Categories
Health Tech Work

Why “unplugging” from the internet is important for me.

I fondly remember the camping trips I used to take growing up. We loaded up the car until things were starting to spill out of the doors, ran around the house a bit to make sure we didn’t forget anything (except the kitchen sink) and headed towards our favorite camping spot. It wasn’t too far away from where we lived, but it was far enough to be out of the noise of the city, and away from any responsibilities and obligations that we had back home. This was our vacation ritual almost every year, and we all looked forward to it every season.

Once we arrived, the bags got unpacked, the food got cooking, and our phones got turned off and packed away for an entire week. Yes, all the way off. Not on silent or vibrate. We went completely off the map.

Nobody could reach us easily and we could enjoy our family time in peace. I feel like this practice would cause some panic attacks now – but it seemed to be completely normal to do this sort of thing only 10 years ago.

Ha, “only” ten years ago. Look at me throwing around decades of time like it’s nothing. Psh.

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Here’s a cringy childhood photo from the early 2000’s – proof that I really am getting older.

So why is it so hard to disconnect these days? Well, the internet is a lot more than what it was back in 2008, cell phones can now do so much more than just contact people, and a sort of obligation of availability seems to have taken hold of a lot of people. We now have online presences to maintain on our social media profiles and websites.

I think we’ve gotten to a place as a society where if we decided to unplug from our online lives, people will actually become concerned that we’ve died or something. (I’m still here, WordPress!) We’ve forgotten that we also have lives offline that need tending to.

The whole morning routine is even impacted by technology. Checking email, catching up on the news, even working out, it all usually involves being online or connected to our smartphones and/or the internet now. I have always done my best to keep a healthy boundary between my offline life and the online world. There are several reasons why I do this, and the biggest of these is to make sure I can stay healthy and productive IRL.

Even my husband and my in-laws will get irritated with me every now and then because I don’t always have my phone on me. There are certain days where a smartphone would be a distraction to me, and if I’m at work or on a job with them somewhere, I will more than likely not have my smartphone physically on me.

Just look at my life for the past few weeks:

  • I’ve picked up more hours at a part-time job, and my employer would not appreciate me updating my blog/Facebook on the clock.
  • We’ve closed on a “fixer-upper” that needs some TLC before someone in Toledo can call it a home, and have been chipping away on the to-do list for that. (Another post on that later!)
  • I have a 1-year-old.
  • The laundry has been piling up.
  • I have friends to hang out with.

… You get the idea, right?

Besides being in a busy season, here are some other important reasons why unplugging needs to be done regularly for me.

For Mental Health

I think of it like brushing my teeth. It’s annoying, but it needs to be done every day or some funky stuff will start happening in my mouth. The same thing applies to my brain. And my eyes. My head will literally start to hurt from all the light of the screens I stare at for hours, and looking at perfect, flawless photos of friends and other things I follow 24/7 is definitely not good for my mental mojo.

Turning off the computer and putting my phone away lets me be more aware of my surroundings, and allows me to be grateful for my life around me. It is good to live in the moment.

For Work

It really wouldn’t be safe for me to be distracted by a YouTube video while trying to use sharp and dangerous power tools that could cut off my arm. I can only multitask to a certain extent – and the more places my attention is, the less effective my work is.

This also applies to my writing. I find if I do it too much, my creativity suffers a bit. If I allow myself to unplug and experience the world going on around me, then I can jump back into the online world later and put those things on paper (or on this blog) for others to read about.

For My Daughter

There would be something seriously sad about missing a big moment of her childhood now because of my inattention due to my smartphone. Or from working too much. Or from being away a lot.

PJ is growing up so fast. Walking has now turned into running – sometimes clumsily into random objects. I really need to keep an eye on her now!

She is a big reason why the unplugging time for me is absolutely mandatory. PJ will not be this little forever, and I’ve got to cherish every moment that I can before I miss it.

For My Husband

Unplugging is definitely a thing that we both can struggle with sometimes, and I know he loves his time online with his friends playing Overwatch or PUBG on the Xbox, and then zoning out on Netflix after a long day. But we’ve both come to a shocking realization – everything on our bodies is starting to hurt and we are getting older by the minute.

There are so many things we want to get out and do together before we get so old that we can’t move well anymore – and we also need the time together to keep our relationship solid. Even if it’s just a few minutes in the morning sipping coffee together in the kitchen before we head to our jobs. Quality time offline to connect and check in with each other is so important!

For Freedom!

*cue screeching ‘Murica eagle here*

wat-eagle-reddit-murica
“lol wat?”

It is so liberating to not have any strings attached when I decide to go offline and to explore and to just live my effing life! As I’m wrapping up this blog post, I’m already thinking about what I’m about to go do next on a rare day off. I’m waiting for Dan and PJ to wake up from their naps. Maybe we’ll go to the park or something, but everyone is definitely looking forward to spending family time together today until Dan has to report to work this evening.

Gotta take advantage of chances like these to relax! I’ll be back soon with the story of our latest project soon.

 

Categories
Health

What to do when your IUD doesn’t love you back.

A quick disclaimer – Aw hell, you read the title, didn’t you? If you don’t want to read about lady probs, then stop right here and go read something else. Okay? Cool.

Also, I’m not a doctor. Talk to yours if you’ve got any concerns with an IUD or any other birth control related things.


Everything was going so well after I had my little T shaped device put in place this past September. Before this, I had relied on the pill to keep me protected from an unplanned pregnancy. The period control was a nice perk, too. The Intrauterine Device (IUD) was revolutionary to me. No more having to set 15 alarms and 20 other reminders on my phone to take my pill. For the hormonal dosages of the pill to be over 99% effective, it needed to be taken every day, at the same time of day. That was going to be hard for me with my newly frazzled mom brain, and I was not about to risk having another unplanned pregnancy while I was underemployed.

So before I got booted off of my health insurance from my previous employer, I decided to rush to my OBGYN’s office to get the copper IUD, called ParaGard. With nursing and dealing with some crazy postpartum depression, I didn’t think hormonal options were the best choices for me at the time.

My doctor informed me that I had to sign some paperwork before the procedure could begin, basically saying I wouldn’t sue anyone and that I was aware of the risks involved. After that was done, the rest went smoothly. I received a card with the date of insertion, date of removal and the doctor’s name to keep in my wallet. It was set, and I could forget about it.

And another cool thing? This little thing could give me up to 12 years of protection! Boom. I was sold.

slate_getting_an_iud_can_be_insanely_painful_is_there_a_better_way
There were different versions of the ParaGard. I got something that looked like this one. (Photo from flocu/Shutterstock)

After this, the doc told me to come back in for a follow-up appointment to check and see if the IUD stayed in place. **If you get an IUD, PLEASE DON’T DO WHAT I DID and not do the follow-up.** I wasn’t having any problems, and my insurance had run out, and I was stupid and didn’t go because I didn’t want to run up any more medical bills.

Fast forward to March of 2018 – and everything was still going great! That is until I hopped in the shower recently. It was that special time of the month, but something felt off for the past week.

As I was washing up, I started cramping up like crazy. Mild cramps, but they came out of nowhere. To my horror, I reached down and felt the IUD falling out of me. I could feel the plastic part, and that was obviously, very very bad.

I panicked.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do, so I had Dan immediately call the doctor while I was on Google self-diagnosing myself (which only increased my anxiety and did nothing helpful). As I tried to sit down on the couch, I started getting pain that felt like someone was stabbing me, so of course, I became concerned. The doctor’s office told me to go straight to the ER to have it pulled, so that’s where we went.

We went to Flower Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio. It is probably one of the best hospitals in the area. My ER wait was maybe 5 minutes. They got me in a room right away. We had to be creative to get a good look inside to see what was going on. They literally couldn’t find it. They propped me up on a bedpan and tilted me onto it, which caused an excruciating amount of pain. They still didn’t see anything. An x-ray was done, along with a pregnancy test, a urinary tract infection test, and some other blood tests. Everything came back negative, but they finally managed to see the device in the x-ray, which indicated that it was indeed, on its way out.

Once we saw this, I thought – “Great! Now they can get this thing out and we can be done with this.” Except the guy comes back in the room shrugging saying “We can’t find the string, so we can’t get it out.”

I was about to throw the bedpan at him. What did he mean by this?? They weren’t just gonna send me home, were they?

Yup, they sent me home. Gave me a Motrin, prescribed me some Miralax (what?) and Dan pushed me out of the hospital in a wheelchair. I was still in pain, nothing was solved, and I still had to shell out $400+ for the co-pay towards the visit. Apparently, they “didn’t have the proper training” to remove an IUD at the ER. ‘Murica.

IUD-fell-out-displaced-misplaced-paragard-copper
At least it wasn’t as painful as childbirth.

I managed to suck it up and endure the pain through the night and during an entire 45-minute examination the next day for another job I had applied for. Then I went straight back to my OBGYN.

When I arrived, they stuck an ultrasound wand up there and wiggled it around for what seemed like an eternity, because it was just so freaking painful. And they still couldn’t find it. I was sobbing, getting close to the end of my rope.

Then as the tech was removing the wand, lo and behold – the ParaGard had been completely expelled out of my uterus and into my vagina. It was stuck up there, but I was just glad that it hadn’t migrated outside of the uterus. It was time to finish this, once and for all.

The doctor came in and gave a quick tug, and that was that. Except in my case, I doubled over in pain, crying from the resulting cramps that came from the sudden removal of the device. Removal is typically quick and relatively painless. I had to get Dan to come to the office to drive me home. Luckily, the pain went away later that evening, but I still felt off for a while after the removal.

I’m happy to report that I’m A-OK now but sad that the IUD didn’t end up working out for me. I was one of those special cases where my body just decided it didn’t want it anymore and forced it out. I mean, it is a foreign copper object in your body, after all. My body was just doing its job, unfortunately.

So, lessons learned from this entire experience:

1. Stay calm and call your doctor immediately if something seems wrong.

Really, it’s better to be safe than sorry on this one. It sucks that I had to fork over a good chunk of cash to the ER for something they couldn’t fix. Next time, I will insist that they look closer and remove it (which according to my OBGYN they should have been able to do in the first place) so I can at least get my money’s worth and not end up paying $400 bucks for some damn Motrin.

If you are in excruciating pain no matter what, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

2. Check yo self before you wreck yo self.

I just happened to be in the 2 – 10% of women who have an expulsion during the first year after insertion. Lucky me.

Be sure to perform self-checks with an IUD regularly by checking the string length (you can see how to do that in more detail here) and follow up with your healthcare provider every once in a while to make sure that everything is where it should be. It’s worth it to avoid some scary situations like a runaway IUD or an accidental/ectopic pregnancy. If you’re still up for action with a displaced IUD, make sure to use backup birth control methods. Stay vigilant!

3. Talk to your doc about the next steps.

If an expulsion happened once, it can happen again.

This kind of thing may be more likely if:

  • You’re 25 or younger.
  • You had an IUD placed immediately after having a kid.
  • You’ve never been pregnant.
  • You have heavy periods and/or cramping.

If I’m brave enough to try this again, I’ll definitely ask my doc to use an ultrasound machine to make sure a second IUD gets placed correctly. Normally, the insertion is a blind procedure.

Fortunately, there are other methods of birth control to choose from if the IUD isn’t the one for me. Until then, I think I’m just going to leave my body alone to heal for a little while and wait until I can hopefully get some better health insurance.

I wouldn’t mind if PJ ended up having a sibling someday. But today is definitely not going to be that day.

Categories
Holidays Love

I’m married and I still think Valentine’s day is dumb.

Something must be wrong with me.

I mean, I have the perfect excuse to celebrate, right? I have a husband. He is pretty awesome. We have an amazing life together. So why do I still loathe the mushy, lovey-dovey holiday?

Blame it on any of my past relationships going sour. Or unrealistic expectations. Whatever the cause, my feelings for Valentine’s Day are anything but warm.

I honestly think it has something to do with the unwarranted pressure to drop a bunch of money on something completely useless, just for the sole purpose of proving our love for each other to those around us.

Hold on… Wasn’t marriage supposed to be the ultimate proof of that? Especially the whole legally binding bit, where we share the house, bank accounts, debt, the baby, basically everything? But I digress…

I definitely don’t mind an excuse to be extra affectionate towards my other half. Isn’t that something that I should be striving to do every day, though?

Sure, there are days where I feel less than loving towards Dan. Sometimes, he’s a jerk. Sometimes, I’m a jerk. Surprise – we’re both human and we’re both not perfect. So why is it that expectations for those in relationships (and those who aren’t) all of a sudden get so ridiculous around this time? It’s easy money.

(I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades Freed.)

fifty-shades-freed
Confession: I’ve never read the books or watched any of the movies. I’m just a hater.

We’re also learned recently that spontaneous romance (and other related things…) can become increasingly difficult to pull off after having a kid. The logistics of planning regular date nights out can feel forced and mechanical like we’re just going through the motions. My heart used to race with excitement and anticipation for a night out. Now it’s pounding from the anxiety of trying to figure out a sitter for PJ and seeing if we could drop the money/time on an outing when we could be using those resources for something more productive. (The coffee could also contribute to those jitters, but I embrace the nervous energy.)

Here’s the thing – Dan and I are comfortable, and that can make us both lazy. Most of the time, we seem to like it that way. Heck, that was one of the things we actually bonded over early on in our relationship. We spent our nights playing Xbox together while gorging ourselves with pizza. We still do that sometimes today for date nights. And I love it. It’s like our little ritual.

pepperoni-pizza-kirkland-costco
You had me at extra-large pepperoni.

Once in a while, I will long for the early days where we were still trying to look our best for each other every single day while going out to restaurants, parties, camping, traveling… all that magical, exciting, fun stuff. Valentine’s Day makes me feel like I’m not doing enough fun stuff in my life anymore and that I should drop an excessive amount of money just to feel like that again for just one day. It’s ridiculous, but sometimes I fall for that emotional marketing tactic. And I hate it.

But we don’t need a holiday like this to have a healthy relationship with each other. That’s the most important thing to take away from all of this, of course. We’ve been through hell and back together and faced times that definitely tested our bond together.

You don’t need a holiday to practice self-love, either! (I mean, it’s another good excuse to treat yo’ self.) Finding happiness within yourself first is key. It’s the most important. Making someone else solely responsible for your happiness is not healthy. Taking care of yourself first sets the foundation for the ability to share some of that love with someone else.

There is one good thing about Valentine’s Day, in my humble opinion: It helps me remember to take care of what I’ve got and to appreciate the good and the bad in my life. There are different kinds of love to recognize, too! I love my daughter. I love my friends. I love my family. I love PIZZA. The list of things that I’m grateful for can go on…

One of those things on my list? I love the end of Valentine’s Day.

Why?

Because I can get all of the chocolate in the stores for 70% off. That to me is something to truly celebrate.