I had surgery last Tuesday. Crazy huh? I will share a brief version of my story below. It’s about how my IUD went wrong and I had to get it removed. If you are interested, read on.
I started having back pain a little over a month ago. It wasn’t unbearable but it was every day. It reminded me of the cramping I’d have before my period so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. After about 2 weeks of the daily reminder and no period or relief, I called in to my midwife for a visit. In the meantime, I “Googled”. Never do this. By the time I went in for my appointment 3 weeks later I had diagnosed myself with a whole array of illnesses and complications. Most of my concern though centered on my IUD. The major red flag for me was that I could no longer feel the strings of the IUD. This is something you are told to check monthly following your period…I was one of the small percentage of women who didn’t get a period while using the IUD so I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d felt them. I knew they were there a year ago and that now they weren’t. Fast forward. I went in for my visit. My midwife couldn’t find the IUD strings or even feel the IUD when she checked me. She scheduled an ultrasound for later in the week to see if it had implanted itself in my uterus or had fallen out. Both cases she said were rare. Ultrasound- IUD imbedded pretty far inside. Next, visit with a doctor. Prep for that visit: 800 mg ibuprofen and a Vicodin an hour before and a ride to and from the appointment. Ok, now I’m nervous. Feeling loopy, met with a new doctor at that visit. Using a variety of tools and lights he tried to locate the IUD to remove it. The discomfort was minimal. Lots of cramping. Some post visit bleeding. But no luck on the removal.
Next step: surgery. A hysteroscopy to be exact. Basically the same as this doctor visit but with me fast asleep. A little over a week later having had no food or drink since midnight (having removed all of my jewelry, nail polish- including my new pedicure-, sans lotion, make-up and hair product… ugh!) and having had quite the anxious previous nights sleep, I was checked in to preop for my procedure. I got wheeled into the OR, was told I was going to get sleepy and woke up feeling pretty drunk. Slowly the world came into focus and I was told that the IUD was out! Deeply imbedded, strings wrapped around it, but out! With prescription to take it easy for a week I was out of there! I thought I should share this story because when I was told that I was in the small percentage of people that this happens to, I was struck by how shocked I was to be the exception. I always think that things will go according to the plan. I’m one who listens to those ‘risks’ that doctors share but then quickly overlooks them or throw them into the category of ‘that won’t happen to me’. Once I was in the minority though, I didn’t want to be alone. I searched out individuals who could relate, who could offer encouragement. So, I’m just throwing this experience of mine out there so that maybe someone else can find comfort in my story. It wasn’t life-threatening or dangerous. But it was annoying and frustrating and something I was really angry that I had to deal with. There is such power in shared experiences. I am thankful for all of you who have shared yours with me.
Kurt felt the need to document ‘zombie’ me throughout the day post surgery. I was stumbling around a little, slept a lot, found it much more comfortable for my spinning head to keep my eyes closed,  but couldn’t help smiling that this was OVER! The grogginess lasted about 24 hours. Way longer than I expected. My mom and Ava prepared us a yummy dinner. The Turri’s brought us an ice cream treat. Kurt was home from work all day long. Besides the surgery part, it was a pretty great day! Best part though, it’s out and I feel like me again.

Snackin’ Gluten Free

As I was looking through all of our pictures trying deperately to find one of me snackin' I ran across this one of Ava. In it she is just 2 weeks shy of one year old! What a little sweetie- I can't believe that right now she's 2 weeks shy of being 3! AND I figured that since she's holding a GF snack, it works for this post 🙂

I think most of the battle with any diet, food allergy or elimination diet is the fear of not knowing what you are going to snack on.  At least that has always been my hold up.  I am not good at restricting myself when it comes to food so I have adopted a ‘moderation’ policy when it comes to my eating.  I tend to be slightly extreme in most areas of my life and food is no exception.  At different periods of my life I have been extremely focused on healthy eating that led to some mild craziness and obsession with food and I have gone through periods where I thought absolutely nothing about the content of what I was putting in my mouth… both are unhealthy for me.  I do much better when making healthy choices most of the time and also eating those things that I love (usually sweet treats) in moderation.  This has worked for me for many years, until my latest battle.  The Gluten Free lifestyle really scared me mostly because I was afraid that in restricting myself from eating MANY of the things that I love, I would either get a little nutty in the head or just plain depressed.   I decided that I would commit to finding snacks and meals that tasted great, filled me up and DID NOT leave me feeling like I had missed out on an important food group.  Since I don’t love meals and would be content to eat 6 snacks a day, I just made sure that I had a bunch of snack options that fit my new dietary restrictions so that I could spend almost no time focusing on the fact that I can’t eat bread, pasta, cereal, etc.

Here are just a few of the GF products I have found that pass my taste test:

Glutino Sesame Ring Pretzels

I am a major pretzel lover!  I think Kurt might have been kind of glad that I would no longer be able to eat them since my favorite pretzel eating venue was our bed while watching LOST or Friends.  I think the idea of salt crystal free bedding was extremely appealing.  But . . . I’m back in business!  These pretzels, though pricey, are wonderful!  And they are carried at most grocery stores in town; Sunflower Market and Smiths for sure!

Voskos Greek Yogurt

I hadn’t really ventured into the whole Greek Yogurt craze even though most everyone in my life had and really loved it.  One day I was reading about it and the descriptive words, creamy, custardy, rich, won me over for a try.  I am glad I did!  Not only is this a yummy snack, it sustains my sweet tooth for a moment and has a good amount of protein in it which makes it filling!  If you haven’t tried it yet, don’t be scared- it’s great!  I’m thinking of venturing into the plain Greek Yogurt next. It is a little less expensive and then I can play with ways to doctor it up myself.  I’m thinking mini chocolate chips, honey, dried fruit, granola… man, the possibilities are endless 🙂

Nut Thins

I even loved these cracker before but now they are practically a staple in my diet.  I love to eat them with some chunks of cheese,  avocado and turkey… it’s like a grown-up (GF) Lunchable!  There’s something very satisfying about building the tiny little cracker sandwiches and eating them one by one!

Ancient Harvest Pasta

Pasta is hard.  The texture is different, the taste is different and the cooking process seems to be a little trickier.
I have tried a couple different brands and so far this one tastes the most authentic to me and the cooking seemed pretty fool-proof.  They use organic corn flour and organic quinoa flour which turned the cooking water yellow, but other than that tasted pretty much like any other shells I’ve made.  I will keep experimenting though to find the perfect pasta substitute!

Rice Works Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps

I LOVE chips (who doesn’t?), so I find myself reading the nutrition label on almost every bag!   Much to my surprise and disappointment, there is wheat or a gluten product in many of my favorites.  What drew me to these guys is that it says ‘Gluten Free’ right on the front of the bag and you can buy them at Costco!  I really love a sturdy corn chip, all the better for dipping!  These rice chips taste wonderful all alone and are the perfect compliment to some chunky salsa or fresh guacamole!

More snacks to come…

Hellooooo Late 20’s!

Around here we like to make Birthdays last all week long!  The celebration for my 28th (AHHHH!) started just a little early with a special dinner and surprise (Gluten Free) birthday cake at PaPa and JoJo’s before they left for 3 weeks in Italy!

My last day as a 27 year old = a trip to the NM State Fair!  This trip was made complete with a quick trip through the Red Barn (it was too stinky according to Ava), Ava’s first corn dog (loved it), AND a BIG bag of Kettle Corn that I (along with a tiny bit of help from the fam) polished off in 2 days!

Happy Birthday Morning! Wow I look sleepy but I’m smiling because what this picture doesn’t show is the Venti coffee Kurt woke up extra early to run out and get at Starbucks!

Kurt and I went out for a fun dinner at Farina… I REALLY missed the pizza with this whole Gluten Free thing but my salad was good and the company was delightful!

Gosh our baby is SO cute, I know I’m not biased at all 🙂

This shot is for you  Jo… You will be happy to know that Kurt brought a candle along with us to dinner just so he could make sure that I blew out a candle ON MY ACTUAL BIRTHDAY!  I know I make fun of my mom for how dramatic she is about this tradition but truth be told it has attached itself to my heart and it makes me smile that on some level (probably one that wants to avoid needless birthday tears from me) Kurt has embraced his role as the one that makes the birthDAY candle craziness happen!

We sang and blew out this candle quite a few times trying to capture a great (one where I looked acceptable) picture… Though not my best photo moment,  I love this shot because my Ava girl snuck out of her room (a good hour after she was supposed to be asleep) to see what all the singing was about and said, “I want to sing to my mom!”

“The Kids” as I’ve come to affectionately call my Brothers and Future-Sisters-In-Law

planned and prepared a delicious

28th Birthday Dinner for me!

We all dressed ourselves…

and drooled all over ourselves

and over the most wonderful meal!

Though the parents are over sea’s we enjoyed the celebration in OUR home which made it so comfortable and special!

Gift time was maybe one of the most amusing ones to date…

especially when much to my delight I received a GO GIRL… if you don’t know what that is, I will let you research on your own! We all had a good laugh and I am PUMPED for the endless opportunities I now have for easy outdoor goin’…

Ava was maybe the most off the wall any of us have ever seen her… Oh how I love watching the ones I love enjoy an evening!

The birthday celebration didn’t end there…

My lovely Ma and Sis-In-Law took me out for my very first “Tea” Experience at the St. James Tearoom! I had no idea what to expect and I was just floored by the fancy, girly, delectable fun of the whole experience!

I was even allowed to eat every single thing thanks to their Gluten Free Menu Option… How cool to not have to miss out on one yummy bite!

It was so much fun to share this time and give Jess a chance to share Emrys’ beautiful wood workings throughout the entire restaurant!  I have to take this opportunity to thank Jess for making sure that not one year went by without some serious waterworks…but seriously, that was wonderful of you Jess, taking the time and effort to prepare such a beautiful letter for me… though I was trying to break the spell and not cry this year I actually ended up giving Kurt and then myself a good laugh- apparently I’m pretty funny when blinded by tears 🙂

Another year down and I am just reminded how blessed and loved I am.  Thank you family for knowing me and celebrating me accordingly!

Gluten Free Livin’- Again

It feels pretty weird to write a blog that is all about me… to be honest, I don’t really like doing it.  However uncomfortable though, I thought I would like to share a little of what’s been going on with me and give some background for you before I start sharing Gluten Free Recipes that left you wondering… what the heck?

About 7 years ago I was plagued with constant stomach pain and anxiety.  Even then I wasn’t quite sure which was a symptom of which.  Finally, through many, many doctor visits, including an intestinal biopsy, a visit to an allergist, a chiropractor, and multiple different restrictive diets, I came out with a very loose diagnosis saying that I was gluten intolerant or had a gluten sensitivity.  The prescription= a gluten free lifestyle and some mild intestinal muscle relaxers to help with some digestive issues (namely- IBS).  This gluten free diet was the only thing that seemed to alleviate my symptoms and so although I was very sad to leave many of the foods I loved,  I was SOLD.  After living this way for around 9 months my doctor recommend that I try to gradually add gluten and wheat products back into my diet and see what happened.  I was TERRIFIED!  If any of you struggle with gluten sensitivity you know that after being gluten free for a time the idea of introducing it back into your body is enough to give you a stomach ache.  But I did, and slowly but surely I was able to handle it and even eventually got back to my old “normal” diet.  In the back of my mind were always the words of my doctor saying that some people just don’t digest gluten as well as others and to be aware and sensitive to my body… I have definitely taken this precaution into consideration noting that when my life got a little high stress, my stomach was the first to go.  I would generally steer clear of wheat products until the stressful situation was taken care of and that seemed to help. This has been my general approach for the past 5 years and that gets us to the past few months.

After having a stomach ache every night for about a week followed by some brief episodes of heightened anxiety, I started to try to figure out what was going on.  The symptoms immediately transported me back to 5 years ago and I was almost positive I was dealing with a relapse of sorts.  Sure enough when I looked up gluten sensitivity/intolerance it said that symptoms can be exasperated by high stress, lack of sleep and pregnancy. AH HA!  My main symptoms tend to be anxiety, stomach issues and a hard time sleeping… what a catch 22!  Without looking back I have jumped into my old GF life again.  I need more than ever to be on my game to chase my 2 little ones around.  Now looking back over my pregnancy I can see that all of the normal signs were there, but due to being so hungry and having been so sick for the first half of the pregnancy, I had discounted the almost daily stomach aches and never steered clear of foods that I knew could be adding to the problem.   I think I could have caught this sooner, but was focusing so much on my drastically different life with 2 kids, a new house, and summer traveling that I overlooked it for months.

As I attempt to feel better both physically and emotionally I  will try to share I little of what I am finding to feed my body.  I know that more and more people are attempting a gluten free lifestyle due to the fact that stomach and head issues are so hard to diagnose.  It is amazing how diet can truly change everything about you.  The way you look, feel, your mental state, your energy level, how well you sleep,  the condition of your skin… the list goes on.  Here’s hoping this diet= HEALTH for me!  I know that many of my friends and family struggle with some or all of the same issues as me- as my form of moral support I’m going to try to share some yummy GF recipes that feed my soul and keep me feeling good!  Last time I was sick I lost so much weight because there wasn’t much out there in the form of Gluten Free products… this is SO NOT THE CASE NOW!  I do not doubt that a few extra pounds will find me as I taste test all of the wonderful products now available at Sunflower Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, even the normal grocery store and a handful of restaurants in town.  If any of you have any experience in the Gluten Free life please feel free to pass on your favorite products and recipes!  This actually might be a little fun!

My Number 1 Gluten Free Dessert LOVE!

All flavors are Gluten Free *except English Toffee and Cookies and Cream

YO-KEVA… IF you haven’t ventured into a Keva Juice lately, you should.  We have recently added frozen yogurt that is WONDERFUL!  4 flavors are offered at a time (flavors change on Thursdays and Sundays) along with 20 different delicious toppings!  The yogurt is self serve, thirty nine cents an ounce AND after 7 p.m. it is half off!  Also, if you go in and ask for EXTRAS (the flavors that they have recently changed out that have been packaged and frozen) they are half off ALL THE TIME!

That said, here is my first GF dessert!:

1 Package of Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies (bought at Sunflower Market) – finely crushed

1/4 cup butter- melted

Mix and press into a 9 inch pie pan and cook on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Put 1 full 24 ounce container of Yo Keva Extra’s (in this case Irish Mint) into your Kitchen Aid Mixer along with mini-chocolate chips (or candy of your choice) and mix until smooth.  Then spoon into your crust, cover with Cool Whip or Whip Cream and freeze for about 3 hours until set!

30 Weeks DOWN!

Can’t believe it’s already been thirty weeks!  This is a pregnancy milestone I’ve been pushing for since day one and I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s come and gone…It really does feel like we’re in the home stretch now and that before we know it we will be driving home with our new baby!  At our 30 week midwife appointment this week we learned that I passed the glucose test with flying colors (!)-no gestational diabetes here… that my iron levels are low (I’ve eaten 3 hamburgers since… not sure if that’s exactly what they meant by “fortify your diet with iron rich foods”), I’ve gained a little over 18 pounds (Kurt’s gained a little over 15…so in our “biggest gainer” contest looks like I’m still in the lead!), Baby S’s heart rate is holding steady in the 140’s and I”m measuring right at 30 weeks with another ‘sunny side up’ baby (hopefully that little sweetie will find comfort in the correct birthing position in the coming weeks)!

My mom also threw me a beautiful baby shower this week!  What a wonderful way to make a grumpy, uncomfortable mom feel so loved!  It was a fun evening of friends and family, games, great food and wonderfully generous gifts!  It was a night that made it all too real that we really have a tiny little baby on the way SOON!  We are getting so excited for it all but mostly to put to rest the constant debate over whether the baby is a HE or a SHE!!!

September 16, 2009

Well… I’m officially 27!!! Yay! I had a wonderful birthday week full of celebrations with a lot of people that I love! The pictures are from a delicious and special birthday dinner planned by my parents and my wonderful husband! Man did they know the way to my heart; grilled chicken, pizza bread, garlic french fries, sausage balls, ramen noodle crunch salad AND key lime pie!!! Seems like a much more random bunch of food as I write it down, but that night it was PERFECT! As if that wasn’t enough, my mom took me out for a shopping and nails day before my birthday, Kev and Kay spent a day-after lunch date with me, Kurt and I celebrated with our dear friends Ryan and Rochelle (complete with AMAZING homemade ice cream sandwiches!YUM!), and then Kurt took me out for a date night! This is not even including the MANY happy birthday phone calls and facebook messages I received. I am feeling incredibly loved and celebrated right now. I pray that for their birthday’s I can make all of these people feel as special as they’ve made me feel this past week!

Mother’s Day Weekend!

Ava- Dani- JoJo, Mother’s Day 2009

What a wonderful Mother’s Day! Though this day is always such a nice excuse for kids or husbands to praise and appreciate the Mom’s in their life- I realized this year that it is also a day for Mom’s to sit back and appreciate the blessing that being a Mother truly is. Just given the gift of a few extra minutes of sleep yesterday morning and the opportunity to sit at the kitchen table and just stare off until my Starbucks arrived (thanks Kurt!)… I was overcome with the joy of my place, my job, my role. Starting my day off with a moment to reflect on my life, rather than to start my day off running around gave me a little perspective. This Mother’s Day I learned that this day is not only a day to tell your Mom that you love her but a day for a Mom to look at her own life and see not just crazy children and never ending laundry and cleaning… but to see the amazing blessing and untouchable JOY that comes with our job! I love being a Mom and I am thankful for my sweet husband, my little Ava-girl, my parents and my brothers and sisters for making me feel so special- giving me a little break and helping me check out my life from a different vantage point. I woke up today with a little more gratitude and a little less grumpy because of all of you! I love you!

Surprise! Mitch came in town! and Surprise! We’re eating outside at Savoy… Again!
Such a Big Girl- No High Chair anymore…
Kurt and I hardly ever take pictures of ourselves anymore… so when we do (and we look kinda cute) it’s going up!