Earlier this week I had my tubal reversal follow-up appointment with the doctor I chose to be my OBGYN here in our hometown, Dr. Johnson. He’s new to the clinic, and has quite a lot of experience in his field.
To back up a little bit, I did have a consultation with him before my tubal reversal. I wanted to get a check up with a doctor and discuss my overall health and age in regards to going through another pregnancy or more. He informed me at that time that a tubal reversal is not a simple surgery that I will have an easy time finding a doctor for (he didn’t know I was looking into Dr. Monteith yet), and that it wasn’t cheap. He recommended I look into in vitro instead. He also said that natural fertility decreases after age 35, and even more after 40… And that there is a risk with pregnancy after c-section (which I’ve had 2), no matter how long it had been. That the scar tissue can cause a problem with placenta attachment, and even embryo attachment. He wasn’t necessarily discouraging me from being pregnant, but he was laying out all the risks for me, which is exactly what I wanted. No nonsense. I told him I was already looking into a specialist to reverse my tubal, and he wished me good luck.
To Jarrod and I went to North Carolina, as I’ve already written about. We had a fantastic experience with Dr. Monteith at A Personal Choice, and he sent my surgical records and after-care instructions to Dr. Johnson.
Then, as I was saying, I had my follow-up with Dr. Johnson this week. He took all of Dr. Monteith’s instructions very seriously, which I’m very pleased with. Said everything was very thorough, and read to me exactly what I am to do when I get a positive pregnancy test. Which is: get in to see him as soon as possible, start getting regular blood draws to check my hormone levels, and when they are high enough have an ultrasound to check for proper implantation of the embryo. From then on, take care of myself and prepare for a baby!
Jarrod’s vasectomy reversal is scheduled for May 16th, so it won’t be long at all now! He will post about his experience when it’s all said and done. We’ve heard different things about how it will go afterwards. Some people say it could take months for his sperm count to climb up to impregnation levels. Some people say he has the chance at getting me pregnant right away. But Jarrod and I both agree – it will happen when it happens. We aren’t concerning ourselves with following a calendar or stressing out over any of it. We both believe we will conceive soon enough. If, after a year or so, nothing has happened yet, we will talk to the doctor about testing. At this point, I think we would deny any fertility treatments if it came to that. But that’s so far into the future right now… we figure we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.
Jarrod and I got married very quickly. Within 10 days of making our relationship official, we had run off and eloped without telling many people until it was already done. In the days leading up to our marriage, the entire trip there and back, and the months since then, we have discussed the possibility a few times of having more children. The first couple times it came up, we knew we wanted to have a baby together, but we also knew our relationship was very new, and we needed to have some experiences and life together before we made any more life-changing, permanent decisions. Not to mention our 6 kids needed to live together and get to know each other as well. Lots of changes occurred all at once, and we all needed time to adjust to that new life as a family.
Earlier this year, the topic came up again, and Jarrod and I really got into the details of it all. We talked about how having a baby of our own would affect our relationship, our kids, our careers, and all other aspects of our lives. We discussed how we both yearned to have a baby together, in a stable and healthy relationship where we would share parenting responsibilities 50/50. We know we are a great team in the other aspects of our life together, and we decided we would be amazing parents together to a new baby. Not to mention the great help we would have from the six older siblings!
The problem with this plan: I got a tubal ligation when I had my youngest son Cory back in 2005 (a decision I regretted immediately). And Jarrod had a vasectomy a few years ago when he and his ex wife divorced. So, I started doing research to get those surgeries reversed. Within a few days of starting the research, I had applied at 3 tubal reversal clinics with my surgical report and medical history. I was denied by one place because of previous c-sections and scar tissue. I never heard back from one. And the place that accepted me was the one I wanted to go to anyway – lucky me!! For Jarrod’s reversal, there really was no acceptance process since vasectomies are typically all done about the same. We just chose a reputable place closer to us at an affordable price.
And that, my friends, is why we went to North Carolina this week! I think everyone was just under the impression we went on a small vacation. But really, it was for my tubal ligation reversal surgery. The rest of this post will be about the story of our trip, so read on to know how it all went!
Jarrod and I flew out to Raleigh, North Carolina to go to A Personal Choice‘s surgeon Dr. Charles Monteith. When we arrived in Raleigh, we checked into our studio suite at Hyatt House, which we got for a very reasonable discounted rate through A Personal Choice. The room was absolutely amazing. The bathroom had a very large walk-in shower, it had a very comfy king sized bed, and there was a living room area with a couch and TV, and a full kitchen complete with stove, microwave, fridge with freezer and dishwasher! The neighborhood was urban, but new and clean. There was plenty to do right within walking distance. Movies, restaurants, entertainment, and even a pharmacy for my post-op pain meds. To get to my appointments, there was a driving service set up through the clinic. I was able to get rides back and forth to my pre-op consultation on Tuesday, my actual surgical procedure on Wednesday, and my post-op check up on Thursday through their service. They were prompt and courteous, and made Jarrod and I both feel important.
On Tuesday, my pre-op consultation was pretty simple. I got all checked in with my ID and a few remaining papers to sign, as most of the paperwork had already been done from home with their guidance. Jarrod and I met with a couple nurses and Dr. Monteith himself, and we had the procedure explained to us. Then we went back to the hotel and found a few things to do to keep busy. We went out for supper, and went to a movie, and enjoyed the much warmer weather.
On Wednesday morning I checked in at 8:45 am for outpatient surgery, and was released around 12:30 pm. It was a very quick, easy process. All of the nurses, anesthesiologist, and doctor were very knowledgeable and proficient in the process. It was like clockwork. As I was being prepped for the operating room, I was given a pin to put in the patient map. Jarrod was given detailed instructions on how to take care of me postoperatively, and was even tested on it when I was in recovery. As I was getting dressed and preparing to be released, they let us see the clamps that had been on my Fallopian Tubes, but they wouldn’t let us keep them.
Once back to the hotel room, Jarrod and I ordered lunch through GrubHub and just layed in bed and watched TV most of the day. At on point we went and sat on the patio outside because I didn’t want to miss the delightful weather. At supper time we ordered in Italian food and Jarrod ran to the pharmacy and rented a couple of Redbox movies to keep us entertained. Unfortunately I couldn’t sleep that night more than just a few minutes here and there, though the pain really wasn’t too bad at all. It just felt like bad menstrual cramping.
On Thursday morning we got up, got our stuff all packed up and ready to go home, and took advantage of the Hyatt House’s complimentary hot breakfast buffet, which was delicious! Then we went to my post-op appointment where they changed my bandage and made sure I was set to travel back home. I was okay until we spent several hours in airports and airplanes… by the time we got home I was in a great deal of pain. I went to bed very early and slept over 10 hours. Jarrod woke me up a couple times overnight for pain meds. He really has been absolutely priceless. The best caretaker I could ever ask for!
Anyway, so we kept the whole process hush-hush because we didn’t tell the kids about it until today. Now all the kiddos know, with mixed reactions. So we decided to release a blog post about it for all our family, friends and followers. Jarrod will write a post about his reversal experience when his happens in May, so stay tuned for that.
We’re super excited that we’ve been able to start on this process, and are looking forward to what our future holds. Thanks for reading along!
It also needs mentioning here that flying out to Raleigh and back was my very first time ever in an airplane! I had never before experienced flying and I must say, I really enjoyed it!
The USA is buzzing with excitement over tax returns right now. Everyone gets to go out and buy a brand new TV, new video game systems and other electronics, they’re getting new tattoos, clothes, vehicles, etc. Most other years I was right there with the general public and giving all that tax money directly to the local retail stores. But this year, it’s different.
Yes, we got a tax return, but we aren’t going and getting all the latest gadgets.
The ONE thing we had promised the kids we would do this year is go on a vacation. We were discussing Florida, and everyone was quite excited about it. Unfortunately, when we found out that my unemployment payments in 2017 cut into our refund more than I ever knew it would, we had to flush the dream of a family vacation on the beach right down the toilet (along with creating some guilt for both Jarrod and I for having to break that promise).
We had to face facts: the best we could do is keep paying our monthly bills with a small boost so we didn’t fall behind, and plan a mini-vacation closer to home. So now we are looking at resort-style hotels within Iowa to go spend a night or two. There is one place a couple hours away that has laser tag, bowling, go karts, an arcade, and an indoor water park that we’re looking into. It sounds pretty fun to me, and the kids all seem to be on board with that idea. But if for some reason that doesn’t work out or ends up being out of our price range, we’ll just stick to the Iowa State Fair later this summer, and perhaps a visit to Adventureland, our local amusement park.
I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed, myself. I have visited Florida the last 2 years, and I LOVE it there. The ocean is spectacular. I know for a fact 2 of my boys were really looking forward to going, and the girls seem rather let down that we aren’t going, as well. But as it stands, we will just have to settle for Iowa. As long as we can have fun together as a family, that is what REALLY matters, right?
Those are my thoughts for today. Not all blog posts can be sunshine and rainbows… this IS real life afterall. 🙂 And if you’re an Iowa native and have any suggestions for awesome family fun within the state, please leave a comment/suggestion for us to look into. Thanks in advance.
You might think that the life of a blogger is a non-stop series of sexy, celebrity-attended parties, a virtual whirlwind of drug and alcohol-fueled insanity that even famed raconteur Hunter S. Thompson might call excessive. And you’d be right about that. Nevertheless, sometimes we are called upon to do actual work, and be “responsible”. And there has been a lot of that nonsense lately, which not only makes it hard to find the time and energy to write a blog post, but also tends to make life a little tedious…which, in turn, causes tempers to flare, motivation to dwindle, and attitudes and moods to turn to crap. This time of year doesn’t help, either. Winter shouldn’t even be a thing; the only thing that winter accomplishes is to make you appreciate summer a little more, which is a pretty substantial accomplishment considering summer also really, really sucks. Really. Sucks. And don’t trust anyone who tries to tell you that it doesn’t. (The views of Jarrod are not necessarily those of HesseLane or its subsidiaries).
But all is not lost. Even though life, work, the very seasons of the planet upon which we live may all be trying to to rip out your soul, crumple it up and cram it into the nearest rubbish bin, you can still maintain your insanity by taking a more whimsical approach to the nightmarish hellscape we’re forced from birth to navigate and finding things to be amused by. For example, I don’t really enjoy working; not just my job in particular, but ANY job. In general, I can think of many, many thousands of things I’d rather be doing than working. What I need is for someone to just send me large sums of money every so often, with no expectation that I’m ever going to provide any service to them in exchange for it. Yeah, that’s what I need.
But until someone sees fit to do that, I have to work. And since I do, it’s pretty helpful that I work with Shauna. Not only do we work together, but he have practically the same schedules. Sometimes that isn’t a good thing (more on that never). Usually it IS a good thing, and here’s why: we make each other laugh. I’m one of those people who is constantly finding things amusing but rarely laughs out loud. If I had a nickel for everytime I’ve typed “lol” and actually lol’d, I’d have, oh, about zero dollars and zero cents. However, Shauna makes me laugh till I cry, and she does it pretty effortlessly. From day one, she’s just kind of instinctively known what my sense of humor is and is able to tap into it…and I think the reason she has such an easy time with that is because it pretty seamlessly matches up with her own sense of humor. Never does this particular connection between us come in more handy than when we’re at work, a place neither of us really want to be and which can sometimes put us both in a crappy mood. Just the other night we were at work, and for some reason we began talking about cooking apple pies in the fryer. Shauna escalated the absurdity of the conversation a little, and then I did, and then she did again, and soon were talking about dumping a whole box of apple pies in the fryer and then fishing them out with the baskets. In that moment the zaniness of it all made me laugh uncontrollably, until tears were streaming down my face. And it occured to me that I was getting paid to stand there and laugh myself silly. Which I found myself very ok with.
Recently we were sitting in our bedroom when my youngest daughter Willow wandered in. She was wearing leggings, and the tag on the back was annoying her; she wanted to know if I would cut the tag off. A lot of times, you can just yank those tags off without the need for scissors or anything; they’re designed to just be ripped off. So I grabbed the tag and attempted to dispose of it once and for all. Unfortunately, it was attached a bit more securely than I had given it credit for, and, rather than ripping the tag off, I lifted Willow completely off the ground, giving her an ultrawedgie in the process. The tag finally came off, but brought a giant chunk of the fabric from the butt of her leggings with it. As I sat there in bed holding the tag with the lonely piece of fabric attached to it, and looking at the gaping hole in the butt of the leggings (big enough for Willows entire butt to fit through), I could have been annoyed that I had just ruined a perfectly good article of clothing. But Shauna was laughing hysterically, as was Willow, and at that point, what could I do? I laughed, gentle reader…I laughed. And that’s all I’m saying.
Several months ago, I got a perm. I wanted more volume in my fine, limp hair. The perm burnt my hair so bad that in the couple of months following the perm that I had handfuls of hair falling out every day. Then, when Jarrod and I went to Riot Fest in September, we were both admiring people’s dreadlocks, and I mentioned how I had tried dreadlocks a few times and failed, brushed them out, etc. I had installed them alone, or with a friend’s help. But they never seemed right so I never kept them long. But Jarrod was really into the idea of me having them because he appreciates that style. So we decided I would go get them professionally done to ensure a long future with them. We decided to use real human hair extensions with them so I wouldn’t lose too much length, and they looked pretty good once done.
Over the first couple months things went well. Once I got over the initial shock to my scalp and the itching faded, I was quite happy with them. I was getting monthly maintenance to keep them tidy-ish and make sure they were locking up properly. At my 2nd maintenance session, my stylist started expressing concern for my roots. My hair was already fragile from that perm a few months prior, and the weight of the dreaded hair + extensions was making my hair break off an inch or two from my scalp. But she remained optimistic and told me we would just keep up on the maintenance and keep reinforcing it, and it would likely be fine.
Last week when I went in for my 4th tidying, she wasn’t so optimistic. She said my fine, brittle hair wasn’t doing so well, and I had a lot of factors working against me for a future with the dreadlocks. At that point, I felt I needed to make a tough decision. I could either keep going, paying her to maintain and strengthen my hair every month with no guarantee it was going to be successful, I could brush them out and have “crypt keeper” remains of my hair, or I shave my head and have a clean slate. Jarrod and I discussed all the pros and cons of all options involved, and came to the very difficult and painful decision to just shave it all off. And rather than stall that decision, we decided to do it as soon as possible so it can start the process of growing back. Before shaving. The final pic with dreadlocks.
I’m honestly okay with it. It feels good, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know it’s just hair, and will grow back. And Jarrod seems to be okay with it too. He said he was more concerned with my reaction to shaving my head than how he would feel about it himself. But since I am okay with it, he is too. The kids really don’t seem to care all that much. The girls were in disbelief that I’d do it, but the boys already know how spontaneous I can be.
For now I’ll wear plenty of hats to keep warm since it’s still the middle of winter here in Iowa. I plan to keep from dying my hair indefinitely, and certainly won’t be perming it ever again. I’d like to see what it does when left to grow naturally. It’s been decades since I’ve just let it be. I’ll find some decent quality shampoo and conditioner to keep it healthy. And I’m already taking Biotin and other vitamins to make sure it grows back stronger.
How can people live such fake lives? They wake up in the morning, paint on makeup, bathe in perfume or cologne, put on uncomfortable, restrictive clothing just to appear a certain way, slap a fake smile on their face, leave their sterile house, hop into a shiny, fancy car, and go about their day. Everyone they encounter that dresses and behaves the same as them, they are fake-friendly with. Everyone they perceive as above them, they brown-nose. Everyone they perceive as below them they sneer at and ridicule.
In groups they laugh loudly and act as though they own the place in which they sit. Each trying to prove to the others that they have a good life and make good money. In their world, no one else could possibly understand or live up to the way they attempt to keep up with each other. There’s no consideration. There’s no empathy. There’s no true joy. Just competition. And possession.
Why? Just why?
Myself and my family may not have a ton of money, a mound of debt for things to prove we’re better than others, or brand name shiny “things.” But I don’t want that. I love my life of honesty. I love my genuine, opinionated, down-to-earth, honest self. I love that I tell people what I think. I love that I don’t feel obligated to paint on a happy face every day. I love that my life is not a competition to me, with my peers. I love that I comfortably and freely exercise my right to self-expression. And I love that I’m raising my kiddos to do the same. Furthermore, I love finding like-minded people because they are some of the most fun and interesting people I’ve ever known!
I can’t imagine living a life of fake smiles and dinner parties, overly high mortgages and designer belongings. It’s so stuffy, boring…ordinary.
I love being unique, colorful and full of adventure. It’s the only way I could imagine a life worth living.
Shauna and I started this blog about a month ago, and since that time we’ve talked a lot about the kinds of things we want to write about here. It’ll essentially be a melting pot of ideas, likes, dislikes, family and job stuff, and just whatever else we feel like writing about. A glimpse into our everyday lives, in other words. And I love that idea; that is exactly the kind of blog I’d want to read from someone else. One would think that, with that kind of broad outline, it’d be easy to come up with ideas for things to write about, because pretty much anything would be fair game. But such is not the case. Personally, I find myself plagued by really unhelpful thoughts, such as “you know, lots of people lead really crazy, eventful lives. What makes you think your life is interesting enough to blog about? Furthermore, what gives you the audacity to expect people to READ that blog, let alone tell other people to read it? To expect people to stop their cars in traffic to read your latest post, and to send out mass texts to every friend, relative, co-worker, and minor acquaintance they have in their phone to tell THEM to read it? Hmmm?” Make no mistake: I expect ALL of those things to happen, and since I’ve been trying to think of a topic to blog about anyway, I figure why not make this post about WHY I expect that.
Everyone has opinions, good and bad, and it’s in the nature of humans to want to share that opinion with other people. Either to find someone who agrees with you and who validates the way you feel about something, or to find someone who disagrees and maybe makes you think of something in a different way that you never would have come to on your own. However, the resources that people had to get their opinions heard used to be pretty limited and ineffective. Short of scoring a job writing an opinion column in your local newspaper, or standing on a soapbox in the town square and shouting, there was no good way to make yourself heard to a large group of people. Now, of course, it’s the easiest thing in the world to go on any social media site and say whatever is on your mind to a potential audience of millions. Anyone can start a blog or vlog. However, the ease with which you can do these things nowadays has made it clearer than ever before that not everyone has something worth saying. Not everyone has an opinion that should be spoken aloud (and while we’re on the subject, there is such a thing as a wrong opinion. We’re taught in school that that’s not the case, but OF COURSE it is. “The Godfather is a bad movie” or “Donald Trump is a good president” would be examples of wrong opinions). And so, to return to the point: why should you read this blog? There are a million blogs you could be reading right now. Why this one?
Shauna and I are real people. We have small victories and defeats everyday. We have to deal with chaos at our job, and then come home and deal with more (and often far worse) chaos. Our kids are cool most of the time, but occasionally they are horrible, smelly beasts that consume or destroy everything in sight. We have money, and then we pay bills and buy groceries and we have no money. We communicate amazingly most of the time, but sometimes we don’t, and it sucks for a while and we deal with that. We live in a house that has issues which we either get fixed or (much more likely) learn how to work around. We make plans for our future, and then have to figure out how to make those plans a reality, and in the process of that sometimes our plans get changed, or disintegrate completely. We struggle with health issues, appointments, anxiety over whether we’re spending enough time with our kids, what to have for dinner, where does all the fucking shredded cheese go because we just bought 3 bags like 2 days ago and it’s fucking GONE already?!? We deal with all of these things, and a lot more, every day. And if we’re dealing with them…then you’re dealing with them, too. These are the things we all have to face every day. Every. Day. This is Real Life. And if you can read this blog and see that we have faced an issue that you’ve already faced, or are currently facing, and if we can convince you that you WILL get through that issue and come out on the other side laughing…well, there you go. That’s “why this one”.
The twist ending to this post, which anyone could have seen coming, is that I wrote this to convince myself why it’s necessary to write it just as much as to convince you (and the tens of thousands of people you’re going to send our way) to read it. A couple weeks ago, on a Saturday night, Shauna and I had to work till about 9 PM. We got home and watched tv with the kids for a while. Around 11 or so, Shauna investigated a weird smell and discovered that a room in our basement was filled about ankle deep with sewage. Every time a sink, the dishwasher, the clothes washer, the shower, the toilets had drained for at least a few days, it had been going directly into this room. Some phone calls were made, and someone came out to unplug the drain (never giving us a good explanation for why it had happened in the first place so that we could, you know, prevent it from happening again), and left us to deal with the disgusting mess that was left behind. There wasn’t much that could really be done that night (by this time it was around 3 AM; we had to get up at 7 to work a 10 hour shift). We eventually got it taken care of and all is well now. I threw in this quick story to make the point that this type of thing might have been a devastating, apocalyptic event in another household. In ours, not so much. We took it in stride; the house smelled like shit (literally) for a few days, and then it didn’t, and we’ll probably barely remember it happened before long. You get through it. And you laugh.