within 9 months) and we started flirting. The only issue was, Vince was married. He was married when I had met him and he was still very much married. Actually, his wife worked at the same company as us. Needless to say, at this point in my life I was very far from my relationship with Jesus, and I used every excuse I could think of to accept Vince and tell myself his marriage was over anyways.

Long ass story short, we went to hell and back. He moved in way too soon. I broke my promise to myself and God. A year later he was divorced and we were officially a couple. I fought every sign God was throwing at me to stay with him. We had been dating for almost 3 years when he proposed to me. Since I was hell bent on making us work, I said yes. I really wanted to at least do the right thing, even if I didn’t wait for marriage I really wanted to just have on partner for life. I wanted to be married, have kids, and live happily ever after. We went through pre-marital bible study with our pastor, and Vince lit up for Jesus. It actually gave me hope that perhaps we could get back to faith and grow together with God.

This was, unfortunately, short-lived. It wasn’t long before no matter what church we tried, Vince was just not interested. Shortly after my mom, who was my best friend, passed away, I remember crying in the passenger seat of his car when he flat out told me if I wanted to attend church, I could go alone. Not long after, I discover he’s cheating on me with more than one person. He moves out and files for divorce. Despite me offering to go to couple’s therapy and make it work. Despite me telling him I love him and signed up for the long haul. See, I didn’t believe in divorce. I still don’t. But he didn’t choose me. He chose someone else. Just like he chose me over his first wife, he chose his third wife over me. In the midst of all the pain, I found myself having a panic attack. And after hyperventilating and nearly calling an ambulance, I heard God tell me He had someone better for me. He revealed to me His plan, and yet I still fought it.

It took me a year to get over my first unhealthy dating relationship. This time instead of just working on myself, I made poor choices to find redemption in all the wrong places. I dated around. I found a friend with benefits situation, a guy who would come over most nights just to keep me company. While I finally found my church home while going through my divorce, I still didn’t allow Jesus to be enough. I still wanted more. I still wanted to pave my own path. I “dated” the wrong guy for almost 8 months. I let him be my crutch until I was fed up and left him. And once again, instead of turning my ears and heart towards Jesus, I turned to all the wrong places. I started dating again, and sold myself short. Before I knew it, I was in a situation I never imagined happening.

I was pregnant with someone’s baby who didn’t care about me at all. I was facing the scary and all too real situation of single motherhood. I was scared and alone. I had tried my hardest to create my own life plan, and here I was messing everything up. A beautiful mess. A happy accident. My beautiful and life-changing daughter was born in April 2019. And if you read my last post, you know what happened next. I found myself falling for someone who didn’t love me. I was once again, stubbornly trying to pave my own path. I kept telling myself that he will wake up one day and see how amazing I am.

What I didn’t realize was that I was wasting my time and breath. I was delaying the inevitable. He can’t see me. He doesn’t want to see me. I can’t make anyone love me. I couldn’t make my ex-boyfriend love me in a healthy way. I couldn’t make my ex-husband love me in a health way. I can’t make the father of my baby love me. I had chosen to put myself in unhealthy relationships my entire adult life. I had chosen to be miserable and not listen to what God has for me.

I knew what I had to do. And that’s where I am now. I am making time daily to spend time reading God’s words. I am making time daily to pray and worship. I’m writing so much (this is literally the shortest thing I’ve written in weeks, YIKES!) and setting my eyes and sight towards Him and what He has for me. I am willing to be single for the rest of my life, for the love of God is enough for me. No longer am I looking to these puny humans to fulfill my needs. Instead, I find everything I need in Jesus and my relationship with him.

I’m still writing my testimony. I’m still on the path towards recovery. I’m still writing out and imagining what a healthy dating relationship even looks like. Thanks for reading this, if you made it this far I am forever grateful.

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Motherhood has broken my heart

I’m forever changed and always grateful for it. This is a growth opportunity, but one I didn’t see coming when I found out I was pregnant in September of 2018. See, I had lost my way. I was trying to pave my own path, only to be shown once again that my plan wasn’t written by me.

Once I became a mother, some things changed in my heart. One, I fell in love with my child. She was and still is my miracle baby. The baby that I was told would be very hard to have. The baby I will never take for granted after seeing so many others struggle through fertility and beyond. I can safely say I’ve never felt this type of love before and can’t imagine being able to replicate it ever again (unless there’s another child in my future). Two, I started feeling differently towards her father. This was the thing I didn’t see coming. I started imagining things differently from what was the harsh reality around me. I started dreaming and hoping. I fell in love with him. No, the idea of us working out. Of Aria having parents who loved each other and who could show her what love looks like.

I found myself yearning for the perfect family. The family that loved each other and loved others. The blended family that actually got along. The unusual story of it actually working out. My heart turned into a mother wanting to actually not be that stereotypical struggling single mom. My thought patterns changed and I started having massive anxiety. Sleepless nights, explosive moments, huge mood swings. I just wanted to have it all.

I got so wrapped up in my alternative reality that I didn’t see I was dying on the outside. Things weren’t working out. I was miserable, and I was trying to be someone I hated. Someone I didn’t recognize came out. I started drinking heavily, and using other coping mechanisms. It got so bad that the person I wanted so badly to want me was triggering memories of my ex husband and my failed marriage.

Thankfully, I was able to take a step back and make the healthiest decision. I chose to stop living in my fake world and finally wake up. I realized that being a struggling single mother isn’t half as bad as what I was doing to myself. And actually a lot healthier. Not just for me, but also for my daughter. She needs me to be happy and healthy, not destroying myself. She needs to see what wholesome, unconditional love is. Because she deserves it. And I deserve it. I am enough. I am purpose. I am love.

October = Change

For most of my adult life, the month of October (and the season of Fall in general) has brought change for most years than I can remember. In this post, I’m going to go over some of the biggest changes I went through and how they’ve shaped me into the person I am today.

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The year was 2007. This was the year I dumped my first long-term boyfriend. The actual break up didn’t happen until mid-November (right before Thanksgiving) but I initiated a break during the month of October in hopes that maybe we could mend things. But really, things were beyond repair. To be completely honest, I was in major denial since my ex never fully trusted me. Reading my emails, searching through old chat histories. He was on the hunt for any hint that I was unfaithful. Even when he found nothing, he just kept looking. And I just kept telling myself things would get better. I’m very thankful for the Fall of 2007 when I finally took a stand for myself and walked away from a toxic relationship.

The year was 2008. It took me a year to finally build up the guts to consider dating again. And I went in swinging. Asked a guy for his number that I met at a Young Adults (20s) Ministry, then called him 2 days later and asked him out. We went on several dates over the next few weeks. But after about a month or so, he took me to get coffee and basically dumped me. This was the year that I learned that I couldn’t always get my way.

The year was 2009. I told my close friends and my parents that I was dating a married man. Needless to say, no one took this well. My good friend went so far as to take away my phone until I promised her I’d end things. My mom yelled at me for what felt like weeks, maybe months. I had to even face HIS mom, who was somehow even worse. This was the year I decided to break all the rules.

The year was 2010. The married guy I was still dating was now divorced. This was the year I learned that divorces take a long time and a lot of money, especially when there’s an angry spouse involved.

The year was 2013. I married who I thought was my soulmate. This was his second marriage, but he told me everything was different. He said we were meant to be. He had never felt so sure, and I was right there with him. I loved him unconditionally and saw myself spending the rest of my life with him. This was the year that I learned that I loved planning weddings. After planning my own, I briefly considered becoming a wedding planner. Still wouldn’t mind this job one day, so it’s still on the table haha.

The year was 2014. My parents announce they’re moving to Pryor, Oklahoma. My dad got a job at Google and my mom will benefit with the amazing health benefits offered by Google. My dad recommends my husband to take his job that he’s leaving in Chicago. I start a new job as well, and finally make closer to what I’m worth (actually using my Master’s degree for the first time). Finally, my husband and I aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. This was the year I learned prayers do get answered, even if some of them aren’t exactly what you imagine.

The year was 2015. I ran my first half-marathon. My parents announce they’re moving back to Chicago. My mom’s health turns for the worst once they move back and she’s gone faster than anyone could’ve guessed. This was the year I learned that life is too short.

The year was 2016. My husband decides to fight for me for most of October, cancels our anniversary trip to Hawaii and moves out of our house the week of his birthday. My entire world comes crashing down. Soon enough I figure out everything that happened, especially since he refuses to meet with me in person due to guilt and shame. This was the year I learned that no person on Earth is worth losing your shit over. I even graciously didn’t destroy any of his things he left behind (which was everything). I’m very thankful I had an amazing therapist who helped me through the divorce.

The year was 2017. I ran the Chicago Marathon, my first full marathon. I trained hard and I raised enough money to provide clean water to 26.2 kids in Africa. Ok, actually 27 since it’s hard to cut kids into little pieces. This was the year I learned the most about myself. I invested in myself and my spiritual life. I’m very grateful for the change in 2017.

The year was 2018. I recently found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. While I wasn’t officially dating the father of my baby, I had let myself have deep feelings for him. Despite all the things going on, I was still too scared of rejection to really talk to him about how I felt. Lucky me, he decided to move on without really talking to me. I also decided to get baptized. I felt like it was extra-special since I was pregnant with Aria. This was the year I learned that while not everything is in my control, God is still on my side helping me be strong to face every challenge. This was the year I learned that I had to be strong and independent because now a baby was going to need me. I’m very humbled by the experience of being pregnant and single.

The year is 2019. And while I have a baby now, I am wondering what this October will bring. Hopefully good changes. Some things really aren’t much different from last fall, but definitely not pregnant this time.

What types of changes have you seen in your life? Do you see them in the fall like I do?

The cost of giving birth

I didn’t want to write about this, because for me she’s so worth it. But then I started thinking about it. And it goes way beyond the money. So here goes nothing.

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It was late August when I started to notice something weird was a-brewing. My body had all the signs of my period coming, with no actual period. When the four pregnancy tests all came back positive, my head started spinning. The biggest concern I had? How was I going to afford having this baby?

See, I wasn’t in the typical job. I was working at a gym and paying for my own health insurance through Obama Care. I legit didn’t have a solid paycheck. Some weeks I made over $700, other weeks it was closer to $300. I was living life one day at a time, and trying my darndest to turn my dreams into reality. That was until I knew I was growing a human.

Everything shifted. I didn’t have the luxury known as paid maternity leave. Even when the gym closed and I was forced into an office job, I took the first thing I could find which ended up being a contract position that also didn’t offer paid leave. Even with insurance, the medical bills piled up. I paid just about a thousand dollars of bills before the baby even arrived. Which may not seem like a lot, but as a single parent with only one income it added up fast for me.

Thankfully, I am pretty savvy when it comes to money and saving up. I’m currently in week 7 of unpaid leave and have yet to dip into my savings to pay my bills. But my time is running out, and because of the bills piling up, I am forced to go back to work ASAP. As soon as my baby is 6 weeks I am hoping to be joining the workforce once again.

But can I just say how thankful and blessed I am to have health insurance? I pay for it monthly, but the fact that my medical bills from January until now would have been 42k without insurance is mind-numbing. Instead they are a measly $7,900. Well, as of now. I’m currently trying to get the state to help me pay since, once again, single income makes it hard to swing nearly 8k.

But birth costs more than just the medical bills. With birth comes a child. Who needs to be tended to 24/7. Daycare alone can cost upwards of thousands a month. And all the baby supplies. Mainly diapers and formula if needed. I’m thankful for friends and family who have helped in that department. But this is just the beginning.

And don’t get me wrong, like I said she is so worth every penny. Another thought I had was in relation to the changes my body would go through. After going through college at 120 pounds and thinking I was fat, I knew being pregnant and giving birth I would gain weight. Needed weight. But I was scared for the after-birth time, when I would look at myself in the mirror and see someone I didn’t recognize. A girl with extra weight.

It took me 32 years to get to the point where I loved myself no matter what my body looked like. And I’m happy to report that mindset stuck. I’m about 25 pounds overweight but still feel myself 100%. I still feel sexy, despite the extra curves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be working hard to get the weight off. But I know I will enjoy every step in the process even more since I love myself and my body no matter what the scale says. I only cried once. And that is ok too.

After growing and birthing a human, I can safely say it’s all beautiful. Yes, I’m no longer on my journey to be She-Hulk, but now I’m just starting to work towards Wonder Woman, the mom version. 🙂

My journey to squat out a baby

After nearly 42 weeks of being pregnant, the time had finally come to evict baby girl Brice. Of course, she couldn’t just come out easily. This is my labor story.

At 41 weeks pregnant, my midwife scheduled my induction for Monday April 29th, with me going in Sunday night to start Cervidil. But my body had other plans. I went into early labor on Friday night. Contractions were coming every 8 to 10 minutes or so. But once I fell asleep, they were virtually non-existent most of both Friday and Saturday nights (despite walking as much as I could during the day). So Sunday rolls around, and same thing. Contractions every 6 to 8 minutes despite walking all over Oak Park and Forest Park. We pack up and head to the hospital around 7pm. I’m sure to bring my laptop so I don’t miss Game of Thrones.

The receptionist at the hospital mentions the midwife on duty is Jenna, the same midwife who told me not once but twice to watch my weight as I was gaining a little too much according to the amount she wanted me to gain. I take a deep breath and start praying internally so that everything goes well and that I look past Jenna’s shortcomings. As we wait for the nurses, we squeeze in the Game of Thrones episode, you know the one where Arya takes out the Night King. Holy shit! But the nurse checks a few things and tells me that my water has broken. I did notice a little trickle earlier in the day but just thought I was randomly peeing myself. Due to my water being broken, Jenna says we can’t do the Cervidil but can start the induction right away.

Thankfully my cousin Shawna shows up and she helps me by getting my lazy bum to walk laps around the hospital with my IV line of pitocin going. This is fun and dandy as she helps me breathe through the contractions which are definitely getting stronger and more consistent. We take selfies and we talk about how perfect the verse of the day is since it’s now Monday:

Matthew 11:28 King James Version (KJV)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

But then the battery dies on the wireless monitor, and I’m forced back to the room. This is where things head south. Once back in the room, Jenna comes in with some bad news. Baby’s heart rate keeps dropping during the contractions. The likely culprit is the umbilical cord, which could be wrapped around baby’s neck or leg or something that is causing this to happen. If this trend continues, the likelihood of a C-Section is high. Baby’s health is number one priority. I start crying, balling my eyes out. I can’t afford a C-Section, the recovery time alone will deplete my savings and then some (unpaid maternity leave sucks by the way, but that’s another topic). Jenna suggests we try a procedure to help relieve the pressure on the umbilical cord. There’s no guarantee it’ll work but she will try it twice in case the first time doesn’t work.

Sure enough, the first attempt didn’t work. As I’m laying in bad (due to this procedure), the contractions are getting more intense and painful. Also, Jenna mentions if we do go down the C Section route, I may consider getting the epidural sooner to help with the surgery. Due to this, in the middle of a contraction, I tell Shawna that I want the epidural. Thankfully, she says “We don’t make decisions during contractions.” Also, she determines we should give the procedure a 2nd chance, in hopes that it works. Thankfully it does. With Shawna’s help, I’m able to breathe through the contractions and I don’t fight the pain.

They move me to a delivery room and the first thing I notice is no tub. I had planned on and hoped for a water birth, but it looked like that was no longer an option. It was later determined that I couldn’t even get into the shower due to my IV and the fluid line going into my uterus. 7am comes a different midwife: it’s Mary and she’s my favorite. Around 8am, I asked for some rest. The nurse gave me a dose of Fentanyl to help me doze off for about 45 minutes or so. It was the perfect power nap I needed to make it through to the end. After that, I finally asked for a squat bar since they weren’t bringing one when Shawna asked for it. I had to get out of the bed. Being in bed was making everything worse for me. I felt like I had to be up and doing something to help this baby out. So with Shawna and Remi’s help, I get into a low squat with every contraction.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, those contractions sucked balls. I squat during them for about an hour and a half. At some point I ask for the stool to sit on as well. They put liners on it since I’m basically leaking fluids with each contraction. It was right around this point when the urge to push overtook me during the contractions. That’s how I knew it was go time. Mary makes me get back on the bed, and sure enough there’s a baby head. Up until this point I had been stuck around 6cm or so, but the hour and half of squatting helped get me fully dilated and ready to go. Mary coaches me on where and how to push. I’m pulling my legs up to my chest and giving it all I’ve got. Another hour and a half go by, of pushing this time. And then there’s a baby girl. And she’s perfect. And her name is Aria Lee. 6 lbs 14 oz 20 inches of amazing little baby girl.

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And I’d do it all over again in a heart beat. No epidural. It’s been a week and 5 days since she was born and I already feel nearly back to normal. Recovery hasn’t been bad. The first few days I was sore everywhere. Even my arms from holding up and pulling up my legs. But I was thankful to be able to walk right afterwards. And I was blessed to have nothing tear.

Overall, I would give Elmhurst Hospital and my experience a 4 out of 5. I was not impressed with the first midwife who did bring up C-section and epidural multiple times. But I know they are just doing their jobs and usually don’t deal with patients who choose to give birth naturally. Especially when pitocin is involved. I think a lot of people just assumed I would get the epidural once they induced me. But I fought hard to try to stick to my original plan. And despite taking a hypnobirthing class, I didn’t quite use the techniques but still feel like the class helped prepare me mentally for childbirth.

So I guess my two cents of this entire birthing experience is: squat it out. And prepare yourself mentally for the physical side of childbirth.

Things you don’t know until you’re pregnant

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I thought I knew about pregnancy, then I became pregnant. While there is so much information floating out there about pregnancy, and most of it seemed legit, I really didn’t learn most of these things until I discovered that I was growing a mini-me. And today I’m going to share these gems of knowledge with you all.

  • Pregnancy is ten months, not nine. Everyone says 9 months but it’s 40+ weeks. Do the math, 4 weeks a month that’s 10 months of growing a baby. I’m already 9 months pregnant and no baby yet. When is this thing over??
  • You don’t get to eat for two. Normal people always love to tell me I’m eating for two, but reality is I only get to eat another 300 calories a day. Yes, the struggle is real.
  • Your bones will move. Not just your hips but also your ribs widen. No longer do your undergarments fit, and those jeans that used to be HUGE on me? SUPER tight now. Almost cried because not sure I will ever be able to wear my clothes again.
  • Feeling movement in your belly becomes normal. I barely notice it when baby is moving these days. She’s almost always moving that it just feels natural. Wondering how my mind will adjust to no movements post-birth.
  • Guys will hit on you. Especially the closer to the end, the bigger I get the more date invitations I get. I kid you not, about 4-5 guys have asked me out over the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’s because they think “hey she’s a decent looking whale” or “hey if she can be a mama she can likely take care of me too.” Either way, the answer is a hard no.
  • People will assume. Strangers and co-workers alike assume I have a husband, and tend to ask me if he’s just as excited as me. I’ve found it easier to just smile and nod, yes totally excited and if not does it even matter?
  • Enjoy every moment. The time before baby arrives is known as the baby-moon. It’s like a 9 month honeymoon, and it’s important to enjoy every moment of it. Because once baby is here, everything is different. Not a bad thing, just different.
  • Sleeping becomes interesting. You can’t sleep on your back, or stomach. And should ideally sleep on just your left side. Until everything goes numb and you die. The end. Just kidding, you will wake up to pee before dying. Many many times, especially towards the end when baby is all up on your bladder.
  • Things will be uncomfortable. Lower back pain and hip pain like I’ve never felt before. Oh the joys! Everything is uncomfortable: walking, sitting, sleeping, breathing, etc. But it really doesn’t start until close to the end so at least you know the end is near.
  • The bathroom is your friend. I spend more time peeing than doing anything else these days. At least I know I’m hydrated since I pee about 15-20 times a day and it’s almost always clear like water.
  • People will treat you differently. Almost like you have a disability. Not a bad thing, but people hold doors open for me and treat me a little more gingerly than normal. I do get told that I haven’t slowed down at all though by those who know me. I’d agree until this week, I feel like once I hit 39 weeks my body checked out. I definitely feel slower this week.

While all of these may or may not be a surprise to you, I feel like it’s been an adventure from day one. Watching my body go through the changes and tracking my baby’s growth has been amazing. I can’t wait to meet baby girl and hope she comes soon!

Hey, I just met you and this is crazy

But here’s my number, so call me maybe.

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This is an untold story. Actually, to be completely honest, I don’t think anyone knows this story other than me. My mom knew a bit of it, but she’s no longer here to tell it to anyone. And as far as I know, she kept my secret safe with her.

The year was 2012. I was newly engaged, about to plan the wedding of my life with who I thought was the love of my life. It was a cold wintry night when my Mom invited me out with her girlfriend. At first, I thought it would just be a lame night with a bunch of old people. But we ended up at a local bar that had a live band playing, and the crowd was mixed with mostly people my age. I ended up drinking a few drinks, and dancing with a few people. Nothing terrible, and always with my Mom right there with me. As the night went on, I kept crossing paths with a cute guy. My Mom was kind of nudging it on, since she kept talking to him as well. We danced and at the end of the night, he asked me for my number. I gave it to him, but didn’t plan on following up with him since you know, I had a fiance and all.

During the uber ride home, my Mom laid it out in plain, drunken word. She asked digging questions like: Do you really want to marry Vince? Can you see yourself with this guy, or someone else? Why are you texting this guy already?

I was texting him to let him know I had a great night but was about to get married and wasn’t looking to start anything. At all. Nada. Zip. Zero. Fast forward to sober Jen driving to work a few days later and this song plays on the radio and takes me right back to the bar, with the cute ginger boy. His eyes, his red hair, and his number in my phone leads me to texting him. Days later, we’re still texting a ton. A week or so later, my fiance notices that I’m texting a lot. This was pre-unlimited texting and I was getting dangerously close to the limit. So I had to stop. I told the ginger we had to cool it down. And we stopped talking. Dead silence.

Except for that time we met up again – once to see a movie and another time to get drinks with some of my friends. Yeah that wasn’t awkward. So I kinda liked him, but I was way too focused and stubborn to walk away from Vince. Also, morals.

Fast forward a few years later, I’m sitting in my empty castle of a house crying my eyes out and all of a sudden ginger boy texts me. At a moment of weakness, I cling on to him. But he is now living in St Louis (which I kinda knew anyways) and the idea of me driving down there to see him seems to be similar to climbing Mt Everest at this point in my life. What happens when we re-connect is interesting though. All of a sudden I start imagining how my life would’ve been had I followed my instinct. Had I left Vince, even if I didn’t end up with ginger boy, where would I be? Would I be happier? Could I have avoided a divorce and major heartache? Would I be better or worse?

And it brings me back to that night. What was my mom getting at? Did she know something I couldn’t see quite yet? Did she think Vince was the wrong choice?

Anyways, I didn’t end up visiting him in St Louis and actually decided he wasn’t the right guy for me. But it’s all interesting and in the spirit of sharing random stories about myself I wanted to share this one.

Also, it’s always the random guys I meet in the local bars that steal my attention away. After years of trying online dating, I already know that isn’t for me. Meet me in person, dance with me, buy me a drink, and let’s talk. 🙂