24 May, 2012

Pregnancy Resources

I know I talk a lot about being pregnant these days. I really never thought I'd turn into someone who could talk about nothing else, but pregnancy is all-consuming right now. I'm still not feeling very well; therefore, I'm still not doing a whole lot, which is really frustrating (and kinda boring). I have high hopes of retaining my individuality as a woman when I become a mother, and I think pregnancy is a good place to start. But for now, while my life is fairly dull, I'll blog about pregnancy.

Annnnyway, I knew once I revealed this news that I really wanted to do a blog post about health insurance and a great morning sickness resource I discovered during my first trimester. Exciting stuff, yes?! The content may be a little dull, but I hope it can help someone who finds herself in a similar situation to me.

Levi and I are both independently contracted and essentially run our own businesses (Levi definitely runs his own business and does all his own taxes; I get 1099ed when I work). We both really love this, but it comes with a price - no health insurance for us... well, no company help with health insurance anyway. We could get private insurance, but we can't afford it, and every plan I've looked into says, "maternity not covered." Mind blowing! 

So when we decided to start trying for a baby, I began researching options for us. I knew we wouldn't qualify for MediCal or Medicare. The income limits are very very low. Back in our really tough financial times, we might have been able to qualify for it, but that's not the case now. This is awesome! We're moving up in the world. We're making good decisions. We're growing up (finally). But this also left us without any health care options, or so I thought! I ended up learning about a California program called Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM). It's for middle-income pregnant women without health insurance or with private policies with high deductibles.

I did all my research before getting pregnant to make sure we qualified, and we did! Once we obtained proof of pregnancy from a local clinic, we were able to apply for the program. We were so freaking excited when we got our approval letter!! The program is awesome. It isn't free, but the monthly rates are very reasonable and are based on your income. And I honestly really like that we pay for it. It makes me value it more. With that said, we don't have to pay any copayments or deductibles, and our plan covers everything. It is such a huge relief to have this taken care of, and once our baby is born, she'll be put into an insurance program as well. I know this a California program, so if you're living in another state without health coverage, this information probably doesn't help you much. But I do encourage you to find out if your state has any similar programs. Finding AIM took a little bit of digging, but I'm obviously so happy I found it.

The other resource I'd like to share is Motherisk, which is a "clinical research and teaching program at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that provides information and guidance to pregnant and lactating women and to health care professionals" (taken from Wikipedia). They have a number of helplines you can call where you can talk to counselors about things like morning sickness, alcohol and substance use, and HIV in pregnancy. All for free. Basically, they are Canadian angels.

I called the morning sickness helpline while I was in bed during my first trimester, sick, miserable, and desperate. The counselor I spoke with took down all my information and asked me a ton of questions, including, "How would you rate your quality of life right now on a scale of 1-10?" After she had a clear picture of what was going on with me, she came up with a plan to help me feel better and to have a higher quality of life. She advised me on when to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat, foods to avoid, vitamins I could try, medications that were safe to take, and what I could drink. She figured out really quickly that I had really bad acid reflux (I had no idea since I had never experienced it before), and she helped me come up with a plan of attack. She also said she would call to check on me again on Monday... and then guess what? She did! She called to check on me! On Monday! With all my information in front of her! At this point, I was still waiting for my insurance approval, so it was really nice to feel cared for and to have someone helping me through this trying time. They continued to check up on me and tweak my plan according to how my symptoms were changing. Everyone I spoke with at Motherisk was caring, kind, and competent. They reassured me about the safety of the over-the-coutner drugs they suggested, and they also directed me to pages on their website with studies done on the effects of individual medications in pregnancy. I can't say enough great things about Motherisk. They helped me so much. I really would have wasted away without the help they provided since I was unable to eat or keep anything down. They're very reliable and trustworthy, and their counselors do wonderful work. Levi and I intend to make a donation after our daughter is born.

So, there you have it! Not the most exciting post, but I really hope this information can be helpful to someone! I'm not exaggerating when I say that both programs have been lifesavers for me.

23 May, 2012

19 May, 2012

My First and Only Unofficial Mother's Day

Even though I'm not officially a mother yet, we celebrated Mother's Day. We called it my first and only unofficial Mother's Day... because after this one, they'll all be official! That's so weird.

Levi gave me a really sweet present in the morning.


Then, we went to the beach and got strips... it's all I wanted.



We planned on staying out longer, but I got tired, so we went home. That night, we walked down to Peet's and played Pass the Pigs with an iced chocolate milk (I pretend it's an iced mocha).

It was the perfect day for this woman!


This is the closest thing I have to a baby bump... it's more of a lump or a blob or a bloat. And yes, I cropped off the top of this picture because my hair looked SO incredibly horrible. It's better now.

Happy belated Mother's Day to all you mommas and moms-to-be! And happy Mother's Day again to my own mom! We had the best time celebrating with you on Monday. :)

P.S. We get to find out on Monday if we are having a little boy or a little girl! Yay!!!!

17 May, 2012

A little late, but whatever.

I never finished blogging about our December trip to San Francisco because life got insane after we got home. I don't need to blog about it, but I love having this blog because it helps me remember so many events in my life, so I'm going to do one last post with a mish-mash of our photos.

This trip was kind of significant because we made a lot of important decisions on it. We actually thought I might be pregnant while I was there (we weren't trying at all... this would have been an accident). On our last day, we found out that I wasn't, and I was completely devastated. So we spent our last day wandering around the city in a funk, discussing the future. I knew I couldn't go back to how things were before, so we decided that I was going to quit my job, and we were going to start trying to get pregnant. How's that for a big last day in San Francisco??!

So anyway, here's the last couple days of our trip:




We had the most amazing lunch at Arlequin Café in Hayes Valley. They had a little garden seating area behind the restaurant, and it was perfect - serene, beautiful, comfortable. Those donuts you see are brioche donuts. The best flavors were passion fruit and chocolate espresso. Ohhhhh, I wish I had some right now!!



We each bought new coats.








We took a little trip down to the Presidio and played on the beach.

And those were our last couple days in SF! I love that city with all my heart, and I can't wait 'til I go back.

13 May, 2012

Things I Love//Things I Hate

I have by no means had an easy pregnancy so far. I spent the first two months in bed 24 hours a day (literally in bed all day/all night) feeling pretty miserable and unable to do anything. I could only eat a few bites of food at a time, and I ended up losing ten pounds right off the bat. At 11 weeks, my doctor ordered an IV for hydration and a Reglan (anti-nausea meds) pump for me to have at home. Fortunately, the insurance company took so long to approve this (like 2.5 weeks) that I didn't need it anymore by the time they gave us the go-ahead (this didn't stop them from sending all the supplies to my house... hydration drip, anyone??). We also found out that I have hyper-thyroidism at 11 weeks (I've been pretty sure I was hyper-thyroid for a few years now... just never had the health insurance to do anything about it until now).

Of course, it could have been/could be much much worse, but it certainly hasn't been smooth sailing so far. Honestly, I'm kind of terrified of ever doing this again, and I've asked Levi to please be okay with having only one child just in case I never get my nerve up again. Anyway, now that I'm starting to feel a bit better (still waiting for this so-called second trimester energy peak everyone's always talking about...), I wanted to make a list of things I have loved and things I have hated about being pregnant. I'll try to keep my hate list brief. ;)

Things I Hate:

1. No Boar's Head cracked pepper turkey sandwiches or bleu cheese.
2. Constipation (sorry, but it's true).
3. Eating. Most food completely grosses me out now, and I rarely want to eat.
4. Gross smells.
5. I'm sure I could come up with lots of other stuff, but let's get to the positive side now.

Things I Love:

1. Crying at everything all the time. You know how sometimes it just feel SO GOOD to cry? That's how pregnancy crying feels to me. Every day.
2. Getting to see our baby via ultrasound. I've never thought an ultrasound of a baby was so cute until now.
3. Good smells! Even though a hyper-heightened sense of smell makes lots of things stink, good-smelling things smell sooooo good now - my mint chocolate deep conditioning treatment, for example.
4. My boobs!!! They're HUGE!
5. Knowing that even when I'm doing absolutely nothing, I'm still growing a human being. So even if it doesn't look like I'm being productive, I really really am!
6. Having health insurance!
7. Shopping for baby things.

I'm sure I'll have lots more to add to my love list in the coming weeks, but that's what I've got for now!

What do you/did you love about being pregnant? If you've never been pregnant, what do you look forward to the most? (Besides the baby...)

08 May, 2012

Finding Out

Hello! Thank you so much for all the sweet and wonderful congratulations on our big announcement yesterday! Levi and I were blown away by all the love we received on my blog and all over the rest of the Internet! It felt SO GOOD to finally share this big news that we've been keeping secret for the last few months.

I am now 14 weeks pregnant! Our due date is 6 November... although, I'm hoping for a Halloween baby. Good luck on that one, right??! First babies aren't exactly known for coming early, especially in my family. But a girl can hope!

We were completely shocked by this pregnancy. After my miscarriage, I had decided that I wanted to wait awhile to try again. Well, God had something else in mind because I got pregnant immediately after the miscarriage. I never even had a period after!

Finding out we were pregnant again was quite an experience. I had feared that I wouldn't feel happy or joyful the next time... and I was right. In fact, I honestly felt upset when I saw the second line forming on the pregnancy test. It wasn't that I didn't want a baby; I was just really scared. I didn't feel like I could handle losing another baby, and I was angry that what should have been a joyful experience was tainted by the knowledge of what could happen.

We had brunch plans with Chris and Stacey the morning we found out. I was three days late and hadn't really thought much of it (I figured I would be irregular after the miscarriage), but I decided to take a test just in case. About fifteen shocked minutes later, I was texting Stacey to let her know we'd be late for brunch. We drove down to Laguna Beach to meet them, and I remember listening to this song in the car and quietly weeping. It was then that I decided I wouldn't be afraid of the horrible possibilities. I decided I would put my faith in God and trust Him with whatever happened, regardless of whether or not I ever got to meet this new little life forming inside of me. I felt peace, and I held onto that peace and faith throughout those first uncertain weeks.

Chris and Stacey were the first people we told. There was absolutely no way we could have made it through brunch without sharing our news. They would have thought we were on drugs if we hadn't told them; that's how shocked we were. They were both really excited for us and had nothing but positive things to say. It was perfect actually. It helped us start to feel some excitement about the future. And really, I would have told Stacey that same day anyway... I texted Camilla later that afternoon to let her know too.

We had already had plans to go to Disneyland the next day (one of Levi's clients signed us in - woo!), and I was not about to let a brand new pregnancy stop me from going. I looked at it as my last chance to go on any roller coasters for the next 9+ months. We went on EVERYTHING, and it was so much fun. It rained a lot that day, so the park was pretty empty. We tried to stick it out so we could see World of Color, but pregnancy fatigue was already setting in, and we only made it 'til about 5:00 in the afternoon.

That whole weekend was exactly what we needed. Everything had been planned at the perfect time, and everything helped ease us into this new phase of life. And now, we're completely thrilled that I'm pregnant (especially since the wretched first trimester is ending). We can't wait to find out if baby is a boy or a girl, and we love talking about what kind of parents we want to be and the things we hope to teach our child. I'll probably blog a lot about being pregnant... hopefully, that doesn't get annoying. It's just on my mind a lot, you know?! I'm so happy and relieved to finally get to talk about it here on my blog. I was really running out of things to say before (I don't enjoy keeping secrets at all), but now I have all sorts of things to go on and on about! :)

07 May, 2012

A brand new little outfit for...

baby bean 1

baby bean 2

...a brand new little baby!

Baby is expected to make his or her appearance some time in early November, and we can't wait!!

(P.S. Thank you, Wolfie, for loaning us your cute little baby Toms, and thank you, Pinterest, for this sweet little shoe idea.)

01 May, 2012

Ohhhh! I'm in love!

This Clara Tales video is the sweetest thing.

All the acting and narration are done by children. They hope to make more videos, and I certainly hope they do! It sounds like a really great and meaningful project. You can check out what they're trying to do by watching their kickstarter video here, and you can donate here if you want to support their project!

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