Oops I made a blog

So, I made this blog approximately four months ago. I wrote a few posts and then I forgot about it.


This is pretty similar to the Insanity Calendar hanging across the room from me. I completed a week (out of two months) and then stopped. Ah, what great examples of my life.

I wish I could say that I will continue to write posts and be consistently updating this site.. Truth is, I am consistently inconsistent. I start things and they go unfinished. I try hobbies, I stop hobbies, I try new hobbies. I start a deep clean of my house, and decide it’s too overwhelming after everything I own is spread out across the floor.

One thing about me is I tend to feel guilty about things for a very long time. The whole “self -love” concept always seems nice, but I am never able to master (who am I kidding, I’m not even able to comprehend the idea). I hold guilt about relationships 5-10 years back, how I stopped working my last job, decisions I made in high school, and my many many incomplete ‘projects’.

Some things deserve to hold guilt in my life. Decisions that hurt people, most of all. As I think, however, I’m not sure I can justify all the guilt I hold for only writing 5 blog posts, or not finishing my insanity, or starting and stopping a diet every week. Who am I hurting? How does this make me a failure?

News Flash to me: It doesn’t.

Sure, I would probably be in much better shape if I was able to stick to a diet or exercise regimen- but it isn’t worth hating myself over. This trait of mine I can surely work to get better at- but in all honesty, maybe it’s a good thing too. I get to try out all sorts of things! It keeps life interesting, right?

I have some awesome ideas to write about in this blog. I recently started working part time again. Trying to navigate being a mom and work is something that many women experience, and I would love to explore how it’s been a personal struggle and triumph at the same time. Before that, I went on a cross country road trip- with just Cormac and Pip (our dog). Six days- eight states- a tiny house, a teepee, and a two day snow storm in Texas. One experience that I surely want to document at some time.

Maybe I’ll write about these things soon. Maybe it will take weeks or months. Who knows (obviously not me). I do know, however, that I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’ll work on giving myself a break a little more, and roll with what life brings next.


Five Tips for the Perfect Pregnancy

Isn’t that what every woman hopes for?  The perfect pregnancy- the ultimate dream.

Please note that this is an opinion of someone who has given birth.  The content in this post is simply supposed to give some insight based on my personal experience.  All women are different and all women have unique pregnancies and births.  The purpose of this post is simply to give one woman’s perspective and give some food for thought.

Easter of 2016.  Surprise!  After losing 15 lbs. by eating healthy, I had not seemed to lose any weight in my breasts.  While super exciting, this seemed highly unusual.  My husband (fianc√© at the time) joked about me being pregnant.  It seemed unlikely, I had been on the contraceptive pill for many years.  We were set to get married on Memorial Day weekend [which we did-and it was awesome] and planned to try for kids right after.  This was only 2 months early.

Two positive pregnancy tests later, I decided to call the doctor’s office to figure out what the next step was.  Was this an accurate test?  Surely there was a pretty good chance these were just false-positives.   Turns out, false-positive pregnancy tests are pretty rare.  Lesson learned.

1. Choose a provider you like and trust.

The call to the doctor’s office was pretty much a nightmare.  My general practitioner wasn’t trained in OB so they just assigned me a different doctor from the clinic.  I had a few questions for the doctor-  I wanted to talk about my current eating habits and my current medications.  I had given up all carbohydrates and was eating a strict ketogenic (high fat, moderate protein) diet that had proven to positively effect my mood, weight [and apparently my fertility].  I was on two medications- buproprion and venlafaxine.  It had taken many years to find that drug-duo to keep me mentally and emotionally stable.  Now that I was pregnant, what was I to do?

After waiting quite a while for a nurse to call me back, I got a generic message from the doctor to change my diet back to about 50% carbs and low fat.  I was also instructed to wean off both medications at an unreasonably high rate (I know this now).  What?  Was there any research this was based on?  Didn’t the doctor want to talk to me about it?

I started eating differently and changing my medication regimen.  Luckily, it was only a week before I realized that my mental health was plummeting.  I went back to my full doses of medications and made a call to the psychiatrist I had seen previously as a consult to help with my med regimen.  I also called a midwifery group to switch providers.  I am very involved in my own healthcare plan and just didn’t feel comfortable with a physician that could drastically change my lifestyle without even speaking to me.

The midwifery group I chose was absolutely awesome.  A group of 8 practitioners, they rotated clinic duty/hospital duty so I saw a different practitioner every time I made a visit.  Each one I met reconfirmed my decision to switch providers.

Luckily for me it only took me two tries to get the right provider.  I highly recommend that if you aren’t comfortable with who you currently see, then try to make a change.  I understand that this may be difficult with insurance plans/where you live etc. but if you can, do it.  Change as many times as you need to in order to feel as if you are involved in your own care.  This will make a huge impact if and when any unforeseen circumstances occur.

Midwives are not MDs.  They are Registered Nurses with additional training (similar to a Master’s Program).  They specialize in women’s health.  Most midwives treat pregnancies that are low risk.  If something happens in a woman’s pregnancy out of their scope, they will consult with an obstetrician.  If you are thinking about trying a midwife or midwifery group- think of this- OB/GYN’s are trained surgeons.  They have learned all the skills to perform cesarean sections.  Midwives are not trained surgeons.  They are trained in natural birth.  If you are thinking that natural birth is the best option for you, they will do everything in their power to help you reach that goal- within safety guidelines of course.  If you would prefer a C-section, you may want to stick to an OB/GYN for your primary provider.  For me, midwives seemed like the best option.  I highly respect all OB/GYNs as well, and by the end of my long and complicated pregnancy, I had met and been treated by quite a few.

2. Decide how you want to learn more about your pregnancy- don’t be too proud to ask for advice

I ended up being about 8 weeks along by the time I realized I was pregnant.  For me, the thought of reading all the “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” books were completely overwhelming.  I did have a nice app on my phone that told me different facts about my baby and how big he was, which was nice.  Luckily, my husband really likes to have ALL the knowledge about a subject- so he ended up reading two big pregnancy books cover-to-cover by the end of my first trimester.  He gave me the highlights.  This made our communication throughout the pregnancy almost seamless.  If you are lucky enough to have a partner similar to mine, definitely take advantage of that!

The midwifery group offered us different classes we could attend to learn more about pregnancy and different options for birth.  The times were not convenient with my husband’s work schedule, and I didn’t find a class setting appealing.

Everyone has a different preference with how and how much information they want.  There are books, movies, classes, apps, one-on-one provider visits, and much more to help give you the info you need in pregnancy.  Don’t feel like you have to choose ALL of them [you will get overwhelmed really quickly].  Do find out what is available to you and choose a method[s] that is right for you.  This may or may not be the same with how your partner chooses to learn. 

There were many times when I would feel something funny happen in my body.  Of course, I would google it to try to see if it was normal or not.  It’s amazing that we live in a world with so much information at our fingertips.

Usually there is also a nurse triage line available to you 24/7 don’t be afraid to use it.  I learned that the hard way.  After being physically ill and sitting by the toilet for 8 hours straight, I finally made the decision to call our nurse line.  I thought maybe it was just really severe morning sickness.  Turns out it was kidney stones and I ended up being hospitalized for several days.  This experience brings me to #3.

3. Always be your own advocate- or have a support person be your advocate when you aren’t able.

Kidney stones suck. Big time.  I pride myself on how high my pain tolerance is.  I broke my elbow once and barely took anything stronger than ibuprofen for the pain.  With kidney stones, I have never been in more pain in my life.  It was determined that in my case, the best treatment was to wait for the kidney stone to pass on it’s own.  Despite my non-interventional treatment plan, I was still hospitalized for pain control.  They tried pain pills.  They tried a small dose of IV medication.  Finally they had to switch to a stronger medication and give it IV every 2 hours.

My husband spent the night with me in the hospital and then had to leave early the next morning for a work trip.  It seemed like I was plenty capable of being there by myself, and I would call a family member if and when I got to go home.  The plan was to try to transition me on to pills, so I could go home and try to pass the kidney stone there.  At least that’s what we thought the plan was.  I remember asking the nurse several times when the doctor would be checking in on me that day.  Soon it became late in the afternoon, and still no one had come to check on me.  Pain medications make you tired.  So does pregnancy.  I quickly lost track of time and afternoon turned to early evening.  My mom had come to visit after work, and when she arrived she realized that a doctor hadn’t seen me yet.  The nurse paged and tried calling the doctor several times, and by the time someone came, it was the night doctor.  I had simply been missed by the team, fallen through a communication gap.

I like to think that I would have been forceful enough to have made sure a physician saw me that day.  Truthfully, I was exhausted and still in a lot of pain- so I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly enough to advocate for myself.  My mom, however, is quite assertive when she needs to be and decided to stay the rest of my hospitalization to ensure that I always had an advocate.

Don’t ever assume that ‘this is just the way it is’.  Be the patient that questions different tests and treatments, and when something doesn’t seem quite right, speak up.  If you can’t- then make sure someone in your corner can.  My experience was a simple lack of communication.  It ended up costing me an additional day in the hospital- fortunately nothing more.  Trust your instincts.  Take charge of your healthcare. 

My kidney stone experience, combined with persistent nausea, made my second trimester quite eventful.  While people say that this is the part of the pregnancy that you have the most energy- it didn’t seem to work that way for me.

4. Know Your Options

The midwifery group that treated me was excellent in helping me know my options.  I am lucky enough to also live in an area that has pretty progressive healthcare in terms of pregnancy and birth.  For example, some providers do routine cervical checks the last couple weeks of pregnancy to look for dilation- even though the information will not effect your treatment.

I always want to know ‘why’ something is being done.  Will the outcome change the course of treatment?  If not, then do I really need it?  Know that you have options when it comes to treatments and procedures. 

Many times you are able to tour the place you decide to give birth.  I did not choose to do this, because my sister had her two babies at the same hospital- so I was pretty familiar with it.  I would suggest touring if you aren’t familiar with the place you decide to give birth.  The hospital I was at had birthing tubs in every room and exercise balls readily available if I wanted to use them in labor.  I also received a great sheet of information that contained my birth preferences.  This opened my eyes to all the different options I had while giving birth.  I have listed a few below- but if you just google “Birth Preference Plan”- hundreds will be at your fingertips.  It is also likely that your provider has a birth plan template.  Make sure to ask at any appointment if there is one available. While it is super helpful to fill this out to get an idea of how you want to labor, remember to keep in mind #5- the most important tip I can give you about pregnancy and labor.

Baby Center Birth Plan

Health Your Own Way Birth Plan

Unity Point Health- Meriter Birth Preferences

United Healthcare Birth Plan Checklist

5. Be Flexible

We got a birth plan template, and some things were blatantly obvious to me.  I wanted to do skin-to-skin.  I wanted to bring in my own essential oil mist and listen to music.  I wanted my husband in the room with me.  Other things, I decided that having an open mind was the best route for me.  How was I supposed to know if I wanted an epidural or not?  Water birth seemed interesting, but who knows if getting in a tub will sound appealing when I’m pushing something the size of a watermelon out of my body?  Much of my birth plan was dependent on how I felt when the scenario came up.  This was the best choice I ever made.

Preeclampsia.  This condition will sneak up on you fast.  Basically, it’s something that only happens in pregnancy, and the only way to fix it is to give birth.  Generally the treatment is to try to manage the symptoms until it’s safe to induce labor.  Luckily for me I was diagnosed right at 37 weeks- which is also considered ‘full-term’.  I was admitted to the hospital and they were going to induce me!  How exciting!

Whenever I heard this term before, it seemed like a pretty simple process.  You go into the hospital and they make you have a baby.  Wrong.  For me, it included lots of meds up my lady parts, manual breaking of my water (Yes-they put up what is essentially a stick to break it), and two rounds of an IV medication called Pitocin to help my body start contractions.  This all took about 3 days before I was in active labor.  It was miserable.

Finally after all this, I was ready to push.  I had realized that this labor stuff was pretty painful, so I decided to get an epidural.  Because they had broken my water, a water-birth was out of the question (due to risk of infection).  All of these things seemed okay to me as long as Cormac got out safely.

I pushed for 3 hours.  **Fun Fact** During that time, the Cubs happened to win the world series [Go Cubs Go].  Turns out Cormac’s head was cocked and he was not about to come in to this world willingly.  The Pitocin had also started to wear off, so my contractions were getting weaker and farther apart- which is the opposite of what’s supposed to happen.

I was given the choice to have a cesarean section.  For me, there was no question.  This was the most exhausting event of my life and I was emotionally and physically drained.  This boy needed to come out.  After the decision was made, it was about an hour and a half until my little peanut was out of my belly and in my arms.

This is not the ideal birth.  There is no way to plan for any of the interventions I had happen.  I like to think that it was a little easier to take everything in stride because we didn’t have a set-in-stone birth plan.  Be flexible.  Have preferences- but know that they might change in the middle of labor.  Be kind to yourself- in no way does a decision make you a failure.  Women give birth every day in many different ways.  In my opinion, there is no reason to shame anyone, especially yourself, for doing what you need to do to get your baby out safely.  Give yourself some room for love here.

I like to think that any future pregnancy I might have will be a bit easier than this one.  Realistically, I know that while my pregnancy was complicated, it was not nearly as severe as many women’s stories.  I also had a great ending, a happy and healthy baby and mom.  Considering the outcome, this was my perfect pregnancy.

Comment your experiences below- everyone’s story is worth sharing ūüôā


Memories Like These

My mind is most accurately described as a sieve. I often forget things that happened last week- or even yesterday. It’s awesome because I can frequently watch movies several times. I usually remember the main plot, but the ending seems to be a surprise every time. Back when I was a kid, I read all the Harry Potter books. I know something REALLY BIG happens in the end, *no spoiler alert*- but I don’t remember what it was. at all. Unfortunately, while my movie selection is never-ending, this particular quality of minedorymeme is not super helpful when trying to claim that my husband never told me something, or when I try to remember if I was supposed to babysit Kateri and Rosemary.

I attribute this lack of memory to my late teens and early twenties. Before then, I was able to remember quite a lot about my childhood and different occasions. Through college I began a fierce battle with depression and anxiety, which for many years was coped with by not coping at all. I was successfully [depending on your definition] able to navigate nursing school and learning to be an adult, with suppressing all emotion and feelings that I was experiencing. Since then I have since learned that my [un]coping mechanism was not a long term solution, but the effects on my memories are here to stay- at least for now.

Last week itIMG_0215.jpg got up to 76 degrees in Wisconsin. WHAT?! To celebrate the weather, my mom [who was watching my nieces] and I decided to take a long walk at a marsh not too far from where I grew up.¬† The Horicon Marsh is part National Wildlife Refuge, part State wildlife refuge.¬† It’s all beautiful. ¬†I also just learned via Wikipedia that it’s the largest cattail marsh in the country.¬† Thanks, Wikipedia!


My mom and I have special relationship [I like to think].¬† She is my confidante, and I truly consider her my best friend.¬† Since I’ve been married and had Cormac, I haven’t spent nearly as much time with her as I used to.¬† It’s always nice when we are able to spend some quality time together.¬† We talked about this new blog thing I’m trying out.¬† We laughed about my last post, locking Cormac in the car [because if you don’t laugh, you cry].¬† We joked that I was going to have to have way more events like that happen to keep writing anything interesting.

We had a picnic lunch with the girls and Cormac, and walked about 3 miles.


Cormac decided to poop through his clothes (typical Cormac), and Rosemary took a tumble out of the stroller – don’t worry- she was fine.¬† All in all, it was a pretty typical afternoon spent with some of my favorite people.¬† There was no specific event during the day that stood out or was incredibly abnormal.¬† It was fun, tiring, and relaxing all at the same time.¬† It wasn’t something super ‘notable’ to put in¬†a blog post, per say.¬† But it was everything I want to remember about this part in my life.

I am sure that I won’t remember this particular¬†afternoon in 20 years, or even 5 years.¬† Not with my memory at¬†least.¬† But when I think¬†back about when Cormac was little and I got to stay home with him, I want to remember the feeling I had last Friday.¬† I want to smile back on the thoughts of spending time with my favorite people in relaxing and beautiful environments.¬†¬†It’s memories like these that I want to bottle the essence of and¬†carry around¬†with me to old age.

I think that it’s all the¬†run-of-the-mill things in life that can shape how you view your past.¬† I hope that this ordinary afternoon will shape my past in a positive way- and I hope to continue to capture these moments in time.¬† I want to¬†recollect all the good vibes as I continue on this journey.

What to do when you lock your keys in the car…with your infant inside

1. Don’t Panic.

While parenting has been full of surprises, one of the biggest surprises for me has been how relaxed I am as a mom. As someone who has been told by a psychiatrist that I have “quite a high baseline anxiety”, I take this as a serious win. Sure, I’ve thought about how we’ll raise our kids and what techniques we’ll use, but never have I thought “I’m not a good mom”. Usually I think about all the people who have kids in the world, and I come to the conclusion of ‘if they can do it, surely I can too’. Not exactly a Mother of the Year speech, but it’s important for me to always keep things in perspective. This past Monday was truly the first time I thought “Calli, you really fucked this one up”.

Recently I have decided to make a serious effort in becoming more active. Monday morning I was determined to start the week off right. I fed Cormac breakfast and loaded him in the car. We rolled in to the health club parking lot and I dropped Cormac off at the childcare room. The director is amazing there so I never worry when I leave him with Miss Jill. Cormac crawled after all the other kids, never looking back. In true Calli fashion, I was about two minutes late to the Body Pump class-so I rushed in and got settled. After a great workout- I was able to take a nice long shower without hearing a screaming baby in the background or worrying the shower would wake Cormac up from a nap. What a rare and relaxing occurrence.

It wasn’t even noon and I was feeling pretty great about my day. I had been quite productive and was about to do some grocery shopping before heading home. I picked up Cormac from his day care and walked out in to the beautiful, sun-filled, 60 degree day. I opened up the back van door and threw my keys up in to the passenger seat. Cormac didn’t even fuss when I buckled him in to his seat [a miracle in itself].

I should say that we bought a mini-van about two weeks ago. I LOVE IT. I always thought I would be an SUV mom, but seriously- mini-vans are amazing. If you don’t believe me, you really need to try one out. It changed my life. Anyways, it’s important to note that while I love my new family friendly vehicle, it does not have keyless entry and keyless start like my old [and also loved] little Versa.

I used the cool little button to have the van door slide shut, and walked around the van and to the driver’s door. Locked. “Rats,” I thought. I’ll have to walk around and open his door back up to get the keys. I walked back around and tugged on the door. My heart dropped in to my stomach. After checking every entry point, I looked inside and locked eyes with Cormac, who smiled his cute little 6-toothed smile at me. Such an innocent, unknowing smile.

Locking myself out of my car is no new occurrence for me. My super awesome ’93 LeBaron convertible from high school was victim to this careless act at least once a month. I became quite talented at pushing down the window from the outside and sticking my [then considerably smaller] arm through to unlock the door. It didn’t seem like this would be the best idea with my new van. Instead, I saw a pesticide flag in the lawn nearby, and decided to take a stab at sticking it through the window and trying to unlock the door that way. FYI- don’t try it. I failed- and got a few funny looks from the cars leaving the parking lot.

Starting to panic a bit more, I decided to run inside to call AAA. Surely with our premium membership they would be able to help. I did what no mother wants to do- and left Cormac in the parking lot. At least I knew no one would be able to steal him… since he was locked in. I was able to call AAA and go through the 235342 prompts before they allow you to talk to a representative. Finally I was placed on hold, and the voice on the other end of the line said “A customer service representative should be with you in 10 minutes.” The initial feeling of panic was nothing compared to this feeling. Tears started streaming down my face and I hung up. Holding myself together, I called the non-emergency police line and told the nice lady on the line that I locked my keys in my car-with my infant son inside. She sent over an officer immediately. Total time indoors on the phone: about 5 minutes.

I swear, when you start crying, you go from being invisible to people coming out of the woodwork to help you out. The staff overheard my conversation and were nothing but nice. I was able to regain all composure by the time I made it back out to the van. One lady walked outside and waited with me until the police officer came. By the way, when we got back to the van- Cormac was sound asleep with his lovey- Goobie the gnome.

It took a total of 45 minutes, a towing company, and a 60 dollar bill (which will be reimbursed by AAA) to get me back in to the van. Cormac slept the entire time. Exhausted, I sat in the front seat and debated whether or not to just go home and skip the groceries. Part of me worried I would lock Cormac in the car by accident again (what would the chances be of that?!).

It seemed clear that before doing anything else, I needed to go through the Starbucks drive-thru and get a super sugary drink. and two cake pops. Trust me- this will ALWAYS make you feel better. It’s best to get one birthday cake and one chocolate- for appropriate variety.

While eating, I thought about how terrible of a mom I was and what would have happened if it was a super hot summer day. I thought about all the people who helped during my crisis and how genuinely friendly they all were. I realized something that I had heard before, but I had never truly felt. In the midst of a highly charged emotional event- I did exactly what I needed to in order to keep my son [and myself] safe. My reaction was what it needed to be in the moment- despite a few tears running down my cheeks.

In an unexpected moment of self-love [and a sugar- high], I put on my big girl pants and drove straight to the grocery store.

As a mom, I will make many mistakes. I will never be able to be perfect, and I will never be able to shield my kids from bad things in life. I don’t want to shield them. I want to teach them what to do when things go wrong. I want to teach them that when they do something, it may have consequences they did not intend. I want them to know how to deal with bad situations and take them in stride. My trip to HyVee was Cormac’s first lesson.

My Open Journal

I hear in blogs that you are supposed to have topics to talk about, a general theme perhaps. I decided that I’m going to try that, and categorize those posts accordingly. I also thought that it would be a good idea to practice some “stream of consciousness” journaling. I have challenged myself to start writing, and not stop for a certain amount of time. Today it’s five minutes. It’s interesting to write everything that I’m thinking about down, and look back at it later. Some people do this and just write down words, phrases, or incomplete sentences. I seem to always do this exercise in a complete sentence narrative, likely due to my slightly perfectionistic personality. Right now Cormac is crawling around the living room and trying to climb on everything. Maybe this is not currently the best time to do one of these exercises, as he seems to constantly get himself in to trouble during this. Too late now :). I figure five minutes out of my day, maybe that’s enough to really jumpstart some real journaling. We’ll see how it goes. To be continued…