Category Archives: health

my Washington Post article and a finished shop

Hooray! My piece for the Washington Post ran last week. Last year, I mentioned what a traumatic time I had a week after giving birth to baby L., and it felt good to write out the details. I never realized how difficult it was write about medical issues — it’s so nuanced I was a bit stressed about getting the details right. But after pestering the Stanford doctor and the CDC press officer, I felt confident when the story ran.

I also have so much more to tell, like how lonely it felt to be that sick even though my husband didn’t leave my side or how I wished I had those early days with my last newborn at home instead of in the hospital or how I sometimes look at the horizon and talk to the woman who saved my life even though I don’t believe in heaven. Lots to unpack there, I know. Maybe I can work on another piece — I just have to find the right angle.

A few weeks ago, A. finished my pottery shop and I’m throwing during my spare time. I’m a bit rusty and I need a full weekend to throw and throw to get in the groove, but I think I’ll find that in the new year and will be able to re-open my Etsy shop.

IMG-2349

IMG-2286

Exciting things are on the horizon! I don’t think I’ll pull off Christmas cards this year (sadly), but we’ll see. It’s hard to get a picture of the five of us. Have a happy and relaxing holiday!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under birth, ceramics, creativity, happy, health, Uncategorized

on healing, exercise and pottery

DSC_1462.jpg

It’s been six weeks since my surgery, and I feel back to normal. Well, as normal as you can feel with a newborn. Luckily, L. is a decent sleeper. Usually. OK, last night not so much, when he was up at 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. But three nights ago my little 7 week-old gave me a 6-hour stretch, which had me dancing to “Foot Loose” around my living room. (Another exaggeration, I can’t help myself today.)

I’ve been walking and I tried to run a few days ago. That wasn’t happening. It’s hard enough to run after a pregnancy, but now I have a surgery to contend with, so it will take more time. I’m trying to be patient.

We took the boys rock climbing in the Jemez mountains yesterday and A. set an easy climb for them (and me), but I wasn’t feeling up to it. Rock climbing is harder when you’re carrying extra weight and I have 10 more pounds to go. But it was lovely being in nature — trees! Fresh air! Sunshine! I’ve missed day trips like this.

IMG_7867

In other news, I opened an Etsy shop to sell my pottery. I was simply investigating how to do it, and then suddenly it was done. I went with Erin Killian Pottery so it’s easy to find. My sister-in-law is a graphic designer (check out her stuff at Beth Killian Design) and she whipped up a logo for me.

DSC_0959.JPG

I haven’t formally announced the shop to family and friends yet — I want to tweak it a bit and maybe add a few more items. I’ve read it’s good to have 20-30 items to start and I have 16 up there. Who knows, that might be enough. On Saturday, I started to throw again for the first time in two months. I made four mugs and three small ring bowls and felt relaxed and in my element. I’m pretty sure I think better when I’m throwing clay. A. said, “Look at you, you’re filthy!” and I nodded and gave him the biggest grin. It feels good to be back to myself again.

IMG_7831.JPG

2 Comments

Filed under art, happy, health, photography, pottery, running, the great outdoors, Uncategorized

the first weeks (not home)

IMG_9393 copy

If A. and I have learned anything in the past two weeks, since our third boy, L., arrived at almost 11 p.m. on July 5, it is to respect the fever.

In L.’s first two weeks, he spent three nights at home. All of the rest were in the hospital. The first two were the standard recovery nights. The next one was because his bilirubin numbers (jaundice) were too high and he needed light therapy. And then, a week after he was born, I was admitted for a 104 fever.

The fever came on five days after L. was born. And it broke with Tylenol. But by the third day, I knew we had to go in. Something wasn’t right.

At the OB/GYN triage, my fever spiked. The pain was concentrated in my lower back and head and I was so cold the nurses put four warmed blankets on me and I was still shaking.

That Tuesday evening, my pulse reached 220, which had the doctors running to see what was going on. I was on IV antibiotics, but it wasn’t till the next morning that they knew that I was septic (blood infection). That afternoon my right lung started to hurt when I breathed. And by Thursday, my liver enzymes were rising.

The blood cultures finally showed I had group a strep — an aggressive bacteria that releases toxins to shut down your organs. And the way to treat it is to act fast and get rid of the source of the infection. For me, that meant an emergency hysterectomy.

My doctor told me I was the fifth case the hospital had seen in two years (some were flown in from rural New Mexico, one was after a home birth), and the other four ended up in the ICU. One of them died. Because my doctors acted fast, I didn’t have to go to the ICU and I came home a week after I was admitted. I’m still finishing up IV antibiotics to get rid of the blood infection.

It was a scary week, and I plan to write about it more fully, but that’s what we’ve been up to. And I’m grateful for good health care, fast-acting doctors and, truly, my life.

12 Comments

Filed under birth, health, Uncategorized

clean living — will it help my allergies?

IMG_6990

It’s spring in Albuquerque, and the way I know this, besides hearing the birds sing in the morning and watching the trees bud with white flowers, is that my allergies are getting the best of me. I started up my nasal spray and eye drops, but now, every night before I go to sleep I need to shower to get the pollen out of my hair and change my pillow case. I was reading to CM the other night on the couch, and I nuzzled my nose into his thick hair, and then I had a fit of sneezing, which made me sad. I should always be able to snuggle my 4 year old.

I’ve read that eating clean and removing chemicals from your house can help with allergies (as well as digestive issues and chronic pain). During my recipe searches, I stumbled across this cookbook by Amie Valpone. There’s a section about beauty and cleaning products called “10 never-use ingredients” — including parabens, amines and sulfates — so I’ve been going through my products this morning, seeing what it might help to change.

IMG_6992-2

I’m ready to try new shampoo (though I’ve been using Aveda for a decade) and get rid of my shaving cream. I can keep my sunscreen and lotion. I’ll probably try a new laundry detergent. I plan to dust more often. It’s a tedious process examining my beauty products and cleaning products for toxicity, but if it can help, even a little, with snuggling my boys, it’s worth it.

I’m also working on reducing gluten, sugar and dairy in my diet (it seems to be helping my energy levels, though I don’t plan to give up coffee or all sugar, let’s be honest).  I never thought I’d like chia pudding, but this recipe for Creamy Chia Pudding is surprisingly delicious — and filling. I’m also putting cashew cream on strawberries. Next, I’ll try the french toast (made with gluten-free oats) and the pumpkin enchiladas. If you want to read more, here’s Valpone’s website. Happy eating and cleaning, everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under food, health, Uncategorized