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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Legoland California - Thoughts & Tips

So I noticed there wasn't many things out there when we were researching to surprise our little one for a "Holiday Snow Day" trip to Legoland. Also during Riley and I's first trip there we missed like half of my to do list just getting confused. It's not like Disneyland where everything is linked so it's easy to miss things, so here's some things we have learned during our recent visit.

First & foremost: NEVER pay full price for a ticket! There seems to always be a special. May need to search online, hunt down a cereal box, or a can of soda but there are always cheaper ways in.

Next, as mentioned above, this is not Disneyland! Even on it's busiest days it's nothing like the craziness of that theme park or even Sea World's. It is totally possible to do everything within a day during off season, which seems to be any time that isn't summer. This park has shorter hours and during off season and are even closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so plan around that. We almost tried for a week day to avoid crowds which later seemed pointless in our worries and also not really possible since they weren't even open, lol. Instead we arrived just a few minutes before opening and were done and out of there about 2 hours before the park was to close (5pm that day). All was accomplished even a few repeats, park play times and a buffet lunch with time to spare. *Though I may mention we skipped a few things that were for the older crowd and one ride was closed for refurbishment.

Seems like most of the real Holiday fun was going down in "Fun Town." Here's a link of the activities and where to peak at: Snow Days Entertainment Guide. One item in the center of the town is what is being said to be the "World's Largest Lego Christmas Tree." When it came to the snow fun I was happy with how organized the park was. They allowed 10 mins to each group and they raked the snow in-between so it wasn't like the next group was stuck on hard block of slippery ice but some snow to pick up and throw. They had some really cute accessories for their snowman and some fun big Legos for the little ones not quite to the tossing age. I loved that because they did break up into sessions it allowed for sled sliding time if the kid wished. There also was a separate station for snow innertubbing and was pretty fun for the little one, but a pain for me, cause I was the one dragging the tube cause the rolling wasn't agreeing with me and my husband got left behind. Our Riley was much too small to roll it on her own, though seeing her smile and laugh made it beyond worth it. Also a fun little "snow flurry" hits the town, cute even if it's just bubbles. :)

The layout is best to imagine as a big circle with Lego Mini-Town & Star Wars Lego Scenes set up in the middle front. To the front left of entrance is Hopper entrance to their aquarium, Sea Life and beyond that is the toddler friendly zone. If you go right after entering you go to the Lego play areas and on to bigger kid thrill rides up to Adventure Zones. We didn't go far enough to the left or right last time so missed all the fun towards the back of the park, don't do what we did, make sure to see it all. We were much happier this time around. Also don't worry to much about devoting time to Sea Life Aquarium, it's cool but it really doesn't take to long unless you want to sit and stare at each fish for awhile, I would say it only takes about an hour.

There are things for the young and old, but the target audience seems to be 5-12 years. If there's a huge Lego fan or a inner nerd dying for a day of play this is perfect! But the "thrill rides" are on the not so crazy scale and there really is only 1 or 2. "The Dragon" ride is perfect for the little ones that are just starting to want to join in on roller-coasters and very easy on the stomach of those that typically can't handle such things.

Make sure to relax and let your kids run crazy on the playgrounds, it definitely takes a lot of the theme park stress away.

Just in case you haven't looked yet there are a few official Legoland resources and the honestly best one is the desktop Legoland page! By far the most helpful! But, because I was trying to be sneaky about it was trying on the mobile version and for some reason only wanted to list last years info. :/ An as for their app, well it was cool to have the map but it was also a little bit of lack. It lets you "plan your day" but I didn't really get it. While at the park I didn't even bother with it, but was totally over joyed when Instagram worked with no problems! Sounds dorky, but seriously one of my biggest annoyances when at Disneyland when I can't share our fun with family and friends.

As for money, there are cheaper souvenirs available so that is always a plus. You can get $6 or less little Lego packs for example. Some parents have said no Legos that can be found in stores or plan a budget. We stuck to end of the day pick, but if you want they offer kind of like "Pin Trading" a little Lego character trading. There is a store to the left or right when you first enter if you wanna get one and keep trading with employees as your day goes. They keep there's on their name badges so it's just something extra fun if your little one is into Lego characters, I believe they call them "Lego Mini figures" to be exact. Parking for a car is the typical theme park $15. Food wasn't crazy, but it wasn't exactly cheap.

When researching I keep coming across the "MUST HAVE" treat/snack of the park, Apple Fries found at "Granny's Apple Fries." Well, the husband and I were was sadly let down do to the hype. Riley really didn't care that much either. The funny thing is we had went to get it and the snack stand was still closed and actually went back. They kind of reminded us of a cross between apple chips and funnel cake fries. They're like apple pieces cut into fry chunks and fried then covered in sugar and cinnamon with a side of vanilla whip cream deal. They were good, but to say a must have is a little far fetched.

As for food, I'm sure there is a way to bring in snacks and such, but the site says no outside food allowed so we planned on shelling out for lunch in the park. (Though you can get a hand-stamp leave to eat and come back.) The first time I went there with our kiddo we ate at a sports bar kind of place, loved it, loved the food and the price wasn't to bad, but this time that place had been converted to a "Pizza & Pasta Buffet." It was about the price you would guess for  park, but I think it was the best bang for the buck. $15 Adult & $10 per kid. Employees were super friendly and helpful. Pizza was constantly being made so I couldn't really complain. :) It wasn't extravagant and the salad bar wasn't the most amazing, but it definitely meet our needs. The only thing my husband said was missing was like a soft serve ice cream or some kind desert offered like most buffets.

Here's one of the BEST things about Legoland, I felt like they actually cared! For those of you with physical problems or about to do the day with a child with special needs they actually offer assistance. They have what is called an "Access Card." It actually helps and they don't grill you or be little you for it. I feel like this is one spot Disneyland can take notes from. I believe if you have a hearing requirement their site requires a 2 week heads up, but they are really easy to call and talk to. Employees through out the park were not a let down.

It's fun and definitely worth it, but don't stress about not getting a membership, even with our 5 year old I don't see this being a must repeat through out the year, unless we lived closer to it. seasonal stuff may be fun to check out but I don't feel like the park changes that much or holds that much to make it a must on a regular basis. The only thing we didn't get to do that I really wish to check out is the Water Park, one day we're gonna have to try that. ;)

*Thoughts and photographs were completely our own. We were not given anything to visit the park or to write anything about it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's Been A Long Time...


           How I have missed you all!!! It has been almost a year! And my updates or blog posts in that past year had been sporadic to say the least. It has been nuts...though that's not a good excuse. That last year was a big transitional year for us. We spent exactly a year living with my mother and grandmother planning our next move and getting ahead of finances. We are very fortunate to have family that we were able to do such a thing. While being there we were lucky to get Riley into a Preschool that allowed us to make some great friends. One set of those friends pointed us to a Language Immersion School that was another city over. Awesome news, our Riley got into that school and because we were in transition we were able to move to be closer to the school. God has a plan, sometimes it just takes awhile for us to figure out what it is. :)

        Now that I finally have our stuff, mostly in place and items on the walls I don't feel as guilty about returning to my blog. All the pinteresting in the world and I still feel like this move took the most time to recover...and I really don't remember having that much stuff! I swear we donated like half of it when moving to our temporary location and another twenty-five percent upon leaving there...JEEZE! 

Well we're back and I hope to not only get some new ideas up here, but also get around to responding to those wonderful folks that left us some questions and comments on previous blog posts.

THANK YOU! Thank you for still following and being all so patient with us during all this chaos.

Felicia Nykaza
Head Blogger of DIY for Mommies

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Normally my blog isn't intended to deal with many world issues or force anyone to beliefs, mine or in anyone else's way. I may mention something in the news and focus in on a micro level, but mostly we're a project based blog, but this post is is a little different and it's because of Riley.

We all are reeling from the tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Typically our way of handling catastrophes like yesterday's is best to avoid having our daughter hear the news or at least minimization to the point she doesn't hear all the grossome details and casualty reports. I don't mind her knowing something terrible has happened, but I don't want her bogged down with images of horror and voices of panic. We have tiny basic level conversations that something has happened and some were hurt and try to give a "police and firemen are helping those now." But, with what happened yesterday I heard a difference in how my daughter responded, opening up a whole new world of thought for me.

We were caught off guard to a sudden news report so our almost five year old caught a eye and ear full of the explosion and talk of the injured. We didn't have a chance at switching the channel or bracing for a conversation instead instantly Riley said, "That's bad, at least I know Jesus will be there for those hurt and are dying." WOW! That seriously just came out of my not even five year old child's mouth! But not wanting to force her to hear or talk in more detail we just agreed and changed the channel. But I was still impressed at her gut reaction to the horrible event. Of course this morning as we start to prepare for the day she hears even more. In fact she hears that a little boy was lost. She didn't ask me questions or stare at the television, she bowed her head and said a little prayer for him. Immediately bringing tears to my eyes.

As I thought more and more about her reaction I felt more compelled to share. I sat down with my coffee. One window typing away my thoughts of Riley and all of Boston just to get it out before all of it was lost. Another tab I open to my Facebook. Within seconds I closed that. It was just too much. I appreciate that I was able to get a update on some of my friends in the area, one was only 2 blocks away from the event yesterday and I was happy to hear that though she was shaken, she was well, but today's feed was just filled with images of horror. Later I had some push to reopen the tab and this was posted by another friend of mine:

2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT

So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Another WOW moment! It couldn't be any closer to how my child was looking at this event and how I needed to turn my focus. Sometimes faith is just more then I could explain.

I wish I could say that I had the same responses as her that I was lead by faith without thought. Instead when I heard what happened it took me many moments of reflection before I could get to that point. An in the visions of the bomb explosion I didn't think of the other side, beyond the here and now, but just the maliciousness of the situation. It just makes me think how some times our children are really the wisest among us and also warms my heart for the direction of her growth. Maybe we're doing something right.

Even if you don't have these beliefs or a faith in something outside of us I hope you get a chance to chat with your child about the situation. Work for open dialogue. You never know what you will hear, also it gives them a extra sense of comfort at home. Not saying to go to them and force them into hearing about this, but let them know you are there for them if they have any thoughts on the event.

Boston our prayers are with you!

*Image from this site not taken by me, I don't own it. I just photo edited it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Washcloth Roses

Not too hard, and it gets easier with each one you do. So may require a little repetition/practice, so be patient and don't stress.

What you need: Your call, but I used a mixture of toddler spoon and forks, but baby spoons are just as good and of course, washcloths! 

If you aren't adding to a cake and want to make a bouquet  get a baby bottle. After this project I found a great Youtube video if you want to peak. She does this pretty similar to me, so don't worry if it's easier to copy that way then going photo to photo, step by step way with me. She also includes the last of the bouquet steps.

This is for a 2 tone rose. Fold each washcloth in half and lay like image above, grab your fork or spoon and start rolling.

It should be looking something like this, a tube of washcloth.

Grab your mid section an pull it's way up and over the top half. The little flap end will end up tucked in and you should be tight, no tape required. 

Now push back the tops of each layer, giving it a petal like look.

End result should be something like this. If your spoons/forks are like mine there's a slight bend to it. If you are adding it to a diaper cake you may want to adjust the rose to the bend. It's easy just grab, close fist tight, and turn the fork/spoon to desired way.

My end product, if you need help with the diaper cake step see this blog post: Diaper Cake. I ended up doing 3 of each color on it's own and 2 duo tone. Used the leftovers to stuff the beanie topper.

Here's the steps condensed if it helps:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Books to Make

As some of you know from my previous post (Family Photos), I'm a big
fan of Shutterfly! Lots of times they give out free codes for books or have
a Groupn deal. Use them up! Here's some ideas to make the most out of
them! Yes, the usual baby's belly-birth, all the big firsts, and birthdays are
great books. All and any idea you have will be cute and amazing, but this
is our new age of scrap-booking, so I have a few ideas that go beyond the

Learning is key in our house and this custom ABC book just for our Riley
was a great tool to grab her attention and be a little more to the Alphabet
then just a typical book could do. Even if you think you don't have a picture
for all 26 letters I bet there's at least something in your child's life that you
can take a quick snap shot and add in. The funny thing is when I was
searching through all our random pictures I almost wanted to give myself a
pat on the back when the image fit the letter in multiple ways, like A. A for
Art & Alligator. Hehe, sometimes it's the small things!

Photo books are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Another book I made especially for our little one was a family book. If your family is anything like ours more often then not the family is all over the continent if not the whole globe. It can make it really confusing, especially when she was younger and sadly we all don't get nearly as much Skype time as we all would like. This was just our little way to help reminder of who all loves her and that there is more beyond just Mom and Dad. We also had lost a love one from our book and this will always keep his place in her memory and heart.

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

One last idea! GIFTS! Books make GREAT GIFTS! Very sentimental and can hold more meaning on that random holiday then any flowers or a card could even begin. We've made a couple in this train of thought, but I'll just share the "Grammy & Me" book just to give you an idea.

Shutterfly photo books are the new way to preserve your memories. Create your own today.

Shutterfly has templates and more examples if you get stuck, but I hope this helps you cherish memories in a new fun way!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's From the Heart

So this was Riley's BIG first year in a real class and a chance to make Valentines. The more I thought about letting her get store bought, the more annoyed I got and less likely it seemed. I spoke with her teacher about how the class deal will go down on that day. I'm lucky she's in a school that gets to observe all holidays, so Valentine's Day would be a thing, but she said something else. I asked if she was passing out lists of all the kids' names so they can be addressed, and she said, "No. The kids will be passing them out themselves and it seems to take way too long when they have to find each kid's name." So true, it's only Preschool, seems kind of duh! It's cool that they all get to go around and pass them out themselves. I thought it would be a parents and cubies or goodie bag deal, so this is way better. With the no name thing, I also was thinking well if it's store bought how do I avoid the TO/FROM's? My all sooooo smart husband mentioned later "To- You, From- Me." He had a point, but oh well I still think our hand made touch will be better. I'm sure we have many years ahead of us for the pre-made character ones, so we're gonna enjoy this!

We ended up at the Dollar Store and I let Riley pick out her own choice things to make her Valentines. I must admit she did a good job. Stickers and some heart shaped dollies, and the best thing was it was a 24 pack (just the same number as her classmates).

Added to our store pick up's a pink bingo dobber, pink glitter glue, red glitter puffy glue, and a few sharpies of the Valentine color array.

Now the fun has begun. Obviously, Riley wasn't to the spelling "Valentine's" part yet, so I wrote out on her lined paper what to copy and she did, with a few variations here and there. She was good with the heart and the "Riley" part, but I didn't want her forgetting so I wrote it to.

I also let the decorating and exact styling completely up to her. We had a little assembly line going. I gave her one doilie at a time, would point to letters if she needed, removed the done, wiped the table and start over. I had little plastic table places covered in Valentines all over. Couldn't chance them not drying right.

Next day, all 24 done! Dry and made with LOVE! All we did in addition was tape to the back of each a heart lollipop. Now we just wait till the big day arrives to give out to the class.

Seriously the pride on her face, seeing that she made these was way better then any other thing a store bought could had ever been. She really can't wait to give them to all her friends! So adorable!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Painted Glass Bead Magnets

Great idea for a gift or just stuck in the house needing a rainy day activity...also won't cost you an arm and a leg to do.

What you need just depends on what you find, my daughter was lucky to get for Christmas a "Painting Glass Stones" kit from her Aunt and Uncle. The funny thing is they didn't know I had already planned on doing this project with Riley myself.

If you aren't lucky enough to find a kit this is what you need: paint, brushes, strong clear drying glue (I went with Gorilla), magnets, and glass beads. Glass beads/stones should be relatively easy to find. I found ours at the Dollar Store, but I know almost all craft stores carry them. I also used a cheap plastic table cloth, just in case any glue escaped me, but can also come in handy for the painting step. One thing not in pictured that I wish I did was get white card-stock! That step that I wish I did will also require a pair of scissors.

My daughter and sister actually had a fun day and did the painting step while I was having a sick day, but as you see from above they turned out cute. Just paint the flat (underside) of the stone/bead, remember the image is kind of working opposite, mirror like. Let it dry. Acrylic paint doesn't take to long to dry, but if you want to be safe wait a day, paint side up while drying.

Now that it's all dry, squeeze a TINY bit of your strong glue. I devoted a cheap paint brush to smearing it around. Now, if I had thought this out I would had placed a piece of white card-stock to that so the magnet wouldn't had shown through so much, making the paint a little hard to see sometimes. Probably a little square piece and cut it out exact once that step had dried, then repeating with more glue and a little smear. Another idea is tracing the stones and cutting the paper out, I guess it's just up to you.

So let's pretend that painted backside is now a white card-stock part with strong clear glue, drop the magnet to the center. Press it on hard. Let dry. If your glue is like mine it won't take long at all.

All done! Ready to work their magnetic magic on your fridge. You can see in the close up why I wish I added the white paper step. Oh well, there's always next time.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Little More for Hyperemesis Gravidarum

By now I assume you've read our story, if not here's the link: Our Pregnancy Journey with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, but in short, it's not fake and it's not something you can just "suck it up and deal with." I literally would never wish that upon anyone, ever. But, if you are going through it know that you aren't alone and their are other survivors out there. There were a few links that comforted me in my time of need and in recent times a lot more is out there and I really hope to share those with you.

Just a fact to keep in mind - Though they say over half of all pregnancies experience morning sickness, only about 2% of pregnancies are afflicted with HG. (Multiple sources say 2% - Wikipedia puts it at .3%-2%)

The biggest, most helpful and now even more awesome site was HER Foundation. Seems that they have more information then when I was suffering and more testimonials which helps big time when you are feeling alone in this. Even when we don't we do, especially when we see all these glowing happy to be pregnant people and all we can do is count down till due day and it isn't cause we are just that excited to see our child.

Image from Deranged Housewife

"Hyperemesis gravidarum: not your garden variety morning sickness" - "The Deranged Housewife" did a great write up on HG and really the image she provides that brought me to her site to begin with says it all. That is exactly how I felt when dealing with the public and mostly at the work place. 

I wish I knew these books were out there during my battle, but I hope these help you: "10 Honest Books for Women Suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum" Though I must admit some even seemed silly to me, I can still see how it may work, especially the child's "Mama has Hyperemesis Gravidarum (But Only For A While)."  If you are battling this and don't know how to explain it to your other children. I didn't really know how to explain it to my husband, I can only imagine how hard it would be if I had another child while battling with this.

As always Web-Md is there if you want more then your doctors are telling you. Remember knowledge is power and you don't have to always just believe what your doctor is saying. Yes, they are probably right, but it's always good to know a little an not be pushed into something you aren't comfortable with.

Finally Circle of Moms has tackled the topic as well. To be honest their's is not as comprehensive, but it's a good place for those around you to get a short feel of HG or a beginning step if you are just starting to feel like this isn't really just morning sickness that you are dealing with.

Don't forget to search around Pinterest, in light of Will and Kate's new baby-to-be causing the Duchess of Cambridge to have HG there are a lot of others coming out about this. This is no longer a battle you have to fight alone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our Pregnancy Journey with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

First I must be apologetic, on one hand this subject is still hard for me, but on the other hand I feel like I've had to explain or share this story so much that sometimes it doesn't even feel real anymore, like I've kind of detached myself from this experience and it's just become a film or book that lingers in my mind. But in light of recent events and hearing more and more about this terrible disorder I feel like this may be a good time for us to share the journey, the battle we went through to get our little angel. I hope this brings some comfort to those battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) or helps those who've never been there but know someone and are trying to understand it a little more. As The HER Foundation (Hyperemesis Education & Research) puts it "...know that only HG survivors truly understand how you feel."

A Word from Dereck (the husband):

My wife and I were trying to pregnant for several months and when we found out we were expecting. We were both so happy; everything was fine for a few then she started to get morning sickness. We both thought it was normal then the morning sickness lasted days and nights, then days turned into weeks. The doctors told us about Hyperemesis it was severe, debilitating and I felt helpless. The nausea and vomiting took us to the emergency room more then dozen times, it became so frequency that some of the nurse knew us by face. We got a prescription for Zofran which is for anti-nausea and that helped slightly but nothing really helped just IV fluids. I felt helpless. Your wife should not lose weight when she is pregnant, it got so bad the doctor recommended an abortion because my wife was always sick and dehydrated, whatever your beliefs are, those are your own. It was not an option at all for us. I thought that this might pass after a few months, but it did not, it lasted her whole pregnancy. Looking back at those months it was hard and scary. I would come home for work and see my wife so sick I would have to practically carry her to the car. There were good days during this time but not many. My advice is to any anyone with this problem is when she can eat give her what she wants and stay strong.

My Point of View:

September 15th, 2007, after months and months of trying and a few off days of emotions and little extra tiredness I had a feeling this was it! So my birthday morning, doing as those wonderful pregnancy tests instructed, I took the test with my first bathroom trip of the day, 6am...immediately another line appeared, and though my husband had already told me not to tell him if I did take the test and he was still asleep I still had to... "Are you sure you don't want to know?" "Well I'm up now." "I'm PREGNANT!!" Boy, was he up then! He went straight to the living-room and dived into video games thinking how his, our lives have now been forever changed, while I went happily back to sleep.

We had everything all pre-planned, work till my due date and SAVE, SAVE, cause daycare for a newborn wasn't going to be cheap even if I could convince Great-Grandma, Nana to watch the little bundle when I returned to work. I had a comfy desk job as a receptionist at a auto dealer. Nothing crazy, it all sounded how it should be.

Two days later I had appointment just to make sure all was right (I had a previous miscarriage very early on so my Ob/Gyn wanted a check). All was well and I was defiantly pregnant with our "Little Speck" and I was very early, 4 weeks along. Everything was going fine, no extra bathroom needs, no morning sickness, just a few queezy moments here and there, plus lots of cravings!!! Oh, and more tiredness, but nothing out of control or bizarre, all was wonderfully normal and very easy going.

A few more weeks and another check just because "Little Speck" was still going strong since the first appointment was so early along. Nothing abnormal, a few more queezy moments, but that was all. It was still easy going. The appointment went well, it was looking very positive to be a "singleton pregnancy" (all my cousin's seem to have twins so we were worried, bullet dodged). Baby Speck was measuring right where it should. I even got a stamp of approval to go ahead with my plans to travel. I had pre-prego planned and bought tickets to fly to Hawaii to visit my bestie. Still was going to do that, just had to remove the idea of drinking by the beach. 

10 weeks...and some days! Starting to feel a little puffy, but defiantly not big enough for real maternity clothes and it was time to spend 9 days in paradise! This is where it all got a little tough. Upon arriving I was a tad over pack and all to determine to pull my heavy luggage myself, not that my friend didn't try to stop me. Well I spent the next couple days spotting! Complete fear. So we put our sight seeing plans on hold and put my legs up. Defiantly time to make a long distance phone call. I talked with my Ob/Gyn. She said just take it easy and take a stool softener just in case so no extra pressure would be put on the womb and Little Speck. Eventually all was normal again and that scare was gone, no more spotting. The vacation got to return to schedule. We got to do lots of the fun that was planned, Dole plantation, North Shore, snorkeling, sight seeing, and Pearl Harbor, but I noticed that everything had a even stronger smell. I could smell the shower like I was bathing in salt (granted I was on a island so there probably was salt in that water). Everything had a weird nauseating edge to it, nothing I couldn't push through, but way more intense then before. (For awhile just the memory of Hawaii would make me feel sea sick.) Well 9 days later the trip was to the end and it was time to return to reality and my husband. Before our last goodbye, we ate at a local diner and decided one last trip to the mall for extra souvenirs, oh big mistake! Upon entering the mall I felt the most crazy nausea ever. Needless to say even with running, my lunch of just a small salad with Italian dressing left at exorcist speed. Half missed the trash can I was running for, while the other half made it. I finished just in time to walk away and see the poor janitor doing his rounds and looking at my mess with utter dismay, at least I was far enough away that he didn't know it was mine, though guilt could had burned me alive. I was 12 weeks to the day! The exact point morning sickness is suppose to leave and the glow is suppose to be appearing :/ ....did I mention that this little incident almost made me miss my airplane home!? I had to beg! Man, I would had been fired if I missed that last plane leaving the island heading back to San Diego!

Back at home the hell had just begun. Nausea was a nice term for what I was going through. At my now monthly appointments it began to be noticeable that things weren't so normal with my pregnancy. There was some weight loss, just enough to raise eyebrows but nothing to out there, yet. My doc made sure to tell the hubby to let me eat whatever I want, anything I wanted, even if it was a milkshake a day. Sadly, I never got to take him up on that. My cravings were gone and replaced with the utter repulsion of the thought of eating or even looking at food.

The smells were all still there, no longer salt laced but just as disgusting. Taking my prenatal vitamins almost always resulted in losing everything I had. We tried every brand out there hoping for some change. I would try any and all the tips suggested, water with crackers, ginger anything, peppermint tea, no spicy or fatty foods...not that I even wanted anything. :( Worst yet I was starting to feel more and more dizzy. I felt like I was driving to and from work in a daze and spending my time at the desk either in a fog or running for my life to our bathrooms. 

One day my husband and I decide to join up for our lunch breaks and meet at Denny's. I still remember it vividly, I ordered a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup, he ordered his random normal but with a piece of Garlic Toast. Mid way through the meal that all to familiar feeling returned. Mad dashed to the Ladies room. :( I didn't make it in time, ended up puking all over the bathroom well as myself, covering my work clothes in a not so pretty way. Returned to the table to tell my husband what happened and we quickly got ready to leave, but this time I felt like I had to seek out the Manager. I wanted to warn him what happened and that "I am pregnant not sick, I don't have a flu...soooo sorry." He looked confused, but I'm sure as soon as he saw the horror scene he probably understood to well. Clearly after this I was in need of home and a shower...well my work denied the request and said "return after changing." Apparently they weren't into the Felicia's prego and very ill deal.

Along with all the vomiting I began to get weaker and weaker, tired didn't even cover it. Dehydration was the biggest side of effect of HG, but worse of all was the dizziness and migraines  Thanks to the latest two side effects from the HG my Ob/Gyn referred me to a Neurologist to help tackle the problems. Sadly, there isn't much you can do or test a pregnant women for so it was just fight through it. Fighting through it sometimes looked more like laying at my mom and grandmother's house to puke with assistance. It was becoming a worry for me to be on my own and also being at my mom's place meant that I could be force feed Pedisure, Gatorade, and Jello. The last two were pretty much my only meals for months, the Pedisure was really a no go from the first attempted sip.

Eventually, the weight loss became out of hand and I was put on Zofran, an anti-nausea that they give Chemo patients so they keep their food down. On a whole it didn't work, but it did make my vomiting sessions less intense and I was able to cope with it on board as opposed to without. Still my situation was like living with severe food poisoning, eventually I was instructed to give up the prentals and try my best with real food. It seemed that every appointment, routine or emergency all ended the same, more weight-loss, go to the hospital to get some IVs and lets check that the baby is ok. Every stress test our Little Speck was doing AMAZING! Attacked the monitor and had a great heartbeat, it was only me in danger. All I remember was everyone fearing for me, though it was only what I could over hear being told to the husband, no one would dare tell me.

At least the nurses were always made our IV trips a little more enjoyable. I just wish they didn't make all their guests fill out a "Are you a Domestic Violence Victim" form every time (it was a woman's hospital so I guess it was a thing). I probably could had filled that form out with my eyes closed. Thanks to the frequency of our IV trips, being attached to a IV and with a belly was able to get a "catch" aka pee sample like a pro, even one handed.  I learned a lot about ketones and that I was making a ridiculous amount of them.  Side note, they also screen urine for ketones if you are a Type 1 Diabetic. The worst lesson was if you have deep veins it's already hard to locate them, then you add in dehydration and it becomes crazy hard to find the suckers. Often I was poked a few times and sometimes they would give up and just use a hand...or wrist, let me tell you, not the most comfortable places, but it works.

As the days continued I became more and more depressed. Feeling extremely alone in this and worried with our Little Speck and I's situation. At this point I even stopped filing out my pregnancy journal because everyday was the same story, sick, sick and sick. Not at all something I wished to remember or even pass down to my child. An although Zofran was my only life line we started to do some serious research, just worrying about what could happen since I was on it so long. Luckily it seemed to be a very safe drug, but it still took a lot of research to convince us. There were just so many extra things we were now worrying about other then the typical hopes and fears at play.

On top of it all, I was no longer able to really function at work. It was a battle just to get the new hire to take my seat. I was put in the position of training my replacement, holding a trashcan to my face and pausing long enough to answer the phone in the happiest voice I could muster. Too bad that new hire didn't learn dedication from me, cause that may had given her a chance at lasting. Well they attempted to move me to our main office, out of sight so if I was green it wouldn't matter so much, but I was severely unproductive even there and completely on survival mode. One of my biggest worries with the new position was that though good for them, that I was out of sight, the spot meant if I fell I was on my own till one of my friend got to work. She was great at coming in when her shift started to make sure I was still alive in my little room of boxes. Also, getting to and from that little room meant stairs, good for exercise, bad for a pregnant woman with serious dizzy issues. Really I was terrified.

Sadly, I didn't photo document my little bumps growth to well. For a long time I looked more dead then pregnant. I honestly don't have a photo of me from my last day of Hawaii, mid October till December 1st (the photo above). It didn't help that I/we would run into people and half the time they were so busy asking me if I was "alright" "what was wrong," that they completely forgot that I was even pregnant. In attempt to make our annual Christmas card I went out and bought my first real maternity outfit and plastered on as much make as I could to look some what human again. I also stuck out my belly a bit more. My hand is one of the items that I went out of my way to hide and of course forgot all about while the camera was flashing away. The IVs left their own reminders. The photo above is one of the few images that I still have. We were to busy goofing around with our Godson for me to think about it.

Mid December had finally arrived and at this point between all the looks my doc gave the husband and me at every appointment, I was ready for this pregnancy to go on our terms not her's. She had already discussed how far I can go and get a "abortion" needless to say I didn't go for it then and no matter what my child had, it was our child. So we declined the Triple Screen test. Still had to do the Glucose, but with my intake problems that was clearly not a issue. Her response to our decline was, "Well would you a least do me a favor and have a ultrasound so I know if I'm delivering a child with a extra limb or something?" I agreed saying, "Of course, I wanted to know if it's a boy or girl anyhow!"

We had the great news, we were expecting a Baby Girl! based on the ultrasound, no sign of downs, not that it concerned me. She was hanging out upside down, but was developing perfect in every way!

I may had lost weight, but my belly defiantly got bigger and the baby-to-be was getting stronger. Now it was no longer just that myself that was annoyed with the puking session but my little one on board was just as angry. So angry in fact, that after every vomit there was a assault from her, apparently trying to warn the walls not to cave in on her, like I could control it. I guess she wasn't a fan of losing her potential meal, that makes two of us.

On February 14th, 2008, Valentine's Day, my doctor and a referred specialist agreed that it was time just to have me go out on Disability Leave. I wouldn't ever return to work. Not being at work did help the little bump, A LOT. I was able to move as slow as I wanted and lay down when needed. Also nice was that those who knew the problem were always around and they were great at understanding when I needed a extra break. Leaving work also gave me a leg up on the weight-loss that had reached a total of -30lbs. I started to finally have a some what typically looking belly. Although this added financial stress on us, without leaving work I'm really unsure how the pregnancy would had ended. 

Really the whole thing seemed like a progression of a nightmare. Being home though finally did give us a up on this roller coaster. It bought us a few, not total good days but close enough. I still was dizzy like crazy so couldn't ever really take my steps for granted. I still wasn't really trusted to be on my own, mostly just when out of the house, so after my stomach battle sessions I would try to exercise in our apartments pool and make trips out to get out, like Sea World or whatever park with whoever was free. Having those outings gave me a lift that was much needed. I was almost always with someone I loved. I have to admit that I am fortunate to have such awesome people in my life. My bestie moved back from Hawaii and stayed with me and even helped after the baby's arrival. My other "friend," I really should say family, well she would spend all her off days with me. A few others were there whenever they could and it was very appreciated  They all made a really great support system. One of the best days was with my two closest friends and the husband, we made a final trip to the Safari Park, then Wild Animal Park. It was fun and it really helped with my goal just to walk the kid out, I was so over it all.

Labor came finally after the typical first baby false alarms. Not to get gross, but let's face it the birthing process is kind of gross, I lost my mucus plug at the hospital and was still turned away, so I went home and tried to make the best of labor pains in our pool, turns out my water may had broke then but we didn't figure that out till our little girl was born, oops. Pains continued and continued and really I started bleeding so my husband arranged for a appointment with the Ob/Gyn, that's when we got the good news, I was ready, "Go eat lunch and we'll meet at the hospital." So we did. It was a long night of craziness, and let me warn you the HG was still there, so while in between pushes I would throw up and get back to work...also had some extra meds and a breathing mask to help. But we made it, at 6:43am May 20th, 2008 our Riley was born. She did swallow some meconium at a point, but other then that all was PERFECT! 7lbs 6oz 19 1/2 inches long!

I wish I could tell you I bounced back health wise, but really that wasn't the case. We are still figuring out why. It's possible that it was genetics just about to happen or that the HG just kick started the process, either way shortly after having her I had my gallbladder removed and things have never been the same. But the light at the end of the tunnel is, no more crazy everyday puking sessions, I'm not constantly dizzy and dehydrated. I understand a little more of what's going to happen and I'm no longer happening to worry what will happen to her, it's just me now. Everything is more normal, then the 9 month pregnancy nightmare. Food poisoning is just food poisoning and I don't have to worry about it lasting days on end.

We always knew we only wanted one child and our very blessed to come out of this with one little angel that is more amazing then we ever could imagine. She was a fighter from moment won and I'm glad she survived the journey.  She has inspired me and gave me a reason to not only start this blog but to keep going. Can't imagine my life without her, not that I would ever endure that experience again. ;)

If you in need of more information or a community to talk with about HG, please see my follow up post, "A Little More for Hyperemesis Gravidarum". There are books and links, hopefully enough to help.