Tag Archives: Finding My Happy

That's Life (And It's So Grand)

While I had the best intentions of running a week’s worth of Top Ten in 2011 posts, my body told me to “stop that,” and rest.

So I have.

On Tuesday, I went to my ultrasound appointment and saw the most amazing thing: my developing embryo’s heart beat.  It was strong and loud.  I am happy.

The ultrasound also indicated just how far along I am: 6 weeks.  With my usual track record of horrible pregnancy-induced sickness, I stick to the couch and to boring foods like instant mashed potatoes with saltine crackers.  I no longer crave coffee, chocolate, or anything else delicious.  Instead, I shun all things healthy, unhealthy, and seemingly delicious by reaching for the most bland foods my irritated pregnant body wishes to consume.  My husband gets tongue lashings every day for ridiculous things.  He patiently (and not so patiently) endures them and quickly forgives my outbursts.  Thank God.

Between exhaustion and sickness, I do have brief interludes of productivity.  During these moments, I managed to complete my master’s application.  I am beyond excited to have this done and will now impatiently wait on an acceptance or rejection letter.

Right now, I am resting.  Life will resume its outrageously busy pace next week, when I start back at work again, so I am taking advantage of this brief holiday by putting my feet up and watching countless hours of TV.  And sleeping.  I can’t get enough sleep. (Except for at night, when my body decides it wants to act uncomfortable and send me dry heaving to the bathroom multiple times, but I seem to do okay during the day.)

I am not sure what shifted with this pregnancy.  Whether it’s the attitude of do-or-die (regarding the fetus) or the, hell what could possibly go wrong that hasn’t in previous pregnancies, line of thinking that has left me happily embracing each moment and living in the day.  I don’t consider names, how I will deliver the baby, or what gender it is.  Instead, I am content with a heart beat, the increasing nausea/dry heaving, and the muscle pain.  I am satisfied with each day that my body holds onto the pregnancy and feel confident that things will be okay.

As computer screens increase the nausea and dizziness, I will be going on a brief hiatus.  If and when I have a break from the sickness, I will return.  But for now, consider this my good-bye until next year.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your New Year’s festivities.


Filed under Reflections

Shifting From Dark to Light

African sunrise Pictures, Images and Photos

While we were dating, Ben and I often went hiking on the beautiful Alaskan mountains. One particular morning found us at the top of Flattop a little after sunrise. I remember observing the gradual shift from dark to light as the sun’s rays spread across the land, leaving a kaleidoscope of shadows.

These last few days I’ve been reflecting on that scene in connection with my newly found happiness.  For years I suffered under a cloud of despair: Seeing my future as hopeless and desolate.  Looking back through time, I can only remember brief stints of joy splattered on a canvass of bleakness–my existence.

Up until a few months ago, before I recognized the need of intervention–in the forms of therapy and medication–I would wake with a rising sense of dread.  The kids would watch hours of the Wiggles so I could sleep through the pain of severe anxiety and depression.  When they engaged in normal child activities, the screwed up wiring in my brain produced reactions of intense and irrational irritation and anger.  My husband was terrified to come home because he did not know what Amber he would find: the cheerful and supportive wife or the desperate and despairing wife.  Multiple times a week I would have meltdowns complete with tears and dreary announcements of our future.

Under the guidance of a wonderful practitioner, I received the help I needed.  After finding the right dose and mix of medications–to treat the clinical depression and anxiety–I saw a noticeable difference.  The manifestation began by waking up full of hope and excitement for the day ahead of me, followed by joyful anticipation of the transition our family will soon make when Ben begins medical school, and capped when I no longer dreaded my husband’s long work week but looked forward to any time we had together.

The medication precipitated a symbolic sunrise in my life.  No longer do I dwell in darkness; rather, the shadows are carefully dispelling under the gentle caress of the sun’s rays.

No longer incapacitated by mental illness, I am peeling away the layers and finding the person I have always been: Compassionate, optimistic, and happy.

Thank you all for supporting me through this painful journey.   Your patience, kindness, and friendship has meant so much to me.


Filed under Depression


Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

I trudge through the snow pushing the double stroller back home from the library.  The kids, bundled up in various assortments of coats, hats, and blankets, point out objects of entertainment.

“A red truck, Mommy!” squeals a delighted Emily.

“Dada, Mama, Jump!” adds Andrew.

We breathe in the delightful scents of leaves fallen off trees, the pine cones of Evergreens, and the fresh scent of fallen snow (that is to say the air is free of smoggy residue and, therefore, scentless).   The noise of passing cars is barely noticeable as I push the stroller through serene neighborhoods.

While I engage the kids with multifarious questions, I ponder my current situation.  My habit to load up the stroller when I feel my mental capacities buckling under the overwhelming (or so my mind thinks) pressures; my tendency to lose my head when a child wakes up early from a nap (or refuses to take one) or busies herself in naughty behaviours; and my inability to confront certain places (ahem, internet) without feeling fear, with a dash of dread and a heavy side of guilt, because I am convinced of my personal inadequacies and failures.

My intense desires to be at home with my children and provide a loving, safe, and education-rich environment juxtapose with my acute longing to run away–whether to the workplace, school, or another state–from the battles being fought inside my head supposedly because of my occupation as a stay-at-home mom.

Rather than hide from these devilish thoughts, I tenuously chose to accost my enemy this last week as a knight would duel his foe. I stayed away from friends–on-line and in real life–because I knew this fight would need my full strength.

At this point it would be natural to interpose “and in the end,” except that an ending doesn’t exist.  With this war, the battles are waged daily–some I win, some I lose.  However, I am emerging as victor more often than as conquered.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The birds chirp, the leaves stir, and the kids continue with their endless chatter.   I open my eyes a little wider and notice the contrast between this day and the last: the pressure in my chest has lifted and I feel as light as the wind.  And though it is cold outside, I feel the warmth of this knowledge spreading through my limbs and the beginnings of a bounce to my step.

With guarded optimism, I embrace the changes and look forward to days filled with more hope and less fear.


Filed under Reflections

And the Rest Is History, I Guess

In continuation of Momalom’s Five for Ten series, today’s topic is “Happiness.”  Click on over to join the fun!

During the whole appendectomy episode,  Ben decided that he wanted to try a new educational/career path.  Being in the hospital reignited his dream of becoming a doctor.  Since his GPA was practically spotless, he was weary of smudging his record with the tyrannical science courses.  With my wholehearted support,  he decided he would give pre-med a one semester try.   If he felt confident after that first semester,  he would continue on until the next semester, and, after that, he would be set on medical school.  (See? I really do support him in his dreams! As long as they do not include becoming a career pilot.)

The first semester was rough.  Not only were we new parents, but we were both taking classes.  Plus, to put it mildly, Ben’s classes were not easy.

When the semester was over, he managed to walk away with better grades than he expected.   He decided to continue.

Now, almost 2 years later, we have reached a point that was a mere speck in the horizon.

Yesterday, we received Ben’s MCAT scores.

If I could fully relate how much we have both sacrificed to reach this point, I would.  I will tell you this–there have been many days, especially over this last semester, when I wouldn’t see Ben until he stumbled into bed around 2 am.   I’m not just referring to the weekdays.  I mean Monday-Saturday.  (Sunday was our sacred family time.) It was difficult.  Parenting two little babies by myself, especially when my husband is only a couple miles away, was harder than I anticipated.  I wrote many disparaging posts (which I may just delete) and cried more than I care to admit, but I tried my best to support my husband through it all.  It helped to know that he was struggling as well.  I mean, he had to study and actually take the test.  I only had to blubber about solo parenting.  Besides, he loves his children more than I can describe.  He would have given anything to be with them.

So.  April 10th came and Ben took the test.  When finished it did nothing to alleviate our anxiety.  For all we knew, he would be taking it again (because he likely did not do well enough) after he found out his score.

The kids and I may have seen Ben more this last month, but the tension was still palpable; the nights still sleepless.

Fast forward to yesterday.  The scores were scheduled to come out at some point during the day.  While Ben tried to work and I tried to, um, tend to the kids (meaning read all the delightful Five for Ten posts), we couldn’t help but look at the website every ten seconds.

Finally, a little after 1:00, I received the call I had been expecting.  I answered the phone with a hurried–“Was it good??” To which my husband replied, “Yes!”

Pure happiness.

For inquiring minds,  knowing the score is the first step.  We will now be applying to different medical schools and starting the interviewing process sometime in September.  In some ways, I never thought this day would come.  I was sure we would be stuck in undergraduate education forever.  I am glad that this theory proved to be untrue.


Filed under Reflections