Monday, August 19, 2013

I've been gone!

I haven't updated the blog in quite some time now and I apologize. If you haven't heard the news: I am the newest blogger for ICAN! For the time being, I have to put this blog on pause as I focus on this new adventure. I will return as soon as I find my footing over there.

Thanks for being patient and I look forward to seeing you over at


Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Hard Entrance into Motherhood...

I think it's been forgotten that when a baby is born, the mother is also born. Motherhood shouldn't begin as something a woman got through, something forced upon her, or something that happened to her; it should be something she experiences, feels, and becomes. A truly momentous life changing day should not be turned into a day that is remembered with guilt, anger, resentment, and sadness. That is no way to feel as a new mother. Unfortunately, for a growing number of women that is exactly what they are feeling, especially when the birth did not go like she hoped and planned that it would. The feelings can range from a little disappointment to full blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Post Partum Depression (PPD).

The days and weeks following a traumatic birth experience can be the loneliest of times, even if one is surrounded by friends and family "ohh-ing" and "ahh-ing" over an adorable baby. No one sees mom sitting in the corner, no one notices this change that has happened within her. Sure, she puts on her big smiling face and tells everyone how great it is to finally be holding her baby in her arms after weeks of waiting and yes, it is the cutest baby she has ever seen. What she doesn't share is how badly it hurts to be sitting up, how she is afraid to get up and walk to the bathroom because she knows it's going to take every ounce of strength in her body, how she cringes every time her baby wakes up in the middle of the night because it means moving her sore and scarred body, or how disappointed she is that she didn't have the experience she imagined. No, she doesn't mention any of it because she has learned her lesson. She has learned that when she expresses these things that she is told to be happy that her baby is healthy, that she is lucky this wasn't 100 years ago because she would have died, that a C-section is no big deal because so-and-so from work, church, down the street, family, friend had one and is just fine. This new mom is forced to keep her feelings to herself because everyone tells her that anything less than over-the-moon excited means that she is ungrateful and doesn't really love her baby. So mom is forced to lie awake in the middle of the night, when she should be sleeping before the baby wakes up again, and let her tears flow down her cheek while silently sobbing so she won't wake her baby or exhausted partner; that's the one time when the only one around to judge her is herself.

There is so much guilt over not giving her child the gentle entrance into the world she imagined of baby resting on her warm chest while she wraps her arms around him tight; instead, baby is brought into a world of bright lights, loud noises, and cold, gloved hands. She's angry that her doctor lied to her, or that she was misinformed,  or that she had no other options. Resentment builds against those she loves because maybe they didn't support her or they don't understand, and worst of all there are moments when she blames the baby. This new mom feels saddest that she could ever, for even a moment, blame the baby and then believes that it's her: she didn't try hard enough or know enough, and maybe she's just not good enough. Motherhood is hard, even with an easy transition, but these extra thoughts make it feel downright impossible. With every, "Is he eating enough?", "pooping enough?", "why won't he sleep?", the women who survived her entrance into motherhood can find a way to blame herself. With every decision made, there is second guessing.

This is what it feels like to be in the mind of a mother whose entrance into motherhood was a traumatic one -something she got through. These mothers love their babies so much that they willingly laid down on a table and had someone cut their body open. This mother needs someone in her corner and I don't care if it's her best friend, partner, mother, ICAN group, or a professional. I hope that anyone who has been through this can find comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone and I hope those who have never experienced birth trauma open their eyes to how real and debilitating it is. All these moms want is a little understanding and compassion, maybe even a little time to think about herself and her feelings, without being criticized for it. The only thing this women deserves to be told is how amazing she is and how lucky her child is to have her as a mother.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

We had a garlic reaction

Vance had an allergic reaction today. It was by far the scariest moment of my mommy life.

My mom, Vance, and I decided to go on a shopping trip and look at getting me a new laptop for my upcoming birthday, but decided to have lunch first. I guess I thought that it wouldn't be that hard to find something or be able to modify something in a way that I could eat it garlic and egg free. We go to a soup, salad, and sandwich place where you order at the counter and then you get your food when your pager goes off. I ordered a "Tomato and Mozzarella Panini" after checking that there was no egg in the bread and that everything else was garlic free. When I get my sandwich, I notice that there is a red tomato sauce on the sandwich that I know more than likely contains garlic. I take it back up to the counter and tell the person actually making the food that I cannot have anything except tomato and cheese because my son is anaphylactic allergic to garlic. He even repeats everything back to me to make sure he has it right.

The guy brings me out a new sandwich and I lift up the corner to make sure that it didn't have sauce on it like the first one; it looked fine. I always pack Vance food when we go out because food he can eat isn't always available. He didn't want his food today, he wanted what I was eating so we shared. About half way through the sandwich I noticed that one of the tomatoes looked different than the others. I pull back the bread and notice some sun-dried tomatoes that have obviously been made with some herbs and I know that the majority of sun-dried tomato recipes call for garlic (like anything else Italian). I freak out and tell my mom what I discovered and after talking with her we decide just to leave instead of me making a big scene. We get to the car and I give him a dose of Benadryl which is the first step on our "Food Action Plan" when we believe he has been exposed. He seemed fine so we decided to continue with our shopping trip and Matt decided to meet us at the store since he just got off work.

We went into Best Buy and started looking at the computers and my mom walked around the store with Vance while Matt and I nit-picked over which one to get. She comes back over and Vance is whining and wanting me, so I put him in the Ergo thinking that he just needs to fall asleep. He is really not having it and won't even nurse and starts screaming..... and then pukes all over everything. It is down the whole side of my body and there is so much that it's dripping on the floor. We all just kind of stand there freaking out for a second and I'm screaming, "Oh my god it's the garlic!" until we are snapped back into reality when he starts puking more and more and more. I start running for the door while leaving a trail of vomit from the back to the front of the store and yelling at some people that I was sorry. We get to the car and I strip down to my tank-top and jeans and take all of Vance's clothes off besides the diaper and we crank the AC up thinking that would help. He starts acting pretty normal so I don't give him the injection of epinephrine and I call the allergist.

The allergist ends up calming me down and saying I did everything right: I gave Benadryl when I thought he had been exposed, I realized he was having a reaction and watched him closely, had my Auvi-Q ready if he started showing signs of breathing trouble or heart trouble, and then called him. We were told to keep an eye on him for the next 24 hours or so to make sure it doesn't flare back up, but that him throwing up was probably his body's way of getting rid of it. We sit in the car another 15 minutes or so because we are about 1 minute away from the hospital, whereas our house is about 30 minutes (not by ambulance). Matt and I head home with Vance and I sit in the backseat with him to keep watch. He falls asleep, but wakes up about 5 minutes later and pukes all over himself and the car seat. When we turn onto our subdivision street I decide to take him out of his chair and hold him for the last little bit and he pukes all over me again and the seat.

When we get inside I change my clothes and wash myself off with a bath cloth and do the same for Vance. He lays his head down on my shoulder and I think he is going to get sick again, but he doesn't. We are thinking about giving him another dose of Benadryl, but before we can even get it ready he decides he wants to nurse and falls asleep within about 30 seconds and stays asleep for a couple of hours in my arms.

Both reactions Vance has had -to eggs and garlic- neither my mom nor Matt were around, so they have never seen him in that position. It's not that they don't believe he has food allergies (we have the tests to prove it), but I don't think you can fully comprehend the seriousness of it and how frightening it is unless you have seen it first hand. I also can't imagine how Vance feels during all of this. I know how much I hate throwing up, so I bet Vance was scared and wondering what was happening to him.

I feel so badly....I should have known better to trust a place like that (or any place, I guess) to be fully prepared to take food allergies seriously. I guess I was just coming off of the excitement of being able to go to a restaurant for Matt and my 3rd wedding anniversary where they made us specialty dishes that didn't include garlic. I let my guard down and got slack and look what happened.  As of tonight he is doing really well though and hasn't gotten sick in about 8-9 hours. I'm really glad we didn't have to inject him, but at the same time all these doubts creep in..."Did I do the right thing; should we have just done it because it could have gotten worse; should we have just gone straight home and not shopped...?". I guess there is a lesson to be learned in all of this and I hope we never make that same mistake again and just always eat our own food that has been prepared at home.

As a final note, I just want to remind everyone who deals with food allergies to always, ALWAYS, carry their medicine with them. I can't imagine being in that position and not having the tools to be able to try and do something about it. And don't think that if you keep it in the car it will be good enough; it needs to be on your person at all times....seconds matter! Oh, and big shout out and an "I'm sorry" to the people of Best Buy that had to clean up puke from the carpet.

Friday, July 5, 2013

ICAN Partner Survey

*UPDATE: Thank you all for the interest in this project! As soon as we get enough responses and are able to get a general idea of what partners think, I will be passing on our information to you. Please feel free to share this page with your local ICAN group or other group that you believe will benefit from this. Don't forget to read about my birth story that led me to ICAN and my open letter to birth trauma mamas here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

3 year anniversary

Three years ago yesterday, at 6:30pm, I became a married lady. We dropped Vance off at a friend's house who has a daughter 6 weeks younger than him (they're BFFs) and had dinner at an early 4:30pm. We went to a restaurant in town that was very accommodating to making me a dish with no egg and no garlic. It was so nice to get to go out and eat an amazing meal with no cooking or cleaning on my part. We left the restaurant and came home to eat a chocolate raspberry cake I made (I'll post the recipe later) and watch our wedding video before picking Vance up. It was a low key evening, but it was still fun getting to hang out with just my husband.

Here are some of our wedding highlights:
Our ceremony was short and sweet which was followed by a kick-ass reception party. We had been engaged about 15 months and after all the planning, and stressing, and our guest book showing up 3 months later than it was supposed to and 4 days before the wedding completely wrong (my first and only bridezilla moment), I was ready to get the show on the road.

The ceremony and reception were both at the the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens. It was a magical day in that it was only 80 degrees, 40% humidity, and not a cloud in the sky...amazing for July in Indiana (the next two days were over 100* and 80% humidity). We were so lucky to have such amazing family and friends there to help us celebrate.

The inside of the Conservatory where the ceremony was held. 

Our first look. Is it bad that the first thing I notice isn't my future husbands adoring face as he looks at his beautiful bride?'s my ass. Man am I glad that I took the opportunity to show that thing off when it was in its prime. Pregnancy really took a toll and now its a flat, saggy, mess. 

I'm so glad we took pictures before the ceremony. We got way more shots than we would have if we tried to cram everything in between the ceremony and reception. I also HATE with a passion waiting more than 1 hour between the two events when I go to weddings, so I didn't want to do that to our guests.

Our attendants and close family, parents and grandparents, were all on the main floor with us. Our guests were standing on a balcony that was wrapped around the inside of the conservatory. There are butterflies flying around the whole place.

By far one of my favorite photos.

View of the balcony and our guests.

Tara & Matthew's vows from Eyenamics on Vimeo.
I'm glad we decided to have a videographer. We wrote the whole ceremony and I'm happy we have it to watch over and over again. This video showcases just our vows. Also, I don't have some weird tick where I randomly look up all the time, I was just trying to look at our guests and take it all in.

I was beyond excited to finally be married to my best friend...and to go eat, drink, and party.

The cake was my "big thing". I had always wanted my wedding cake to be a statement piece and I think we succeeded. 

This Bride & Groom topper was from my Great Grandparents wedding and has been used on many of my family members' wedding cakes and they all had long, happy, marriages. It meant a lot that we got to use it too. We put it at the bottom of the cake so that 1. We could have a big statement topper to match our big statement cake and 2. I was scared to death if we put it on the top it would fall off, break, and I would forever be known as the one who broke a family heirloom. 

This is my, "Oh my god the cake is going to fall over" face that happened when we cut it and it started wobbling. 

Lucas Oil Stadium in the background for my Colts loving hubby. We took some more pictures while everyone finished up the dinner and cake.

Our reception hall overlooked the Indianapolis skyline and the White River.

We danced our first dance to "Stolen" by Dashboard Confessional (the slow version). Our first summer together we listened to that album on repeat the whole time we were together. 
Ah, memories. 

WATCH AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! This is by far the worst singing and rendition of "Don't Stop Believing" you will ever hear in your life. It's seriously like nails on a chalkboard. Don't say I didn't warn you... (it was fun having karaoke at the wedding though)

Everyone having a grand time. I love that we got to celebrate with all our family and friends. It was truly one of the best days ever!

All photos are from the lovely and very talented Diane Drake Photography. She is responsible for all of our photos: engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, and family. You should really check her out!

I wish I could upload our entire wedding video. It is 90 minutes of a cinematic masterpiece; it's seriously awesome. I hope our vows video showed you how talented Eyenamics is and how crazy you would be to not have them film you! They are from Indiana, but couples have flown them to Paris, Las Vegas, and more.  I recently heard that a super secret celebrity couple has booked them for their wedding in Chicago on a yacht...

We had such a great wedding, but what makes me the most giddy is how great it is to be married to your best friend and better half. I don't know where I would be without Matthew. He is my rock and the only one I want to go on this crazy roller coaster journey with.