2020 is here! I’m really excited for this year, I’m turning 30, Chris & I will celebrate our 5 year anniversary, we’ll add a new baby to our family, just so many good things! Last year I was inspired by the Happiness Podcast by Gretchen Rubin & made a list of 19 things in 2019. It seemed a lot more feasible than making vague resolutions & I made my list with both small one time tasks or events, as well as some bigger longer term items. I didn’t cross everything off, but I did quite a bit & it was fun to keep looking at it throughout the year. This year I did the same thing for 2020. So today I’m sharing my list.
Go to the dentist! proud to say this got done Jan 2nd! I’m terrible at going to the dentist & it was embarrassingly overdue….
Try to eliminate single use plastics
Celebrate Juno’s 1/2 birthday – dogs aren’t around long enough to only celebrate once a year.
Fix my headlight – another embarrassingly overdue issue.
Complete Barre Blend – the 6 week program I currently started
Eat less meat – I’m trying to eat at least one vegetarian dinner a week & go veggie for lunch!
Go away just Chris & I – our only nights away since Will was born was when Chris was in the ICU, not ideal.
Stop buying paper towels
Do seasonal crafts with William
Get our cars detailed
Charge phone not next to bed
Read 6 books – I read a book in 3 days over Christmas & it totally inspired me!
See Marin light house
Have a year round garden / compost
Limit phone use to less than 2 hours / day
Celebrate my 30th birthday
Complete our 2019 photobook
Have this baby!!
I feel pretty good about this list & that I’ll be able to tackle most of the things on here or at least try! This year I’m really trying to focus on sustainability & decreasing waste so you might notice a handful of my things on the list revolve around that. There’s also lots of fun stuff including a new family member, which is just still WILD to think about.
Last night we spontaneously decided to head over to Baker Beach for the sunset and it ended up being one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve probably ever seen. This past week was so busy, Chris was gone Monday through Thursday for work, I worked 3 shifts including Saturday night. I celebrated a friends birthday & Sunday we went to Dim Sum for a red egg & ginger party. So Sunday was the first day Chris, William & I were all together for a whole day in a week!
Before having Will I used to take Juno to the beach weekly. It’s truly her heaven on earth but now days it’s a two person job. One to wrangle the dog and one to wrangle the toddler. I’m acutely award that we won’t live 10 minutes from the beach forever so I’m trying soak up all the beach days I can & even though it can be hectic I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Part 2 of our trip to Tennessee & Georgia! These photos are from the wedding we attended in Bell Buckle Tennessee. As you can tell by most* of the photos William had a blast. We got to spend some great time with family, we all stayed at a B&B together & were just a few blocks from the rehearsal & wedding.
Earlier this summer we visited Bell Buckle Tennessee for a wedding on Chris’ side, but our trip started out just outside of Atlanta. Our first stop was visiting William’s Great Grandma Peggy! We got to go have lunch with her, we ate outside on a beautiful patio while Will played & explored. It was the sweetest. After our visit we spent the rest of the time relaxing at Chris’ Aunts home. That night we took Will outside to look for fireflies. Chris & his sister showed Will the ropes. I was a novice also, & got to experience fireflies for the first time too!
The next day we headed out to Bell Buckle, Tennessee!
It’s officially summer & San Francisco already had it’s first heat wave of the year. Temperatures got up into the 90’s which is about 30 degrees higher than our usual summer temps! Keeping a toddler entertained as well as trying to get them to sleep when it’s 90 degrees in your apartment is no joke. So in the spirit of summer I thought I’d share some ways to beat the heat with a toddler & share some photos from the heat wave & the weekend we spent enjoying the heat at my brother’s house.
Water tables – these are an awesome investment! We got this one for William’s birthday. And it was a serious lifesaver during the heat wave. I highly recommend water tables – they are fairly affordable & provide so much entertainment for toddlers. Even when it’s a little too chilly to be playing in the water William has a great time playing with the table without the water. He loves putting the balls down the track & finding things in the yard that can go in the water table. If you live somewhere remotely warm I’d totally invest in a water table.
Popsicles – pair a Popsicle with a water table and you’ve got yourself one happy toddler, enough said!
Baby wipes in the fridge – talk about a quick & inexpensive way to cool off. This is such an easy trick to make your baby or toddler or even yourself just slightly more comfortable in the heat.
Stroller fan – this is a good gadget to have if you live somewhere that experiences a fair amount of heat. This is perfect for car rides where kiddos don’t always get the best airflow in those hot car seats especially facing backward. You can also clip it onto a stroller.
My final tip for beating the heat is to seek out AC wherever possible. Libraries are a great free place to take a toddler to try to get some reprieve from the heat. Even just an hour wandering around the grocery store or target was a great way to get out of our stifling apartment. So if you have a membership to a museum, a local library you’ve been wanting to check out or if your kids are old enough a movie theater these are all great places to try and escape the summer heat, especially if you’re living somewhere without AC like we are!
Mondays always feel like a fresh start, there are certain things I try to do on Mondays, I try to always work out (usually bbg legs), I try to start the week with a tidy house, & I also like to reflect back on the weekend & previous week. I thought I’d start trying to consistently post on Mondays. Today I’m sharing some favorite moments & some favorite things from this week.
Our week started with an Auntie Date at the science museum. William absolutely loved being able to run around the exhibits on his own. We bought a family membership to the Cal Academy when he was 4 months old. It’s remarkable to watch his brain just take in more and more everytime we go. This time he loved the aquarium & was trying to kiss the fishes, & he loved walking around the rainforest. However the museum is likely where he got his first cold ever that later caught up to us 36-48hrs later. The second half of the week was gray & rainy, perfect for getting over a cold.
I made protein muffins because I knew my sick guy would eat these. They’re made from Kodiac Cakes – I use the recipe on the box for muffins but I add 1.5 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg & 1/2 cup blueberries. I also got these silicone baking cups & have used them a handful of times. I can’t believe it took me so long to get these, they’re a new found favorite!
This Spray! Seven Generation disinfectant spray. Will caught his first cold ever these week, poor guy (definitely not a favorite). So I’ve been using this to disinfect his toys, and pretty much anything his little hands are touching. I love that it’s no rinse required and there’s no alcohol whatsoever in this, plus it smells heavenly. I can’t recommend this spray enough, it’s so mild.
This new neighborhood art is a favorite from this wee! These flamingos are just a couple blocks from our apartment & are on a route I take when I walk Juno & Will. This bright statement on Cabrillo makes the neighborhood look so nice & bright & I love it, I think it’s so fun plus they’re sidewalk garden is total urban garden goals & they also added cool seating.
Another favorite I have is a hack for getting stains out of baby clothes!! It’s so simple. All you have to do is put the clothing item in a large glass bowl & pour boiling or near boiling water on top. I just heat up water in our tea kettle. This trick seriously works like a dream. William spit out some Tylenol I was giving him on his shirt and there was a huge cherry red stain across his chest. This trick works best the sooner you can do it after the stain happens but it’s so easy that even if it’s been a minute it’s totally worth trying. Let me know if you try this & it works!
Below are some favorite snaps from the week & weekend.
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I gave birth to my son. Parts of my birth experience still feel so incredibly fresh in my mind.
I was 40 weeks & 3 days when I went in for my non stress test. The two weeks leading up, I was trying my best to induce labor, walking flights of stairs, eating spicy foods, getting acupuncture 3x a week. After one of my accupuncture appointments I walked a mile to an apothecary store in the Mission in SF to get a special tincture that was supposed to induce labor. I tried it all. So when the nurse told us my amniotic fluid was 25% lower than what they expected I realized this was the start of my birth story. Right after our NST we went to my OB’s, I already had an appointment scheduled & we were supposed to be picking a back up induction day. “Good news, I have your induction day, today!” that was what my doctor told us. We were scheduled for 4pm, she encouraged us to go out to a nice lunch & then head back to the hospital. I went in for one last accupuncture appointment in hopes to make my induction as smooth as possible, then we went out for brunch. We ended up being an hour late to our induction, it was so hard to leave our apartment. It was such a surreal feeling of knowing we were leaving & we would come back & our house would never be the same.
We checked into L&D, I was having contractions but they weren’t regular. They gave my misoprostol & I went to bed. Ironically my nightshift nurse was someone I went to nursing school with. (what are the chances!?!) I got started on pitocin that night & I was able to sleep a little bit. Early in the morning my nurse told it me looked like baby wasn’t tolerating the pitocin the way they hoped so they were shutting it off. I remember feeling so defeated. We thought, well our doctor is going to come in & tell us we’ll be having a c-section.
My dayshift nurse the following day was an older woman who was such a badass, you could tell she was a nurse who had seen it all. She was so reassuring that we still didn’t know exactly what my doctors plan was but that there were lots of options & sure enough my doctor wanted to try a balloon that would help get me to 5cm. (I was only at 1cm at this point). So mid morning they put the balloon in. A few hours later it was definitely working, I was starting to really feel my contractions. I had gotten up to to pee, but I couldn’t & was coming back to bed & chris was helping reconnect me to the TOCO monitor & we couldn’t seem to get the monitor on. My nurse came in and baby’s heart rate was low. First she thought the monitor was possibly just picking up my heart beat, she had me lay on my left side, still low. At this point the charge nurse came into the room, I can still hear the TOCO slowing, 90, 80, 70. More nurses coming into the room. As a nurse myself I knew this wasn’t good, even though I was terrifed, I knew I was safe with Margret, she kept reassuring me they were going to take care of us. She had me get on my hands & knees, (the best way to get pressure off the baby, especially if the umbilical cord is being compressed) while they were calling my doctor & preparing for a crash c-section. Within a few seconds of being on my hands & knees baby started responding really well & the heartbeat recovered. Crash C-section avoided. My doctor came by later to check on me, she was reassured that baby recovered quickly.
The afternoon came & my nurses changed. This time I had a nurse who was precepting a new hire. Right off the bat I felt a little uneasy with my new nurses. About an hour into their shift I called them in because I was having a lot of trouble trying to pee with the balloon in. I didn’t realize how long had passed, but it had been about 9 hours since I was last able to pee & I felt like a lot of my pain was being caused by my bladder rather than my contractions. I had noticed every time I came back from the bathroom that the baby’s heart rate would dip. So I told my nurses I was certain I needed to have a catheter. My nurse told me I would have to lay flat in order for them to do this, I told my nurse that previously the baby’s heart rate hadn’t tolerated when I laid flat. She was insistent we do it that way, & as soon as they started baby’s heart rate plummeted. The reassurance I felt with Margaret, my previous nurse, was non existent with these two. They began yelling at each other, telling me baby was not doing well. I had to tell them I needed to get on my hands & knees. At this point the same thing happened with nurses flooding the room, they had already called for a crash c-section. & had called my doctor. Baby once again recovered while I was on my hands & knees. I told my nurses I needed them to catheterize me, I was fine in the position i was in, baby was fine so I wanted them to just do it. I was told “that’s really not ideal”. If you’re a nurse you know that there’s more than one position to put a catheter in a woman. The fact these nurses refused was mindblowing to me. The on call doctor came in, responding to the code they had called. I told her i needed the balloon OUT! She took it out, I walked to the bathroom & literally peed over 2 Liters!!!! I was immediately pain free. The doctor checked me & told me I was at a 0. This was a little baffling to me because the balloon had been in for nine hours & I was at a 1 when it was inserted. You don’t go backward. The on call doctor began talking about next steps. I informed her I wanted to wait until my doctor arrived before doing anything else.
4.5cm. That’s what my doctor said I was at when she came & checked herself. We chatted for a little bit about our plan. Although she wasn’t happy with how the baby was behaving as long as baby recovers she was comfortable with continuing on trying to have a vaginal birth. I voiced my concerns that I wasn’t being heard by nurses & was having to advocate for myself far more than a women going through labor should have to. If I hadn’t recognized that I desperately need to empty my bladder to take the pressure off my baby & relieve his distress I would have ended in a crash c-section. My doctor completely validated my concerns about my current nurses & asked the charge nurse for an assignment change. My advice to any patient is to advocate for yourself, if you feel like your concerns are not being heard or you just feel like something is wrong, SPEAK UP. We know our bodies better than anyone else!!
The plan going forward was to restart pitocin & then they put in a catheter that would go into my uterus and give fluid constantly to try to cushion the baby since my amniotic fluid was so low and this way they’d be able to more closely monitor my contractions. This took place around lunch time or so. I labored unmedicated the following 14 hours or so. I think I said maybe three sentences in those 14 hours. I had hastily downloaded a nature relaxation album on spotify that they play at my acupuncturist. Well we listened to that for 15 hours… ten tracks of Tibetan flutes all about 90 seconds long, meaning we listened to the album literally hundreds of times.
Finally after being in transition for about two hours I couldn’t take the unbearable pain & finally asked for an epidural. It was a godsend. They placed the epidural & my nurse said she’d let me rest and come back in to place my catheter. When she came back I had gone from 6cm to 9.5 in an hour. She got us all set up to start pushing, we did one push & baby totally crumped. Next thing I knew the charge nurse was in the room saying there would be no more pushing until my doctor arrived. So we waited for about 30 minutes for my doctor to get to the hospital. When she arrived she went through the possible outcomes that if the baby was not tolerating the pushing or if the pushing was effective there was still a chance I could end up in a c-section, or that they would need to use a vacuum to help assist. After four rounds of intense pushing our son William Hayes Dorsey entered the world at 6:34am. The umbilical cord had been wrapped tightly around his neck, that paired with my extremely low amniotic fluid was causing his distress throughout labor. The NICU was standing by & William did end up needing some initial stimulation to get him to take his first breath. But as anyone who’s gone through labor can tell you, hearing that first cry is unlike anything else in this world.
Birth is just amazing. It’s this terrifying, amazing, miraculous right of passage. And no two births are the same. I love that every experience is so unique & can be vastly different even with the same mom! My birth, although incredibly different than my ideal birth plan, is something I’m incredibly proud of. So no matter if you birthed your babe with an epidural, in a tub, via c-section, with 10 people in the room, with Tibetan Flutes in the background, I hope you feel immense pride about your journey.
Happy Mother’s Day – to all the mama’s out there, the real life superheros who work the toughest job in town.
Our little boy is ONE! Saturday was his birthday & we celebrated at home. He woke up and got to read new books & play with his birthday balloons. Will’s auntie stopped by to have brunch with us. After Will woke up from his nap he got to play with his water table that Chris & I got him. And he ended the evening doing his cake smash before his bath! It was the perfect low-key day, we decided not to do anything big since there will be plenty of years of birthday parties to come so laying low and enjoying time with just us felt like the best way to celebrate.
The past year has simulatenously felt like a blink of an eye and a lifetime. When I think about all that happened this year it just doesn’t feel possible that it was only 365 days. The past month I feel like William has really transitioned into such a little boy! He can wave & blow kisses & give high fives, say yes & hi & shakes his head no. My sweet little guy loves to give Juno treats and pets Peggy. I can’t wait to see all the leaps he’ll take this next year.
It may have been unusually quiet over here on the blog but it’s been rather turbulent offline.
About a month ago Chris started telling me he was getting “floaters” in his vision & some occasional numbness in his hands & feet. The ER nurse in me wasn’t all that concerned given how much stress he’s under & how much time he’s at a computer. The symptoms would come & go as would my level of concern. He went & got checked out one day after work, blood work & head CT later the ER chalked it up to dehydration and anxiety. Well unbeknownst to anyone he was developing viral encephalitis.
About week later he woke me up early in the morning to tell me his headache was back. A few hours later I found myself in the ER I’ve spent the last seven years working in. I held our nearly one year old & watched as my coworkers rapidly called a stroke alert on my husband who at this point could no longer identify me. An hour later he was intubated. I waited for the battery of tests to start resulting. Finally after masses & brain bleeds & thyroid storms were ruled out, they tested his spinal fluid, which finally provided answers as to what made my healthy, young husband literally lose his mind. Viral Encephalitis / aseptic menegitis. I couldn’t believe it. And honestly I still can’t.
We spent 3 days in the ICU. Looking back it all blurs together. I think I got maybe an hour of sleep the first night, carefully watching as the nurses titrated his drips, making sure his antivirals were being administered at the right times. I felt like I was tightrope walking this line of advocating for Chris while not micromanaging my colleagues. Being in the medical field, especially critical care, you find yourself wielding a double edged sword of knowledge & knowing too much. I knew they needed to intubate him because of how altered he was, but I also knew all that comes along with it. Having spent my entire nursing career in the ER & taking care of my fair share of intubated patients, I know that everyone’s sedation needs are unique. And at the end of the day you want your patients to be as calm as possible & quite frankly knocked out! There’s an arsenal of sedation & pain medication combinations available to patients so if one isn’t working it’s the nurse’s obligation to advocate for something else. Chris is a big guy & was requiring a lot of sedation to keep him comfortable, I was so thankful that I got to stay at his bedside & advocate for him when I thought he was being undermedicated. I was terrified of how much of this experience he would remember, & mostly what he’d be like once they extubated him. The prognosis for viral encephalitis is variable. People make full recoveries, others require occupational and physical therapy to regain balance & motor skills. When we went to the ER he had already been exhibiting motor weakness, memory loss, & difficulty speaking, so needless to say I was terrified I would get a partial version of my husband back.
Chris spent about 3 weeks at home, recovering. We are extraordinarily lucky he was diagnosed so quickly & began receiving antiviral drugs rapidly because that is likely what has effected his outcome.
The last seven years in the ER have shown me shit happens. Aneurysms burst, cancers invade, hearts fail & no one gets out alive. Life is fragile, you never know when your world will be turned upside down. For me it was a typical Monday morning. I can’t help but think that life gives us certain situations to change us & challenge us. I’m enveloped with gratitude after this experience. Unmeasurable gratitude that my husband is laying in bed beside me as I type this,a new found appreciation for the medications that allowed Chris to remember very little of this whole ordeal, and the antiviral medication that allowed Chris to make a remarkable recovery. I’m eternally grateful for my out of this world co-workers who not only took exceptional care of my husband but lifted me up, caffeinated me, fed me & kept me company at all hours. They were there for me more than I could have ever imagined. When I left the house that morning I had no idea I’d be calling Chris’ mom telling her she needed to get on a flight asap. I had no idea the first night I’d ever spend away from my son would be because my husband was intubated & in the ICU. Sometimes situations can seem so dark, but the dawn always comes.
Needless to say the last month, we’ve laid pretty low, enjoyed time together as a family. Things are slowly getting back to normal, and we have some fun things coming up in the next few months that I’m excited to post about. Tomorrow we are headed to a wedding in the city & Sunday is Easter! I can’t believe next weekend we’ll be celebrating William’s first birthday!
It’s Will’s first Valentines Day. We aren’t doing much to celebrate, but I snapped these pics when I was decorating our mantle. The days of getting Will to sit still for pictures are lonnng gone. In exchange for sitting still William this week decided he can give kisses, clap & wave. This morning he woke up and waved to his fur-sisters. Getting a kiss from this boy is the best Valentine’s gift ever!! Also, I tried to give him a tiny bouquet of carnations thinking it would make for cute pictures, but he only wanted to eat it…