Ohio is for Lovers

Back in December, we found out Tyson’s flight team had qualified to compete in the National Flight Competition at Ohio State in May so we thought we would make a short trip of it to celebrate our five year anniversary a few months late. When we found out we were pregnant in February we thought, “Never mind,” and went to San Francisco in March instead.

A few weeks before Tyson was supposed to leave for Ohio, he realized that Kirtland was close to one of the cities he would be visiting. He knows I love church history and have always wanted to see all the church history sites, so his wheels started turning. By then, I was out of my first trimester and feeling way better, so a trip like this didn’t feel like a Herculean task anymore. Less than 24 hours later, we had booked a flight for me to join him in Ohio for a few days before we flew back to Utah together.

I have to stress that I’m not an adventurous or spontaneous person. I’m a planner and worrier. The YOLO spirit of this trip was fueled by my love of church history, the desire to be reunited with Tyson a few days earlier, the realization that trips like this with a baby would be exponentially harder, and probably some pregnancy hormones. Let me know if you know of any acronyms for when you want every second of your life to be planned or you become a neurotic mess.

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Regardless, after the tickets were purchased, there was no going back. I made a list, checked it a million times, and tried to summon all the courage I could for my first ever solo flight.

After almost a week apart, some tears because we had never spent longer than like 18 hours apart, a drive to Salt Lake by myself, a turbulent flight to Denver by myself, some more tears because how was I ever going to make it through an even longer flight, some debate on whether I should just ask Tyson to rent a car and pick me up in Denver, some magical Chinese food that restored my faith in humanity and myself, and a much longer but less turbulent flight, I landed in Ohio and was reunited with a very sunburned Tyson.

It was the first time either of us had been to Ohio, and it far exceeded all of our expectations. I loved the trees, the older architecture, and all the aviation sites, though probably not as much as Tyson did.

My first day there, we visited the Air Force Museum in Dayton, which was huge. We were there for about five hours, and still didn’t get to see everything. I took a small nap on a bench because that’s a lot of walking and no food or drink was allowed in the museum. Tyson got to see some of the planes he’d been wanting to see since he was little. Celebrity planes, they’re just like us!

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The next day, we went to Cedar Pointe in Sandusky, which is another thing Tyson had been wanting to do since he was little. They have some of the tallest roller coasters in the world, which doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re pregnant and scared of heights, but Tyson was all over it. I loved seeing him so happy. We got him a pass that made it so he could skip to the front of the line and get a meal from the food vendors every two hours. That part I could totally understand, and I gladly participated.

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The next day was our last day in Ohio, and was spent touring some church history sites in Kirtland. We were able to take a tour of the Kirtland temple, the cemetery across the street, and the Newel K. Whitney store. It was a really spiritual experience, and I wish we’d been able to spent more time there. We felt a little rushed because we were flying out a few hours later and still had to drop off our rental, so we definitely want to go back and spent at least a day there.

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We had a great time, and I’m really glad we decided to go. Maybe those people who YOLO aren’t so crazy after all.

It’s a Girl!

The weeks leading up to our twenty week ultrasound felt eternal, and when the day finally came I was all nerves and a full bladder. As always, there was an amount of fear and worry- what if they saw something was wrong, or if she wasn’t moving anymore?

My fears were calmed the second the ultrasound technician waved her wand over my belly, and I saw our perfect little baby kicking away. It was an emotional experience, just like the first time we saw our baby in the ultrasound. The ultrasound technician asked if we wanted to find out our baby’s gender, and I nodded enthusiastically through my tears.

She looked around for a few seconds and then announced, “It’s a girl!” I thought my heart was going to burst. I wanted a daughter so badly, and I don’t think I had allowed myself to admit just how much until I knew that’s what we were having. Through the long months of waiting, the idea of a little girl wearing a huge headband is what comforted me. Sometimes she had a little bit of dark hair, and sometimes she was bald, but she was always mine. Now that little girl is on her way, and we can’t believe our luck.

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Buying some balloons for our gender reveal photo shoot while wearing blue.

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This little sign was a joint effort.

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We drove up the canyon during golden hour.

 

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We didn’t want to keep our photographer waiting.

When You Are Called to Wait

I would like to start this post with a disclaimer: This is not a post I could have written while we were waiting. Even though I knew the waiting would be worthwhile, even though in my heart I knew I would one day be a mother, it would have been too painful. Only now that I have a baby swiftly kicking away in my belly do I feel like I can write about what it was like to wait, and how it prepared me for this very moment.

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  1. Even the most needle phobic person with the world’s smallest veins can get used to being poked and prodded repeatedly, to the point where a little blood draw every now and then feels like nothing at all.
  2. You get so much good advice from people who were just recently pregnant. By now, I’ve had friends who have been pregnant twice in the time we’ve been waiting to get pregnant with one. Though seeing what appeared to be so easy to them was hard on me, I now have so many people I can turn to for advice, and I feel so much better prepared for what’s to come.
  3. You become so close to your husband. It’s what’s going through a trial together does to you. We prayed together, fasted together, bought pregnancy tests together, went to doctor’s appointments together. He held me as I cried and comforted me as I struggled to not give up. The joy that we’ve been able to feel is so much greater than any of those experiences combined, and we continue to go through it all together.
  4. Every milestone feels like a victory. After seeing those two little lines on a pregnancy stick, I started looking for symptoms. Even when those pregnancy symptoms were unpleasant, they still made me feel like things were on the right track. I felt so proud the first time I couldn’t stand someone’s cologne, texted my mom the first time I felt nauseous, and gazed adoringly at my belly the first time I was unable to fit into a pair of jeans. Not every symptom feels miraculous, but I would endure it all over again for our little baby.
  5. You become really good at waiting. Pregnancy can feel so long, but luckily, we have some experience in waiting. One of the lessons I learned is that you become someone else when you are called to wait. I like to think I became a little more patient, a little more considerate, a little more positive, and little more hopeful. I like to think I developed a mother heart through waiting. Though I am so excited to meet our baby, I have had to wait before. Not only do I know I can do it, but this wait is so much sweeter.

Infertility is exhausting and painful and crushing. It’s relentless, as your trial continues month after month after month, sometimes longer. It’s the refiner’s fire, the waves that bury you under the sea, the cold dark cave you can’t find your way out of. It’s hard on you, it’s hard on your husband, it’s hard on anyone who has to see you endure and is powerless to help you in your suffering. It’s a cycle of hope, anticipation, heartbreak, then hope, anticipation, heartbreak. Repeat.

It’s not something I would wish on anyone, but my experience is also not something I would wish away. Every milestone, every symptom, and especially every little movement from my baby feels like an answered prayer. I used to think that once I got pregnant, I would forget all of these feelings of anguish and despair I had felt. I haven’t forgotten them, and I hope I never do. I want to be the mother I promised God I would be as I sat on the edge of my tub and cried after another failed month. I never want to forget how much I wanted this, or everything I learned while I was called to wait.

First Trimester GBOMB

Me: Writes a blog post about being cheerful and then falls off the face of the blog earth for months
My tens of followers: Omg, did trying to be cheerful actually kill her?

Fear not, dear readers, not only am I alive and well, I am also pregnant! I thought I would dip my toe back into the waters of blogging with a GBOMB (Good, Bad, On my Brain) on my first trimester, which just ended on Saturday. Don’t worry, it’s not all pregnancy related, though that does occupy about 98% of my brain space right now.

Good

  • Seeing a positive pregnancy test for the first time after seeing so many negative ones was so surreal. It made all of the tears, tests, and doctor’s appointments worth it.
  • Telling Tyson I was pregnant and seeing his face light up. I’d imagined that moment for so long, and the reality was so much better. I can’t wait to see him be a dad.
  • Telling our family and friends we were pregnant. This baby was prayed and fasted for by so many people, and we have felt so much support from them as we’ve been able to start sharing our happy news.
  • Celebrated FIVE years of marriage in San Francisco. Five years felt like such a big milestone when we were first married. I thought we would be so settled and have a few kids by now. Though the reality is pretty different from what I imagined, it’s also so much better. I knew Tyson was special when I married him, but seeing who he has become over the last half a decade: Wow, no words.

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  • Feeling like I could trust and even like my body again. Without even really realizing it, I had allowed myself to get so angry at my body for not being able to perform this most basic of functions. Seeing my body be pregnant and act like a normal pregnant body was a relief. On Easter Sunday, I put on a dress I used to hate on me and saw a baby bump. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen my body in the mirror and been happy with what I saw.

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  • Seeing our baby for the first time has been the highlight of my pregnancy so far. I was so worried that something would be wrong or that I wouldn’t be able to feel anything, but as soon as I saw our baby, everything changed. I’m a little bit of a control freak, but seeing that little baby move of its own free will was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I was so proud of our little baby’s movement, like I was already raising an athlete or something. Watch for us in an upcoming Olympics.

Bad

  • Being nauseous all the time and hating food I used to love. Bacon, I hope we can still be friends when this is all over.
  • Extreme exhaustion and not being able to do what I used to do. I would nap every day when I got home from work and then feel so guilty that I wasn’t getting anything done around the house.
  • I was unprepared for the amount of personal questions I would get about my pregnancy. I don’t consider myself a super private person, but I also don’t feel comfortable being asked if my baby was planned. Like yes, but for a year ago? I feel like pregnancy is such a personal thing (your body’s changing into something you don’t quite recognize sometimes, your life is about to change forever because you will now be responsible for another person, etc.), but because it’s something everyone can see, they feel like they’re allowed to comment on this major life change?
  • The unknown that comes along with pregnancy. Pregnancy is a control freak’s worst nightmare. Like we can tell you what you’re having, but only when you’re halfway through your pregnancy, and we can tell you when you’re due, but it could really be any time before or after that date. I know modern medicine is amazing and everything, but planners gotta plan.
  • Even though we had a blast in San Francisco, I underestimated how difficult it would be to travel during the first trimester. We had to search high and low for places to eat because nothing would sound good (except for  you, hot dogs from a pier street vendor <3) and I would get tired really easily, so we’d have to go back to our hotel to rest for a few hours. I also caught a cold on our last day of the trip, so that day (plus the week after we got back while I was still recovering) were rough.
  • We got season passes to Lagoon on Black Friday, a few months before I got pregnant. I can still go on about three rides, but I spend a lot of time on the sidelines with my Kindle.

On my Brain

  • This article about how many books I will read before I die really made me think. It takes a lot for me to not finish a book I’ve started, but somehow putting a limit on how many books made me realize that I need to prioritize. There are so many good books out there I want to read, so I probably shouldn’t waste my time reading something I hate. Some recent books I read I would not have finished if I’d started them post article:
    – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    – Crosstalk by Connie Willis
    – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Names. I’ve had a Baby Name list on my phone for an embarrassing amount of time, but some of the names have either gotten really popular, I don’t like them anymore, or Tyson doesn’t like them. I’ve been using this baby name popularity graph to guide my highly scientific research. My name was apparently most popular during the 1950s, which makes sense since I’m the only Brenda I know who’s not retired with grandchildren yet.
  • Fluffy clouds. They were my go-to item to think about when I was feeling really nauseous. Apparently they’re the only object I can think of that does not have an unpleasant smell.

Diaper by Laser Bread, via Flickr:

2017 word

I felt a little too prepared for Christmas this year- most of my shopping was done a few weeks before, and we wrapped a few presents a night to keep wrapping fatigue away. It got to the point where all of our presents were stacked by the wall adjacent to our tree, and I thought, “What am I forgetting? We can’t possibly be done already.”

I forgot about New Year’s.

We’re typically only in California for Christmas, but since we were able to visit for both holidays, I completely forgot about the new year. This means I had no New Year’s resolutions, no plans, not even a word.

On January 1st while I was sitting at church, we read a scripture in Mosiah, and the thought just came to me that this is what I needed to focus on this year:

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My word and my focus for the year is: cheerful. I want to be cheerful even if my car is buried under two feet of snow, even if I got toothpaste on my shirt so I have to wear a scarf all day, even if it’s -15 when I wake up in the morning. (These are all inspired by true events that have already tested my cheerfulness this past week.) I want to be cheerful even when things aren’t going my way, maybe especially when things aren’t going my way. I’m looking forward to it, cheerfully, of course. 🙂