Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside...

I can't believe it's almost been a year since I've posted anything.  Not that I have droves of followers hanging on my every word.  It's the closest I'll get to journaling...cuz who likes writers cramp anyway?  Besides, I'm so uptight I'd probably have to write multiple drafts because the handwriting would be all wrong (true story - I've done it before).  To be perfectly honest, I'm terrified that I'll forget all of the great, wonderful, amazing, normal and boring things about my pregnancy, birth, and little baby.  She is growing so fast!  My little chickadee is already 7 months old!


A real...
                                        I will never take that for granted

Some might say I'm biased, but I think I've hit the baby jackpot.

As they say...the proof is in the pudding...

The world might end today, so here are some throwbacks... some things I want to remember.

February 2012

We took our last trip as a childless couple...a Kauai.  It was amazing.  I discovered I had developed cankles on the flight, and made sure to get a crazy bad sunburn the first day. Sunburned and pregnant makes for some awful sleep...especially once it hit the itchy phase.  We stayed with Ryan's cousin Luna and her two daughters.  Luna makes and sells seasoned roasted macadamia nuts and juices (passion fruit was my favorite) at the farmers markets.  We were so spoiled.

We hiked the Hanakapi'ai trail to the falls.  8 miles of slippery, muddy and steep terrain...sunburned and  nearly 7 months pregnant.  I just want to remember that.  I was so sore I could barely walk.

The next few days we took it easy and snorkeled (almost got pulled out to sea by a rip current), lounged on the beach, collected shells, ate shaved ice and went whale watching.  It. Was. Incredible.  We went with the only company that would allow pregnant women on board.  Usually the water is very choppy in February, but luck was on our side and the water was smooth as glass.  We could see everything, the water was crystal clear.  It was calving season and saw dozens of cows with their calves.  I can't believe how close some of them came to the boat.  We saw dozens more breaching, nearly leaping entirely out of the water.  But I was giddiest when we encountered a large pod of bottle nose and spinner dolphins.  I can't describe how cool it was to watch them surf at the bow of the boat and spin through the air.

We did a bit more hiking (much shorter and gentler) before we returned home.  It was very hard to come home.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Drum roll....It's a.....

This post is old...I hoped to edit the video below so it would be shorter and include Ryan's music, but let's face it. I'm lazy.

Update on me: Things are much better emotionally and mentally. I've been going to a therapist and have consulted with a psychiatrist as well as several friends that had been on antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds while pregnant (healthy, normal kids), and have decided to start taking my meds again at half the dose. Talking to my friends put me more at ease than anything else, especially since one friend was on a higher dose than me. So far so good. My mood is definitely better and I have more motivation to do things. Hooray. I'm still saying prayers and crossing my fingers that baby Darton arrives unscathed through all of this.

Mini update on life: Mid January, Ryan and I headed back to Utah to visit family since we didn't have the chance to over the holidays. It also gave us a chance to meet my brothers new little girl Livia (2 weeks), and Ryan's brothers new little boy Bentley (2 days). It was baby mania! Our trip was quite hectic with all of the friends and family time we were trying to pack in, especially since my bother Dan and his family are moving to Russia for a few years. On top of all of this my step-father had a nasty fall that fractured his skull (spiderweb fracture) with coup contra coup injury and 5 different bleeds. Pretty damn scary. He was in the ICU for a few days before being transferred to the floor. He is slowly recovering, but has double vision and severe nausea that requires a him to have a feeding tube. It's the waiting game to see if this will also resolve.

Update on Baby Darton: We got an early ultrasound while we were in Utah so we could celebrate with family.

It's a GIRL!!!

It was so much fun to watch her suck on her little fingers. She was so modest during the ultrasound. She kept crossing her legs and when the tech went to look from a different angle she put her tiny hands down in attempt to cover herself up. I hope she stays this way...I would much rather have a prude for a daughter than a ....

All this time Ryan has been referring to her as a boy. I hope he has time to adjust and is as excited for this little Dragon Princess as he was for a Dragon Prince. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous to have a girl too. My theory is that boys are harder on the front end, and girls are harder on the back know once they hit 9-ish. That seems to be the age when little girls start to get mean, manipulative and self conscious. I'm already so protective of her, and don't want her to get hurt. I suppose I have nearly a decade to prepare. I hope I do things right.

Now that we know we are having a girl reality is sinking in. Oh boy. I mean...girl. I have an organizational nightmare ahead of me. To be honest, our apartment is pretty large by L.A. standards, but Ryan has had the luxury of having an office/music room all to himself. I've had the luxury of not having his things in my way. That's all going to change...somehow.

I guess I've started nesting. It sounds like a lot of people like this stage, but I'm on the fence about it. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a cheapskate. I like bargains. It's physically hard for me to make big purchases without feeling sick about it. So, in my head as I start looking at the things we need to get, all I hear is an old-timey cash register dinging in my head. I also don't like feeling rushed to make a purchase. I know I have 4 more months (who am I kidding? I have longer than that before she will need a room to herself) to get all of this done, but I still feel rushed. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE looking at all of the baby room ideas on the world wide web, but I also feel overwhelmed by the task of making the room, making the purchases and putting it all together. I don't like living in work zones...I've done it for a large portion of my life and I'm tired of it. I would love to be able to afford to hire someone to do it all for me....and much faster day....

Purchases so far: Mid-century dresser with end tables, and kimono style newborn dress from Chinatown during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Friday, December 2, 2011

13 weeks

Yay! I'm past my first trimester. I guess I can officially let the cat out of the bag...I'm pregnant! ;)

Tuesday I had another ultrasound. I was nervous and excited, and it ended up being wonderful and amazing.

I was in awe, how in a few short weeks our child went from looking like some sort of alien puppy thing, to an actual baby with an adorable little profile. I couldn't stop myself from laughing when I saw the baby yawn (or take a drink of amniotic fluid). I'm falling deeper and deeper in love with this little peanut. I wish I could watch him/her every day. I can't wait until our next ultrasound at 17 weeks!

Things have been rough for me mentally and emotionally since I am not taking my anti-anxiety/anti-depressants while I'm pregnant. I feel myself slipping deeper and deeper and it gets harder and harder to find ways to cope, or even remain aware of what the situation really is. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning. I don't like feeling this way, and I start to worry that the chemical imbalance within my body/brain are negatively affecting my growing child. How does depression and anxiety affect a growing fetus? These thoughts then lead to thoughts of whether I'll be able to stay off of meds long enough to breastfeed for a decent amount of time...and if I can't does that mean I have failed? If I don't get a handle on my mental and emotional health quickly after the birth I worry that I will end up being a total train wreck. I'm scared I won't be able to cope with the stress of being a new mom, even though I have been wanting this since I can remember. I don't want to mess this kid up. I don't want to give it any of my baggage...only love and happiness.

Watching the video of our last ultrasound reminds me that despite all of the fear and stress, this little bean is worth it. My heart melts every time I see that profile.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Body Movin'

I'm pretty much paranoid ALL OF THE TIME. Two weeks ago I started to feel much better. Less tired, emotional, nauseous, congested, and more hydrated. I've even lost the few pounds that I've put on in the last couple of months. All of this happened rather suddenly, which caused me to freak out.

"Okay, what's going on? This doesn't seem right. Everything started so gradually, why would it end so suddenly. Something MUST be wrong."

I called Dr. K and scheduled an appointment for last Tuesday. I would have gone in sooner if I could have. Dr. K tried to reassure me that I was nearing the end of the first trimester and I should start to feel better anyway. I agreed with him, but pointed out how suddenly and how many things had changed. I think it started to make him worry.

Of course, it was just paranoia. The ultrasound was fantastic.

Ryan: "I told you so."

He's always cool as a cucumber. The growing grape was dancing around like Ryan does on stage.

Baby Darton
9w6d, 2.97 cm, HR 172 bpm

Ryan thinks it looks like a puppy. Sometimes I wonder about him. ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I was so nervous for our first ultrasound. Worried that we would receive the same news as last time. But this time it was only good news!
Our little blueberry has a heartbeat and is actually growing! Ryan insists it's a boy. I honestly don't have any impressions either way, but the more he refers to the blueberry as a boy the more I become convinced it is too. Only time will tell!

Typically I would go in for another ultrasound at week 8 if I had conceived through fertility treatments. Dr. K said I could go ahead and do this if I want to. I'm tempted, but I want to treat this as a normal, healthy pregnancy, which means waiting until week 12 to get another ultrasound. I hope I can hold out and keep my anxiety and my "need to know" at bay.

Until then I can revel in the other confirmations of pregnancy that things are progressing normally: the morning/afternoon/evening sickness, the total exhaustion, the thirst. My boobies are getting slightly bigger, but they are not sensitive yet. I think I'd be okay with it if they don't ever get tender.

I'm not trying to plug for this T.V. I just LOVE this song and the beautiful cinematography of the bouncy balls.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Waiting Game

I've been anxious to update with baby news. My repeat test showed that my hcg levels were more than doubling and my progesterone also looked good.


What a relief!

Since then, I've been waiting on pins and needles (literally and figuratively), comparing myself to all the pregnancy "norms". Doing some freaking out here and there if I don't have any symptoms, but then reassured by friends and their experiences. I know everyone's pregnancy is different, but I'd like to be in the "normal" category.

Our first ultrasound is on Thursday and it can't come soon enough. I want more assurance that there really is a baby growing in there...this time with a heartbeat!

According to Dr. K, I could have gone in last week and had my 1st ultrasound to see the heart beat. Even though I'm pretty certain that I am between 6 and 7 weeks, I didn't want to get an ultrasound prematurely and not see a heartbeat. That would send me spiraling out of control on the "Oh No!" and "What If" train.

4 days ago I started to feel the onset of morning sickness. Yahoo! Bleh! (I was getting worried because many women start having it a week or two earlier). I haven't actually tossed my cookies yet, but it's gradually getting worse. It doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason to it. It can be 3am, 10am, 3pm or just before bed when I feel it. My least favorite is waking up at 3am sick to my stomach. Lack of sleep on top of feeling gross! Saltines seem to the best solution so far, but I have many other recommendations to try out still.

Ryan downloaded a couple of hypnotherapy Mp3's and they seem to work...probably because I fall asleep half way through them. I don't know how that is going to help at work's not like I can lie down and listen to a soothing voice for 45 minutes. :/

Tonight we are trying out a class called, "Managing Discomforts Through Hypnosis." Supposedly it will teach us life long skills to manage stress, pain, nausea, low energy and insomnia. I hope it works! Judging by the successes I've had with alternative medicine, it should!

I recently traded services with my friend Jackie. She is getting married in a few short days and I sewed a few leggings for her brides maids. In return, she has offered to do some additional hypnotherapy with me! She wants me to think about what I want to focus on/address during our session. So many choices! Pregnancy related? Stress related? General well-being? Meditation/affirmations? Anxiety disorder related?

I guess I'll let you in on a little secret that is still taboo to talk about in this day and age. I have an anxiety/depressive disorder and take Zoloft to help me cope with social anxiety, my need to be perfect, and make perfect decisions at all times. Since I found out I am pregnant I've stopped taking Zoloft right away. Studies show that it can cause pulmonary hypertension if taken during the 3rd trimester. I don't want to risk anything by waiting until the 3rd trimester to stop taking Zoloft. The anxiety/depression department has been fairly well behaved since I've stopped taking my meds. I've had a few meltdowns and lash-outs, but it could also be hormonal. I'm learning that I tend to lash out when I have trouble communicating my thoughts and emotions.

Maybe I should focus on peaceful communication in my session with Jackie. I'm sure Ryan would appreciate it. What do you think I should focus on?

Other than that I've been thirsty, exhausted and out of breath. All of which I think are normal. Right?

Things I look forward to:
1st ultrasound
Tender boobies (more assurance that things are going in the right direction)

Things I don't look forward to:
Cooking and washing dishes (Oh the smell!)

Honestly smells haven't been that bad, but enough to keep me away from cooking.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fun and Games

Rainbow Bridge

Ryan and I have been doing a fair amount of sneaking out of town this summer. A few weeks ago, we went on the sly to a mini Darton Family reunion in Lake Powell, followed by a mini Merkley Family reunion in Durango, CO. It was 11 days of awesome.

Sitting in a stall at Denny's the morning we arrived at Lake Powell, I was amazed I had managed to do it again. My body was producing clear and stretchy fertility mucous. The lighting wasn't the greatest, but I was pretty certain it was the real deal.

"Ryan, this might be hard to do without everyone knowing what is going on, but we need to make time for some baby making while we are here."

"Really? It's milky?...Okay. Can we wait until tonight after everyone goes to bed?"

"No! It's clear! I don't want to wait until tonight. We need to get started ASAP! I want to give this every opportunity we can to actually happen."

With only a thin piece of fabric separating us from the rest of his family we starting the process of making a baby. ;) We were definitely quiet...maybe too quiet. We tried to be secretive, but it was obvious what we were up to.

"Boy, it sure took you two a long time to change into your swimsuits." snicker, snicker

I tried to hide what was going on, but I gave up after 1 day. It was so much easier to let everyone in on what we were up to and have their support. Besides, I'm a terrible liar. Especially when my mother-in-law and the rest of the family asked very direct questions.


Ryan catching some air

Jo, Kate, and MJ with dresses I made for the Darton girls (Raine was sleeping and Fisher doesn't wear dresses). I can't believe I didn't take a family photo of everyone! Tsk, tsk.

We spent the next 11 days water skiing, wake boarding, swimming, lounging, biking, hiking, fishing, playing, riding the train, and gorging on food with both of our families. Full of nieces and nephews and stress free.

On the way to Silverton, CO

Richard, Marshawn, Mom, Dan, Annecy, Ryan, me, Jonas, and John. Where was Erin and Dave? Sophie, Jed and Truman were in school. :(

2 weeks after the clear, stretchy mucous I expected to have my period. Nothing. Was. Happening.


On our way to go road biking I had a melt down.


I was bawling. Seriously. I got so excited about that clear mucous. I thought that maybe a pattern was starting so we could actually make some progress on this baby business. I was wrong. My body is such a jerk.

"Oh....haha...this is going to be so have a cycle. But only one! heehee. You haven't had a natural one in 12 years...isn't that funny? Nope, not this month! What? You don't like playing keep away? hehehe. Just because I gave you one in July, doesn't mean you can have one in August too. Hahahaha! You should have seen your face when you had that fertility mucous! HILARIOUS! Even better? When you didn't start your period. You know, you're not very cute when you cry. hahaha!"


I'm grateful for this bitch, because on Thursday morning in resignation I took a pregnancy test, fully expecting negative results and positive confirmation that my body is truly cruel, but instead it came back positive. And the next one. And the next one. And the next one. And the next one. Yep. I peed on 5 sticks in disbelief. All of them came back positive. To be fair I didn't trust the first 3 after I noticed a misspelled word on the packaging. Later that morning I had blood work to confirm that I was indeed pregnant.


Although I am grateful, my body can still be a bitch. That very night I started spotting and had some mild cramping.

I flipped out.


Sobbing, I called my Fertility MD, Naturopathic MD, acupuncturist, mom, sister, brother, best friend. Dr. K and Dr. W agreed that taking progesterone to help keep the baby was a good idea even though my blood work earlier that day "looked good", but it wouldn't ultimately prevent a miscarriage if that is what my body wanted to do. I had the opportunity to go in yesterday to have more labs done, but I decided not to send my mind into a tailspin.

Last time my numbers weren't increasing how Dr. K wanted them to and said the pregnancy was abnormal. Following his advice, the pregnancy was terminated. Since then, I have tortured myself about that decision after finding a website filled with stories about women in similar or IDENTICAL situations that decided to trust their intuition and bodies and then went on to have healthy babies. I don't want to go through that again.

We said a heartfelt prayer.


I don't feel worried. I am taking the progesterone. The bleeding and cramping has stopped. On Monday I'll have more labs drawn to make sure my hormone levels are increasing properly. If it turns out for the worst, the silver lining is that I was able to do this without heavy duty hormones. Hopefully I will have success again. I don't look forward to another game of keep away, but something is definitely working!

Praise the Lord and the Chinese!