Showing posts from 2015

Harder better faster stronger: Maisie's birth story

I had contractions constantly for two weeks prior to my due date, and afterwards had a small window of time each evening of regular contractions, sometimes even waking me up at 3 am, waiting for other signs of labor to begin.. I knew my body was doing a lot of work beforehand. I was pretty unsettled by passing gobs of mucous plug for over 2 days and i was beginning to think something was wrong.

John's parents had come into town and I felt like I needed some time to myself to get anchored in a peaceful mindset in preparation for the birth. We had dinner together sunday night, and then sent the children with them on an overnight adventure, as my contractions had really started to pick up, and I was nearly certain I was going into labor. John blew up the air mattress and slept on the floor next to me out in the living room.

.I woke up Monday morning, realizing my contractions had stopped. Monday was relaxing. I had the house to myself and all was quiet. my mind was able…


I may have said this before, but it doesn't matter how many statistics I know, or how well I prepare my body- or even the fact I've done this smoothly twice before; but I still have fears around having babies. This is my third pregnancy, and my midwife calls me a "seasoned professional" at natural childbirth, but I feel like I am on total recall. This feels like my first time. I have so many questions and concerns, and every bump and click and pain I feel puts me in a state of concern.

This pregnancy has had a lot of trauma for me, with my marriage nearly ending and with unexplained health concerns coming up along the way.  Having the baby on the outside brings a whole knew list of challenges and struggles that I will possibly have to handle, and I just fear the transition will be unmanageable on my own. I fear that the state my body was in at the time of conception, and through this pregnancy will negatively affect my outcome. I fear that the state of my emotions d…

My conversion story part 6: my return to Christ

I started attending church little by little
my questions and beliefs had not changed, but my heart was open to the possibility that I was wrong.
It was an odd sort of realization that I wanted the church to be false, but I avoided doing the work to really figure it out; which is the predicament I am currently in. I Sat in sunday school and would be furious about how they taught specific things- one of which was a bashing session on people who had left the church. Somehow they were all experts on the intentions of people's hearts, and assumed the motives for leaving were always selfish. Even as I type this, I want active members to know that they need to stop assuming people's motives for leaving, and realize it is much, much  harder that it appears to be. We don't just wake up one morning and stop coming to church. We don't always base our decision because someone offended us, or because we sinned and felt guilty but didn't want to change. It's not a lack of fa…

my conversion story part 5: turning around from rock bottom

It was two weeks after coming home that I just couldn't do it anymore. I told john I wanted a divorce. I didn't think I could survive the wait for things to get better. My beliefs were on the back burner and I wasn't practicing anything that resembled worship to God.

I had been feeling really strange, and looking at my calendar, felt total despair as I realized I needed to take a pregnancy test- hoping it was negative. It happened that it was very positive, and Trying to keep myself from a total meltdown at the thought of raising three children as a single mom; I decided to reconcile and really try to work on things with John. I knew I couldn't do this alone, and I was so afraid that if I sought a divorce, I would be left hanging out to dry.

I was so far from the light.
I was trying hard to fight it, but I was immersed in darkness. thoughts about abortion, hoping for miscarriage, resentment, taking my own life- consumed my life for days upon days. We were meeting with o…

pregnant ramblings.

Today I've gotten up, put on clothes, put on makeup, had a protein shake, eggs and bacon; and I am already wanting to take a nap. The exhaustion is overpowering and I wonder how I get anything done at all. With almost 5 weeks remaining in this pregnancy, I am not sure how I am going to make it to delivery day without either being in pain and injuring myself, or up to my eyeballs in unfinished projects and housework. As I type this, Emberlee has climbed onto the dining table and is tap-dancing in milk that she has dumped from her cup .

I had my home visit with the midwives last night. It was a wonderful reunion with my midwife Crystal, and my previous Midwife Jen, who will be attending my birth as an assistant. I still can't believe I am so close to delivery. This pregnancy has seemed to drag on through the first and second trimesters, but now that it's nearly go time, I can't seem to stay on top of all my tasks, and I am slightly freaking out about the process of getti…

My conversion story part 4: The pit of despair

Even though I had tons of "support" in my new beliefs, my reality was so frustrating, I was trying constantly to escape it.

I am still really tender and healing from this time in my life.

I was feeling absolutely out of my mind. I knew what was right in my heart, and somehow the disconnect between John and I became a canyon of distance, despite our efforts to build a bridge.
He was convinced I was experiencing a mental illness, and the trend in our marriage has been that I can't seem to articulate my feelings or defend myself successfully and so I just stonewall.

I came to really resent John more than I ever had, because I felt like he had no place to judge me. He wouldn't listen to me and what was on my heart without criticizing me or dismissing me. I'd like to say that it was all because I told him I wanted to be a witch, but this was a common exchange throughout our marriage. He was convinced that I had evil intentions in my heart and that I would hurt our chi…

get happy

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The last few days have been exceptionally hard. My anxiety has relapsed enough to where I feel no control anymore.

It isn't facebook.
it isn't my diet.
it isn't my sleep.

I just want to be happy.

I had a reminder of what happiness is while browsing the photos and videos of my children on facebook. I knew I wasn't as anxious then, but I didn't feel happy. I rarely felt happy. My "normal" is content and that is unacceptable. my normal is just surviving, and it's sad that it has taken me so long to realize that "normal" isn't what god wants for me. I look back at those videos of my sweet two-year old paxton and wonder why I have  spent so much time be…

My conversion story Part 3: Justification

The universal "cosmological" aka metaphysical doctrines of the Church really piqued my interest, and lead me to a crusade to find more details about the spirit world, the nature of god, and my role as a woman in a physical body. I read a few books by LDS authors that lead me to looking into other belief systems, to see just how many of them reiterated the same ideas. There are a lot of systems and faiths that teach things synonymous to the Church.

The law of attraction, energy healing, and the more "woo-woo" concepts in the natural/ alternative community lead me down a rabbit hole that I was eager to enter. I figured if  I approached the material from a Christ-like perspective, and it felt good, then I was ok to continue learning about it.

I dove head-first into witchcraft
 The things I started learning were the same things that I learned at church. I justified this path before I even decided to leave the church, by thinking that I didn't have to practice any…

My conversion story part 2: Anger

John and I really only had one thing in common when we first started talking in a romantic setting, and that was how much we loved God. 

I met John when I was 16 and he was a new missionary in my hometown.
He was good-natured and always happy, and there was a humility about him that none of the other Elders I had encountered seemed to posses. He seemed to radiate with love and gratitude for life and for the opportunity to be on his mission and serve the lord. But I was not physically attracted to him and my mind was otherwise occupied with someone else.

So, when he returned home from his mission, I was in the midst of my newly-independent phase, and would ask him via facebook what his particular insights were about some of my struggles when I was really low.  I always felt comfort in the things he would say, and the spirit said, "you know, this is the kind of man you need to marry" and it went from there. I got the courage to tell him just that, even though I knew the outcom…


I've been back on Facebook for less than a week, and I have felt the anxiety begin to re-emerge.
I'm a little bitter that I have to be on facebook in order for anyone to really be in touch with me. I enjoy connecting with people a lot, and it's depressing that I don't have more people to call.

But there is so much fear-mongering and information on my news feed, that it upsets me- and I don't even know it. I didn't notice anything until last night, when I had a random anxiety episode despite being surrounded by people I really love spending time with; and it continued into this morning after watching a video of a woman giving birth in the car, and it really disturbing me. I felt so good all week last week. so free.  I can't stand this anxiety.

It's a lot harder for me to remember how far I have come
It's a lot harder to take care of myself.
It's a lot harder to be happy with my children, and to be patient with them. I was yelling at them as soon…

My conversion story: part 1 - Origins

There are 2 ways to be introduced to the Mormon Church. 
One is to be born and raised in it, and the other is investigating with lessons from the missionaries. Either way, baptism is required for membership. We call those who have investigated with the missionaries "converts", but there is a saying that everyone in the church is a convert; it just depends when the conversion happens. When you grow up in the church, you can be baptized at the age of 8, but being so young, your "conversion" may not happen until later.
My experience was unique. I was born and raised in the church. My direct line of ancestry was intimately  involved in the foundation of it, and so I am considered a Multi-generational mormon. The pioneers (the converts) in my family being Newel K and Elizabeth Whitney on my mother's side- My great-great-great-great grandparents.

The church was everything  in our lives growing up.
It dictated every thought, action, and word that we lived by. We weren&…

The tattooed Mormon

I can't remember what lead me to follow Al Carraway on instagram, but I found myself  drawn to her because of her pre-church lifestyle. (I've always been a sucker for tattoos- so many stories behind them) I am finding that the stories of "converts" really help my own testimony, and they feel reassuring to me that I'm not just returning to church because it's what I'm used to (even though that was my original motivation).

She posted that she was speaking in mesa, and I felt like I should go. 
And I got opposition  every step of the way.

 I knew if I wanted to go, I wanted to go alone.
I knew that involved asking John to watch the kids, and to take the vehicle with the good air conditioning (the one with both carseats installed).

So from 9am to 4pm, I went back and forth on whether or not to talk to John about it, because that was my first step in making my decision more concrete.

 It felt as if I was wrestling with myself.
And so, I kept making up reasons…

All is well

Normally I like to keep these updates about a week apart, but I have had a few things happen that I  really wanted to share.

First of all, my dizziness symptoms have seemed to disappear. The last few days have been really nice and yesterday I felt 100% normal. Every once in a while I will feel a bit off-balance, but I can usually correct it quickly. I have not felt this good in months.

I've re-incorporated gluten, dairy and sugar in moderation back into my diet with success. Grilled cheese sandwiches never tasted so darn good. I've gained 16 pounds in the last 4 weeks or so, which is a small triumph for me. It's a great indication that I am eating enough, which has been a huge struggle this pregnancy.

I met with my cardiologist and went over the results from my echo and 48 hour holter monitor, and basically everything came back on the range of normal. No holes, no enlarged heart, and a strong heart at that. He did say I have a tiny leak in one of my valves, but that is so …


Today I have a follow-up with my cardiologist. I had an echo done about a weekish ago and had to wear a heart monitor for 48 hours to see if my heart arrhythmia was contributing or causing the dizziness.

I dropped the monitor off a week ago and had not heard anything from them until Friday when they called to confirm an appointment that I didn't set up. It made me pretty upset, and I don't know what was more upsetting- the lack of communication and keeping me informed, or the fact I needed a follow-up. I guess I didn't know what to expect, and within a matter of seconds the world was on my shoulders.

I was overcome with fear and worry. So I did what I've done a lot lately, and got on my knees and prayed. And it was like magic. For the first time in months, I experience comfort that things are okay within a matter of minutes after. I just wasn't worried about it. What a sweet release.

I sit here typing today, anticipating the appointment in a few hours, and a little…

My mother

I think about my mom a lot. Not just because she is so far away and I miss her, But I am starting to identify myself to her and I notice some of her quirks in myself.

I had an unconventional upbringing.Most children whose parents are married either have their mom at home while dad is away at work, or both parents working. Both of my parents worked when I was small- probably up until I was in first or second grade. Then my dad would go through multiple jobs in a short period of time until ultimately giving up, but mom still worked.

I remember my favorite Job she had was working nights as an ER intake clerk, because she was always home when I got off the bus from school in the afternoon. It was nice to have her there even though she was usually napping. Then there was a short time period when she was in between jobs and doing temp work at the local tomato plant until she found something more suitable.

We were really poor. so poor that for a time, my dresser was a cardboard box with A li…

Defeated and depleted/ It is well with my soul

Today was a much anticipated day for my appointment with an ENT.
I've jumped through hoops with my insurance company and met my patience threshold a number of times. I wasn't nervous, but felt comforted that this visit would give me answers and put me in the right direction.

It took less than thirty minutes for them to tell me that my symptoms were most likely a circulatory problem, and that they didn't want to put me through any tests at this stage of pregnancy if they didn't have to.

This is the second time I've been told that my symptoms would likely resolve after having this baby. SO my frustration and question is, do I waste any more mental energy with all these doctor's visits in my last weeks of pregnancy- just to be told I'll feel better after D day? Or do I take these last weeks enjoying the last weeks of my pregnancy with no worries and no fear of anything getting worse? I feel so defeated, and depleted.

I have a lot of fears, and none of them ma…

Tune my heart to sing thy grace

As I look back at my last 2 journal entries, and the last two posts on this blog, I am humbled and grateful and overcome with emotion.

Things were really bad.

As I have sought help, I have wondered if I am getting better- and today I got another witness that not only am I getting better, but God hears my prayers and loves me. The despair I felt on a constant basis is gone. While I do get overwhelmed often and get frustrated and wound up-  I'm still alive. I haven't spiraled downward. I've come back to the surface for air after being underwater for a moment, forgetting how to swim. And at times it does feel like I'm drowning. pumping my arms and legs in desperation to help myself survive, but can only be rescued due to the overpowering circumstances around me. Christ is there, pulling me out of the waves and telling me to have more faith, knowing I'll start to drown again when I let go of his arm, but I know he'll be there to pull me out every time I try and fai…

God, are you there?

As long as I'm striving to be honest, I may as well get this out. Since leaving facebook, I doubt anyone comes around here, but I write for me.

the last 2 weeks or so have been really hard. John got hit with an illness that took over a week to recover from, and passed it on to me and Emberlee, which took another week for me to recover from.
Fevers, coughs, sinus pressure, sneezing.... it was awful. I wasn't sleeping which made it so much worse. I went into urgent care because tylenol wasn't reducing my fever effectively, so I got an antibiotic and felt better pretty quickly after that. I don't normally reduce fevers, but since I'm pregnant I really had no choice.

I'm so completely depleted. I've been laid up with a mysterious case of dizziness that has yet to go away nearly a week later. I went to the doctor thinking it was vertigo, but it's not. We still don't know why I'm dizzy in my sleep and sensitive to light. I've had these symptoms …

My name is Tessa, and I have a problem.

*** Trigger warning : depression, anxiety, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, death, pregnancy, miscarriage ***

This is the Long  story of how social media triggered my mental illness. Specifically facebook and my experience with depression and anxiety.

*I have never been diagnosed with chronic depression or anxiety, but I have been treated for the symptoms of both. While I believe that we are allowed to feel sad without getting slapped with a label and a prescription, I do also know that there are cases when it is needed. Fortunately my pregnancy saved me from being medicated.

I noticed my habits for the first time in September of 2014...
John and I had just sold our home, and had moved into a temporary residence with our good friends.
I was making a lot of big decisions at that time, and the move made leaving the church a lot easier to do. Our records were still in our old ward, but we were attending a new ward as we looked for a new home. I took advantage of this and purposely slippe…

2014 recap

I used to be so good at keeping up with this blog.


We moved out of our rental house and spent the month repairing the rental so we would get our deposit back.

We moved back into the townhouse we owned, with the notion of staying for a few more years.

I turned 24.  Sold all the extra furniture we had acquired. Paxton got his first Mohawk.


Paxton turned 3. we continued unpacking. We attened Beverly Ward for the 2nd time, and I started to REALLY question my feelings about the Church for the second time since Paxton was born.


Not a whole lot. one day at a time being mom to two littles and unpacking. John was making a 30 minute commute to work and back every day on his scooter.

April :
Prom Season! I went and did my niece's hair and makeup for her prom, and John took me to his school prom to chaperone. It was pretty fun!

We had our house appraised for re-finance. it came back good enough for us to agree to sell instead.
It took a long time to actu…