Baby Round Two?!

It’s been such a crazy ride so far. When I visit my doctor, he jokes that we can’t have it easy. At this point, I’m seriously just glad he’s willing to work with my complicated medical history!

Around the end of 2019, amidst an extra annoying bout of pain from my fibroids, I got the inkling that I needed to make a more serious change in my life. Dieting hadn’t worked for pain management or inflammation, birth control hadn’t worked, CBD oil turned out to be a joke for me, and surgery seemed pretty much off the table since I had lost my insurance in October, so I was kind of running out of ideas. My best option for the time being was exercise. And from December until the end of June, I worked out five days a week consistently and found some alleviation and escapism from problems I couldn’t properly deal with quite yet.

I remained stagnant for a while with an itching in the back of my head that I needed some real change. If missing one work out meant being thrown back into a pain cycle, maybe I wasn’t managing my symptoms as great as I originally thought.

The universe seemed to brighten a little for me when, in March, I was able to get insurance under my dad again until I’m 26 and I have never been more grateful for any news. I began shopping around for doctors and finding out the doctor who delivered my son in the first place was in our network.

A decision had been made in my mind. I was either going to get a hysterectomy or try to get pregnant one last time (considering pregnancy last time around was a breeze for me lol). Of course I talked it over with my fiancé and we went from there… which brings us closer to the present.

In mid June we found out we were expecting. Guess the hysterectomy was going to have to wait! Two pregnancy tests and a visit to the doctor later, I was between 7 and 8 weeks along at the end of June.

I’ve been fortunate that, despite the pandemic, I can have one other person go to my doctors appointments with me. I’ve been following other pregnant women who can’t even have one person with them when they go to the doctor. We have to wear masks and get screened upon arrival, but I’m lucky to be in a low populated area due to current circumstances.

I have to go in once a month just to make sure everything’s growing normally due to my fibroids and their location. The term “high risk” is terrifying in what feels like your first pregnancy. I cling to the idea that high risk just means they watch more closely, but sometimes, if I think too hard about giving birth, I have flashbacks of the last go around or a worse scenario than last time. It makes me wonder if I’m strong enough to do it again if I have to. For my babies, I think I am.

(If you don’t know what happened last time here’s the story.)

On top of having fibroids, when I got my first blood test we found out I was exposed to Kell positive blood (I’m naturally Kell negative) when I had a blood transfusion after my last c section. That means I formed anti-Kell antibodies which could fight my unborn baby’s possibly Kell positive blood cells through the placenta – so now I have to be monitored for that. I remember I was camping when I got the “urgent” test result. I couldn’t get any other info until after a long weekend. That was tough. [My doctor explained it to me similarly but probably much more eloquently and I fact checked from this source (https://www.thebump.com/a/kell-factor)]

At around 21 weeks I had to go to a larger hospital for imaging to make sure the baby wasn’t anemic because of this. Luckily, everything seemed to be perfectly fine with the baby! The geneticist ordered Micah’s blood to be taken as well, in case his blood has the kell antigen in it, but it doesn’t! If it did, we were looking at having to have a procedure done through amniocentesis. I was only worrying about that for a few days before we got results. I still have to go to the high risk doctor every couple of weeks for monitoring of blood and fibroids, but I’m willing to drive the two hours to make sure everything is good.

Everything is already so different from last time. All the symptoms I “missed” before are here. I got the almost all day morning sickness for a few weeks. My system couldn’t bear being even kind of hungry or my body would reject basically all food from that point on. I was on an oatmeal, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, crackers, ramen noodles and chips kind of diet. Thankfully, now that I’m farther along, the only things I don’t eat are beef and pork or I suffer later. Shrimp and chicken are my main sources of protein now, but I’m happy to go without and have been eating quinoa at lunch to get protein other ways.

There’s another thing that I couldn’t eat earlier on in pregnancy: garlic. In what sick world can I not have garlic? I’m the kind of person who sees garlic in recipes and uses it as a suggestion to add about 10 times that. I couldn’t do that for a while. Lately, though, things have started turning around and I’ve been adding garlic back into my cooking. The only time the smell bothers me is when I smell it on my family later and feel a little queasy, but it’s nothing near what I dealt with before.

Since I wasn’t eating much meat, I wasn’t able to work out which was kind of a bummer, but paired with the constant urge to nap, I survived. In the last couple weeks I was able to start doing band workouts at home and have been loving the feeling of using my muscle again.

During my mostly vegetarian phase of pregnancy I had been looking into protein powders. According to someone online, their midwife told them protein powders make your unborn baby’s bones grow too quickly and too dense. After I talked to my doctor, I don’t google things like that anymore.

I know I’m complaining, but I’m so happy to have been able to get pregnant. Following the stories of many other women with reproductive issues has put it into perspective just how lucky I am.

I really wanted to be able to give Pax a best friend for life the way my brother is for me. Plus, I’m sure it will give him some much needed practice with sharing. We’re also working on him being gentle both with me and for a future fragile infant to be in our home. I love my son more than life itself, but he gives me a new bruise once a week.

Everyone around me has been so positive about this and surprised. I’m always grateful and aware of how lucky I am to have such strong support. The women around me have vast amounts of wisdom in pregnancy and Micahs sister, Lisa, shares her nurse knowledge with me often – especially when medical terms are tossed my way that I don’t fully understand.

#HighRiskHighReward

ART

For many of you, even if you aren’t an artist, the consumption of media and all other forms of art make you an art critic in your own world because you know what you like and don’t like. Along with your tastes, social media, articles, and the people you hang around with probably help shape your view of art because art has found its way into your life in some way.

With that in mind, the importance of art should be kept in the forefront when the government creates a budget, when someone chooses a hobby, or even in hard times such as the ones we are facing right now. We are in times where a lot of people can’t work. Those who can telecommute for work are lucky and the rest “non essential” workers are left to their own devices to fend for themselves and still pay their bills on time. Artists fall under the non essential, unfortunately, but I believe they are so necessary for the world. I’ve decided to create this page because I believe everyone I’ve listed here is deserving of more recognition for their passion and to be comfortable in their finances considering the uncertainty we’re facing in the world right now.

I recommend at least following each and every one of these artists (all information will be in green, clickable links). Having a footprint on social media is so valuable for artists of today. Maybe they can light up your social media feeds the way they have with mine and, who knows, their work may end up on your wall, as a gift to a loved one, at the top of your website, or even playing on your headphones while you exercise.

Thank you so much artists.

Update (3/29): I have put the artists in alphabetical order and believe this format will work for the time being. Thank you

Amanda Harlow

Painter, Photographer

Taking commissions, starting at $75.

Email: harlowamsue@gmail.com

Instagram: amandaharlowart

Amanda Laing

Digital Sketching, Drawing

Taking commissions through Instagram DM – accepts PayPal

Instagram: meoyani

Ashleigh Denise Argyle

Digital illustrator, Writer

Taking commissions through DM, price upon request. Shop open as well.

Instagram: sauft

Twitter: adargyle

Twitter: sauftsketches

Shop: Redbubble

Writing: Medium

Dalton Shaul

Web designer, Graphic Designer, Printmaker

Working independently, taking work through his website.

Website: Lotux.design

Shop: Redbubble

Diana Poulter

Photographer

Will be taking clients towards the end of April due to current COVID-19 guidelines.

Instagram: visualizedbydiana

Website: Weebly

Diego Tello

Sketching, Illustration, Music

Taking commissions through Instagram DM.

Instagram: daogedraws

Jade Duplessis

Graphic Designer

Accepting freelance work through email.

Email: jadedupe@gmail.com

Instagram: jade_duplessis

Laura Garner – Up Canyon Apparel

Clothing Brand

Currently selling through Etsy.

Instagram: upcanyon_apparel

Shop: Etsy

Licoon

Digital Illustrator, Digital artist

Not currently taking commissions. When they open, they will be free.

Instagram: licoonsenpai

Youtube: Licoon Senpai

Leslie Bunce

Photographer

Taking clients for future dates. Unable to photograph right now due to COVID-19 guidelines

Email: leslienbunce@gmail.com

Instagram: bunce.photography

Website: Bunce Photography

Poetry Lofi

Poet

Not taking commissions, though the calming mix of her reciting the poetry and occasional music is worth a follow.

Instagram: poetrylofi

Rhett Backstrom

Digital illustrator, Graphic designer

Taking commissions, details on website.

Instagram: rhett.backstrom

Website: Rhett Backstrom

Tessa Cates

Graphic Designer, Illustrator

Taking graphic design commissions through Instagram DM. Shop open as well.

Instagram: heavymetalhppie

Shop: Teespring

Tino Cruze

Hip-hop Artist, Youtuber

Based in Arizona, he’s constantly working on new music found through the website link.

Instagram: tinocruze

Website: United Masters

Youtube: TinoCruze

Trevor Williams

Photographer, Podcast Host, Actor, Musician

Ongoing podcast called Twin Film Face Off through SoundCloud. Photographer of the Seattle music scene.

Audition spot for improv troupe available through this link: Fools Play Improv

Podcast: Soundcloud

Music page: Facebook

Photography: Instagram

Want to be featured?

Happy Birthday Joey

In my eyes, my brother deserves the world. He’s someone I can talk to about anything and has been my protector for as long as I can remember. I look up to him a lot for all the things he’s overcome in life and how he still goes through life with the ability to make people around him smile. I’ve never met someone who didn’t hit it off with him once they gave him a chance and I think that will get him far in life.

What we’ve always bonded over the most are video games, anime, puppies, and other random tv shows or interests along the way. Basically, if you meet my brother, you wouldn’t expect him to be the huge nerd that he is. So what do you get someone who has nerded out with you your whole life while you’re trying to save money?

You DIY! Well, in my case you bake or cook something because you’re not even kind of an artistic person when it comes to crafting and you barely have an eye for design.

What I’m really getting at is I decided to try and be like the cake queen herself, Yolanda Gampp from How to Cake It, and took some of her tips that I’ve watched over the years and obsessed about. I’ve always wanted to try and use fondant in baking because there are endless possibilities of the pretty things you can make. So why not give it a shot now?

Below I shared some pictures about how my first attempt at fondant resulted in this:

I finished these at about 3am so I’m definitely not saying to follow my process
It started with a perfect base. I used How To Cake It’s Ultimate Vanilla Cake but my brother is lactose intolerant so I opted for vegan butter and lactose free milk. I added imitation butter flavoring to the recipe because vegan butter has a mild taste compared to real butter.
I used the same mini dome pan I used for Pax’s birthday. It’s silicone and I got it off of Amazon.
Once cooled, I cut the caramelization off of the top and evened the half spheres out using a sharp, serrated knife so they would be a more round circle once stuck together. Don’t worry, my brother and son went to town on the cake scraps while they waited!
Here I roughly frosted the half spheres together and put a thin layer on the outside. I put them in the fridge to set for a half hour before continuing. For the buttercream, I used vegan butter, again, and did a 1:2.5 ratio of butter to powdered sugar with about 1 tsp of vanilla flavoring, 1 tbsp of lactose free milk and a tiny dot of orange gel food coloring. The result wasn’t too sweet which is what was good when adding fondant.
Of course, the craft store didn’t have orange fondant so I used gel food coloring to dye it and kneaded it for a long time to make the color was even and not streaky. My hands suffered from the dye because I can’t imagine gloves not getting in the way while doing this, but it’s worth it to get the fondant warmed up and easier to work with.
Of course I was repping the show while baking. My focused face is because fondant is really hard to understand at first. It’s an art I haven’t mastered but I look forward to trying more in the future.
From left to right, you can tell they got smoother as I figured it out. I rolled the fondant out thicker and smoothed the edge of the frosting with a plastic card before putting the fondant over it.
Of course I made things more complicated for myself by deciding last minute to mix “food grade alcohol” aka vodka to the gel food coloring and painting the spheres after they had set a little bit so they had a more shiny look to them. The bottom is without being painted and the top is the shiny result.
For the stars, I tried to use a template to cut around them. When that didn’t work, I tried cutting little circles of the same size into stars but ultimately hand shaped tiny fondant pieces into the stars. They aren’t very uniform but it was the best result I got! I even added two dots of white to have an animated shine which was my brothers idea and a great addition! After painting the vodka and dye mixture over the stars to make them shiny as well, I was proud of how it turned out!

I think my brother enjoyed it as well!

Day 17: Ornament


Art by Rhett Backstrom | Twitter | Instagram

Untouchable. Practically unreal.

He lives everyone’s dream and gets paid to be beautiful. He has teams of people there to make him look perfect. How could someone not want that?

The lights, cameras, fans, money. You wonder if he has time for meaningful relationships. He looks like your best friend. It’s a one way relationship where you obsessively know everything about him, but he will probably never even be in the same room as you.

Being human is considered relatable, but is there really anything in his life that parallels yours? He’s so cute, you forget to consider, “Does he even have a real personality?”

The camera turns away from him and he gets to peel off his mask at the end of the day.

How can someone sleep knowing they will be a headline over night simply for existing?

He doesn’t. He obsesses all night. The blue light of his phone screen illuminates his face until the sun rises. When he finally crashes with his phone in hand, sleep is short-lived and he has to take a pill when he wakes up in the morning. He needs that extra pick me up when strangers will likely film him the second he leaves his home.

He smiles. He has to. He is an idol. He can’t have a flaw or a bad day. What would they say if he was rude to a fan? If he’s lucky someone will defend him today and he won’t look like a bad guy. He wishes he always had a bodyguard.

He spends hours at the gym per day. They have his routine down to a science where he looks fit, but thin and not intimidating. He sweats at the gym then goes to work and learns a routine that he has to perform in a few days. He sweats a lot under the pressure of perfection and sometimes forgets the carefully calculated meal that sits in his fridge. He’s so hungry his body forgets to remind him.

Something goes wrong at their performance. Despite his constant exhaustion, he’s unfairly criticized and can only say he will do better even though he’s spread so thin he feels like a piece of unhealthy hair that could… split… at… any… moment.

You treated him like an ornament. He is found hanging like an ornament.

"All women can do wonders when put to the test" – Wonder Woman