Thank You

Thank You

 

I've been a little quiet with updates on my blog lately.  It's funny because three weeks ago, right after this ectopic pregnancy happened, I really wanted to talk about it.  Talking, writing, and sharing my feelings made me feel better and I think it was a good step in the healing process.  But, the past few weeks I just haven't felt like talking about things.  My husband is back to his busy and demanding work schedule and I've hopped back into full time mom mode while trying to run a business after the kids go to bed.  But I know many of you have asked for an update and so I want to share with you guys how things are going.

Overall, the recovery process is going really well.  Physically, thinks are healing well.  The two upper incisions (the one in my belly button and the one to the left and just below my belly button) are healing really well.  The glue came off both last week and I don't think there will be much scarring in those areas.  The one lower incision hasn't healed quite as well, but it is not terrible either.  The lower incision is the one they pulled the fallopian tube out of when they couldn't control the bleeding during the surgery, and so it was opened wider during surgery.  The glue that was binding that incision just came off a few days ago and I think it would have stayed on even longer if my daughter hadn't been crawling all over me on the couch and accidentally kicked my incision.  It definitely has a visible scar and it kind of is raised like a little rope.  I'm not too worried about it because that incision is so low it wouldn't even show up in a swimsuit so no one will ever even see it.  The bleeding and cramping stopped about 2.5 weeks post-surgery, but I am still having some pain on the left side where they removed my fallopian tube.  It's not a consistent pain but sometimes it will hurt really bad, similar to labor contractions, for a few minutes and then just randomly will stop hurting.

So, physically, things are much better.  I am able to hold my almost 2-year old daughter now and have been walking a lot lately.  I am still not cleared to workout but am hoping tomorrow at my follow-up appointment the doctor will give me the ok to start lifting weights again.  I tried doing some ab work last week and I just didn't feel like my incision was healed enough to continue so I am waiting until I feel fully recovered (I felt some sharp, stabbing pain and tension where the cuts were) and so will just wait until I feel my body is ready, probably another week or so.  I will be at the Arnold Sports Festival in 5.5 weeks working at the MRM booth and have some fun photo shoots scheduled while I am there and so I am anxious to start lifting weights again.  Because I have been walking so much each day and watching my nutrition I haven't really gained any weight but my body composition has changed and I have lost some of my muscle definition (especially in my legs - the first place I always gain weight).

Emotionally things are ok.  Most days I feel fine talking about what happened and pretty much feel like I am in a good place, but then sometimes (mostly at night) I still get sad.  Often it's when I start to think about how far along I would be, or see a new baby, I just get....I don't know....sad even isn't really the right word to describe it.  Annoyed maybe?  Frustrated?  Mostly I just hate that the stupid surgery had to happen and that I have these stupid scars on my stomach and that I have to deal with all these stupid emotions.  So, I guess I still have healing to do there because I still feel frustrated when I think about everything that happened.  A lot of the time I just kind of feel like I got the rug pulled out from underneath of me and I'm just trying to get my footing.  I'm behind on emails that I would normally have in time, I'm behind on posts for my members, and I'm behind on housework.  I'm hoping that with time I will have more peace with the situation and what happened.  And, actually, I do feel that peace most of the time it's just sometimes I still have moments of sadness.  I'm sure you are reading this thinking I am all over the place and not making much sense, ha, I don't know....grief is a confusing thing.

Our medical bills have started arriving and and it looks like the bills will be upwards of $40,000!  I am so, so grateful that we have insurance through my husband's work so we won't be responsible for the entire thing, but our out of pocket costs are still going to be around $6k.  Unfortunately, because the surgery happened on December 30th I had procedures done in 2014 and then some again in 2015 (when I had to visit the ER a second time) and so I am responsible for both year's deductibles.  We've gone through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace courses and so we purposefully live on a tight budget each month and pay cash for everything.  We had set aside a cash budget for this pregnancy, but it just sucks that all the money we had saved to pay cash for the birth of this baby is now being used for the death of this baby.

Through this entire experience, however, there have been a number of silver linings.  One of them has been all the support I have received from each of you.  That was a completely unexpected consequence (positive consequence) of blogging about this entire experience.  When I wrote that first blog post earlier this month about my surgery, I honestly didn't think I was ever going to post it.  I only wrote it because it made me feel better to write out my emotions.  I wrote it thinking I would save it as a draft and never post it.  But, for some reason like I always seem to do, I decided to just share with you guys what I was feeling and experiencing.  I was nervous opening myself up to criticism or rude comments on something that was so sensitive and painful to me.  What I was not expecting, was the overwhelming support I received.  I guess I didn't think about the fact that one out of every three pregnancies end in miscarriage and so there were a lot of women who could, in some way, relate to what I was going through.  When I wrote some of those first few posts, in a lot of ways I felt very alone.  I felt like no one else could possibly relate to how I was feeling or what I was going through.  Each of the comments that you left, and the stories you told meant so much to me, even if I wasn't great at letting you guys know that.  Knowing I had a tribe of people who had walked through similar trenches I was in made me feel hopeful, and most importantly, made me feel like I wasn't alone.  I don't think my words will ever express the gratitude I feel in my heart, but I hope you will know as you read this that all of your support was very, very healing for me.

A couple weeks ago my sneaky sister (who also admins this website for me) made this post on my social media accounts letting people know they could send me a card through my business PO box.  It has been so fun getting 'real' mail each day and I wish I could personally call and thank every single person who took the time to reach out to me.  I think about you guys often.  How you must have been thinking of me at the store when you picked out a card, wrote out my address, walked out to the mailbox, wrote such kind words in your cards.  I feel overwhelmed by it actually.  I don't really feel like I am deserving of your time, but please, please know how grateful I am.  I wanted to share a few photos.  I went to the post office yesterday and was smiling when there was a little note from our post office saying I had too much mail and had to come to the front to pick it up.  Here are a few of the cards I received this week:
Thank You
I read every word and loved every single card I received.  Some of the items I got were so fun, and so heartfelt.  A few I'd like to highlight:
Thank You4I met Zane Hadzick and his beautiful wife Amanda last year at the Olympia expo.  They have a beautiful little daughter named Zoey and I spent a lot of time at the booth talking to them at the MRM booth I was working at just about normal mom things, living in the Washington DC area, etc.  They knew how much I love Quest protein bars and sent me a package with all my favorite flavors and such a kind card.

Thank You5I got a beautiful letter from Stacy who told me that I was one of her biggest fitness inspirations and was someone she knew her little girl could look up to me.  Her words meant a lot to me.  I don't talk about this often, but there are a lot of contracts I have lost because I'm not willing to take provocative photos, or dress in next-to-nothing outfits at expos.  The fitness industry is a place I sometimes feel I often don't really fit into, and reading her words in that moment validated to me that I am making the right decisions in an industry where modesty doesn't always get you ahead.  (It's also another reason why I love partnering with MRM because they have always had a family-first approach to our relationship which I value so much....but that's for another post another time).

Thank You2I received this absolutely beautiful book titled, "Mommy, Please Don't Cry" from Reinalyn T..  In fact, I am getting a lump in my throat just typing this out right now because the words and illustrations in this book were so touching.  This was such a beautiful book that both my husband and I enjoyed.  If you know of someone who has recently gone through a loss, this would be a wonderful gift to give (she had ordered it off amazon.com).

BWF Necklace3Perhaps one of the most treasured gifts I have received is this beautiful necklace from Monica who runs this Etsy shop.  I have known Monica for a while now through social media.  Right after my daughter Phoenix was born I was looking for the perfect gift to give my midwife.  I had such a wonderful birth experience (you can read that story here if you are interested) and really wanted to find something special to give to my midwife to thank her for all she did.  I found this beautiful Birth Without Fear necklace through the Birth Without Fear website (bottom right photo shown above).  It was the perfect gift and my midwife loved it.  I started following Monica on Instagram (@moonovermaizes) and love the photos she shares that encourage and empower women.  We have kept in touch and become friends through social media the past two years.  About a week after my surgery the doorbell rang and the mailman handed me a package at my door.  I opened it, sat down on the porch step, and tears started streaming down my face.  Monica hand made this necklace for me.  It is turquoise (December's birth stone) to represent the month this baby was brought into the world.  She personalized the back with three hearts - one to represent each of my children.  What she didn't know is that I had stayed up until 3am the night before because I couldn't sleep and I had been searching and searching online for a piece of jewelry I could wear to remember this loss, but just never found something that felt right to me.  I've worn this necklace nearly every day since I got it.  Sometimes I even like to wear it backwards so when I look in the mirror I see the reflection of three hearts looking back at me.

I wish I had the time and room to talk about every card and every package I have received because I have treasured each one you guys have sent.  Please know that I am truly and so, so grateful for your love and support and I honestly believe it has helped me tremendously in this healing process.  If you would still like to send something, you can send it to PO Box 8949, Lumberton, TX 77657.

I normally try to keep blog posts to 1,000 words or less and I am now nearing on 2,400 so I hope I haven't bored you as a reader.  I mostly wanted to give an update and let you guys know how touched I have been by your overwhelming love and support.  I have some fun projects I am planning to share with you once I am cleared to work out again, and I am excited to get back into the groove of things with my members.  I have my last follow up appointment with the doctor who did my surgery tomorrow so hopefully that goes well.  I will keep you posted!

Your friend,
Natalie

PS - some have asked about the kidney stone.  I don't know what the heck is going on with that kidney stone.  The doctors told me it was going to pass within a week (the doctors discovered I had a kidney stone on the CT scan when I went back to the ER for pain which you can read about here), but nothing ever passed.  I don't have any pain anymore so I don't really know what is going on.  I read online that sometimes kidney stones can just hang out for months in there and then just randomly pass.  I've also read that on rare occasions they can dissolve on their own.  So, I am just living my normal life as though I didn't have a kidney stone in there and we will see.  Maybe it will pass and maybe (fingers crossed) it never will.  Only time will tell.  Has that ever happened to anyone?  Did you ever see a kidney stone in a CT scan but then it took a long time to pass?  I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below.

UPDATE:
If you are just stumbling across this post, I wrote quite a bit when I was going through the entire surgery and recovery process.  Here are the posts I wrote in the order they were written starting from the day of my ectopic pregnancy surgery.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Your timing, God’s timing, with this post is exactly what I needed. Especially the part about how it’s harder at night. Even I, six weeks since my baby went to heaven, have sleepless nights. My mind races, my husband would be able to feel the kicks by now, know if the baby was a girl or boy. Yes, still a roller coaster. But the silver lining is you are not alone. I am not alone. And truth telling has become my emotional outlet, it is so freeing. I’ve started posting little truths about myself and my life #mytruthtelling.
    Thank you for being true

    Reply
  2. Hi there! A friend of mine follows your blogs and informed me about your recent posts. So I have liked your Facebook page and look forward to your motivation in fitness as well as to how you are dealing with your loss.
    Unfortunately, we have a lot in common right now. I am sorry for what you are having to undergo and I know there is nothing easy about it. I appreciate your updates since most of what your experiencing has been on par with my feelings/emotions. And, night time is never easy. Like you, I think it is once the day is winding down and my 3 year old daughter is in bed and I start to think and feel what Really happened. I do not know of anyone else who has had an ectopic pregnancy so, like you, I had jotted down my story and held on to it for a while before my husband and I decided to share it to my closest friends. There is no good way to tell people something like this, is there?? I admire your blogs since it has helped me, too.
    I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and underwent a laparoscopy converted to a laparotomy on 12/5/14. This was my first week back at work as Breast oncology nurse so that has been interesting to say the least.
    I am thankful for your update and I hope all goes well to more at your appointment! Wishing you all the best! Sincerely,
    Kristyn S. From Orlando, FL

    Reply
  3. Thinking of you

    Reply
  4. (That thinking of you was a reply for Sarah. LOL I hit reply under her comment and thought I could send some love her way whoops!) SORRY!

    Reply
  5. Love to you too Kristen 🙂

    Reply
  6. This is so wonderful to read Natalie, and it brought me to tears. You are not all over the place…it is grief, just as you said, a lot of losses you’ve been through–the loss of expectation, the loss of a dream, the loss of some goals, a change in your body, and so much more. It is wonderful to read how open you are being and just being so real. It does and will help others, and your post wasn’t too long; it was perfect. Be as patient and tender with yourself as you are with those who follow your caring way online. You deserve it! You are a star and you will be alright. I had transfusions as a result of two severe miscarriages (three in total), septacaemia following the birth of one and quite a lot of prolapse from forceps deliveries for both children. I have two super boys now, age 13 and 18, and I’m a runner now; I’ve lost three stone (60 lbs) since July 2014, and I’m in the best shape ever. It sometimes just takes time. Grief is one of those things that can come out of the blue when you least expect it, even years later. That’s all normal. Tears are our help to heal. Bless you dear Natalie, and thank you again for your wonderful posts, through the hills and valleys of your experiences.

    Reply
  7. Natalie~

    Hello from Columbus, OH! I just found you and your blog page today and I am so happy I did. I am at work so trying to read what I can. First I noticed you will be here in Columbus, OH for the Arnold – what a busy place this becomes on that weekend. If you were to come this week you would want to dress warm! We have been in the negative digits on several different days. I am hoping that by March we will finally start to warm up! Second I read that you have had to deal with kidney stones! Let me tell you I have been there and it is not fun!

    Two years ago in July I had my first Kidney Stone – 5mm. They guessed it was I had been doing a lot of yard work and had become dehydrated and that is what may have helped start things – I also have too much calcium and protein in my system so that did not help either. So they put me on medication. Then this past October I started not feeling well and was very fearful I had another Kidney Stone. So I put it off until January (I was so busy at work I just did not feel like I could take the time off). So by the time I went in January I did have a kidney stone and it was 13mm! I had to undergo two lithotripsy surgeries! I had to have a stint put into my bladder and kidney (the stone was blocking my kidney) and I am here to tell you it was a horrible month! I still feel like I am passing bits and pieces as well as healing from the removal of the stint. I will run a bunch of tests this week and next to see what caused this one and adjust my medication.

    I am so sorry that you are going through all this and please know that we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers as you continue to heal.

    Karie

    Reply
  8. Hi Natalie, thanks you so much for being brave and putting these posts out there. I was taken into hospital on Monday night and am now recovering from the same surgery as you, on my right side. As you were, I was lucky to have symptoms and my tube was removed before it burst. I spent a lot of the time whilst waiting at the hospital re reading your posts and they gave me a lot of comfort and helped with the fear I was facing. I have a 14 month old and run my own business teaching dance and fitness in the UK, I always relate a lot to you, as I’m also the crazy one being a mum, running a business and trying to keep in shape. I had a week of free trials and master classes and all sorts booked this week with lots of people booked to join my little dance school. After your bravery I am also thinking of posting what has happened on my FB page. Partly because I want people to know why I am now not running these new class, and partly becuause I think we need to raise awareness of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy. So I just wanted to say, thank you for your bravery and thank you for writing posts that helped me not to feel alone. I’m sorry for your loss and I hope you are doing OK. Lots of Love Katie x

    Reply
    • Katie I am so, so sorry for your loss. The next few weeks will likely be a range of highs and lows and it is scary as you see your body go through a lot of changes. For me, writing was so therapeutic. I will pray for you the next few weeks. *hugs*

      Reply
  9. Hi Natalie,

    I know this post was from several months ago (and maybe you have passed your stone since), but if you haven’t, I wanted to reassure you that it is normal! Usually when a stone is in your kidney, it is not causing pain and can hang out there for a long time. You can get them for a variety of reasons and many people never know they have them. Stones generally cause pain when passing through the ureter or if they get stuck in the ureter causing a back up into your kidney (hydronephrosis).

    My sister went through 2 miscarriages recently and your posts were helpful to me in understanding how she’s feeling, so thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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